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Naming and Shaming Those Responsible for Pushing Anti-Assange Propaganda Part 1

In the last two months the situation with Julian Assange has escalated to the point where it’s now believed that his expulsion from the Ecuadorian embassy in London is imminent.  Of course if this happens not only will Ecuadorian President Moreno be violating international laws and court rulings, it is expected that Assange will be handed over to the US by the UK where he will never receive a fair trial, let alone humane treatment.  It’s also recently come to light that the UK government is willing “to use lethal force” against the publisher should he try to escape his own political asylum, forcing Assange to protect his own life from UK officials by hiring a team of bodyguards.

Additionally, during an interview with Randy Credico and Dennis Bernstein, John Pilger stated that Assange might be under pressure to shut down WikiLeaks in order to receive safe passage despite the fact that the UK is already required to allow him access to healthcare and an international court recently ruled that they must give him safe passage.  Pilger went on to say that the idea of transparency and honoring peoples’ right to know was “the aim of WikiLeaks” and that Assange would resist shuttering it.

None of these reports happened in a vacuum and it’s easy to assume that Moreno, due to his public comments and the fact that he cut off Assange’s internet, phone, and visitors months ago, knew exactly how he was going to play his presidency well before the citizens of Ecuador even elected him —that, or the US has threatened to overthrow him and install someone like Guillermo Lasso in his place.  In fact, one might even argue that the writing was on the wall over a year ago.

However, even if it’s only been in the past six months that President Moreno has been pressured to expel Assange, the one thing he needs to continue down a path of constitutional and international court violations is propaganda, the vehicle of choice by most governments when they want to placate the masses before doing something that would normally horrify them. Luckily for those who want to smoke Assange out of the embassy, Moreno has that in spades.  The massive black PR campaign that has been used against Assange in the last few months (technically years) and that the US is undoubtedly behind, has unequivocally played a role in swaying public opinion and paving the way for his expulsion.  In “Who Will Stop the Rain,” I wrote,

“Propaganda comes in handy not only when you’re trying to convince the people of your country that bombing the shiz out of people in another country is a great idea but also when napalming an Ecuadorian Embassy just isn’t an option…Julian Assange is as dangerous to the Establishment as books are in Fahrenheit 451 and people like him make things very messy for the government. Thus, the use of propaganda can be an effective tool used to discredit him or if possible completely silence him.”

If it wasn’t for propaganda, Moreno would not have gotten away with disconnecting a political asylee from the outside world while allegedly hemming and hawing on when exactly to expel him, the UK government would have to think twice about using lethal force on a publisher who has never been charged with a crime, and the US government would actually have to give a shiz about the Constitution, free speech, and a free press.

My point being in all of this is that we would not be where we are at today if it wasn’t for key individuals pushing the government’s agenda and false narratives.  From letter writing to publishing defamatory material to pushing Russiagate, individuals like US Senator Robert Menendez, Fernando Villavicencio, Luke Harding, Bill Browder and more have contributed to the mass pacification of the general public, leading many to believe that Assange should be expelled and extradited to the US for doing exactly what US media outlets do.

 

SENATOR ROBERT MENENDEZ

Senator Robert Menendez

Elected in 2006, Senator Robert Menendez isn’t one of these “sit around and do nothing” types although for the sake of New Jersey, the US, and the rest of the world it’s unfortunate that he’s not. He currently serves as the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its jurisdiction includes diplomatic service, foreign economic, military, technical, and humanitarian assistance, foreign loans, treaties, business interests abroad, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Menendez also sits on a multitude of other committees and subcommittees including the Senate Finance Committee whose jurisdiction includes customs, ports of entry and delivery, and the deposit of public monies.  According to senate.gov, the Finance Committee is defined by subject matter giving it sole or shared jurisdiction over the activities of a number of agencies and offices making it one of the most powerful committees in the government.  For example, the committee “leads international trade negotiations; advises and coordinates trade policy,” and enforces trade agreements in conjunction with the Office of the President.

What this means in terms of Ecuador is that Senator Menendez is a member of at least two committees that are likely involved with the country’s new “open for business” economic policy, border issues and military assistance, and IMF loans earmarked for Ecuador which have recently come under scrutiny.  Mintpressnews.com recently reported that Vice President Pence’s visit to Ecuador at the end of June “coincided with the first major IMF Article IV visit to the country in years, where a team held over two weeks of discussions with the government over how far the government would be willing to go to secure IMF loans.”

