On the day that Julian Assange is back in court in Westminster to hear whether the Swedish appeal against his bail will be successful, here at Total Politics we've decided to break our own silence on the Wikileaks issue, and offer our top five most important, and top five most frivolous, revelations.
Wikileaks top five most important revelations
1) Colonel Gaddafi threatened the UK over al-Megrahi release
Gaddaffi threatened to halt all trade deals and harass British embassy staff as long as Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi remained in prison, and British diplomats feared: “They could have cut us off at the knees.” This was a real shock, following the government’s attempts to pin responsibility on the SNP administration in Edinburgh.
2) British security establishment helped prevent an enquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane
Pat Finucane, the civil and human rights lawyer, was murdered in Northern Ireland in 1989. Wikileaks revealed that US officials were concerned that “elements of the security-legal establishments” in the UK were fighting to resist an official enquiry. Following the revelations, MI5 has now offered to hand over its sensitive files regarding the case.
3) Senior Whitehall officials reassured US officials on Trident renewal
Two senior officials in Whitehall secretly reassured the Americans that there would be “no daylight” between US and UK nuclear policy, despite Gordon Brown’s surprising announcement proposing some disarmament, potentially reducing the fleet from four submarines to three. It remains unclear whether or not the officials were speaking with Brown’s authority.
4) Mervyn King suggested new group to bail out global banks
In conversation with the US ambassador and deputy treasury secretary, King suggested a new four-country group to bail out the global banking system involving the UK, US, Switzerland and Japan. He hoped to circumvent the “dysfunctional” economic systems of the G7, and the ambassador noted King’s proposals: “were not casual ideas developed in the course of a luncheon.”
5) US noted Britain’s failure to engage with the Muslim community
As investigators try to build a profile of another British-raised extremist, it is perhaps not surprising that US officials noted that Britain had made “little progress” in tackling home-grown extremism, despite the “considerable time and resources” in the effort.
Wikileaks top five most frivolous revelations
1) Conservatives feared public reaction to George Osborne’s ‘high-pitched’ delivery
David Cameron delivered a key address on the economy at the Conservative party conference in 2008, after private polling revealed that the public viewed George Osborne as “lightweight and inexperienced, in part due to his high-pitched vocal delivery.” Good to note only issues of real international importance made the classified cables.
2) Gordon Brown invited to D-day celebrations owing to his political problems
US cables reveal that the French government only invited Gordon Brown (and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper) to their commemorations of the D-day landings because of his political problems at home. In the end it had little effect.
3) Gaddafi’s 'voluptuous blonde'
While Colonel Gaddafi was threatening the British government over al-Megrahi’s release, US officials also noted the presence of a “voluptuous blonde” Ukrainian nurse at his side. For keen followers of Gaddafi’s eccentricities, it was a little tame really.
4) Obama considered Cameron a 'lightweight'
The cables revealed that following their first meeting, Obama considered David Cameron a “lightweight”. While the one-term senator and then-Presidential candidate risked accusations of throwing stones in glass houses, the election revealed much of the electorate agreed with him, and Cameron failed to secure a majority.
5) Brown’s 'abysmal track record'
US officials also noted how Gordon Brown’s government lurched from: “political disaster to disaster”, and noted: “fears among MPs that Brown’s leadership of the party, and his premiership, may now be beyond repair.” Such fears were so common, and potential leadership challenges so omnipresent, it is worth wondering why they even bothered to classify them in the first place.
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