The Recent Defamation of #WikiLeaks and #JulianAssange, Part 1 introduced the topic of the recently published AP leaks related to WikiLeaks and built a case around the first document being fraudulent or at the very least unauthenticated.
This case was built around the document properties provided by AP in their attempt to authenticate the document, the context in which the document appeared on the scene as well as the person WikiLeaks believes created the document, Sigurdur Thordarson.
In Part 1, I concluded that WikiLeaks assessment was the one most likely to be correct given all of the facts that are publicly available to us. That is, the document was most likely a forgery created by Sigurdur Thordarson and the allegation that it “proved” Julian Assange was trying to flee to Russia was just a baseless confabulation.
Note that the Russian Embassy released a statement on September 26, 2018 (two days before Part 1 was published) confirming WikiLeaks denial. So this entire issue is now done.
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
Israel Shamir has been directly associated with the document as allegedly having been the recipient who was responsible for obtaining a Russian visa for Julian Assange. There is no evidence to support this, given that the document itself isn’t authenticated properly, is a forgery, according to WikiLeaks, and the Russians state unequivocally that there has never been any discussion with anyone regarding “ending Mr. Assange’s stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador“.
The AP (Associated Press) article also claims that Shamir has stated the following in a telephone interview:
Shamir told the AP he was plagued by memory problems and couldn’t remember delivering Assange’s letter or say whether he eventually got the visa on Assange’s behalf.
“I can’t possibly exclude that it happened,” Shamir said in a telephone interview. “I have a very vague memory of those things.”
Shamir’s memory appeared sharper during a January 20, 2011, interview with Russian News Service radio — a Moscow-based station now known as Life Zvuk, or Life Sound. Shamir said he’d personally brokered a Russian visa for Assange, but that it had come too late to rescue him from the sex crimes investigation.
However, they don’t provide a reference link to the interview so that statement can be verified, nor has Shamir confirmed the statement they attribute to him in the telephone interview anywhere that I could find.
What Israel Shamir said or didn’t say is now irrelevant anyway given the tweet from the Russian Embassy and the statement by the Russian Embassy in the Guardian, quoted above.
His last blog post related to Assange is this one: The Long Captivity of Julian Assange by Israel Shamir • June 21, 2018
Given that the conspiracy theories surrounding his part of the story are fascinating (actually laughable), I feel obligated to rehash this part of the story for the sole purpose of demonstrating how disinformation campaigns like this work.
Part 1 has provided you with some insight on how “evidence” is concocted and misrepresented deceptively as the foundation of a disinformation campaign.
While I didn’t present it in that context, it is actually how it works.
So, now, in the case of Shamir’s part of the story:
Shamir was one of many journalists with access to portions of the WikiLeaks database for journalistic research purposes. He had no formal relationship with WikiLeaks other than that, nor was there any long term relationship between him and Julian Assange, according to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks statement that was given to, but not used by, the UK satirical current-affairs magazine, Private Eye:
Israel Shamir has never worked or volunteered for WikiLeaks, in any manner, whatsoever. He has never written for WikiLeaks or any associated organization, under any name and we have no plan that he do so. He is not an ‘agent’ of WikiLeaks. He has never been an employee of WikiLeaks and has never received monies from WikiLeaks or given monies to WikiLeaks or any related organization or individual. However, he has worked for the BBC, Haaretz, and many other reputable organizations.
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 Assange) twice. It is false that ‘he was trusted with selecting the 250,000 US State Department cables for the Russian media’ or that he has had access to such at any time.
Shamir was able to search through a limited portion of the cables with a view to writing articles for a range of Russian media. The media that subsequently employed him did so of their own accord and with no intervention or instruction by WikiLeaks.
We do not have editorial control over the of hundreds of journalists and publications based on our materials and it would be wrong for us to seek to do so. We do not approve or endorse the writings of the world’s media. We disagree with many of the approaches taken in analyzing our material.
Index did contact WikiLeaks as have many people and organisations do for a variety of reasons. The quote used here is not complete. WikiLeaks also asked Index for further information on this subject. Most of these rumors had not, and have not, been properly corroborated. WikiLeaks therefore asked Index to let us know if they had received any further information on the subject. This would have helped WikiLeaks conduct further inquiries. We did not at the time, and never have, received any response.
One photograph was taken with Shamir and Assange together, a common practice when people meet well-known people.
