I spend most of Monday navigating the nuances of sexual assault, so I’m not sure if someone else has compiled the Minnesota links to the WikiLeaks U.S. State Department cables. Here’s my list, which includes politicians and defense contractors not found at the end:
Rep. Keith Ellison: Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, trying to get U.S. aid into Gaza — and Gazans into Israel.
Representative Ellison, noting that he is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, said he visited Gaza in February and met with NGO representatives who could deliver assistance without the credit going to Hamas. He urged Netanyahu to consider opening the Gaza crossings, adding that Gazans he had met told him they want peace and would like to get their jobs back in Israel. Netanyahu responded that he is looking at ways to balance Israeli security with enabling Gazans to have a normal life. The flow of money and weapons to Hamas remains a problem since Hamas is extending the range and payload of the rockets it possesses. In response to Representative Ellison’s comment that Israel should allow USAID to return to Gaza, Netanyahu said he thought that it might be a good thing to have USAID operate in Gaza.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, trying to enlist help to free U.S. hikers. (Note: The Senator has called for the Wikileaks info to be removed and leakers to be imprisoned.)
In a frank one-hour meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, Senators Gregg, Bayh, Specter, Enzi, Cornyn, and Klobuchar affirmed Washington’s interest in better U.S.-Syrian relations and pushed Asad to take positive steps as well. The senators urged Syria to move forward on security cooperation with the U.S. on Iraq, facilitating the release of three detained Americans in Iran, and re-opening the Damascus Community School. Asad welcomed the prospect of more Congressional visits and candid exchanges, saying diplomacy had failed to solve the region’s problems during the last two decades
… Senator Klobuchar commented that she had supported Barak [sic] Obama because of his promise to advance a new approach to international relations. While there were no easy solutions in the region, the U.S. and Syria appeared to have overlapping interests in avoiding war and in ensuring a strong and stable Iraq. From the U.S. perspective, Syria might demonstrate as a goodwill gesture its interest in better relations by helping obtain the release of three American citizens — Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd — who apparrently crossed into Iran while hiking in northeastern Iraq. Swiss officials had visited them, but they were isolated and the U.S. lacked information on their whereabouts and any pending charges.
Asad replied he was unfamiliar with their case and requested that the Embassy send more information. Senator Specter interjected later in the conversation that the Embassy had delivered a letter to the MFA that week from the Secretary. Specter added he had personally raised the matter in Washington with Syrian Ambassador Imad Mustafa. The U.S. would view positively Syrian efforts to secure the three Americans’ release, Specter said, comparing the case to the Iranian detention of UK sailors whom Syria helped to free.
“We’ll try our best,” replied Asad, saying it would be necessary to ask about the legal aspects of the case.
Specter clarified there had been no charges filed. It had started as a trespassing case, but U.S.-Iranian relations were so poor it was impossible to resolve.
…Senator Klobuchar and Senator Enzi argued Syria might demonstrate good will by re-opening the Damascus Community School (DCS), whose closure had hurt not just American students, but also many foreigners and Syrians.
Senator Enzi said his committee’s purview on education created a personal interest in seeing the DCS re-opened; the school’s closure represented a step away from moving towards positive relations. Asad replied he wanted to open Syria to the rest of the world. In September 2008, for example, the French Embassy opened a new international school. Asad explained he had ordered DCS’s closure after a U.S. military attack on Syrian soil had killed seven innocent civilians in late October 2008. “We had to respond,” he argued, saying the school’s closure “was the only step we could take” in response to the Bush Administration. President Carter, Asad continued, had urged the reopening of DCS during his December 2008 visit. “I told Carter that we are ready,” said Asad, who noted the Syrian government wanted to send positive signals to the Obama administration and had done so by re-opening the American Cultural Center (ACC).
FM Muallim noted that only part of the American Language Center portion of ACC had been allowed to re-open. He argued that he and other Syrian officials had told State Department officials that steps by Syria to improve relations first required U.S. steps. “We can’t move without a waiver for Syrian Airlines,” he argued, citing the threat to Syrian civilians posed a U.S. ban on the sale of civilian aircraft and spare parts. Asad noted that a good friend who ran a medical laboratory was similarly unable to import U.S. lab technology. The bigger issue, Asad said, was about bilateral relations. Syria’s intent was to re-open the DCS. Asad said he trusted President Carter and supported President Obama. “We know he has other problems and priorities, but there must be U.S. steps,” Asad insisted.
Rep. John Kline: Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, mostly as a bystander to Arizona Sen. John Kyl.
CODEL Kyl, consisting of Senator Jon Kyl (R, AZ); Senator Jeff Sessions (R, AL); Representative Jane Harman (D, CA); Representative John Kline (R, MN); and Representative Chris Carney (D, PA), called on Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu April 6. The Ambassador, Congressional staff, and Pol Couns (notetaker) participated in the meeting. Netanyahu was joined by National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, Spokesman Mark Regev, Policy Adviser Ron Dermer, former chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Kadima MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Senator’s Kyl’s counterpart in the U.S.-Israel Joint Parliamentary Committee on National Security), and the Israeli Embassy in Washington’s Congressional liaison officer. The meeting was the first official U.S. face to face contact with Netanyahu since he formed his government.
At least in the current document dump, there are no references to the following Minnesota politicians:
U.S. Sen. Al Franken
Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman
Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton
Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams
Former U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz
U.S. Rep. James Oberstar
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
Former U.S. Rep. James Ramstad
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum
Former U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo
Former U.S. Rep. Bruce Vento
Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura
Vice President Walter Mondale
I also searched a few Minnesota defense contractors — including Alliant Techsystems — and came up dry. If you find a Minnesota link, please add it to the comments.