Llama: My Honest Response to Dishonest Accusations

On February 6, 2018, I published “Being Honest: Considerations of a Julian Assange Supporter,” which was met with an astonishingly high level of bitter criticism from supporters within the WikiLeaks activist community as well as a twenty-point reactionary piece from activist, journalist, and Youtuber, Suzie Dawson. The following is my response to her enumeration of accusations.

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1. There is ‘no evidence’ Dawson was targeted by the NZ government

2. The government forced her to sell her house to stop Occupy Auckland

3. The government poked holes in her ceiling

Dawson’s first three items on her list of accusations were that I smeared her by reporting that there is no evidence validating her story the New Zealand government targeted her, that they forced her to sell her house in an effort to stop Occupy Auckland, and that they poked holes in the ceiling of her home. First, in a November 2016 interview, Dawson stated,

“I think one of the reasons that I was aggressively targeted…my house became a place of refuge for occupiers and for our media team members…it used to be my home that people would come to when they had nowhere else…I think that there was a very clear agenda to make me have to tell my house, make me lose my house, because then that would deny us a place of sanctuary.

“They were…in my house, car, inside my house, outside my house, everything I was saying was being heard, I was being watched at all times. I had the interior ceiling of my house painted and then little holes would appear in my ceiling, just randomly…”

“In the movie I talk about how they tried to drive me and my children off a cliff at night in Northland in a place called Dome Valley.”

“So, at the end of 2014 after there had been several overt attempts on my life…there was constant death threats against me and I was told openly that if I didn’t leave the country that I was dead. So I sold my house and everything and I left New Zealand and I went to Berlin in Germany.”

Dawson herself states that she was told she would be murdered if she didn’t move so she sold her house and moved to Germany. I suppose one could argue that this doesn’t necessarily mean she was “forced” to sell her home so perhaps we can all agree that she was “threatened” or “pressured” into selling it. As for whether or not she was “pressured” into selling her house in an effort to shut down the Occupy movement one has to wonder if the government did all of these things to her, if they sent her death threats, if they tried to kill her children, if they had a “very clear agenda to make [her] have to sell [her] house,” why would they for any other reason than to try and shut down the movement? I mean, what else is she saying—that they liked the location of her house and was willing to kill her and her children for it?

And having been given yet another opportunity to do so, Dawson failed to provide any evidence showing that she was targeted by the New Zealand government despite telling us that there is “literally volumes of evidence” proving she was.

4. Dawson pretends that PRISM was used on her

Dawson claims that I smeared her by suggesting that she lied about being targeted by the NSA. Here’s exactly what I wrote,

“At one point, Dawson concluded that the New Zealand government must have used PRISM, an NSA program first exposed by Edward Snowden, to illegally spy on her.”

Sometimes a dictionary comes in handy. To “conclude” is to “arrive at a judgement or opinion by reasoning,” whereas “pretend” means to “behave so as to make it appear that something is the case when in fact it is not.” Perhaps Dawson’s accusation is more Freudian in nature than anything else. As for any evidence substantiating her claims that the NSA did, indeed, spy on her and that she was one of eighty-eight New Zealanders targeted by the government, it doesn’t appear to exist as Dawson herself has admitted on more than one occasion.

Again, from that November 2016 interview,

“…I was one of 88 New Zealanders who were, not only illegally spied on by the New Zealand spy agencies, but that they took out personal data and sent it to the NSA where PRISM was used against us.”

“The other aggravating factor too is that the Minister who was in charge of the GCSB, of the spy agencies, at the time that the warrants were signed to send our data to the NSA, was the Prime Minister of New Zealand….So if I am one of the 88 as seems to be the case…”

Notice what Dawson does here. She repeatedly states as fact that she was spied on by the NSA while throwing in subtle disclaimers such as “so if I am.” She has done this repeatedly throughout the years. In 2013, she tweeted this,

Then, in 2016, she said that an article published by the Intercept confirmed that she had been spied on. Four hours later she clarified that only one New Zealander had been identified in the article as a GCSB/NSA target. Note the use of “us” in the first tweet. Also note that in no uncertain terms did the Intercept article mention her name or even hint that she might have been put on a spy list.

