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What fools these mortals be

14 December 2010

Setty’s notebook, after studying the wikileaks related to his part of the world (South America) and discovers what we’ve seen so far are:

…interesting tidbits that for whatever reason the nice U.S. embassy people had never seen fit to leak earlier. I’m impressed with their discretion — there are a lot of reports that make people look like fools, and many of those apparent fools are not best friends with the USA.

It’s amusing to get a peek at U.S. “intelligence gathering” — the official view of Bush’s fiasco of a visit to Latin America in March 2007 “was rather different from that of The Google. Like me, the Google remembers the visit as an utter fracas, with Bush being hounded by riots, while Chavez made a well attended speech nearby.”

And no wonder: Setty quotes El País in uncovering at least one way the U.S. State Department gathers the information it uses to make decisions that affect the rest of us not in a nuclear power with too much of the world’s money:

… the embassy had lookouts keep an eye on the line so they could help high-level people jump the queue, and then hit them up for info.

Those “high-level people” including relatives of cabinet ministers, which means the U.S. State Department is at least cognizant that family relationships play a much more important role in Latin America than they do in the United States, but how would they know someone standing in a line outside an Embassy is the niece of a oil minister unless they are engaged in wholesale spying. And, while I expect governments are like I am, pure as the driven slush, wouldn’t soliciting something of value (information) in return for favors (an expedited visa) be a form of bribery?

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