Coming on the sixth year anniversary of the infamous “Cablegate”, when on this day in 2010 Wikileaks made global headlines when it unveiled classified cables sent to the US State Department, revealing assessments of countries and details of eavesdropping, this morning WikiLeaks released more than half a million US diplomatic cables from 1979, covering various diplomatic events and incidents such as the Iranian revolution, Osama bin Ladin’s departure of his native Saudi Arabia for Pakistan to support the Mujahideen, the siege of Mecca, Saddam Hussein becoming president of Iraq and much more.
Consisting of 531,525 cables, the latest batch is also known as “Carter Cables III.”
In a statement on the Wikileaks website, Julian Assange, rumors of whose death or disappearance seems greater exaggerated, writes that “If any year could be said to be the ‘year zero’ of our modern era, 1979 is it. In the Middle East, the Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world.”
He adds that “in 1979 it seemed as if the blood would never stop. Dozens of countries saw assassinations, coups, revolts, bombings, political kidnappings and wars of liberation.” In addition to the middle east, other notable events to take place during the year cited by Assange include the election of Margaret Thatcher as British PM and the Three Mile Island nuclear incident.
Among the cables is information on “China officially coming in from the cold” and Deng Xiaoping’s visit to the United States in a defining strategic re-orientation by both states. Other subjects covered in the cables include the USSR invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian hostage crisis, which saw 66 Americans taken hostage after 3,000 Iranian students raided the US embassy in Tehran.
As Assange concludes, This release brings to 3.3 million the number of US diplomatic cables published as part of the WikiLeaks Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD), the world’s largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.
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The full press release is below:
WikiLeaks releases more than half a million US diplomatic cables from the momentous year of 1979
By Julian Assange
Today, 28 November 2016, marking the six-year anniversary of “Cablegate”, WikiLeaks expands its Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with more than half a million (531,525) diplomatic cables from 1979.
If any year could be said to be the “year zero” of our modern era, 1979 is it.
In the Middle East, the Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world.
The uprising at Mecca permanently shifted Saudi Arabia towards Wahhabism, leading to the transnational spread of Islamic fundamentalism and the US-Saudi destabilisation of Afghanistan.
Osama bin Laden would leave his native Saudi Arabia for Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen.
The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.
The 1979 current of Islamification spread to Pakistan where the US embassy was burned to the ground and Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed.
The Iranian hostage crisis would go on to fatally undermine Jimmy Carter’s presidency and see the election of Ronald Reagan.
Saddam Hussein? Took power in 1979.
The rise of al-Qaeda eventually bore the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, enabling the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and over a decade of war, leaving, at its end, the ideological, financial and geographic basis for ISIS.
The Iranian revolution and Saddam Hussein’s rise to power and the subsequent Iran-Iraq War would connect with the 1979 Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua to produce the Iran-Contra affair and the indictment of 12 US administration officials including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
Elsewhere, Thatcher won in the UK, Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, Idi Amin fled Uganda and the ANC made the decision to militarily resist Apartheid.
In the United States, the Three Mile Island nuclear incident led to a turning away from the construction and development of new nuclear reactors, increasing the reliance on oil and coal for decades.
While the 1979 SALT II agreements made some progress in reducing the risk of nuclear war, nuclear preparations and testing were stepped up elsewhere. The US decided to place Pershing and Cruise missiles in Europe and a South African/Israeli nuclear test was detected by US early warning satellites.
China officially came in from the cold and Deng Xiaoping visited the United States in a defining strategic re-orientation by both states.
In 1979 it seemed as if the blood would never stop. Dozens of countries saw assassinations, coups, revolts, bombings, political kidnappings and wars of liberation.
In the extremes and contestations of the Cold War, 1979 saw some grim culture to go with the times: ACDC produced “Highway to Hell”, Francis Ford Coppola gave us Apocalypse Now, while for Pink Floyd it was just “Another Brick in the Wall”.
The Carter Cables III bring WikiLeaks’ total published US diplomatic cable collection to 3.3 million documents.
What follows are some example areas of events from 1979 covered in the new documents.
1 US and China resume diplomatic relations
7 Pol Pot deposed following Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia
16 Shah flees Iran
28 China’s leader Deng Xiaoping visits US
1 Khomeni returns to Iran
3 Khomeni creates Council of Islamic Revolution
10 Iranian Revolution
17 China invades northern Vietnam
18 Snow in the Sahara
25 Rhodesia bombs Angola ZIPRA camps in Operation Vanity
13 Coup in Grenada
15 Herat uprising in Afghanistan
26 Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin sign Egypt-Israel peace treaty
28 Three Mile Island nuclear incident
30 British Conservative MP Airey Neave assassinated with car bomb
1 Iran overthrows Shah officially: Iran becomes the Islamic Republic through national referendum
2 Anthrax epidemic in Russia following biological weapons plant accident
4 Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is executed
11 Tanzanian invasion of Uganda; revolt against Idi Amin; fall of Kampala
17 IRA bombing kills four Ulster Constabulary at Bessbrook, Northern Ireland
1 Greenland granted partial autonomy from Denmark
4 Margaret Thatcher elected UK Prime Minister
25 American Airlines flight 191 explodes near Chicago
4 Canada’s Pierre Trudeau defeated; Coup in Ghana
18 Carter and Brezhnev sign Salt II arms treaty
25 Baader-Meinhof assassination attempt in Belgium of NATO Supreme Allied Commander
16 Saddam Hussein takes power in Iraq
21 Sandinistas defeat Samoza in Nicaragua
28 Indian PM Charan Singh elected
3 Equatorial Guinea coup
5 Polisario Front signs peace agreement with Mauritania
11 Morocco annexes Western Sahara territory previously controlled by Mauritania
23 South Africa bombs ZIPRA camps in Zambia in Operation Motel
27 Eighteen UK soldiers killed by IRA at Warrenpoint in County Down, Northern Ireland
3-9 Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
14 USColombia extradition treaty negotiated, opposed by Pablo Escobar cartel
20 Bokassa overthrown in Central African Republic via France’s Operation Barracuda
22 South African and Israeli nuclear test detected by US Vela satellite in southern Atlantic Ocean
29 President Nguema of Equatorial Guinea executed
1 First democratic elections in Nigeria; the birth of the second republic
15 Coup in El Salvador
16 French town of Nice hit by tsunami
26 President of South Korea Park Chung-hee assassinated
4 Iranian hostage crisis begins; 3,000 Iranian students raid US embassy, 66 hostages taken
14 Carter issues Executive Order 12170 freezing all Iranian assets
15 Anthony Blunt outed as the “Fourth Man” in Cambridge spy ring
20 Hajj hostage crisis in Saudi Arabia
21 US embassy in Islamabad set afire after false reports from Khomeni that US occupied Mecca
11 Three of the ANC’s “Pretoria Six” escape from Pretoria Central Prison (Moumbaris, Jenkin and Lee)
12 Decision to locate US Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe
12 South Korea military coup
21 Lancaster House agreement signed, leading to the creation of Zimbabwe and the election of Mugabe
24 USSR invasion of Afghanistan