back to article Wikileaks: Berlusconi useless, Pope Catholic

The release today of leaked US State Department cables is unlikely, despite some media claims, to shake western democracy to the very foundation of sub-prime mortgages on which it stands. Among the Wikileaks shockers are the descriptions of Silvio Berlusconi as "feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader", …


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  1. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge


    In woods everywhere, bears are shaking* themselves waiting for the next revelation.


  2. SuperTim

    Where the hell were these memos gleaned from?

    some of this stuff sounds like the sort of thing one person says to another when they are having a piss in the gents. Hardly the sort of "leak" i was expecting!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: SuperTim

      How dare you question the great Assange? These gossipy tid-bits are crucial to the survival and proper functioning of Open Democracies!

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        Never a truer word...

        ...spoken in jest!

        Without shite like this, the circulations of magazines like OK and Hello, plus all the red-top papers and finally the shitty ITV reality and celeb gossip shows, would just crumble pulling civilization to its knees!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      It may be useful to some

      Do not be fooled, there is a better explanation of this here:

      The rest is smoke and mirrors by various players.

  3. Number6


    It's good to know that Prince Philip has passed on his ability to speak plainly and commit diplomatic gaffes. Hopefully Prince Andrew will be at least as successful as his father in this respect.

    1. Rex Alfie Lee
      Thumb Down

      Prince Andrew

      Hardly ever speaks publicly so this is all for nought...

  4. Titus Technophobe


    Whilst it appears that most of the leaked documents are indeed very mundane it still cannot disguise the fact that the actions of Wikileaks are reckless. Assange should be charged with treason.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      So you don't actually know what treason is then?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Treason against what? He isn't American.

      Also, treason is bollocks anyway - you should be more harshly punished because you operated against the interests of your own government? What happens when the interests or the government change - suddenly you are innocent again? A crime (if there is one) should be prosecuted as the actual crime regardless of who it is committed against.

      /Unexpected treason rant

      1. Shannon Jacobs
        Big Brother

        I wonder if the leaker could be charged with treason?

        However, I think the deep issue here is whether or not secrecy itself can survive as a concept in this computerized age. Obviously Facebook thinks not, but how much of your personal data will be shared before you can't stand it? Will we see mass epidemics of suicides from public shaming? Will privacy become the most valuable luxury good available only to the super-rich?

        1. Andrew Newstead


          will we see a mass rejection of computer systems and modern communications?

          No, I don't think so either, although it is not a long step to see that the most sensitive information may be declared not to be stored electronically, I suppose at least you can eat or burn paper...

          I think we are moving to the the transparent society that the SF author David Brin have been banging on about for years, where it becomes impossible (and eventually illegal) to keep secrets.

        2. Bumpy Cat
          Big Brother

          Re: I wonder if the leaker could be charged with treason?

          Google for "human search engine china" and read about the stories - some uplifting, some horrible - of mass online searches by tens of thousands of people in China. Mass computerization and the fading of privacy is already changing things, and where it will end up is something we should be thinking about.

          1. Titus Technophobe


            The cut and pasted copy of the treason laws were Australian.

            Just as an aside I have friends who have been to both Afghanistan and Iraq. I have family who may now be posted to Afghanistan. How come so many people who comment on here support Assange, and Wikileaks releasing operational data?

            I find some of the revelations de rigueur, British Royals upsetting foreigners, Americans wanting to spy on the world and his dog etc. I find some of the leaks interesting e.g. China and North Korea. The leak about Saudi Arabia and Iran puts the US position in the Middle East in a much better light. But I could live without this knowledge to ensure the safety of my friends and family.

            1. Rex Alfie Lee

              Fact is many US so-called "Intelligentia" are not...

              Those being commented on are obviously redneck Wallys who if you gave them a half a brain would have half a brain. They've opened their mouths with a little terse commentary about others from different countries & have been caught out. If we got the same info from another country regarding the rednecked Americans you'd be outraged but that's all. A pathetic excuse for getting upset about it & really comical.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So how do you propose to charge an Australian who's partly responsible for releasing US classified info with treason?

      1. Titus Technophobe


        The aspect of Treason that describes this behaviour would be -

        (f) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist:

        (i) another country; or

        (ii) an organisation;

        Seems clear enough this leak hasn’t just affected the US, but lots of other countries almost certainly including Australia.

        1. Baskitcaise



          The aspect of Treason that describes this behaviour would be -

          (f) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist:

          (i) another country; or

          (ii) an organisation;

          Seems clear enough this leak hasn’t just affected the US, but lots of other countries almost certainly including Australia.


