Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Punished for being English: Welsh students join Scots in being spared tuition fees rise

By Laura Clark and Jason Groves
Last updated at 10:30 PM on 30th November 2010
Britain was facing a future of tuition fees apartheid last night as Welsh students were told they will be exempt from higher charges.
They will be spared the full £9,000-a-year premium at the expense of English students, bringing them into line with Scottish students who also receive far larger subsidies.
English students will still face the higher fees even if they study at a Welsh university, while Welsh students at English universities will not.
Angry: Tuition fee protesters took to the streets again today in London and in other cities around the country, the news Welsh students will have their fees subsidised threatens to trigger fresh anger
Angry: Tuition fee protesters took to the streets again today in London and in other cities around the country,  the news Welsh students will have their fees subsidised threatens to trigger fresh anger
The move came as the Coalition’s flagship policy was thrown into chaos with the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg refusing five times to say if he would vote for it.
His colleague Vince Cable, the man who drew it up, added to the confusion by saying his instinct was to vote for it, then said it was up to his party, which is implacably opposed to higher fees, how he would vote.
Students took to the streets across the country for a third week of protests, some of which turned again to violence, over the prospect of paying £27,000 just for the teaching in a three-year degree.
Battle: Protesters come face to face with police after a day of marching against the planned university tuition fee increases and despite the cold weather
Battle: Protesters come face to face with police after a day of marching against the planned university tuition fee increases and freezing temperatures across the country didn't put people off
The Welsh move will deepen concern over so-called ‘apartheid’ in public services between UK nations, with the devolved administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff giving their citizens better access to medicine as well as cheaper education thanks to far higher public spending.
According to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, public spending per head is 14 per cent more in Wales than in England as a result of the controversial Barnett formula, under which money is handed out by the Westminster Parliament to the devolved administrations.
In 2007/08, every man, woman and child in Wales benefited from £1,042 more in public spending than in England.
Reinforcement: Police officers line up outside Parliament in London preparing for the student demonstrations
Reinforcement: Police officers line up outside Parliament in London preparing for the student demonstrations
The row centres on Westminster plans to allow the cap on tuition fees in England to rise to £9,000 a year from the current £3,290 for students starting university in September 2012.
The move by the Welsh Assembly government – a coalition of nationalist Plaid Cymru and Labour – is a pointed snub to the plan.
The Assembly pledged to pay the difference between current fees and the new £9,000-a-year charges for all Welsh undergraduates, as well as students from elsewhere in the European Union studying in Wales.
The Senedd: The Welsh Assembly has pledged to subsidise Welsh students fees- even if they study in England
The Senedd: The Welsh Assembly has pledged to subsidise Welsh students fees- even if they study in England
English students now will have to pay the full amount to study in Wales but students from other EU countries will not.
Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews described access to universities as an important principle.
‘We are preserving the principle that the state will subsidise higher education and maintain opportunities for all,’ he said.

‘In Wales, we remain committed to helping the most disadvantaged access education.’
The waiver will benefit approximately 70,000 Welsh undergraduates who study in Wales each year, and about 16,000 who study in England.
It will also go to around 7,500 students non-UK European Union students.
Across the country: Protests against the increased University tuition fees were carried out nationwide and students are confronted by police in Leeds
Across the country: Protests against the increased University tuition fees were carried out nationwide and students are confronted by police in Leeds
At the same time, the poorest students in Wales will be able to access grants for living costs of £5,000-a-year, higher than grants proposed for England.
The stance was welcomed by student leaders last night. Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, said: ‘Welsh students stand to have their higher fees paid for them, clearly showing that where there is a will there is a way and that fees can effectively be kept at current levels.
‘The Government’s proposal to triple fees would leave English students and their families with huge fees and increased debts.
‘The claim that there is no alternative to passing huge debts on to the shoulders of the next generation to fund our future has unravelled in spectacular fashion.’
Critics said the proposals are unfair to English taxpayers who are effectively forced to subsidise cheaper courses elsewhere in the UK.
A spokesman for the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘Graduates derive a significant financial gain across their lifetime from their degree and so it is right that they should contribute towards the cost of their university education.
‘It’s completely unfair to expect those taxpayers who do not go to university to subsidise those who do, and that includes English taxpayers funding Welsh students’ fees.’
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the lecturers’ union UCU, said: ‘I am pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government has recognised that access to higher education should be on based academic ability not ability to pay.
‘It is a shame that the Coalition government hasn’t grasped this reality and that it is persisting with its deeply flawed strategy.’
Scottish undergraduates studying in Scotland do not pay tuition fees, although they are liable if they study in England, which affects a very small number.
English students studying in Scotland pay fees of £1,820 a year or £2,895 for medicine.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1334535/Wales-freezes-costs-students--leaving-just-English-face-9-000-charge.html#ixzz16oLHiZAU


The McCanns refused to hand over Madeleines medical records...with the releasing of the news that JonBenet was an abused child we have to now ask was Madeleine McCann an abused child and if she was why is the might of the British Goverment covering it up ?

Maybe ASSANGE accusers have kept their dresses in the freezer like Clintons MONICA...

WikiLeaks: Interpol issues wanted notice for Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange facing growing legal problems around world


MONICAS DRESS.....Or do the Clintons think we have forgotten?????????
Interpol poster for Julian Assange
Interpol wanted notice for Julian Assange

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is tonight facing growing legal problems around the world, with the US announcing that it was investigating whether he had violated its espionage laws.

Assange's details were also added to Interpol's worldwide wanted list. Dated 30 November, the entry reads: "sex crimes" and says the warrant has been issued by the international public prosecution office in

Gothenburg, Sweden. "If you have any information contact your national or local police." It reads: "Wanted: Assange, Julian Paul," and gives his birthplace as Townsville, Australia.

