Talk:Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak:

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  • Update : Newly released cables (see also Portal:Current events); use non-wikileaks sources for notability, and the cables themselves as direct sources with suggested citation style <ref name="01CITYNAME1234">{{cite document| last =| first =| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =| id={{cablegate|01CITYNAME1234}} |work =| publisher =[[WikiLeaks]]| date =| url = |format =| doi =| accessdate = |archiveurl= |archivedate= |deadurl=no }}</ref>;

this needs to go[edit]

There was no consensus on creating a fork like this. The Wikileaks article needs to contain content from the secret cables released. What is the purpose of the article if not that? The material needs to be merged back into the original article for now. Editors should refrain from making huge, unilateral contributions like this. Wikifan12345 (talk) 12:44, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

A discussion was started on this, and no objections were made at that point. I am sure discussion will continue on here, but the expressed opinion of the editors over there, at that time, was to create this split section. (Which is also the general recommendation arrived at by Wikipedians in this article: Johnluce (talk) 14:21, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
I'll say this in the other discussion page too, but I tend to agree with Wikifan12345. The core issue here is the content of what was released. That needs to stay on the mainpage. -- Bob drobbs (talk) 19:58, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
I would strongly encourage people with this opinion to summarize the most salient content of the cables into the main article.--Carwil (talk) 13:25, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. The article about the leaking of the cables should contain a summary of the content of the leaks. This article is justified as it's own topic, with detail of the content of the leaked cables. In time, some of those cables may lead to notable subjects of their own, as the story progresses. Carry on. - Michael J Swassing (talk) 00:45, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Where to put the list of sensitive sites?[edit]

Hi, on the "main" leak page, so to say, there is a discussion about inclusion of the list of sensitive sites recently leaked. See Talk:United_States_diplomatic_cables_leak#Disclosing_international_infrastructure_critical_to_US_national_security, where a decently referenced paragraph is already present. Consensus seems to be that isn't appropriate there, but seems appropriate here. My only question is: under which section? It doesn't seem to fit nicely in the current classification scheme. Ideas? --Cyclopiatalk 20:46, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

My Suggestion: Create a new subsection to "By Region". --Wikieditoroftoday (talk) 21:53, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
That's no solution. __meco (talk) 22:16, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Why? --Wikieditoroftoday (talk) 21:55, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
I hadn't looked so carefully at the article and I didn't read your suggestion too carefully either, so I thought you proposed to create a new subsection by that name. Now, I suppose we could add this as a subsection to "By Region" if we titled it "Global" for instance. Sorry for my lapse of attention. __meco (talk) 18:07, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I have added the list now mostly unchanged. If this is not the best way to do this, comment here and/or undo or make the requisite edits. __meco (talk) 18:20, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
That split off some time ago: Critical_Foreign_Dependencies_Initiative and looks well-developed as an independent article. Boud (talk) 20:58, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Further forking: preliminary discussion[edit]

As suggested by someone in another discussion, we must at some point consider the possibility of further splitting this content into additional national and/or regional sub-articles. In addition to bringing this article in line with style guidelines, continued forking would also allow for paragraph-length coverage of incidents which currently are limited to one-liner outlines. Now, I realize that the timeliness of even this fork is controversial, but I'd like to go ahead and throw this up for some preliminary discussion so that we can better organize our efforts.   — C M B J   23:11, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

I'd say better waiting before moving. Things are still very fluid. Let's concentrate stuff here -and then let's split it later if needed. We don't have a deadline. --Cyclopiatalk 23:17, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
The article is already over 100kb so should probably be split per WP:Article size. The "Diplomatic analysis of individual leaders" section looks to me as if it can go into a separate article. SmartSE (talk) 12:44, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

citation tags[edit]

Some information started appearing without any citations given. There should be a tag on the top of the page to remind editors to put tags. Considering the controversial topic of the article, every information should be well referenced. Nergaal (talk) 17:45, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Rather than tag (on top or inline), I'd say be bold and remove anything without solid sources. For a current event like this, there is no reason why any piece of information shouldn't be easily sourceable. -- (talk) 14:17, 14 December 2010 (UTC)


