WikiLeaks embassy cables: the key points at a glance
There are no fewer than 251,287 cables from more than 250 US embassies around the world, obtained by WikiLeaks. We present a day-by-day guide to the revelations from the US embassy cables both from the Guardian and its international media partners in the story
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Days 13-14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 | Day 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24
- Article history
Day 1, Monday 29 November
• The US faces a worldwide diplomatic crisis. More than 250,000 classified cables from American embassies are leaked, many sent as recently as February.
• Saudi Arabia put pressure on the US to attack Iran. Other Arab allies also secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.
• Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.
• Details of the round-the-clock offensive by US government officials, politicians, diplomats and military officers to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions and roll back its advance across the Middle East.
• How Israel regarded 2010 as a "critical year" for tackling Iran's alleged quest for nuclear weapons and warned the United States that time is running out to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.
• The secret EU plot to boycott the inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president after the disputed Iranian election in 2009.
• Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were denied blueprints for a secret nuclear reactor near Qom and told by Iran that evidence of bomb-grade uranium enrichment was forged.
• Saudi Arabia complained directly to the Iranian foreign minister of Iranian "meddling" in the Middle East.
• The US accused Iran of abusing the strict neutrality of the Iranian Red Crescent (IRC) society to smuggle intelligence agents and weapons into other countries, including Lebanon.
• Britain's ambassador to Iran gave the US a private masterclass on how to negotiate with Iran.
• How a 75-year-old American of Iranian descent rode a horse over a freezing mountain range into Turkey after officials confiscated his passport.
• The story of how the 250,000 US embassy cables were leaked.
• Background on Siprnet: where America stores its secret cables.
• Editor's note: publishing the cables.
• Explore the Guardian's searchable database of the leaked embassy cables
A long piece in English primarily about the US view of Germany, including some bracing views of Berlin's leadership and the description of Chancellor Angela Merkel as "risk averse and rarely creative".
New York Times
The New York Times highlights US intelligence assessments that Iran has acquired missiles from North Korea which could for the first time enable Tehran to strike at western European capitals.
A trawl through the 3,620 documents in the haul originating from the US embassy in Madrid, dating from 2004 to this year (in Spanish).
The French paper also leads on the allegations of US spying on UN leaders but also covers Washington's view of France, as gleaned from the cables (in French). President Nicolas Sarkozy is described as "susceptible and authoritarian", and a French diplomatic adviser has described Iran as a fascist state and Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez as a madman transforming his country into another Zimbabwe.
Day 2, Tuesday 30 November
• China is ready to accept Korean unification and is distancing itself from North Korea which it describes as behaving like a "spoiled child". Cables say Kim Jong-il is a "flabby old chap" losing his grip and drinking.
• Prince Andrew attacked a Serious Fraud Office anti-corruption investigation during a meeting with British businessmen in Kyrgyzstan and criticised a Guardian investigation – and the French – in what the US ambassador there described as "an astonishingly candid" performance verging on the rude. He is also reported to like big game hunting and falconry.
• An official from the Commonwealth secretariat claimed Prince Charles is not respected in the same way as the Queen and questioned whether the heir apparent should necessarily succeed his mother as the head of the Commonwealth.
• Hillary Clinton wanted a briefing on the mental health of Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner and asked whether she was taking medication to calm her down.
• The German magazine focuses on the US administration's search for countries willing to take its Guantánamo prisoners, if it closed the base down, and the German government's reluctance to help, with foreign minister Wolfgang Schäuble reportedly very sceptical. The German government would not accept 17 Uighur prisoners, despite the support of the Uighur exiled community in Munich, for fear of upsetting the Chinese government.
There is an extensive network of informants in Berlin, informing the US about Angela Merkel's coalition negotiations. Merkel is described as an enigma, and sceptical about the US.
• The US administration doubts the Turkish government's dependability as an ally, describing it as having little understanding of the outside world and its foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu's "neo-Ottoman visions" as exceptionally dangerous. It describes a Muslim fraternity within the governing party and an "iron ring of sycophantic but contemptuous advisers".
• The French newspaper Le Monde reports US diplomats describing the former president of Haiti, René Préval, as "indispensable but difficult ... a chameleon character" unwilling to accept advice.
• In 2005, US diplomats reported France as being a difficult ally in the fight against international terrorism, because its specialist investigating magistrates were insular, centred on Paris and operating in "another world".
• Spain's El País focuses on repeated attempts by the US to curb court cases in Spain against American soldiers and politicians accused of involvement in Iraq war crimes or torture at Guantánamo. It highlights a series of cables relating to the possibility of Spain accepting former Guantánamo prisoners. Spain's political situation and public opinion made this "almost impossible", an official said.
Day 3, Wednesday 1 December
• The head of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, privately criticised David Cameron and George Osborne (now the prime minister and chancellor) before the election for their lack of experience, the lack of depth in their inner circle and their tendency to think about issues only in terms of their electoral impact. Osborne lacked gravitas and was seen as a political lightweight because of his "high-pitched vocal delivery" according to private Conservative polling before the election.
• US and British diplomats fear that Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme could lead to terrorists obtaining fissile material, or a devastating nuclear exchange with India. Also, small teams of US special forces have been operating secretly inside Pakistan's tribal areas, with Pakistani government approval. And the US concluded that Pakistani troops were responsible for a spate of extra-judicial killings in the Swat Valley and tribal belt, but decided not to comment publicly.
• Gordon Brown unsuccessfully lobbied the US for the British computer hacker Gary McKinnon to be allowed to serve any jail sentence in the UK. David Cameron said British people generally believe McKinnon is guilty "but they are sympathetic".
