Saudis said to urge Iran hit CHINA WAGES CYBERWAR ON U.S.

WASHINGTON, Nov 28, (Agencies): Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional US pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea.
The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported on by news organizations in the United States and Europe provided often unflattering assessments of foreign leaders, ranging from US allies such as Germany and Italy to other nations like Libya, Iran and Afghanistan.
The cables also contained new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots, detailing US, Israeli and Arab world fears of Iran’s growing nuclear program, American concerns about Pakistan’s atomic arsenal and US discussions about a united Korean peninsula as a long-term solution to North Korean aggression.
There are also American memos encouraging US diplomats at the United Nations to collect detailed data about the UN secretary-general, his team and foreign diplomats — going beyond what is considered the normal run of information-gathering expected in diplomatic circles.
None of the revelations is particularly explosive, but their publication could prove problematic for the officials concerned.
The documents published by The New York Times, France’s Le Monde, Britain’s Guardian newspaper, German magazine Der Spiegel and others laid out the behind-the-scenes conduct of Washington’s international relations, shrouded in public by platitudes, smiles and handshakes at photo sessions among senior officials.

The White House immediately condemned the release of the WikiLeaks documents, saying “such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.”
It also noted that “by its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions.”
“Nevertheless, these cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world,” the White House said.
On its website, The New York Times said “the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed the administration was trying to cover up alleged evidence of serious “human rights abuse and other criminal behavior” by the US government.
The WikiLeaks website was not accessible Sunday and the group claimed it was under a cyberattack.
But extracts of the more than 250,000 cables posted online by news outlets that had been given advance copies of the documents showed deep US concerns about Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs along with fears about regime collapse in Pyongyang.

Attack
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to US documents leaked by WikiLeaks and published Sunday by daily newspapers.
According to a leaked US cable, published by the New York Times, King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz made the call during an April 2008 meeting with US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and US General David Petraeus.
“He told you to ‘cut off the head of the snake’,” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, told the US embassy in Riyadh two days after the high-level talks, according to the State Department memo.
“The King, Foreign Minister, Prince Muqrin, and Prince Nayif all agreed that the Kingdom needs to cooperate with the US on resisting and rolling back Iranian influence and subversion in Iraq,” the memo said.
“The King was particularly adamant on this point, and it was echoed by the senior princes as well. Al-Jubeir recalled the King’s frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program.”
But the memo goes on to say other Saudi officials were more cautious about the need for military action, with Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abd al-Aziz pushing for sanctions.
“The Foreign Minister, on the other hand, called instead for much more severe US and international sanctions on Iran, including a travel ban and further restrictions on bank lending,” the memo said.
“Prince Muqrin echoed these views, emphasizing that some sanctions could be implemented without UN approval. The Foreign Minister also stated that the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out,” the memo.
The leaked memo could prove embarrassing to Saudi Arabia which, while known to be nervous of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme, has not publicly called for Western military action against its powerful neighbour.
The Times highlighted documents that indicated the US and South Korea were “gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea” and discussing the prospects for a unified country if the isolated, communist North’s economic troubles and political transition lead it to implode.
The paper also cited documents showing the US used hardline tactics to win approval from countries to accept freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. It said Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if its president wanted to meet with President Barack Obama and said the Pacific island of Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees.
It also cited a cable from the US Embassy in Beijing that included allegations from a Chinese contact that China’s Politburo directed a cyber intrusion into Google’s computer systems as part of a “coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws.”
Le Monde said another memo asked US diplomats to collect basic contact information about UN officials that included Internet passwords, credit card numbers and frequent flyer numbers. They were asked to obtain fingerprints, ID photos, DNA and iris scans of people of interest to the United States, Le Monde said.

The Times said another batch of documents raised questions about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his relationship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. One cable said Berlusconi “appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin” in Europe, the Times reported.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Sunday called the release the “Sept. 11 of world diplomacy,” in that everything that had once been accepted as normal has now changed.
Der Spiegel reported that the cables portrayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in unflattering terms. It said American diplomats saw Merkel as risk-averse and Westerwelle as largely powerless.
The Obama administration has been bracing for the release for the past week. Top officials have notified allies that the contents of the diplomatic cables could prove embarrassing because they contain candid assessments of foreign leaders and their governments, as well as details of American policy.
The State Department’s top lawyer warned Assange late Saturday that lives and military operations would be put at risk if the cables were released. Legal adviser Harold Koh said WikiLeaks would be breaking the law if it went ahead. He also rejected a request from Assange to cooperate in removing sensitive details from the documents.
Assange, in a response released Sunday by his London lawyer, said he had no intention of halting the release.