          To what?

          Have a Tea Dance?

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Lovely! Pure delightful

          American legalese.

          Couple this with "It's moral because we're doing it!" and you'll never need any further explanations again, ever.

        3. frank ly

          @Titus re. Treason

          Titus, thank you for confirming that you really don't know what the crime of 'treason' is. We all suspected this and wondered, but now we can stop thinking about it.

    4. Dante


      Treason? how? he's Australian is he not?

    5. James Hughes 1


      I would imagine he would need to be American to be charged with treason, since these are American documents.. He isn't.

      Mind, he probably shouldn't go to the States in the near future. Now that would be reckless.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Reckless indeed.

      Sharing a ragbag mix of diplomatic gossip and sensitive details across a network the size of the planet was (is?) indeed reckless; and that's what the US was (is?) doing.

      Cowboy mentality.

    7. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      And *that* . . .

      . . . is how you troll, ladies and gentlemen.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Wikileaks raised my expectations way high, and only released a bunch of pointless gay banter. I feel betrayed indeed. What am I supposed to do with this spanking new tinfoil hat I bought on eBay? Cost me a fortune, but then it did have the extra mind-waves blocking device. I'll have to wait for the next leak announcement to quickly flog it back.

  5. Richard IV

    This needs a competition...

    State Department officials repeatedly warned against having themes from The Third Man, The 39 Steps or any James Bond film as ringtones.

    Robert Mugabe's barber was a CIA agent tasked with "subliminal tonsorial subversion"

    Monthly diplomatic bulletins from Vanuatu and Tuvalu were identical for 3 years before anyone noticed.

    At least one document ending with "hope this doesn't end up on wikileaks. Lolz"

    Plans to smear media company using a biscuit-based sex scandal.

    1. Spanners Silver badge

      My entries

      Not everyone wants to be an American.

      Most people think that the invasion of Iraq was illegal.

      Nobody else's' army wants to go into action in front of ours.

      Pancakes are not a healthy breakfast food.

    2. mmiied

      combine 2 stories

      "witch of the latest batch of new secraty of states are the hottest these are my top 13 picks"

  6. Anthony Shortland


    are these for real????

    I'm convinced the CIA is producing these leaks

  7. Tim Bergel
    Thumb Down

    What are you on about?

    The *real* eye opener was that numerous Arab governments have encouraged the US to attack Iran, something which your story seems to have passed over!

    Agreed, an awful lot of the rest falls into the 'bleedin obvious' category, but that one definitely is not. Even if it could have been guessed-at, the number of different governments doing this is a big surprise and the information will have major repercussions.

    1. Munchausen's proxy


      Sunni Arabia wanting someone to attack Shiite Persia definitely does fall pretty squarely into the 'bleedin obvious' category.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Actually,

        I think the dig here is at those that have posted moronic bilge in other Reg forums, maintaining that Merkin foreign policy is just to kill brown people at every opportunity, when the truth is we have brown people begging said Merkns to kill other brown people and the US saying "no". What's the betting we won't see any of those idiots posting about these leaks soon?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: What are you on about?

      Eh? That most of the Arab world wants the US to dismember Iran is an eye opener? Seemed pretty blatantly obvious to me. Where've you been living? Ah... in some imaginary world where war doesn't exist and we can all co-exist peacefully so disarm? Sheesh.

      Here's another newsflash - Venezuelans would love the US to come in and remove Chavez.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        @ AC Monday 29th November 2010 21:22 GMT

        "That most of the Arab world wants the US to dismember Iran is an eye opener? "

        Perhaps it's not an eye opener for you. I'm sure it will be for most of the population of Muslim countries. Even if many suspected this, having 'proof' is very important. This will have lots of consequences.

        The - already big- gap between Shiites and Sunnites will grow enormously. On the other hand they'll have to stop using the crappy "Muslim brotherhood" rhetoric. Who knows?Due to their public opinions pressure, they may even have to change their policies radically, and acquire some tolerance and democracy* in the process. One can always dream...

        You remember that old meme that goes something like 'They know that we know, that they know...'. Governments are always playing this kind of games, which are chaotic with just a few players. Wikileaks has added many more players to the game and by doing so they have changed the rules.

        Kudos to them


        "Here's another newsflash - Venezuelans would love the US to come in and remove Chavez."

        Chavez is a populist dictator, and he knows his trade so well that he has yet significant popular support after many years and many errors.

