Even as Wikileaks battles for its digital existence and Interpol closes in on Julian Assange, the cables keep flowing. This week brought details about Berlusconi and Putin's bromance and China's Googling habits, plus tantalizing hints of extraterrestrials. Diplomatic gossip roundup!

  • Wikileaks editor Julian Assange has hinted that references to UFOs will be contained in upcoming cables. In a chat with readers of the Guardian, he writes "in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs." We were originally thinking Wikileaks was the TMZ of international diplomacy—maybe it's actually the Weekly World News? [Foreign Policy]
  • Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's well-known bromance ("Vladio") is based in a mutual macho appreciation. In a cable, one diplomat wrote: "Berlusconi admires Putin's macho, decisive, and authoritarian governing style, which the Italian PM believes matches his own." They go to mixed martial arts fights with Jean Claude Van Damme (true) and spend hours in the steam room together just punching one another in the arm. (Unconfirmed.) We hear Berlusconi's pet name for Putin is "Vlad the Impaler" because of his luck with the ladies, and the two have matching mermaid tattoos "somewhere special". [Daily Beast]
  • The Chinese Politburo is as narcissistic as any American tween. When China's propaganda minister Li Changchun Googled himself and found "results critical of him," he single-handedly directed hack attacks against Google in China, according to a cable. This guy is so self-involved he probably has a Google news alert for his own name—which means he'll read this post. Hey, Li Changchun! You're a douchebag. Go ahead and hack our computer in retaliation; there are things on our hard-drive that will make your brain explode. [NYT]
  • For all the time he spends being… attended to by his blonde Ukrainian nurse, Libyan President Muammar al-Qadhafi is strung pretty tight. A couple years ago, officials refused to let him pitch his tent outside of the UN building in New York. Literally, guys: It was a real tent. Don't be gross! Qadhafi was so pissed that he refused to return highly-enriched uranium to Russia. (He was borrowing it to make a birthday yellowcake for his cousin.) The U.S. started freaking out about the possibility that it might have been stolen, but the big Q Man delivered it right before the crisis point. [NYDN]
  • Canadian television is full of anti-American stereotypes. One diplomat suggested this was because Canadians "always carry a chip on their shoulder"—they feel "condemned to always play 'Robin' to the U.S. 'Batman.'" Hey, it's better than being Turkey, which plays the Lennie to our George. (Kidding, Turkey! Love your baklava and NBA players.) [NYT ]
  • Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman went on holiday with an entourage of 700 people. That's 350 people, plus 350 servants to carry those people on their backs. [Guardian]
  • One U.S. diplomat waxed poetic on the killing of Bruno, a wild bear that terrorized Germany for a month in 2006: "True wilderness… hasn't really existed in Germany for generations—nature is good as long as it is controlled, channeled, and subdued." That's interesting information—wish it helped advanced U.S. interests in any way. Was this bear a member of Al-Qaeda or something? [Foreignpolicy]
  • The first Wikileaks-related firing has been reported: Helmut Metzner, German minister's aide was sacked after a cable revealed he'd been working as a mole for the U.S. government and passing off unflattering information about German politicians. Seems that Wikileaks is teaching diplomats what the rest of us already know: Don't piss where you sleep. [Guardian]

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