Wikileaks and California

Dec. 16, 2010

By JOHN SEILER

The WikiLeaks revelation of U.S. government secrets continues to make front pages and cause controversy. California itself is featured in several Wikileaks releases.

It’s worth pointing out that WikiLeaks’ cables consist of raw intelligence taken directly from government files. They may or may not be not be accurate reports of events. Many are cables sent by government functionaries trying to impress their superiors.

Still, even such information is useful because it tells us what the government itself is writing about people and events.

I’ll report on two categories of Wikileaks: First, those that mention California directly. Second, those concerning global warming, a hot topic in California. I’ll provide links to sites hosting the original documents. You can search for yourself here.

But because of attacks apparently by the U.S. government, some of these sites may be down by the time you read this. “Mirror” sites have been set up, so the data will still be out there if you hunt for it.

Here are the cables, in the chronological order they were sent.

WikiLeaks cables directly dealing with California

1979 Tehran Embassy’s Views of Persians

This odd cable psychoanalyzing Persians is more than 30 years old. It was sent from Tehran by the U.S. Embassy on August 13, 1979,  just before the embassy hostages were seized by the Iranian radicals in the Iran Hostage Crisis, 1979-80, under the title “SUBJECT NEGOTIATIONS” and classified “CONFIDENTIAL.”

¶3. PERHAPS THE SINGLE DOMINANT ASPECT OF THE PERSIAN PSYCHE IS AN OVERRIDING EGOISM. ITS ANTECEDENTS LIE IN THE LONG IRANIAN HISTORY OF INSTABILITY AND INSECURITY WHICH PUT A PREMIUM ON SELF-PRESERVATION. THE PRACTICAL  EFFECT OF IT IS AN ALMOST TOTAL PERSIAN PREOCCUPATION WITH SELF AND LEAVES LITTLE ROOM FOR UNDERSTANDING POINTS OF VIEW OTHER THAN ONE’S OWN.

THUS, FOR EXAMPLE, IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE TO AN IRANIAN THAT U.S. IMMIGRATION LAW MAY PROHIBIT ISSUING HIM A TOURIST VISA WHEN HE HAS DETERMINED THAT HE WANTS TO LIVE IN CALIFORNIA.

SIMILARLY, THE IRANIAN CENTRAL BANK SEES NO INCONSISTENCY IN CLAIMING FORCE MAJEURE TO AVOID PENALTIES FOR LATE PAYMENT OF INTEREST DUE ON OUTSTANDING LOANS WHILE THE GOVERNMENT OF WHICH IT IS A PART IS DENYING THE VAILIDITY OF THE VERY GROUNDS UPON WHICH THE CLAIM IS MADE WHEN CONFRONTED BY SIMILAR CLAIMS FROM FOREIGN FIRMS FORCED TO CEASE OPERATIONS DURING THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION.

Ambassador to Brazil discusses California

In a September 9, 2004 cable from Brazil, Ambassador John J. Danilovich explains to President Lula da Silva how America’s election system works. Danilovich is from California. It’s interesting to see how our government explains its elections to a foreign head of state. The cable is from Brasilia and is classified “Confidential”:

¶2. (SBU) On receiving Ambassador Danilovich and a delegation of senior mission officers, Lula welcomed the Ambassador to Brazil and launched immediately into a friendly question and answer session on the status of the U.S. presidential campaign. Ambassador explained the historical function of the conventions, noting that in modern times they have become pro forma “coronations,” but in the past they were actual venues for candidate selection.

Lula mused that Brazil’s party conventions are also pro forma, but last a maximum of a single day. Lula then asked which states would be decisive in terms of votes.

Ambassador discussed the battlefield states and also the general importance of his home state of CALIFORNIA. He invited the president to visit CALIFORNIA, meet with the governor and CALIFORNIA companies with technological, agricultural and commercial interests in Brazil, and address Stanford University.

Actually, in the last three presidential elections (2000, 2004 and 2008), California’s only importance has been to provide massive electoral votes for Democrats. In the 2004 election, President George W. Bush lost the state by 1.2 million votes to John Kerry. Bush hardly campaigned here in 2004, except to troll for donations in Orange County and other Republican areas.

Bulgarian organized crime

A July 7, 2005 cable from Sofia Bulgaria by the Embassy discusses Bulgarian organized crime in California. It’s classified “Confidential” by Ambassador James Pardew and orders: “HOMELAND SECURITY PLEASE PASS TO SECRET SERVICE.” It reports:

¶5. (C) U.S.-based investigations of transnational crime groups have dismantled significant drug trafficking organizations run by Bulgarian nationals in LOS ANGELES and Tampa. These groups imported multi-kilo quantities of cocaine and multi-thousand doses of ecstasy into the United States.

