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Cablegate: Herald Warns of U.S.-Zimbabwe "Diplomatic Row"

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

260558Z Nov 01


UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0184

PAGE 01 HARARE 03533 260646Z
ACTION INR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 A-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 INL-00
USNW-00 DODE-00 DS-00 EUR-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00
LAB-01 VCE-00 DCP-01 NSAE-00 TEST-00 USIE-00 BBG-00
IIP-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /004W
------------------42E9D1 260647Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0365
INFO NSC WASHDC
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA
AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
AMEMBASSY GABORONE
AMEMBASSY LILONGWE
AMEMBASSY LONDON

UNCLAS HARARE 003533

SIPDIS

AF/PD FOR COX, ROBERTSON, SCHLACHTER, AF/S KRAFT, AF/P,
INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ZI PREL PHUM
SUBJECT: HERALD WARNS OF U.S.-ZIMBABWE "DIPLOMATIC ROW"


1. THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED DAILY "THE HERALD" PUBLISHED A
PAGE-ONE STORY ON NOVEMBER 23 ASSERTING THAT A "DIPLOMATIC
ROW" WAS IMMINENT BETWEEN THE US AND ZIMBABWE. THE SUBJECT
OF THE "ROW" IS A "LETTER" THE US SENT TO THE GOVERNMENT OF
ZIMBABWE (GOZ) IN PROTEST OF "WIDESPREAD BEATING OF WHITES
AND OTHERS IN RETALIATION TO THE ABDUCTION, TORTURE AND
MURDER OF NATIONAL HERO CDE CAIN NKALA." THE ARTICLE ALSO
SPECULATED THAT THE GOZ WOULD SUMMON AMBASSADOR SULLIVAN TO
PROTEST THE LETTER "AS THERE WAS NO INDISCRIMINATE BEATING
OF PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY."

2. THE ARTICLE QUOTES AN UNNAMED GOZ SPOKESMAN WHO BLAMES
HARARE-BASED FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS FOR "FALSE AND ALARMIST
REPORTS" AND FOR "GROSS AND OBSCENE MISREPRESENTATION OF
FACTS" THAT LED THE US GOVERNMENT TO BELIEVE THERE WERE
PROBLEMS IN ZIMBABWE. THE ARTICLE NAMES 5 REPORTERS IN
ZIMBABWE WHO REPORT FOR INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS.

3. EXCERPTS FOLLOW: "THE U.S. YESTERDAY SENT A LETTER OF
PROTEST TO THE GOVERNMENT ALLEGING THAT THERE WERE
WIDESPREAD BEATINGS OF WHITES AND OTHERS IN RETALIATION TO
THE ABDUCTION, TORTURE AND MURDER OF NATIONAL HERO CAIN
NKALA. THE LETTER IS, HOWEVER, LIKELY TO TRIGGER A
DIPLOMATIC FURORE BETWEEN HARARE AND WASHINGTON AS IT WAS
SUSPECTED THAT THE ALLEGATIONS WERE BASED ON WIDESPREAD
FALSE MEDIA REPORTS BY SOME HARARE-BASED OVERSEAS
CORRESPONDENTS. DIPLOMATIC SOURCES TOLD "THE HERALD" LAST
NIGHT THAT HARARE COULD REACT BY SUMMONING THE U.S.
AMBASSADOR TO ZIMBABWE JOSEPH SULLIVAN AS THERE WAS NO
INDISCRIMINATE BEATING OF PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY. THE
DIPLOMATIC SOURCES SAID IT WAS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE
AMERICANS HAD TAKEN AS AUTHENTIC, FALSE AND ALARMIST
REPORTS BY FOREIGN MEDIA CORRESPONDENTS BASED IN HARARE. .A
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HARARE 03533 260646Z
GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN COULD NOT CONFIRM OR DENY RECEIVING
THE PROTEST LETTER FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT BUT SAID IF
RECEIVED, IT WOULD BE DEALT WITH IN THE USUAL MANNER
THROUGH THE DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS.

4. THE SPOKESMAN HOWEVER, CONFIRMED THAT THE GOVERNMENT
WAS AWARE OF GROSS MISREPRESENTATION OF FACTS BY HARARE-
BASED FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS. 'WE ARE AWARE AND WE ARE
VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE GROSS AND OBSCENE
MISREPRESENTATION OF FACTS BY THE SO-CALLED FOREIGN
CORRESPONDENTS AND IN PARTICULAR JAN RAATH (TIMES OF
LONDON AND THE OBSERVER, LONDON), ANDREW MELDRUM (THE
GUARDIAN, THE ECONOMIST AND THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE
MONITOR), PETA THORNYCROFT (VOA AND THE TELEGRAPH,
LONDON), ANGUS SHAW (ASSOCIATED PRESS), RICHARD CARVER
(GEMINI FEATURES, MEDIA MONITORING UNIT, SOUTH AFRICA),
AND ASSISTED BY THE LIKES OF BASILDON PETA (THE
FINANCIAL GAZETTE, ZIMBABWE, AND THE INDEPENDENT,
LONDON) AND DUMISANI MULEYA (THE ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT,
ZIMBABWE AND THE SUNDAY AND SUNDAY STANDARD, SOUTH
AFRICA). IT IS NOW AN OPEN SECRET THAT THESE REPORTERS
ARE NOT ONLY DISTORTING THE FACTS BUT ARE ASSISTING
TERRORISTS WHO STAND ACCUSED IN OUR COURTS OF LAW OF
ABDUCTION, TORTURE AND MURDER BY COVERING UP AND
MISREPRESENTING THE BRUTAL DEEDS OF THE TERRORISTS.'
THE SPOKESMAN SAID IF IT WAS TRUE THAT THE AMERICANS HAD
SENT A LETTER OF PROTEST 'THEN THAT IS MOST UNFORTUNATE
BECAUSE THEY HAVE AN EMBASSY HERE AND AN AMBASSADOR AND
ARE THEREFORE IN A POSITION TO KNOW FIRST HAND THAT MDC
(MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE) TERRORISTS HAVE
ABDUCTED, TORTURED AND MURDERED THEIR PERCEIVED
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HARARE 03533 260646Z
POLITICAL OPPONENTS.' THE SPOKESMAN SAID THE U.S.
EMBASSY HAD NO REASON OR EXCUSE TO RELY ON THE FALSE
REPORTS BY CORRESPONDENTS. '

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