Wikileaks: No Alarms, No Surprises

The political and diplomatic worlds have been reeling in the wake of a quarter-million pages of confidential US government documents being leaked. Everyone has had an opinion about some part of it.

I hope I’m not alone in thinking this, but I’m not sure what all the controversy is about.

My reaction to every so-called revelation has been, “Duh. I knew that. Everyone knows that.”

These documents don’t so much announce anything new as they do confirm everything we have always suspected.

It turns out that what we tend to believe is the hidden truth actually is the truth.

It’s kind of reassuring in a way.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LEARN

In case you didn’t know, the bottom-line suggestion of all the leaked information is that Americans in positions of power are assholes who think they run the world. They talk about other countries and leaders behind their backs. American leaders always think in terms of how America can use situations elsewhere toward advancing American interests. But you certainly must have already known that was true.

Another tidbit unearthed in these documents is that everybody thinks Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is nuts. A lot of people, including leaders of neighboring countries, live in fear that he’s erratic, unreasonable, and might do something unpredictable or dangerous.

Wikileaks file room: arrow shows the pink folder
of fake documents invented to embarrass Iran,
whose reputation was impeccable before this.

Maybe it’s a bit unforeseen that this belief is held even among some regimes we may think of as being not particularly friendly to the US. It’s at least interesting that you don’t need to agree with the United States to believe Ahmadinejad is off-balance.

The topic of Iran is where some of the responses to these leaks have gotten entertaining.

One of Ahmadinejad’s top advisers, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, told Der Spiegel that he thinks the leaked documents are fake and the US government released them intentionally. Now that would be a surprise. For me, that’s further confirmation that the leadership in Iran is, how do you say, “unique.”

The reporter actually asked him, “Do you question the authenticity of the more than 250,000 documents?” Not exactly, he responded, “When someone wants to suggest something, they include fake information with real information so as to create a certain impression.”

Why, that’s the most shocking thing I’ve heard since Sarah Palin condemned Julian Assange’s “sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

Naturally, the habitually-unaware Mrs. Palin seems to also have been unaware that Mr. Assange is Australian. He was born un-American. I swear, somebody needs to change that lady’s Twitter password.

Secret communications were also unearthed which indicate that Nicolas Sarkozy is the big shit in France and he has surrounded himself with “oui” men. Everybody wants to please the handsome French prime minister with the super hot wife.

I knew this was true when I was in fourth grade and I realized that the rich, good-looking kids weren’t living like the rest of us. What was true at St. Margaret Mary School in Louisville apparently continues to be true at the highest levels of French government. Nice job, little man.

Julian Assange on a recent trip in Sweden

News flash! Canadians don’t really like being America’s little brother. They think Americans are scam artists with guns.

But still, they want to be invited whenever the big English-speaking countries get together to do stuff; stuff like deploying troops, sharing intelligence.

And why not? Canada is the third most populous English-speaking country in NATO, after all. What?! Canada is in NATO? There’s your front page story!

Some things we still haven’t learned about Canada: Do they have a president or a prime minister? Can you name him or her? Whose queen is that on their coins? That’s what I thought. So sad. Nobody knows anything about America’s li’l bro.

The $3.00 way to get out of talking
about politics when traveling.

Despite all this, I have a feeling Canadians would prefer their current arrangement with the United States to any alternatives.

The truth is that Canada is a huge, awesome country that goes largely unnoticed internationally. And because they’re so cozy with America, nobody’s gonna start any shit with Canada. The scam artists with guns below their unsecured southern borders are the best thing that ever happened to the Great White North (John Candy notwithstanding). The cost of securing their gigantic borders and maintaining an army proportionally sized to Canada’s population and land mass is essentially unnecessary.

Besides, Canada’s secret existence makes it easier for American travelers around the world when things like George W. Bush come along. Just slap some red maple leaf flags on your luggage and no Europeans will lecture you about American foreign policy.

A casual, candid shot of Vlad on a normal day.
Someone with a camera just happened to be there.

Did you know that Vladimir Putin is like the Godfather in Russia? News to me. Even though he’s not officially in charge anymore, it’s clear that he’s still the man. The leaked cables referred to Dmitry Medvedev as “Robin” to Putin’s “Batman.” Now, if Batman was really in charge of Russia, you’d have my attention. Instead, again, we learned what we already knew: Medvedev is Vladimir Putin’s little bitch.

Nothing happens if Putin doesn’t like it. And when certain things do happen, the people who did them won’t be trying anything like that again.

Just like the Godfather, if you’re lucky, he’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. But usually, I wouldn’t expect an offer. Just know which dark arts you’re not supposed to be dabbling in – journalism, for example.

Putin Huntin’

Did you suspect anything less from the dude who organizes photo shoots of himself riding horseback with his shirtless Russian muscles glistening in the sunshine? (Some photos suggest he’s even too much of a real man to use anything over SPF-5.)