“Shamir has a years-long friendship with Assange, and was privy to the contents of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables months before WikiLeaks made public the full cache. Such was Shamir’s controversial nature that Assange introduced him to WikiLeaks staffers under a false name. Known for views held by many to be antisemitic, Shamir aroused the suspicion of several WikiLeaks staffers – myself included – when he asked for access to all cable material concerning “the Jews”, a request which was refused.” – Israel Shamir and Julian Assange’s cult of machismo by James Ball
The claim that Shamir was a close associate of Assange is denied by WikiLeaks. The only “evidence” provided to support it is this single image of them sitting together. By that absurd standard, Tommy Douglas, father of Canada’s Health Care system was my bestie because there’s one picture of me with him when I met him as a teenager and was a member of the New Democratic Youth.
Absurd as it is, this deception has become the foundation for numerous confabulations to discredit Assange using the Guilt by Association fallacy as an Argumentum Ad Hominem attack. This demagogic style of argumentation is a key component of any Propaganda arsenal.
One example of this is the false allegation that, Assange is allegedly antisemitic and right-wing because he allegedly has a close, long term relationship with Shamir who is allegedly an antisemite and holocaust denier.
” I wrote hundreds of pages on the Jewish topic, but for the benefit of the reader I’ll sum it up. Naturally, as a son of Jewish parents and a man living in the Jewish state and deeply and intimately involved with Jewish culture, I harbour no hate to a Jew because he is a Jew. I doubt many people do. However I did and do criticise various aspects of Jewish Weltanschauung like so many Jewish and Christian thinkers before me, or even more so for I witnessed crimes of the Jewish state that originated in this worldview.
As for the accusation of “Holocaust denial”, my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, but I do deny its religious salvific significance implied in the very term ‘Holocaust’; I do deny its metaphysical uniqueness, I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust and I think every God-fearing man, a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim should reject it as Abraham rejected and smashed idols. I deny that it is good to remember or immortalise such traumatic events, and I wrote many articles against modern obsession with massacres, be it Jewish holocaust of 1940s, Armenian massacre of 1915, Ukrainian “holodomor”, Polish Katyn, Khmer Rouge etc. Poles, Armenians, Ukrainians understood me, so did Jews – otherwise I would be charged with the crime of factual denial which is known to the Israeli law.” – Israel Shamir
It’s the right wing extremist element in Israel and their supporters in the Israel Lobby, that is pushing this propaganda that any criticism of Israel constitutes “antisemitism”. Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has a long history of fighting against fascism and antisemitism is also being falsely accused of being an “antisemite” by that same element.
To understand this issue in depth, I recommend the recent Al Jazeera film, The Lobby (UK) which exposes the dark underbelly of the Lobby in the UK.
Segments of the US version, which has been banned, have also been leaked to various sites.
So, back to the main topic, and to summarize this section:
- the disinformation is spread about Shamir that he is an alleged antisemite, holocaust denier which implies he’s right wing
- a foundation is built by spreading that falsehood everywhere
- that becomes the foundation for disinformation attacks on Assange by association, that is, since Assange has “friends” who are allegedly right wing,antisemite, holocaust deniers then he must be as well.
The claim that Shamir hadaccess to thousands of US diplomatic cablesis based on the above allegations by James Ball, a WikiLeaks intern from November 23, 2010 to December 15, 2010. In February, 2011 he became a full-time journalist for the Guardian. The job with the Guardian gave him an unprecedented platform from which he could establish his false narrative as an alleged witness to Shamir’s activities in relation to WikiLeaks and Assange. That narrative consisted of exaggerations, spins, and, according to Shamir, outright lies, intended to give the false impression that Shamir had more access to the cables than other journalists.
WikiLeaks, in their statement quoted above, has stated clearly that his access was the same as that of other journalists.
If Shamir had unrestricted access to the cables (implied by Ball), why would he have to ask Ball for cables about “the Jews”, as Ball also claims? He wouldn’t have to.
The “interest” in those cables appears to have been a fabrication by James Ball, as a set-up, so that a foundation could be created for later allegations. Ball, and the other media writing these stories, simply ignore the inherent contradictions in Ball’s story when they use it as a foundation for later false allegations.
Shamir states that he received cables related to Minsk and Moscow from James Ball and that Ball offered them to him on his own initiative, not at Shamir’s request.
You [James Ball] did it even twice: just before my departure you came to me on your own initiative and kindly handed me “a better file on Jews”, twice as big as the previous one. Apparently lying and cheating is your second nature by now.
Ball continues to build on this smear:
Still later, when damning evidence emerged that Shamir had handed cables material to the dictator of Belarus – a man he holds in high esteem – to assist his persecution of opposition activists, Assange shamefully refused to investigate. – Israel Shamir and Julian Assange’s cult of machismo by James Ball
This part of the story was built on the foundational false narrative established by Ball re: the “ access to all cable material concerning “the Jews”” and the “was privy to the contents of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables” plus the following image was “evidence” that Shamir had been in Minsk.