• The US ambassador to Pakistan said the Pakistani army is covertly sponsoring four major militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Mumbai attackers, Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT), and "no amount of money" will change the policy. Also, US diplomats discovered hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan earmarked for fighting Islamist militants was not used for that purpose.
• Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, considered pushing President Asif Ali Zardari from office and forcing him into exile to resolve a political dispute, the US embassy cables reveal. Separately, Zardari once told the US vice-president, Joe Biden, he feared the military "might take me out". He told the Americans his sister would lead if he was assassinated. Another cable revealed that the Pakistani president was described as a "numbskull" by Sir Jock Stirrup, Britain's then chief of defence staff.
• Senior Lib Dem officials, who now work in No 10 and the Cabinet Office, planned a campaign to depict David Cameron as "fake" and "out of touch" during the election campaign, but abandoned the strategy because it was deemed too aggressive after the death of his son, Ivan.
• The Tories told the US before the general election that a Conservative government could be tougher on Pakistan as it was less reliant on votes from people with a Pakistani connections than Labour. Referring to Muslim extremists coming to Britain from Pakistan, Cameron said that under Labour "we let in a lot of crazies and did not wake up early enough".
• Zardari claimed that the brother of Pakistan's opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, "tipped off" LeT about impending UN sanctions after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, allowing the group to empty its bank accounts. British diplomats feared India would respond with force to the attacks but the US thought the UK was "over-reacting".
• The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is portrayed as a self-absorbed, thin-skinned, erratic character who tyrannises his ministers and staff but is also a brilliant political tactician, in US memos. The Saudis were irritated by Sarkozy planning to take Carla Bruni on a state visit to their country before she was married. Sarkozy invited Gordon Brown and the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, to last year's D-day commemorations because "the survival of their governments was at stake".
• Le Monde focuses on what the cables say about Sarkozy, notably his pro-Americanism, his idea that an international force could replace the US in Iraq, and the US view on his election that he was "a novice" in international affairs with a poor grasp of English.
• The paper has significant coverage of Pakistan, with a story that the Pakistani military and secret service are heavily involved in the country's politics and often work against US interests.
• A subsidiary of the US private security firm Xe (then known as Blackwater) flouted German arms export law. It transported German helicopters to Afghanistan via Britain and Turkey without a permit because it was taking too long to get the German export papers.
Day 4, Thursday 2 December
• Russia is a "virtual mafia state" with rampant corruption and scant separation between the activities of the government and organised crime. Vladimir Putin is accused of amassing "illicit proceeds" from his time in office, which various sources allege are hidden overseas. And he was likely to have known about the operation in London to murder the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, Washington's top diplomat in Europe alleged.
• British and US officials colluded to manoeuvre around a proposed ban on cluster bombs, allowing the US to keep the munitions on British territory, regardless of whether a treaty forbidding their use was implemented. Parliament was kept in the dark about the secret agreement, approved by then-foreign secretary David Miliband.
• US diplomats believed that the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, bore responsibility for a massacre last year that is the subject of a UN war crimes inquiry.
• Russia armed Georgian separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and carried out a wave of "covert actions" to undermine Georgia in the runup to the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, according to US diplomats.
• President Dmitry Medvedev was described by US diplomats as a junior figure, who "plays Robin to Putin's Batman".
• Gas supplies to Ukranian and EU states are linked to the Russian mafia, according to the US ambassador in Kiev.
• Moscow's veteran mayor Yuri Luzhkov was accused by the US ambassador of sitting on top of a "pyramid of corruption" involving the Kremlin, Russia's police force, its security service, political parties and crime groups by the US ambassador.
• Miliband's campaign to champion aid and human rights during the Sri Lankan humanitarian crisis last year was largely motivated by a desire to win favour with Tamil voters in the UK, according to a Foreign Office official.
• The US is sceptical that Russian President Medvedev has much of a future, believing Putin to be "in the driver's seat".
• Having helped to build up Georgia's military capabilities, the US made last-ditch diplomatic attempts to try to prevent it going to war with Russia in 2008. Washington's envoy to the Caucasus warned Georgia that war would "cost it valuable support in Washington and European capitals", while publicly George W Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, continued to give their unqualified support to Georgia.
• The US has long been trying to loosen Russia's grip on Ukraine, according to diplomatic cables. On the inauguration of the new Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, they sought to make him a US partner thereby striking a diplomatic blow against the Kremlin.
• The US embassy in Moscow criticised the IMF, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for offering huge loans to Russia it felt were not justified.
• One of the biggest objectives at the US embassy in Madrid over the past seven years has been trying to get the criminal case dropped against three US soldiers accused of the killing of a Spanish television cameraman in Baghdad. Telecinco cameraman José Couso was killed on 8 April 2003 during a tank shelling of the Hotel Palestine where he and other journalists were staying while they were covering the Iraq war. US diplomats held a host of meetings about the case with high-ranking members of the Spanish government.
New York Times
• The Russian prime minister, Putin, often did not show up at his office, according to rumours cited in a document titled Questioning Putin's Work Ethic.
• US diplomats warned of increasing distrust of the United States in Canada. They described "negative popular stereotyping" of Americans on Canadian TV. They also said Canadians "always carry a chip on their shoulder" in part because of a feeling that their country "is condemned to always play 'Robin' to the US 'Batman'".
Day 5, Friday 3 December
•The British military was criticised for failing to establish security in Sangin by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and the US commander of Nato troops, according to diplomatic cables.
•Rampant government corruption in Afghanistan is revealed by the cables, including an incident last year when the then vice-president, Ahmad Zia Massoud, was stopped and questioned in Dubai when he flew into the emirate with $52m in cash.
