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Tsunami gives Indonesian leader a reprieve from WikiLeaks

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Yudhoyono’s image as an honest broker and committed reformer – albeit a former general with deep ties to past president Suharto’s strong-arm political establishment – has been highly exaggerated, adds Mr. Sidel.

Spying on opponents, paying off judges

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and provided early to Australian newspaper The Age for an article published today, accuse Mr. Yudhoyono of spying on his political opponents and paying off judges to protect allegedly corrupt political allies. They also blame the first lady for trying to profit financially from the family’s political position.

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.

During a hastily prepared news conference Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters the claims were baseless. “We find it especially unacceptable that it has been suggested as facts,” he said.

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.

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