Shamir was photographed by an Interfax photographer on the steps of the Belarus Presidential Administation Building in Minsk earlier today.
In this CounterPunch article, Shamir explains what he was doing in Minsk (International Observer to the Elections) and his position on Belarus. His mother is from Minsk which explains his interest in the region: The Minsk Election in a Wikileaks Mirror by Israel Shamir
This particular story is quite complex but has been examined in depth in this article: The Guardian and WikiLeaks, Hazel Press, January 19, 2013. To understand this issue I recommend you read the article.
The author, after an in-depth analysis concludes that the allegation that Shamir handed cables over to Lukashenko to damage the Belarus opposition is baseless. There isn’t a shred of hard evidence to support it. This image combined with articles which appear to be based on nothing more than unsupported assertions, assumptions, exaggerations and spin, are the combined total of the evidence.
The article is a recommended read to get a solid grasp of what happened, when and why.
One of the very interesting points made in the article is to demonstrate how one false allegation gets built by using other false allegations as their foundation. You can see this by clicking through the links the articles reference to try to locate the original source. When you find the original source you can see that the entire narrative is built on sand since the original sources don’t offer any evidence of their claims.
Guilt by association is used to smear Assange here as well. Once the narrative was established by Ball, that Shamir had allegedly handed cables over to the Belarus government, led by Lukashenko, Assange and WikiLeaks were then falsely accused of putting dissidents at risk.
The facts, according to the Hazel Press article above, and which are substantiated, are that Charter 97, a human rights group in Belarus, had received the cables and had published articles criticizing the Lukashenko regime. The web site was DDOSd and the Belarus police raided their offices and arrested them. According to the article, this is likely how the regime got access to the cables. Andrei Sannikov, the leader of the Opposition was imprisoned by Lukashenko.
In addition, Andrei Sannikov’s sister, Irina, main spokesperson of the Free Belarus campaign, invited Julian Assange to the screening of their film, Europe’s Last Dictator. Assange had been helping Belarussian dissidents in the background.
If one wanted to nitpick this tempest in a teapot, one certainly could, but in the end it would be a pointless exercise. As I said in Part 1, even if it were all true and the motivation was to escape any US extradition attempt by going to Russia (and there is no foundation here to indicate that it is) … so what?
After Ecuador granted Assange Ecuadorian citizenship & made him a diplomatic staffer to the embassy in London, Ecuadorian officials may well have discussed amongst themselves what diplomatic posting to give him, on the assumption that the UK response would be to declare him “persona non-grata” (and thus trigger Vienna Convention rules about allowing sufficient time for diplomats rejected in this same way to leave the country safely).
However, as eye-witness Craig Murray has already told us in his recent blog post on this topic “it is a fact that Julian directly ruled out the possibility of going to Russia as undesirable“.
The fact that this document referred to in this article and the others which appeared on Twitter today do indicate that Ecuadorian officials wanted to send Assange to Russia, are quite meaningless, since Assange rejected the suggestion.
“There is a ministerial agreement [at the Foreign Ministry of Ecuador], according to which Julian Assange was appointed Ecuador’s diplomatic representative in Moscow,” Vintimilla said.
And last but not least, you know the propagandists are desperate when they’ve sunk so low that all they have left is to try to divert the discussion of serious political and civil rights issues into personal attacks about Julian Assange’s personal hygiene and threaten Embassy Cat.
The inevitable outcome of all of this confabulation is to support the RussiaGate confabulation that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are allegedly in cahoots with the Russians to undermine the US. There is no evidence that demonstrates any connection between Assange and the Russians or WikiLeaks and the Russians, that would support this narrative, despite repeated attempts to create the false impression that there is.
In my humble opinion, the US is doing an excellent job of undermining themselves, as is Russia and numerous other countries around the world. None of those countries actually need any help from anyone when it comes to undermining their own democracies, economic and social systems, even if they’re getting that “help” from each other. Which they probably are.
All WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have done is expose these governments own words and deeds to the people. For the first time in history, we can see globally and first hand, the destruction that is being wreaked on our societies by the global elite working in collusion with lawless governments that have gone rogue.
In order to clearly understand the problem, you have to ignore the MSM Propaganda narratives and look at the actual facts. Thanks to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, people are starting to understand this and have actually been enabled to do this.
This is what many of the Independent and Alternative media sites have been doing and it’s why they have much larger followings on Social Media than MSM sites. It’s also why they’re being mass-censored by Google, Facebook and now Twitter is following suit. It’s a last ditch desperate attempt to save the dying MSM and maintain control over the propaganda narratives.
When you understand the problem, you can work on the solution.