Don’t forget that the United States entered a military agreement with Ecuador back in May to assist with what is likely a CIA-induced terrorist problem along their northern border and that Ecuador recently announced that the US will open a military bas…er, I mean, a “Security Cooperation Office” in the country sooner rather than later.  And remember how I previously mentioned that Moreno might sell Assange out for a trade agreement on tuna?  I was joking about the tuna but not the trade agreement which falls to the US Finance Committee who negotiates, advises, and coordinates trade policy.

 

THE LETTER

President Lenin Moreno and US Vice President Mike Pence

During his visit to Ecuador at the end of June, US Vice President Mike Pence met with both President Moreno and US Ambassador to Ecuador, Todd Chapman, who has been greasing the wheels between the US and Ecuador since Moreno’s election.  After Pence’s visit, the White House made a statement that Pence spoke with Moreno about Julian Assange although Ecuador denied such a conversation took place.  And yes, get used to it because the only thing that seems to be coming out in the media since Ecuador cut off Assange’s communications is conflicting statements.

Conflicting statements aside, in anticipation of Pence’s meetings with Moreno and other government officials, ten Senate Democrats including Robert Menendez signed a letter requesting that Julian Assange’s asylum be revoked.  It stated a number of other absurdities such as WikiLeaks and Assange interfered in both the 2017 French election and the Spanish referendum on Catalan independence (they didn’t), but nothing really takes the cake like ten US senators pressuring Ecuador to expel a political asylee.

So why is Menendez pushing for Assange’s expulsion?  Perhaps a better question to ask is why New Jersey keeps electing this guy.

 

SALOMON MELGEN

Menendez and Melgen

Gifts and Political Influence

Let’s start with Senator Menendez’s close friend, Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist from Miami, Florida who is currently serving a seventeen-year prison sentence for Medicare fraud.  In 2015, Senator Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges for “accepting plane flights, a luxury hotel stay and financial contributions in exchange for intervening in a Medicare billing dispute, visa applications and other matters” on behalf of Salomon Melgen.

According to the indictment, both Senator Menendez and Melgen used Menendez’s “official position as a United States Senator to benefit and enrich themselves through bribery.”  Benefits included trips on Melgen’s private jets, use of his Caribbean villa and “access to an exclusive Dominican resort.”  Menenedez also received “a stay at a luxury hotel in Paris, golf outings, and tens of thousands of dollars in contributions” to his legal defense fund as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars to his 2012 Senate campaign, all of which Menendez allegedly hid from his staff.

In return, Menedez helped Melgen obtain visas for three of his girlfriends and influenced the immigration proceedings of one of them after their application was denied.  He also tried to influence the outcome of Melgen’s Medicare fraud case who was eventually convicted on sixty-seven counts and sentenced earlier this year.  According to palmbeachpost.com, Menendez “expressed sympathy for his ‘dear friend Sal'” and stated, “While I am not familiar with their legal options, I do know Sal has maintained his innocence and will continue to fight for justice in his case.”

 

Dominican Republic Port Security Contract

Senator Menendez also tried to influence US officials over a foreign security contract between a company Melgen owned at the time, ICSSI, and the Dominican Republic. The backstory is that after Dominican Major General Juan Rene Beauchamp was assassinated in 2000, the country’s president gave his wife’s company, ICSSI, a contract granting exclusive rights to inspect “all containers going in and out of the twelve Dominican ports” for ten years.  The contract was worth millions but after it was revised in 2003, the Customs Directorate filed a lawsuit in the Dominican courts to stop the enforcement of what they called an “unconstitutional” contract.

It’s unclear what Melgen’s relationship was with Beauchamp’s widow but by early 2012, he was able to purchase one hundred percent control of ICSSI.  However, as the indictment against Melgen noted, in order to profit from the lucrative contract, the filed lawsuit needed to be resolved.  Enter Senator Menendez. Menendez and his staff “exerted substantial pressure on the State Department to intervene with the Dominican Government to resolve the contract dispute in Melgen’s favor.”  The kicker?  Melgen had to donate $60,000 in campaign and legal defense funds in order to take advantage of Menendez’s political influence.