        *Note: by 'more democracy' I mean things like human rights, transparent government, separation of religion and state... you know, all those values that once were abundant in our western democracies.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Oh, come on!

      The presence of such "revelations" amongst these "leaks", so perfectly lined up with ongoing US/Israel policy, is precisely why some of us don't believe a word of any of it.

    4. perlcat
      Paris Hilton

      No, that was not an eye-opener.

      It *was* bleeding obvious. Even if you hadn't heard the rumblings about it before, the "everybody hates everybody else" mentality of the region should have made that perfectly clear.

    5. Will Leamon
      Thumb Down

      Not that surprised really

      I've studied just a little history of that region and wasn't surprised at all by those revelations. Much like christians these guys are Saudis and Iraqis before they are Muslims. There's a history inter-regional strife down there that dates back to at least before Napoleon (that I know of) and would assume probably date back to Rome and before.

      And I think the Brits should especially appreciate any attempt to convince two nations you are hostile towards (both culturally and politically) to go to war with each other. Either way you're coming up roses.

      So in short not only am I not surprised by their encouragement but consider it incredibly hostile to both the U.S. and Iran.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        You should study chronology while you're at it. Particularlly the part about calendars, years, and dating of events.

    6. Anonymous Coward


      I mean, teh Arabs are wanting to kick Irans butts but what on earth would such nations give back to the good old USA, i cant begin to imagin what it is,.....sand perhaps, you know help rebuild some of those nice beaches they have over there...... who knows hey! :)

      1. Duster


        No, really, thanks to the combined effects of the "Green Movement" and various erosion protection plans, we really do need the sand on some of our beaches,

  8. asdf

    leave Nero BERLUSCONI alone

    A corrupt ineffective Italian leader? Can't be, no way, such things never happen.

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Hurr! Durr!

    The Lesterlowski twins are expecting the actual memos of Cigarette Smoking Man from WikiLeaks right now, otherwise they throw a ridiculous tantrum?

    Go back to your tired Dan Brown novels, both of you.

    In case you missed it, these are just the memos of overpaid government employees who are pulling us into directions unwanted by a dog leash around our necks.

    But we knew that since at least Tony The Bliar, s'truth.

  10. Beachrider

    This type of disclosure...

    ... was typically justified in that it EXPOSED Treason. It never even gets close to that. It is more like the USA secret-keeping mechanism got punked.

  11. Si 1

    Gordon Brown

    Did we really need top secret memos to tell us Gordon Brown is a bit unhinged?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gordon Brown

      Please withdraw your comment. Don't you know that information is a threat to national security?

  12. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Own medicine?

    "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

    Well that's what these Govs have been ramming down our throats since the post 9/11 security clamp-down debacle.

    I wonder if they still believe this utter crap statement to be true?

    1. Chris 244
      Thumb Up

      My thoughts exactly.

      Hoisted on your own petard.

  13. Mike Shepherd

    Hell hath no fury... a hack upstaged.

  14. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Major problem

    Now the Pope is only 'probably' Catholic I will need to stop using my 'Is the Pope Catholic... does the bear shit in the woods'... statement when I am emphasising the answer is obviously yes - because now the americans will have it that the answer is only probably. Amazing these people are able to decide the fate of other countries...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I'm interested in...

    Only a little of what has hit the headlines recently fits into the interesting category for me yet. Although half the middle east asking the US to bomb Iran is interesting if not unexpected (the Saudi's did invite the huge military presence to be in their country, largely contributing to the unease which fed Al-Qaeda's rise). I want to see some more subtle stuff which may or may not be in the documents being released. For example official UK/US correspondence during the Falkland's Conflict. Or how the US dealt with their refusal to allow US service personnel to testify at inquiries into friendly fire incidents.

  16. Pawel 1
    Black Helicopters

    Title containing letters and/or numbers

    You may not remember but some time ago there were a few reports of "red mercury" and a lot of speculation on what it is - mostly conspiracy theories.

    Now, one of the memos confirms that it is part of plutonium enrichment process.

    In 1994 (?) a mix of mercury compounds and plutonium was found by police in germany on some individual (see wikipedia for links).

    Connect the dots.

    I need to hide, helicopters are near...

  17. Steve X

    This is nonsense

    Not even al Quaeda could inflate the price of seafood on Fisherman's Wharf to levels that people wouldn't pay.

  18. Mike Hunt 1

    Let me get this right.....

    a bunch of Arab countries that rely on the USA for all their aid / support / military equipment want the US to bomb Iran. Bit of a win-win for them really. They get their despot neighbour eliminated at no expense to themselves.......and we call them 3rd world countries! They have got the good old US of A running round like a big soft dog chasing a stick.

