- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2010

Among the disclosures in the 19 documents released by WikiLeaks on Thursday are the following:

*Sweden provides intelligence on Iran, Russia

Swedish intelligence services provided “a significant contribution to our understanding of events inside the Russian military and in Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” the U.S. embassy in Stockholm stated in a cable from May 4, 2007, sent in advance of a White House visit by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

The note said the right-leaning Mr. Reinfeldt, who was handily re-elected in September [2010], “comes from a new political generation and is not bound by the same U.S.-critical traditions” of his predecessors.”

Noting that “Sweden’s official security policy is non-participation in military alliances during peacetime and neutrality during wartime,” the cable, labeled “secret,” commented that “[i]ts active participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace and its role in leading the European Union’s 1,500 troops-strong Nordic Battle group give the lie to the official policy.”

*Rio not ready for 2016 Olympics?

Less than three months after Rio de Janeiro beat out three other cities for the right to host the 2016 Summer Olympics — depsite President Obama’s strong push for Chicago’s bid — the U.S. embassy in Brasilia expressed concern that the host country might not be equal to the security-related challenges associated with hosting the games.

“Articulating the big picture goals and leaving details to the last minute may be a typically Brazilian approach, but could lead to problems,” stated the cable, marked “confidential,” from Dec. 24, 2009, relaying concerns that the “delays we expect from the [Government of Brazil] in planning … will almost certainly place greater onus on the USG to ensure that necessary standards are met.”

The cable said that President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, by then in the final year of his second term, was “looking to capitalize on hosting the games to solidify Brazil’s image as the leader of South America and as an emerging global player” as well as to strenthen the electoral prospects of annointed successor Dilma Roussesf. Ms. Roussef won her race, in a runoff, on October 31.

*Health trouble for Burlesque-oni?

Several months before Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government was thrown into its currrent disarray, a cable from the U.S. embassy in Rome commented that “*ex scandals, criminal investigations, family problems and financial concerns appear to be weighing heavily on Berlusconi’s personal and political health, as well as on his decision-making ability.”

Two Italian officals, whose names WikiLeaks redacted from the October 27, 2009 cable, marked “confidential/noforn,” are said to have “described the Prime Minister in strikingly similar terms.” One claimed that “Berlusconi’s frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest.”

*”The Story that Will Not Die”

Following the commencement a Spanish court investigation into the alleged American use of the country’s airspace to transfer detainees from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay, a Dec. 4, 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Madrid lamented that the story had “become a press staple in Spain” and expressed concern that “this long-running saga could have implications for our Agreement on Defense Cooperation.”

U.S. diplomats, the cable said, had sought to emphasize the importance of the War on Terror but that this was a “losing argument with a Spanish public that — although attuned to the dangers of terrorism — largely rejects the muscular U.S. approach to fighting it overseas.”

• Ben Birnbaum can be reached at 138247@example.com.

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