I’ve entitled this article “The Recent Defamation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange” because in reality the defamation campaign against both has been going on for years. In order to write this article I had to do a deep dive into the details of what can only be described as the darkest and most deceptive rabbit hole in existence in recent years.
Given this history, the deceptions in dark places and webs of intrigues that are now occurring are beyond the pale and would rival any great spy novel.
Anyone calling themselves a journalist, who is accepting the narrative spin being provided by the mainstream media, at face value, is proving that they don’t have the foggiest clue what real journalism is or simply don’t care.
Let’s start by examining the AP release of ten documents from their much larger WikiLeaks leak, announced on September 17, 2018.
The first ten documents are located here on the AP Document Cloud
In their first article, AP Exclusive: WikiLeaks files expose group’s inner workings, written by Raphael Satter and published by AP on September 17, 2018, they introduced their first document. It was a letter, allegedly written by Julian Assange, giving a journalist, Israel Shamir, authority to act on Assange’s behalf to obtain a Russian visa.
This article and the letter led to headlines in mainstream media globally about an alleged attempted escape plan by Julian Assange, to slip away to Russia.
While I’m not a professional journalist, just a lowly blogger journalist who writes opinion pieces occasionally, it seems to me that the first rational step here, given WikiLeaks refutation, would be to find out more about Sigurdur Thordarson and Israel Shamir and their relationships with WikiLeaks.
Make sense? Apparently not, at least not to numerous “professional” journalists writing hit pieces all over the globe which leap to unwarranted conclusions, based on assumptions regarding this one letter.
Ok, that’s not entirely true. Many did do a little “research” into Siggi (Sigurdur’s nickname) and “Israel” (not his real name). Their “research” consisted of using old hit pieces as references for their new hit pieces.
Go “Investigative Journalism”!
Edward R. Murrow is rolling in his grave.
As I enter the dank, dark rabbit hole, brush off the numerous spider webs, and turn on my flashlight I discover the infamous young Siggi was convicted for two years for committing embezzlement and financial fraud against WikiLeaks which included the forgery of information relating to impersonating Julian Assange.
That’s aside from his obsession with grooming and bribing under-age minors into having sex with him. He was convicted for another 2 years for that and another two years for embezzlement and fraud against another company.
The Judge sentenced him to prison for a total of 6 years, running concurrently and he was required to pay a total of over $200,000 USD in damages to all of the affected parties. He served 3 years and, according to the WikiLeaks Twitter account, was released recently.
Previous to his arrests and convictions, in 2011, Siggi had offered his services to the FBI to act as a paid informant within WikiLeaks.
It was then that, at about 3:30am on August 23, 2011, Thordarson sat down at his computer at home in Kópavogur and typed out a message to the US Embassy in Reykjavik. He decided he wanted to become an informant – Sigurdur Thordarson: WikiLeaks’s baby-faced traitor. Sydney Morning Herald. August 16, 2013
This was what triggered the rather infamous illegal operation by the FBI in Iceland. They had attempted to sneak into Iceland under false pretenses by telling the Icelandic authorities that they were investigating breaches in the Icelandic Parliamentary computer system. They were actually there to interview Siggi and set him up formally as a paid informant in WikiLeaks. When their deception was discovered they were unceremoniously kicked out of Iceland and arranged to meet Siggi in Denmark instead.
This action is detailed in Julian Assange’s affidavit and confirmed by Iceland’s Interior Minister at the time: Jónasson: The Icelandic Minister who refused cooperation with the FBI. katoikos.eu, December 7, 2016.
Siggi has publicly admitted he turned a lot of material over to the FBI and received $5,000 USD in payment on March 18, 2012.
According to a Justice Department receipt Thordarson says was provided by the FBI, he turned over eight hard drives in total containing of about 1 terabyte of data, which is the equivalent of about 1000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. – Sigurdur Thordarson: WikiLeaks’s baby-faced traitor. Sydney Morning Herald. August 16, 2013
On September, 17, 2018, after Siggi’s release from prison, AP received what appears to be the same material. Was the source Siggi? Siggi and the FBI were the ones who had the material. That fact combined with Siggi’s recent release makes a strong case that he was the one who released them to AP, possibly in collusion with the FBI, unless he retained his own copies.
After Siggi handed the material over to the FBI on March 18, 2012, Siggi’s relationship with the FBI began to fall apart according to emails between Siggi and the FBI, which Siggi provided to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Once the agents obtained the hard drives and received the passwords to access them, Thordarson’s emails suggest, they stopped responding regularly to his messages and rebuffed his attempts to set up another meeting. – Sigurdur Thordarson: WikiLeaks’s baby-faced traitor. Sydney Morning Herald. August 16, 2013
The FBI agent quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald stated there were “bureaucratic issues” but doesn’t specify what they were.
In early 2012, after a period of not responding to Thordarson’s emails, his alleged FBI handler wrote that there had been “bureaucratic issues beyond my control that prevented me from maintaining contact,” adding that “our relationship has been problematic for some others. This is not an ordinary case. But those were not my issues and I have been diligently trying to work out those issues so we can continue our relationship.” – Sigurdur Thordarson: WikiLeaks’s baby-faced traitor. Sydney Morning Herald. August 16, 2013
In my opinion, and based on my knowledge of how the FBI works, SMH’s explanation is unlikely.
There were also signs that internal conflict was developing within the FBI over the infiltration of WikiLeaks, a controversial tactic not least because WikiLeaks is a publisher and press freedom groups have condemned from the outset the government’s investigation into Assange and his colleagues. – Sigurdur Thordarson: WikiLeaks’s baby-faced traitor. Sydney Morning Herald. August 16, 2013
The FBIs history demonstrates that it doesn’t use civil rights violations like press freedoms as a measure for determining whether they are or are not going to infiltrate an organization, whether it’s a criminal enterprise or a social activist cause or something else.
It’s far more likely that they were concerned about the reliability of the information provided to them and therefore Siggi’s reliability. Especially in light of all the charges laid against him by the Icelandic Police during the same time period, some of which were directly related to his impersonation of Assange.
There would also have been a huge risk that the FBI might have been perceived as colluding with Siggi’s criminal activities where WikiLeaks and Assange were concerned. That is, the impersonations and fraud that Siggi was eventually convicted of.
If the FBI thought any of this information was actually credible or legally useful in building a case of Russian collusion or anything else against WikiLeaks or Julian Assange, they would have:
- Continued to build their relationship with Siggi
- Handed the information over to the Prosecutors for future use in a WikiLeaks / Julian Assange prosecution.
- A leak would have been highly unlikely because BOTH would have had more to gain by NOT leaking it.
If the information was tainted and not useful in building the legal case against WikiLeaks, both the FBI and Siggi would have something to gain with it’s release. The FBI could use their media connections to instigate a disinformation campaign and Siggi would have more notoriety and possibly some more cash in his pocket.
According to WikiLeaks (in the above screenshot) Scandinavian outlets also received the documents “years ago” and refused to publish them because they considered them untrustworthy. Therefore they would have no reason to release them now to other media.
All of that said, let’s get back to the letter.
The AP article claims the following as evidence of it’s “authentication”:
Metadata suggests that it was on Nov. 29, the day after the release of the first batch of U.S. State Department files, that the letter to the Russian Consulate was drafted on the Jessica Longley computer.
One of the former associates, an ex-employee, identified two of the names that frequently appeared in the documents’ metadata, “Jessica Longley” and “Jim Evans Mowing,” as pseudonyms assigned to two WikiLeaks laptops.
However, they neglect to mention that Siggi was working as a low level volunteer for WikiLeaks at the time and had access to their computers. That’s how he was able to get the data in the first place. Fabricating documents on WikiLeaks laptops would have been easy for him to do and he’s already been convicted of fraud for fabricating information in relation to Julian Assange.
Another problem with the AP authentication procedure is that we are expected to believe anonymous sources on the assumption they are telling the truth. They don’t appear to have provided any supporting evidence to back their claim that WikiLeaks laptops exist with those names.
As a result, we simply don’t know if they are being truthful, acting as disgruntled ex-employees on a vendetta, or acting as paid informants pushing a disinformation campaign. This makes their verification meaningless because there is no way for us to vet it independently.
The only real benefit to legitimate anonymous sources is they can point journalists and investigators in the right direction to getting the hard evidence they need to make a case. Their information also provides journalists with the background to ask the right questions when they’re probing an issue.
This was the contribution that anonymous source Deep Throat made in the 1960s which led to the Watergate scandal. In other words, Deep Throat was just the beginning of the process of collecting hard evidence to support his allegations independently and then to act on them. Nobody just took his word at face value.
Claiming one has authenticated a document based on “non-public details such as bank accounts, telephone numbers or airline tickets” is equally absurd because that information isn’t non-public in reality. Since Siggi was a low level volunteer for WikiLeaks, it’s precisely the type of information he could have had access to in order to fabricate the documents.
This kind of vetting is as absurd as the banks insisting that I provide my mother’s maiden name to identity myself as a “security” measure because it’s “non-public”. Everyone and their dog who knows me, knows my mother’s maiden name. I don’t use it. I give a fake maiden name for my mother.
In addition, where is the evidence that the laptops named “Jessica Longley” or “Jim Evans Mowing” have ever been used by Assange? Anything written by him would be on his own laptop and not on some random WikiLeaks laptop used by staff (that’s assuming the anonymous sources were being truthful and that WikiLeaks laptops with those names existed – we don’t actually know).
As a friend of mine pointed out, he could write a letter today, put Julian Assange’s name on it, send it to the FBI and/or the media, and it would have as much credibility as this one. Well, maybe a little more since he hasn’t done time in prison for impersonating Assange like Siggi has.
The end result is that all the metadata actually proves is that someone had access to laptops with those names, which may or may not have been WikiLeaks laptops. The only someone with demonstrable access to those particular laptops is Siggi.
The additional photocopy of the passport published with the letter in the Document Cloud is irrelevant since the point of the passport would simply be to verify whether there was a Russian Visa stamp on it dated November or December, 2010 and that isn’t visible.