    I did notice that Jordan wanted Iran bombing too.......bit much - just because she couldn't visit good 'ol Peter Andre in hospital!

    /sound of coat being fetched

  19. James 85


    Treason doth never prosper.

    What's the reason?

    If it prosper,

    None dare call it treason.

    Sir John Harrington

    or as Seneca said: successful and fortunate crime is called virtue.

    Invade a country, kill 750,00, internally displace 2,500,000, externally displace 2,000,000, corruptly enrich your mates (Cheney and Rumsfeld) and make Iran a regional superpower with significant influence over the irate Shias in Iraq = good

    Show this happens = bad

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      And don't forget...

      ... that these are the same guys that 'ruled' that waterboarding isn't torture. Why isn't the ICC asking for Dubya to be extradited and judged? -Yeah, I know... :(

      1. HaplessPoet

        Is he any good then?

        I think our openers did a good job in the last Test, so I fail to see why the ICC would want Dubya?

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. mmiied

    department of the bleeding obvious

    am I the only person who thinks we need one of these.

    it's job could be to interveine when a polotition is going to open there mouth and say somthing stupid or to point out the masive holes in there policy?

    they could have stoped such noticable gaffs so tony blaires "martch youths to cash points" speach

  22. Elmer Phud

    Of course it's bleedin' obvious . . .

    . . . but then so were the emperor's new clothes. Everyone was shit-scared to say so until some upstart foreigner opened his gob


  23. Anonymous Coward

    Why did you stop?

    The more you wrote, the funnier they got.

    I don't think you should have stopped until you got to the one about Reagan screwing Thatcher (or the other way around).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DNS cock up

    The whistle blowers thought they were downloading communications from the US gov, but a DNS cock up got them to download the latest issue of The Sun instead.

  25. Mephistro Silver badge

    I have had a revelation!

    With very minor changes, these sayings about Popes and bears could be used to imply improbability instead of certainty.

    "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"

    "Are bears Catholic ? "

    or even

    "Does the Pope shit bears?"

  26. Olivreghw

    Really ?

    So everything seems so obvious that it's time to spit on wikileaks ?

    Cheap I would say...

    So easy to say "I knew it" afterward.

    Whatever you think about wikileaks and Assange they did it. They took insane risks to open a little window on what's going on behind the scene. I'm glad they did. I hope they'll continue and still be safe (but for Assange i'm a bit worried, rednecks look ready to show us how democracy works, waterboard him and hang him asap).

    The US gvt doesn't seem so happy about this new leak, so maybe there is more than already old and useless information inside.

    Journalists (even those of the great El Reg) should try to dig more, to harvest informations from this, do their job instead of making not so funny jokes about all this. Isn't it a bit weird that whistleblower are going through organisations like Wikileaks instead of going directly to the newsmedia? It should make journalists ask question about their job.

  27. Bilgepipe
    Jobs Halo


    Julian Assange is the Saviour of Mankind. Let us all kneel and give thanks for his benevolent "leaking" of a substantial list of new Trivial Pursuit questions for us mere mortals to enjoy. In fact, I'm off to set up a shrine.

    Saint Jobs, because there's no Saint Assange.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Saviour

      Ah, you missed the leaked CIA memo on Steve Jobs being Julian Assange's secret identity? They have surveillance footage of Steve Jobs going into a phone box, emerging as Super WikiMan and flying away to right the world's wrongs.

      Spandex, laser eyes 'n everything. Scary stuff.

  28. Mr Larrington

    Or, as Eddie Izzard said...

    ...Assange est dans l'arbre.

    1. Chris Holt

      Re: Or, as Eddie Izzard said...

      ...Assange est sur la branche (because monkeys struggle to hide in trees, too many bananas)

      Assange est là-bas. Regarde! Il est sur une bicyclette!

  29. skellious

    we need more like this

    This is the funniest thing to ever come out of government. More please! (and does it really do any harm to know the government are human too?)

  30. Bilgepipe


    Do you think he'll leak the memo where the US government calls him a nosy tw*t?

  31. Rex Alfie Lee
    Thumb Up

    A Little Gem...

    Loved this & look forward to lots more. One of the best reads ever from The Register, not for its technical savvy rather its comical value. Hilarious & possibly an insight into real people's views about the jerks they have to deal with & the American rednecked jerks who vacuously impart their scrotal deductions about people they deal with.

    Hilarious! Bring it on...

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