Friends said earlier that Assange was in a buoyant mood, however, despite the palpable fury emanating from Washington over the decision by WikiLeaks to start publishing more than a quarter of a million mainly classified US cables. He was said to be at a secret location somewhere outside London, along with fellow hackers and WikiLeaks enthusiasts.

In contrast to previous WikiLeaks releases, Assange has, on this occasion, kept a relatively low profile. His attempt to give an interview to Sky News via Skype was thwarted today by a faulty internet connection.

Assange's reluctance to emerge in public is understandable. It comes amid a rapid narrowing of his options. Several countries are currently either taking – or actively considering – aggressive legal moves against him. This lengthening list includes Sweden, Australia and now the US – but so far as can be made out, not Britain.
The US attorney general, Eric Holder, announced yesterday that the justice department and Pentagon are conducting "an active, ongoing criminal investigation" into the latest Assange-facilitated leak under Washington's Espionage Act.

It was not immediately clear whether Holder was referring to Bradley Manning, the dissident US private suspected of being the original source of the leak, or Assange. The inquiry by US federal authorities is made tricky by Assange's citizenship – he is Australian – and the antediluvian nature of the law's pre-internet-era 1917 statutes.

According to the Washington Post, no charges against anyone from WikiLeaks are imminent. But asked how the US could prosecute Assange, a non-US citizen, Holder struck an ominous note. "Let me be clear. This is not sabre-rattling," he said, vowing to swiftly "close the gaps" in current US legislation.

But Assange's most pressing headache is Sweden. Swedish prosecutors have issued an international and European arrest warrant (EAW) for him in connection with rape allegations, and the warrant has been upheld by a Swedish appeal court.

Assange strongly denies any wrongdoing but admits having unprotected but consensual encounters with two women during a visit to Sweden in August.

Mark Stephens, his London-based lawyer, has described the allegations as "false and without basis", adding that they amount to persecution as part of a cynical smear campaign.

Nonetheless, the Swedes appear determined to force Assange back to Sweden for questioning. Stockholm's director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said last month: "So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogation."

Assange contests this too. But if he declines to return to Sweden voluntarily, and the UK decides to enforce Sweden's arrest warrant, things may get tricky. Some friends believe Assange's best strategy is not to go to ground but to get on a plane to Sweden and face down his accusers.

Stephens, moreover, says that the Swedish attempts to extradite Assange have no legal force. So far he has not been charged, Stephens says – an essential precondition for a valid European arrest warrant.
Under the EAW scheme, which allows for fast-tracked extradition between EU member states, a warrant must indicate a formal charge in order to be validated, and must be served on the person accused.
"Julian Assange has never been charged by Swedish prosecutors. He is formally wanted as a witness," Stephens told the Guardian today.

"All we have is an English translation of what's being reported in the media. The Swedish authorities have not met their obligations under domestic and European law to communicate the nature of the allegations against him in a language that he understands, and the evidence against him."

Assange's legal team are challenging the warrant in Sweden's supreme court. They are optimistic: a previous appeal was partially successful in limiting the grounds on which the warrant was issued.
Today a spokesman for Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency, which is responsible for validating extradition requests, would not confirm or deny receipt of a European arrest warrant for Assange's extradition.

Assange has previously suggested he might find sanctuary in Switzerland. More promising perhaps is Ecuador, whose leftist government unexpectedly offered him asylum on Monday.
"We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions," Ecuador's foreign minister, Kintto Lucas, said.

At the very least, Ecuador could offer Assange a new passport. He might need one. Yesterday Australia's attorney general, Robert McClelland, said Australian police were also investigating whether any Australian laws had been broken by the latest WikiLeaks release.

In reality, Assange's predicament may not be as hopeless as it seems. The US would be hard pressed to make charges against him stick, experts suggest.

"There have been so few cases under the Espionage Act, you can put them on one hand," said David Banisar, senior legal counsel for the campaigning group Article 19 and an expert on free speech in the US. "There is the practical problem that most of the information published by WikiLeaks wasn't secret. Then there is the debate about whether the documents were properly classified – there are detailed rules in the US about what can and cannot be classified."




The British public need to know if paedophillia is at the heart of this massive missing person fraud.

