Submitted by Fidel Narváez…
Having worked as a diplomat at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six out of the seven years that Julian Assange lived there as a political refugee, unlike others, I am privy to what actually happened there. I am alarmed by CNN’s June 15th 2019 story, alleging Assange turned the Ecuadorian embassy in London into a command post for election meddling.
The story contains several substantive shortcomings and too many factual errors. I warned CNN about them when I was approached during their “investigation,” but none of my points were included in the article. It is clear that CNN was not looking for balance in their publication, choosing instead to make assertions without showing actual proof, and to use props such as irrelevant CCTV images, a sensationalist collage and a miniature image of unreadable documents to make it seem as though the story was based on evidence.
CNN’s story is based on the wrong premise that publishing information about an election—in this case the 2016 US presidential election—constitutes interference. Nobody refutes the authenticity of the material and nobody claims that the information was not in the public interest.
In fact, New York Times editor Dean Baquet stated that had his newspaper obtained the same material, and regardless of the source or means by which the information had been obtained, the New York Times would have published it. Following CNN’s own logic, all major newsrooms should also be called “election interference centers,” which is how CNN chooses to call the embassy where Julian Assange received political asylum while he was the publisher of WikiLeaks. CNN implies criminality in something that is a legitimate exercise in journalism.
A trend in fake stories
Prior to CNN’s story, the best example of this type of completely unsubstantiated reporting was the Guardian’s front page story “Manafort held secret conversations with Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy”, which was preceded by another libelous article entitled “Russia’s secret plan to help Julian Assange escape from UK.” Both of these stories were absolutely false; both were written by the same authors and propped using the same sources: reports written by employees of a private company in charge of security at the Ecuadorian embassy, as well as information provided by anonymous agents of Ecuador’s intelligence services.
Eight months after publishing the Manafort story, neither The Guardian nor anybody else has been able to provide any proof of Manafort visiting what was at the time the most surveilled embassy in the world. Eight months after publishing the Russian secret plan story, my personal complaint to The Guardian for that article is still being judged by the internal complaint’s procedure of the paper.
CNN evidently did not learn from the Guardian’s catastrophic failures and has chosen to use the same unreliable sources for their article. I know —because I was there— that security company UC Global produced exaggerated, misrepresented and hostile reports, loaded with paranoia and sometimes with false information, with the purpose of sowing suspicion about Assange and his visitors in order to justify their own continued employment.
According to CNN, “An Ecuadorian intelligence official told CNN that the surveillance reports are authentic”. Even if we accept the troubling practice of quoting anonymous intelligence officials, is it acceptable from a journalistic point of view to take the word of an anonymous official from the current Ecuadorian government, which is an obvious party with interests in this story, while ignoring the former Ecuadorean Consul who question the logs’ reliability based on specific arguments?
It is in the public domain that the company carried out illegal espionage and leaked confidential information. I know that the company actually forged an official document, falsified the signature of an ambassador, and presented it in a labor court in Spain when facing legal action by one of their employees; a fact that the ambassador himself denounced before the Foreign Ministry.
False and illogical claims
CNN claims, for example, that Assange “was even granted the power to delete names from the visitor logs…” in an attempt to introduce the absurd “…possibility that additional sensitive meetings took place but are still secret.”
It is naive to believe that at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, constantly surveilled by external and internal cameras video cameras, and by undercover police during those seven years, a besieged journalist would have been able to receive secret visitors without the approval of the ambassador, without security personnel knowing about it, without the visit being registered in the visitor’s log, without a copy of the visitors’ IDs being kept on file by the security guards, without being recorded by numerous security cameras, both inside belonging to the embassy, as well as outside belonging to the British secret services, some of which were pointed directly at the only entrance to the embassy.
Likewise, CNN’s rehash that Assange “smeared feces on the walls out of anger” is a terrible smear, first uttered by Ecuadorian authorities to draw attention away from the crime of handing over a political refugee to his persecutors. I know for a fact that every single moment of Julian Assange’s stay in the embassy is registered on video. Why is it that these same agents who released short clips of supposed embarrassing moments in an attempt to ridicule Assange have not provided evidence for such grotesque claims?
It is false that Assange ever participated in a fist fight with anyone at the embassy. It is false that Assange “regularly” threatened embassy employees with getting them fired. It is false that he demanded all kinds of “privileges” and it is false that Ecuador always provided them. Why is it that an Internet connection or access to regular visitors considered a privilege for a political refugee?
