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A Written Guide to the Guardian’s Smear Campaign Against Assange

Fifty-three days ago Ecuador cut off Julian Assange’s communications to the outside world and although the official reason given was because Assange had breached an agreement not to meddle in Ecuador’s affairs via Twitter (WikiLeaks vehemently denies there was an agreement), there appears to be more to the story.  Yes, it’s likely that Spain pressured Ecuador over Assange’s tweets about Catalonia but U.S. pressure on the small Latin American country has obviously played a role, as well.  Since January, the country has witnessed a suspicious rise in terrorist activity along their northern border and the U.S. military, because of their obvious good nature, happily offered their assistance.  Ecuador has since accepted their offer.

But Ecuador isn’t just being pressured by foreign governments like Spain, the U.S., and even the U.K. with terrorist activity and as we found out yesterday, EU voting.  Propaganda has long played a significant role in the U.S. government’s playbook and this story is no different.  Enter British journalist Luke Harding and a dismaying list of other journalists.  On May 14, 2018, it appears that a major, coordinated effort to disrupt Ecuador-U.K. negotiations and sour relationships between Assange, the Ecuadorian embassy and the government was unleashed by a handful of journalists.  The attack(s) is an obvious push towards Ecuador expelling Assange from the embassy after which the U.K. will likely and promptly hand him over to the United States.

So how big was this latest campaign?  In three days almost a dozen articles between The Guardian, Ecuador’s Plan V, and German media outlet Sueddeutsche.com were published.  Adding to recent concerns is the fact that @AnonScan stated today that their previous “Condition Red” tweet was in reference to security at the Ecuadorian embassy—security that President Moreno scaled back a month ago leaving Assange in a vulnerable and already dangerous position.

* * *

 

LUKE HARDING

Luke Harding

Luke Harding, one of the writers involved in this latest anti-Assange propaganda stunt, is a foreign correspondent for The Guardian who was based in Russia back in 2007 until, he claims, they kicked him out.  In reality, it appears that Harding, a rumored asset for both the CIA and M16, wasn’t kicked out but merely failed to renew his visa.  His very public allegations against Russia came off the heels of Bill Browder definitively being kicked out of Russia and around the time that Browder started accusing Russians of stealing Russia’s tax refund money from his subsidiaries.  In fact, Harding and Browder have been patting each other on the back since 2014, and they both spoke at Thor Halvorseen’s PutinCon earlier this year.

Harding also wrote a book about the Litvinenko poisoning entitled, “A Very Expensive Poison:  The Definitive Story of the Murder of Litvinenko and Russia’s War with the West.”  Browder is mentioned seven times and Harding’s sources included all of the people I mentioned in my article, “Russiagate Part One:  The Story That Everyone Missed“:   Alex Goldfarb, Vladimir Bukovsky, Akhmed Zakayev, Browder, and even Boris Berezovsky.  Now, if we could somehow tie Mikhail Khodorkovsky into all of this…oh, here you go:

This photo of Browder and Harding was taken at a February 21, 2018 event held at the U.K. Houses of Parliament called “Tale of Two Russias.”  And yes, Mikhail Khodorkovsky took part in the festivities.  In fact, the photo above is taken from his website, www.khodorkovsky.com.  As you can see, Harding is part of the same gang that’s been running around with M16 agents and bad mouthing Putin for years.  I can’t say it enough times, these are not nice, trustworthy people.

 

THE COORDINATED SMEAR CAMPAIGN

Although The Guardian started publishing their attack on May 15, 2018, what many people may not realize is that a publishing outlet called Plan V started publishing the same material the day before.  Plan V was created in 2013 with the help of Fundamedios, an NGO civil organization created in 2007.

In 2013, Fundamedios, also known as the Andean Foundation for the Observation and Study of Media, was accused of receiving funds from the United States.  They didn’t exactly deny the accusation stating only that they had “indirect” ties to USAID.  You know what that means:  George Soros.

Fundamedios sits on the Ethics Committee of an organization called Aliazanza Regional whose website links to Open Society Foundation (among other organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy).  Fundamedios is also advertised on websites like latinno.net which receives funding from the Open Society Foundation.  The bottom line here is that the attack against Assange this week may have been an international, coordinated effort by powerful individuals who are likely tied to M15, M16, the CIA, Soros or all of the above.  The aim is to poison Ecuadorians’ support of Assange and to get Assange expelled from the embassy.

