THE anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks released hundreds of cables from the United States embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday, offering an unprecedented and previously confidential look at the Kingdom’s recent history.
All 777 cables in the WikiLeaks cache from the US embassy in Phnom Penh have now been released, after only a handful were revealed in the months since the organisation began making such documents public last year.
The cables obtained by WikiLeaks – more than 250,000 in all – come from American embassies and consulates all over the world. They are alleged to have been leaked by US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who is now jailed and awaiting trial.
US embassy spokesman Mark Wenig declined yesterday to address the events and allegations detailed in the cables.
“We will not comment on the authenticity, veracity or content of any allegedly leaked US government documents,” Wenig said in an email.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan cautioned against taking the information at face value, saying that in many cases, it had been “made up by the authors”.
“The leaked information makes it seem like the US and Cambodia are in conflict with one another, but in reality, we have high-quality, good relations,” he said. “We can see together what are facts and what aren’t facts.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong declined to comment, saying he had not seen the cables, as did Tith Sothea, of the Council of Ministers' Press and Quick Reaction Unit.
The dispatches were originally meant only for American officials in Washington and, as journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall has written, diplomats penning the cables may in some cases have had “to rely on sources who were by no means always honest and who often gave a partial or even deliberately misleading picture”.
Nevertheless, the cables represent a chance for observers of the Kingdom to view developments in the country through the eyes of US diplomats who have access to the highest levels of the Cambodian government.