Source: – FPA STAFF REPORT
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is listed among several world leaders to whom U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton placed phone calls to in the aftermath of the release of secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks.
State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told the Associated Press that Clinton spoke with 12 world leaders last week to express her regret over the embarrassing release of secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks. Said Crowley last week: “On Tuesday, she talked to (Liberian) President Johnson Sirleaf. And of course today (Thursday), she talked to President Zardari and Fernandez de Kirchner. And she will continue to make these calls as her schedule permits”.
According to the list provided by the State Department, the Secretary of State called President Ellen Johnson Sirlef of Liberia, China State Councillor Dai Bingguo, Canada Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, new French Foreign Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal. Calls were also made to the leaders of China, Germany, France, the UK, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. Secretary of State has termed the release of classified US documents by WikiLeaks as an attack not just on the US, but on the international community.
The whistleblower site released 250,000 US documents last week. According to the list provided by the State Department, the Secretary of State called President Ellen Johnson Sirlef of Liberia, China State Councillor Dai Bingguo, Canada Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, new French Foreign Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal. Calls were also made to the leaders of China, Germany, France, the UK, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Last week, Dr. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador accredited to Liberia, responding to an FPA inquiry about her country’s alleged enlisting of Liberia as one of several coastal West African nations in the US ‘Littoral directive’, said: “This is something that is very disturbing. We’re watching it very closely but we have nothing in there that we have put in thus far in any way from Liberia.”
Besides a secret order being reportedly signed by Clinton, according to a recent WikiLeaks revelation, which “directed American diplomats to act as spies around the world against friends and enemies alike”, the revelation said the ‘directive’ covered the coastal countries of West Africa which includes Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin.
Though the directive on Liberia does not yet appear to have been published by WikiLeaks which has not allowed any much detailed revelation about the nature of the information the U.S. may be seeking, the purported Secretary of State Clinton’s directive however instructs reporting officers to look for information relating to persons linked to the West Africa Sahel region. It reportedly seeks information such as office and organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet “handles”, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.
FrontPageAfrica has been unsuccessful in getting the unreleased cables by Wikileaks but it has in its possession a 2008 country report released by WikiLeak which says that the general public largely gave Sirleaf a political honeymoon in 2006 and 2007, but that Sirleaf has been the target of some criticism, both of a routine political nature by opposition parties (includingTaylor supporters upset by his SCSL trial) and by some human rights advocates.
Said the report: “Although many Liberians and international human rights advocates have praised Sirleaf’s strongly stated support for such rights and the rule of law, some criticized her nomination of the recently confirmed Kabineh Janneh as a Supreme Court Justice.23 Her administration has also been criticized for not creating an Independent National Human Rights Commission of Liberia, an institution called for under the 2003 peace agreement. Her administration contends that it is in the process of creating such a commission, and will submit legislation to the parliament related to this goal.”
The report went on to say that some critics have alleged that the Sirleaf government, like its predecessors, is corrupt, but the Sirleaf Administration rejects such accusations, citing its record of anti-corruption actions. “Given the historically embedded presence of public sector corruption in Liberia, the government is likely to have to pursue a continuing series of law enforcement actions if it is to effectively counter corrupt practices, both grand and petty. It may, however, face difficulties in prosecuting indictments, given the limited capacity of Liberia. It will also need to ensure that it pursues enforcement actions in a professional and apolitical manner, as recent Liberian history been marked by the use of corruption prosecutions as a tool for achieving political retribution.”