WikiLeaks: The five funniest cables about the ‘war on drugs’

The US war on drugs may have been a political and military failure, but it makes for some great diplomatic dispatches.

Poring over US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks can be a dull business – diplomatic jargon and boring posts on consular activities. But like the journalists who read them, the young diplomats who filed the dispatches from US embassies sometimes like to have fun. Here are five of the funniest titles from dispatches related to the “war on drugs”. 

1) Coke, tokes and inept folks: Can Sierra Leon stay tough on drugs

2) Russia: Nashi summer camp 2008: Sex, thugs and the ROC on a roll (ROC in this case stands for the Russian Orthodox Church)

3) Haiti: Preval on thugs drugs and his health

4) Mexico: Beauty and the beasts: Miss Sinaloa detained with drug thugs

5) Guinea Bissau: No confidence in government, high confidence in drugs

These cables might have caused smirks among seasoned diplomats when the dispatches were sent back to the state department in Washington.

In small diplomatic outposts in places like Freetown, Sierra Leone on Conakry, Guinea, getting noticed by superiors might be the biggest concerns of young diplomats.

The context and motivation of the cable writers goes back to ancient history,” says Sanho Tree, the drug policy co-ordinator at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. “Diplomats have universal concerns: Is my star ascending back home? How will it advance my career? Do I need to make it more sexy so it will be read by superiors?”

These quirky dispatches do not match the state department’s annual official report on the war on drugs “where everything comes out rosy” and “progress is always being made”, Tree says.

And, while the cables might be lurid, providing sometimes crass details about the drug war, Tree says they “reveal what is actually happening, apart from the political line”.

A map locating some of the drug war cables, can be accessed here.

More from Features
Most Read