The burning question is why Senator Menendez was willing to put his neck on the line for his friend who wanted to make use of a contract that allowed him complete control of containers moving in and out of the Dominican Republic?  Was it just about the donations? Hmm.  It’s disturbing enough that a US congressman was willing to use his office to influence what was estimated to be a $115 million security contract in another country but it’s quite another thing when that same congressman lobbies for a guy who had absolutely no experience in port security whatsoever.  Don’t forget that here in the United States, Senator Menendez sits on the Senate Finance Committee whose jurisdiction includes customs, ports of entry, and delivery.

 

Hank Asher

Hank Asher (R)

So get this.  According to Melgen’s resume posted on his website, he co-founded the company, Seisint, a “Super Computer Company that aids in locating 9/11 terrorists,” with former cocaine trafficker-turned-government snitch and now-deceased, Hank Asher, and no, I’m not even kidding.  Asher created a program called the MATRIX that compiled a list of suspects mere days after the terrorist attack and five of the names that the MATRIX produced were also on the FBI’s list.

The government was so impressed that the DEA, FBI, and Secret Service began working with Asher and his system was moved to Seisint’s headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida shortly thereafter. According to Vanity Fair, the room where MAXTRIX was located was “guarded and locked to a degree that satisfied the government agents who began manning the workstations on a 24-7 basis.”  Seisint later admitted that “scores” of people were arrested and detained because of the MAXTRIX.

Like what…?  I know.

Allegedly with the help of Rudy Guiliani, in 2003, Asher pitched MAXTRIX to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Within months, Seisnent was given an $8 million grant from the US government and yes, there were privacy concerns—see WikiLeaks publication Congressional Research Service “CRS:  Data Mining and Homeland Security:  An Overview, August 27, 2008.”

At the time of his death in 2013, Asher was a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children board member and since then his daughter, Carly Yoost, has carried on his work through the Florida-based Child Rescue Coalition,

“After her father passed away, Yoost knew this powerful technology had to continue to be available to officers at no cost, but she wanted to make one change. ‘We had something remarkable, and I wanted to create a shift to let our community know about it,’ Yoost says. “It used to be a covert tool only law enforcement knew about. Now our entire community is behind us.’ Her organization created an online platform that polices public networks, takes digital notes of IP addresses illegally trading child pornography and reports back to local authorities through CRC’s proprietary software.”

Last year, Hank’s daughter reached out to Chelsea Clinton on Twitter who responded, “Please reach out to Emily Young in my office. Looking forward to learning more about your work Desiree and how I can help.”

So just to recap, Melgen was in business with a former drug smuggler turned US government snitch who became close with federal officials because of some “state-of-the-art” database he created that allegedly helped capture 9/11 suspects.  He then became close with New Jersey Congressman Robert Menendez who fought tooth and nail for Melgen to have a monopoly on port security in the Dominican Republic even though Melgen was an opthamologist from Miami, Florida with no experience whatsoever in security.

 

THE MENENDEZ-ISAIAS CONNECTION

Menendez, Clinton, Kerry

Senator Menendez was also investigated for his ties to Roberto and William Isaias aka the Isaias brothers, and I know I’ve quoted this WikiLeaks cable before but honestly, it provides one of the best summaries about them,

“William and Roberto Isaias, former chiefs of Filanbanco bank and among Ecuador’s richest men, fled Ecuador in 1999 after absconding with over $100 million in government bailout funds. They used their ill-gotten wealth to buy safe passage from Ecuador and later pressured prosecutors to reduce criminal charges against them. Similar pressure tactics resulted in GoE-prepared extradition packages that were insubstantial and non-actionable by the Department of Justice. Proof of their financial shenanigans was sufficient, however, to permit the State Department to revoke their visas on money-laundering charges in 2003.”

And yes, the State Department may have revoked their visas in 2003, but after almost crippling Ecuador’s economy and then buying their way into the United States, they still reside in Florida and the United States refuses to extradite them to Ecuador.  That is, after their relatives donated $90,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign.

 

Donations and Passport

In 2014, NBC reported that the FBI had launched a criminal investigation into Senator Menendez’s ties to the Isaias brothers.  He was suspected of “making phone calls and sending letters of recommendation to the Department of State and other agencies” on behalf of Roberto’s daughter in exchange for donations to his reelection campaign.” She had been previously barred from entering the United States after she brought her maids into the country using fake visas.

