WikiLeaks has released over one and a half million US diplomatic records from between 1973 and 1976. A good amount of the records involve former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, there will be updates to this post with revelations or details uncovered that deserve attention.
10:50 PM EST April 23, 1974 – Senator Kennedy and others in a delegation visited Chilean political detainees. In a confidential cable, a US diplomat wrote that an Internation Committee of the Red Cross member indicated “if talk with this detainee was in fact private and if detainee’s body bore marks of torture or he was able to produce other evidence of torture to himself or others, Kennedy reps will have acquired sensitive material.”
Torture evidence is considered “sensitive material” or classified in the Guantanamo military commissions. Terror suspects on trial for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks cannot discuss their torture in an open courtroom. So, this rationalization of torture evidence being “sensitive” seems to continue today—if the diplomat meant “sensitive” in the sense of the nature of the information Kennedy was obtaining. And, also, it seems the Red Cross is fulfilling a bit of an informant role here by contacting the State Department to inform them a delegation of Congress members were visiting detainees.
10:40 PM EST When Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was planning a visit to the US whether the US government approved of this idea or not, a US diplomat suggested:
…ANYTHING WE COULD DO TO HELP PRODUCE A REAL BREAKTHROUGH IN THE DIRECTION OF NORMALIZATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES IN CHILE WOULD BE A DISTINCT GAIN. MY PERSONAL INCLINATION FROM EMBASSY STANDPOINT WOULD BE TO INFORM WILLOUGHBY THAT A VISIT WITH THE PRESIDENT WOULD ONLY BE WORTH WHILE IF GENERAL PINOCHET BROUGHT WITH HIM SOME DEFINITE ASSURANCES AND COMMITMENTS AS TO HUMAN RIGHTS IMPROVEMENTS, CONCERNING WHICH WE WOULD WANT CLEAR INDICATION…
10:20 PM EST Cable from 1974 showing how critical US and Bahrain officials thought it was to keep discussion over agreement over terms for having US forces based in Bahrain secret. And then in this cable from the same year, one can see the struggle the US was having as it sought legal immunity for US soldiers based in Bahrain.
9:45 PM EST Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has been a long-time intelligence source for the US.
9:40 PM EST Ynet News covers the cables reflecting diplomatic attitudes during the Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt and Syria.
4:00 PM EST Plaza Publica, Guatemalan newspaper, reports on records involving corruption cases involving US diplomacy between foreign companies and the Guatemalan government. Del Monte banana tried to obtain the rights to “purchase the former United Fruit Company after hiring a consultant to a member of President Carlos Arana (MLN).” The other involved the granting of logging of woods to a company.
3:55 PM EST Here’s a cable that demonstrates the secrecy around negotiating with Bahrain government officials over leaving US forces stationed in the country. Sent out on August 25, 1974:
FONMIN EXPRESSED APPRECIATION FOR U.S. EFFORTS TO ACCOMMODATE GOB NEEDS, AGREED THAT GOB ALSO MOST ANXIOUS TO AVOID LEGAL DEBATE ON AGREEMENT AND NOTED APPRECIATION FOR USG CONCERN FOR MAINTAINING CONFIDENTIALITY PRESENT DISCUSSIONS. HE UNDERTOOK TO TURN DRAFT NOTES IMMEDIATELY OVER TO MIN OF STATE FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS FOR STUDY AND TO BE BACK IN TOUCH ON THIS QUESTION SOONEST.
3:10 PM EST Updates will resume now. But, first, a report on media attendance at the press conference for the release this morning: Alice Ollstein of Free Speech Radio News shares only a few US press were there. Mostly international press showed up to cover.
1:00 PM EST November 26, 1974 – State Department urges US delegation to vote against UN resolution with arms embargo for South Africa against apartheid. “US does not believe that sanctions would be effective in causing South Africa to change its racial policies.”
12:30 PM EST As Margaret Thatcher has died, here’s a cable marked “confidential” sent out on February 16, 1975, that includes “some first impressions” on the prime minister.
