Monday, November 29, 2010

The World Reacts to Massive US Diplomatic Leak

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, depicted as a vain party animal in the US State Department cables disclosed by WikiLeaks on Sunday, "had a good laugh" upon learning of the revelations. Others aren't as sanguine. A US Representative wants to designate the Internet platform as a terrorist organization.

The dispatches from Rome were hardly complementary. A cable from June 9, 2009 describes Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as "feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader." The cable says he has an "overweening self-confidence" that has "made him deaf to dissenting opinion." A separate dispatch says that Berlusconi's "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean that he does not get sufficient rest."

The assessments about the Italian head of government come from the more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, many of which were made publicly available on Sunday evening. Several news sources, including SPIEGEL, the New York Times, the Guardian and the Spanish daily El PaĆ­s, have now begun a series documenting findings from an analysis of those dispatches.

There are several world leaders who come in for particular critique, including Berlusconi. He is described as "physically and politically weak" in the dispatches which also make it clear that the US State Department under the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was eager to find out if there was any truth to the rumors that Berlusconi and his good friend Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had teamed up to pursue private business interests together, something both vehemently deny.

To read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,731717,00.html

Besides this article, this website offers also a interesting interactive world map, showing how many cables were send from which country to the US and how they were classified.

Regarding Cambodia for examples it shows that 777 cables were send from the US embassy in Phnom Penh, classified as "for offcial use only" and only very few were classified as "secret". Still would be interesting what they report and write about Cambodia in these cables.

Link to the interactive world map: http://www.spiegel.de/flash/flash-24861.html

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