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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Did WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe?


    by Sunny
    4th January, 2011 at 9:18 am    

    To cut a long story short, the implication is that WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable (09HARARE1004) which gave an excuse to Robert Mugabe to try and charge Morgan Tsvangirai with treason.

    Now, Robert Mugabe doesn’t need much excuse to be a genocidal maniac who wants to subvert peace, but is WikiLeaks to blame?

    The story was first report in the Atlantic by Christopher Albon, and the Guardian’s CIF followed up with this piece by Republican James Richardson.

    But I found this story curious for the reasons that WikiLeaks has now hit back with:

    Wikileaks has been releasing its cables only in collaboration with its media partners, using its media partnerships to outsource its harm minimization procedures. This ensures that cables are only released after they have been greenlighted and redacted by professional and accredited journalists working for one of the media partners.

    If this is actually the method by which the cables are published, then it will be important to find which media partner first published 09HARARE1004. A glance at the datestamp for 09HARARE1004 reveals it was published on the 8th of December, 2010. The only publication making reference to 09HARARE1004 as early as this, is a publication of the full cable in The Guardian. The Guardian’s title for the cable is “US embassy cables: Tsvangirai tells US Mugabe is increasingly ‘old, tired and poorly briefed’”. It identifies gossip about Mugabe at the salient content of the cable, and entirely fails to identify the importance of the material on international sanctions against Zimbabwe, which is the material which allegedly incriminates Tsvangirai.

    So, err, the piece in the Guardian blames WikiLeaks for releasing the cable when it seems that the Guardian itself was the first media source to release the cable. I’ve sent off a few emails to try and confirm all this.


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    12 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Did WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? http://bit.ly/gU6EHt


    2. Graham Linehan

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Did WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? http://bit.ly/gU6EHt


    3. Kev

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Did WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? http://bit.ly/gU6EHt


    4. Robin Moroney

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Did WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? http://bit.ly/gU6EHt


    5. Kash Farooq

      RT @sunny_hundal: Did #WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? http://bit.ly/gU6EHt


    6. Richard Dyson

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Did WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? http://bit.ly/gU6EHt


    7. Mike Bennett

      RT @kashfarooq: RT @sunny_hundal: Did #WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? http://bit.ly/gU6EHt


    8. Accommodation Zimb

      Did WikiLeaks really set back democracy in Zimbabwe? - Pickled … http://bit.ly/fi5A0f


    9. 2011-01-04: James Richardson’s Collateral Damage in the Guardian: WikiLeaks & Tsvangirai « fresh horse

      [...] (2011-01-05, 20:10 GMT) Update 5: A post from zunguzungu deals with the issue above, while also providing some convincing political analysis of the Zimbabwean context in which the above story is unfolding. The thrust of the argument is that James Richardson and others are taking a simplistic perspective on the issue, and invoking Zimbabwean politics only insofar as it serves to make a point about Wikileaks. [...]




    1. John — on 4th January, 2011 at 9:28 am  

      The Atlantic was the first to publish the story, as you state in paragtaph 3 above, not The Guardian as you then conclude in your final paragraph.

    2. MaidMarian — on 4th January, 2011 at 10:08 am  

      ‘using its media partnerships to outsource its harm minimization procedures. This ensures that cables are only released after they have been greenlighted and redacted by professional and accredited journalists working for one of the media partners.’

      Que?

    3. Steve — on 4th January, 2011 at 10:09 am  

      John… The Atlantic was the first to publish an article blaming Wikileaks, not the first to publish the cable. That WAS The Guardian.

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