 

“Ecuador Financia Con Gastos Reservados el Espionaje de Julian Assange”
May 14, 2018
planv.com.ec

Plan V’s first article which was published on May 14, 2018, focused on the money that Ecuador spent over the years protecting Assange. They reported on a surveillance system that was installed, a “clandestine operations center” that was set up at Basil Mansions just down the street from the Ecuadorian embassy, and Ecuador’s now dismantled intelligence agency, Senain, which was behind the operation.

The article also included a laundry list of accusations (such as the “clandestine operations center”) that was regurgitated later by both The Guardian and Sueddeutsche, all three of which provided zero documents, legitimate sources, or any named sources at all to back up most of their claims.  Let’s start with security.

Yes, Ecuador spent money to protect Assange and as former President Correa stated, the country has an obligation to do just that.  However, that doesn’t mean that Ecuador had a secret little bungalow down the street nor that installed CCTV cameras in the embassy were part of a nefarious plot.  I mean, can you imagine an embassy not having security cameras?  Right, it’s absurd.  But then again, this is the same media outlet that claimed Assange “made the embassy a war room for international espionage.”  This stuff is bird cage liner, at best.  And if it’s the cost that’s so troublesome then Plan V and The Guardian should take it up with the U.K. Foreign Office who threatened to storm the place back in 2012.

The article also mentions Ecuador’s former intelligence agency, Senain, which was created in 2009 by then President Correa with the “objective of carrying out intelligence and counter-intelligence activities for internal protection, maintenance of public order and national defense.”  However, rather than posting the super duper secret Senain documents that Plan V allegedly reviewed, the article repeatedly uses lines like, “our research team had access to a detailed report,” “data revealed to this medium,” and “our source, who preferred to keep his name in reserve,” making it impossible to take seriously their information about Senain’s budget, spending habits, and surveillance operation.

The entire campaign against Assange this week has been dubbed “Operation Guest” and “Operation Hotel” due to the fact that this is what Ecuador’s intelligence agency allegedly called the embassy’s security operation launched in September, 2012.  Again, they provide no documents for verification.

The article also claims that Assange took up one-third of the Embassy’s first floor and that “daily reports” which no, we don’t have the privilege of seeing, included “photos, analysis and critical moments of Assange.”  And what could possibly be the most absurd allegation in the article is Plan V’s claims that WikiLeaks signed a confidentiality agreement with one of the “Spanish agents in charge of surveillance” that gave this agent access to “highly confidential information” including data, material, technological products, computer programs, manuals, business plans, software, and financial information.  

This alleged agreement also stated that,

“The Recipient [Spanish agent] commits to keep absolute reserve about the identity of the Wikileaks staff, as well as to guarantee the confidentiality of the information generated in the meetings that it maintains with the members of Wikileaks, Julian Assange or their relatives.

…It is not limited to electronic communication, information on future projects, schedules and interview documents, drafts of presentations, notes, reports or other types of writings that may be destined for future publications, and any other information transmitted by emails, meetings, telephone calls and conferences by any other means. “

And no, they didn’t provide this document either because I’m assuming this story is entirely false or tragically skewed.  For example, what may have been a general confidentiality agreement with the security team due to the possibility that they could inadvertently become privy to information, Plan V turns this into WikiLeaks willingly divulging the organization’s publications, software, documents, and security protocols. Absurd.

 

“Revealed:  Ecuador Spent Millions on Spy Operation for Julian Assange”
May 15, 2018 12:00 EDT
The Guardian

On May 15, 2018, The Guardian published three articles targeting Assange.  The first one entitled, “Ecuador Spent Millions on Spy Operation for Julian Assange,” is simply a recap of Plan V’s article minus some extra tidbits thrown in here and there like calling Assange a fugitive because that’s apparently what the kids are calling political refugees these days. Like the previous article, it noted the cost of Ecuador’s security set-up at the embassy, visitors being monitored, and the alleged intelligence operation parked down the street at Basil Mansions.

