According to the Cambridge dictionary’s definition of “the beginning of the end,” it is the “point where something starts to get gradually worse until it fails or ends completely.” This description may very well summarize Trump’s presidency, American politics, and the decline of press freedoms happening around the world under a growing number of far-right governments. WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange is a prime example of how things have gotten “gradually worse” over time after spending over seven years arbitrarily detained in an Ecuadorian embassy in London only to be arrested, imprisoned, and fighting extradition to the United States after the inauguration of a fascist U.S. president.
However, as Davey Heller from ClassConscious.org noted,
“It was the Obama administration that supported a right wing coup in Ukraine that installed a government which included neo-Nazis,” demonstrating that not only had the U.S. government and its foreign policy moved to the right years ago, it is “consciously seeking to foster fascism and the far right abroad to advance its global aims.”
That move has clearly been expedited under Trump:
“Trump has been attempting to follow the old fascist playbook, but rather than repeating itself, history rhymes. Trump has had an advantage over Mussolini and Hitler. He gained control of the executive at the very start of his political career. He has, therefore, been implementing a dual strategy of building a fascist base, both within and outside the executive office — before, during, and after the election itself.
Trump has worked to do this outside the executive through ongoing MAGA rallies, open support for Nazi and fascist militias, and by cultivating support among reactionary evangelicals ie. his recent ‘bible’ walk at the ‘President’s’ Church. The network of fascist far-right media outlets continues to build its ‘Fuhrer cult’. Whilst it is clear that these forces are very much in the minority in the US, they still number in the tens of millions.”
Indeed, the first portion of our Gatekeeper Series focused on the growing threat of fascism here on American soil and figures within U.S. politics and the intelligence community like Steven Bannon, Erik Prince, and Peter Thiel who helped facilitate the rise of Donald Trump, a man who would rather see peaceful protestors fatally crushed by a police cruiser than save 140,000 American lives from Covid-19.
Read The Entire Gatekeeper Files Series
We also reported on the intelligence operations that played into the 2016 election’s anti-Hillary and pedophiliac hysteria like Pizzagate and the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, the majority of which were linked to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange by the far-right in one way or another and used to cover up the rape accusations and ties to Jeffrey Epstein that Trump was facing at the time. Additionally, these operations essentially buried the real crimes that Hillary Clinton committed that were unquestionably exposed in leaked documents and we noted the on-the-ground troops who pushed these conspiracies along with far-right “meme warfare” coming straight out of the Pentagon.
Since mid-June we have focused on Suzie Dawson, the co-founder of a campaign to free Julian Assange called Unity4J because we believe it was this movement that marked the beginning of the end of a chance to build a real progressive movement against a system that has had it’s knee on Assange’s neck since late 2010.
The Trump administration and its base has operated like Gamergate on steroids, stomping out dissent, criticism, and the media with lies, censorship, threats, harassment, and abuse and it’s this far-right mentality that seeped into the Assange support community well before the 2016 election. It eventually culminated into Unity4J, a haven for Trump supporters and fascists, some of whom played an extensive role in promoting Trump and Bannon’s 2016 election campaign operations.
Dawson has denied that she’s a Trump supporter (we’ve never accused her of being such) and rejected any and all claims that Unity4J sheltered fascist sentiment despite irrefutable proof the campaign gave far-right activists like Cassandra Fairbanks, H.A. Goodman, and Jack Posobiec a platform to spew Qanon-lite theories and pro-Trump rhetoric. Although she and others have tried to hide behind the facade that the movement was or is “apolitical” despite the fact that Assange’s case is 100% political, it’s impossible to erase history as some campaign members would probably like to do.
Can we campaign to have trump run with a different VP? Pence is shit.— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) April 12, 2019
(Tweet by Cassandra Fairbanks the day after Assange’s arrest, a U.S. indictment against him was unsealed, and the U.S. filed an extradition request with the U.K.)