Covering
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh admits covering up US military strikes on Al-Qaeda in Yemen by claiming they are carried out by Yemeni forces, according to US documents leaked by WikiLeaks.
“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Saleh said in January talks with General David Petraeus, then commander of US forces in the Middle East, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable published by the New York Times.
The cable was sent by the US ambassador to Yemen, the daily said.
The daily said the remarks prompted Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling parliament” that Yemeni forces had staged the strikes against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni arm.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Washington had deployed drones to hunt down jihadists.
With more than 100,000 US troops fighting Al-Qaeda’s allies in Afghanistan and public skepticism in Yemen over the US military’s role there, US officials have stressed that Sanaa will lead the fight against Islamist militants.
On November 16, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said providing equipment and training to Yemeni security forces offered the best way to counter the threat posed by Al-Qaeda militants.

Engage
Israel has warned its US ally that President Barack Obama’s attempt to engage diplomatically with Iran over its nuclear weapons programme will fail, according to leaked memos published Sunday.
Several US cables released among a trove of secret documents secured by the WikiLeaks whistleblower site and released to newspapers, show Israel pushing for Washington to consider launching military strikes against Iran.
One memo from November 2009 recounting a meeting between senior Israeli and US military offcials, quotes Israeli defence ministry political and military director Amos Gilad describing Tehran’s alleged plans as “intolerable”.
“He said Iran remains determined to reach the ‘nuclear option’,” said the memo, which was tagged “secret” and decribed as an account of a meeting of the US-Israeli “40th Joint Political Military Group”.
The documents were part of a trove released Sunday by the WikiLeaks website, and published in full or in part by several international dailies, including Britain’s Guardian, which has the Israeli memos in full.
During the meeting, an agent of Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence service said Iran was playing for time to “avoid sanctions while pursuing its strategic objective to obtain a military nuclear capability.
“From Mossad’s perspective, there is no reason to believe Iran will do anything but use negotiations to stall for time so that by 2010-2011, Iran will have the technological capability to build a nuclear weapon,” he said.
And in a separate meeting in June 2009, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told visiting US lawmakers the West had only until the end of 2010 to find a way to halt the Iranian nuclear programme or face a Middle East arms race.
“Barak estimated a window between six and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable,” he said, according to the leaked US cable.
“After that, he said, any military solution would result in unacceptable collateral damage,” the memo said.
“He also expressed concern that should Iran develop nuclear capabilities, other rogue states and/or terrorist groups would not be far behind.”

Instant views
White house spokesman Robert Gibbs
“These cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.”
“Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.
Roger Cressey, partner at Goodharbor consulting, former US cyber security and counterterrorism official.
“This is pretty devastating. The essence of our foreign policy is our ability to talk straight and honest with our foreign counterparts and to keep those conversations out of the public domain. This massive leak puts that most basic of diplomatic requirements at risk in the future. ...”
“Think of relations with Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan, governments who we need to work with us in defeating al-Qaeda. Their performance has been uneven in the past, for a variety of reasons, but this kind of leak will seriously hinder our ability to persuade these governments to support our counterterrorism priorities in the future.”

“Whoever was behind this leak should be shot and I would volunteer to pull the trigger.”
US Representative Peter T. King, New York Republican
Urged US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate WikiLeaks a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
“WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. I strongly urge you to work within the Administration to use every offensive capability of the US government to prevent further damaging releases by WikiLeaks.”
Sir Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador to the United States
“This won’t restrain dips’ (diplomats) candour. But people will be looking at the security of electronic communication and archives. Paper would have been impossible to steal in these quantities.”
Emile Hokayem, senior fellow, Middle East, International Institute for Strategic Studies
“I’m not surprised by the fact that the Gulf is portrayed as a major source of funding extremist groups. It’s clear money goes to extremist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But is there such a thing as an al-Qaeda bank account? Probably a decent number of people are still doing it because they think it is a charity.”
Professor Michael Cox, associate fellow, Chatham house think tank
“It’s a great treasure trove for historians and students of international relations. It is a sign that in the information age, it is very difficult to keep anything secret. But as to whether it’s going to cause the kind of seismic collapse of international relations that governments have been talking about, I somehow doubt.
Diplomats have always said rude things about each other in private, and everyone has always known that. Governments have a tendency to try to keep as much information as possible secret or classified, whether it really needs to be or not. The really secret information, I would suggest, is still pretty safe and probably won’t end up on WikiLeaks.

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