In fact, there are so many factual errors and biased speculation in CNN’s story that it is hard to believe they are caused by nothing more than poor research and lack of rigor.
The relentless Russiagate smear
When Edward Snowden was trapped by the US Government at a Moscow airport in 2013 and I personally tried to assist him on his way to Ecuador, it was clear to me that Assange and WikiLeaks did not even have low-level contacts in the Russian government. Snowden was practically kidnapped at that airport, completely incommunicado for days, and when I finally managed to see him, it was thanks to my own diplomatic contacts.
CNN’s derivative report follows an obsessive line of inquiry seeking a relationship between Julian Assange and Russia and suffers from an embarrassing case of confirmation bias by omitting inconvenient facts.
WikiLeaks published thousands of documents on the Russian State spying apparatus and the invasion of the privacy of its population in the publication known as Spy files: Russia.
Further, CNN treats Robert Mueller’s unfounded assumptions as irrefutable facts; a report that is the subject of enormous scrutiny in the United States and which Mueller himself seemed confused about during his recent congressional hearing. The report lacks the basic chronological coherence required of any investigation: on June 12th, 2016, Julian Assange publicly announced in a stellar interview on British television that WikiLeaks was preparing a publication of Democratic Party materials. We can therefore conclude that by then WikiLeaks had already received those materials.
The Mueller report states that the first contacts with two alleged sources happened on June 14th and 24th 2016. How is it possible for Assange to announce his publication prior to being contacted by the alleged sources? This lack of elementary logic thwarts all speculation in CNN’s report regarding which of the supposed “suspicious” people who visited Assange in June 2016 may have provided WikiLeaks with the publication materials.
The psychological torture of Assange
Since the arrest of Assange, the most relevant fact in his case is undoubtedly the strong pronouncement of Nills Melzner, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who said that “in 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”
Why is there is no mention of this important and damning report in CNN’s piece? I did explain its relevance when I was contacted by the authors of the story, while at the same time warning them of the lack of credibility of the UC Global documents.
CNN intends to set the stage for Julian Assange’s continued persecution at the hands of the US Government and perhaps did learn the leason from the Guardian’s Manafort hoax: news media are unaccountable to the public they misinform. The words of the UN rapporteur on torture are painfully accurate:
“Julian Assange is the victim of a relentless and unrestricted campaign of public harassment, intimidation and defamation…which includes an endless flow of humiliating, degrading and threatening statements in the press.”
40 Rebuttals to CNN’s Biased Article on Assange, by Someone Who Was Actually There
CNN’s attempts to shape the narrative on the subject of WikiLeaks and Assange are not new. On March 28th 2019, the TV program Conclusiones, on CNN Español, claimed — without evidence — that Julian Assange had published the famous INA Papers leak, exposing the corruption of President Lenin Moreno and his family.
The fact that WikiLeaks never published a single document or image of Lenin Moreno or his family did not matter to CNN. The intentions of the show were transparent from the pitched questions made by the reporters:
“How long will Julian Assange remain at the Ecuadorian embassy in London?”
“Aren’t you going to kick him out?”
“What has Julian Assange brought to Lenin Moreno’s government but headaches?”
This baseless accusation was used two weeks later by the Ecuadorian government as one of the reasons to justify Assange’s expulsion from the embassy in violation of international law.
This most recent smear job equally begs the question. Any informed reader is left to wonder why CNN is paving public opinion against Julian Assange as he prepares to defend himself from continued political persecution by the US.
I would like to put forth 40 rebuttals to CNN’s article.
1. “New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.”
None of CNN’s speculations “reveal” that Julian Assange received materials related to the 2016 US elections at the embassy, much less “potentially” hacked materials. The very same word “potentially” shows that CNN is not sure which materials Julian Assange would have supposedly received at the embassy. Furthermore, there is not even evidence that he received any publication material at all.
2. “Despite being confined to the embassy while seeking safe passage to Ecuador, Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments, frequently for hours at a time.”
An embassy is not a jail (although in the last year Lenin Moreno’s government did convert his embassy in London into defactoprison), therefore, there is nothing unusual for Assange to have visitors for several hours. Assange had hundreds of visits from around the world: intellectuals, artists, politicians, journalists, dissidents, activists. Russian nationals, such as the famous group Pussy Riot, archenemy of the Kremlin, were among his visitors. The people whom CNN mistakenly refers to as “hackers” are specialists in computer security and data protection. CNN chooses to refer to them as “pirates”, because it is more in tune with the overall bias of its report.