•Gordon Brown was written off as prime minister by the US embassy in London a year into his premiership. It concluded that an "abysmal track record" had left him lurching from "political disaster to disaster", according to cables released by WikiLeaks. He briefly earned some praise when he led the recapitalising of banks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers but within months his government was deemed a "sinking ship". Brown's international initiatives, from food summits to global disarmament and a UK national security council, were treated with indifference bordering on disdain by the Americans, according to US embassy cables.
•The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is erratic, emotional and prone to believing paranoid conspiracy theories, according to frustrated diplomats and foreign statesmen. He has also been accused by his own ministers of complicity in criminal activity, including ordering the physical intimidation of the top official in charge of leading negotiations with the Taliban.
•US diplomats have reported suspicions that Silvio Berlusconi could be "profiting personally and handsomely" from secret deals with the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. They centre on allegations that the Italian leader has been promised a cut of huge energy contracts. Another memo quoted a friend of Berlusconi saying the Italian prime minister's fondness for partying had taken a physical and political toll on him.
•American officials dismissed British protests about secret US spy flights taking place from the UK's Cyprus airbase, amid concerns from Labour ministers, upset about rendition flights going on behind their backs, that the UK would be an unwitting accomplice to torture.
•The British Foreign Office misled parliament over the plight of thousands of islanders who were expelled from their Indian Ocean homeland – the British colony of Diego Garcia – to make way for a large US military base, according to secret US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. It has privately admitted its latest plan to declare the islands the world's largest marine protection zone will end any chance of them being repatriated. Publicly ministers have claimed the proposed park would have no effect on the islanders' right of return.
•The cables reveal Washington's opinion on Gordon Brown's potential successors. David Miliband was deemed "too brainy", Alan Johnson had a "lack of killer instinct" and Harriet Harman was a "policy lightweight but an adept interparty operator".
•A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young "dancing boys" to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try to "quash" the story, according a US embassy cable. The Afghan government feared the story, if published, would "endanger lives" and was particularly concerned that a video of the incident might be made public.
•The US military has been charging its allies a 15% handling fee on hundreds of millions of dollars being raised internationally to build up the Afghan army. Germany has threatened to cancel contributions, raising concerns that money is going to the US treasury.
•Iran is financing a range of Afghan religious and political leaders, grooming Afghan religious scholars, training Taliban militants and even seeking to influence MPs, according to cables from the US embassy in Kabul.
•The US has lost faith in the Mexican army's ability to win the country's drugs war, branding it slow, clumsy and no match for "sophisticated" narco-traffickers.
•The US is convinced that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president's younger half-brother and a senior figure in Kandahar, is corrupt, according to embassy cables. He is described as dominating access to "economic resources, patronage and protection". Two of Hamid Karzai's brothers planned to ask for asylum in the US, while other family members stayed away and kept their money out of Afghanistan – so anxious were they that the Afghan president would lose last year's election.
•The Obama administration and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, are determined to reject talks with Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, and have consistently worked to split his movement, according to US diplomatic cables. Karzai has sometimes publicly floated the idea of dialogue with Omar and other top Taliban, but the cables show his private position is the opposite.
•Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and Colombia's Álvaro Uribe "almost came to blows" at a Latin America unity summit, according to a US memo, which described it as "the worst expression of banana republic discourse".
•A Kremlin campaign to airbrush Stalin's role in Russian history by dictating how academics write about the past is only half-hearted, US diplomats believe. They also feel there are enough Russians striving to remember the purge victims to combat any rewrite. The cable concerns the so-called "history wars", a nationalist campaign to defend Russia's honour.
•Four months before his death the Nobel-prize winning writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn offered qualified praise for Vladimir Putin, arguing that he was doing a better job as Russia's leader than Boris Yeltsin or Mikhail Gorbachev. Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and returned to Russia 20 years later.
•Moldova's president offered a $10m (£6.4m) bribe to a political rival in a desperate bid to keep his defeated communist government in power, according to a secret US diplomatic cable.
New York Times
•Afghanistan emerges as a land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm. Describing the likely lineup of Afghanistan's new cabinet last January, the US embassy noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, "appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist".
•Berlin was irritated by a 15% administration fee the US sought to charge Germany on a €50m donation made to a trust fund set up to improve the Afghan army. A top German diplomat complained the fee would be a tough sell to taxpayers.
•Mistrust between the US and the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is very deep. Karzai is convinced the US has thrown its backing behind his rival Abdullah Abdullah.
•The close relationship between Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and Russia's Vladimir Putin is a source of unease for the US state department. The leaked cables contain allegations of personal business interests that both politicians deny.
•US diplomats are concerned about the growing power of Russian organised crime and believe it has contacts with the highest levels of government in Moscow.
•France is committed to staying the course in Afghanistan even though public opposition to the war and electoral considerations have weighed heavily on Nicolas Sarkozy. Amid concerns that the French president was trying to distance himself from the US to improve his popularity, Barack Obama was advised that a phone call to him could have a decisive impact. The US president was told: "Flattery would lead very far."
•Iran is extending its influence in Afghanistan in the same way it did in Iraq. It has been supporting insurgent groups as well as financially backing politicians.
Day 6, Saturday 4 December
• Conservative party politicians promised before the election that they would run a "pro-American regime" and buy more arms from the US if they came to power.
• The president of Yemen secretly offered US forces unrestricted access to his territory to conduct unilateral strikes against al-Qaida terrorist targets.
• Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is variously labelled as "petulant" and "bizarre" in his negotiations with US security officials who met him.
• The EU president, Herman Van Rompuy, has predicted "disaster" at the latest round of global climate change negotiations in Mexico.
• The US seeks to manipulate nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming.
