WikiLeaks cites 'rude' Prince Andrew tirade
Prince Andrew launched a "rude" attack on the British and US governments, the French, fraud investigators and journalists, a report said Monday citing secret US cables released by the WikiLeaks website.
The fourth-in-line to the throne spoke "cockily" during an engagement in 2008 with British and Canadian business people in Kyrgystan, US ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller said in the document printed on the Guardian website.
"Astonishingly candid, the discussion at times verged on the rude," Gfoeller wrote.
Andrew, who has been an unpaid trade envoy for the British government since 2001, attacked British anti-corruption officials probing the huge Al-Yamamah arms deal between Saudi Arabia and BAE Systems in 1985.
In a section titled "Rude language a la British", Gfoeller wrote that the prince "railed at British anti-corruption investigators, who had had the 'idiocy' of almost scuttling the Al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia.
"His mother's subjects seated around the table roared their approval."
Andrew then "went on to 'these (expletive) journalists, especially from the National Guardian, who poke their noses everywhere' and (presumably) make it harder for British businessmen to do business. The crowd practically clapped."
He also castigated the "stupid British and American governments" for failing to plan ahead in central Asia.
Gfoeller accused Andrew of reacting with "almost neuralgic patriotism" when Britain and the United States were compared.
When a businessman voiced surprise that US and British investment in Kyrgyzstan were similar, she quoted him as saying: "No surprise there. The Americans don't understand geography. Never have. In the UK, we have the best geography teachers in the world!"
Andrew also laughed "uproariously" when a businessman complained that it was necessary in Kyrgyzstan to engage in corrupt practices to make money, saying: "All of this sounds exactly like France!"
The British prince went on to warn about Russia's resurgence in Central Asia and to describe Chinese expansion in the region as "probably inevitable, but a menace."
There was no immediate comment from Buckingham Palace.
The Guardian was one of several newspapers worldwide given prior access to more than 250,000 US embassy files released by WikiLeaks late Sunday.
The paper has promised to release further details, including those offering "embarrassing" assessments of Prime Minister David Cameron when he was the opposition leader before May's election, and of "weak" ex-premier Gordon Brown.
© 2010 AFP