WikiLeaks: What we've learned so far
November 30th, 2010
08:03 PM ET

WikiLeaks: What we've learned so far

[Updated at 9:12 p.m.] After posting thousands of secret government documents, WikiLeaks came under an electronic attack designed to make it unavailable to users, the website said Tuesday.

It was the second attack since the site began publishing the first of what it says are 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world, documents that the website said represented the largest-ever disclosure of confidential information. Those documents give the world "an unprecedented insight into the U.S. government's foreign activities," the site said.

WikiLeaks drew widespread condemnation for publishing the confidential cables that, in some instances, detailed with unusual frankness Washington's diplomatic interactions with other countries. Former President George Bush called the leaks "damaging," saying WikiLeaks will hurt U.S. relations with the rest of the world.

So far, the leaks have provided us with a look at tensions between China and North Korea - a topic of discussion these days given concern over clashes between North and South Korea. Apparently, cables reveal China was weary of North Korea behaving like a "spoiled child."

We've also learned a little bit more about China's role in other global affairs - including Iran - and how China has been talking to the United States about containing Iran's nuclear program. But the cables also reveal the role of Chinese enterprises in Iran's strategy to obtain materials for its missile programs and the U.S. State Department's efforts to counter that strategy.

And with widespread concern about nuclear capabilities of Iran and North Korea, it makes sense that WikiLeaks documents show there was a focus on the health of leaders in both countries.

Speaking of North Korea's weaponry, the country apparently had Mongolia pass a message to the United States in 2009 about possible disarmament talks, which North Korea suggested that Mongolia could host.

Weaponry - and nuclear capabilities - naturally are of concern to countries around the world. Which may be why there are stacks of documents discussing the must-have weapons and the countries that want them.

Regarding Iran, one 2009 cable said that the predominantly Shiite Islamic nation was facing increased unrest in a largely Sunni province, Sistan-Balochistan, and that Iranian security forces were losing effective control over parts of the province, citing Iranian contacts.

We've also learned other tidbits from the documents, including that Brazil tried to distance itself from U.S. war on terror. Elsewhere in Latin America, the U.S. Embassy in Honduras unequivocally found that the forced removal of that nation's president last year was a coup that ushered in an illegitimate government, despite Washington's more measured tone in public. And U.S. State Department analysts asked the U.S. Embassy in Argentina for information on the mental state and health of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, according to a December 2009 cable.

Diplomatic cables about Pakistan reveal U.S. anxiety about Pakistan's uranium stockpile, its role in the stuggle against Islamic militants and its economic crisis, according to a New York Times review of the documents.

Some of the cables address how certain countries felt about taking in Guantanamo Bay prisoners that the United States wanted to move. When the United States wanted Kuwait to accept four Kuwaiti prisoners, Kuwait's minister of the interior responded that the country couldn't successfully hold them, and suggested instead that America drop them off in the middle of a battlefield in Afghanistan - where they were picked up - so they would die there, according to one released cable. Another document praised a former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg of Britain, for  "barnstorming throughout Europe pushing governments to accept" Guantanamo detainees for resettlement."

One of the documents says Saudi Arabia expressed concern over the fact that Saudis were temporarily on a U.S. list of nationalities that warranted additional screening at airports after a failed December 25 airplane bombing attempt.

Several cables paint an unflattering and somewhat unexpected portrait of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. British Prince Andrew was called rude following some blunt words with U.S. officials,  and there's also some intel on how some world leaders and other operatives view other royals.

soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Hols

    Our leaders have alternative means for going to war that we will never find out. The world has become a corrupt place, with leaders who care more about money and power than doing what is right for the country. I am not saying that our leaders have it easy, it is tough to run a country. I believe that regular citizens have absolutely no idea what really goes on behind the scenes. The government uses the media in order to make them out to be the good guy in many case when our leaders may have started a conflict and our enemy defends itself. Government secrecy is for our own good, but then again is it really?

    December 1, 2010 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Thomas

    Im far more concerned with what we havent learned so far.

