A U.S. senator leading a campaign to muzzle Wikileaks
shows up in a secret cable as boasting of the
"message" sent to Iran by U.S. Navy fleets in
the Persian Gulf.
Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut
who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, was
quoted in a summary of a 2007 talk with Qatar leaders.
Wikileaks is at the moment available
As the head of such a committee, it seems probable
that more of Lieberman's secret discussions could
become public, thus possibly undermining his bid to
retain control of the committee once the balance of
power shifts in Washington in January. France has
moved to prevent the French electorate from viewing
Wikileaks documents after some of the cables deeply
embarrassed the country's president, Nicolas
The site was struggling to stay online as internet
companies, claiming a problem with denial of service
attacks, responded to political pressures to prevent
citizens from reading the data. However, the pundits
and politicians calling for Julian Assange's head
were careful to treat the New York Times, the Guardian,
der Spiegel and other news organizations with
deference, despite their doing
essentially the same thing as Wikileaks.
The Wikileaks site has been careful to black
out names, in response to claims that previous
releases have imperiled lives.
However the latest denunciations of the disclosures
appear to be in reaction to the unwelcome political
ramifications. In the past, U.S. and British
newspapers have from time to time released
politically discomfiting documents, but there were
no public calls for the assassination of publishers.
Today's N.Y. Times focus on Afghanistan's culture
of graft, as disclosed in U.S. cable traffic,
is doubtless very unsettling to
Lieberman and other Afghan war hawks.
Reports say that Lieberman and some GOP
lawmakers want to criminalize disclosure
of any U.S. intelligence source. Such a
measure, if upheld by the Supreme Court,
would effectively end freedom of the press
A backlash against Amazon's caving in to demands
that it bar Wikileaks is afoot, with calls
going out to boycott the internet merchandiser.
Here is the Lieberman cable:
VZCZCXRO3701 RR RUEHBC RUEHDIR RUEHIHL RUEHKUK DE RUEHDE #0355/01 1541114 ZNY SSSSS ZZH R 031114Z JUN 07 FM AMCONSUL DUBAI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5452 INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE RUEHZM/GCC C COLLECTIVE RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 2461 RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 8545
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 DUBAI 000355 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 6/3/2017 TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS KNNP IR IZ AE SUBJECT: DUBAI RULER DISCUSSES IRAN AND IRAQ WITH SENATOR LIEBERMAN DUBAI 00000355 001.2 OF 003 CLASSIFIED BY: Paul R Sutphin, Consul General, Dubai, UAE. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 1.(S) SUMMARY. Senator Joseph Lieberman met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MbR), Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on 29 May. MbR voiced support for US policy in Iraq, but expressed strong reservations about the al Maliki government and its links to Iran. He called for new elections to produce leaders who would work for Iraq's interests. He voiced suspicion of Iran's goals in the region, and their claims that their nuclear program was for energy purposes alone. He recommended, however, that the US seek to contain Iran through negotiations and diplomacy. Using force, he said, would only help the current leadership stay in power. MbR also talked about his ambitions for Dubai as a regional model, noting "we want to be number one." END SUMMARY 2.(SBU) Senator Lieberman, along with the Ambassador, Consul General, codel staff members and ConGen staff met MbR at the Zabeel Palace in Dubai on 29 May. Joining MbR were Mohammad al-Gergawi, his principal aide and UAE Minister for Cabinet Affairs; Major General Dhahi Khalfan al-Tamim, Commander of the Dubai Police; Brigadier Mohammad al-Qemzi, Director of the Dubai General Department of State Security; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, head of Dubai Civil aviation and Emirates Airlines; and a number of MbR's sons, including Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammad, Sheikh Mohammad's eldest son; and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Sheikh Mohammad's heir apparent. Iraq: Any plan B? ------------------ 3.(C) MbR restated the UAE's support for the US in the region, noting "the UAE is the only country that is 100 percent with the US." MbR said UAE support for the US effort remained firm, but asked what is "plan B" should the current US approach not stabilize Iraq. Senator Lieberman quoted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying "plan B is to make plan A work." Alternative Approaches: New Elections in Iraq? --------------------------------------------- - 4.(S) Asked by the Senator for his advice on steps to move the situation in Iraq forward, MbR commented that he has little confidence in Iraqi PM al Maliki, and believes his loyalties lie elsewhere, i.e. Iran. MbR suggested the way ahead would be improved by new elections, which he believes would now yield a better leader who is loyal to Iraq. Senator Lieberman noted he thought that al Maliki and his allies would oppose new elections. The Problem of Al-Sadr ---------------------- 5.(S) MbR said that at the moment Muqtada al-Sadr is the single most powerful person in Iraq; the US should act against him, i.e. arrest and imprison him. Asked if new elections might not yield a al-Sadr victory, MbR made clear he thought Sunnis would now turn out in large numbers and that al-Sadr would not be able to win - were the election fair. (Comment: Reflecting commonly-held thinking by UAE seniors, he clearly implied that al-Maliki had been elected through rigging in the last Iraqi vote. End comment.) Progress in Anbar Province: Look to the Tribes --------------------------------------------- - 6.(C) Commenting on the improved security situation in western Iraq, MbR voiced strong support for closer cooperation with the tribal sheikhs. As has been proven, if the tribal leaders can be co-opted to work with the US, they have the ability to defeat or suppress Al-Qaeda. He stressed the importance of working with the tribes without regard to their being Sunni or Shia. Sheikh Mohammad on Iran ----------------------- 7.(C) Senator Lieberman asked MbR for his views on Iran and US policies vis-`-vis Iran. MbR stated Iran is a large country with great ambitions, a historic sense of its importance, and a desire to dominate the region culturally and politically. Iran has a long-term strategy for the region, and would like to recreate the Persian Empire and spread Shi'a Islam throughout area. Rehearsing themes often heard by US senior visitors, MbR said Iran "can make trouble throughout the region" if it is DUBAI 00000355 002.2 OF 003 provoked. While he suggested that Iran is the cause of the deteriorating situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, he also noted that Iran could make the situation in Afghanistan, for example, "explode" should chose to do so. Iran Promises a Peaceful Nuclear Program ---------------------------------------- 8.(C) MbR told the Senator that the UAE does not want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. He said that during the recent visit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad to the UAE that the Iranians had promised their nuclear program is only to help meet domestic energy needs -- quipping "how much can we believe what the Iranians say is another question." MbR seemed perplexed about the work of the IAEA inspectors and believed that they could provide an objective view of the program. Senator Lieberman reminded MbR that Iran has blocked the inspectors and they have only been able to conclude that Iran will have the capacity to produce enriched uranium on a sufficient scale to either generate power or create a nuclear weapon within the next three to eight years. Negotiations - the Best Course of Action ---------------------------------------- 9.(C) MbR and the Senator briefly discussed the recent meeting in Baghdad between the US and Iran. MbR saw this as a very positive move, recommending negotiations as the best way forward with Iran. He said that threatening Iran encourages the Iranian leaders to be defiant. Iranians are proud and the current extremist leadership would not only endure, but benefit from an attack by the US. Such attacks would ensure the continuing power of the current government (note: presumable by rallying all Iranians behind it in the face of a foreign enemy). 10.(C) Senator Lieberman commented would maintain the stick even while it considered the carrot, and that the two carrier battle groups now in the Gulf were sending a message to Iran. MbR responded that everyone in the region knows the US is powerful and can fight two wars simultaneously. He said that part of the problem "is the way you (the US) talk." After making a demand, "you (the US) should take two steps back before your next action." Everyone in the region needs to avoid the dangerous cycle of action and reaction. The Israeli-Palestinian problem has worsened because actions are followed immediately by reactions without thought. 11.(S) Brigadier Mohammad al-Qemzi, who heads State Security in Dubai added that the Iranians are traditionally great game players. He said that the US should play the game of negotiation and diplomacy (to contain Iran) rather than engaging in hostilities. Al-Qemzi recommended working for the longer term, and believes that there will be a cultural and leadership change in Iran -- over time, Iran would change for the better. UAE Support for Counter Proliferation ------------------------------------- 12.(S) MbR reiterated the UAE's continued support of the US' counter proliferation efforts in the region. Brigadier al-Qemzi added that the previous day and in the previous week the UAE had stopped Iranian vessels at US request suspected of carrying goods proscribed by the UN sanctions regime. The UAE, he said, would continue to work with us to stringently enforce UN sanctions. Dubai, the Region, and Transformation via Education --------------------------------------------- ------ 13.(C) Noting Dubai appeared to be a model of tolerance and opportunity for the region, Senator Lieberman asked MbR to talk about his goals for the emirate. MbR said bluntly "we want to be number one." But, he said that Dubai has only taken the first step on a journey of 1000 miles. He said that if Dubai plays it right, the whole region can develop like Dubai. 14.(SBU) MbR indicated that Dubai has succeeded because it is a place where all people can enjoy health, wealth, security, and the opportunity to succeed. Commenting on his recent announcement at the World Economic Forum in Jordan of a new $10 billion Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation for education and job creation (septel), he said "God gave us wealth and we must give it back to the people in the region." MbR sees Dubai as the leading city of a wide region and he commented "I am serving 1.5 billion [people] in the region." MbR underscored that education is the key to regional modernization and moderation. In Dubai, he noted, "we are trying to teach people how to fish and not just giving a fish to our neighbor." DUBAI 00000355 003.2 OF 003 15 (SBU) He also called for more US universities in Dubai, and asked for Senator Lieberman's help in resurrecting the possibility of the University of Connecticut building a sizeable campus here (note: this deal was put on hold by UCONN leadership after Connecticut state legislators and others objected to the UAE regulation which prevents the entry of Israeli passport holders). 16.(U) Senator Lieberman has cleared this cable. SUTPHIN