bleg: opinions on ethics of using wikileaked cables in scholarly research
I’m working on a paper about political transitions following presidential deaths in Africa. We examine the Malawi 2012 case closely, but also look at parallel experiences in Nigeria in 2010 and Zambia in 2008 (our first draft was written before both Atta Mills and Zenawi passed away). We were asked to provide in more detail the context surrounding the Nigerian and Zambian transitions, and though I found the Nigerian case relatively easy to get more information about, the Zambian case proved more difficult.
Then, my co-author found this cable that came from the Lusaka Embassy shortly after Mwanawasa’s death posted to Wikileaks.
Here is an excerpt:
The MMD’s rose-tinted assessments of Mwanawasa’s recovery, right up until his death on August 19, may have been wishful thinking as the party endeavored to buy time to preserve the status quo and to address discreetly succession issues.
The cable is particularly useful to us because it provides details about in-fighting in the ruling party, more so than even media accounts in the major Zambian newspapers.
My question for haba na haba readers is: what are your opinions on the ethics of using a cable from Wikileaks as a source for a scholarly article?