Forget policy, some of this WikiLeaks stuff is great to read


Forget policy, some of this WikiLeaks stuff is great to read

By Mark Seibel | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Note to Tatiana Gfoeller, U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan:
If you ever tire of the Foreign Service — or get drummed out — there
may be a reporting job for you.

Gfoeller, a career diplomat who speaks six languages — seven, if you
count English — is the author of a WikiLeak'd diplomatic cable about
Britain's Prince Andrew that made headlines in London this week
because she said the conversation at a brunch the prince shared with
diplomats in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, two years ago "verged on the

Among the prince's targets, Gfoeller reported, were the French, whose
penchant for corruption, in the prince's opinion, was nearly as great
as the Kyrgyz government's, and the Americans, whose ignorance of
geography placed them in a category definitely inferior to his own

But it isn't just the prince's indiscretions that make Gfoeller's
account so worthy of notice; Andrew isn't a diplomat, after all, and
as the second son of Queen Elizabeth II he isn't likely to be King of
England, either. Rather, it's the rollicking way Gfoeller tells the
tale, filled with verbatim quotes, witty observations and attention to
setting the scene.

So detailed is the account that a blogger at a website called
Disappeared News suggested that she must have been wearing a wire.

To wit: After one businessman complained to the prince about being
"harassed and hounded by Kyrgyz tax authorities," Gfoeller wrote, "The
prince reacted with unmitigated patriotic fervor. . . . 'A contract is
a contract,' he insisted. 'You have to take the rough with the
smooth.' "

After other businessmen complained about having to pay bribes to
Kyrgyzstan's president's son, "Prince Andrew took up the topic with
gusto . . . 'All of this sounds exactly like France,' " she quoted the
prince as saying, noting that "at this point the Duke of York laughed
uproariously." ... (cont)

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