This page needs to be updated. (talk) 17:51, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Be bold next time. Lance of Longinus (talk) 08:37, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

New Zealand[edit]

I have inserted a brief section on just-released cables related to New Zealand. Uncensored Kiwi Kiss 02:01, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Portal:Current events[edit]

"Portal:Current events" has so much information (Newly released cables). (talk) 14:07, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Is it time to fork this article?[edit]

We're still in the early stages of the WikiLeaks release of the United States diplomatic cables leak. Yet, this page is already becoming unwieldy. Sooner or later, a fork of this page is going to be necessary, where this page becomes a sort of conduit to groups of diplomatic cables based on narrowly-defined categories.

Possible new articles may include:

  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Transnational Organisations)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Companies)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Individual Leaders)

And a further fork could be :

  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - Global)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - Americas)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - Eastern Asia)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - Oceania)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - Middle East and North Africa)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - Africa)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - South Asia)
  • Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region - Europe)

Feedback on this suggestion is encouraged and welcome. Uncensored Kiwi Kiss 02:04, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Agree. The division criteria should be figured out sooner as opposed to later when there is more content to deal with. I think the first four new articles you mentioned are fine for the amount of information that has been released thus far. Further division of articles should be discussed when necessary, but as of right now I see no issue with your further fork suggestions either. Lance of Longinus (talk) 04:37, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Support, but I'd like to see the article names be more fluid. Perhaps something like this would work:
Either way, I'm on board.   — C M B J   02:27, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Support It certainly seems to be necessary at this point. The first four seem like they would work the best for now. Like the other two have said, if any of those four become individually unwieldy, then a discussion can be made on them individually. But we are, at this point, essentially splitting them into their own individual, separate components. SilverserenC 05:50, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Support in general, though I don't think the current split into regions vs. individuals is working out well. E.g., looking at Afghanistan, the "region" section naturally talks about President Karzai, as does the "individual leaders" section, and there's duplication between the two.
So I'd leave organizations and companies in the main "Contents" article (they're not enough to justify separate pages at the moment), and fork off the major regions ("Americas", "Eastern Asia and Oceania", etc.), maybe with summaries in the main article, while also merging the current "individual leaders" section into the per-region articles (no separation necessary). -- (talk) 14:35, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Support and agree with above: individual leaders have geographical context and should be in the per-region articles. PYRSMIS 22:34, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with merging the sections on individual leaders with regional sections. I see no real purpose to separating the content about individuals from the content about the countries that those individuals came from. Uncensored Kiwi Kiss 05:54, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Let's wait : I mean, it certainly has to be done, but I don't agree for it to be done right now. We have no deadline and cables are still flowing in. I think it is better to have the full picture before making choices on how to split. As the IP above said, sections as the ones proposed above are for example prone to redundancy. --Cyclopiatalk 14:42, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Support. We really need fork this article now. It's already 209kB long and most probably the longest article in Wikipedia today. I suggest to start from the Diplomatic analysis of leaders section. That section in distinct from the others. Suggest a suitable title for the article. Althogh a title like Diplomatic analysis of individual leaders in leaked US embassy cables describes the purpose pretty well, it sounds a bit lengthy to me. Come up with new ideas. Astronomyinertia (talk) 18:30, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Support - as I mentioned in the previous thread, the desciptions of leaders should definitely be split of ASAP. I'm not sure about what the title of it should be, but Astronomyinertia's suggestion sounds reasonable. I think that splitting them up by region makes the most sense for the rest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smartse (talkcontribs)
Oppose - If this article is too long, it's because we are not being selective enough, and simply repeating the news. The solution is to summarize and paraphrase more. Quigley (talk) 18:56, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd have to disagree with that application of WP:NEWS here. There's absolutely no way that we are going to summarize the contents of 251,287 documents in a single article without opening up a can of worms. Such a plan would require massive, subjective exclusion of independently reported detail, which is more or less at odds with both WP:SYN and WP:FACR. In this scenario, we are obliged by established policy and community consensus to only summarize in conjunction with appropriate outward expansion.   — C M B J   01:05, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Support - even though I agree with Cyclopia (especially on companies). But - yesterdays releasing speed said 8.5 years to go, today WL will need 8.6 years to finish. Even with a multiplier of 10 it will last until Oct. '11 - and this article is nearly unreadable TODAY. I think we WILL have a few articles to turn out redundant in the end. But I think that's a risk we should take in order to prevent everybody from losing track over this mass of data. (Besides this discussion, I would go as far as to suggest a WikiProject ASAP (even though, I may not be in the position to and it might seem a bit overhasty). But I'm sure we will need it during the next months ...) -- (talk) 03:45, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Support - Like the fork proposed at top, as per ordering of current article, by TNO, Region, Company, Leader. How about also by theme, such as nuclear proliferation, climate change etc. BrekekekexKoaxKoax (talk) 15:35, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Given the obvious consensus, i'm starting the split now 21:40, 25 December 2010 (UTC). i'll comment here when i think it's done and others can clean up where/if i messed up. Boud (talk) 21:40, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Done: 23:24, 25 December 2010 (UTC). i did not shift any countries between the defined geographical regions, and i did not change any content, except for reproducing cross-references (very few references were used in more than one region; Europe had about 6 refs that needed copying). So, if you see any content or country that disappeared or changed in this series of edits "split content to blabla", then that's my error in copying/pasting (sorry!) - please fix it!
i did make some changes, however, including: in the region titles, i dropped "Northern Africa" from Middle East + N Africa, since it was unneeded; i put "Africa" for simplicity in the article title, but Sub-Saharan Africa in the lead and in the WikiLeaks template; i put region templates at the bottom in the cases where a regional template exists (for various not-too-difficult-to-guess reasons, these do not exist in all cases); i re-sorted the order of the regions to be geographical increasing eastwards starting at longitude about 0 degrees (Africa + Europe), putting Africa first since Europe includes Russia.
i have the feeling that there should be individualised leads/introductions for the different regions, more so than i put in (highly standardised). But IMHO that should be dealt with individually per region. If consensus arises in any case, then that can come back to this "main" Contents-of- article. Boud (talk) 23:24, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
The biggest splits (size when editing new page) include: Europe 61kb, Middle East 55kb, South Asia 38kb. And so far we're at about 1% of the cables published... Boud (talk) 23:32, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Indirect speech[edit]