Additionally, if Dawson is to be taken at her word then association alone with far-right fascists should be enough to garner attention and scrutiny. In early December 2017, three months before Unity4J started to take shape, she tried to insinuate that Barrett Brown, a fellow activist and journalist, was working with a snitch (or was a snitch himself) simply for appearing on the same podcast as Matthew Cole, a journalist for The Intercept who has burned at least two sources including intelligence specialist, Reality Winner.
The kicker is that not only did long-time activist and political satirist Randy Credico appear on the same podcast (“Who’s Afraid of the Alt-Deep State?)” and Dawson felt no need to call him out for it, Brown, Credico, and Cole didn’t even appear on the show at the same time unlike the Unity4J campaign where Dawson and her associates wholly and entirely invited far-right individuals to appear on their vigils in support of Assange—a journalist being buried by the very system Unity4J guests promoted—and then hosted those vigils themselves.
In addition to Dawson pursuing Brown for appearing on the podcast three other incidences instigated by her set off a chain of events in early December 2017 that one hacktivist described as the first “transparency movement fracture.” Indeed, due to the events that unfolded three months before Unity4J arrived on the scene in the form of #ReconnectJulian and during what we like to describe as a nine-month crime spree, the beginning of any real working class, progressive transparency movement and campaign to free Assange was stifled before the election, but the actual destruction and divide may very well have started in late 2017.
The Internet Party and #AntiSpyBill
Nine months after applying for temporary asylum in Russia (and six months of burying Russia’s decision on her application), Suzie Dawson was named president of Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand Internet Party. According to the nzherald.co.nz, she was offered the position sometime in January 2017 despite the fact she was self-exiled in Russia and appeared to have no desire to return to New Zealand. Dawson told the news outlet that Dotcom had actually resigned from the party’s executive committee sometime in February and was no longer a member of the policy and campaign committees:
“Kim was not involved in designing the strategic or tactical planning for the 2017 campaign, nor is he involved in its implementation. While the original vision for the party was his, he never reigned over it with an iron fist as some like to fantasise.”
She added that “we are committed to building incredible things for our country in the long-term” but despite her lofty goals within months of Dotcom’s exit and with Dawson at the helm the party suffered it’s worst defeat at the election polls. Within a year it was deregistered.
According to one member who has followed the Internet Party’s disastrous downfall in excruciating detail, the party essentially died under Dawson’s control: The website wasn’t updated; policies weren’t updated; there was no real push for new members; and the party failed to submit anything to Parliament outside of one bill which surprisingly had nothing to do with New Zealand’s Privacy Bill—something that directly affected the Party’s objectives.
Instead, Dawson focused her attention on a new creation: the Internet Party’s #AntiSpyBill, a Youtube event that was meant to crowdsource anti-spying legislation “live online” and once again, despite her previous and questionable behavior she was able to bring on board some big names in activism and whistleblowing like Lee Camp, Lauri Love, Ray Johansen, and John Kiriakou. That, or someone made it happen for her.
Three days before the event, Dawson also reached out to Trevor Fitzgibbon, a member of a now-defunct PR warfare firm called Shadowbox which at one point had represented Texas millionaire Ed Butowsky over the Seth Rich conspiracy scandal. In communications leaked by another former member of Shadowbox, Dawson sent Fitzgibbon a PDF file who then asked other members of Shadowbox to “pls spread the attached PDF file to their contacts.” Former members Thomas Schoenberger and @Paxnomad asked if they could also share it on Twitter and Fitzgibbon replied, “Pls yes.”
It’s unknown if the file Dawson sent them was about the #AntiSpyBill but on the same date as the emails, @Paxnomad retweeted PR material for the event stating, “Participate in the world [sic] first live online event to draft legislation to counter government spying…” We reached out to a former Shadowbox member who clarified that the company was in no way hired or paid by Dawson to promote the event.