3. “He also acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives.”
There is nothing unusual about the Wikileaks editor purchasing computer equipment. CNN’s claim that Wikileaks received “hacked materials from Russian operatives” is not proven with any evidence, not even from the Mueller Prosecutor’s report, on which CNN bases its assertions. To say that Julian Assange acquired new equipment to “facilitate the transfer of data” contradicts the very central premise of the CNN report that, supposedly, the materials had been delivered personally by one of those “suspicious” visits in June 2016.
4. “These stunning details come from hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, and obtained by CNN.”
The stunning thing is that CNN considers the reports produced by UC Global as a reliable source. I know, personally, that many of that company’s reports do not reflect reality. The company produced misrepresented, exaggerated, hostile reports, loaded with paranoia and sometimes false information. Those of us who know what was going on inside that embassy know that UC Global’s reports are going in only one direction: sowing suspicion about Julian Assange and his visits, in order to justify the work of the security company.
The company was spying on every Julian Assange’s movement, leaking materials and documents from inside the embassy, either by ineptitude or on purpose.
The UC Global company even went as far as to forge a document, falsifying the signature of an ambassador, and presented it in a labor tribunal, a fact that the ambassador himself denounced before the Foreign Ministry.
It is not the first time that leaked UC Global reports generate media reports that are far from reality, like several of The Guardian’s publications on Julian Assange.
5. “An Ecuadorian intelligence official told CNN that the surveillance reports are authentic.”
I wonder if the anonymous “Ecuadorian intelligence official” is the same one who caused the Guardian to publish the hoax that “Manafort held secret conversations with Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy”, and “Russia’s secret plan to help Julian Assange escape from UK”. for Julian Assange.
The “authentic” reports used by CNN have been the mockery of embassy officials, given that they had already been leaked, since the reports border on the ridiculous.
Whether the reports are authentic or not is beside the point, as it does not follow that because the reports are authentic their content must be true. If a pathological liar signs a report containing falsehoods, the document will be authentic, but the content will still be false.
6. “After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange’s allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was “no doubt that there is evidence” that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.”
If the unspeakable UC Global reaches such a resounding conclusion, it should explicitly include the alleged evidence in its “evaluation” report, because an evaluation that affirms that “there is evidence” while failing to include said evidence would be nothing short of pathetic. In fact, UC Global’s reports are usually pathetic (doesn’t the phrase “there is no doubt that there is evidence” sound pathetic?). The reports are often written by security guards with limited education, who will use any reference found on the internet as a source for their reports. With such standards, one can imagine a report that reads: “There is no doubt that there is evidence that Manafort visited Assange”, because the author of the report read it in The Guardian, or another that reads “There is no doubt that there is evidence that Wikileaks published INAPAPERS ”, because he read it in CNN. How can CNN base its stories on reports that lack all credibility?
7. “Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in June 2012 to apply for political asylum and avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault allegations, which he denies.”
Assange did not seek refuge to avoid being extradited to Sweden. His political asylum has always been to protect him from the persecution of the United States, which has had an active Grand Jury since 2010. Assange always said he would consent to extradition to Sweden as long as it was accompanied by a guarantee that he would not be onwardly extradited to the United States for his journalistic activities. Ecuador offered that possibility to Sweden from the very beginning. In May 2017, after Sweden closed the preliminary investigation for the second time, Julian Assange still did not leave the embassy, because the risk of extradition to the US was still imminent, a fact that was proven to be correct when Ecuador handed him over to the British.
8. “From the outset he demanded (and was granted) high-speed internet connectivity, phone service and regular access to professional visitors and personal guests. “
It is false that Julian Assange “demanded” anything. Moreover, it is false that Ecuador provided Julian Assange with a telephone connection—neither a landline nor a cellphone. Julian Assange did not use embassy phones for his communications. In any case, when CNN says “A guest with privileges” –Why does CNN consider internet and telephone privileges? What internet speed does CNN consider a “privilege”? It is thanks to the internet connection that Julian Assange was able to give hundreds of conferences and interviews, including to CNN. Why is receiving visitors a privilege for a political asylee? A political refugee in not an inmate and an embassy is not a prison.
9. “Assange also issued a special list of people who were able to enter the embassy without showing identification or being searched by security. He was even granted the power to delete names from the visitor logs.”