Egypt's rulers tighten grip amid claims of election fraud and intimidation

• Governing party wins 96% of the vote in early results
• Official Egyptian opposition may be left with no seats
Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood opposition group during elections in Egypt
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement protest as police officers carry ballot boxes to a counting centre in Mahalla al-Kubra, north of Cairo. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
Egypt's repressive regime sent a dramatic message to the international community over its determination to face down any challenge to its authority, after stage-managing parliamentary elections that virtually wiped out the formal opposition.
During the day, election-related violence claimed at least eight lives. Early results from the poll – described by domestic and international observers as "breathtaking" in its levels of fraud – suggest that the ruling National Democratic party (NDP) has captured 96% of the seats, while the 88 opposition members from the Muslim Brotherhood, could be erased to zero.
Such clear evidence of rigging is likely to cause consternation in western capitals, from where there is strong pressure on President Hosni Mubarak to embrace some democratisation.
It will be viewed as a particular slap in the face for the Obama administration, which only last week had publicly pressed the Egyptian government to ensure these elections were credible.
"We are dismayed by reports of election-day interference and intimidation by security forces," said the state department, which provides more aid to Egypt than to any other country bar Israel. The Foreign Office also said it was "deeply concerned" by reports of state-sponsored disruption to the electoral process.
"We knew it was going to be bad, but I don't think anyone realised it was going to be this bad," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution thinktank and an analyst of Egyptian politics.
"Egypt has joined the ranks of the world's most autocratic countries. Now we're talking full-blown, unabashed dictatorship."
The parliamentary ballot was widely seen as a dry run for next year's presidential elections, when the 82-year-old Mubarak may be forced to step down.
Mubarak, who is believed to be seriously ill, has ruled the Arab world's most populous nation for almost three decades and has remained a close ally of the west, despite reports of systematic human rights abuses at the hands of his extensive security apparatus, and slow progress on political reform.
But with no designated successor, there is intense nervousness among Egypt's political elite about transferring power while public anger is growing over declining living standards amid the pervasive state oppression.
"These election results indicate that the regime is frightened about the impending transition, and they're not in the mood to take any chances over their own survival as we enter what will be one of the most challenging periods in Egypt's modern history," said Hamid.
"Previously, Egypt's level of political repression was never at the level of Syria, Tunisia or Iraq; it was always careful to retain some superficial democratic trappings. But now the government is sending a strong message that opposition will not be tolerated."
Sunday's vote took place amid a backdrop of widespread electoral violations that included ballot-stuffing, vote-buying, and the exclusion of opposition representatives, civil society monitors and journalists from polling stations.
In some towns riot police blocked voters from accessing polling booths. Eight people died in clashes across the day, with dozens more wounded.
Officials from the governing party rejected reports of wrongdoing in the poll.
"The NDP has done its best to ensure that the voting is clean and free from any irregularities," said Safwat el-Sherif, the party's secretary general.
But critics of the government disagreed. "The violence we saw was very much a controlled violence, where the authorities seemed to be in charge of what happened and when," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch. A run-off vote in some constituencies will be held later this week.
Hamid said: "It's is really a sign that the ruling clique has no interest in appeasing the international community, and has calculated that the west will not provide the sort of vigorous response that you might expect a blatantly stolen election to provoke."
Attention will now turn to the regime insiders jockeying for position to replace Mubarak, and the president's son, Gamal Mubarak, is in the lead. The former banker, and architect of many of the country's divisive, neoliberal, economic reforms, has long been groomed for the leadership.
However, he has recently run into opposition from the country's powerful armed forces who, concerned that a non-military figure could take over, want to retain a strong influence over the process of selecting Egypt's next ruler.
But, as the latest election has shown, there will be little opportunity for dissident voices to participate in that process.
"These elections were rigged and invalid," said Essam el-Arian, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood.
"They are destroying any hope of the people for change by peaceful means."

WikiLeaks: Alarm at Pentagon request to survey Pakistan refugee camps

US embassy cables show military asked for details of camps and aid agencies, possibly to gain air strike targeting information

• WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears
Internally displaced children at a UN refugee camp in Pakistan
WikiLeaks cables show requests for US embassies in Pakistan to provide information about refugee camps, including the number of internally displaced people. Photograph: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

A US military plan to survey refugee camps and aid agencies on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, possibly to obtain targeting information for air strikes, sparked alarm among diplomats in Islamabad.
In mid 2008 the US defence department special operations command requested US embassies in Kabul and Islamabad to provide information on camps housing Afghan refugees or civilians displaced by fighting with the Taliban.
"They have requested information on camp names and locations, camp status, number of IDS/refugees and ethnic breakdown, and NGO/humanitarian relief organisations working in the camps," read a cable from the Islamabad embassy.
The defence attache's office was instructed to "reach out" to the UNHCR (the UN refugee agency), USAid and the state department.
The information was requested in response to the special operations command – which oversees secret US military missions – "regarding [internally displaced people] IDP/refugee camps and NGO activity". The purpose of the request was not clear, the cable noted cautiously.
"Some emails have suggested that agencies intend to use the data for targeting purposes; others indicate it would be used for 'no strike' purposes."
The diplomats seemed alarmed by the idea. "We are concerned about providing information gained from humanitarian organisations to military personnel, especially for reasons that remain unclear. Particularly worrisome, this does not seem to us a very efficient way to gather accurate information," the cable said.
The embassy curtly noted that such requests should be directed to the CIA station chiefs in Kabul and Islamabad and the local representatives of the director of national intelligence. The diplomats' sensitivity was understandable. The request came three months after US navy Seals carried out a cross-border raid on a militant base in South Waziristan that drew a furious response from Pakistani officials.
The most likely target of any US strikes against refugee camps would be in the western province of Balochistan, home to the Taliban leadership council, the Quetta Shura. The cables show US and Pakistani officials believe the Taliban use such camps to arm, train and recruit fighters.
"The only parts of Balochistan where there are Pakistani Taliban are in the province's Afghan refugee camps, which we are planning to shut down," President Pervez Musharraf told Senator John McCain in April 2007.
But despite repeated promises, the Pakistani government has failed to close the biggest and most notorious Balochistan camps, such as Girdi Jungle and Jungle Pir Alizai. Some embassy cables claimed the army was playing a "double game", allowing the Afghan Taliban to operate in Balochistan in order to influence the outcome of the war in Afghanistan.
Pakistani officials repeatedly deny this. "Let me tell you," Musharraf emphasised to McCain, "[Taliban leader Mullah] Omar would be mad to be in Quetta – he has too many troops to command in southern Afghanistan to make it feasible."
Some Pakistani officers denied a problem existed at all. In a "flag meeting" between Nato and Pakistani officers on the border at Kandahar in October 2009, the Pakistani commander called the Quetta Shura an "unsubstantiated fabrication". The Americans had "fallen victim to rumours", Brigadier Sajjad said, adding that Taliban infiltration into Afghanistan from Pakistan was negligible and that "if there were any Taliban leaders around they would know about them".
The past year has seen speculation that the CIA may expand its drone strike campaign to include targets in Balochistan. But they remain confined to the tribal belt, further north along the border.
The cables do not record what happened to the 2008 request for information on the border refugee camps..


The McCanns refused to hand over Madeleines medical records...with the releasing of the news that JonBenet was an abused child we have to now ask was Madeleine McCann an abused child and if she was why is the might of the British Goverment covering it up ?

