There was an interesting development this past week on the embassy.cat website with the release of several messages that hinted at a mysterious CIA document which apparently had been buried over the years. It started last Friday when the infamous feline that used to live with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London released a message that the weekend was approaching and “maybe a strange CIA document will see the light again…” And in case you were wondering, hints seem to be released on the website every night at midnight EST and yes, even with a partial reference number, the document was impossible to track down.
The next day this mysterious document was described as “dusty” and “old” but that didn’t clarify matters nor did the suggestion to listen to Christmas carols because, trust me, I tried. Maybe that Youtube video with three hours of Christmas songs that Embassy Cat linked to on its website had some helpful hints during the last hour because I only made it through the first two while decorating and I heard nothing out of the ordinary. And yes, I’m a last-minute decorator. ‘Tis the season not to judge.
By Sunday morning, things were at a stand-still. The best we could hope for after December 16th’s message was that an advocate of Julian Assange’s would post the document soon.
And they did.
That afternoon Anonymous Scandinavia posted on Twitter a FOIA response from the CIA dated October 27, 2010, along with an eight-year-old tweet from WikiLeaks that stated, “CIA refuses to confirm or deny plot to assassinate WikiLeaks editor; open government-Obama style.” Anonymous Scandinavia wrote,
“Once Upon A Time In The History of @WikiLeaks and #CIA…
“…the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence…”
An 8 year old document and Tweet went into oblivion, the latter without one single reply from users.”
Shockingly, they’re right. Not one person responded to WikiLeaks’ tweet (until Sunday) which is astounding considering the content (did Twitter block it?). As for the FOIA, the original request appears to be dated October 11, 2010, two months before Assange turned himself over to the U.K. police for a Swedish arrest warrant. And although it appears that someone(s) was concerned during the fall of 2010 about secret operations the government was considering in order to stop WikiLeaks from publishing, including the murder of its editor-in-chief, the U.S. had actually started stalking Assange two years prior.
In March 2008, the U.S. government published a classified report entitled, “WikiLeaks.org—An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?”, in which the government claimed that WikiLeaks represented “a potential force protection, counterintelligence, operational security (OPSEC), and information security (INFOSEC) threat to the U.S. Army.” The 34-page report when on to say,
It must be presumed that Wikileaks.org has or will receive sensitive or classified DoD documents in the future. This information will be published and analyzed over time by a variety of personnel and organizations with the goal of influencing US policy. In addition, it must also be presumed that foreign adversaries will review and assess any DoD sensitive or classified information posted to the Wikileaks.org Web site.”
WikiLeaks republished the report with a summary, “U.S. Intelligence Planned to Destroy WikiLeaks,” provided by Julian Assange who wrote that the government was “concocting a plan to fatally marginalize the organization.” At the time, WikiLeaks had already published a copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta (used at Guantanamo Bay) and documents from Bank Julius Baer, a publication that the bank unsuccessfully sued WikiLeaks over. In March 2013, Glenn Greenwald wrote, “In 2008, the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center prepared a secret report devoted to this website [WikiLeaks] and detailing, in a section entitled, ‘Is It Free Speech or Illegal Speech?’, ways it would seek to destroy the organization.”
In 2009, the U.S. government also spied on Assange and his associates at the Chaos Communication Congress located in Berlin and organized by the Chaos Computer Club, Europe’s largest association of hackers. After attending the congress, U.S. Marine Special Intelligence System Administrator Matthew Hosburgh who testified at the Chelsea Manning trial wrote a report using “doubtful chain logic” to justify the U.S. government’s intelligence gathering in Germany. But not only was Hosburgh’s report and testimony perhaps used to “evade legal limitations” on spying in a foreign country, he “conflated WikiLeaks with terrorism” in order to convict Manning on the most serious charges she was facing.
Unfortunately, none of this is terribly surprising in lieu of the United States’ history of spying (legal or not) in Germany or their continuous efforts to deem WikiLeaks as a terrorist outfit and/or a non-state hostile intelligence agency “often abetted by state actors.” These ridiculous characterizations are used by the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies not only to threaten WikiLeaks but to deter support for an organization that has a 100% accuracy rate and jeopardizes that very government and its politicians who would prefer to hide their criminality and abuses.
In early 2010, while Assange and fellow colleagues were working on Collateral Murder in Iceland, they were “subjected to physical surveillance,” and in July, Homeland Security agents dropped hundreds of dollars on Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) computer conference tickets after it was announced that Assange was the keynote speaker. Assange, who has consistently outfoxed the U.S. government’s war on the free press, WikiLeaks, and its founder, opted to find a replacement rather than attend the event.
During the first eight months of 2010, Assange was not only subjected to U.S. surveillance, it was reported that there was an “ongoing criminal investigation involving the Army Criminal Investigation Division,” Australian authorities were assisting the United States’ investigation, and former FBI Director Robert Mueller was brought on board so that “the investigation can go wherever it needs to go.”
