According to a document called Africa:US Versus UK Priorities, London Think Tanks Comment published on a new Wikileaks website, Zimbabwe should and will remain a top priority for the UK.
The original Wikileaks website was closed after the controversial leaks of the classified documents and its founder, Julian Assange, has been described as a “high tech terrorist” and is now being hunted by police on sex crime charges.
However, it noted that President Mugabe’s history of bombastic statements had only served to solidify his status as a colonial liberation leader.
“From a strategic perspective, these analysts termed the United State’s focus on Zimbabwe as “surprising” because Zimbabwe was not a threat, but largely a contained crisis. They said that Zimbabwe’s crisis should be treated as a regional issue, not an international one, and that the US government should not sacrifice it’s relations with South Africa, the more strategic partner, over Zimbabwe, even if the political events in Zimbabwe run contrary to the US government’s democracy agenda.”
They asserted that the international community’s concern about Zimbabwe being a regional destabiliser was largely unfounded, as most of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) – especially South Africa – “can take care of themselves.”
Wikileaks has been releasing classified United States diplomatic cables sent to and from US embassies in countries throughout the world. These cables include orders sent out from the Department of State, embassy reporting about the local governments and details of US government activities in each country.
It has published 251,287 cables, originating from 274 embassies and dating from 28th December 1966 to 28th February 2010. Of this total, 15, 652 of the cables were marked Secret, 101,748 Confidential and 133,887 Unclassified, although even the ‘unclassified’ documents contain sensitive information.
It said in its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that the motives for releasing these documents were based on the US founding father James Madison who famously said: “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
“This basic philosophy of the American revolution inspires all our work,” it said.
The cables appear to be the single most significant historical archive ever released and affect basic and heartfelt issues all over the world; geopolitics and democracy; human rights and the rule of law; national resources and global trade.
US authorities have said the release may put people at risk.
Wikileaks said it had a four-year publishing history during which it had released documents pertaining to over 100 countries. There was no report, including from the US Government, of any of their releases ever having caused harm to any individual.
It said as part of its review process, it requested the US State Department, which had claimed to have conducted an extensive review of the material of its own over the last few months, to provide the titles of the cables which they should look at with extra care.
It said the State Department refused to provide that information, or negotiate any other arrangement, suggesting that its desire to cover up at all costs eclipses its bona fide desire to minimise potential harm.
The State Department gave its side of the correspondence to the New York Times and elsewhere at the same time.
Instead of publishing the documents all at once, the organisation will be releasing the embassy files in stages over the next few months.
“The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.
“We owe it to the people who entrusted us with the documents to ensure that there is time for them to be written about, commented on and discussed widely in public, something that is impossible if hundreds of thousands of documents are released at once. We will therefore be releasing the documents gradually over the coming weeks and months.”
Wikileaks is staging the release of the embassy cables in order to maximise the impact of their release and do justice to the source material. A later phase of this release will involve working with partners in a far wider selection of countries to ensure each country gets to see the real workings of its government’s relations with the USA.
It said it protected its sources. “We will not publicly comment on the source of any of our releases, how the information was obtained, or on the security measures used to protect sources identities. Our submission systems are secure and anonymised.”
The US embassy cables cover serious issues for every country in the world with a US diplomatic presence.
“As far as knowledge about what is truly going on in the world can influence our decisions, this material must result in political change and reform,” it said.
“One newspaper has alleged the cables might destabilise the Middle East. These cables, by giving the players an unvarnished description of how they are seen, there will be a common ground on which to effectively negotiate peace and stability. We do not see this as a risk of destabilisation, but an opportunity for stabilisation and reform in the Middle East.