David Cameron deflects questions on corruption as he arrives in Zurich

• Prime minister 'focused on bringing World Cup to England'
• Fifa says it will not reopen investigation into ISL affair
David Cameron
David Cameron on his way to Zurich in an attempt to 'bring the World Cup home for England'. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

David Cameron today deflected questions on allegations of Fifa corruption as he arrived here in Zurich to lobby on behalf of England's 2018 World Cup bid.
Cameron arrived today ahead of Thursday's vote to decide the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments and immediately travelled to Fifa House to see the president, Sepp Blatter.
Asked whether he was concerned that some of the 23 members of the Fifa executive committee who will make the decision "weren't straight" in the wake of last night's Panorama allegations he said his only concern was to win the vote.
"I've only got one focus here and that's trying to bring the World Cup home for England," he said. "That's going to be my focus, talking to the decision-makers and pressing them on the brilliance of English football and what we can bring for this bid. That's going to be my concern, nothing else."
Fifa today said it would not reopen investigations into the ISL affair, in which the now defunct sports marketing company is alleged to have paid around $100m (£64.2m) to senior sports officials in bribes between 1989 and 1999, despite new allegations by the BBC and two European newspapers against three of those who will vote on Thursday.
The BBC programme also contained allegations against Jack Warner, whose three votes are seen as crucial to England's chances. Cameron was due to meet Warner this afternoon, as well as other executive committee members.
Amid speculation about whether the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, will make the trip to press the case of the bookmakers' favourite, Cameron repeated the key messages that England 2018 executives hope will consolidate existing support and give momentum to those who they hope will switch in later rounds.
"I think we have got a very strong team here – Prince William, David Beckham and myself and we are going to be making the arguments for England 2018," he said. "We think we have got an incredibly strong case, the best technical bid, and I think we can make the biggest commercial success of the World Cup."
Beckham and the prince are also arriving today and will be strategically deployed to lobby different executive committee members and deliver key messages. The Russian bid chief, Vitaly Mutko, today echoed the Spain/Portugal camp when he said he believed that all of the voters had made up their mind, but the England team continue to believe their final push could be crucial in swaying opinion in the latter rounds.
Cameron is hoping to repeat the feat of the former prime minister Tony Blair, whose intense lobbying in Singapore in 2005 was seen as a key factor in helping London win the 2012 games.
The England bid team are hoping the findings of a confidential McKinsey report into the economic benefits of each bid, which ranked England ahead of their rivals, will help frame their pitch that they could deliver the best atmosphere for players and fans as well as the biggest financial boost to Fifa and the global game.
"If we want to enlarge the audience for football worldwide I think England 2018 is the best way to do that, so I think we'll be making all of those arguments," said Cameron. "Britain is passionate about football and we can put on a really great show, we can have full stadiums, we have got everything that is necessary to make this work and we are going to give this 110% over the next couple of days."
Cameron, who will be joined in Zurich by the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, and the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said it was right that the government should back the bid. "What governments should do and what I'm doing is to get behind the bid. We have got a great bid, it's independent of government and it's a really well put together bid and it involves football clubs and football enthusiasts right across the country," he said.
"What the government can do is get behind that and help assist, come here, talk to people and explain the passion that people in the United Kingdom have for football and how we can put on a great show in England, and that's what I'll be doing."


The McCanns refused to hand over Madeleines medical records...with the releasing of the news that JonBenet was an abused child we have to now ask was Madeleine McCann an abused child and if she was why is the might of the British Goverment covering it up ?

WikiLeaks cables: 'US aid will not stop Pakistan supporting militants'

Embassy cables reveal US frustration as Islamabad fosters selected insurgents as a buffer against India

• WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears
Pakistani forces in action in South Waziristan in 2009
Pakistani forces in action in South Waziristan in 2009. The WikiLeaks cables suggest Pakistan follows a covert military strategy at odds with US goals. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/Reuters
Pakistan's army is covertly sponsoring four major militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban and Mumbai attackers Lashkar-e-Taiba, and "no amount of money" will change the policy, the US ambassador warned in a frank critique revealed by the state department cables.
Although Pakistan had received more than $16bn (£10bn) in American aid since 2001, "there is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance … as sufficient compensation for abandoning support to these groups", Anne Patterson wrote in a secret review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy in September 2009.
The assessment highlights a stark contradiction – that one of Washington's key allies is quietly propping up its enemies – and is an admission of the limits of US power in a country that still views India, not the Taliban, as its principal threat.
With Washington fearful of deploying troops to fight al-Qaida in Pakistan, money has been its main weapon since 2001. It has given the army $9bn to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida in the tribal belt; on 22 October the White House announced an extra $2bn over the next five years.
Pakistan has paid a heavy price, losing more than 2,500 soldiers and many more civilians. Its generals insist they have cut erstwhile ties with the Taliban and other militant groups. But secret cables show US diplomats and spies believe the army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency continue quietly to back selected militant groups.
Four are singled out: the Afghan Taliban, its allied Haqqani and Hekmatyar networks on the western Afghan frontier, and Lashkar-e-Taiba on the eastern border with India. Some ISI officials "continue to maintain ties with a wide array of extremist organisations, in particular the Taliban, LeT and other extremist organisations," Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, wrote in December 2009.
A senior ISI official said: "These are assertions without evidence and nothing more than allegations or points of view, as such do not merit a response." The main concern, he said, was "how such sensitive information could find its way to a media outlet, and continues to do so".
But Dr Peter Lavoy, a senior intelligence official, told a meeting of Nato allies in November 2008 that the ISI allowed the Taliban's Quetta Shura leadership council to "operate unfettered" in Balochistan, while it provided the Waziristan-based Haqqani network with "intelligence and financial support to conduct attacks in Afghanistan against Afghan government, Isaf and Indian targets … Pakistan continues to define India as its number one threat and insists that India plays an overactive role in Afghanistan."
The army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, had been "utterly frank" about the consequences of a pro-India government coming to power in Kabul, noted a 2009 briefing in advance of his visit to Washington. "The Pakistani establishment will dramatically increase support for Taliban groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which they see as … an important counterweight."
Alarmed by the links with Haqqani, whose fighters kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, and fearful that policy towards Lashkar-e-Taiba could trigger nuclear war with India, US officials have urged Kayani to change course. "The biggest single message Kayani should hear in Washington is that this support must end," said one dispatch.
As ISI chief from 2004-07 Kayani presided over the spy agency as the Taliban surged in Afghanistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba prepared the Mumbai attacks. US officials consider it a sensitive point. "Kayani … does not want a reckoning with the past," they said before last year's US visit. "We should preface that conversation with an agreement to open a new page in relations. What is in the past is behind us."
US allegations of collusion cast fresh doubt on the credibility of former president Pervez Musharraf, who chafed angrily against suggestions of a "double game". "We are not a banana republic and the ISI is not a rogue agency," he told a congressional delegation led by a senior Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, in January 2007. Asked about the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, he said: "I do not believe Omar has ever been to Pakistan."
Yet there are also hints that ISI policy towards militant groups is complex and changing. In a March 2009 briefing to the FBI director, Robert Mueller, the embassy noted that the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha, "continues to profess a determination to end ISI's overt and tacit support for proxy forces". Speaking to the Guardian this year a senior ISI official acknowledged "historical links" with the Haqqanis but insisted the spy agency was not in a position to dictate action terms. Last spring Kayani and Pasha flew to Kabul offering to broker peace with the Haqqanis.
The cables betray much American frustration and anger at alleged Pakistani duplicity, but there is also questioning of America's own covert policies. "Unilateral targeting" of al-Qaida operatives in the tribal belt – a euphemism for CIA-directed drone strikes – had killed 10 of the 20 top al-Qaida leaders, Patterson noted last year. But the drones could not entirely eliminate the al-Qaida leadership and ran the greater risk of "destabilising the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and military leadership, and provoking a broader governance crisis without finally achieving the goal".
While American efforts are fixated on using money to wean Pakistan away from militants, there is little fresh thinking. One exception is last year's policy review by Patterson, a well-regarded diplomat who left Islamabad earlier this year.
Pakistani paranoia was fed by insecurity towards India and America, she said. The only way to end support for the Taliban – and ultimately root out the group – was to "change the Pakistan government's own perception of its security requirements".
Resolving the 63-year-old Kashmir conflict "would dramatically improve the situation", she said, adding: "We need to reassess Indian involvement in Afghanistan and our own policies towards India, including the growing military relationship through sizeable conventional arms sales, as all of this feeds Pakistani establishment paranoia and pushes them closer to both Afghan and Kashmir-focused terrorist groups while reinforcing doubts about US intentions."
Such a suggestion is politically highly sensitive. New Delhi has fiercely resisted any attempt to link Afghanistan and Kashmir. Indian officials portray an ideological, power-hungry Pakistani army as the problem. Most of Pakistan's woes "can be traced to the capacity and intentions of Pakistan's military", the Indian foreign secretary, Shivshankar Menon, told US special envoy Richard Holbrooke in February 2009. Holbrooke has pointedly avoided mentioning Kashmir.
Politicians in Washington are reluctant to antagonise India, an emerging global power. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama identified the Kashmir conflict as being key to achieving peace in south Asia, including the war in Afghanistan. But he avoided mentioning it at all in his recent address to the Indian parliament.
Patterson's logic is shared by other western diplomats. Last year the Spanish ambassador to Kabul, Jose Turpin Molina, told 236333 his Pakistani counterpart that "It's over. You've won." The Pakistani replied that his country was an ally of Spain, to which Turpin said: "you are an ally to both sides".
The Pakistani "laughed heartily".

WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates

• 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

This page will update automatically every minute: On | Off
China North Korea Kim visit
The latest diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks show that China is ready to accept a reunified Korea and regards North Korea as a spoiled child. Photograph: KCNA/EPA

