An exchange of confidential emails between analysts and an undercover intelligence officer working for the US global security think tank Stratfor — issued today by WikiLeaks — signal that the Czechs planned to issue an “ultimatum” to Washington demanding a better deal on F-16 fighter jets for itself and other CEE members of NATO. Otherwise, Prague wants a significant role in the US anti-missile defense project, to counter the Russian “threat.”
Do you use an iPhone, BlackBerry or Gmail? “Well, you’re all screwed,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said this week, unveiling the whistleblower’s new ‘Spy Files’ project, which purports to expose how the private sector is making a fortune in global surveillance by developing high-tech gadgets allowing governments to track their citizens’ private communications. The Czech firm Phonexia is among the “collaborators.”
Czech Position analyzed the WikiLeaks documents coming out of the US embassy in Prague to find out who American diplomats were relying on to help them understand the intricacies of Czech politics, business and corruption. The outcome was fairly clear cut and revealing with centrist opinion favored and socialists scoring well among those sought after for comments and interpretation.
Ex-Czech PM Mirek Topolánek (ODS) has dismissed allegations in US Embassy in Prague cables — published by WikiLeaks — that his advisor and close friend, lobbyist Marek Dalík, sought an €18 million bribe from US-owned Austrian arms maker Steyr in the Pandur contract. Meanwhile, Kurier reports the ‘first concrete results’ of an Austrian-Czech probe into the deal, agreed under Topolánek, is imminent.
Frantic US diplomatic lobbying and behind the scenes pressure were employed to stop Czech manufacturer Aero Vodochody doing a deal with Venezuela. When the high diplomatic efforts started to fail, US attention turned to the commercial pressure that could be exerted to scupper the lease deal for the types of planes which featured in the James Bond film ‘Tomorrow Never Dies.’
A series of cables from the US embassy in Prague show ambassadors and top officials struggling to comprehend the size and scope of Czech corruption, according to dispatches leaked this week by the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks. Czech citizens were getting increasingly angry but did not seem prepared to kick out the tarnished politicians and parties, the sometimes prescient cables add.
A diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Mexico leaked by the whisteblowing website WikiLeaks following Canada’s decision to slap visa requirements on Czechs and Mexicans in July 2009 shows American glee at the move — at least as far as Mexico was concerned. Canada took the double action to avoid being accused of picking on any country in particular, it adds.
A leaked cable from the US Embassy in Prague from mid-2005 shows how the then-ambassador tried to propose a way of easing delays or refusals of ammunition shipments from the Czech Republic to trouble spots Iraq and Afghanistan. The US government and contractors wanted the surplus Soviet-era ammunition, but the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs sometimes refused permission or delayed shipments with extra questions.
WikiLeaks has published a US diplomatic cable showing that the US Missile Defense Agency director, Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, warned in 2007 that a proposed radar station on Czech soil would fail to detect long-range missiles in the launch phase — the main point of the project. “By the time the radar saw the missile, it would be too late to launch an interceptor” from Poland, wrote the cable’s author, US Ambassador to Russia William J. Burns.
Slightly behind schedule at 3:15 pm the “Czech Assange” Jakub Michálek officially launched the Czech equivalent of WikiLeaks with the words “Close the gap!” The site’s launch ceremony was attended by journalists from most national media outlets.