WikiLeaks back on web, keeps humiliating governments

WikiLeaks is back online after being yanked off the web for the third time this week. Latest revelations from the embarrassment of riches leaked online are causing red faces among US diplomats and other countries' leaders, notably Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai.

Reuters/Valentin Flauraud

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken with 12 world leaders, including those of Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the past week to express her regret over the leaks.

The latest revelations concern Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who will hold a press conference Saturday to address recently released comments by US officials that are less than flattering.

In one cable, US envoy Karl Eikenberry labelled Karzai “paranoid and weak,” “unfamiliar with the basics of nation building” and “overly self-conscious”.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

Afghan officials have countered by calling the released diplomatic documents “stupid” adding that there is “nothing substantive to negatively affect our good relations with the international community”.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest WikiLeaks revelations:

  • Afghanistan

The US ambassador said the scale of corruption in Afghanistan is “overwhelming” and that one of the biggest challenges is "how to fight corruption and connect the people to their government, when the key government officials are themselves corrupt."

  • Iran

Iran no longer bothers to deny its support for the Taliban, according to Karzai’s chief of staff.

  • Italy

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconio is “a complete mess” thanks to his extravagant parties and he his "physically and politically weak” thanks to “a growing list of scandals”.

Italy was outed as the fifth European power to host US nuclear weapons, despite the country’s longtime silence on the subject.

  • Britain

British forces have been "not up to the task" in Afghanistan, according to Karzai, and have “made a mess of things” in Helmand province, according to a US general.

The UK and the US sparred over the use of an airbase on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus regarding spy missions in 2008. The British were worried about potential rights abuses, especially the use of U-2 spy planes to track individuals in Lebanon, Turkey and Northern Iraq and the passing of information gained to local security services.

  • Julian Assange

Sweden said Thursday that it would issue a fresh arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder. The muckraker's British lawyer insisted that police know his whereabouts.

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