All persons, without exception, had to register their entry and exit in the visitor log, including Julian Assange’s closest collaborators, who were on the list of frequent visits to which, surely, CNN refers; the exception is that they didn’t have to show their ID to the guards every time they entered the embassy, simply because a copy of their ID was always at the front desk.
It is false that Julian Assange could erase visitor’s names from embassy records. Who claims such nonsense? Where is CNN’s evidence to support this outright lie? Is it also a UC Global report? ¿Is it the anonymous intelligence official who invented Manafort’s visit and the Russian escape plan?
10. “This all leaves open the possibility that additional sensitive meetings took place but are still secret.”
There is no possibility, not even the slightest of possibilities, that Assange would be able to have a secret visit without the ambassador approving it, without the security personnel knowing it, without the visit being registered in the visitors log, without the respective copy of the identification of the visitor stored by the security guards, without being recorded on video, both by the internal security cameras of the embassy, as well as by the external cameras of the British secret services, pointing to the entrance of the embassy–for seven years, this was perhaps the most hyper surveilled place in the world.
This absurd suggestion of the “open possibility” of unregistered visits is neither casual nor naive. It clearly seeks to sow doubt about fantasy visits created by the press itself, such as The Guardian’s infamous story about Manafort and the embassy.
11. “Assange installed his own recording devices and used noise machines to stymie the snooping, according to the documents obtained by CNN.”
If the article refers to a video camera for video editing and online streaming, there is nothing strange about that. Julian Assange frequently participated in online interviews and conferences and always had and used his own recording equipment.
The sound distorters were of use and are property of the embassy. We used these distorters in our own meetings, since the embassy was subject to surveillance from outside by the British, who had long-range microphones. In addition, we did not want to be heard by the UC Global company itself that handled the entire camera system inside the embassy. Julian Assange also made use of these sound distorters, both in his meetings with us and with his visits. He has the same right to privacy as any other person, even though Lenin Moreno’s government, in particular, has violated it in an unlimited way.
12. “The task of controlling Assange proved difficult. Fistfights broke out between Assange and the guards.”
False. Julian Assange never threw a fist at anyone, nor did he receive any from anyone. In almost 2,500 days of confinement there were few and exceptional isolated incidents that occurred with security guards. On just two occasions there were shoves, never a “fistfight” as CNN claims for sensationalistic effect. It is false that those incidents were about trying to “control Assange,” as CNN suggests. On both occasions Julian Assange was subject to provocation by guards lacking professionalism.
Security reports will never mention the multiple official complaints against UC Global, presented by Julian Assange, as well as by outside visitors such as Daniell Elsberg, French presidential candidate Eva Joly, Baroness Helena Kennedy, or actor John Cusak, to name a few, about the disrespectful treatment of the security guards.
Over the first 6 years, Julian Assange’s stay at the Ecuadorian embassy was characterized by mutual respect between the Ecuadorian diplomatic and administrative staff and its guest. A couple of isolated incidents with private security guards do not change the respectful nature of that stay.
It was only in the last year, under Lenin Moreno´s government, that things changed radically. Diplomatic personnel were replaced, and a new security company was hired. The relationship towards Julian Assange then became very hostile.
13. “He smeared feces on the walls out of anger”
This statement is as false as it is despicable, it has been brazenly repeated by the highest Ecuadorian authorities: mainly by President Moreno, the Minister of the Interior, María Paula Romo, the Secretary of the Presidency, Sebastián Roldán. These politicians are obviously lying to try to justify the crime of having handed over a political refugee to his executioners. Why does CNN repeat this lie? What evidence is there for such a claim? Is it not enough with the accusations of President Moreno that has made lying an art? How is it possible for journalists to also stoop so low?
14. “Despite the years of strife, Assange was allowed to stay and prepared to wield his power when the moment was right.”
Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum to protect him from the threats to his life and freedom, threats that remain until now. It is obvious that he should be allowed to stay at the embassy, until full protection of his rights can be guaranteed. The claim that Assange’s stay was maintained so that he could “prepare” for who knows what “right moment” for who knows what “wielding of power” is ludicrous.
15. “Assange also maintained direct contact with senior officials in Ecuador, including former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, and regularly used those connections to threaten embassy staff… He claimed he could get people fired, even the sitting ambassador”.
It is not true that Assange “regularly” threatened embassy employees with having them dismissed. Save for an exceptional discussion, no diplomat received a threat of any kind. Security guards are a separate issue, and even there, incidents were isolated.
