Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why Are They Still Communicating Through Cables?

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Whatever happened to email?

New York Times: Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years ..... The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict. ..... The cables, a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates, amount to a secret chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism..... The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.” .... When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. ...... China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country .... The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002 ....... Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda ..... while Mr. Putin enjoyed supremacy over all other public figures in Russia, he was undermined by an unmanageable bureaucracy that often ignored his edicts. ...... nearly a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the dark shadow of terrorism still dominates the United States’ relations with the world ..... adding Australians who have disappeared in the Middle East to terrorist watch lists .... American officials managing relations with a China on the rise and a Russia retreating from democracy........ “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours” ..... The authoritarian ruler of a conservative Muslim country, Mr. Saleh complains of smuggling from nearby Djibouti, but tells General Petraeus that his concerns are drugs and weapons, not whiskey, “provided it’s good whiskey.” ..... describe the volatile Libyan leader as rarely without the companionship of “his senior Ukrainian nurse,” described as “a voluptuous blonde.” ...... Qaddafi was so upset by his reception in New York that he balked at carrying out a promise to return dangerous enriched uranium to Russia. ...... Mugabe “a brilliant tactician” but mocked “his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics).” ..... Private Manning said he had delivered the cables and other documents to WikiLeaks. ..... The State Department’s unclassified history series, titled “Foreign Relations of the United States,” has reached only 1972 . ..... several hundred date from 1966 to the 1990s. Some show diplomats struggling to make sense of major events whose future course they could not guess. ..... In a 1979 cable to Washington, Bruce Laingen, an American diplomat in Tehran, mused with a knowing tone about the Iranian revolution that had just occurred: “Perhaps the single dominant aspect of the Persian psyche is an overriding egoism,” Mr. Laingen wrote, offering tips on exploiting this psyche in negotiations with the new government. Less than three months later, Mr. Laingen and his colleagues would be taken hostage by radical Iranian students, hurling the Carter administration into crisis and, perhaps, demonstrating the hazards of diplomatic hubris. ...... In an era of satellites and fiber-optic links, the cable retains the archaic name of an earlier technological era. ...... the drama in the cables often comes from diplomats’ narratives of meetings with foreign figures, games of diplomatic poker ..... half brother of the Afghan president .... trying to win over the Americans with nostalgic tales about his years running a Chicago restaurant near Wrigley Field. ...... “He appears not to understand the level of our knowledge of his activities. ....... Even in places far from war zones and international crises, where the stakes for the United States are not as high, curious diplomats can turn out to be accomplished reporters, sending vivid dispatches to deepen the government’s understanding of exotic places. ..... ‘Ramzan never spends the night anywhere.’

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