Here’s a shocker: Afghanistan is a certified mess. If someone is in the Afghan government, they’re probably corrupt. If someone is in their army or police force, they’re probably corrupt. If they’re in the Taliban, they’re probably corrupt. If they’re from Pakistan or working with the Americans or just in Afghanistan on vacation… shit, if someone is the president of Afghanistan they’re probably corrupt.

I was gonna say all these Taliban guys are corrupt,
but I don’t recognize the one with the pot of chili.

I had no idea. I was under the impression that international meddling in Afghanistan always turned out well.

However, according to this shocking new information, Afghans don’t typically pop out the champagne and crumpets when a foreign army shows up. How rude! And I thought the Vietnamese were ungrateful.

Speaking of excursions of that nature, it turns out that people in the United States armed forces don’t always act respectably toward other cultures and it’s possible that sometimes – just sometimes – when they’re under extreme pressure and away from their families for years at a time – they behave in inappropriate ways.

“Let’s see here… A-H-M-A-D-I-N-E-J-A-D-D-DDDDDD…
Shit, I hate this thing. Can we just call Washington?”

WHAT WE REALLY WANTED TO KNOW

Honestly, I have to say, the biggest genuine revelation in the release of all these diplomatic cables is that people still communicate using cables!

How do you even send a cable? What is that anyway? Is that like a telegram or something?

I mean, I presume “sending a cable” is a secure means of communication. As many people may not know, the US government has its own parallel Internet which is completely separate from the public, civilian Internet. Still, its obvious why diplomats, the Pentagon and the State Department wouldn’t just use phone calls or emails.

Well, we might learn something here after all.

It turns out that a cable may not actually be a “cable” at all. It’s an old timey word from the days when a secure line of communication actually was a physical cable. These days, while they are still called “cables,” they are actually secure, encrypted messages which are sent electronically.

Genuine US Embassy cable obtained by this
website during a lengthy investigation

What is certainly not shocking about all of this is that people are freaking out for absolutely no reason. That’s to be expected.

Perhaps I should say it more clearly: the main reasons people are freaking out (the stories I mentioned above) are not revelations at all.

I’m still waiting for something to get leaked that is not what everybody always thought was true. I’m still waiting to hear something that surprises me… Like, parents actually do understand. Or that one of KFC’s secret eleven herbs and spices is Soylent Green. Or that you can get pregnant by just kissing… but not if do it standing up… or if you’re wearing jeans.

Next they’re gonna tell us that Sweden and Switzerland really are the same country. Again, no surprises. Most people already think that’s true.

(Oh, and by the way, the prime minister of Canada, since 2006, is Stephen Harper.)

16 thoughts on “Wikileaks: No Alarms, No Surprises

  1. I have been to Sweden AND Switzerland and I can assure you, they are the same country, just north of Europe I think. Your article is funny and sadly true. I put a Swedish flag on my backpack when I travel and try to look as pale as possible and people don’t even see me, which works well for a photographer.

  2. As an American living in America I can say that all the excitement about WikiLeaks ha nothing to do with the information released. In fact, most Americans really don’t know or care about the details of the leaked documents.
    Americans enjoy drama no matter how hollow it is. All of the rebuttals from America are done for Hollywood effect. Self-gratifying drama that attacks “them”..the foreigners.
    Fortunatly, many Americans can laugh at themselves and their society.

  3. “It’s at least interesting that you don’t need to agree with the United States to believe Ahmadinejad is off-balance”

    It’s interesting how that works isn’t it? One could even be mistaken if they believed that it was Iran that had actually occupied and destroyed its neighbors rather than the United States.

    Funny how being surrounded by armed forces of the very nation that subverted your democracy 57 years ago and is on record as working towards “regime change” in your country by any means necessary can throw one “off-balance”.

  4. :-) yes, you just described the most not surprising things. What does surprise me is that Sweden did “an informal agreement” to exchange information of Swedish citizens. Without the knowledge of the government. USA also put pressure on the Swedish government to pass the FRA-law and IPRED law (computer survaillance). Which is not VERY DEMOCRATIC for a democratic countrey like USA. I would say it’s more “Stalin and Lenin” style.

    Obama and Hillay

  5. Samba – since you comparing Sweden to the Stalin-era Soviet Union, I suggest you read some modern history. It might help you see how foolish your analogy is.

  6. I heaved a sigh of relief when i read your interesting piece. Finally, I know I am not alone. I spent several days wondering if there was something wrong with me. I’m yet to come across any information that can be described as a revealation. There has been nothing that I didn’t know already or at least suspected.The whole saga points to the power of the global media and their collaborators. so much energy dissipated on an issue that has little relevance. Why should we care about what government leaders or diplomats think about themselves?

  7. Your piece really made me laugh – in fact, it hardly appears any more on our news in the UK, because – well, none if it is News! Not if you have two braincells to rub together, anyway.

  8. Howdy, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and I finally felt like leaving a comment. I am dating a swedish national and intend on moving there in the fall. I am from oklahoma (kind of the south, kind of like kentucky). I was wondering if you had any ideas or tips for someone looking for a job who isnt yet fluent in swedish. Thanks a lot.

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