Allegedly Ecuador’s former Ambassador to the U.K., Juan Falconi Puig, was not aware of the intelligence set-up around the corner and my guess is that no one in Ecuador let alone in their intelligence agency was aware of it either.  It gets better.  The Guardian went on to accuse Assange of compromising the communications system at the embassy, having his own satellite internet access, and intercepting both official and personal communications with the staff.  WikiLeaks’ response?

I mean, at this point The Guardian will literally publish anything without backing it up with evidence or sourcing.  As someone on Twitter said the other last day, they’ve crawled out of the gutter and into the sewer.  Both WikiLeaks and @BellaMagnani noted that the media outlet doesn’t practice scientific journalism and pointed to the fact that Focus Ecuador, a source that The Guardian used extensively for their articles this week, has a website that’s been defunct for at least a year now.  Additionally, Focus Ecuador journalist and one of the co-authors of this particular article, Fernando Villavicencio, was once sued for libel over stories he wrote about Ecuador’s former President Correa.  He also has an extensive history of forging documents.  Go figure.

@BellaMagnani also pointed out that this isn’t the first time The Guardian has used Villavicencio’s forgeries.  It happened only a few years ago when Villavicencio forged official documents about a loan between Ecuador and China. The Guardian used Villavicencio’s handy work and was later forced to pull it. Although I’ve haven’t had enough time to research it, it seems Villavicencio also has ties to USAID.

When it comes to Luke Harding, his reputation doesn’t fare any better.  @AnonScan reposted a tweet made by Julian Assange last year calling Harding “plagiarist of the year” and stating that he’s “not a reputable source.”  Indeed, Harding was once given a “plagiarist of the year” award, he’s been accused of receiving money from the U.S. (Correction: Focus Ecuador has been accused of receiving money from the U.S.), and it’s been rumored he’s working as a CIA/M16 asset.  WikiLeaks calls Harding a “serial fabricator.”  For more, read Julian Assange’s take in “How ‘the Guardian’ Milked Edward Snowden’s Story.”

 

“How Julian Assange Became an Unwelcome Guest in Ecuador’s Embassy”
May 15, 2018 12:00 EDT
The Guardian

One thing worth noting about The Guardian’s articles this week is their mention of the DNC emails.  They infer that WikiLeaks tilted the 2016 U.S. election in favor of Trump because of the DNC emails and that the publication may be affecting Julian Assange’s current situation.  They even question time and time again how Assange got his hands on the emails but rarely do they mention the Podesta emails.  It’s weird.  And no, I don’t have a theory but I know it’s weird and it’s something to note.

Take for example their second article entitled, “How Julian Assange Became an Unwelcome Guest in Ecuador’s Embassy.”  The article mentions the DNC emails, their alleged affect on the election, and that Mueller might be able to ascertain as to how they came into Assange’s possession by investigating the embassy’s visitor logs.  However, although the article mentions Podesta’s emails, it doesn’t question how WikiLeaks might have obtained them or any adverse consequences that may have arisen from publishing them.  The same holds true for their other articles.

What’s really mind-boggling about this article (besides everything) is the fact that the journalists who wrote it (Luke Harding, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, and Dan Collyns) advocate Robert Mueller pawing through the list of visitors Assange has had over the years so he can investigate them as possible intermediaries for the DNC emails. Assange’s visitor list, if it exists, would certainly include lawyers, activists, hackers, and other journalists.  So, just to be clear, The Guardian and their minions are literally pushing for a McCarthy-istic manhunt against fellow journalists, attorneys, activists, and others who visited a publisher no less, and that should terrify you more than the Red Scare.

This is like asking The Guardian (or any media outlet) to release a list of every person their editors and journalists have ever met with over the course of the last few years.  “Hi, Guardian.  We’d like a list so we can politically persecute you, your staff, and visitors and while we’re at it, sniff out a few Russian spies.  Thanks in advance,” hashtag “Stasi.”  I mean, what?

As for the rest of this article, there’s more talk about the intelligence set-up in the embassy, the alleged secret apartment down the block, and the allegation that former Ambassador Puig was unaware of it.  And no, no documents to back up their allegations.  And hypothetically, if these documents existed (and were real), it’s funny that Harding and the rest of his crew don’t realize that they’re doing exactly what WikiLeaks does:  Publishing the contents of “secret documents” and confidential information.  The difference?  WikiLeaks actually provides the documents after authenticating them so I guess publishing information from secret fake documents is cool, publishing real documents with real information not cool.