I think the article doesn't use enough indirect speech. E.g. here's what it says about Egypt:

  • Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, is likely to stay in power until he dies. The absence of free and fair elections means he will almost certainly hold the post for as long as he is willing to stand.[58]
  • Mubarak told the U.S. find a "fair dictator" to rule Iraq. He explains, "Strengthen the Iraqi armed forces, relax your hold, and then you will have a coup. Then we will have a dictator, but a fair one." [59]
  • Mubarak expressed animosity toward Iran in private meetings, saying the Iranian leaders are "big, fat liars", and that Iran's backing of terrorism is "well-known".[60] [...]

I'd think that all of these statements should use phrases like "was reported to have said", etc. Or am I too cautious? (I'm intentionally not being bold right now, for lack of consensus and time ;-).) -- (talk) 14:24, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

No, you are not being too cautious; absolutely the article should use more indirect speech. That the article now truncates the necessary markers of indirect speech just reflects the shoddy reporting from some outlets. Quigley (talk) 00:22, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
The title of this article is "Contents of the United States Diplomatic cables leak". From that, it should be pretty clear that statement in the bullet points are summarizes what was said in the cables. I understand being extra clear and cautious. But that comes at a real cost of making things overly verbose and less readable; starting every bullet with "One cable said..." There is a balance which needs to be made, and I'm not sure exactly where they should be. -- Bob drobbs (talk) 07:33, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Too much detail?[edit]

