The Crikey team are busy picking through the WikiLeaks cables available — — currently 1208 have been released from an estimated 250,000 — categorising them into different subjects and grabbing the most potent highlights from each. This is just the first lot, expect cables discussing press freedom, foreign leaders, drug wars and the GFC to roll out in the coming days.

For your perusal, here’s a selection of the juiciest of the climate change cables so far (not including overnight release), compiled by Bernard Keane and the History cables — while most of the cables are from the last ten years, several from 1966-1990 have also been leaked, compiled by Amber Jamieson.

Climate change:

Date: 2010-01-04
Ambassador to EU’s Meeting with EU President van Rompuy
Key point: Van Rompuy called the Copenhagen Conference a “disaster in which Europe was excluded and mistreated” and “an incredible disaster”; Mexico COP 16 “would be a disaster as well”. Partly blamed lack of single European voice.
Dispatch: “…proposed coming to an agreement between the EU and the United States during the possible upcoming U.S. — EU Summit in Madrid, and then approaching China to achieve a workable solution.”


Date: 2007-10-26
President Sarkozy’s First Official Visit To The U.S.: Policy Coordination With A Self-Consciously Independent France
Key point:Americans anxious to impress that US is a leader on climate change via technology investment.
Sarkozy has repeatedly called for US leadership on climate change. Bush administration keen to impress on Sarkozy that the US is a leader courtesy of investment in technology.
Despatch: “Areas of potential conflict include concerns that a failure for a broad adoption of similar carbon reduction schemes will put European industry at a competitive disadvantage and the possible French advocacy of a European imposed carbon tax on imported goods. Despite extensive U.S.-French collaboration in developing next generation climate-friendly technologies, the French also criticize what they see as U.S. over-reliance on yet-to-be-developed technologies (carbon capture and storage, second generation bio-fuels, and advanced nuclear) to address emissions. France is skeptical that China and India and other major emerging economies will take steps to reduce emissions unless the U.S. moves first. This is an opportunity to convince Sarkozy that we take this issue seriously and have a concrete plan to make real progress.”


Date: 2008-01-29
Welcome To Berlin (For National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley)
Key points: US/German differences over approaches to climate change.
Dispatch: “Chancellor Merkel and the rest of Germany’s political leadership remain serious about pursuing aggressive international measures to meet the challenges of global warming. Merkel has made climate change a priority of her Chancellorship and enjoys the overwhelming domestic support on this. Merkel’s support for mandatory, targeted global limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and an international cap-and-trade regime reflects a deep-seated belief that only drastic, concerted efforts on the part of the international community can slow — and ultimately reverse — the human contribution to global warming… While the Germans have been willing to consider alternative solutions, such as new technologies for clean coal and renewables, fundamental differences in our approaches to the issue of climate change remain, and could lead to more public disagreement in the future.”



Date: 1966-12-28 18:06
A cable from Buenos Aires discussing Argentinean sea borders
Key point: The oldest cable released and was already a de-classified document. Came six months after a coup in Argentina and details Argentina’s plans to increase its sea jurisdictions and establish a six mile territorial sea. US diplomats are concerned about US fishing rights in Argentinian waters.
Dispatch: “”FONOFF (Foreign office) legal advisor concedes distinction between “exclusive” and “preferential” fishing jurisdiction a semantic nicety. He understands that in zone of “preferential” jurisdiction Argentina would claim right to tax, license and otherwise control all activities related to exploitation of resources of seas. “”


Date: 1972-08-22 09:09
Cold War call from Iran for more fighter jets
Key point: Iranian Minister for War calls for the accelerated delivery of one squadron of F-4 fighter jets to use against the Soviets and Iraq. The shah of Iran (the king), is worried about the strengthening Soviet presence and influence over the Middle East, particularly its friendship with Iraq, and demands more air power to fight this. US will increase production of F-4s and will send an additional 16 F-4s, in order to maintain the critical relationship between the two nations. The US closed its Iranian embassy after the 1979 revolution.
Dispatch: ““Shah is again turning to USG (US government) because in periods of anxiety Shah feels he can look to us for cooperation and he hopes that US as reliable friend will find chance be responsive on matter he considers important and vital to Iran’s security. Thus USG consideration of request must recognise that decision involves unusual degree of political importance related to fabric of USG-GOI (government of Iran) relations. Decision should also not overlook or underestimate importance of Iran for vital US interests.”


Date: 1989-12-13 19:07
US hints at coup or invasion in Panama
Key point: Cable sent a week before the US invaded Panama and deposed of the military dictator Manuel Noriega – a previous paid informant to the CIA. Cable gives a breakdown of the current situation and how Noriega is only just clinging on to power after recent coup attempts and therefore is increasing harassment of his opposition.
Dispatch: “”The political tension in Panama increased by recent press revelations and U.S sanctions announcements, will likely ebb in early 1990, absent some major event. Noriega is showing no signs that he has any intentions of leaving voluntarily. Give broad political realities in this country, the only hope for a first step in crisis resolution is another coup. Waiting for that to happen is the main political prospect or Panama in 1990.””