Malaysian envoy among 12 listed as spy target

By uppercaise

Malaysia’s top diplomat at the United Nations was among those from 12 developing countries listed by the US State Department last year as targets for spying, to obtain such personal details as credit-card account numbers and “other relevant biographic information”.

US diplomats were also asked to provide “information on the relationships (of the 12 permanent representatives, as ambassadors to the UN are called) with their capitals”.

Malaysia’s ambassador to the UN is Datuk Hamidon Ali, who has served in the post since 2005. He currently also heads the UN Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc), to which Malaysia was elected as president for a one-year term. Ecosoc is one of the UN’s six principal organs which oversee the work of the sprawling international bureaucracy.

According to a leaked US diplomatic cable, the State Department instructed its officials to find out:

    * credit card account and frequent-flier account numbers
    * work schedules
    * office and organizational titles
    * names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes
    * Internet and intranet ‘handles’, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs

Such biographical and biometric information was wanted about the permanent representatives of “key NAM/G-77/OIC” members particularly China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Senegal, and Syria.

(NAM is the political grouping of non-aligned developing countries, G-77 is the economic grouping of 77 developing countries, OIC is the block of Islamic countries.)

Malaysia was also among 22 countries listed by the State Department for information on voting tactics and voting blocs at the United Nations General Assembly. Asian countries listed: China, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan and Vietnam. The rest: Austria, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, France, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda.