by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
November 29, 2010
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is
an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance
writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her
work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other
magazines and websites.
Clinton addressed the Wikileaks' release of embassy cables earlier
today, and didn't look happy about having to play diplomacy cleanup.
While there’s a lot of gossipy throwaway
material fit for tabloids (like, say, the fact that Gaddafi travels with a
blonde Ukranian nurse), some of the cables contain startling revelations
Here are seven of the most shocking.
We’ve been secretly bombing Yemen.
U.S. has been bombing suspected terrorists in Yemen, but Yemen’s
government is taking responsibility. Last December, three separate
strikes were played out, but weren’t very successful - out of 55
people killed in one instance, 21 were children.
U.S. uses diplomats as spies.
of Clinton... she ordered diplomats to
spy on government officials
at the UN, gathering such info as credit card and frequent flyer
numbers, computer passwords... and DNA.
A reporter at the press conference asked
if she was embarrassed by any of the information leaked in the
cables and her answer was a stern no, but we’re betting she’ll have
an awkward time at the next diplomatic dinner with Ban Ki-Moon.
least she has company in Condi - former Secretary of State Rice
started the whole operation.
U.S. uses Guantanamo Bay prisoners as
And human dignity takes another nice punch to the
gut. In efforts to resettle Guantanamo detainees, the U.S. has been
using them as trump cards when dealing with other countries, even
going so far to offer cash to unload prisoners.
In perhaps the most disgraceful
instance, Slovenia had to take a detainee if it wanted a meeting
China’s been hacking our systems since
One Wikileak cable states that the Chinese Politburo hacked
into Google last year - no huge surprise there, other than the fact
that they cracked the company’s sophisticated system of firewalls.
But apparently China’s an old pro at
this - it has allegedly been hacking into the systems of Western
governments - and, of course, its own national human rights
activists, including the Dalai Lama - for nearly a decade.
Afghanistan is corruption Disneyland.
OK, no big surprise there, but it is interesting that Ahmad Zia Massoud was caught traveling to the UAE with $52 million in cash.
After being detained by the DEA, he,
Meanwhile, President Karzai’s brother,
Ahmed Wali Karzai, was suspected of being a drug kingpin, although
apparently that’s no longer the case.
Iran might have long-range missiles.
Practically the entire Middle East has urged the U.S. to act against
Iran, according to the Wikileaks cables, including the kings of
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps they’ll reconsider if they know
North Korea is said to have sold them 12 missiles with enough range
to hit Russia and cities in Western Europe.
As for other weapons, Iran appears to be
building them piecemeal from different countries - including Turkey,
China and Germany - under the guise of front companies, and used the
Red Crescent as a front to smuggle in weaponry to war zones.
As Clinton said in her address,
“The concern about Iran is
well-founded, widely shared, and will continue to be at the
source of the policy that we pursue with like-minded nations to
try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Putin and Berlusconi's close
relationship causes alarm.
"Alpha dog" Vladimir Putin and Italian
partier/prime-minister Silvio Berlusconi have forged a close
relationship, potentially involving shady business deals.
The Guardian noted:
The extraordinarily close
relationship between Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister,
and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, which is
causing intense US suspicion.
Cables detail allegations of "lavish
gifts," lucrative energy contracts and the use by Berlusconi of
a "shadowy" Russian-speaking Italian go-between.