On September 5, 2016, less than a month before she applied for temporary asylum in Russia, she published a video on Vimeo stating that she was a “target of the Five Eyes.”

And on November 14, 2016, she led everyone to believe that government responses to “information requests,” had validated her story of being targeted. However, she then added, “it isn’t hard to put 2 & 2 together,” indicating that the responses she had allegedly received likely didn’t prove anything.

But that didn’t stop her from stating (as fact) on February 7, 2017, that the NSA had typed her name into PRISM.

And then, on April 3, 2017, she wrote in a post published on spinbin.co.nz,

“So who has been spied on? Possibly you. Probably me. The only ones who know for sure are the GCSB.”

So after years of claiming that she had been targeted by the GCSB, months after she eluded to a FOIA response that validated her story, she openly admitted she has absolutely no idea if she’s been spied on or not. This behavior on Dawson’s part does nothing but spur on conspiracy theorists who literally eat this shiz up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner despite the fact that the story is entirely grounded in assumptions and conjecture. It gets better.

In her rebuttal to my February 6, 2019 article, she wrote, “Even if my name is not on that list…,” revealing (again) that she has absolutely no evidence proving that she was targeted by the NSA despite the fact she’s spent years telling people she was.

And that statement from Dawson reads in full, “Even if my name is not on that list, the above targeting-by-proximity would still have to come into play,” which is nothing short of her trying to skirt further demands for proof.

The bottom line is that I have never stated anywhere nor at any time that Dawson’s information wasn’t passed along to the NSA. What I’m asking for is evidence that is happened. If she has tangible, verifiable proof showing that she’s been stalked, terrorized, and surveilled by multiple governments I’m more than happy to publish it and concede to her story.

In the meantime, if Dawson’s original accusation was in reference to my statement that her story sounds more like the “fantastical chicanery of a fraudster or the delusional ramblings of someone who needs to take a break from activism,” I noted that that was in reference to her claims as a whole, not just the PRISM story. I stand by my assessment.

13. There is something sketchy about Dawson’s asylum process and/or she works for Russian government

I skipped ahead to Dawson’s thirteenth accusation that I wrote her asylum process has been sketchy and that she works for the Russian government. The reason for this is because she allegedly sought asylum in Russia due to the alleged targeting she experienced as noted previously. So first, I never wrote that she is working for the Russian government. That’s an absurd and blatant lie.

Second, Dawson tried to debunk the evidence I set forth regarding her asylum by implying that I wrote she was seeking refugee status, not temporary asylum. The fact that she published such a conspicuous lie is not only stunning for a journalist and a likely hiring candidate for the Guardian, it seems to be indicative of just how far Dawson is willing to go to bury this story.

If you search my entire post for the word “refugee,” you won’t find it but the term “temporary asylum” appears at least four times. The first time I mentioned the term was, “Dawson eventually fled New Zealand with her two children to Berlin, Germany and then sought temporary asylum in Russia.” Additionally, a screenshot I used from a video that was posted online literally reads, “B. Temporary Asylum…Apart from granting refugee status, the Russian Federation provides individuals with the possibility of obtaining temporary asylum.”

I also linked to documents about obtaining temporary asylum in Russia from the Law Library of Congress as well as the UN Refugee Agency, both of which state the same thing: Temporary asylum applications are decided within three months. I even included multiple tweets from Dawson herself stating she is seeking temporary asylum in Russia.

An alleged member of Anonymous has come at me over and over again on Twitter about this alleged discrepancy and long-time WikiLeaks/Assange-associated supporters like @BellaMagnani and @GreekEmmy retweeted Dawson’s responses knowing full well that I never reported Dawson was in the process of seeking refugee status. So what can be said about the Free Assange movement when it appears that long-time activists who act as gatekeepers are willing to push a lie?

Going back to the Library of Congress documents, they state that someone can apply for “temporary asylum” if an application for refugee asylum has been denied meaning that if Dawson was turned down for refugee status as she claimed in her rebuttal, she can still apply for temporary asylum.

