Western suspicion of Vladimir Putin's Russia runs deep. After two terms as president followed by one term in the notionally weaker post of prime minister, he had taken Russia to the condition where "democracy has disappeared", the recently retired US defence secretary Robert Gates said. The government was "an oligarchy run by the security services", he said, according to US official cables published by WikiLeaks.
MALAYSIAN opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy charges are the result of a ''set- up job'' which the politician ''walked into'', according to an assessment by Australia's peak intelligence agency. A leaked US state department cable reveals that Singaporean intelligence officials told their Australian counterparts that Dr Anwar engaged in the conduct for which he is accused, a claim he has steadfastly denied.