It is incorrect to say that Assange maintained direct contact with senior officials, unless it is understood by senior officials the advisers of the Foreign Minister’s office, and still, sporadically and exceptionally. What is extraordinary about that?
In 7 years of asylum, Assange never spoke or had contact with President Correa. His direct contacts with Minister Patiño are counted on the fingers of one hand.
16. “Assange was busy back at the embassy. That month, members of the security team worked overtime to handle at least 75 visits to Assange, nearly double the monthly average of visits logged by the security company that year.”
Julian Assange was always busy. He was never inactive. A political asylee does not lose any rights and he was always working. Indeed, in the month of June 2016, a period of special interest in the CNN investigation, Assange was busy, not in the way as CNN suggests, but rather with a series of specific events that, curiously, the CNN investigation is unaware of, or deliberately omits:
- On June 19, 2016, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of his entry to the embassy, “First they came for Assange” takes place, a series of simultaneous events held in several cities around the world: Berlin, Paris, New York, Brussels, Madrid, Milan, Athens, Belgrade, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, among others, with audiences present in different scenarios and the face-to-face participation, or via video, of dozens of personalities, including: Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek, Yanis Varoufakis, Vivienne Westwood Michael Moore, Ken Loach, Amy Goodman, PJ Harvey, Bernard Stiegler, Brian Eno, Baltasar Garzón, Sarah Harisson, Srećko Horvat, Angela Richter, Chris Hedges, Renata Avila. The central element of that mega event consisted of a live, online broadcast from the embassy.
- “Julian Assange: four years of freedom denied”, a 5-day day event (June 20 – 24, 2016), held at the International Center for Higher Communication Studies for Latin America, CIESPAL, in Quito, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the embassy stay. The program consisted of several days of conferences with the participation of international exhibitors, screenings of documentaries, visual arts exhibitions and online broadcasts, live, from the embassy.
- BREXIT CLUB panel, a live broadcast with analysis and discussion on the Brexit referendum which was streamed the night of the referendum until dawn, June 23-24 2016 streamed online from inside the embassy, with face-to-face and remote video participation of at least a dozen panelists from different parts of the world.
Additionally, the visit of Foreign Minister Guillaume Long between June 17 and 21, 2016, implied a very intense agenda of meetings and press media at the embassy, including an expanded meeting with the legal team of Julian Assange, with the participation of lawyers from outside the United Kingdom.
It is obvious, therefore, that an accumulation of public events, meetings and interviews in the same month will significantly increase the regular number of visits to the embassy, many of which are not visits to Julian Assange, but of the embassy, and it is understandable, therefore, that the guards would have to do “overtime.”
CNN’s suggestion that the embassy had a lot going on in June 2016 because Julian Assange, supposedly, was preparing to receive material to publish is therefore misplaced.
17. “Assange took at least seven meetings that month with Russians and others with Kremlin ties, according to the visitor logs.”
Is meeting Russian citizens suspicious in itself? Does every Russian citizen have, according to CNN, “Kremlin ties”? Why does CNN not name all those people, supposedly, with Kremlin ties? Wouldn’t that be of public interest?
18. “Two encounters were with a Russian national named Yana Maximova, who could not be reached for comment. Almost nothing is known about Maximova, making it difficult to discern why she visited the embassy at key moments in June 2016.”
CNN admits not knowing anything about Maximova, but, since she is Russian, then she is suspicious of something. If you don’t know anything about her, why suggest she could be linked with the Kremlin? Wouldn’t it have been helpful to search her name on Google to find that The Guardian describes her as a journalist who worked on a radio in the United States? Although, after all, when it comes to Assange, The Guardian is not exactly trustworthy.
19. “Assange also had five meetings that month with senior staffers from RT, the Kremlin-controlled news organization.”
Regardless of the editorial line of a state broadcaster, in this case RT, does that make every journalist working at the state television station a suspected agent? Are BBC employees also suspected of being MI5 agents? Ecuadorian public media have no editorial independence, but, are their journalists also intelligence agents? RT has many British journalists in London, such as British journalist Afshin Rattansi who has visited and interviewed Assange at the embassy on several occasions including “at key moments of the US presidential election“. Does that make him a suspect of working for the Kremlin and handing over compromising materials?
20. “US intelligence agencies have concluded that RT had “actively collaborated with WikiLeaks” in the past… For several months in 2012, Assange hosted a television show on RT.”