• The US backed a bid by the United Arab Emirates to host a major international agency promoting green energy.
• The Foreign Office has privately admitted to a plan to declare Diego Garcia, from which thousands of people were expelled from their homeland to make way for a large US military base, the world's largest marine protection zone, ending any chance of them being repatriated.
• A potential "environmental disaster" was kept secret by the US last year when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere.
New York Times
• Details of the US's at times tricky relationship with Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key anti-terrorism ally.
• A Mexican official told US counterparts more than a year ago that the government feared it could lose control of parts of the country to rampant drug cartels.
• How US diplomats in Libya deal with Muammar Gaddafi, "a man plagued by paranoia, anxiety and neuroses, a man who only trusts his closest advisers, a man whose pride is easily wounded and a man who will suffer no criticism".
• President Sarkozy's new openness will allow the US to gain more influence in Africa without meeting resistance from French vested interests on the continent.
• Morocco felt angry and betrayed after Sarkozy decided to make Algeria the first stop on his inaugural visit outside Europe as president, US diplomats learn.
• The paper focuses on reports about Spain's main opposition party, the conservative People's Party, which has been in a political desert since losing the 2004 election. Its leader Mariano Rajoy is held in scant regard by the US diplomatic mission and is said to owe his longevity in office "more than ever to the absence of a credible successor within his party".
• One cable relates a dinner in 2007 at which Rajoy's predecessor, José María Aznar, was described as having a marked "lack of enthusiasm for his hand-picked successor" and possible "doubts that Rajoy is the man to return the PP to power". "If he saw his country descend to extremely dire straits, he would consider 'stepping back in'," the ambassador reported.
Day 7, Sunday 5 December
• The US is worried that China could be planning internet warfare via private companies that are known to have recruited top hackers.
• China's "newly pugnacious" foreign policy is "losing friends worldwide", the US ambassador to Beijing argued in a cable.
• Hillary Clinton, talking to Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, referred to China as "your banker", illustrating America's deep anxiety over China's growing economic power and hold on US finances.
• Rolls-Royce lost a lucrative contract to supply helicopter engines to the Spanish military because of a personal intervention by Spain's prime minister, José Luis Zapatero, following vigorous lobbying from US diplomats, according to a secret cable from the US embassy in Madrid.
• US diplomats in Vienna expressed "frustration", disappointment and concern about Austria's politicians.
• There is an unexpected culture of consensus within China's all-powerful, 24-strong Communist party politburo, according to US diplomats in Beijing.
• The American embassy in Beijing has been compiling information on Xi Jinping, the man expected to become China's next president.
• Cables from the US embassy in Baghdad paint a picture of bewildered diplomats outmanoeuvred by the Iranians.
• US diplomats in Iraq were briefed about the last moments of Saddam Hussein after his execution in December 2006.
• Brazil and the US are divided as to how to deal with Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez.
Day 8, Monday 6 December
• Qatar is using the al-Jazeera news channel as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders.
• Saudi Arabia is the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups and the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, according to Hillary Clinton.
• Iraqi government officials see Saudi Arabia, not Iran, as the biggest threat to their state.
• Lebanon's government warned about "Iran telecom" taking over the country after it uncovered a secret communications network across the country used by Hezbollah.
• Brazil's government covered up the existence of Islamist terrorist suspects in São Paulo and border areas in an apparent bid to protect the country's image.
New York Times
• Senior Obama administration officials say many millions of dollars are flowing largely unimpeded to extremist groups worldwide and they have received little help in stopping this from allies in the Middle East.
• All Iraq's neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Turkey, attempt to interfere with the country in different ways, Iraq's president told the US defence secretary, Robert Gates.
• The US was astonished when the European parliament ordered a halt to an American government programme to monitor international banking transactions for terrorist activity.
• The Spanish newspaper focuses on the US diplomatic mission's view of Spain's senior politicians. The prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is described as an "astute politician" not to be underestimated "as many of his enemies have found out too late". Although well disposed to the US, foreign policy is subordinate to internal political concerns, the dispatch notes.
• King Juan Carlos is described as "a formidable ally where Spanish and US interests coincide".
Day 9, Tuesday 7 December
• Burma's military junta considered making a $1bn (£634m) bid to buy Manchester United around the time the regime faced UN censure over its slow response to cyclone Nargis in 2008. Than Shwe, commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces and United fan, was urged to mount a takeover bid by his grandson.
• Nato has drawn up a secret military plan to defend Poland and the Baltic states from Russia.
• The US privately lobbied to block an Iranian scientist's appointment to a key position on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
• Intelligence co-operation has improved so much that the US now considers Algeria the key player in the fight against al-Qaida in the Maghreb region.
• US embassy cables revealed America's ongoing battle to stem the flow of arms from eastern Europe to the Middle East.
Der Spiegel focuses on a "non-paper" describing US attempts to co-opt Riyadh's assistance in its quest to cut off the flow of funds from Saudi Arabia to al-Qaida. The magazine highlights the US state department's barely concealed frustration with America's partners: "The authorities in Qatar are described as 'largely passive' in the fight against terror and 'overall ... considered the worst in the region'. Indonesia is said to be an 'alphabet soup' of government bodies supposedly responsible, and a 'universe of aliases' of suspected terrorists and terrorism sponsors."
New York Times
• The cables reveal that a week after Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, assured a top US state department official that his country was not sending weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Obama administration lodged a confidential protest accusing Damascus of doing precisely that.
• They also show US diplomats expressing concern that huge cargo planes operated by Badr Airlines of Sudan were flying weapons from Tehran to Khartoum, from where they were shipped to Hamas in Gaza. The US asked countries in the region to deny overflight rights to the airlines. Jordan and several other countries agreed, but Yemen declined, a February 2009 cable reported.