On August 20, 2017, the Internet Party hosted a second #AntiSpyBill event which included a 90-minute “collaborative crowd-sourced drafting session to create an anti-spying Bill to counter mass surveillance laws imposed upon citizenries across the Western World.” Listed as people/accounts to follow for live event coverage included Dawson; @Endarken and @Redstar309z, two Twitter accounts that Dawson and her associate used for the 2011 Occupy Auckland movement that were also mentioned in our previous article, “New Zealand Traveling Circus Act”; hacktivist and former Pirate Parties International board member, Ray Johansen; and activist Kitty Hundal. And yet, despite her aptitude to somehow reel in big fish to promote her campaigns, Dawson ultimately failed to produce or submit a finished product to Parliament that related to the #AntiSpyBill on behalf of the Internet Party.
During this time period, the Internet Party was also able to successfully gain membership status into Pirate Party International after it’s failed #AntiSpyBill campaign and despite a humiliating loss at the 2017 election polls and a fledgling membership roster. And despite being warned by now-deceased Occupy Auckland activist Penny Bright, activists continued to defend Dawson including her story about seeking asylum in Russia.
However, as noted in our previous article, Ray Johansen told us that at the time he was working long hours on a myriad of projects, managing dozens if not over a hundred online groups, and was not aware of some of the things Dawson had said and done. She had previously claimed (among other things) that she had almost been renditioned in Kazakhstan and then she used the #JA4Me platform to push the idea that President Obama had lifted something she had said during an obscure interview. Johansen later added that he and another individual ceased their involvement in the campaign due to its right-wing elements.
At the same time that Dawson’s #AntiSpyBill was going nowhere, she was brought on board of Barrett Brown’s Pursuance Project, an “open source software that provides a better way to organize online,” along with 83 other activists:
Individuals involved in the project included software developer and project manager Steve Phillips; Director of Operations Annalise Burkhart; and Ray Johansen who overlooked the “onboarding process on behalf of the core Pursuance team.” Board directors included Naomi Colvin, Birgitta Jonsdottir, former CIA recruiter John Kiriakou, and “CIA officer-turned-bestselling author” Barry Eisler.
At the time when Dawson was invited into Mattermost, the chat application used by Pursuance, the project was still in development meaning that Pursuance didn’t technically exist yet. And if for some reason no one at Pursuance was familiar with Dawson’s questionable background and what we view as a penchant for drama and manipulation, they were about to find out the hard way.
The Lead Up
Remember that podcast we mentioned earlier? The very next day after Brown and Credico appeared on it, on December 7, 2017, at approximately 1:50 p.m. EST (9 p.m. in Moscow), Dawson called Brown out on Twitter for allegedly saying during the program that the Trump campaign wasn’t spied on. She then posted multiple tweets about FBI Director Christopher Wray, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, Manafort, and the FISA debacle. But tucked in between those tweets were ones about hacker-turned-FBI snitch, Sabu, and how his handler, Crowdstrike’s Shawn Henry, was “neck deep in all this shit.” Of course we are not aware of Sabu’s handler or his handler’s boss being involved in the FBI obtaining a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign which means Dawson wanted to throw the entire kitchen sink at Brown over his views on Russiagate.
At one point she said to him, “And I’d really appreciate an answer from you re Shawn Henry, Sabu’s handler. Are you aware of the extent of Crowdstrike’s role in all this?” which, in our opinion, appeared to be her way of pushing Brown into a corner where if he maintained his stance on Russian interference and collusion she could paint him as collaborating with an FBI snitch that tore the Anonymous community apart and his handler, the same guy who had examined the DNC servers and concluded it must have been the Russians who hacked them.
About ten hours later, Dawson decided she would go after Pursuance’s software developer, Steve Phillips, next. At 10:40 p.m. EST (December 8th at 6:40 a.m. in Moscow) she posted a link to a three-month old “Steal This Show” episode that Phillips appeared on as a guest. During the show, the host mentioned Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former associate of Assange who later sold him out, and remarked on what a nice guy he thought he was. He then divulged some gossipy stories about Assange that Domscheit-Berg had shared with him after which Phillips chuckled but made clear that he fully supported Assange and the importance of his work.
Dawson applauded Phillips for his “fantastic job of pushing back against tabloid trivialities” and fending off “the host’s attempts to ridicule and malign Julian’s appearance…” but here’s the twist: Dawson knew at the time of her tweets that Phillips had reconsidered his position on Assange since the “Steal This Show” episode and the excavation of a three-month old interview merely served as a trolling expedition in the hopes that Phillips would bite. And he did.
