In the last forty-eight hours we’ve witnessed yet another appalling development in both Julian Assange’s situation and in the U.S. government’s investigation into Russian interference. On Friday, journalist/radio host Randy Credico joined Ari Melber on his show, “The Beat With Ari Melber,” during which Credico dropped some surprising news that he had met with U.S. Representative Adam Schiff’s staffers this past week on behalf of Julian Assange. Apparently Credico had spoken briefly with Schiff at the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner last month (which he was kicked out of after publicly supporting Assange) after which Shannon Green, senior counsel for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, followed up with Credico about scheduling a meeting.
According to Credico, there was communication with Assange before he met with Schiff’s office and that Assange, who has been detained in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost six years, was open to speaking with Schiff. Credico stated,
“If you want to get to the bottom of all of this, then go to London.”
When asked, Credico agreed that Assange might have “other material that has not been released, that would support his side of this,” much like how U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher reported after a trip to the London embassy last year that Assange could prove the 2016 leaks did not come from the Russians. Neither Credico nor Rohrabacher have stated what documents or information Assange might have nor that he shared any materials with them.
WikiLeaks made a statement yesterday about the situation via Twitter,
“Mr. Assange has not said anything about what he would speak about were such circumstances to arise [a meeting with Schiff and/or investigators]. He does not speak to the public through third parties. Only statements by his lawyers or @WikiLeaks can be considered authoritative.”
Credico also clarified the situation,
“Let’s be clear when I went down to meet with Mr Schiff I only said that Assange would be open to a meeting nothing less nothing more and that was it.. their response was ‘it is noted’ .. the meeting was planned after our brief discussion at the White House Correspondents Dinner.”
Assange’s alleged willingness to meet with Schiff or perhaps any other investigator is hardly surprising. Based on previous tweets (see below “A Total and Complete Sham”) it seems clear that he, like a lot of people, have found the government’s investigation into Russian interference lacking especially in terms of its failure to interview key individuals. But as WikiLeaks reminded us, if Assange were to meet with any U.S. representatives or investigators, exactly what that conversation would be about we simply don’t know.
Schiff’s office responded Friday evening to Melber’s interview with Credico,
“Our committee would be willing to interview Julian Assange when he is in U.S. custody, not before.”
Why a U.S. representative who sits on an intelligence committee and who has been shoving Russian hysteria down our throats for two years now is refusing to meet with Assange is simply mind blowing. It’s also indicative of a multitude of things including the fact that the Russian investigation is a total farce and that the United States absolutely wants to get their hands on Julian Assange.
A TOTAL AND COMPLETE SHAM
Julian Assange noted last year (see also this tweet) that Robert Mueller, his team, both the House and Senate Intelligence committees, the FBI, the DOJ, nor any other U.S. department had “bothered to contact WikiLeaks or me, in any manner, ever.” That fact remains true today. The lack of U.S. interest in interviewing one of the central figures in the Russia investigation is astounding and Schiff’s comment Friday night simply drives home Assange’s point that these “increasingly bizarre committees serve no investigative purpose, abuse important rights for shallow grandstanding, and foster an atmosphere of persecution.”
If you hadn’t questioned Mueller’s investigation before, now would be the time. Schiff’s comment should give everyone pause because if no one is willing to interview one of the main figures in their narrative (besides those pesky Russians, of course), how is Mueller’s investigation or any of the intelligence committees’ investigations anything more than adulterated rubbish? Unless Americans are content with paying our government to play Keystone Kops, this f*ckery needs to stop. Furthermore, the Department of Justice has refused to hand over the budget for Mueller’s investigation leading me to believe that this entire probe has been nothing more than a vehicle to a. Get their hands on Assange b. Further an anti-Putin agenda and c. Steal taxpayer money…because, folks, it’s almost always about the money.
And no, Mueller is not secretly working for Trump in some sort of 89-D chess game because an anonymous poster on 8chan told you so. If the people honestly want to take back their country, if they want to see Assange free and given safe passage, this nonsense needs to stop.
MRS. TAPPER…THEY MIGHT BE
COMING FOR YOUR HUSBAND
The implications of Schiff’s comment that the committee will only interview Assange if he’s in U.S. custody should send a chill down everyone’s spine. According to the ACLU (and anyone else who sees the writing on the wall), “Prosecuting WikiLeaks would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations.” For the liberals out there that loathe Donald Trump, I get it. You hate him, you despise him, you’ll do just about anything to get him out of office, but first, go back and read the ACLU’s statement again.