The The World Tomorrow Program, presented by Assange, was an independent British production, whose international rights were purchased by RT
To suggest that, because someone has an opinion program in RT, there would necessarily be a dependency with the Kremlin, is clearly wrong. Under that logic, former Prime Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond; legendary American presenter Larry King; American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges; the American broadcaster Max Keizer; former Commissioner at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Bart Chilton; former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa; and even the famous soccer coach José Mourihno are all also unconditionally linked to the Kremlin.
21. “Shortly after WikiLeaks established contact with the Russian online personas, Assange asked his hosts to beef up his internet connection. The embassy granted his request on June 19, providing him with technical support “for data transmission” and helping install new equipment… This was the same day Assange and his lawyers met with then-Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long, according to surveillance reports”
The installation of higher speed internet is clearly done on the same day of an international mega event, First they came for Assange, broadcast online to around 10 cities simultaneously, with thousands of attendees and spectators. What data transmission operation is CNN talking about? Any new technical upgrades/changes within the embassy must be made by embassy personnel or hired by the embassy. What technical support provisions for Assange is CNN talking about? The faster internet speed responds to a long-standing need by the embassy itself, and not necessarily or exclusively because it had been requested by Assange, after he allegedly established virtual contact with who knows who, as suggested by CNN. Moreover, the hiring of a new internet connection cannot occur overnight, because regulations of the Ecuadorian bureaucracy involve requesting a modification of budgets and their approval, something which takes at least several weeks.
22. “It’s unclear whether Assange told the Ecuadorians that WikiLeaks was working behind the scenes to acquire documents related to the US election.”
No journalist is obliged to inform a government in advance what he is working on. The same goes for Julian Assange.
It is absurd to say that by that date (19th June 2016) Julian Assange was working “behind the scenes”, in obtaining information that, clearly, he already possessed, given that he had already announced it publicly a week before.
23. “As the election approached, security officials at the embassy noted that Assange released some of the hacked emails “directly from the embassy,” according to the surveillance documents.”
Really? Where’s the evidence? Only the opinion of a UC Global guard, forced to write daily reports? Did he find out on the Wikileaks website, like millions of people did? How does he know the emails were hacked? Why could it not be leaked emails?
24. “The Mueller report explicitly referenced that “Assange had access to the internet from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, England. “
What an extraordinary discovery!
25. “It is unclear whether Mueller ever obtained these surveillance reports as part of his investigation.”
It is very likely that he has given the fact that, with the Lenin Moreno government, Ecuador completely lost its sovereignty and has given the US everything the US has requested, culminating with Assange’s head. In January 2019, Ecuador allowed more than a dozen diplomats and officials who worked at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to be questioned by US prosecutors. If the Americans have requested documents from the embassy, which is very likely, Lenin Moreno will most certainly have handed them over. Although, if Mueller came to read the UC Global reports, he must surely have concluded that there is no doubt that there is evidence that these are the most ridiculous documents he must have come across throughout his career as an investigator.
26. “Mueller concluded that hackers from Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU, attacked Democratic targets in spring 2016 and removed hundreds of gigabytes of information. They created online personas — Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks — to transfer some of the files to WikiLeaks and publicly claim responsibility for the hacks, falsely disavowing any Russian ties.”
Wikileaks states that the sources of various materials of the Democratic Party are diverse, and these were circulated by different actors. The Democratic Party itself recognizes that its servers were attacked for two years before the election. Wikileaks has said that its source is not the Russian state, nor any state agent.
The forensic report that attributes the alleged extraction of information to “Russian state hackers” was written by a private company hired by the Democratic Party itself, that is, judge and party. The Department of Justice did not make its own independent expert analysis.
On the other hand, Wikileaks was not the initial medium that published materials obtained from the Democratic Party. Numerous organizations and media in the US published material, allegedly, coming from Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. This includes the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Politico, Buzzfeed, The Intercept and The Hill.
The materials published by WikiLeaks were reprinted and / or reported in many media outlets, including the BBC, NBC, ABC, The Guardian, Fox News and USA Today. However, only WikiLeaks is persecuted for publishing such information, which is furthermore truthful and of public interest.
