United States diplomats' criticism of foreign leaders was made public Sunday as the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel published some details of the WikiLeaks trove of U.S. diplomatic cables. The magazine was accidently released too early, and while it was quickly pulled from the stands, readers who had obtained copies posted some of the content online.
The leaked documents showed criticism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was compared in one case to Hitler, readers reported. Ahmadinejad is unpopular with Arab leaders as well as with the Western world, the files suggest, with leaders in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt terming him “evil” and an “existential threat.”
However, the files also show that U.S. leaders have ignored Israel's warnings regarding Iran's nuclear capabilities. When Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that Iran was months away from constructing nuclear weapons, U.S. leaders dismissed his report as a ploy.
Other WikiLeaks documents published by Britain's The Guardian indicate that Mossad Israeli intelligence chief Meir Dagan tried to convince a senior United States official to overthrow the regime in Iran with the help of local groups.
In an August 2007 memorandum, Dagan gave Undersecretary of State Nicholas Barnes details of five focal points regarding Iran, including recruiting student groups to instigate a revolt against the regime of the Islamic Republic. Dagan said during that meeting that more must be done to agitate the surface in order to overthrow the Iranian regime, and if possible to enlist the support of student organizations that support democracy.
The leaked documents also include criticism of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is said to be “driven by paranoia,” of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who is called a “naked emperor,” and of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is termed “hesitant.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that the full content of the leaked diplomatic files will be bigger than the files leaked on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Officials in the U.S. and elsewhere have called on Assange and WikiLeaks to back down on the planned expose, saying that the release of the files could have serious repercussions and could even endanger lives. Assange has dismissed their fears as an attempt to avoid being held to account.