AP’s note above the passport (scroll down to see it) states:
The following is a notarized copy of Assange’s passport. The document was obtained by the AP separately from the letter to the Russian Consulate in London, but it is consistent with the letter’s content.
If it was obtained separately, and all it is, is a notarized copy of the front page of Julian Assange’s passport, how is it consistent with the letters content? It wasn’t attached to the letter and by AP’s own admission, it was obtained separately from the letter. There is no information related to where it came from or what the evidentiary link to the letter might be. Again, we’re expected to just believe based on nothing but an assumption.
The fact that the date it was notarized is one month previous to the letter isn’t enough to confirm anything, especially given the facts that it did not come attached to the letter and the letter is not properly authenticated, signed or notarized.
People have copies of their passport notarized for any number of reasons.
All of that said, in the end and in my opinion, this entire drama is a smear campaign intended to lay the foundation for further false “Russian collusion” disinformation against WikiLeaks and Assange. When the Feds can’t make a legal case, jury by public opinion through mainstream media has become a last resort.
It’s called Manufacturing Consent (Noam Chomsky).
It’s a tempest in a teapot since even if it were true, so what? Going to Russia doesn’t automatically indicate collusion of any kind. If it was true, it might (but not necessarily) indicate he was trying to escape extradition to the US. So what? That’s why he asked for asylum.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know what the implications would be to Assange if the US succeeded in extraditing him. Injustice, torture and abuse of due process are the name of the game in the US Injustice System as Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, Jeremy Hammond, Matt DeHart and numerous others can attest to first hand.
The implications to Press Freedoms would be even worse since WikiLeaks and Assange’s only “crime” was to publish leaked information, much of which exposed corruption and abuses of power at the highest levels. This was in the public interest and is a protected right under the US Constitution. SCOTUS legal precedent has established that protection extends to non-US citizens.
Jennifer Robinson, one of Julian Assange’s lawyer commented on the AP allegations and this particular document, pointing out that they could have easily been verified by contacting the UK authorities who still have Julian Assange’s passport or the Russian Embassy in the UK. His passport was confiscated by the UK on December 7, 2010. If it had a brand new Russian Visa attached to it, it’s unlikely they would have granted him bail and yet they did.
Jennifer Robinson’s comments on this occur around the 10:20 mark in the video at the bottom of the following article:
Common sense would also dictate that if Julian Assange had decided to get a Russian Visa, he would have done it through his lawyers and not some journalist, irrespective of whether that journalist is a friend or not. According to WikiLeaks, Shamir wasn’t a close friend. He was simply one of many journalists that had some access to some material in the WikiLeaks databases and nothing more.
It is false that Shamir is ‘an Assange intimate’. He interviewed Assange (on behalf of Russian media), as have many journalists. He took a photo at that time and has only met with WikiLeaks staff (including Asssange) twice. –WikiLeaks
The only discussions that did occur regarding Russia, occurred in December, 2017, were between the Ecuadorian Embassy and Assange and were related to his diplomatic status. Assange was given diplomatic status by Ecuador in December 2017 and the Ecuadorians were proposing he be sent to Russia to act as Ecuador’s diplomatic representative in Moscow. Since the UK refused to recognize his diplomatic status that proposal became moot and did not involve any discussions with the Russians.
Craig Murray, in his recent Blog post, Extraordinary and Deliberate Lies from the Guardian dated September 23, 2018 and updated on September 24, 2018 made the following comment:
UPDATE One reason I was so stunned at the Guardian’s publication of these lies is that I had gone direct from the Ecuadorean Embassy to the Guardian building in Kings Cross to give an in-depth but off the record briefing to Euan MacAskill, perhaps their last journalist of real integrity, on the strategy for Julian. I told Euan that Russia was ruled out. I did not mention this yesterday as I greatly respect Euan and wanted to speak to him first. But on phoning the Guardian I find that Euan “retired” the day the lying article was published. That seems a very large coincidence.
Craig Murray, a former UK Diplomat, also states in the blog post that: “…Julian directly ruled out the possibility of going to Russia as undesirable…”.
In addition, the Russian Embassy released a statement on September 26, 2018 confirming WikiLeaks denial.
The embassy has never engaged with Ecuadorean colleagues, or with anyone else, in discussions on any kind of Russian participation in ending Mr Assange’s stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador.- Julian Assange and Russia’s UK embassy. The Guardian, September 24, 2018
Ivan Volodin, at the Russian embassy in London, responds to a Guardian article reporting that Russian diplomats held secret talks about helping Julian Assange flee the UK
Now, I’m just curious… How is it possible that numerous professional journalists writing for numerous platforms…
- Can be so eager and willing to accept what can only be described as an Orwellian narrative without question?
- Are so willing to accept the word of completely anonymous sources making statements that not only cannot be independently verified but are openly and publicly contradicted by people who are both identified and in a position to know the facts?
- Are so accepting of “facts” that can so easily be refuted?
I’ll leave it to those journalists writing the hit pieces to explore their own consciences and the reader to come to their own conclusions.
It isn’t rocket science and doesn’t require a genius IQ to see what’s going on here.
Special thanks to Raymond Johanson and the others who assisted me by giving me feedback and constructive advice on this article.