If it hasn’t sunk in yet, let me help. If you are cheering on Julian Assange’s arrest, extradition, prosecution, and life sentence, you are literally cheering on the Trump administration. You get that, right? And frankly, I find it hard to believe that a liberal could hate Assange more than they hate Trump seeing that Assange and WikiLeaks have never published false information, they’ve published a god forsaken amount of information about the other side of the aisle, and isn’t truth and transparency a good thing?? You didn’t really think that the Bush administration appreciated the Gitmo Files or the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, did you?
The bigger point being is that President Trump is consistently criticized for targeting the media. If this administration goes after Assange, no matter how much you hate the fact that WikiLeaks published the DNC and Podesta emails, they will almost certainly and eventually go after other news sources— perhaps CNN, Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Politico, Mother Jones, or the National Review because, no, WikiLeaks is not the only news source that publishes government secrets and classified information. To support this brand of tyranny from the Trump administration, the same administration that liberals claim to hate, is to support your favorite media source’s eventual persecution—no matter their political affiliations. You think Trump’s tweets are bad? Wait until your favorite liberal (or even conservative) journalist is jailed and prosecuted.
Do the family members of say, Jake Tapper, Jim Acosta or any other journalist that speaks out about Trump or that reports on/publishes classified information want to see happen to their loved ones what has happened and what may still happen to Julian Assange? Of course not, that’s absurd. Terrorizing, arresting and prosecuting journalists is insane. But that’s exactly what the United States is doing, they are literally terrorizing a publisher and journalist and yes, it can happen to anyone if we allow it to happen to Assange. Correction: We already allowed it to happen because the United States has been terrorizing Assange for almost a decade now and it’s unforgivable.
Listen, I want to stab my ears with a dinner fork every time I have to listen to Jim Acosta speak but that doesn’t mean I would ever support our government arresting and prosecuting him. And take for instance the above Youtube video. You might remember that at one point the Trump administration decided that no cameras were allowed at White House press briefings. No one on the right batted an eye because of their frustration with #FakeNews. And yes, fake news is infuriating. But this little stunt went beyond fake news because essentially the administration decided that no American citizen was entitled to view the press briefing. This is a terrifying example of just how far the government is willing to go regardless of political affiliation.
It’s imperative that people rise about their party politics that “they” use to divide us and stand behind our constitutional right to free speech and a free press, regardless.
As Glen Greenwald put it,
“…having the US government prosecute Assange or WikiLeaks for publishing documents – as @AdamSchiffCA apparently wants – would be about 10,000 times more severe on press freedom than Trump tweeting insults at Wolf Blitzer & Chuck Todd, even if the docs hurt Dems…”
I mean, let’s not be naive. Where exactly do you think Assange will end up if the U.K. extradites him? Guantanamo Bay is the most likely place or tucked away in a Supermax prison literally never to be seen or heard from again. Is this what any liberal or conservative wants for the publishers and news journalists that they turn to everyday for their news?
More importantly, how is it that other publishers and journalists simply don’t seem to care? Humans seem to have this innate flaw that leads them to believe that “it will never happen to me.” However, history has shown that it can and has happened to them and that they never saw it coming because their egos and self-righteousness got in the way.
In the words of film director Ken Loach,
“Shame on those journalists who benefit from WikiLeaks but now find excuses not to stand by Assange. In the end they will be shown to be cowards and hypocrites.”
History will not treat kindly those who continue to cater to their corporate and CIA masters and “history will not forgive us if we abandon Assange.”
THE U.S. SECRET GRAND JURY
On June 29, 2012, the Julian Assange Defense Fund reported that the United States had convened a grand jury investigation against Assange and that Australian diplomats described the investigation “as being of ‘unprecedented scale and nature.'” The Defense Fund noted “irrefutable evidence in the public record” of subpoenas being sent out and how witnesses were being “compelled to testify.”
In 2010, Julian Assange’s former attorney, Mark Stephens stated during an interview with Al-Jazeera that they had received information from Swedish authorities that a secret grand jury had been convened in Alexandria, Virginia and, interestingly enough, Stratfor’s Chief Security Officer, Fred Burton, noted Stephens’ interview in an email published by WikiLeaks, further stating,
“Assange is looking at life imprisonment w/ Ramzi Yousef @ The SuperMax. We won’t be able to extradite for the death penalty but will be able to hold w/the sealed indictment.”
In another Stratfor email, agents, including Burton, discussed WikiLeaks further,
Sean Noonan: “…arrest and trial would just be a political circus…it could tarnish both Assange’s and Wikileaks reputation. That coul [sic] dserve [sic] to discredit and undermine the group. Maybe people would be less inclined to leak to it, or the public would be less inclined to pay attention–or more importantly support wikileaks financially.