They had drug connections through Amsterdam and some financial backing of an Israeli national. While most members of these groups were convicted and imprisoned in the U.S., three who were charged in California and Florida are still wanted international fugitives who may have returned to Bulgaria to exploit the country’s current policy of not extraditing its citizens.

The three fugitives are IVAYLO ANGELOV PETKOV (Bulgarian citizen born 18 May 1965), IVAN DOBREV (Bulgarian citizen born 25 May 1959), and STEFAN TZVETANOV STOYANOV (Bulgarian citizen born 9 January 1966).

¶6. (SBU) Other investigations in the U.S. have identified Bulgarian nationals manufacturing and selling false identity documents for use in organized bank fraud, mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, and alien smuggling.

Turf war in Baja California

In  November 3, 2008 report from Diplomatic Security Daily and classified “NOFORN” (No Foreign Nationals to see it), the Secretary of State’s office reports on a drug turf battle in Baja California:

¶20. (S//NF) WHA – Mexico – Violence spikes again in Tijuana: According to a mid-level Baja CALIFORNIA state police official, a turf war between the Arellano Felix Organization (AFO) and the Sinaloa Cartel has caused another increase in violence in Tijuana.

The Mexican Government’s counternarcotics efforts — in the form of 3,300 military and police assets patrolling the area under Operation Tijuana — have severely weakened the AFO’s operations. The Sinaloa Cartel, hoping to capitalize on the AFO’s weaknesses, is battling for control of Tijuana’s drug plaza.

While the AFO assassins are skilled, Sinaloa Cartel hit men are poorly trained and have no aversion to public shootings; however, if the Sinaloa Cartel successfully ousts the AFO from Tijuana, DS/TIA/ITA notes the levels of violence should decrease.

While residents and visitors are not being targeted, the likelihood of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is of increasing concern. Cartel targets are being killed during daytime hours in public areas of Tijuana, including restaurants, shopping centers, and near school buildings.

The DoS [Department of State], Travel Alert for Mexico was extended for six months on October 14 to reflect the current and widely reported crime and violence occurring throughout Mexico.

Narco violence trends 2008

Another State Department report on “NARCO VIOLENCE TRENDS IN 2008” was sent on January 23, 2009 from Mexico City. The subject was “The Battle Joined.” It was classified NOFORN (No Foreign Nationals can see it) by Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay, under the title, “Spike in Violence Concentrated at the Border”:

¶3. (C) Violence continued to be concentrated in a few key states, and in 2008 there was a spike in drug-related killings in the northern border territories. An estimated 41 percent of these homicides took place in Chihuahua and Baja CALIFORNIA states and largely in two urban areas, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.

Sinaloa continued to rank among the most violent states with approximately 1048 (or 18%) of these killings. The surge in violence along the border stems largely from the intensified struggle among cartels over a few lucrative land crossings to the U.S.

In particular, the January 2008 arrest of cartel leader Alfredo Beltran Leyva sparked a serious rift among the Gulf, Juarez and Sinaloa (Pacific) cartels, which is being played out viciously in Ciudad Juarez.

In Tijuana, rival factions of the weakened Arellano elix Organization, one of which is backed by the Sinaloa cartel, are battling for control….

¶16. (C) While attributing last year’s significant spike in violence to its own successes marks an effort by the Calderon administration to put the best face possible on a grim situation, there is also considerable truth to the assertion.

President Calderon’s counter-narcotics team has scored significant successes, particularly in the last 12 months. Record numbers of weapons and drugs have been seized, key members of drug cartels have been arrested and/or extradited, cartel sources inside government institutions have been arrested ) including a former Deputy Attorney General and the head of Interpol in Mexico.

The GOM has disrupted cartel operations in meaningful ways; in year-end reports SEDENA and SEMAR reported that together they have reduced the maritime trafficking of illicit drugs by 65 percent and cut direct air transit of illegal drugs from Colombia by 90 percent.

According to collaborative sensitive reporting, the January 2008 arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva split the Pacific Cartel, and accentuated antagonism between that DTO and the

Gulf organization which caused the spike in violence in Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Baja CALIFORNIA. In addition to these rifts, frustrated traffickers have turned to kidnappings and extortion to compensate for the loss in drug-trafficking revenue, expanding their reach and impacting a greater number of bystanders who have no involvement in DTO activities. These kinds of impacts bring home to ordinary Mexicans the nature of the struggle here.

