Wikileaks. I know, I know, you’re probably sick of hearing about cables and embassies and what diplomat said what nasty thing about what leader. But, it’s only day four of nine in the latest Wikileaks saga, and there’s more to come next year regarding U.S. banks.
There’s been a lot of chatter about whether what Wikileaks is doing is right, if it’s necessary, if it serves the public’s interest or just the public’s interest in gossip. I’ll leave that up to the readers to decide.
We’ve already heard one Canadian official call for the assassination of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, and Mike Huckabee call for the death penalty for whomever leaked the documents.
But it isn’t all gossip. There are some key revelations in these leaks, like the Saudi King pressuring the U.S. to bomb Iran, the concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program (the worst-kept secret, but the details are interesting) and China’s acceptance of a reunified Korea with Seoul as the main power.
Oh, and there’s the Iranian-American who flew into Tehran without problems, but had to sneak out of the country on horseback through Turkey.
In a leaked cable that sounded more like a leaked movie script, the story of 75-year-old Hossein Ghanbarzadeh Vahedi’s perilous journey through the north-western Iranian mountains is told.
Vahedi flew to Iran from Los Angeles in May of 2008. Seven months later, his passport was confiscated and he was barred from leaving the country. After his appeals to the courts were turned down, Vahedi got a horse, hired two guides, and trekked 14 hours through the ice cold mountains bordering Iran and Turkey.
In early January of 2009, Vahedi showed up at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, where diplomats were, obviously, surprised to hear what he had endured.
Vahedi, who left Iran during the 1979 revolution, told U.S. authorities that Iranian officials had made it clear that a payment of $150,000 would have seen his passport returned. He opted, instead, to trek through the mountains, where his escorts had to periodically hug him to keep him warm.
Vahedi, according to the cable, was an inexperienced rider and, at one point not too long into the climb, fell off his horse and into the woods. He told authorities he believed he would die in the mountains.
After dealing with Turkish officials who wanted to deport Vahedi back to Iran as an illegal immigrant, American authorities ensured his safe return back to the United States.