I would never vote for Hillary Clinton in a million years (nor Trump).— Steve Phillips (@elimisteve) December 8, 2017
Anyone willing to become an enemy of truth and to fan the flames of the Alt Right and literal neo-Nazis — even to prevent a Hillary presidency — is not someone I can support.
It was within a few hours of trolling Phillips that Dawson decided to revisit Brown’s appearance on the podcast that included Matthew Cole, the guy who has a bad habit of burning national security sources, and when you piece all three of these incidences together it seems evident to this investigation that Dawson was purposely trying to set the stage for her audience.
Within a twenty-four hour period, she had insinuated that because of Brown’s stance on Russiagate (like half of America) and the fact he went to prison for posting a link in a chatroom that was tied to the Stratfor hack so therefore also tied to Sabu (Brown also threatened an FBI agent who targeted his family which obviously didn’t help matters) he might be working for the government, and because Brown appeared on the same podcast as an Intercept journalist he might be a snitch, and “Oh look at that, I just trolled the lead developer of Pursuance Project into saying he thinks Assange fanned the flames of the alt-Right,” which, when you consider WikiLeaks’ tweets about Pizzagate, Laura Silsby, and Spirit Cooking, they didn’t do themselves any favors.
And it definitely didn’t help when they denied pushing Pizzagate and that it was a “myth spread by low accuracy media and its victims.”
But when it comes to the harsh environment of the Assange support community, Phillips’ comment was all supporters needed to know that he was the enemy. It was less than a day after Dawson started targeting both Brown and Phillips that she posted one final tweet that set off a fusillade of attacks.
Locked and Loaded
In Moscow (we assume), during the early hours of December 9th, Dawson took to Twitter to admonish Brown over a derogatory tweet he posted about Julian Assange and to be sure, Brown used to put out some doozies before his account was shut down. @BellMagnani, a well known Assange support account on Twitter, quickly jumped into the discussion after which Dawson shifted the conversation from Brown might have “a lack of awareness of the gravitas of the situation – Julian has endured so well that many assume he is invincible” to accusing him and/or others of trying to pit whistleblowers against one another—all in one tweet.
She went on:
“In my opinion SOMEONE(S)…. do not want @WikiLeaks and the @Couragefound beneficiaries to be a unified force, and have worked very hard to control the flow of information to those inside, and then to pair them off against each other.”
“Barrett is a brilliant person who is trying to catch up on years of missing info in a short space of time, & I believe has people around him w/ fixed agendas influencing what he should or shouldn’t believe, who he should/shouldn’t support…”
Pursuance’s Steve Phillips asked her who might be trying to influence Brown but Dawson feigned ignorance and then dropped two tweets about JTRIG because as we reported previously this is one of her favorite go-to positions and because apparently within a few hours Pursuance had gone from a project helping activists to a raging fed honey pot to anyone as paranoid as Dawson. This, while she was still using their Mattermost chatrooms.
According to Dawson (our emphasis):
“’I believe’ that JTRIG tactics as spelled out in those documents are being used against all major targets and whistleblowers at every opportunity incl BB. I believe this because I have experienced it firsthand for years. ‘I do not *know*’ the particulars of Barrett’s situation.”
So she didn’t know but made the accusations anyways. At the same time that Phillips was trying to clarify as to why Dawson was putting out disinformation, he asked her repeatedly to give an example of an “intellectually honest criticism of Julian Assange that you have heard or can imagine,” because of her original critique of Brown’s tweet but she repeatedly side-stepped the issue. Obviously fed up, Phillips asked her for a “third and final time” if she believed there were any valid criticisms that could made about any of Assange’s actions which, again, she dodged answering. She did however accuse Phillips of being authoritarian, menacing, self-aggrandizing, and arrogant seven minutes later.
