Tsunami gives Indonesian leader a reprieve from WikiLeaks
Newly leaked US cables accuse Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of spying on his opponents and paying off judges to protect allegedly corrupt allies.
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The cables are not yet provided online at WikiLeaks.ch, the current home base for Australian founder Julian Assange's gradual leak of more than 251,000 secret US diplomatic cables. Since late November, only 5,440 of the cables have been revealed on WikiLeaks.ch.Skip to next paragraph
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In response to the firestorm, the US State Department issued a statement calling the release of the cables “extremely irresponsible. Scot Marciel, the US deputy assistant secretary of the East Asia and Pacific Bureau, expressed regret to Mr. Yudhoyono that the documents had become public.
Cables won't hit where it hurts most
Yudhoyono took over from former president Megawati Sukarnoputri in 2004 on a platform aimed at transforming Indonesia’s weighty bureaucracy and curbing corruption in a country ranked near the bottom of transparency indexes.
He was reelected by a landslide in 2009, but in recent months his popularity has waned among a populace that accuses him of not doing enough to tackle corruption or clamp down on religious intolerance.
Social inequality, infrastructure improvements, and judicial accountability have made little progress in this nation of roughly 238 million people despite economic and security advances.
In recent weeks US diplomats have also issued statements of concern against Yudhoyono’s lack of action in response to ongoing sectarian violence, echoing sentiment from civil society groups, bureaucrats, and Indonesian observers that the president is unwilling to alienate powerful political players.
Aside from serving as ammunition for the opposition to attack the president, political economists say the financial impact of the leaked cables will be minor for a country that drew huge amounts of foreign investment last year.