The article wraps up by accusing Assange of posing a “risk” to embassy staff (whatever that means) and tweeting in support of Catalan secession (no, he didn’t).  They might have even called him a fugitive again but honestly I stopped keeping track.  They also noted without blinking an eye that even though Assange has diplomatic status, “this probably would not stop the UK arresting him if it had the chance,” because breaking international agreements and diplomatic protocol is also cool.

 

“Why Does Ecuador Want Assange Out of Its London Embassy”
May 15, 2018 12:00 EDT
The Guardian

Moreno and Correa

The last article that The Guardian published on May 15, 2018, was “Why Does Ecuador Want Assange Out of Its London Embassy,”  attacked Julian Assange’s asylum calling it a “stopover” gone horribly wrong.  I’m not sure what world these journalists are living in that they believe political asylum is granted solely as a “stopover” but that’s apparently where we’re at at this point.

The article also reported that Assange has outworn his welcome because he’s in favor of Catalan independence but for the record Assange NEVER said that.  He said they have a right to self-determination and that’s a huge difference.  Shortly after that, The Guardian changed their mind and decided it was probably the DNC emails that has prompted Ecuador’s seemingly hostile attitude towards Assange.  Again, no direct mention of the Podesta emails and the link they provided is from June, 2016—well before the Podesta emails were published.

The only other thing worth noting about this article is the fact that The Guardian failed to mention that the U.K. is violating the Vienna Convention by their refusal to recognize Assange’s diplomatic status and that the the U.N. has ruled twice that Assange is being arbitrarily detained.  Obviously hoping that any of these journalists would report on his human rights being violated or that he is living under conditions that constitute torture was too much to ask.

If you want to read sueddeutsche.de’s article which also came out on March 15, 2018, you can find it here.

 

“Assange en el centro de una conspiracian mundial”
May 16, 2018
pv.com.ec

Day three.  The Guardian put out three articles while Plan V put out one.  Plan V’s is a fun one.  It basically accuses Nigel Farage, Paul Manafort, Nikolai Bogachikhin, and literally anyone else who’s ever visited Assange as being the source for the DNC emails.  In fact, Plan V doesn’t just ask the question of how Assange received the emails, they simply wrote, “But how did the emails reach Assange?  Someone visited him at the embassy and gave him that information.”  Huh.  Perhaps they forgot the question mark?  I guess then with Russiagate almost solved and, again, no mention of Podesta’s emails, I’m putting my money on Nigel Farage discussing Brexit, Cambridge Analytica and SCL with Assange during his visit.  But that’s just a guess, folks, so don’t go all Q Anon on me.

As a side note, it was reported yesterday that U.K.’s Foreign Office may have interfered with Julian Assange’s scheduled testimony about Cambridge Analytica in front of the U.K.’s Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee.  Buzzfeed wrote,

“Foreign Office officials called the Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee after learning of the plan to interview Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in a high-profile public forum, according to a well-placed source..Two days later, the DCMS committee decided not to go ahead with the plan to take Assange’s evidence in a public forum.”

The rest of the article is similar to the others but it does go into a little more detail about what security agents were logging with regards to visitors, Julian Assange, and the embassy in general.  And no, there’s no documentation.  Lastly, it appears that they also tried to imply that photos taken of an officer’s clipboard which essentially stated that Assange should be taken at all costs regardless of diplomatic protocol was part of some sort of intelligence operation.  That’s absolutely not true.  See, ironically, The Guardian for more details.  Please note, this could be one of those instances where my translation was not entirely accurate.

 

“A Visual Guide to Ecuador’s Julian Assange Spy Operation”
May 16, 2018 7:57 EDT
The Guardian

Nothing new in this article besides the fact that The Guardian provided some graphics and CCTV photos for their readers’ pleasure.  Again, no documentation is provided in the article and journalists Harding and Dan Collyns once again encourage Robert Mueller to investigate WikiLeaks’ visitor logs.

