The Red Crescent — an equivalent organization to the Red Cross — is supposed to be equally independent and free from government influence, which is why they are allowed to provide medical and other services in war zones. But the cables, as reported by The Guardian, reveal that the U.S. believes Iran used the organization “to smuggle intelligence agents and weapons into other countries, including Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel.”
During that war, a source told the U.S. that “The only true Iranian Red Crescent officers dispatched to Lebanon were the doctors and drivers. Shipments of medical supplies served also to facilitate weapons shipments.” Sources saw medical shipments full of weapons — including missiles — and that the organization in Iran was “purged” of staff deemed insufficiently committed to using the organization to exporting the Islamic revolution after the election of Ahmadinejad.
Iran also reportedly used the organization to send intelligence officers into Iraq after the most recent U.S. invasion.
If true, it could seriously undermine the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society’s missions throughout the world and in conflict areas.
5. U.S. foreign policy relies heavily on blog-ready gossip items.
To get into the U.S. Foreign Service (and thus write diplomatic cables), applicants are required to pass an hours-long, highly competitive written examination, followed by an even more competitive oral examination and then go through months of intensive training. Then, it appears, they are dispatched to foreign embassies to write gossip about high level officials.
A sample? Libyan President Muammar al-Qadhafi gets Botox and travels constantly with a “voluptuous blonde” Ukrainian nurse named Galyna Kolotnytska. Azerbaijani First Lady Mehriban Alijewa has had so many facelifts that she resembles her own daughter from a distance — but you can tell the difference close-up because she can’t really move her face. A British Labour minister is quite the player (and is having marital problems) and might be bipolar. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi might have more in common than their reported extramarital shenanigans — they could well be in business together, too. Russian President Dmitri Medved’s wife, Svetlana, reportedly keeps a blacklist of staffers she deems insufficiently committed to her husband. Oh, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is basically considered an idiot who knows little about foreign policy, but only the Germans really care about that.
Your tax dollars at work.
[Ed note: This article was edited after publication]