• The New York Times reports how North Korea has abetted the arms race in the Middle East by providing missile technology to Iran and Syria, which then backed Hamas and Hezbollah, according to American intelligence officials and a cable from the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. US diplomats raised questions in the spring of 2009 about planned purchases from North Korea of rocket launchers by Sri Lanka and Scud missile launchers by Yemen.
• The former Spanish foreign minister complained to the US ambassador about the contemptuous way President George Bush was treating Spain: "Spain is the eighth world power and we are treated like a country which does not matter."
• Spain is worried by the prospect of Mauritania becoming a failed state, a "second Somalia" and an al-Qaida base as it is only 185 miles from the Canary Islands.
• The US embassy in Nicaragua describes the country as a corrupt criminal state financed by drugs and "suitcases full of money sent by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. President Daniel Ortega is seen as unhinged and obsessed by his own security.
• The US and Russia decided to join forces to fight a drug war and identified the main culprit as Afghanistan.
Day 10, Wednesday 8 December
• Libya threatened UK with "dire reprisals" if the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, died in a Scottish prison.
• Julian Assange is refused bail, and spends the night in Wandsworth prison.
• The future of the WikiLeaks website is thrown into doubt.
• The Obama administration is suspected of co-ordinating reprisals against Wikileaks. Major companies, including Visa and MasterCard, sever links with the whistle-blowing website.
• Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, is described as a dangerous eccentric, suffering from severe phobias and often acting on impulse.
• Tunisia blocks the website of a Lebanese newspaper for publishing unflattering US embassy cables about the regime.
• A leaked cable reveals that in 2008 Saudi Arabia suggested the intervention in Lebanon by an Arab force, backed by US and Nato troops, to destroy Hezbollah.
• US consulate officials in Jeddah describe a party thrown by a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family at which, contrary to Saudi law, alcohol and prostitutes were present.
• Cameron and Karzai meet in Kabul to repair the damage caused by leaks revealing Afghan officials' criticism of British troops in Helmand.
• Leaked cables show that the US sees Austria as increasingly isolationist, and is frustrated by their lack of influence over the neutral country.
• In a 2005 cable, the US scolded Spain for not committing more troops to Afghanistan and put pressure on them to reconsider their position.
• According to a US embassy cable form August 2008, the great majority of the Spanish military leadership have a profound dislike of Prime Minister Zapatero. Many have become "fans" of the US after spending time there, although they remained proud to be Spanish.
• US diplomats in Somalia do not think that the country is about to become an al-Qaida base, in spite of warnings by the transitional government that thousands of foreigners are flooding in to fight.
New York Times
• Swedish laws protecting women in their sexual encounters gets a fuller explanation, as Julian Assange, who is currently in Britain, faces an extradition request from Swedish prosecutors.
• The US justice department is reportedly looking at laws other than the Espionage Act to pursue wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Day 11, Thursday 9 December
• Ann Pickard, Shell's VP for sub-Saharan Africa, claimed in Oct 2009 that the oil giant had infiltrated all the main ministries of the Nigerian government.
• Two British civil servants, Dr Richard Freer and Judith Gough, contradicted Gordon Brown's statement on reduction of the Trident fleet in conversations with US embassy officials in London.
• A Moscow-based US diplomat, Matthias Mitman, persuaded the Obama administration to lobby the Russian government on behalf of Visa and Mastercard to ensure new Russian legislation did not adversely affect their interests in the country.
• The US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, warned in a January 2010 cable that corruption among the country's political elite risked tipping the nation into violent chaos. A February cable expressed concern over the increasing influence of China in the region.
• Eritrea is at risk of a military coup or "implosion", according to cables sent by the-then US ambassador to the country, Ronald McMullen, in February 2009.
• The US ambassador in Kampala sought assurances from the Ugandan government in December 2010 that it would consult the US before using American intelligence to commit war crimes in the conflict against the LRA.
• The Swiss diplomat charged with brokering a deal with Libya, following the arrest of the son of Colonel Gaddafi in Switzerland, and Libya's abduction of two Swiss businessmen in response, struggled to cope with the pressure. Stefano Lazzarotto is quoted as saying: "They do not understand the kind of pressure I am under. I have lost seven kilos in the past 10 days."
• The sale of patrol boats and transport planes to Venezuela divided the Spanish government in 2005 and slowed down the normalisation of relations with the US following the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq.
• In 2009, Russia sold at least 100 anti-aircraft missiles to Venezuela, worrying the USA.
• The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, became so fixated on the plight of Ingrid Betancourt, held by the Farc in Colombia, that he was prepared to get her free at "any price".
• In August 2005, the US told Colombia that lack of progress in human rights remained an obstacle to good relations with the US, and particularly in fighting an effective war against drugs in the region.
The New York Times
• Websites of multinational companies deemed hostile to WikiLeaks, such as MasterCard and Paypal, have been hacked by cyber activists in a retaliatory move.
• The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, met with President Karzai of Afghanistan in Kabul, to the backdrop of more Wikileaks revelations about the war in Afghanistan.
• Revelations that US officials put pressure on Germany not to arrest Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in the 2003 kidnapping of a German citizen mistakenly identified as a terrorist.
Day 12, Friday 10 December
• The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer paid investigators to unearth corruption links to Nigeria's attorney general in an attempt to persuade him to stop his legal action against a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis.
• The US is concerned that pressure from the Serbs will lead to the partition of Kosovo and a possible surge in ethnic violence.
• Britain's blocking of Croatia's entry to the EU frustrated the Americans, who feared it could destabilise the country and risk the accession chances of the rest of the former Yugoslavia states.
