Edgar Walters Cables: Vatileaks
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Classified By: Ambassador Edgar Walters, Reasons 1.7 (d) and (k) and (n) and (y)
1. (C/NG) The effectiveness of the mass media presentation of recent disquiet in the Vatican has been put into question over the misuse and abuse of stupidly derivative “buzz names” being coined by international news outlets. Specifically, there is concern that the term “Vatileaks” – a name crassly developed from the superior and ultimately more sensible Vikileaks – has transformed an already borderline comedic incidence of criminality into near farce.
2. (C/NG) Alternately valet and butler (depending on who you ask) to Pope Benedict XVI of the Holy Roman Church, Paolo Gabriele has faced arrest in response to accusations that he has leaked private and confidential information to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi as preparatory information for a written exposé of questionable Vatican Bank dealings. The controversy has led to extensive media coverage, the bulk of which has focussed on the catch-all name “Vatileaks” to describe the scandal. Vatican officials close to the sovereign entity’s head of state have expressed disquiet at this branding, partly because it equates their hierarchical structure to that of a common democracy but mostly because it makes the 0.44 km2 territory sound like a leaking cheese vat. Indeed, several of the world media’s less reputable commentators are already speculating that the black plumes emitted during the at times arduous process of the election of a new pope are evidence of the College of Cardinals sneaking in a bit of Dutch Edam smoking while they make their minds up.
NOMINAL VARIATIONS ——-
3. (C/NG) Despite the awkward connotations brought on by this branding, the three Vatican officials who could be contacted since the breaking of the scandal and who were not at the time busy rorting funds were unanimously relieved that the inevitable alternative, “Vaticangate”, had been narrowly avoided on this occasion. Although an initial contender according to sources leaked by somebody else’s butler, the derivative of “Watergate” (and almost every other political scandal since 1972) was abandoned when it was reasoned that the public would assume news outlets were referring exclusively to the entrance to the city itself. While this would suitably draw attention away from the nature of the scandal itself, certain influential Vatican insiders have insisted on the suppression of its use as a descriptor, since discussion of the city’s gates immediately conjures up images of Swiss Guards and their silly frilly uniforms.
4. (C/NG) The effectiveness of the Vatican’s police force has equally been placed under the microscope in the wake of Gabriele’s arrest. As Vatican City operates as a fully independent state, governments and police services the world over are beginning to question the effectiveness of so inexperienced a police unit in matters of major crime as the Vatican’s own. Advocates of strong measures in police enforcement are especially concerned, one right-wing former police commissioner (nation of origin suppressed for reasons of anonymity) who was contacted in the compiling of this report observing, “It’s going to be like Midsomer f**king Murders, innit? They’ll pounce about in their frilly bloody lace and multicoloured bloody Swap Shop tights and ask for nowt but penance from all these hardened criminals.” A less northern but equally dismissive authority, who has not mistaken the Swiss Guard for Vatican police, has noted, “I’ve seen their training programme in action. When they play Good Cop/Bad Cop, the opening line to the suspect is, ‘We’re going to throw the book at you – the Good Book.’ Tell me how that’s supposed to achieve results.”
PUNITIVE MEASURES ——-
5. (C/NG) Vatican prosecutors – none of whom, the city-state is quick to insist, have Mafia ties – are exploring different options for punishment when (sorry: should) Gabriele be found guilty, as there is no natural precedent for this particular judicial scenario in the sovereign nation’s history. Vatican City is without prison facilities, and the USA’s State Department has recently added the Vatican to its Financial Crimes List, so access to the facilities at Guantánamo Bay is out of the question. Consequently, Vatican high echelons are now seriously discussing the possibility of introducing the death penalty as a single stage measure for sentences above the level of fines to overcome this shortfall. Unconfirmed reports suggest the pope himself is in favour of the gas chamber, followed by a swift cremation of the remains.
6. (C/NG) With many media outlets jumping on the opportunity to headline the Vatileaks scandal with variations on “The Butler Did It”, the Estate of Agatha Christie has elected to pursue a civil suit firstly against Gabriele himself for being a butler whodunnit, and more audaciously against every media outlet the world over that has opted to employ the phrase in this or any other context. With reprints of Christie’s novels continuing to sell well and with The Mousetrap now in its record 60th year in the West End, executors of Christie’s estate have determined that their present revenue streams are not enough and that the control of a concept introduced into popular fiction by somebody else altogether should be pursued to fully placate their egos. It is anticipated that little will come of the suit besides the usual hue and cry that author’s intellectual property rights are sacrosanct, etc.
PUBLICATION STRATEGIES ——-
7. (C/NG) The revelations behind Vatileaks have come as a shock to Pope Benedict XVI not because of the betrayal of close confidence at their core but because he had at the time of the scandal’s breaking just lined up a lucrative publishing deal for his own memoirs. The same Hollywood insiders queried in the preparation of Cable 78204 observe that the pope’s contract included a cinematic adaptation clause, and that no fewer that seven major Hollywood studios – as well as thirty-two minor ones – were intent on making bids to exercise that option. The most favourable bid, from Pinetree Studios, already had a director lined up and was considering casting in the role of the pope either the old lady from those Miss Marple adaptations or Emperor Palpatine. With the release of Gabriele’s notes, Hollywood is forced to resort to a familiar tactic: simultaneously releasing two films about exactly the same thing.
8. (C/NG) These cables are in no way affiliated with the so-called “Vikileaks” entity responsible for accusing Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews of unbecoming behaviour, and are much more amusing besides. This document is intended as satire. Therefore, if you are stupid enough to use any of this material as a news source – or let it shake your faith one iota – then it’s your own damn fault.