I think right now we're uncritically listing everything without regard to coverage in mainstream news media. E.g. this is listed as the sole source for the item on SWIFT in Germany, but (apart from the reliability issues) there's no indication that it got picked up by newspapers. What's a good strategy for deciding what goes in and what doesn't? -- (talk) 14:46, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Personally I think the best strategy is to cover only what the New York Times, Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel release. They are the only five newspapers (to my knowledge) that have had the cables given directly to them by WikiLeaks, and generally reference to numerous cables per article. Many of the bullet points listed in this wiki article only reference to the main title or main point of one of their newspapers articles rather than referencing all of the different cables throughout the article entire; these newspaper articles generally have more information than you'd think besides merely skimming the title and the first link. Just my two cents. Lance of Longinus (talk) 16:43, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I think this is inaccurate. Those 5 newspapers were firstly contacted, but at least in Brazil "Folha de São Paulo" is also in contact with Wikileaks itself (or at least claims it), and received some cables regarding Brazil - and made some articles. Moreover, we don't source our articles just from who is in contact with primary sources, but from whatever credible secondary source out there. (Since a newspaper outside this ring could spot something previously ignored).
So I think that (for example) Folha would be a good source about Brazil-related cables - the sole problem with it would be that it is (generally) Portuguese-only, not that it is not an credible newspaper. (and in fact some information are sourced by Folha right now, like the cable that depicts current Brazilian Foreign Ministry as an "adversary")
Also, I want to say I'm impressed with the amount of useful, sourced information here. Kudos to the authors ^_^ I think that this article could be split by embassy or by topic, and some sourceless things can of course be challenged point-by-point, but overall I quite like it! -- (talk) 18:24, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Any credible journalistic organization counts as a reliable newsource for citation purposes. New cables are being released regularly by Wikileaks that get picked up by established press organizations besides the five that are working in direct collaboration with Wikileaks, so citeable sources abound for even lesser-known cables. Plus, there are many grassroots journalistic projects underway that are trawling through the cables, and systematically summarizing them for use by the press, e.g. leakspin and cablewiki I don't think these latter sites should be used as WP citations. -- PYRSMIS 22:23, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
It is difficult to decide how much detail is too much detail. I have inserted the section on New Zealand. While I was doing so, I couldn't help but wonder if the issues that are considered very notable for New Zealanders - restoration of full collaboration between the intelligence agencies of the US and NZ, possible FTA between the US and NZ, NZ's anti-nuclear stance - might seem trivial and insignificant to many readers from the rest of the world. But, these issues are a BIG deal for New Zealanders. To some extent, notability is in the eye of the beholder. Uncensored Kiwi Kiss 01:51, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Shouldn't it be easy to argue that those things are notable then? They must've gotten picked up by news media in NZ aplenty. -- (talk) 12:20, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Request for comment[edit]

An RfC has opened regarding the use of classified documents as sources. All editors are encouraged to participate, at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Use of classified documents. --Elonka 18:23, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Holland a Nuclear Power?[edit]

According to this edit, "it has been established by WikiLeaks that the Netherlands has nuclear weapons owned by the U.S." Unfortunately, the reference is written in Dutch. Unless the editor is suggesting that Holland is a nuclear power, (which would be a truly extraordinary revelation), I suspect that the language of this edit simply needs a little tweeking to show that it is the U.S. that has nuclear weapons and those weapons are based in the Netherlands. Would someone fluent in Dutch please verify this? Uncensored Kiwi Kiss 11:51, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

I speak Dutch and you are correct; the source says it is the U.S. that has nuclear weapons and some of those are based in the Netherlands. In no way Holland is a nuclear power, at least there is no source about that. Thanks for using the "WikiLeaks userbox" created by me 718smiley.png. — Mariah-Yulia • Talk to me! 18:01, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. And you're welcome — it is an honour and a pleasure. Uncensored Kiwi Kiss 20:24, 16 December 2010 (UTC)


There are several leading stories in Bangladesh's media these past two days about WikiLeaks relating to Bangladesh. is the source. Dhakamodern (talk) 20:41, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Would anyone object if I created a section for the above? Please consider: Dhakamodern (talk) 20:46, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Now that I have created the section here is the majore article. . The final article is from the Emeritus Editor: Dhakamodern (talk) 21:42, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

I made some adjustments to your additions. However I removed the comments from the news editor because it does not come under the contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak. Rather, it is a reaction to the United States diplomatic cables leak. Astronomyinertia (talk) 17:58, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

UN section brought into alignment with others content-wise[edit]