• Senior Serbian officials have told US diplomats in Belgrade that Russia may know the whereabouts of the fugitive Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic.
• The Chinese government is losing patience with Burma's military regime, and is keen to work with the US in promoting change.
• Witnesses claim to have seen evidence of North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, constructing secret nuclear and missile sites in the remote Burmese jungle.
• The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, is likely to stay in power until he dies. The absence of free and fair elections means he will almost certainly hold the post for as long as he is willing to stand.
• In 2007, the German government made it clear to US officials that they were not interested in following through with the arrest warrants issued for 13 CIA operatives involved in the 2003 abduction of Khaled el-Masri, a Lebanese-born German. In public, Angela Merkel's office continued to call for an investigation.
• Cables from the US ambassador in Kenya sent in 2008 show that the Bush administration was consulted regularly over Nairobi's arming of the Sudanese guerillas, the SPLA. The Kenyan programme came to light after Somali pirates struck lucky, capturing a cargo ship packed with Russian T-72 tanks bound for Kenya.
New York Times
• Julian Assange, the former hacker who founded WikiLeaks, becomes a cause célèbre for proponents of internet freedom.
• Washington officials are anticipating a WikiLeaks cache of leaked documents pertaining to Guantanamo detainees.
• Senior Spanish government officials and other high-profile public figures used very undiplomatic language to describe various Latin American leaders: President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela was called a clown, not stupid but a rude man with no manners. Venezuela was "a disaster of a country" according to Prime Minister Zapatero.
President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua was "crazy". The current foreign secretary, Trinidad Jiménez, described him as "the worst possible leader she had to work with".
• President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast revealed to US diplomats that in 2005, the then French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, had asked him to try and persuade President Chirac to appoint him prime minister.
• When the military junta chief of Guinea, Moussa Dadis Camara, went to Morocco for hospital treatment after an assassination attempt, the French schemed with Americans to prevent him going back to his country and had him sent to Burkina Faso instead, in order to help restore a democratic regime in Guinea.
Days 13-14, Saturday-Sunday 11-12 December
• A British ambassador warned that the pope's offer to Anglican opponents of female priests to convert en masse to Catholicism was so inflammatory that it could threaten the safety of British Catholics.
• The pope intervened personally to ensure the Vatican's increased hostility towards Turkey joining the EU.
• The Pope intervened personally to help with the release of UK sailors held in Iran.
• The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify at Irish inquiry into clerical child abuse and was angered when they were summoned from Rome.
New York Times
• President Obama begins diplomatic repair work following damaging
WikiLeaks revelations about what the US really thinks about Turkey and
• The American embassy in Lima confirms that the Peruvian army helps the USA to fight some drug cartels while protecting others for money. It recognises the efforts of President Alan Garcia but sees corruption as still very much present and dangerous.
• The American embassy in Lima asked Washington to help the Peruvian army fight the Shining Path terrorists. The "Sendero Luminoso" group was responsible for the death of 69,000 people in the 80s and 90s but is now linked to drug dealing and extortion.
Day 15, Monday 13 December
• MI5 are willing to hand over files relating to one of the most high profile murders of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Lawyer Pat Finucane was killed by loyalist gunmen working with members of the British security forces.
• Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were aware of IRA plans to carry out the biggest bank robbery in its history while negotiating with Bertie Ahern to save the Northern Ireland peace process.
• The IRA took advantage of the economic boom in the Irish Republic to diversify into the property market.
• Uzbekistan is plagued by "rampant corruption", and the president's glamorous daughter is "the single most hated person in the country". However the US strives to maintain good relations with the country as it allows a crucial military supply line to run into Afghanistan.
• Tajikistan is dominated by "cronyism and corruption" and is losing the battle against drugs flowing in from neighbouring Afghanistan.
• A British businessman is identified as the key middleman in the Kazakhstan oil bribes scandal. Robert Kissin allegedly handled a $4m secret payment to help the American oil company, Baker Hughes, win a $219m contract from Kazakh state oil chiefs.
• The US takes advantage of competition between Sarkozy, Merkel and other European leaders to play them off against each other.
• In a March 2009 meeting in Chile, vice-president Joseph Biden scolded Spanish PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero for suddenly withdrawing troops from Kosovo without informing the US. The cables also show Hillary Clinton expressing her dissatisfaction to Spanish foreign minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos about this decision. Zapatero defended the Spanish position but conceded his government should have informed the Americans first.
• American embassies in the former USSR states of central Asia (Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan) criticised these countries for being corrupt, dictatorial or mafia-like.
New York Times
• Wikileaks cables reveal an unco-ordinated approach to tackling corruption in Afghanistan by the US.
• WikiLeaks has adopted a more journalistic approach from when it was founded - now it is editing and annotating material instead of just publishing straight to web.
Day 16, Tuesday 14 December
• Britain's attempts to reach out to Muslim communities post 7/7 met with little success, according to US diplomats.
• RBS's new chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, admits that the bank's former directors failed to live up to their duties.
• Six months before the global financial crisis reached its peak the Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, had already developed a global bailout plan.
• US officials urged British banking regulators to take stronger action against Iranian Banks with suspected links to missile programmes.
• Cables from the Dublin embassy show the US was concerned about the state of Ireland's banks as far back as October 2008.
• US diplomats struggled with the hierarchical and old-fashioned workings within the Vatican.
• Since 2004, dozens of American embassy cables from Madrid, Rabat and Paris show the Spanish Socialist government had been secretly supporting Morocco in talks to regain control of the Western Sahara. PM Zapatero suggested the creation of an autonomous region along the lines of Catalonia in Spain. President Bouteflika of Algeria condemned the unexpected Spanish stance and the 20% price rise in gas exported to Spain was widely seen as a retaliation. The cables also showed that Spanish diplomats criticised President Chirac of France for being more pro-Moroccan than the Moroccans.