9.06pm: The Economist is mildly revising its snotty tone over the value of WikiLeaks. Its blogger MS writes:
I think WikiLeaks is an important organisation that's doing something the world needs. But like other human-rights and humanitarian organisations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, it needs to lay down some clear, public ethical guidelines about how and why it does what it does. And it needs to bring in a board of directors of people from a wide range of countries, backgrounds and institutions to review the organisation's conduct on ethical and other grounds.
Yes, a board of directors. That'll do it.
MS ends by asking: "Who's WikiLeaks? Besides Mr Assange, I don't know, and they're not really telling. Do you know? If so, start a wiki about it." (You mean, like this one?)
Julian Assange Julian Assange speaks at a press conference in London, September 2010. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
8.49pm: Time magazine has an interview with the man of the hour, Julian Assange – and promises to post audio soon.
"Speaking over Skype from an undisclosed location on Tuesday," Time reports, "the WikiLeaks founder was replying to a question by Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel over the diplomatic cable dump Assange's organization began loosing on the world over the weekend." So far here's the version Time has posted so far:
Assange said that all the documents were redacted "carefully." "They are all reviewed and they're all redacted either by us or by the newspapers concerned," he said. He added that "we have formally asked the State Department for assistance with that. That request was formally rejected."
Asked what his "moral calculus" is to justify publishing the leaks and whether he considered what he was doing to be "civil disobedience," Assange said, "Not at all. This organization practices civil obedience, that is, we are an organization that tries to make the world more civil and act against abusive organizations that are pushing it in the opposite direction."
8.21pm: The Associated Press reports that the State Department has pulled out the plug between its classified information network and the rest of the government to avoid any more Wikileaking:
Reeling from disclosures of sensitive diplomatic messages, the State Department has disconnected access to its files from the US government's classified computer network. The move dramatically reduces the number of employees inside the government who can see important diplomatic messages.
A State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley, said the decision was temporary, at least until workers correct what he called "weaknesses in the system that have become evident because of this leak."
8.06pm: Perhaps the best piece of media analysis of the US embassy cable release has come from Politico's Keach Hagey, a must-read if you are interested in the nuts and bolts:
Such collaboration by major media organizations across international borders — both in agreeing to work together in publishing the material and in agreeing what material should be kept out — is new for journalism.
"I know of no international efforts like this, a global kind of collaboration," said Mark Feldstein, a professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs... "It's unprecedented and to be commended. The volume of the material that WikiLeaks obtained is unprecedented, so to tackle a subject this complicated is going to take more resources. And just as everything else has gone global – crime and multinational corporations – so we are starting to see the beginning of a more global investigative journalism," he said.
7.50pm: In a slight change of pace, the Washington City Paper's Moe Tkacik has been closely following the WikiLeaks saga and is interested in how much US press coverage has been on the issues raised by the content of the leaks, and how much is about the flotsam surrounding it:
But before the latest document dump it appeared that a grand total of three stories, comprising 4108 words of the 35,662 words of 2010 [Washington] Post stories about which Wikileaks was the primary focus, actually required anything approaching a close read of any of the Wikileaked documents.
7.32pm: Those wanting to hear more from the Guardian's David Leigh – such as Prince Andrew – can listen to David's appearance on Democracy Now!, in which he says there's much, much more to come.
David Leigh
7.22pm: Incoming news from the Guardian's David Leigh, with cables showing that American and British diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, aided by members of the Pakistan government, or lead to a devastating nuclear exchange with India:
The latest cache of US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks contains warnings that Pakistan is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile despite the country's growing instability and "pending economic catastrophe".
6.53pm: Historian James Mann writes in the New Republic that the US embassy cable leaks won't be the death of diplomacy:
So, while the cables released by Wikileaks will give new meaning to the words "modern history," and, while we now know more than we ever did before about the State Department's recent diplomacy, it's also worth remembering that State Department cables don't contain everything. And, yes, there will still be secrets in the future.
6.34pm: Fast Company gives us a "word cloud" of one tranche of the cables:
US embassy cables word cloud US embassy cables word cloud from Fast Company
Guess what word is most on the minds of US diplomats in 2010? Yup – Iran. "Iranian" is prominent in the mix too as is "nuclear," which should explain the interest. Fascinatingly "Turkey" is more prominent than "Afghanistan," possibly due to the country's key location in supporting US and Nato operations in both theaters of conflict.
Martin Chulov
6.20pm: The Guardian's Martin Chulov is in Baghdad and reports from there on the delayed reaction to the US leaks:
After a day's silence, Iraq has just responded to the US embassy cables. The leaks gave the Government a lot to reflect on – especially about the establishment's links to Iran and about how much influence the US has in vetting Iranian visitors.

Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki felt the blowtorch of the Saudis and Americans in the cables, especially about his links to Tehran. But it was left to Foreign Minister, Hoshyer Zebari, a Washington chum, to defend the Government's honour. Zebari denied that Iraq hands the name of would-be Iranian visitors to the Americans before granting visas, saying their own spooks do the vetting themselves.

He also downplayed the influence of the Kaiser Söze of the Middle East, Qassem Suleimani, who heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' al-Quds force, claiming he is just a regular guy. (Iraqi MPs have been known to tremble at the mention of the man).
That should keep the neighbours happy.
Beijing Google China headquarters Google China's former headquarters in Beijing. Photograph: Vincent Thian/AP
6.04pm: Now this is interesting: it's reported by Computerworld that China has blocked internet access to WikiLeaks' US embassy cables:
Access to the WikiLeak's Cablegate page, as well as certain Chinese language news articles covering the topic, have been blocked in the country since Monday. Other articles from the Chinese press that are accessible on the web appear to only concern the US response.
The main issue is likely to be the revelation that the Chinese government was involved with the hack on Goggle's servers.
Ewen MacAskill
5.49pm: My colleague Ewen MacAskill has unearthed this nugget from the files of cables – praise from a US ambassador for Moazzam Begg, the former British Guantánamo detainee, in an ironic turn of events:
Cynthia Stroum, ambassador to Luxembourg, acknowledges the irony of lavishing praise on Begg, who was alleged by the US to have been an instructor at an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. In a cable labelled "To Hell and Back: Gitmo ex-detainee stumps in Luxembourg", Stroum wrote that Begg was "barnstorming" through Europe. In January this year, he met the Luxembourg government and spoke at a public meeting.
"Mr Begg is doing our work for us and his articulate, reasoned presentation makes for a convincing argument. It is ironic that after four years of imprisonment and alleged torture Moazzam Begg is delivering the same demarche to GOL [the government of Luxembourg] as we are: please consider accepting GTMO detainees for resettlement."
If ever there was a sign of how ludicrous the US policy towards Guantánamo has been, this is it.
5.40pm: Yesterday the Washington Post's editor Marcus Brauchli was heard complaining that his newspaper wasn't offered a first look at the US embassy cables by WikiLeaks – and today the paper devotes more than four pages of broadsheet to the topic, and this media analysis of who got what and when.
5.24pm: Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security advisor under Jimmy Carter, is more concerned about the US embassy cables than his old boss. Speaking to PBS News, Brzezinski also sees more sinister forces at work than just a leak coming from one member of the armed forces, and suggests a larger conspiracy theory:
It's, rather, a question of whether WikiLeaks are being manipulated by interested parties that want to either complicate our relationship with other governments or want to undermine some governments, because some of these items that are being emphasized and have surfaced are very pointed.
And I wonder whether, in fact, there aren't some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to WikiLeaks, because it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position, but also to undermine our relations with particular governments.
5pm: The US right is egging each other on into making ever more audacious demands about what the US government should do to both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Here's the latest from neo-con and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol:
Why can't we act forcefully against WikiLeaks? Why can't we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are? Why can't we disrupt and destroy WikiLeaks in both cyberspace and physical space, to the extent possible? Why can't we warn others of repercussions from assisting this criminal enterprise hostile to the United States?

4.42pm: Meanwhile, former president Jimmy Carter popped up on MSNBC last night to dispute Hillary Clinton's claim that the US embassy cables had hurt international diplomacy:
"I don't agree with Secretary Clinton that it's that significant it has torn up the fabric for our diplomacy," Carter said. "In the future, there's going to be a lot more caution as leaders send them dispatches into the State Department and as our own ambassadors send reports back into the State Department if they suspect that their words might be revealed."
4.26pm: While there's a lot of talk about the damage these cables might do, NBC's Michael Isikoff has highlighted a case where the leaked information will be used as "a recruiting and propaganda tool" by al-Qaida. This is the revelation that the Yemeni government covered up the American role in missile strikes that killed 41 civilians, including 14 women and 21 children. Isikoff reports:
"President Saleh's comments will be translated and used over and over again by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as a recruiting and propaganda tool," Gregory Johnsen, a leading U.S. expert on the terror organization's Yemeni affiliate, told NBC on Monday. "His statements and those of his top ministers of deceiving and lying to the Yemeni public and parliament … fit seamlessly into a narrative that AQAP has been peddling in Yemen for years. This is something AQAP will take immediate and lasting advantage of."
Isikof also points out that Amnesty International issued a report on the bombing earlier this year, with evidence of US involvement that has now been proved beyond doubt, thanks to the leak of the cables.
4.05pm: From one pole of US politics (Santorum) to another: Noam Chomsky, speaking to Democracy Now!, says that while the cables reveal Arab leaders urging the United States to attack Iran, opinion polls in the region tell a different story:
What this reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership.
The Democracy Now! site reminds us that back in 1971, Chomsky helped whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg release the Pentagon Papers – and Ellsberg popped up on television last night to defend WikiLeaks, as mentioned below at 10.15am.
3.58pm: Former senator Rick Santorum – best known for his ferocious opposition to homosexuality – is one of the dozens of Republicans who fancy being president – and he used a trip to New Hampshire, the birthplace of presidential ambition, to denounce WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:
"We haven't gone after this guy, we haven't tried to prosecute him, we haven't gotten our allies to go out and lock this guy up and bring him up on terrorism charges. What he's doing is terrorism, in my opinion."
Richard Adams
3.40pm: Thank you Matthew and good morning from a damp Washington, where the US's bloggers and other media are still transitioning from their knee-jerk "this is old news" response to deciding that there is in fact some hot stuff amongst the cables.
The Washington Post's neo-conservative leader writers today dismiss the cables as "embarrassing to their authors or subjects, but otherwise harmless", and save their attention for how the leak happened in the first place:
Of course there must not be firewalls that prevent senior intelligence analysts and their bosses from seeing and sharing sensitive information. That does not mean a troubled 22-year-old in Baghdad should have access to secret State Department cables from all over the world. Surely there is a way to create a system that can do the former while preventing the latter.
3.25pm: Blimey: Chinese officials have confirmed to Simon Tisdall that China does want to see an "independent and peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula".
Live blog: substitution That's it from me. The charming Richard Adams is about to breeze in from Washington.
3.21pm: The American Shanghai-based writer Adam Minter seizes on a tantalising looking cable suggestion corruption in China. It claims that a payment of $10,000 was offered to secure the support of premier Wen Jiabao for a mining contract for a North Korean copper mine.
Now, you don't need to know anything about graft in China, much less world leaders, or Wen Jiabao, to know that $10,000 not only wouldn't get the job done, it'd be viewed as an insult and an automatic disqualification from this any other mining contract. So I'm going to go out on a limb here: there's simply no way that happened. None. Zero. Zilch. Now, is it possible that Wen has a "relationship" with Wanxiang? Sure. But not the one described in the cable.
And this gets to something that I think is going to become increasingly, uncomfortably obvious as more and more of these cables are released: US State Department employees in overseas posts often don't know very much about the countries in which they're posted
3.03pm: This is handy - a country guide to the main WikiLeaks revelations, from Reuters.
It is likely to get fuller over the next few days.
2.16pm: The US embassy cables story gets the bizarre news animation treatment from Taiwan's NMA. Taste alert: it includes Uncle Sam taking biometrical details from a UN official in a toilet bowl. And Messrs Sarkozy, Putin, and Gaddafi are not spared.

WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears

US and UK diplomats warn of terrorists getting hold of fissile material and of Pakistan-India nuclear exchange
A nuclear-capable ballistic missile in Pakistan
A long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile at a parade in Islamabad. WikiLeaks cables show diplomats are concerned about the buildup of Pakistan's nuclear stockpile. Photograph: Aziz Haidari/Reuters
American and British diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme could lead to fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists or a devastating nuclear exchange with India.
The latest cache of US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks contains warnings that Pakistan is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile despite the country's growing instability and "pending economic catastrophe".
Mariot Leslie, a senior British Foreign Office official, told US diplomats in September 2009: "The UK has deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons," according to one cable classified "secret/noforn [no foreign nationals]".
Seven months earlier the US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, cabled to Washington: "Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in government of Pakistan facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon."
The leak of classified US diplomatic correspondence exposes in detail the deep tensions between Washington and Islamabad over a broad range of issues, including counter-terrorism, Afghanistan and finance, as well as the nuclear question. The cables also revealed that:
• Small teams of US special forces have been operating secretly inside Pakistan's tribal areas, with Pakistani government approval, while senior ministers have privately supported US drone attacks.
• The ambassador starkly informed Washington that "no amount of money" from the US would stop the Pakistani army backing Islamist militants and the Afghan Taliban insurgency.
• The US concluded Pakistani troops were responsible for a spate of extrajudicial killings in the Swat Valley and tribal belt but decided not to comment publicly to allow the army to take action on its own.
• Diplomats in Islamabad were asked by the Pentagon to survey refugee camps on the Afghan border, possibly for air strike targeting information.
• The president, Asif Ali Zardari – whose wife, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated – has made extensive preparations in case he too is killed, and once told the US vice-president, Joe Biden, that he feared the military "might take me out".
Pakistan's rulers are so sensitive about their much-prized nuclear weapons that in July 2009 they stalled on a previously agreed plan for the US to recover and dispose of highly enriched uranium spent fuel from a nuclear research reactor, in the interests of preventing proliferation and theft. They told the US embassy: "If the local media got word of the fuel removal, "they certainly would portray it as the US taking Pakistan's nuclear weapons".
US fears over Pakistan were spelled out in an intelligence briefing in 2008. "Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world," the secret cable said.
Leslie, director general of defence and intelligence at the Foreign Office, made clear the UK shared these anxieties when she spoke to US diplomats at a London arms control meeting in September 2009. The Pakistanis were worried the US "will drop in and take their nukes", she said, according to a US cable to Washington. Pakistan was now prepared to accept "nuclear safety help" from British technicians, but only under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The cable said Leslie thought nuclear proliferation was the greater danger to the world, but it "ranks lower than terrorism on the public's list of perceived threats".
Another senior British official at the meeting, Jon Day, the Ministry of Defence's director general for security policy, said recent intelligence indicated Pakistan was "not going in a good direction".
The Russians shared concerns Pakistan was "highly unstable". Yuri Korolev, from the Russian foreign ministry, told US officials: "Islamists are not only seeking power in Pakistan but are also trying to get their hands on nuclear materials."
Speaking in February in Washington, he called for the problem of Pakistani nuclear sites to be addressed in ongoing missile control talks, claiming: "Over the last few years extremists have attacked vehicles that carry staff to and from these facilities. Some were killed and a number were abducted and there has been no trace seen of them."
Korolev said: "There are 120,000-130,000 people directly involved in Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes … There is no way to guarantee that all are 100% loyal and reliable."

He claimed extremists were now recruiting more easily: "Pakistan has had to hire people to protect nuclear facilities that have especially strict religious beliefs, and recently the general educational and cultural levels in Pakistan has been falling."
These fears are expressed in the secret state department files against a backdrop of Pakistani determination to build more nuclear warheads.
A Chinese foreign minister, He Yafei, sought to explain to the Americans why Pakistan was blocking fissile material control talks. At a London meeting in 2009, he said: "The underlying problem … is that India and Pakistan view each other as enemies. Nuclear weapons are crucial to Pakistan. Indeed, a Pakistani military leader said his army was no match for the Indian army."
US diplomats in Islamabad were told Pakistan was working on producing smaller, tactical nuclear weapons that could be used on the battlefield against Indian troops. "The result of this trend is the need for greater stocks of fissile material … Strategic considerations point Pakistan in the direction of a larger nuclear force that requires a greater amount of fissile material, Pakistani officials argue."
The US conducted its own secret analysis of India's military contingency plans, which are codenamed Cold Start. India has said that if sufficiently provoked, it would mount a rapid invasion of Pakistan.
The US said in a cable that it doubted the Indian army was capable of doing so: "It is the collective judgment of the mission that India would likely encounter very mixed results. Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement."
But the US ambassador to India, Tim Roemer, warned in February that for India to launch Cold Start, would be to "roll the nuclear dice". It could trigger the world's first use of nuclear weapons since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"Indian leaders no doubt realise that, although Cold Start is designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner without triggering a nuclear response, they cannot be sure whether Pakistani leaders will in fact refrain from such a response."

Pakistan 'in tatters'

A senior US intelligence official was "unrelentingly gloomy" about Pakistan, the current safe haven for al-Qaida in the Afghanistan war, during a private briefing of Nato representatives.
Peter Lavoy, national intelligence officer for south Asia, concluded in November 2008 that nuclear-armed Pakistan's economy was "in tatters" and the country could "completely lose control of its Pashtun territories over the next few years", according to a leaked US cable.
More than a third of people were unemployed or underemployed, he said.
"Pakistan's population is becoming less and less educated, the country lacks sufficient energy and clean water resources to serve its population, and there is minimal foreign investment."
A few months later, in April 2009, Patterson was slightly less gloomy, saying Pakistan was not a "failed state".
"We nonetheless recognise that the challenges it confronts are dire. The government is losing more and more territory every day to foreign and domestic militant groups; deteriorating law and order in turn is undermining economic recovery. The bureaucracy is settling into third-world mediocrity, as demonstrated by some corruption and a limited capacity to implement or articulate policy."
She said: "Extremism … is no longer restricted to the border area. We are seeing young Punjabi men turn up in [the tribal areas] and Afghanistan as fighters recruited from areas of southern Punjab where poverty, illiteracy and despair create a breeding ground for extremism."
The good news was that President Asif Ali Zardari "while far from perfect", was "pro-American and anti-extremist; we believe he is our best ally in the government", she said.
This January, however, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told Indian government officials in Delhi that: "the army was the key decision-maker while President Zardari was increasingly sidelined". He said the civilian government had a limited capacity to move against groups behind the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.