Like kids over a box of candy, millions of people today poured over thousands of diplomatic cables between ambassadors and other embassy employees around the world. The WikiPedia release has already been dubbed Cablegate ( and sorry, all the major Cablegate Internet domain extensions are already registered). Many of the cables are both humorous and scathing.
One cable featured at NYTimes.com
today, highlights a conversation between Saudi's King Abdullah and an unnamed Iraqi official. In speaking about Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the King is quoted, "You and Iraq are in my heart, but that man is not
." King Abdullah was more blunt about Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari. The president was said to be an obstacle to Pakistan's progress and Abdullah added, "When the Head is Rotten, It Affects the Whole Body."
Many of the cables reveal what many already suspected, a world of political intrigue and secrets in which a white glistening smile to a foreign dignitary is often followed by a secret dispatch to another embassy or official warning of the weaknesses if not downright incompetence of that dignitary. In several cables Mobile Tribune viewed it was clear that in many countries embassy and other high-ranking government officials were often required to meet and deal with high officers of state who were relatives or friends of high-ranking officials including presidents and prime ministers. In one case, the head of a Provincial Council in Afghanistan is a half-brother of the Afghanistan president and in the middle of an otherwise staid cable to Washington it was interjected, "Note, while we must deal with AWK (Ahmed Wali Karzai) as head of the Provincial Council, he is widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker." Karzai has repeatedly denied those charges.
So far we have not seen any cables that threaten national security or any individuals, but most publishers of the cables including WikiLeaks indicate removal of names of people in cases of safety and other classified concerns. The cables seem a reflection of everyday people. Although it is not one of the most pleasant traits of humans, they are fond of saying or acting one way to certain individuals or groups, but thinking and saying completely other things when that person or people are not within ear range. Politics and world espionage are certainly a game and those most successful at it, well, they play very, very well.