• Yasser Arafat's widow, Suha, complained to the US ambassador in Tunisia about the loss of her properties and Tunisian passport, blaming the wife of the Tunisian President, Leila Ben Ali. It turned out the reason for her daughter's and her expulsion was the fact she had contacted Jordan's Queen Rania to try and stop the marriage of Leila's niece to the Emir of Dubai, who was already married to the Jordanian king's sister.
• In 2007, the American ambassador in Egypt dares to call the government a dictatorship and foresees problems with President Hosni Mubarak's son, Gamal, succeeding his father as head of state. The Egyptian army profoundly dislikes Gamal, someone "who hasn't even finished his military service". The cables reveal a possibility of a coup d'etat should the president die without having established his succession.
New York Times
• Some diplomatic cables released by wikileaks convey a less 'hawkish' tone from the US embassies.
Day 17, Wednesday 15 December
• Local police have been sabotaging UK efforts to stem the flow of cocaine through Ghana.
• The US and Britain are becoming increasingly concerned about the destabilising impact of South American cartels smuggling drugs into Europe via west Africa.
Repeated Swiss attempts to get the Americans and Iranians to meet and discuss Iran's nuclear program were seen in the US as a dangerous annoyance.
• During the Spanish Presidency in the EU in the first six months of this year, cables show that that the US put pressure on Spain not to lift the arms embargo to China. The embargo has been in place since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989.
• Cables show EU countries such as Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Germany and Denmark regularly consult US embassies before attending meetings of the Council of EU foreign ministers.
• The French press comes under scrutiny in the diplomatic cables. In one six page document in January 2007, the American embassy in Paris wonders why French journalists do not cover ethnic minorities' issues more – particularly integration – and concludes that journalists in France often consider themselves intellectuals whose job is more to analyse events and influence readers than report straight facts. They also come from the same elitist schools as politicians and do not think their priority should be to challenge those in power.
New York Times
• US prosecutors are trying to build a case against the WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange by finding out whether he encouraged or even helped to extract classified military and state department files.
• Hillary Clinton tries to deflect some of the criticism aimed at the US state department after its confidential cables were published by WikiLeaks.
Day 18, Thursday 16 December
• BP suffered a giant gas leak in Azerbaijan 18 months before the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
• Azerbaijan accused BP of stealing $10bn of oil and using "mild blackmail" to secure rights to develop gas reserves in the Caspian Sea.
• US energy company Chevron negotiated with Tehran about developing an oilfield despite tight US sanctions.
• Playboy Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand is considered an unfit heir to the throne by senior members of the Thai privy council.
• US diplomats in Madrid questioned the effectiveness of the Spanish government's economic measures. Cables dated October 2009 and signed by Hillary Clinton asked the US embassy for information about the recession in Spain and the credibility of PM Zapatero and his Socialist cabinet. They also queried the real reason for Zapatero's optimistic views about the Spanish economy, wondering it was part of his efforts to ease market tensions or rather because he didn't understand the seriousness of the situation.
• Cables dated 2007 show that 84-year-old Fidel Castro suffered a serious intestinal haemorrhage while on an internal flight in Cuba and the plane had to do an emergency landing to take him to hospital.
• As his health was deteriorating a Madrid doctor was called over. He confirmed that Castro was not suffering from cancer and there had been botched colon surgery.
• Cables from the US embassy in Caracas dated 2006 asked the secretary of state to intervene and warned President Chávez against a Venezuelan military intervention to defend the Cuban revolution in the eventuality of an American invasion after Castro's death.
• In a 2008 cable American diplomats report that the state of Eritrea is run by a totalitarian narcissistic President, Issayas Afeworki.
• Prisoners including children are routinely tortured in massively overcrowded prisons. Conditions are appalling, with prisoners unable to lie down or sit and deprived of water until they are unable to speak.
• A politician secretly asked for Americans' help but the US ambassador responded that change must come from within.
Day 19, Friday 17 December
• In a 2009 meeting, the Dalai Lama told the US ambassador to India that climate change in Tibet should outweigh political concerns on the global agenda and expressed disquiet over Chinese energy policies. Embassy cables also note US fears that the Dalai Lama's influence over Tibetans in India is waning as more militant elements emerge.
• A series of cables from the US embassy in Delhi reveal US attempts to build a relationship with Rahul Gandhi, son of the leader of the Congress party and a rising star in Indian politics. Gandhi expressed concern over Hindu extremists while Indian government officials consistently complain that the US is soft on Pakistan and are keen to present Indian foreign policy as free from American influence.
• US diplomats asked India to send Bollywood stars to Afghanistan in an attempt to increase India's use of 'soft power' in the region, in a plan that was never implemented. India fears an early US and British withdrawal from Afghanistan, with particular anxiety that an accommodation will be reached with the Taliban.
• US officials in Sri Lanka hold President Rajapaksa and former army commander Sarath Fonseka responsible for blocking an inquiry into army actions in the last months of the civil war, and believe that the Sri Lankan government was complicit with paramilitaries in the conflict.
• Assange walks free after nine days in jail. A high court judge released him on bail but warns him that he is almost certain to be extradited to Sweden to face sex assault claims.
• Speaking after release on bail, the WikiLeaks founder says he has not been provided with any evidence relating to claims he sexually assaulted two women
• Diplomats from 14 Arab states voted to ban Steven Spielberg's films in response to his donation to Israel
• The Italian prime minister considered increasing the budget for foreign assistance just to avoid losing face to U2 frontman Bono
• Charles Taylor trial: speculation that former Liberian leader's war crimes trial is being slowed down by a Ugandan judge.
