Here are five things you probably missed from Sunday night’s massive WikiLeaks dump.
Al-Qaeda plotted to blow you up, using your Sega. Detainee Abu Faraj al-Libi’s leaked records show that he was slotted to fill Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s leadership role after alleged 9/11 mastermind Mohammed was imprisoned, Wired reports. “Detainee headed an operation to build remote detonators and conceal them in children’s video game cartridges,” his file reads, and more than 20 ‘radio-type detonating devices,” designed to be triggered with cell phones, were found in a raid of a safe-house al-Libi ran, the detonators built into the back of Sega Genesis game cartridges.
U.S. officials know where al-Qaeda leaders were on 9/11. Al-Qaeda’s inner circle of leadership was gathered in and around Karachi, Pakistan on September 11, 2001, reports the Washington Post, and within a day, they headed back to Afghanistan to plan for the long conflict ahead. Documents show that on September 15, 2001, Osama bin Laden visited a safehouse in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan and told fighters “to defend Afghanistan against the infidel invaders” and to “fight in the name of Allah.” Bin Laden traveled for months around the region, delegating responsibilities and planning new attacks in case he was captured or killed, and giving pep talks to fighters, according to information gleaned from detainees.
When fighting a jihad against the United States, it’s important to think with your brain, not with your nether regions. Some key al-Qaeda operatives, such as Abd Al Rahim Hussein Mohammed Al Nashiri, received shots to promote impotence, in order to better serve the extremist group. Al-Nashiri bragged that he outranked Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 architect, and was “dedicated to jihad that he reportedly received injections to promote impotence and recommended the injections to others so more time could be spent on the jihad,” according to his files.
The United States isn’t the only country guilty of diplomatic in-fighting and name-calling. June 2006 cables from Lisbon, Portugal show that a Portuguese intelligence official complained to the U.S. diplomatic officials there that the Australian government had purposely “fomented unrest” in East Timor, in order to advance Australia’s “geopolitical and commercial interests.” East Timor is a former colony of Portugal, which has officially been a sovereign state since 2002. Australian forces were deployed to East Timor on a “regime change” campaign, as were Portuguese forces, but the leaked cables imply that Australia was more motivated by the wealth of oil and gas in East Timor, which shares a maritime border with Australia, while Portugal played an actual stabilizing role.
Even foreign ministers sometimes need a little help (covering up unexplained government executions) from their friends. In a leaked 2007 cable, the Philippines asked for international assistance in explaining extrajudicial killings, i.e. executions by a government, but without a trial or court ruling. Several militant activists and members of the press had been targeted and killed. Albert G. Romulo, the Philippines’ minister of foreign affairs, asked Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands for a little public relations help in dealing with the “so-called unexplained killings in the Philippines,” as he writes in the cable.
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