What’s important to note here is that Dawson’s previous trolling of Brown and Phillips paved the way for her later accusations and insinuations: Brown, Phillips, both, and/or others are working for the government, they’re snitches, they can’t be trusted, they’re trying to destroy the community…
We believe she was locked and loaded before Pursuance even knew what hit them.
Dawson Is Expelled From Pursuance
After Dawson and one of her associates spent two days online accusing Brown or at least the people around him of being some sort of infiltrators out to destroy the activist and whistleblower community because Dawson had “seen these tactics before,” and after calling the lead developer of Pursuance “menacing,” she was expelled from the project. She took to Twitter to announce the news tagging a host of people and starting a fight with Pursuance’s Director of Operations, Anna Burkhart.
But before we go into detail about her interactions with members of Pursuance or what ensued in the next twenty-fours—details that must be examined in order to fully understand the extent of damage that she did—we would like to first point out a partial thread that activist, designer, and developer Aral Balkan later posted on Twitter in response to Dawson:
“1. I’m personally *very* uncomfortable with Julian’s anti-feminist comments and collusion with Trump’s team and with the cult of personality I’m seeing in some quarters of our community where even raising those concerns is reason for ostracism and being branded “uncomradely”…
2. I’m _very_ uncomfortable with and have no desire to be part of any community where anyone is beyond criticism. We should be building decentralised infrastructure that makes centralised control (us) unnecessary, not raising our own up on pedestals and creating new kings
Putting aside for the moment Balkan’s issues with Assange, the point being is that he saw the writing on the wall well before Dawson’s Unity4J campaign was officially created: Ostracism and branding within communities that support Assange for merely raising questions and concerns; communities where “anyone is beyond criticism”; activism where people are dangerously put above scrutiny lest you pay the social and professional price for daring to question their actions.
Eight months prior to Balkan’s comments, there was a campaign called #QuestionWikiLeaks which in our opinion initially tried to make “questioning” WikiLeaks and Julian Assange less taboo and divisive. Even though it failed miserably the community was foolish for not heeding the warning: They obviously and desperately needed more tolerance, honesty, communication, and some level of transparency.
Day Three: A Barrage of Insults and Gaslighting
After Balkan’s response to Dawson, she explicitly told him that the “issue isn’t with being ideologically disagreed with OR with being unceremoniously excluded from @PursuanceProj but I have a massive issue with my unrelated data/communications w/ other activists being denied to me sans notice.” However, six hours prior she told anyone that would listen that Phillips and Brown had policed accounts and restricted participation in the project “to only activists who will bend to political positions & opinions” (she gave no evidence for this allegation nor any that follow) despite the inconvenient truth that after her removal there still remained WikiLeaks and Assange supporters within Pursuance. Furthermore, “Dawson was never hindered, censored or suppressed in any way shape or form. She was let loose, just like everyone else,” Johansen said.
In her very next breath after accusing Pursuance of tolerating only activists who bend to their political views, she told Burkhart that her “relentless attacks on Julian Assange” were “problematic behaviour, personally as is your intolerance,” for apparently not bending to Dawson’s political positions and opinions. She went on to denounce Burkhart as incompetent, accused her of engaging in “highly abusive behaviors,” said she wasn’t “fit to administrate the data of any individuals,” and that the people behind the project were “COLLECTIVELY not fit to run any organisation” including Pursuance. Because Burkhart wouldn’t cave to her tantrum with an apology, Dawson accused her of “compounding the issue.”
For the folks at home getting here late, we cannot say this enough times: When Dawson went on this bender the Pursuance Project was still in development and technically did not exist. It was still being coded, it was not a finished project, and she was literally invited as a guest on a private server. As Aral Balkan told her:
…— Aral Balkan 🕷 (@firstname.lastname@example.org) (@aral) December 10, 2017
(Freedom of speech does not imply the freedom to compel anyone to listen or force anyone to give you space on their private platform. This is why private/centralised platforms are not fit for purpose and why decentralised/federated/FOSS infrastructure is crucial.)
But despite the right to freedom of association which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Articles 20 and 23 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Dawson raged on.