In her November 2016 interview, she stated, “Well that is correct Terry, I have applied for temporary asylum in Russia.” On Twitter, she has repeatedly publicized that she is seeking temporary asylum, and has pushed media reports that state the exact same thing. The following quotes are from Dawson support accounts via Twitter and Tumblr:

“Suzie goes public about her application for temporary asylum” – November 25, 2016

“Media Resources: “We are collating materials related to @Suzi3D’s application for temporary asylum at our new Tumblr” – November 29, 2016

“Suzie & the kids made it this far because of your help. 1 month to go to asylum decision. Please urgently contribute.” – November 29, 2016

“Update on Suzie’s application for asylum. After hearing that a decision had been made, there was some excitement that there would be an answer however due to the holiday season there is a delay in processing paperwork and it is now expected that Suzie will know more about her situation some time in mid-January. – December 29, 2016.

According to Dawson herself and social media accounts that she either controls or has verified as legitimate, she applied for temporary asylum on September 29, 2016, not refugee status which is exactly what I reported. And based on Dawson’s rebuttal and Library of Congress/UN Refugee Agency documents, that means she applied for refugee status well before September 29, 2016, and was turned down.

However, she tries to distract her readers with an evil little Russian troll story about Svetlana Gannushkina, a well-known Russian human-rights activist who allegedly refused to process her refugee application as if that’s what we’re discussing here. We’re not. What we’re discussing is her temporary asylum which again (ad nauseam), is what I reported on.

As to why her temporary asylum application wasn’t processed in mid-January 2017 (after the holidays), remains unknown despite Dawson telling her followers on Twitter that the application was accepted “on the strength of a mountain of evidence” and that application certificates are not “handed out like candy.”

The long and short of this is that she applied for temporary asylum on September 29, 2016. The Russian government had three months, or until December 29, 2016, to approve or turn down her application. That same day, on December 29, 2016, Dawson reported that the decision had been delayed until mid-January 2017, because of the holidays. Now, over two years later, she maintains that she still hasn’t received a decision about her asylum application so I will ask again, “Why has Russia made such an exception in your asylum case, Ms. Dawson?”

5. Dawson arbitrarily denied being the leader of the Internet Party

Dawson’s accusation that I wrote she “arbitrarily denied being the leader of the Internet Party,” is false. I have never seen an official statement that she stepped down from the position, I was confused as to whether or not she had, and that’s what I reported. She is welcome to send me any official statements, if available, and I would be happy to update my response.

6. Key WikiLeaks supporter @GreekEmmy doesn’t like or trust Dawson

I never stated that @GreekEmmy, a “key WL supporter,”doesn’t trust or like Dawson despite her claim that I did. In fact, I didn’t provide any commentary whatsoever on @GreekEmmy’s 2016 comments about her. What I did write was that WikiLeaks was overly cautious about Dawson based on DMs that were released by someone else. Here is the section from my post in its entirety:

7. Dawson is a power-hungry, attention-seeking narcissist

I didn’t call Dawson a power-hungry, attention-seeking narcissist, I wrote that she “appears” to be one or that she “might” be one. Again, a dictionary is always helpful. I stand by my statement.

8. She was given access to Julian Assange’s/WikiLeaks/Christine Assange’s Twitter account

I never wrote that Dawson was given access to any of the above accounts. That’s just poor journalism and false reporting. What I did report on was a news story that stated the #ReconnectJulian campaign was given access to Assange’s Twitter account, tweets that Dawson posted stating that she was part of the #ReconnectJulian campaign, tweets that Dawson posted stating that #ReconnectJulian and #Unity4J were the “same people, same campaign,” and that no one knows “how many people and who were given access to Assange’s account and personal DMs since his communications were cut.”

As for whether or not Dawson has or had access to Christine Assange’s Twitter account, I never wrote that, either. Again, what I wrote was that people have “speculated” on whether or not she did. Dawson’s response:

She also added that, “At no time has that account been run by anyone in Unity4J or Internet Party, myself included.” And as much as we should be applauding Dawson for finally clearing this up, she actually didn’t. If she would be so kind as to publicly confirm whether or not she or anyone else in Unity4J or the Internet Party had access to these specific accounts “@AssangeMrs” or “@JulianAssange” (or it’s later handles @AssangeDefense and @DefendAssange), that would be great. And it appears that at some point the “Internet Party social media team” may indeed have had access to the @AssangeMrs account.