27. “Mueller’s team noted that it “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”
Precisely this discrepancy in the conclusions of Prosecutor Muller, among the claims that the materials would have been transferred over the internet, but then that “it cannot be ruled out that by visiting intermediaries,” suggests that the Prosecutor does not have evidence to support his conclusions . Even worse, if it is considered, as said before, that all the dates suggested by Muller, either for electronic transmission or retrieval through a visit, are later than when Julian Assange had already announced that he had information on the Democratic Party.
28. The special counsel named one of those associates, German hacker Andrew Müller-Maguhn, and said he “may have assisted with the transfer of these stolen documents to WikiLeaks… According to the surveillance reports, Müller-Maguhn visited Assange at the London embassy at least 12 times before the 2016 election.”
Andrew Müller-Maguhn, whom CNN refers to as a hacker, is an information protection specialist. His activism focuses on the human right to privacy in the digital age, that is, quite the opposite of the negative connotation of “hacker,” attributed to him. In his professional activity he organizes workshops that train system administrators in policies and structures that facilitate data protection; In addition, he works as a freelance journalist in cybersecurity research. As in the case of computer expert Ola Bini, jailed without reason in Ecuador by Lenin Moreno´s government, Andrew Müller-Maguhn is suddenly suspicious because he has 2 problems: he is too smart with computers, therefore dangerous, and he is friends with Julian Assange!
29. “The Mueller report says that on July 6, WikiLeaks reached out to the Russian online personas with a request to send anything “hillary related” as soon as possible, “because the (Democratic National Convention) is approaching and she will solidify Bernie supporters behind her after,” referring to her opponent in the Democratic primaries, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “
Assuming that “request” is true, the intention would be to support the most progressive candidate in the race, Bernie Sanders; but … wasn’t Assange supposed to be supporting Trump?
By the way, Wikileaks had made public calls for information on Donald Trump and declared that they would accept leaks from any political party.
30. “Days later, on July 18, while the Republican National Convention kicked off in Cleveland, an embassy security guard broke protocol by abandoning his post to receive a package outside the embassy from a man in disguise.”
The security guard did not break the protocol. In the case of a strange package, of a mysterious individual, that was precisely the protocol: to receive the package outside the embassy, in the lobby of the building and make sure that it does not represent a danger.
In seven years of Julian Assange’s stay, countless strange packages arrived at the embassy. The vast majority were gifts from those who idolize Assange, but also threats from those who demonize him.
31. “Russian hackers, posing as DCLeaks, had reached out again to WikiLeaks and offered more materials, writing that “you won’t be disappointed, I promise,” according to the Mueller report.
Was it not the case that according to CNN’s own account, previously Russian hackers had already successfully established a communication channel with Wikileaks, they had sent materials online, or through suspicious visits? Why, suddenly, would they change their pseudonym to start a new relationship and try to interest Assange with new material? Why would they not use the same previous modality?
32. “On at least two occasions, RT even published articles detailing the new batches of emails before WikiLeaks officially released them, suggesting that they were coordinating behind the scenes, which they deny. “
That statement has already been categorically refuted in the past. Announcements on Twitter by Wikileaks are not necessarily made immediately as soon as the information is uploaded to their website. Put simply, all RT had to do is monitor the Wikileaks website, discover a new publication and immediately do what any media aims for: being the first to publish it.
33. “Facing this ultimatum, Ecuadorian officials in the capital city of Quito decided on October 15 to cut Assange off from the outside world, shutting down his internet access and telephone service. Even this didn’t stop the deluge of email releases, which WikiLeaks continued pumping out every day until the election.”
How is it possible that Assange kept publishing if he had no communications at the embassy? Well, in the same way that Wikileaks continued publishing in 2018, when Lenin Moreno’s government, in a flagrant violation of human rights, completely isolated Assange for 8 whole months. Simply, Wikileaks can publish from anywhere else, be it from London, Reykjavik, Berlin or from the United States itself. The geographical location from which information is uploaded to the web is inconsequential. Therefore, this obsession to discover if Julian Assange published or not information from the embassy is a sterile and irrelevant exercise. The only relevant thing is to know if that information is true and if it is of public interest.
On the other hand, the fact that Assange was inside the embassy does not mean that the Wikileaks publications were made by him, personally, from the embassy. The editor in chief of a media makes editorial decisions, it is not necessarily the editor whoperforms the operational and technical task of editing and uploading information on a computer. Does CNN’s editor-in-chief also act as designer, programmer, proofreader, and do they personally take care of uploading the news to the web?
