One cable, many stories

On the 3rd of January this year, Guardian contributor, James Richardson wrote an article about how Wikileaks would have committed the same ‘collateral murder’ it accused the US military of (in their edited video of an Iraq drone operation)  if Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangarai was convicted of treason. One of the cables (published 8 December 2010) indicated that Tsvangarai was privately supporting sanctions by the US against Zimbabwe when he had publicly denounced them. The Zimbabwean Attorney General responded by launching an investigation into the matter, saying that ‘The WikiLeaks appear to show a treasonous collusion between local Zimbabweans and the aggressive international world, particularly the United States.’ Richardson complained that ‘WikiLeaks ought to leave international relations to those who understand it – at least to those who understand the value of a life’.

Soon afterwards, in a Twitter response to the article, Wikileaks alerted the Guardian to the fact that the Guardian, not Wikileaks, had actually published the cable in question. Eleven days after the story was published, it was edited to reflect the new facts with following statement: ‘This article was amended on 11 January 2011 to clarify the fact that the 2009 cable referred to in this article was placed in the public domain by the Guardian, and not as originally implied by WikiLeaks. The photo caption was also amended to reflect this fact.’

On January 13, The Guardian’s Deputy Editor, Ian Katz wrote an explanation of the mistake, saying that technically it was both Wikileaks and the Guardian that published the cables. He explained the process as follows:

‘The Guardian and four other international news organisations had – and has – access to all 250,000 leaked US embassy cables. When the Guardian released a story based on one or more documents, we generally published Continue reading “One cable, many stories”