On Sunday, newspapers published discoveries from hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables disclosed by Wikileaks. But the palace intrigue isn’t only for the diplomatic set. It’s also for the business-obsessed. There are plenty of gossipy comments about the people who control business, trade, and currency across the world. Fortune is keeping its eye on those memos so you don’t have to. Check back regularly to see what we dredge up.
By Chadwick Matlin, contributor
One source: the stock market. Even if aspects of it would be illegal under U.S. law.
The real estate market is also ripe, both in cash and ethic violations.
Also, a side note: There isn’t one “Here’s looking at you kid,” joke in the entire memo. Do diplomats have no sense of humor?
If that’s the case, how are the press and society going to treat Wikileaks going forward? The disclosures have led the news for five days running. But they can’t possibly make the front pages for the next 1,883. Will Wikileaks speed up its disclosures? Or will it keep them to a relative trickle, so journalists, historians, and hobbyists can digest them at a reasonable rate?
Ultimately, we have the same question as the rest of the press corps: What’s Julian Assange’s plan?
For clues, head over to the Guardian, where he did a Q+A with readers. His closing thought:
But he’s back! As always, the Swiss stayed neutral, and a Swiss domain provider bailed Assange out. Wikilieaks.org is no more, but Wikileaks.ch is alive and well.
The New York Times questioned Massoud about the incident, and he vowed that it was not true. “Fifty-two million dollars is a pile of money as big as this room,” he told the Times.
But somehow, on a salary of a few hundred dollars a month, he has waterfront property in Dubai.
The Guardian is reporting tonight that Russian gas supplies to the EU and Ukraine have deep ties to the mafia. Per the Guardian:
From Russia to Germany, where there was some anger back in 2009 when GM–then controlled by the US government–chose not to sell 55 percent of its European unit, Opel to car parts manufacturer Magna. The diplomatic cable that followed was titled, “GM DECISION NOT TO SELL OPEL GREETED BY SHOCK AND ANGER IN GERMANY.” From the memo:
“Merkel herself was reportedly highly upset over GM’s flip flop.
The coda: In January, Opel announced 8,300 layoffs, 4,000 of which were slated for jobs in Germany. And in November, GM raised $20 billion for its initial public offering.
His volatility also made him a great dinner guest. In 2010, again before he resigned, he sat down for dinner with American ambassador Richard Hoagland. As Hoagland arrived, Idenov was on the phone. From the memo:
And in a section of the memo labeled “HOW TO ORDER LAMB,” it recounts Idenov’s eating habits:
Next time you’re in Astana, don’t get the steak tartare.
Nov. 30, 12:45 p.m.: Kim Jong-il’s successor, his son Kim Jong-un, appears unlikely to vastly change the country’s economic policy. Even before the country revalued its currency in 2009, which wiped out much of North Koreans’ savings, American diplomats knew that Kim Jong-un favored a system that made North Koreans heavily dependent on the government for economic assistance. From the memo: