The Crikey team is 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.
Date: 18 Nov 2009
US Consul in Jeddah on the underground party scene in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Key point: Consul General Martin R. Quinn, possibly auditioning for a future gig with the New York Post’s ‘Page Six’ gossip column, describes Jeddah’s “thriving and throbbing” party scene for Saudi Arabia’s young elite, where the “full range of worldly temptations and vices are available” and the “freedom to indulge carnal pursuits” is protected by religious police who turn a blind eye.
Dispatch: “Saudi youth get to enjoy relative social freedom and indulge fleshly pursuits, but only behind closed doors — and only the rich. Parties of this nature and scale are believed to be a relatively recent phenomenon in Jeddah. One contact, a young Saudi male, explained that up to a few years ago, the only weekend activity was ‘dating’ inside the homes of the affluent in small groups. It is not uncommon in Jeddah for the more lavish private residences to include elaborate basement bars, discos, entertainment centers and clubs. As one high society Saudi remarked, ‘The increased conservatism of our society over these past years has only moved social interaction to the inside of people’s homes.”
Date: 9 Jan 2006
Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya about how a drug trafficking ring in Kenya enjoys impunity from the law
Key point: Two years after a one-tonne cocaine bust that relied on political protection, the embassy informs Washington that Kenyan authorities are no closer to even deciding how or when to destroy the seized drugs. The embassy recommends it is time for Washington turns up the heat.
Dispatch: “The then-largest recorded seizure of cocaine in Africa occurred in Kenya in December 2004, with simultaneous seizures of containers — totaling more than one ton of cocaine — in Nairobi and the coastal town of Malindi … In the year since then, there has been minimal progress in the investigation — and much cause for concern.”
Date: 2 Oct 2006
Morales: walking a fine line on drugs
Key point: On the front line of the drug war in cocaine-producing Bolivia, President Evo Morales attempts to walk the political highwire with his supporters by announcing that two coca leaf growers killed were actually dug traffickers. The La Paz embassy also notes that enforcing anti-drug laws in Bolivia requires tough decisions that go beyond Morales’ “simplistic rhetoric” about coca being harmless.
Dispatch: “Following the September 29 death of two civilians who ambushed a GOB eradication operation in Carrasco National Park in Cochabamba, the Embassy’s NAS section will begin supporting GOB eradication efforts in the park at the GOB’s request. President Morales started spinning the conflict October 2, publicly declaring that the two civilians killed “are not cocaleros but narcotraffickers” in an effort to maintain the loyalty of his cocalero base.”