WikiLeaks Releases Huge Cache of Saudi Government Cables

This morning, WikiLeaks released 61,205 cables and documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry. The massive leak is the latest in the non-profit organization’s controversial push for transparency in government institutions.

In a written statement, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said:

“The Saudi Cables lift the lid on a increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself.”

Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and author, opined the Saudi government wouldn’t take news of the leak well.

The work of trawling through the documents, many of which are in Arabic and pertain to mundane administrative matters, is being crowed sourced on Twitter, where the hashtag #SaudiCables is buzzing as journalists, researchers, and citizen correspondents report their findings.

One document details a conversation about the Syrian revolution, and the plans (or lack thereof) for a post-Assad Syria.

The document is reproduced below, right side up:

Get the Shi'ites out

Some concern was raised over the treatment of sensitive personal information.

The same user posted a long document detailing concerns over some Saudis involvement in 9/11.

The cable candidly spoke of the involvement of a Saudi official with the Taliban and former al-Queda leader Osama bin Laden. It said, in part:

“In sworn statements after 9/11, former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said that in 1998 Prince Turki, chief of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department (G.I.D.), sealed a deal under which bin Laden agreed not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide funds and material assistance to the Taliban, not demand bin Laden’s extradition, and not bring pressure to close down al-Qaeda training camps. Saudi businesses, meanwhile, would ensure that money also flowed directly to bin Laden.”

The full cable can be read here.

In a press release, WikiLeaks indicated they would be publishing around 70,000 documents today, and several more thousand over the coming weeks and months. Time will tell what these cables reveal.

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