According to the New York Times, Menendez and his staff “engaged in a relentless effort to help Ms. Isaias, urging senior government officials, including Mrs. Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, to waive the ban.” The day before Menendez’s office sent out a congratulatory email, Ms. Isaias’ mother donated $40,000 to the Obama Victory Fund and in total, the family donated almost $100,000 to the fund in 2012.

After the New York Times published their story about the family’s generous donations to multiple democratic campaigns, Cheryl Mills forwarded an email (see WikiLeaks) from Nick Merrill of the State Department to John Podesta.  Merrill insisted that the New York Times omitted pertainent details in their article.  One of those details included the fact that republicans like Marc Rubio and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen had also received donations from the Isaias family, “prominent Republicans…have the exact same relationship with the donors that the Times is now portraying as a problem for Democrats.”— proving, once again, that the two-party political system is a joke.

 

Ecuador’s 2017 Presidential Election

Guillermo Lasso

In October, 2016, telesurtv.net reported that the Isaias brothers may have funded the Guillermo Lasso/Andres Paez ticket during Ecuador’s 2017 presidential election. One of their sources wrote that “…the [Isaias] brothers, since moving to the U.S. -Miami-, have been financing an active lobbying campaign against the government of Rafael Correa.”  If you don’t remember who Lasso is, he was the presidential candidate who said that he would kick Assange out of the embassy if he was elected.

Two months before the election, Lasso’s running mate, Andres Paez, allegedly met with the Isaias brothers in Miami and then with less than two weeks to go, Carlos Pareja, Ecuador’s former oil minister who is wanted in Ecuador on charges of corruption, accused Lenin Moreno’s running mate, Jorge Glas, of being involved in the corruption.  As to why the Isaias brothers wanted Moreno out of the race seeing that he appears to be doing the United States’ bidding and possibly under duress, my only guess is that at the time of the election, Moreno led everyone to believe that he was going to continue in Lenin Correa’s footsteps. This, of course, would mean that Ecuador would continue to safeguard Julian Assange’s asylum.

 

BACK TO THE LETTER

Baltasar Garzón and Julian Assange

The good news in all of this despite months of hard-core propaganda is that is appears Julian Assange’s lawyer, Baltazar Garzón, is currently in negotiations with Ecuadorian officials. Hopefully they can come to a mutual understanding and beneficial solution for Assange soon.  The other interesting development in Assange’s case is that the US Senate Intelligence Committee wrote a letter dated August 1, 2018, asking Assange (after all this time) for a closed interview on the subject of Russian interference during the 2016 US election.

So listen, here’s a few things that I know.  First, I know that no one in their right mind should ever take advice from a gutter rat politician like Senator Menendez and that includes New Jersey voters when election time comes around. I also know that he’s not the only one pushing the Russian narrative that Assange worked with the Kremlin to influence the election (see the full letter from the US senators) by signing a letter that also stated WikiLeaks was used “to release hacked information in order to influence the 2016 U.S. election,” despite the fact that not a single US intelligence agency has produced a shred of evidence to date.

Last but not least, I know that this post is to put everyone on notice that I intend to continue with this series, naming and shaming those who have relentlessly tried to smear Assange and put his life in danger because even though Richard Burr and Mark Warner who head up the Senate Intelligence Committee and are now interested in interviewing Assange, they are no friend of WikiLeaks.

Sure, it’s great that someone is willing to interview the man they allege is at the center of it all but hello, it was only approximately six weeks ago that ten US senators signed that letter. What will probably happen is that the Committee will refuse Assange safe passage to a hospital in order to ensure that he’s healthy enough to testify, they will refuse him the option of testifying by video conference, and then they will say that Assange refused to make himself available for a “closed interview” with the Committee because he’s in bed with Russia.

Then, if history and Russian hysteria in America is any indication they will have Fernando Villavicencio and Luke Harding from The Guardian publish three more articles about how awful Assange is, the Committee will subpoena him, and when he refuses to testify in front of the Committee because the UK will arrest him well before that would ever happen, they’ll blow it up in the media that Assange defied a congressional subpoena aka refused to leave the embassy.

I’m not a lawyer and hopefully I’m wrong but my best advice is to prepare for a hell of a lot more propaganda…

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