Assange Updates: British Cops, Swiss Banks, Canadian Cabals


In today's WikiLeaks news, the police in the U.K. are reportedly preparing to arrest site editor Julian Assange. An added difficulty for Assange should he find himself on trial: The Swiss Post Office has closed his defense fund's bank account.

Meanwhile, Jaime Weinman has written an entertaining post about a WikiLeaks cable that got a fair amount of attention north of the border: an analysis of alleged anti-Americanism on Canadian television.

The breezy tone of the cable kind of suggests someone who was assigned to write about this show but doesn't exactly take it seriously. At the very least, the writer has a future as a television blogger if he ever wants to go in for that sort of thing, with memorable, pithy descriptions of episodes and characters: "the arrival of an arrogant, albeit stunningly attractive female DHS officer, sort of a cross between Salma Hayek and CruellaDe Vil."

But what the cable mostly suggests is someone who is using these TV examples to back up the point he really wants to make, which is that the U.S. should be shoveling more money into his department so they can combat the anti-American tide. At the end of the cable it pushes back against people "who may rate the need for USG public-diplomacy programs as less vital in Canada than in other nations because our societies are so much alike." In other words, it's a fundraising pitch: give us as much money as you give our embassies in countries where anti-Americanism is seen as a bigger threat. So it barely matters whether the writer seriously believes that The Border was more ferociously anti-American than 24, where high authority figures turned out to be evil every year. Criticizing portrayals of America in American shows is not going to get more dough for his department or their projects. And that's what it's all about.

The best thing about Weinman's post is that it reveals the old TV special The Canadian Conspiracy is on YouTube. This is one of those goofy spoofs I vaguely remember enjoying as a teenager in the '80s but have forgotten in virtually every detail in the ensuing 25 years. I hope it holds up: If the extralegal war on WikiLeaks gets too depressing, I'll still be able to soothe myself with a little archaic comedy.