See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Caucasus: Revelations & Confusion over Cablegate

As the media worldwide reveals revelation after revelation with the gradual release by Wikileaks of over 251,000 leaked U.S. Embassy cables over the coming weeks, there were also some items of specific interest in the South Caucasus. However, most bloggers decided to copy and past the text of the leaked documents rather than offer any commentary or opinion.

Nevertheless, some bucked the trend with Jijinin bloqu [AZ/RU/ENG] posting a compilation of links, comments and quotes relating to Cablegate posted on Twitter, while Ianyan provided a comprehensive summary.

In a letter to Armenian President Serzh Sargysyan, the U.S. outlines its dismay and concern about Armenia’s transfer of arms to Iran “which resulted in the death and injury of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.” The letter, signed by American diplomat John Negroponte, seeks a written agreement from Armenia “memorializing its intent to implement measure that will prevent it from becoming a source of weapons for Iran or other state groups involved in terrorism and/or weapons proliferation.”

Azerbaijan was not spared either, and not least in its attempt to derail a U.S.-backed process to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey and also with regards to what many consider to be the politically motivated imprisonment of two recently released video blogging youth activists. The Amnesty International USA Blog comments on the latter.

What’s eye-opening about the exchange is President Aliyev’s admission of his personal knowledge – if not responsibility – in the activists’ arrest and subsequent conviction of “hooliganism.”

[…]

While we are all glad that Adnan and Emin are free, there is more justice to be done: their conviction must be overturned – not quietly or on humanitarian grounds but for human rights and democracy.

Alleged remarks from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev regarding his Russian counterpart and predecessor were also telling, and probably not helped by remarks reportedly made by one of the U.K.'s leading Royals in another.

Prince Andrew claims #Russia threatened #Azerbaijan with loss of #Karabakh over #UN vote. […] #cablegate

Some commentary was also forthcoming from the Önər Blog, especially relating to Russia and Iranian ‘covert activities’ in Azerbaijan. The post was written in Azerbaijani and later translated into English.

İlham Əliyev deyirmiş ki, İranda seçkilər saxtalaşdırılıb. Həm də deyir ki, İran Azərbaycanda müxtəlif dini mərasimləri maliyyələşdirir. Ay qardaş, əgər sən ölkəndə heç nəyi maliyyələşdirməyib pulları Dubaydakı villalara ya da Mehriban Əliyevanın plastik əməliyyatlarına xərcləsən(Wikileaksın sənədlərində əks olunub), başqası gəlib maliyyələşdirəcək. Burda təəccüblü heç nə yoxdu.

Əliyev həm də deyir ki, Medvedyevi Moskva administrasiyasında adam yerinə saymırlar. Yəni onun verdiyi qərarlar bir neçə mərhələdən keçib icra olunur. Həmçinin qeyd edir ki, Medvedyev “yeni nəsil intellektual”dır, Putinlə də yola getmirlər: “İki qoçun başı bir qazanda qaynamaz”

Apparently Ilham Aliyev had alleged that the elections in Iran were rigged. He also said that Iran finances some religious ceremonies in Azerbaijan. Listen, brother, if you’re not going to finance anything in the country and instead spend money on villas in Dubai and Mehriban Aliyeva’s plastic surgery (as we see from WikiLeaks), someone else will finance them in your stead. There is nothing surprising here.

Aliyev also said that nobody considers Medvedev the authority in the Moscow administration. That is to say, all of his decisions go through several measures of approval before they are executed. He also says that Medvedev is “a modern, new-generation intellectual”, and does not get along with Putin: “You can’t boil two heads in one pot.”

The blog also considers the leaks as “being a true victory for Internet media” and says that in such an environment Azerbaijan should now release imprisoned journalist and 2009 International Press Freedom Award recipient Eynulla Fatullayev.

Meanwhile, as the blog notes, even the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva, was not spared, with Der Spiegel relaying that one U.S. cable described her as having had “so much plastic surgery that […] she can barely still move her face.

Some Facebook users in Azerbaijan reported that Aliyeva's official page on the popular social networking site disappeared soon after and is still unavailable. The following day, however, she appeared to have set up a Twitter account.

If actually her, the timing of this move into micro-blogging does raise some questions, of course, but whatever the reason, Wikileaks features in two of nine tweets made so far.

Материалы на WikiLeaks касательно Президента Азербайджана совершенно не отражают действительность – пресс-служба […]

The material on WikiLeaks about the President of Azerbaijan does not reflect reality – The Press Office […]

The press and blogs worldwide covered these and other revelations made available through Wikileaks and its media partners. However, although some cables did appear mentioning Georgia, the situation was more confusing, as Tamada Tales explains.

Armenia's WikiLeak sensation came in the form of allegations about arms transfers to Iran. Azerbaijan took a knock on relations with Iran, Turkey and Russia. Never one to be left behind, Georgia has also jumped on the WikiLeaks bandwagon with alleged US embassy cables that blame the 2008 war with Russia on breakaway South Ossetia.

Georgian media have cited WikiLeaks for the documents, but there's just one catch — the cables cannot be found on WikiLeaks, nor have any of the site's partner media organizations yet published them.

Georgian blogs which have re-posted the alleged cables do not provide a link to a WikiLeaks source or otherwise identify how they found the information.

Georgian news outlets, though, do not seem to have any qualms about this contradiction. Nor do local analysts appear to doubt the documents’ authenticity.

WikiLeaks could not be reached to verify that the information came from its own site. The website, reportedly the target of cyber attacks, was not fully functional on November 29.

In response, some Facebook users trace their source to either The Financial, an English-language Georgian publication, or Russian Reporter, a site which claims to be an official Wikileaks partner organization. However, no other confirmation of this exists at time of writing when only some Georgian, Russian, Armenian and Polish sites carry the story.

Embassy of the United States in Yerevan, Armenia

7 comments

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site