• In spite of an official freeze of relations between Cuba and the US, a cable from 2009 shows that the two countries do have regular contact. Respective defence officials meet monthly near Guantánamo Bay. The Cuban goverment is torn between isolation and closer links with the US. Deputy assistant secretary Bisa Williams visited Cuba in September 2009. However the arrest of an American citizen for spying in Cuba in December last year cooled relations between the two countries.
• A cable dated February 2009 comments on the dire economic situation of Cuba and of lack of guarantees for foreign investors as the country insists on being the main shareholder of companies set up there. The rise in bankruptcies is such that the financial situation could hit a real crisis by 2012.
• The Portuguese foreign minister, Luís Amado, rejected claims by the CIA in a confidential cable that his country had given permission to the US to use the Lajes air base in the Azores. American rendition flights used the base in order to repatriate prisoners from Guantánamo Bay.
• According to cables dated 2007, the US considers the Spanish region of Catalonia and its capital Barcelona as the hotbed of Islamist extremism in the Mediterranean. They decided it needed special monitoring and established a counter-terrorism and crimefighting centre based in the Barcelona consulate.
Day 20, Saturday 18 December
• Julian Assange says his life is "under threat" and that the Swedish rape case against him is "a travesty".
• The US state department, along with its embassies, did its utmost to stop Spanish construction company Sacyr from winning a contract to extend the Panama canal. In spite of this, the Spanish consortium won the €2.4bn bid to build a third set of locks on the canal.
New York Times
• Bank of America says that WikiLeaks has fallen foul of its customer code of conduct and will not process any more payments made to the controversial website.
• Cables show that visitors from many of world's leading democracies are failing to criticise the Castro regime or meet with dissidents while on the island. A cable hints that there were economic motives behind the accommodating approach.
Day 21, Sunday 19 December
• The UN offered Robert Mugabe a lucrative retirement overseas: a source in the MDC told American officials that the Zimbabwe president rejected the offer from Kofi Annan.
• Julian Assange is like a hi-tech terrorist, says US vice-president Joe Biden.
• WikiLeaks cables reveal that a Tanzania official investigating BAE "fears for his life".
• In an August 2008 cable, US diplomats in Madrid establish that the Spanish government is putting too much energy in its regional nationalist issues and not enough trying to address the economic crisis.
New York Times
• How WikiLeaks uses specialsied software to hide the origins and destinations of data.
Day 22, Monday 20 December
• Yemen radioactive stocks 'were easy al-Qaida target' as solo sentry had been removed from atomic facility and CCTV system was broken
• The judicial system in Morocco is not independent and the judges are incompetent. It is often used for political purposes which is an impediment to the development of the country.
New York Times
• Memos written by State Department officials show that Congressional trips sometimes involve members pushing their own foreign policy agendas, even if they conflict with those of the administration in office. When Representative Dana Rohrabacher (Republican-California) visited Honduras in early 2010 to congratulate the newly elected president, he showed up with not just Washington foreign policy aides, but also a group of California property investors and businessmen, including a dealer in rare coins, and top executives from a fledgling San Diego biofuels company run by a friend of the congressman's wife.
Day 23, Tuesday 21 December
• German energy company RWE, the owners of one of Britain's biggest energy suppliers, npower, helped develop a nuclear reactor in Bulgaria which was "dogged by ongoing serious safety concerns".
• US diplomats were so concerned about rumours of "bribery, money-laundering and political manipulation" surrounding Allen Stanford that they avoided contacting or being photographed with him. Their concern predated his financial involvement with the England and Wales Cricket Board by more than two years.
• Richard Branson believes the British education system does not prepare students for the world of business.
• Members of the Libyan government tried to force the closure of a Marks & Spencer store in Tripoli in a "repugnant anti-semitic" smear campaign.
• Syria believed Israel was behind the sniper killing of General Muhammad Suleiman, President Bashar al-Assad's top security aide.
• The head of the UN's office on drugs and crime, Antonio Maria Costa, told Nato representatives that Afghan insurgents were holding back tonnes of heroin, treating their drug reserves like a savings account.
New York Times
• A senior Russian official asserted that Russian authorities in London had been following individuals moving radioactive substances around the city but were waved off by British security services before the poisoning of Litvinenko.
• The US threatened the Italian government to make sure that no international arrest warrants were issued for CIA agents accused of being involved in cleric Abu Omar's abduction.
Day 24, Wednesday 22 December
• The British government has been training the Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), condemned by human rights organisations as a "government death squad".
• The Vatican withdrew from a written agreement to join an international Holocaust memorial organisation over concerns about Pope Pius XII's activities during the second world war.
• US diplomats sent colourful cables describing the impact of Anna Nicole Smith's move to the Bahamas.
• McDonald's urged the US government to delay implementation of a free-trade pact in order to place pressure on El Salvador to appoint neutral judges in a lawsuit it was fighting in the country.
• Britain looked for ways to limit the operations of the Iranian state broadcaster in the UK after Iran jammed the signals of the BBC's Persian TV service.
The New York Times
• Apple removes WikiLeaks App from its online store claiming that it didn't comply with all local laws and may put an individual or group in harm's way.
• A Russian official claimed that Moscow had been following Alexander Litvinenko's killers before he was poisoned, but had been waved off by Britain's security services.
• Julian Assange gives an exclusive interview to the Spanish newspaper, he says: "I get death threats constantly. So do my lawyer and my children."
• Several cables show how corrupt the Dominican Republic is and that the only way to do business is to pay large bribes. One general even threatened a company official with a gun.