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Leaked cable reveals unsecured nuclear facility in Yemen

Another leaked cable courtesy of WikiLinks shows that a Yemeni official warned United States intelligence of an ungaurded facility holding nuclear material, according to this Al Jazeera article.  Combined with simple explosives, the materials could have been used to create a weapon that would not produce mass casualties but could, because of radiation emissions, create a “no-go zone” in a vital public domain.  It seems likely that the material has since been shipped to Syria.

Spotlight on Qatar

I came across an interesting portrait of the emir of Qatar –  Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani – in the Independent today. Qatar, of course, is very much in the news thanks to its winning World Cup hosting rights in 2022.  In the link to the article, you’ll see a photo of the smiling emir with the World Cup trophy. An interesting guy he is. Did you know a meeting he held with Dick Cheney lasted a mere seven seconds before he stormed out? In fact, sitting on the sidelines isn’t his thing – he’s inserted himself into regional issues in Israel, Lebanon and Egypt, using the television network Al-Jazeera as a bargaining chip to advance Qatar’s interests. That’s caught the ire of many of his neighbors or allies – from Iran to the United States. The article is full of rumor and conjecture, but it’s a fun and gossipy read. For better or worse, thanks to Wikileaks, that manner of news is undoubtably in vogue.

WikiLeaks Forum on YouTube

On November 10, 2010,  Josef Korbel School Dean Christopher Hill, and professors Dr. Alan Gilbert and Dr. Joseph Szyliowicz  gathered to debate the then impending WikiLeaks Release.  Dr. Nader Hashemi moderated the debate and the Middle East Discussion Group sponsored the event.  Check out the forum on YouTube and additional commentary from Dr. Gilbert.

Wikileaks Reveals Strains in US-Pakistan Relations

Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks reveal concerns over Pakistan’s role as U.S. ally in NATO’s nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. Former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson, warned U.S. – based officials of the weakness of Pakistan’s civilian government and the double-game played by it’s military and intelligence institutions. The cables also depict an alarming lack of security over bomb-grade uranium – a finding that’s sure to raise concerns over fissile material falling into the wrong hands. All in all, the article that provides the details of the cables makes for a frustrating, depressing read.

Congressman Pushes for Terrorist Designation for Wikileaks

Rep. Peter King (the incoming chair of the House Homeland Security Committee) is pushing the Obama administration to designate Wikileaks as an official terrorist organization. The following article on CNET provides some of the rational behind this, but I just feel it’s time wasted to lump Wikileaks together with the terrorists…or even to aggressively go after them. Why? It’s the whack-a-mole syndrome – if Wikileaks is shut down, some other site will emerge to carry its mantle. It just reminds me of the music industry’s battle with Napster. Sure, Napster was effectively neutered after a long, hard slog, but 1000s of other sites were out there for anyone who wanted to download music illegally.

WikiLeaks and Iraq

We ran a little short on time tonight, so I wanted to post a thread dedicated to comments/reactions/further questions

Totaling Iraqi deaths in the war

The death toll in Iraq since the American Invasion is now approximately 100,000 according to the website Iraq Body Count.  This New York Times article investigates the difficulties of compiling how many have died as well as who is responsible for those deaths.  It notes that Wikileaks is disclosing documents that catalogue deaths.  There may be as many as 15,000 previously untabulated.  The article also goes over some specific cases of killing.