JCwire: New York City, NY
Only a week after revealing thousands of compromising documents from the U.S. State Department, WikiLeaks has released lists of highly confidential information from above the Arctic Circle. Millions of names, along with addresses and behavioral reports, were sent to the New York Times. Grouped into simplified headings of Naughty and Nice, the names were only a sampling of “billions and billions” of named individuals, according to an accompanying statement by WikiLeaks, the online whistleblower organization.
“Especially in the Naughty category, we decided to expunge many of the names associated with certain behaviors,” said a Times editor. “With so many politicians, we were sure to be sued.”
Nonetheless, sections of the Naughty list have been cropping up on Craiglist and eBay. A Utah marketing company is offering 100 names in requested zipcodes; auction prices for women between the ages of 20-35 have reached $350. While not in equal demand, prices for naughty men in the same age group sold for as high as $200.
Marc Thiery, a Canadian trapper, said he met a disgruntled Elf in a bar in Inuvik. Mr. Thiery characterized his acquaintance as “stressed out, burnt out and fed up with the pressure as the Christmas deadline counts down.” When asked for details, he said the Elf told him he had used an off-brand MP3 player to download gigabytes of data while pretending to nod along to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
In addition to private information about millions of people, the documents also give a candid look inside the famed Santa’s Workshop. Many describe the intense pressure in November and December as final preparations are made for product delivery. Medical reports for December 25th detail accounts of excessive revelry and alcohol abuse by off-duty elves. Other reports show an insider view of problems with vendors. For example, the vendor of the MP3 players refused to accept returns when demand dropped in response to new offerings by Apple. When Santa’s representatives tried to source ipods from Apple, arguments ensued over royalty percentages due to Apple and the Recording Industry of America. Representatives of those two groups walked out of the discussions when they heard that Santa wanted to give away the ipods for free, generating no revenues or derivative royalties.
Several memos described behind-the-scenes communications with government and military officials at the highest levels as Santa struggled to gain flight and immigration clearance in a post-911 world. Internal strife was also evident as the distribution challenge on Christmas Eve grows ever more dangerous. One report by Blitzen stated, “Last year we were almost taken out by a SAM over Jordan. I’ll deliver to Buddhist villages and that’s it!”
With a growing middle class of elves wanting less work and more pay, Santa is grappling with internal political issues at the same time he faces increased competition from the world’s factory, China. Entries in a personal journal show moments of weakness, as Santa questions “How long can I go on like this? But it’s for the children; I must.” A letter by the head elf to his mother also observes Santa’s mental state with some concern: “He’s got a bum deal these days. It’s not the sweet old ride it used to be. But he’ll get through. On Christmas Eve, he’ll climb up on that sleigh and call to his reindeer. My god, Mum, the man’s a saint.”
In a terse statement, the Santa organization regretted the violation of its privacy policies. “With the Earth’s ever-increasing population, the use of technological database solutions is fast becoming our sole option [for running the Christmas operation]. A return to notepads and pencils is no longer feasible. We can only hope that people both inside and outside our organization will demonstrate honor and decency by returning or deleting this misappropriated private information.”
That may be Santa’s biggest wish yet.