The Star - American embassy cables on Kenya to be leaked on Wikileaks


A total of 1,821 diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Nairobi are among the more than 251,000 documents that the website Wikileaks started releasing over the weekend.

The first 250 cables to be released do not include any from the American embassy in Kenya.

However they are expected to start coming out in the next few days.

The Kenyan diplomatic cables go back to 2005 but the majority cover the 2007 elections and the period of the coalition government. There is one cable from May 14,1996.

Diplomatic cables are confidential reports sent by ambassadors to their superiors in Washington.

The cables have only been partially released but have been given in full to the New York Times, Der Spiegel, the UK Guardian, France's Le Monde and Spain's El Pais.

"America's ambassadors can be merciless in their assessments of the countries in which they are stationed. That's their job.

Kenya? A swamp of flourishing corruption extending across the country. Fifteen high-ranking Kenyan officials are already banned from travelling to the United States, and almost every single sentence in the embassy reports speaks with disdain of the government of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga," states the international edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Julian Assange, editor of the Wikileaks, described the cables as a "diplomatic history of the United States" that would cover "every major issue" as governments across the world braced for damaging revelations.

The cables contain confidential communications between 274 American embassies across the world and the State Department in Washington DC. Over 15,000 are classified "Secret".

It is expected that as the cables will shed light on the thinking behind Michael Ranneberger's swift congratulatory message to President Kibaki following the December 27, 2007 elections and the subsequent American turnaround to put pressure on the PNU to accept a coalition government.

On one day alone, January 2, 2008, as violence was raging in Kenya, the Nairobi embassy sent five cables to Washington.

"Cablegate" has so far unflattering views of world leaders Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi described as "just strange" by an adviser to Sultan Qaboos of Oman; Gaddafi's penchant for a voluptuous Ukrainian nurse; Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe President, branded "the crazy old man" by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa's international relations and cooperation minister; Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi described as "feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader", and a "physically and politically weak" leader whose "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest."

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