9. Dawson deliberately left out Assange’s name from Unity4J & JA4Me


10. Dawson does and does not “distinguish who is supporting Julian Assange”

Dawson claims I smeared her by suggesting that her old campaign, JA4ME, was shady for asking supporters to send in a 300 x 300 photo of themselves along with their name and occupation. I stand by that opinion regardless of how many disclaimers were on the now-defunct JA4Me website. As a so-called targeted activist who the government allegedly tried to kill on multiple occasions, you would think that she would have had more sense. As for her allegation that I claimed she doesn’t “distinguish who is supporting Assange,” or that she “doesn’t do enough to highlight other WL supporters,” I have no idea what she’s talking about.

11. The Unity4J vigils averaged approximately 500 views per video”

What I reported was that based on the 321 videos that were posted on the Unity4J Youtube channel when I wrote my original story, they averaged approximately 500 views, but that most of them had an even lower viewership. That’s not a smear, that’s math.

12. Dawson’s background story is nothing but a LIE

This is Dawson trying to go after @AnonScan without actually having the courage to go directly after them. Nor did she have the courage to point out to her readers that the @AnonScan video I used in my post doesn’t actually name her nor did I state anywhere in my article that the video is about her. People are welcome to come to their own conclusions.

As for her statement that “people who don’t even know me now claim I did nothing,” my entire post is literally filled with things that she’s done: Occupy Auckland, Internet Party, JA4Me, ReconnectJulian, and Unity4J. At no point do I accuse her of doing “nothing,” nor has @AnonScan ever publicly stated such a thing. My guess is that this is a desperate attempt to shift the conversation away from her claims that the government targeted her for the last seven years, one of the main focuses in my original story.

14. It is shocking for Dawson to “ridiculously claim” that she was “forced to hire full time childcare/domestic help”

During the earlier stages of Unity4J’s online vigils, Dawson claimed that she was forced to hire full-time childcare/domestic help and then asked her followers to donate bitcoin in order to cover the expense. Now she is accusing me of smearing her for calling this ridiculous. Well, Ms. Dawson, I stand by my opinion. You haven’t been forced into anything and so expect criticism.

In fact, isn’t it true, Ms. Dawson, that you could have applied for financial assistance from the Russian government but you “opted not to?” Asking for a former bitcoin donor.

15. “Unity4J is a haven for pro-Trump/alt-right/far-right figures”

On August 7, 2018, Class Conscious published the groundbreaking article, ““The Dead End of ‘Uniting’ With Fascists to Defend Julian Assange,” only to be met with the same bitter criticism and attacks that myself and others have recently faced. Dawson challenges my piece by attacking them once again in an effort to downplay the overt ties that Unity4J has to the alt-right. It is only fitting that they should be given a chance to respond to her accusations. Today they published, “The ‘No Politics’ Trap — Leaving the Gate Open for the Far-Right in #Unity4J,” in response to Dawson’s less than impressive argument that Unity4J is not a haven for pro-Trump/alt-right/far-right figures.

It’s an outstanding piece of work in that it dives into the lack of a “clear left-wing, class-based perspective,” and a “crisis of leadership in the working class,” the global rise of fascism, recent discrepancies in the Socialist Equality Party’s stance, the teachings of Trotsky, and the destructive nature of a movement that can result from cozying up with fascists, nazis, and the alt-right. It also points out that it’s okay if we sometimes don’t agree with Julian Assange’s every decision, decisions that he and the rest of us should be free to make, although I would like to point out that I do not embrace wsws.org’s assessment of Assange’s politics due to my lack of knowledge on the subject.

Class Conscious’ article has been published in full → HERE

16. “Dawson is pro-Trump/far-right”

I never said this. Just because she caters to that crowd doesn’t mean she herself is pro-Trump/far-right and, again, no where in my article did I state this. #FakeNews

17. Dawson is not legit because no one else besides her “Unity4J sycophants reported on the danger she’s faced for seven years.”

