- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
- ISTOOK: IRS “wants to throw us in jail,” says tea party leader
- Easter woes: Chocolate costs soar, becoming ‘unaffordable’ luxury
- Michaels craft chain confirms hackers hit 3M customers
- Special Forces’ suicide rates hit record levels — casualties of ‘hard combat’
- Many Americans would quickly face financial hardship after losing job, poll shows
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford thanks supporters at re-election campaign bash
Also from WikiLeaks cables: First-lady face lifts and alcohol-soaked dinners
A first lady who has a problem showing a “full range of facial expressions” as a result of extensive cosmetic surgery?
A soulful rendition of “Layla” by rock legend Eric Clapton to thaw frosty U.S.-North Korea ties?
David Letterman: No. 1 weapon against religious extremism?
U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks do not all contain state secrets bound to embarrass and upset governments.
Some reveal the acerbic wit of their authors.
Azerbaijan’s fashionable first lady, Mehriban Aliyeva, is the subject of a January cable that notes she underwent “substantial cosmetic surgery” that has curtailed her range of facial expressions.
Describing a September 2008 event at which Mrs. Aliyeva and her two daughters hosted Lynne Cheney, it says: “Prior to the Second Lady’s arrival, while the three ladies were waiting for Mrs. Cheney’s car, one Secret Service agent asked ‘which one of those is the mother?’ Emboffs (embassy officials) and White House staff studied the three for several moments, and then Emboff said, ‘Well, logically the mother would probably stand in the middle.’”
The suggestion that the U.S. government organize a concert in Pyongyang by Mr. Clapton reportedly came from North Korean officials who said it could build good will between Washington and Pyongyang.
The 2007 cable pointed out that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s second son, Kim Jong-chol, is a “great fan” of the British blues rocker.
Tales of hard-drinking officials are rampant.
An August 2006 cable describes how a “rather unusual,” three-hour-plus “alcohol-sodden lunch” between U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Richard E. Hoagland and Tajikistan’s minister of defense, Sherali Khairulloyev, had “helped place another brick in the wall of U.S.-Tajikistan military relations.”
The ambassador “lost track of the toasts after his tenth” and by the end of the lunch, Mr. Khairulloyev was slurring and unsteady on his feet.
Another message describes then-Kazakh Defense Minister Daniyal Akhmetov, who “appears to enjoy loosening up in the tried and true ‘homo-sovieticus’ style - i.e. drinking oneself into a stupor.”
Recounting a meeting between Mr. Akhmetov and a senior Defense Department official in June 2007, it said: “Slouching in his chair and slurring all kinds of Russian participles, Akhmetov explained to this very senior guest that he had just been at a cadet graduation reception, ‘toasting Kazakhstan’s newly-commissioned officers.’ “
“Who was toasted more - the Defense Minister or the cadets - is a matter of pure speculation,” the cable’s author noted dryly.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Amid clashes, White House nixes 'lethal' Ukraine aid
- U.S. rebukes Iran's U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- U.S. missing out on big opportunities in Africa, Liberian official says
- House follows Senate in passing bill to bar Iran's U.N. pick
- Obama admin unfairly pitting China against North Korea: diplomat
TWT Video Picks
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Immigration still on hold: Boehner's office
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Supreme Court weighs appeal to concealed-carry gun laws
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- BRUCE: Obama deliberately emboldening America's enemies
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.