Britain, world braces for WikiLeaks exposures

The files are said to contain thoughts about David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2010, 18:14 PM IST

London: As governments across the world braced for the release of millions of documents by WikiLeaks, reports here said that US diplomats had described Britain`s former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his government as weak and unstable in secret briefings to US President Barack Obama.

According to the Daily Express Sunday, the imminent release of diplomatic files by the whistle blowing website WikiLeaks would prove "highly embarrassing" to Brown, quoting "sources" in Downing Street.

Reports said that the three million documents include "no-holds-barred" private cables to the White House from many US embassies, and reportedly mention South African president Nelson Mandela, Afghanistan`s Hamid Karzai and Libya`s Colonel Gaddafi.

Around three million secret US diplomatic messages obtained by WikiLeaks would expose the "no-holds-barred" private cables to the White House from scores of US embassies, the Daily Mail said.

The files reportedly contain damaging assessments of Brown`s character and leadership skills and of the stability of the government he led, but a 10, Downing Street spokesman declined to discuss the nature of any confidential communications.
He said: "Obviously, the government has been briefed by US officials, by the US ambassador, as to the likely content of these leaks.

I don`t want to speculate about precisely what is going to be leaked before it is leaked."

US ambassador Louis Susman has spoken to British officials about the likely contents of the files that date from 2008 until early this year.
The explosive files are also said to contain thoughts about both David Cameron and Nick Clegg while they were opposition leaders.

Downing Street courses are quoted as saying: "We don`t think there will be much about the coalition government. There might be some slightly embarrassing things about David Cameron`s time in opposition but it will be nothing compared with what was said about Brown.

The diplomatic cables were more about Labour. Brown was seen as paranoid and weak and unstable. These files are going to be embarrassing for him."

US State Department officials are concerned that the release of such sensitive files could damage relations with their allies, the media report said.

The documents are likely to contain references to India, but State Department spokesman P J Crowley said in Washington, "We have reached out to India to warn them about a possible release of documents. We do not know precisely what WikiLeaks has or what it plans to do.

We have made our position clear. These documents should not be released."

The British government is so worried that Friday night it issued a D-Notice, warning that publishing the secrets could compromise national security.

Crowley said: "These revelations are harmful to the US and our interests. They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world."

Besides Britain and India, the US has warned the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Israel in advance of the release.

It is likely that a backlash by countries upset over the leaks may lead to US diplomats being expelled.

PTI