This article generally just describes the content of various leaked cables, without discussing the ramifications of the disclosures or historical context of the content or anything else. That is left for the Reactions to the United States diplomatic cables leak article. The one exception here was the "United Nations" section, which did go into all this. I see no reason why this section should be different, especially since there is a dedicated subarticle Spying on United Nations leaders by United States diplomats which does go into the consequences and context and reactions in depth about this particular leak. Therefore I've replaced this section with just material that describes the contents of the cables in question. Wasted Time R (talk) 13:55, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

By subject[edit]

I added a "by subject" section based on the classification headings of the cables, but I'm a little fuzzy on tags and such. If anyone wants to streamline it, I would appreciate it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't have time right now to look at all of the cables and check their classification headings. If someone else wants to pick up where I left off, it would be appreciated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:43, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Should we start pooling possible 'subjects' for another split, or links? eg climate change; nuclear proliferation; arms trade etc? Thanks, BrekekekexKoaxKoax (talk) 10:41, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Cable IDs[edit]

Should it be flagged somewhere that, wherever possible, updates to the 'contents of the cables' pages should include citation of the relevant cable ID eg 08HARARE1016 (otherwise, once links to the secondary sources start to break, direct reference to the primary source may be less easy). Thanks, BrekekekexKoaxKoax (talk) 02:50, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

i put up a suggestion along these lines, with a link to the RFC discussion, on the talk pages of the regional pages, e.g. Talk:Contents_of_the_United_States_diplomatic_cables_leak_(Region_—_Africa)#Citing_cables. Someone who knows how to make nice templates might like to start up a proper template, e.g. Template:Cablegate editing suggestions, keeping in mind that something like a very short NPOV summary of the RFC would be needed. Boud (talk) 00:03, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Definition of Africa[edit]

Should not Africa be treated as a geographic rather than a political notion, with the content currently residing in Region-Middle East moved (or at least copied) to Region-Africa? Thanks, BrekekekexKoaxKoax (talk) 02:54, 28 December 2010 (UTC)


I think Central Asia should be amalgamated into the Middle East or perhaps Europe (that's a geographical argument), considering it only contains two countries and sort of an "overlapping" region — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:02, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

See my comment above following the split: The biggest splits (size when editing new page) include: Europe 61kb, Middle East 55kb, South Asia 38kb. And so far we're at about 1% of the cables published... Boud (talk) 23:32, 25 December 2010 (UTC) Central Asia happens to be between these three regions - the three that are presently the longest in terms of content. It could in principle be possible to do a double shift, as proposed above: North African countries to Africa, and Central Asia to Middle East. But i suspect that in that case both the Africa and Middle East articles would both be quite long. IMHO there's no harm in leaving the Central Asia Contents... page as a separate article. It now has four of the five Central Asia countries listed. This might make a region small enough that academics who have the benefit of time to think about the cables' contents might make their summaries of how they see the contents overall - which might be appropriate for a Contents article rather than the Reactions article which has everything all in one.
In any case, a serious merger proposal should probably start over at Talk:Contents of the United States diplomatic cables leak (Region — Central Asia), with a {{merge}} tag on the two articles involved, etc. Boud (talk) 01:32, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

cablegate citation template discussion[edit]

Anyone interested in discussing what cablegate citation template should look like, please go to: Template_talk:Cablegate. The template itself is at Template:Cablegate. Boud (talk) 01:33, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Full text search?[edit]

I think many readers who turn here may also want a pointer to where they might easily conduct a fulltext search of all the cables, particularly since all of them have been released unredacted now. Is there a place to do that? seems out of date.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:26, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

But who would think to search for Jimmy Walker? ;-) (talk) 04:30, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't know that anyone has made the entire archive available through a web interface yet. But speaking of accessibility, it's time to revisit the inclusion of the cables on Wikisource. As I recall, the issue was shelved last year because of the release schedule. ButOnMethItIs (talk) 23:12, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
There are many sites that offer fulltext search including one that I have built. Can I start a list of sites offering search/browse capability of the cables? Would this page be an appropriate place for such a list? Bailey carlson (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:22, 21 February 2012 (UTC).