    December 1, 2010 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. glenn

    ten years of secrecy in government to minimize embarrassment. so every one in the world knows what is happening here but us!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. shay

    Gee can anyone say duh like this is a shock to any of you how old are all of you this crap has been going on for ever since we elected a goverment my god so so nieve look at all the other leaks for so many years now gee i guess world war 3 well at least i now know how we need to fix the problem kill the electronic age go back to the simple things no phones no computers no tv man life would be so much better that way if there was a leak at least it would take a long time for it to reach anyone heheehe........

    December 1, 2010 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. shay

    Man i hate it when my post dont post ugh anyway i say kill the computers kill the phones kill the tv and any other eletronic thingy and maybe we can get back to a more peaceful life

    December 1, 2010 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. sburg

    just glad there are people who live in my country who still want to keep our government in check. i know assange or who ever isn't from here but at least he has the guts to show anyone the problem of corruption whether it be in my government or any other country. ps the world police are corrupt so how about we loose that role here in America. apparently we are no better than any where we are fighting in if we can't do as we preach. lol

    December 1, 2010 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ed Bailey

    Your land of the free leaders have entered my property illegaly and lifted my womans skirt, photographed their evidence and sued me for enormous amounts of money and took it without blinking.I hate my mommy,first a badge wearing gorilla from WEST VALLEY CRAPPY UTAH entered my property lifted a car cover, photographed the license plate and removed a sickening amount of money from me because the girl was not hidden behind armed guards. I WILL SACRIFICE MY LIFE TO DEFEND ANYONE WHO IS WILLING TO BENEFIT SANITY,FREEDOM,AND THE BETTER TREATMENt OF MAN. AND NEVER DO I WANT A RELIGIOUS CULT MEMBER,no matter how rich,EVER LEADING THIS ILL NATION! Pres. Obama you have taken on a herculean task, I will do anything to help,GOOD WiSH's,please succeed.
    Anyone who propagates truth has my support.STUPID COMMENTS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS IS NOT ENDANGERING NATIONAL SECURITY. ITS JUST A REMINDER OF MOMMOY's ADVICE, always wear clean fruit of the looms. Someone might have to cut them off your wounded ASS.

    December 1, 2010 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. sburg

    fight corruption in the united states not some other country. apparently we have enough problems here to focus our money on.

    December 1, 2010 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sandi Butler

    Please explain why anyone gives a rat's butt bout this jerk? He is a wanted pervert! Not even an American citizen, but very obviously an anti-American! How about let's get busy getting rid of the jerks on Capital Hill ane scre- him!

    December 1, 2010 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. sburg

    seems funny to me that only after wiki leaks became a big deal did assange whatever become a pervert. ps united states government may be a little mad at him lol. but i guess if u can dish out critism then you should prepare yourself to take it.

    December 1, 2010 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. sburg

    to sandi butler what country isn't anti-American? everyone of them. you know why because most Americans have a better quality of life. that's about to change tho just think of all the money we now owe China or the ridiculous debt to income ratio here. for any of u worried about your dear privacy just think about the patriot act for a while. our government can label anyone here a terrorist and tap there phones monitor there online activity or just kick your door in and arrest u without due process. thank u George W Bush.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. sburg

    makes u wonder why Americans would let something like the patriot act happen. because we were all so scared of those terrorist after 911. before long they'll try to take everybody's gun because the terrorists might get one.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. bj

    Send him to dr phil.he'll tell him what's up.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. heyryk

    IF THE DISCLOSURES WILL CAUSE FATALITIES THIS "AMERICAN" SHOULD FACE THE DEATH PENALTY?
    HE DID IT FOR FUN, OR FOR MONEY OR ONLY THE STRONG DESIRE OF BETRAY HIS COUNTRY LIKE SOME DO?

    December 1, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. dr. phil

    Most of you folks are behaving like married couples. You found out that your significant other has been cheating on you all this time, and you are very upset with the guy who told you about it...but not angry at all with your spouse or the dude she was sleeping with. You need therapy.

    December 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
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