Ben West: “…arresting him now could very well stop the flow of cables.”
Sean Noonan: “…maybe a combination of wikileaks arrest and server shutdown could stop it.”
Bayless Parsley: “Charges of sexual assault rarely are passed through Interpol red notices, like this case, so this is no doubt about trying to disrupt WikiLeaks release of government documents.”
Fred Burton: “Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ [Al Qaeda]. Thank Cheney and 43 [Obama]. Big Brother owns his liberal terrorist arse.”
And as much as I would like to support Burton and his thugs because they seem like nice, upstanding citizens, on December 6, 2010, the day before Burton said, “Take down the money,” Stratfor agent Chris Farnham wrote,
“BTW, close family friend in Sweden who knows the girl that is pressing
charges tells me that there is absolutely nothing behind it other than
prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves. My friend
speaks rather disparagingly about the girl who is claiming molestation. I
also think the whole rape thing is incorrect for if I remember correctly
rape was never the charge.”
So they knew. Or at least suspected that the Swedish investigation and allegations against Julian Assange was a set up. And just a friendly reminder that in 2013, the U.K.’s intelligence agency, GCHQ, was “scolded over emails claiming Julian Assange was framed.” The documents, which were obtained under the Data Protection Act, revealed that one agent believed Assange had been set-up stating, “They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ… It is definitely a fit-up…Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate.”
Schiff’s refusal to interview Assange unless he’s in U.S. custody is actually a fairly jaw-dropping disclosure since Sweden, the U.S. and the U.K. have gone to great lengths over the years to keep under wraps whether or not the United States has a sealed indictment against him and if they want to extradite him. Yet, Schiff’s comment seems to confirm what we have known all along: The U.S. has a sealed indictment against Assange and they definitely want him in U.S. custody. And for what? We don’t know.
According to a prosecutor in the Chelsea Manning case, the FBI investigation into WikiLeaks consisted of “42,135 pages or 3,475 docs, of which Manning represents only 8,741 pages or 636 docs,” and court documents show that the investigation has been ongoing for years. After Manning filed an FOIA request for records pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of Manning and “alleged civilian co-conspirators’ involvement in disclosure of classified and sensitive but unclassified” information, the FBI denied the request which the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy later upheld. Court documents specifically state (among other interesting tidbits),
“In 2010, the FBI’s Washington Field Office opened a criminal/national security investigation into the possible disclosure of classified information that was published on WikiLeaks website…and the investigation continues today.”
“Although the investigation began several years ago, the documents relating to it remain under the protection of Exemption 7(A)…(holding that the WikiLeaks investigation documents remained subject to Exemption 7(A) in light of the ongoing investigation).
But this isn’t just about a secret grand jury or an ongoing FBI investigation. This, obviously, is about any sealed indictments the U.S. might have against Julian Assange and in 2011, Fred Burton pretty much confirmed that they do. In a 2011 Stratfor email, he wrote,
“Not for Pub — We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect”
Before his murde…er, death, Michael Hastings wrote an article in Rolling Stone entitled, “WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange?” In it, Hastings addressed Burton’s 2011 email about the sealed indictment and noted that he probably had “reason to trust his information.” Indeed, Burton is a former federal agent with long-standing ties to the U.S. intelligence community. According to Hastings, the prosecutors in the Manning case “repeatedly tried to convince the judge that Assange had conspired with Manning to release the data,”—an allegation that agencies like the CIA have been spewing since 2010, thanks in part to now-deceased hacker Adrian Lamo and Wired journalist Kevin Poulsen.
Just last year during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo stated as fact that WikiLeaks had “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.” Is this one of the charges in the U.S. sealed indictment? If so, they might need to give Fernanado Villavicencio a call about forging some documents in order to get their story to stick.
But jokes aside, the important thing to note here is that this accusation side steps prosecuting a publisher/journalist for publishing classified information—something Obama was reluctant to do for obvious reasons. Instead, this kind of charge would go after Assange for aiding and abetting in the procurement of documents, not for publishing them.
NO THANKS, I’LL STAY IN TODAY
One of the things you’ll hear people say over and over again is that Julian Assange is not being detained at the embassy and that he’s free to leave at any time. And sure, there’s no force field preventing him from leaving or a Trump wall blocking the exits. If we’re speaking in literal terms, he can leave the embassy. But in light of everything I just covered these statements are so absurd, so incredulous, and so ignorant it’s hard to respond to them without throwing my laptop across the room. For anyone to argue from the comfort and security of their own home, which they can leave at any time knowing that a black van will not be pulling up to personally escort them to the airport for a one-way trip to Guantanamo Bay, that Assange has some sort of choice here is ludicrous at best. There’s a reason the U.N.’s Working Group has ruled twice that he’s being arbitrarily detained and why it’s imperative that he’s granted safe passage.