After fuming that Pursuance had created a “God mode’ and a hierarchy for what was supposed to be a decentralised platform” (again, Pursuance was still in development), and characterizing the project as a danger to at-risks activists (she meant herself, a self-exiled activist living in Russia), she called them the “activism-police,” accused their lead developer of being “out of line,” and then tagged Balkan in another tweet in which she wrote, “How *NOT* to be a Systems Administrator, 101.”
She then thought it would be a good idea to start sending out warnings on Twitter that Pursuance had deleted her private communications (they didn’t) and she tagged a bunch of people because if you feel like burning down an entire project for no good reason, ya gotta tag people. At 1:38 a.m. EST, she started back up again with the same accusations that she had been kicked out of Pursuance for defending Assange (despite telling Balkan later it didn’t matter—and despite that not being true) and that Pursuance’s actions were “ironic, amusing, hilarious, but also sick and scary.”
Sick and scary?
Ten minutes later she decided to kick things into high gear by accusing Pursuance members of “back-stabbing” Sarah Harrison on the platform which even if that happened, it appears that the only person who was trying to police private conversations—on a private server no less—was Dawson. Later that day, Phillips denied the accusations and asked her to back up her accusations with evidence. She didn’t.
At 2:44 a.m. EST, she moved on to how she couldn’t “trust anyone who spends their time undermining those who protect whistleblowers,” at which point Assange support community gatekeeper, Emmy Butlin, was happy to jump into the fray:
@Suzi3D reading the extraordinary account of your experience, frankly speaking, if this is how P starts, it may not end very well, chin up, creativity knows no boundaries & you have plenty of it.— Emmy Butlin (@greekemmy) December 10, 2017
Absolutely surreal and we’re only like halfway through this. At 3:23 a.m. EST, the accusations continued to escalate. According to Dawson, Pursuance didn’t just kick her out for defending Assange, they had become actual persecutors of the Australian journalist (for things allegedly said in private on a private server). She then reiterated her claim that Phillips had been “menacing” towards her adding that he had actually threatened her. Days later one Twitter user told Dawson, “‘Menacing?’ If you are going to jump to implying sexism and being a victim, maybe your ‘removal’ was the right thing to do. We need to have a culture of accountability, which seems no one is interested in these days. Being a professional victim is obviously much more profitable.”
And then at 4:09 a.m. EST, Dawson wrote:
“I am being sent screenshots of @BarrettBrown_, who blocked me yesterday, claiming that I have been ‘attacking’ him. For the record, i never ever attacked him. In fact I constantly defended him. However I absolutely did disagree with him. Perhaps he thinks that is the same thing.”
It’s almost impossible for most humans to process this level of gaslighting. One of the comments below her tweets suggested that because Brown had blocked Dawson he wasn’t really a journalist so we’re curious if someone within the Assange support community can put together a list of all situations that might occur on Twitter and when it is and when it is not appropriate to block other users. Some of us just can’t keep up. Anyhoo—
Approximately 18 hours into Dawson’s marathon shit show, it appeared that Brown had temporarily unblocked her account only for her to tell him:
“The only false claims are the ones coming out of the mouth of you and two of your associates, who it is laughable to think should ever be in charge of administrating the private data of activists given your conduct this week.”
This is legitimately some Trump-level gaslighting right here as was her next comment to Phillips, “Someone seems pretty hell bent on abusing me…,” followed up by some weird diatribe about him failing to berate her into submission so now he’s obsessed with her. As we wrap up day three, a gentle reminder that Dawson became the president of the New Zealand Internet Party six months prior to this. Her tweets are literally from the mouth of a political figure.