On July 25, 2010, WikiLeaks released the Afghan War Diary while at the time the U.S. government carried out intelligence operations in the U.K. that related to WikiLeaks and its staff. And if the U.S. government’s lack of respect for free speech and press freedom wasn’t appalling enough, by August 2010, the Department of Defense had established a 24-hour a day (anti) WikiLeaks Task Force (WTF) because what better way to spend this country’s tax dollars.
The task force’s mission? “To gather evidence about the working of WikiLeaks that might someday be used by the Justice Department to prosecute Assange and others on espionage charges.” Smh. I’m telling you now that Trump and his cronies are about to resurrect a bunch of WikiLeaks’ bullshiz stemming from the good ol’ WTF days. Expect doctored documents and false testimony. Just saying.
The U.S. also started pressuring allies to open a criminal investigation of Assange and to restrict/control his movements by cancelling his passport and denying him political asylum. Associates of WikiLeaks were repeatedly targeted at the border and during his trip to Sweden in August 2010, Assange’s financial accounts were frozen. An Australian intelligence official warned him that he might be in grave danger and to be aware of the U.S. intelligence community’s “dirty tricks.”
Sure enough, on August 20, 2010, Swedish authorities opened an investigation of Assange for sexual molestation and rape (he wasn’t charged) despite the fact that one of the women who had originally gone to the police stated via text message and a police statement that she “did not want to put any charges on JA [Assange] but that the police were keen on getting a grip on him,” and that she felt she had been “railroaded by police and others around her.”
Despite growing concerns about his safety, Assange remained in Sweden until he “obtained an assurance” from the prosecutor that he could leave. Sweden then kept the investigation open for another seven years at the behest of the U.K. in the hopes of extraditing Assange to the United States.
He left Sweden on September 27, 2010, two weeks before the FOIA request about the CIA’s plans to assassinate Assange was filed. Then, on October 29, 2010, two days after the CIA denied the request, the Chicago Tribune published an article asking, “Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?”, and the Washington Times reported that he was in bed with terrorists and a “clear and present danger to American national security.” The November 2010 article which was entitled, “Assassinate Assange?“, went on to propose that the government murder Assange in order to take care of the problem “effectively and permanently.” And no, I’m not even joking.
One enlightened online user back in 2010 commented,
“Lots of what is coming out is not national security, it’s dirty laundry. It’s what governments don’t want their own people to know….You want a world where news agencies will have to worry about being prosecuted for publishing the truth when the source is a leak? Or just the truths you don’t like?”
On November 27, 2012, The WikiLeaks Channel posted a disturbing video on Youtube showing multiple U.S. political figures demanding that Assange be assassinated. And how can anyone forget Hillary Clinton’s, “Can’t we just drone the guy?” comment.
So in case no one noticed, the government has been stalking, surveilling, threatening, and terrorizing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ staff since 2008. What’s more depressing is the fact that the mainstream media has been backing them up this entire time. The Guardian’s recent and entirely fabricated story about Manafort meeting with Assange isn’t surprising, it’s merely par for the course. And in light of that fact, the Trump administration’s indifference to journalist Jamal Khashoggi being cut into pieces and dissolved in acid in a Saudi consulate is particularly alarming. Earlier today Aljazeera.com reported that 63 professional journalists were killed globally just this year. That is a stunning and terrifying number.
With that said, there’s been ten years of good reasons for WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange to be concerned. Aside from the chance he could be extradited to the United States, according to Anonymous Scandinavia, U.K. authorities have been given the green light to kill him if he dares to try and “escape” his own political asylum–and that stems from a bail charge related to an outstanding warrant from a Swedish investigation that no longer exists. At least that’s what they tell themselves.
As for that FOIA letter that Anonymous Scandinavia posted on Sunday, the embassy.cat website pretty much confirmed (unlike the CIA) via its December 18th message that that was the document it had been hinting at all along. As for what’s coming “one more week from now” obviously remains to be seen. Will the original 2010 FOIA request or documents that irrefutably prove the CIA had plans (and possibly still do) to assassinate Assange be revealed? And what has Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno been plotting with U.S. officials, if anything? With journalists being murdered at an alarming rate while multiple governments, including the United States, turn a blind eye, one has to wonder what horrors President Trump, Mike Pompeo, and Gina Haspel have in store for Assange–and possibly other journalists and publishers.
As for today’s hint, Embassy Cat noted that they needed a nap (from all those late-night shenanigans and missing his human) and that Quito, the capital of Ecuador where President Moreno has been secretly conspiring with U.S. officials, was quiet. As for the question about forgetting to buy beautiful and/or useful presents, yeah yeah, I’m getting there. I’m a last-minute shopper, too.
Part 2 → “Embassy Cat’s Julian Calendar: December 13“
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