SOME GOOD NEWS
Rep. Adam Schiff’s comments should make it harder for Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno to ignore the danger that Julian Assange faces if he tries to leave the embassy without guaranteed safe passage. Frankly, there’s enough evidence already showing that Assange will likely be extradited to the United States if he leaves and that the U.S. does, indeed, have a sealed indictment against him. It shouldn’t have to come down to Schiff’s statement but if Schiff running his mouth helps the situation, even better.
As grayzoneproject.com stated, “Schiff’s errant remarks are likely to have major implications on how Assange, Wikileaks and the Ecuadoran government respond to mounting pressure from the US and UK.” Grayzoneproject.com also noted that if Assange is extradited to the U.S., he will be the first journalist in American history to be prosecuted for publishing classified information. Twitter account @BellaMagnani also pointed out that Schiff’s statement has wider implications, “How can #Ecuador’s President @Lenin Moreno claim now that #Assange only faces a UK ‘bail skipping charge?”
A new development in Spygate might also help to exonerate Julian Assange in the eyes of the public and with U.S. officials. During an interview with Fox News, former Trump aid Michael Caputo dropped a bombshell that a second informant “approached him in the first weeks of May, 2016.” On May 6, 2016, he was approached by an intermediary, a friend of his who he says is willing to go public with the fact that he was in contact with a government contractor who claimed to have Hillary Clinton-related emails. The contractor then told Caputo’s friend that they wanted to pass them along to the Trump campaign.
At the time, Caputo believed that the contractor was referring to Hillary’s 33,000 “missing” emails. On May 9, 2016, the intermediary told Caputo that the contractor wanted to give him the emails but Caputo declined on May 16, 2016, citing legal concerns. Caputo says he told them they should release the emails through a proper whistleblowing channel. After WikiLeaks released the Podesta emails (I’m not implying that this government contractor sent the emails to WikiLeaks), Caputo then realized that the emails he had previously discussed with his intermediary were probably not the “missing” 33,000 emails.
A Steemit writer going by the name of Ozphil reported,
“But it was not a Russian that was offering the emails to Michael Caputo in May 2016 (5 months before WikiLeaks published them). It was a government contractor (FBI spy) who had a contact in the Federal government that had the emails.”
“The Federal Government contact specifically referenced the Swedish Waiver given to Swedish companies dealing with Iran…this waiver was not revealed to the public till WikiLeaks published the emails…This proves that the emails Wikileaks published did not come from the Russians – but instead from a source within the USA government.”
(Update: It should be noted that Caputo, like Alexander Downer after the DNC emails were published, conflated the information offered by operatives and WikiLeaks publications. Caputo later assumed he was offered Podesta emails while Downer assumed Papadopoulous had been offered DNC emails. However, their assumptions are just that. It is more likely Caputo and Papadopoulos were both offered Hillary Clinton’s “missing” 33,000 emails.)
And here’s the kicker: Caputo says he gave all of this information not only to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees but to the Mueller team and that the team never reached out to the intermediary. In fact, it appears to Caputo that the Mueller team has done nothing in terms of Caputo’s information and that agents didn’t even take notes during his meeting with them. Like I said, the Mueller investigation is a total and utter sham and as a taxpayer I’d like my money back.
What all of this shows is that the Trump administration is headed into dangerous waters in terms of silencing free speech and a free press and for what? A Hillary Clinton/Deep State-concocted narrative that claims Assange received emails from the Russians when it’s apparent he didn’t? Everyone, including publishers and journalists, need to get their heads out of their asses and start standing on the right side of history—and our Constitution.
It also shows that Assange, a journalist and a publisher, has been terrorized by both the U.S. and U.K. government since 2010 (as well as Sweden up until 2017) and that by 2011, the U.S. had convened a grand jury, began investigating WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, and likely produced a sealed indictment against Assange. Now here we are in 2018, and the government’s investigation into Russian interference appears to be nothing more than a tool to further anti-Russia sentiment, extradite Assange, and steal money from U.S. taxpayers. Couple all of the above with new developments in Spygate, the Strzok texts, and the Mifsud/Papadopoulos story, it’s becoming abundently clear why Rep. Adam Schiff refuses to interview Julian Assange unless he’s in custody.
He’s absolutely terrified.