Leaked US diplomatic cables include claims of “inappropriate behaviour” by a member of the Royal Family and a request for “specific intelligence” about British MPs, it has been reported.
The Guardian, which is one of a number of newspapers to have advance sight of the 250,000 classified documents released by the WikiLeaks whistleblower website, said they include criticisms of David Cameron and of British military operations in Afghanistan.
On the international front, the cables were said to disclose that Arab leaders were privately urging the United States to carry out an air strike on Iran, according to an article on the newspaper’s website. It also said that US diplomats had been instructed to spy on the leadership of the United Nations.
The article on The Guardian website gave no details of the claims concerning the member of the British royal family or of the requests for intelligence about MPs. The criticisms about British operations in Iraq were however said to be “devastating”, while the remarks concerning Mr Cameron were described as “serious political criticisms”.
The cables were also said to disclose “grave fears” in London and Washington over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, as well as “harsh” criticism by US embassy staff of their host governments, including Russia and China.
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is described as “alpha dog” and the cables are said to detail alleged links between the government in Moscow and organised crime.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was said to be “driven by paranoia” while German Chancellor Angela Merkel “avoids risks and is rarely creative”. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is compared to Hitler.
The cables were said to name countries involved in financing terrorist groups and describe a near environmental “disaster” involving a rogue shipment of enriched uranium. They were also said to disclose technical details of secret US-Russian nuclear missile negotiations in Geneva and clandestine US efforts to combat al Qaida in Yemen.
The leak of the material was strongly condemned by both the US and British governments.
The White House said that the disclosure of confidential diplomatic communications on the front pages of newspapers around the world would “deeply impact” US foreign interests. The Foreign Office also condemned the leaks but insisted that they would not affect Anglo-American relations.