Since the first few Julian Assange-saturated months of 2011, the U.S. media have largely moved on to Arab revolutions and other sex scandals. But WikiLeaks has continued releasing embassy cables -- fewer than 16,000 of the more than 250,000 have been published so far. In contrast to its early, now-frayed partnerships with the Guardian and the New York Times, WikiLeaks is now working with local papers in countries like Peru, Haiti, and Ireland to release cables of national interest. Here are a few of the highlights:
With highly anticipated national elections approaching this weekend, the government certainly can't be thrilled with the State Department's candid assessments of the country's political turmoil and the health of its aging king. And the circumstances surrounding the release of the cables are controversial, to say the least.
The cables were viewed and analyzed by Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a British journalist working in Bangkok for Reuters. But the news agency decided not to publish his reporting on them due to "questions regarding length, sourcing, objectivity, and legal issues." Marshall says Reuters may be worried about the safety of its staff in Thailand, where insulting the royal family is an offense punishable by jail time. So, Marshall resigned, left Thailand, and is writing on the cables anyway.
One cable suggests that it is "hard to overestimate the political impact of the uncertainty surrounding the inevitable succession crisis which will be touched off once King Bhumibol passes" and that his presumed successor, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn "neither commands the respect nor displays the charisma of his beloved father." Another relays reports that the king is "beset long-term by Parkinson's, depression, and chronic lower back pain."
But that's not nearly the best of it. There are some more bizarre details as well. The crown prince, according to the cables, now spends most of his time in Europe "with his leading mistress and beloved white poodle Fufu" -- the dog was named after one of his air marshals. Needless to say, Vajiralongkorn -- next in line for the throne -- isn't much loved by the Thai people. Another suggests the Thais might have a hard time accepting the crown prince's wife, Princess Srirasmi, as their queen because of a "widely distributed salacious video of the birthday celebration for the Crown Prince's white poodel Fufu, in which Srirasmi appears wearing nothing more than a G-string."
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