 

“Assange ‘Split’ Ecuador and Spain Over Catalan Independence”
May 16, 2018 12:18 EDT
The Guardian

Okay, first, Catalans have expressed a desire for independence for decades now (it didn’t just happen in 2017) and this ridiculous notion that somehow Assange divided the country over the issue with some tweets is beyond absurd.  Second, although Ecuador initially came out and said that it was indeed Assange’s tweets about Catalonia that led to his communications being cut off, The Guardian noted that maybe Ecuador made the decision because Assange met with Catalonian separatists (see photo above).  However, that visit took place after the referendum and after Spain “sacked the administration of then Catalan president Carles Puigdemont,” but don’t worry yourself with the details, Guardian.

What’s new in this article?  A fresh dose of Russian meddling in Spain’s domestic affairs because apparently “messaging on social media about the Catalan crisis originated in Russia” because that makes sense said no one.  I guess Twitter is to civilization what Facebook is to relationships.  Total and complete destruction.  The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and M.C. McGrath touched on this and more in their article, “How Shoddy Reporting and Anti-Russian Propaganda Coerced Ecuador to Silence Julian Assange.”

 

“Superfans, Boiled Sweets and Pamela Anderson:  Six Years Spying on Julian Assange – Video Explainer”
May 16, 2018 13:04 EDT
The Guardian

Exactly as it sounds.  The Guardian took the time to make a video about all the bullshit and twisted facts they wrote about in their articles.

 

“Ecuador’s Former President Defends Spy Operation to Protect Julian Assange”
May 16, 2018 18:47 EDT
The Guardian

The Guardian was nice enough to publish this article as a buffer between the other garbage they were flinging that day.  First, former President Correa noted that there wasn’t anything unusual about hiring private security firms for the embassy, which there isn’t, and he added, “It would have been a violation of our duties if we did not.”  He also noted that the security costs involved were perfectly legit and normal.

Unfortunately, The Guardian also reported that “Most of Ecuador’s main newspapers and broadcasters” had reported on The Guardian’s articles because that’s exactly the point, right?  It gets better.  They also wrote that the British ambassador in Ecuador stated “Assange prevented the UK from ‘honouring an extradition request from Sweden” and that an analyst of international affairs in Quito said the Ecuadorian people don’t know why Assange was given refuge in the first place.

Assange prevented the U.K. from honoring an extradition request…a request that was based on a bogus investigation that Sweden dropped last year…because he was granted asylum?  Listen, if there’s any indication that Assange is still in danger, it’s an ambassador lying to this extreme.

 

SO WHAT NOW?

First, there are a slew of other inaccuracies in the Guardian’s articles that I simply don’t have the time to address.  So, I highly recommend you head over to WikiLeaks’ twitter account today because they’ve been addressing a lot of them.  They also noted that The Guardian never approached them for comment before the articles were published.

As for Julian Assange’s current situation, with President Moreno’s refusal to restore Assange’s communication, his newfound partnership with the U.S. military, his desire for a trade agreement, and the removal of additional security in the Ecuadorian embassy there’s no telling how this scene is going to wash out but it appears that the situation has become quite grave.

Don’t forget that Luke Harding is likely an intelligence asset who runs in Bill Browder’s circle; a circle that includes Thor Halvorseen, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and other exiled Russians who are tied to British intelligence.  What Luke Harding and other journalists did this week is not only deplorable and dangerous, it’s very telling.  Assange doesn’t just have the U.S. and U.K. after him or the liberals cheering them on because of the 2016 election.  There’s an entire group of extremely wealthy individuals whose history stretches back to Russia during the 1990s and who are heavily invested in Russiagate. Keeping people interested in their anti-Putin agenda means they have a stake in keeping the Trump-WikiLeaks-Putin story alive.

My recommendation?  Contact your representatives.  Advocate for Trump to pardon Assange.  Contact one of Ecuador’s embassies, or a consulate, or even a member of Ecuador’s Parliament.  Voice your concerns.  Find a vigil that is taking place near you on or around June 19th, connect with other supporters, and attend.  Speak up.  Sign the petition urging Ecuador to reconnect Assange’s communications.  It’s almost at 75,000 but I think we can do better than that.  Where are all of Assange’s followers on Twitter?  Sign, sign, sign!  You can also donate to WikiLeaks, shop at the WikiLeaks store for a t-shirt or bumper sticker, and tweet the heck out of the situation.

They’re not going to stop so why should we?

Updated: May 18, 2018

 

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