34. “By 1 a.m., two WikiLeaks personnel arrived at the embassy and started removing computer equipment as well as a large box containing “about 100 hard drives,” according to the documents.”
It is not surprising that Julian Assange takes a precautionary measure, to protect his information, in the face of a serious crisis with the Ecuadorian government at that time, unleashed the night of October 18, 2016. The internet had been suspended and, at the risk of an asylum termination, no matter how small, the journalist has full right to protect his information. Like CNN, it would be your right to protect yours, if there is a risk that the government can appropriate it. In fact, that was exactly what happened with the Lenin Moreno government, when Moreno put a cowardly end to the asylum. The government illegally seized Julian Assange’s belongings. As if that was not bad enough already, Moreno then handed Julian Assange’s belongings over to his persecutors.
If UC Global could not inspect the equipment, how do they know it contained “about 100 hard drives”?
35. “Justice Department lawyers secretly prepared a criminal case against Assange for the Chelsea Manning leaks.”
The “secret” investigation and preparation of the case against Assange did not begin in 2016. It began in 2010, before Julian Assange applied for asylum in 2012. It was not so secret, as it was always evident and was the fundamental reason for the granting of asylum. The accusations of a Grand Jury are normally kept secret and only made public when the defendant is arrested. It is proven that Julian Assange was always right to request that asylum and Ecuador to grant it. Lenin Moreno violated every asylum rule when it let British police enter to take force Assange out by force.
36. “Federal prosecutors even turned to a controversial law to target Assange for actively soliciting and publishing classified materials, which is typically protected under the First Amendment.“
It is good that CNN recognizes that the publication of classified materials is protected by the first amendment. How sad, however, that CNN dedicates such a long report attempting to impute some form of criminality in relation to a publication of material that is not even classified, and that CNN insists on demonizing a fellow journalist, who cannot defend himself and who is at risk of a lifelong sentence for the “crime” of publishing war crimes.
37. “In April of this year, Moreno revoked Assange’s asylum and said Assange had “violated the norm of not intervening in internal affairs of other states.”
Assange has not violated any rules. Firstly, because when journalists publish information in an electoral campaign about a candidate from any country, this does not intervention in the internal affairs of anyone. That is called journalism and that is what journalists do every day. Secondly, because no international treaty suppresses the right of an asylee to work, nor to freedom of expression. There is no precedent in history in which a political asylum is removed from an asylee for publishing, commenting, or reporting on other countries.
38. “This cleared the way for British police to forcibly remove Assange from the embassy when the first US charges were unsealed.”
It was not from Lenin Moreno’s decision of April 11, 2019 that the road was paved for the humiliating entry of a foreign power into our embassy, to kidnap a political refugee. The road for this crime was paved months in advance, in coordination with the British and directly with the Americans, who are the ones who moved the strings.
As reported by ABC, at least 6 months before the termination of asylum, the Ecuadorian ambassador to Berlin was the one who offered Assange’s head to the Americans; and according to the magazine Proceso, from inside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in London, for months before the expulsion “British and Ecuadorian officials held secret teleconferences with the headquarters of the State Department in Washington to discuss the future of Assange.”
39. “Assange hasn’t been accused of any crimes related to his actions in 2016.”
After a fierce investigation by the Department of Justice that lasted about two years, cost about 25 million dollars, interviewed about 500 people and in front of which Assange was always willing to appear if required, he has not been charged of any crime because, simply, publishing is not a crime.
This has just been ratified by a Federal Judge in New York, dismissing the lawsuit filed by the National Democratic Committee against Wikileaks. The judge has basically ruled that the First Amendment of the US Constitution protects the media that publish materials of public interest despite defects in the way the materials were obtained, as long as the diffuser did not participate in any crime in obtaining the materials first.
40.”Meanwhile, he still has allies in Russia. Within hours of Assange’s arrest, senior officials from President Vladimir Putin’s government rushed to Assange’s defense and slammed the US for infringing his rights, declaring that, “The hand of ‘democracy’ squeezes the throat of freedom.”
Does the fact that someone condemns the arrest and possible extradition of Assange, mean that they are his allies? Within a few hours of that arrest, virtually all human rights and press freedom organizations had condemned it, warning that his extradition to the US would be a violation of Assange’s human rights, including Amnesty International Ireland, Human Rights Watch (HRW), The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Reporters Without Borders, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Center for Constitutional Rights, and countless civil organizations and personalities around the world. Would CNN also refer to any of them as “allies”?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.