Global Warming and AB32

AB32 is officially called the  Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. It mandates that greenhouse gas emissions — which supposedly cause a dangerous increase in earth temperatures — in California must be reduced by 25 percent by 2020. Just a month ago, on Nov. 2, California voters roundly rejected  Proposition 23, which would have suspended AB 32 to save jobs.

Essential to the defeat of Prop. 23 was the belief that human-caused global warming has occurred, and is continuing. Yet, reported the Dec. 8 New York Times, in the state of Georgia, “Temperatures are running 15 to 20 degrees below normal, and forecasters predict a particularly cold winter in the Southeast.” And on Nov. 29, BoilerJuice.com reported “record low temperatures were recorded on Saturday (Nov. 27th) night, as thermometers read -18 degrees C in some parts of the UK.”

Now, here’s the Guardian’s summary of what WikiLeaks revealed about the U.S. government’s manipulations to advance belief in global warming:

Hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.

The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial “Copenhagen accord“, the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

Negotiating a climate treaty is a high-stakes game, not just because of the danger warming poses to civilisation but also because re-engineering the global economy to a low-carbon model will see the flow of billions of dollars redirected.

Another Guardian article reports:

In the cable requesting intelligence from UN diplomats, it names specific countries of interest, including China, France, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the European Union, and seeks biographical details of individuals such as credit card and frequent-flyer numbers. It also seeks compromising intelligence on the officials running the climate negotiations, such as “efforts by treaty secretariats to influence treaty negotiations or compliance”.

Despite pushing the accord hard, America’s deputy climate change envoy, Jonathan Pershing, revealed some concerns about it in the meeting with the EU climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard. The cable notes Pershing saying the national action plans to cut emissions submitted “by some major economies were ‘opaque'”. Hedegaard agrees – “China’s submission was open to interpretation” and Pershing says “Brazil’s and India’s submissions were as well”….

If China is, with the US, the biggest player in the climate change negotiations, then Saudi Arabia is the most difficult, being the only country to openly doubt the reality of human-caused climate change.

The US engages heavily, with the most revealing information coming from a cable with the subject line: “Two faces of Saudi Arabia’s climate negotiating position”. It analyses ways to gain Saudi support for the accord, as well as the mixed messages coming from the kingdom.

The US ambassador, James Smith, says in the cable: “Saudi officials have suggested that they need to find a way to climb down gracefully from the country’s tough negotiating position. More sustained engagement in co-ordination with other governments, particularly if pitched as an effort to develop partnership, may help them do so.” On a practical level, he notes: “Saudi officials are very eager to obtain investment credits for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and other technology transfer projects.”

The WikiLeaks data dump occurred after the Nov. 2 election. But it’s interesting to speculate what would have happened if the cables had been dumped in the summer of 2010, giving the pro-Prop. 23 forces a treasure trove of information to use in favor of their proposition, and against AB 32.

Questions about California

The WikiLeaks cables all concern American diplomacy with foreign countries. Yet WikiLeaks promises many more releases of information it holds. This raises some questions:

Did the federal government also interfere in California’s election by working to defeat Prop. 23?

Does WikiLeaks have anything from the California state government? Are there internal communications among Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, his staff, state legislators, legislative staff and others, concerning AB 32, global warming, Prop. 23, and other issues?

If WikiLeaks has those documents and releases them, what will they reveal?

Are state officials as cynical and manipulative as U.S. officials?

Are there people in state government who can release important documents so the public can know what is going on in “their” government?

As WikiLeaks dumps more documents, I’ll check them for California references and post what I find on CalWatchdog.com.

John Seiler is a reporter and analyst for CalWatchdog.com. His email: [email protected].

2 comments

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  1. Ron Kilmartin
    Ron Kilmartin 17 December, 2010, 20:00

    Great sleuthing John! I am convinced there is a lot more under-the-table shenanigans behind the defeat of Prop. 23. The enviro-Nazi duping of such a large number of supposedly smart voters is mind-boggling, especially in view of the fact that major segments of the rest of the world community recognize the AGW CO2 hoax and are bowing out of more Kyoto.

    On the other hand, their model, the original German Nazi gang, did just that 1n 1933 with the masterful propaganda and street gangs of Hitler and Goebels. They duped what was arguably the most technologically advanced country in the world at that time.

    Keep looking. The enviro lies and any government participationmust be exposed.

    Reply this comment
  2. John Seiler
    John Seiler 19 December, 2010, 17:15

    Ron,

    Thank you. I’ll keep checking what Wikileaks releases.

    John

    Reply this comment

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