Julian Assange once boasted that “there has never been a single report of any of our documents causing physical harm to any single person.” Tell that to Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwe prime minister who faces potentially lethal treason charges thanks to one leaked cable. A document last week revealed that Tsvangirai had told Western diplomats that sanctions were working to keep Robert Mugabe in check (click here for background)—and that’s ample excuse for the tyrant to attack, writes James Kirchick of the Wall Street Journal.
This is the problem with WikiLeaks: Assange “lacks any appreciation for the subtleties of international statecraft, many of which are not at all devious,” Kirchick writes. In this case, Tsvangirai was expressing privately a truth he couldn’t utter publicly, because Mugabe has successfully mischaracterized the sanctions as assaults on the populace, even though they mostly affect only high-level officials. But Assange doesn’t care. His “priority is to push an anti-American agenda—innocent bystanders like Mr. Tsvangirai be damned.”