WikiLeaks has stepped up its release of government cables, including news that counterterrorism experts in India were warning the US about it was falling short in fighting terrorism, Kevin Rudd was a star player at Commonwealth climate-change negotiations in 2009 and the Baghdad Zoo’s roaring trade.

Indian counterterrorism experts urge greater Indo-US cooperation, criticize Pakistan

During meetings held in 2006 Indian government officials and counterterrorism experts urged US officials to “stay the course” in Afghanistan as a way of combatting terrorism in the region.

In one meeting, a counterterrorism expert said that “the Pakistan establishment” was the greatest threat to security in the region and that India had fallen short on counterterrorism because its laws had been diluted. He also said India’s policing system was the “worst in the world”.

Former head of India’s external intelligence agency A.S. Dulat also told US officials that the influence of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba was growing and he requested that the US and India increase efforts to share intelligence.

The meetings were held six months after a series of train bombings killed 209 people in Mumbai. Two years later terrorists killed 164 people in co-ordinated attacks across Mumbai. Lashkar-e-Taiba were believed to have been behind the attacks.

Commonwealth tackles climate change, mostly steers clear of human rights issues

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd played a “star role” in Commonwealth negotiations that declared climate change “the challenge of our time” and called for a “comprehensive, substantial and operationally binding agreement”.

Director of Political Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat Amitav Banerj made the observation at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2009. The meeting, which also admitted Rwanda as the Commonwealth’s 54th member and deplored the deteriorating political situation in Fiji, was held just weeks before the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference.

In 2007, Rudd called climate change “the greatest moral challenge of our time”, while in 2008 he said any delay in reducing carbon emissions would be “reckless and irresponsible”. Last year, Labor dropped the Emissions Trading Scheme, a key policy designed to reduce carbon emissions, after it failed to pass through the Senate.

Baghdad Zoo — respite from the urban jungle

Baghdad Zoo continues to attract more visitors than any other public park in Iraq, with thousands of people attending every weekend, according to a cable written by US officials in 2008.

The zoo’s special features — including the daily slaughter of two donkeys to feed the lions and fish with the Iraqi flag etched on their scales — and proximity to the international zone make it a popular day out for families.

US officials said that Baghdad Zoo staff took particular pleasure in reclaiming the exotic animals formerly possessed by Saddam Hussein and his family.

However, apparently the brown bears’ move from Saddam Hussein’s possession into the Zoo was difficult. To ease the pain staff reportedly plied them with copious amounts of Arak. Visitors repeated rumours that the dishevelled bears continue to imbibe this powerful drink.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey