The New York Times
Day two of the Times’s coverage of the latest WikiDump arrives with few “explosive” revelations, but with a little more kick than Day One. Most of this comes from a front-page story by Charlie Savage and Andrew W. Lehren on the U.S.’s diplomatic push for other nations to take into custody prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, “Cables Depict U.S. Haggling to Find Takers for Detainees.” (It comes with one of those neat-but-not-really-necessary graphics that the Times has perfected showing the numbers of former Guantanamo detainees currently held in various countries across the globe). The story, as the choice of “haggling” in the headline suggests, is a little more critical of the administration than much of the Times’s previous WikiLeaks coverage, showing an administration desperately trying to climb out of its Cuban prison quagmire by bargaining bazaar-style with countries that one would expect to capitulate more easily than they do. You might be surprised to see these “What’s the best price you can do for me?” exchanges between the U.S. and some much smaller international fish.
Slovenia, seeking a meeting with President Obama, was encouraged to “do more” on detainee resettlement if it wanted to “attract higher-level attention from Washington”; its prime minister later “linked acceptance of detainees to ‘a 20-minute meeting’ ” with the president, but the session—and the prisoner transfer—never happened. The Maldives tied acceptance of prisoners to American help in obtaining International Monetary Fund assistance, while the Bush administration offered the Pacific nation of Kiribati “an incentive package” of $3 million to take 17 Chinese Muslim detainees, the cables show. In discussions about creating a rehabilitation program for its own citizens, the president of Yemen repeatedly asked Mr. Brennan, “How many dollars will the U.S. bring?”
The other front-page Times story today is equally interesting, but for different reasons. David E. Sanger’s “North Korea Keeps World Guessing,” will likely keep you guessing as to what exactly North Korea is up to. As Sanger writes, the “cables about North Korea—some emanating from Seoul, some from Beijing, many based on interviews with government officials, and others with scholars, defectors and other experts—are long on educated guesses and short on facts, illustrating why their subject is known as the Black Hole of Asia.” There are some interesting tidbits on China’s cautionary approach to a unified Korea and on the reasons some diplomats believe such a unification is on the way. But, as with much of the reporting on this latest WikiLeak, the most intrigue is in seeing how diplomacy gets done and what the doers have to say when they think they’re cocooned in a Get Smart-like cone of silence.
In April 2009, just before a North Korean nuclear test, He Yafei, the Chinese vice foreign minister, told American officials at a lunch that the country wanted direct talks with the United States and to get them was acting like a “spoiled child” to get the attention of the “adult.”
As the editorial board writes in an expectedly kind editorial today—“the Obama administration’s diplomatic wheeling and dealing is appropriate and, at times, downright skillful”—it’s these details that have marked the Times’s coverage thus far.
The Times and other news media have already reported much of this. What the cables add is sizzle ”- Joel Meares
The top items on Day Two of The Guardian’s coverage of the WikiLeaks cables tell the stories of two British citizens and their clashes with U.S. policy. One piece highlights the ironic “u-turn” in the U.S. position on former Guantanamo inmate and British citizen Moazzam Begg, and the other reveals how Gordon Brown had appealed (unsuccessfully) to Washington that British computer hacker Gary McKinnon be allowed to serve his sentence in his home country.
The live blog continues, pumping out posts and gathering reactions from everyone from top Chinese officials to former senator Rick Santorum. As of Tuesday afternoon, the blog highlights three bulletpoints:
• Latest leaks show China ready to abandon North Korea
• Prince Andrew’s sweary outbursts at media and French
• Hillary Clinton leads international condemnation of leaks