Let me be perfectly clear about this: The government tried to kill a journalist’s two children on multiple occasions and no one talks about it except for a handful of Dawson’s Unity4J followers. That is freakishly bizarre…and suspect.

As for her musings about the MSM and their lack of coverage about her situation, I never brought up the MSM in my post because it has nothing to do with the point I was making. That’s Dawson again trying to swing the conversation over there so you don’t look over here.

18. The scaffolding and break-in at the embassy were merely Dawson’s hysteria

Let’s clarify. I didn’t say she was being hysterical about the break-in but rather about the scaffolding and I stand by my assessment. If the scaffolding was such a concern I’m certain that long-time supporters like @GreekEmmy who are at the embassy every week would have reported it weeks earlier.

I also didn’t question how Dawson got a statement from Assange’s lawyers as she claims but, rather, which attorneys confirmed the break-in story. Is this information secret? I don’t know, I apparently don’t know how these things work and what questions I’m allowed and not allowed to ask. So while it’s perfectly acceptable for Dawson to approach these alleged attorneys for a comment about an alleged break-in, me trying to confirm a story about Assange’s safety is apparently “the height of arrogance.” Who knew.

19. Kim Dotcom should have released his information about Seth Rich and he’s hurting Seth Rich’s family

Dawson accused me of writing that “Kim Dotcom should have released his info about Seth Rich,” which is entirely false. I never said that he should have released information because I don’t believe Dotcom has any information on Seth Rich. Additionally, yes, Dotcom’s statements have hurt the Rich family and a letter from Aaron Rich to Sean Hannity that Dawson herself posted shows exactly that.

As for her claim that Dotcom didn’t release said alleged information because the Rich family asked him not AND because he’s such an honorable kind of guy, I’d say that maybe she should explain this tweet from a few weeks back:

All of this of course begs the question of why Dotcom initially stated that he couldn’t release his information (after promising to) on the advice of council. So which is it?

20. Kim Dotcom didn’t pay some his workers

Correct, he didn’t but Dawson accused me of smearing Kim Dotcom by reporting this. Her response, “If they [the courts] gave him access to his own funds, he would have been able to pay people…Victim blaming, pure and simple.” Yes, multi-millionaire Kim Dotcom is such a victim that in 2012, the courts allowed him $49,000 in monthly expenses, more money that a lot of Americans take home in an entire year.

In 2015, it was also reported that Hong Kong’s High Court “granted him access to some of his money there,” giving Dotcom an additional $53,000 a month. And sure, he probably has extensive legal fees but that’s not his employees’ fault nor should they be penalized for it. Furthermore, in 2014, he bankrolled the Internet Party with $5 million from a family trust while calling his staff “minions,” and then allegedly threatening them. Why Dawson is catering to this 1% mentality is beyond me. In March 2017, Dotcom was ordered to pay back wages to three former employees.

What Dawson failed to address

Although I’m not suggesting anything nefarious, it is important to note what Suzie Dawson found important enough to address from my article versus what she chose to ignore. For instance, there’s no disputing the fact that Julian Assange’s name doesn’t appear in the hashtags #JA4Me or #Unity4J, yet this was a point of contention for her. Meanwhile, she made no effort to address the pro-Trump Unity4J videos I posted or her tweets showing that she slandered Class Conscious members as intelligence agents.

She made no mention of her own movement’s members calling for Assange supporters to be doxed nor did she address her past attacks on journalists Abby Martin, Randy Credico, and Whitney Webb. I’m guessing that means her statement that @AnonScan has been “grooming” Credico is off the table, as well.

When it comes to Kim Dotcom, Dawson ignored his criminal background both in my article and when I confronted her about it back in 2017. She had nothing to say about his behavior towards his staff i.e. calling them minions, threatening them, and she turned a blind eye to the video I posted where Dotcom says that he “really likes Hillary.” And it’s too bad she kept quiet about his whereabouts when James Comey landed in New Zealand because who wouldn’t want to know about that?

Last but not least, Dawson confronted my reporting on @GreekEmmy’s 2016 comments about her but interestingly enough, remained silent about WikiLeaks’ own reservations about her. You can find Dawson’s list of grievances here.

Updated February 18, 2019

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