The Corner

Your Tax Dollars at Wik

Now that Wikileaks has leaked all the shocking surprise stuff (the Saudis are duplicitous snakes! Berlusconi has an eye for the ladies! the Pope is Catholic!) they’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel. The other day I myself turned up in their latest hold-the-foot-of-page-37 stunning revelation. In a cable to the State Department from the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, some diplomat named Jacobson explains Canada’s free speech battles. Sample paragraph:

2. (U) In 2003, Ontario attorney Richard Warman had filed separate human rights complaints against white supremacist Marc Lemire, journalist Mark Steyn, and Maclean,s magazine with CHRC, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for the dissemination of allegedly anti-Semitic and anti-gay hate speech in an article published by Maclean,s and on postings to Lemire,s websites. At the provincial level, the cases were ultimately dismissed — in Ontario, for lack of jurisdiction, and, in British Columbia, for failure to meet the standard of hate speech (reftels).

Even if (unlike yours truly) you’ve no interest in the subject of the cable, it’s a fascinating glimpse of the level of expertise you get from America’s handsomely remunerated foreign service. Almost every single fact in that paragraph is wrong: Richard Warman has never filed complaints against me or Maclean’s. He has never filed complaints before the Ontario “Human Rights” Commission or the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal. The Maclean’s article was accused not of anti-Semitic and anti-gay hate speech but of “Islamophobia.’ The British Columbia case was not dismissed: It went to trial, and the troika of judges eventually found us not guilty. Etc.

Assuming that anyone in the State Department is remotely interested in the topic, almost everything they took away from this embassy cable would be wrong. What’s the point of paying some lavishly tenured over-pensioned striped-pants deadbeat to sit around the chancery all day cutting bits out of newspapers if you’ve got more chance of getting an accurate picture of what’s going on from plucking a random unpaid blogger out of a 12-second Google search? Or are you entirely confident that when it comes to, say, the Iranian nuclear program or jihadist sympathies in the Pakistani military that the level of expertise will be any greater than in Canadian “human rights” analysis?

As a U.S. taxpayer, I’m naturally revolted at having to pay for the above “briefing.” The tragedy of America’s impending collapse is that, by any rational measure, at least three-quarters of its spendaholic binge has been entirely wasted. That embassy cable is a small but telling example.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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