“It is not surprising that she espouses the middle class values of thrift, hard work and law and order, that she believes in individual choice, maximum freedom for market forces and minimal power for the state. Hers is the genuine voice of a beleaguered bourgeoise, anxious about its eroding economic power and determined to arrest society’s seemingly inexorable trend toward collectivism. Somewhat unchivalrously, Denis Healey has dubbed her, “La Pasionaria of Middle Class Privilege.”
12:15 PM EST Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi reports on records involving Italy. Giorgio Napolitano, an Italian member of the Communist Party, wanted to travel to the US to give lectures at four universities. US ambassador to Italy, John Volpes, refused to grant Napolitano a visa. We now can see some of the rationalization behind the decision.
According to the cable from August 19, 1975:
…SUCH VISA APPLICATIONS PRESENT US WITH A SERIOUS AND DIFFICULT DILEMMA. FOR ALMOST THIRTY YEARS WE HAVE BEEN MORE FIRM THAN MAY ANTI-COMMUNIST ITALIANS IN THE SENSE THAT THEY HAVE HAD SOME RELATIONSHIP WITH COMMUNISTS WHILE WE REMAINED ALOOF. THIS IS MORE TURE TODAY THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN, AND TO CONTINURE THAT POLICY WILL ELICIT SOME CRITICISM (AND NO DEFENSE) FROM SOME DEMOCRATIC ELEMENTS IN ITALY. AT THE SAME TIME, CONTINUANCE OF THE POLICY IS OPPOSED BY MANY GROUPS IN THE US WHO SEE IT AS INCONSISTENT WITH THE AMERICAN LIBERAL TRADITION IN FAVOR OF FREE EXCAHNGE OF IDEAS. WHILE WE ARE CONVINCED THAT THE US HAS NOTHING TO FEAR DOMESTICALLY FROM THE PRESENCE OF PCI OFFICIALS, WE ARE EQUALLY CONVINCED THAT THE PCI’S ENERGETIC PURSUIT OF ITS CAMPAIGN FOR VISAS IS NOT BASED ON A DESIRE TO VISIT THE US. INSTEAD, IT IS SEEKING THE BENEFITS IN DOMESTIC ITALIAN POLITICS THAT IT SEES FLOWING FROM A REVERSAL OF OUR 30 YEAR OLD POLICY. SUCH A REVERSAL WOULD BE PROPAGANDIZED (AS IT ALREADY IS IN ANTICIPATION) AS A USG ACCEPTANCE OF THE PCI AS A LEGITIMATE POLITICAL PARTY, WHICH IN THEIR INTERPRETATION WAS DEMONSTRATED BY THE RESULTS OF THE JUNE 15 ELECTIONS…
12:10 PM EST Prince Juan Carlos was a US candidate to control Spain because US believed it would help keep military bases operating in the country. Washington utilized Carlos to try and force Spanish dictator Federico Franco to resign. (via Publico)
12:05 PM EST The US government created a torture exemption so that the US military dictatorship in Brazil could continue to receive aid. (via Publica)
AMBASSADOR, EMBASSY OFFICERS, AID REPRESENTATIVES, AND SENIOR OFFICERS OF US MILITARY MISSION HAVE DISCUSSED HUMAN RIGHTS WITH APPROPRIATE BRAZILIAN OFFICIALS, AND EMBASSY AND CONSULATE OFFICERS, AND USIS THROUGH CAREFULLY TARGETED INFORMATION PROGRAM, HAVE ALSO SOUGHT TO CONVEY US CONCERN IN CONTACTS WITH CONGRESSMEN, JOURNALISTS, LAWYERS, POLICE OFFICIALS, AND CHURCHMEN. AMBASSADOR’S SPEECH ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN US CONS-TITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND VIGOROUS EMBASSY EFFORTS ON BEHALF OF US CITIZEN FRED MORRIS GAVE IMPORTANT SUPPORT TO THIS END. IN THAT TORTURE IS SEEN AS PRACTICE OF SMALL MINORITY RATHER THEN OF BRAZILIAN MILITARY AS AN INSTITUTION, US SECURITY ASSISTANCE IS NOT SEEN AS FUELING REPRESSIVE PRACTICES. [emphasis added]