WikiLeaks Gossip

WikiLeaks released a massive cache of secret cables, shedding light on geopolitical games and U.S. foreign-policy maneuvers. Buried among the quarter of a million documents there were also a few fun nuggets. The Daily Beast unearths.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP Photo,Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP Photo

Qaddafi’s Botox

Maybe the reason Qaddafi can’t leave his nurse’s side is that she administers his Botox. It could also be because he’s a hypochondriac. Qaddafi is almost obsessively dependent on his longtime Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who, according to one cable, is a “voluptuous blonde.” Qaddafi reportedly can’t travel without Kolotnystka, because she alone “knows his routine.” When her visa was delayed during Qaddafi’s trip to the U.S., the Libyan government sent a private jet to bring her to Portugal during Qaddafi’s rest stop. Why was Qaddafi resting in Portugal? Because he refuses to fly for more than eight hours and dislikes flying over water.

Michel Euler / AP Photo

Sarkozy, Naked

U.S. diplomats had a harsh assessment of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was described as “an emperor with no clothes,” “thin-skinned” with an “authoritarian personal style.” As German Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle reportedly said, “One never really knew what was going to happen with Sarkozy involved.”

Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

The Putin-Berlusconi Bromance

Maybe it’s love? Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have been known to hold joint meetings on several occasions. But their special relationship was well documented in this recent document dump, and the Italian press was happy to remind readers of their holidays together, with Berlusconi going to the Black Sea with Putin and Putin vacationing in Berlusconi’s luxury villa in Sardinia.

Presidential Press Service via AP Photo

Batman and Robin

Putin also enjoys a close relationship to his protégé, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who according to one cable plays “Robin to Putin’s Batman.” In case that comparison left any questions as to who’s in charge, further cables describe Putin as the “top dog” and Medvedev, who is technically the senior statesman, as “pale” and “ indecisive.”

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Elton John in Kazakhstan

If glamour is not the first thing that comes to mind when Kazakhstan is mentioned, perhaps these cables may change your opinion: The political elite there is living la vida loca—drinking, dancing, and flying in pop stars for private concerts. A cable from 2008 details the birthday party of the president’s son-in-law, Timur Kulibayev, who celebrated the big four-one by flying in Elton John for a private concert. Kulibayev’s wife reportedly got a Nelly Furtado appearance for her birthday. Russian oligarch Aleksandr Mashkevich held another dinner party for two U.S. congressmen. But the nameless diplomat was not impressed with the nibbles on offer: “It is not clear what Mashkevich is spending his billions on, but it is certainly not culinary talent.”

AP Photo

Silvio Berlusconi: Party Animal

A diplomat writes that Silvio Berlusconi is "feckless, vain and ineffective as a modern European leader" and his "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest." The 74-year-old prime minister is in the spotlight for giving $9,200 to a teenage nightclub dancer named Ruby after one of these dinners.

Ruth Plunkett, File / AP Photo

The Great Escape

The story of a dentist’s escape from Tehran probably has some movie studio types scrambling as fast as State Department officials—the story is pure Hollywood. Hossein Ghanbarzadeh Vahedi, a 75-year-old California dentist of Iranian descent, was trying to return home to the U.S. after a family visit, when Iranian officials confiscated his passport, demanding $150,000 and for Vahedi’s sons to stop promoting concerts by Persian pop singers. Instead, Vahedi stocked up on heart medication and hired two drug smugglers to lead him over the mountains to Turkey on horseback. He then crossed Turkey by bus and arrived at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, where diplomats found him “suffering some aches and pains” but “in good health.”

Thomas Peters / Reuters

Diplomats or Wedding Crashers?

An American diplomat detailed his attendance at a traditional Dagestan wedding in the North Caucasus region. The report summarizes the lavish wedding of the son of a local politician—a wedding that the diplomat attended to learn about the relations between Russia and the Muslim world. Instead of political insight, however, the diplomat found “whole cows boiling in a cauldron” and “stupendous” consumption of alcohol.


The Pope Pool

Well isn’t this awkward? U.S. intelligence was banking on a South American pope during the 2005 conclave to pick the next pope. American documents and an Italian newspaper report that Pope Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was a surprise win to U.S. intelligence officials. Documents detail how government officials didn’t think Ratzinger would get past the first round of votes.