And Then It Happened
Unbelievably, on day four Dawson purposely sought out Brown’s twitter account and posted several tweets the first of which started with “At the risk of reopening the drama…” We’re just going to post them below:
Secondarily – claiming that me calling out Steve’s behaviour was an attack on @PursuanceProj as a whole thus justifying banning me, would be like @JulianAssange banning @BarrettBrown_ from @couragefound, for attacking Julian in public. Something Julian has never stooped to.— Suzie Dawson (@Suzi3D) December 11, 2017
Adults are capable of disagreeing without wielding their organisations & platforms against each other in retribution. Which is why you don’t see Internet Party RT’s/likes/statements about all this kindergarten nonsense. Looking at who uses their orgs as a weapon tells true story.— Suzie Dawson (@Suzi3D) December 11, 2017
As you can see in the archive link, Brown’s tweets are no longer available so we are unable to report on what he posted. Perhaps Dawson saved them and can release them in order to justify seeking out Brown’s account to purposely reopen drama, bury her own behavior, and ignore the accusations she had previously blasted across Twitter. At some point, Dawson also laid into Phillips for tagging her in a tweet which he denied (because he didn’t), leading her to block him on Twitter after calling Brown “juvenile” for initially blocking her. “You can’t control your tweets,” sneered Dawson.
And then it happened.
On the fourth day, at 7:51 p.m. EST, Julian Assange showed up on Twitter and asked Dawson if Pursuance had “unilaterally censored” her out of existence:
Let me get this straight. The “Pursuance” project, supposedly designed for censorship resistance and to check abuses of power, unilaterally censored out of existence the head of the NZ Internet Party, because on an entirely different platform, Twitter, she defended my rights?— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) December 12, 2017
We can’t make this story up and at that moment it appears that Dawson accomplished everything she had set out to do in the last 24-36 hours: If she wasn’t allowed in Pursuance no one was allowed in Pursuance and she was going to burn it to the ground before that happened.
Phillips explained to Assange that Dawson had been kicked out for her behavior which included her choice words that Phillips was “menacing” and “threatening.” He later added that she had been “a liability on several levels.” According to Johansen:
“Dawson was invited by me into the chat application Mattermost for Pursuance. I invited 84 people for the planning of Pursuance but it was not Pursuance at the time, it was still being coded. Dawson got into every discussion she could find regarding WikiLeaks and had a hard time doing anything that resembled helping the project progress.”
Additionally, despite Pursuance creating a specific channel for the Internet Party’s #AntiSpyBill, she “showed no interest in the work and instead started a walkabout where she picked fights or debates about Assange.” Johansen told us that at least 78 of the 84 activists he brought into the project were supporters of Assange and that “staunch supporters” were still on their server. “She got kicked from Mattermost…not because she supported Mr. Assange but because she constantly picked fights,” he said.
“We obviously don’t usually kick people off, but I have a responsibility to those who are volunteering heavily on the project not to put them in a position where they can be subjected to that sort of allegation, which can obviously damage a person’s ability to work. Those tweets are all public so anyone can see and decide for themselves what to make of them.” – Brown (also see Brown’s statement via Facebook)
Again, both Brown and Pursuance’s Twitter accounts are no longer available for viewing so we are unable to report anything they may have tweeted between December 6th through December 12th. But despite Dawson’s repeated complaints that Pursuance had used their platform to attack her, it seems only reasonable that one of the targets of her fury, the Pursuance Project, would respond to her allegations.
Nine Months Prior
According to Johansen, Pursuance lost a large number of sponsors after Dawson lit the fuse that set off almost a week-long debacle filled with unsubstantiated claims and allegations against Brown, Phillips, other members of Pursuance and really, the project as a whole. Additionally, he believes that the smears Brown was hit with (we’ll add “and the destruction of Pursuance”) was the first split to occur in the “Transparency Movement and the Wikileaks support movement.” Dawson’s Unity4J campaign broke up the community even further the following year.
Despite what Dawson had done, members of Pursuance kept the project alive and on June 11, 2018, Brown announced that they was seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign and unbelievably, three months after that while in the middle of taking over the Assange support community via Unity4J, Dawson published an article entitled, “Being Julian Assange,” in which she rehashed her unsubstantiated claims against Pursuance that she had made nine months prior because maybe burning it to the ground wasn’t enough, she had to make sure there wasn’t any simmering ashes left—especially now that the entire WikiLeaks community was backing her new Unity campaign.
And Pursuance wasn’t the only thing on Dawson’s radar. Approximately six weeks after she started targeting Brown and Phillips in December 2017, she took aim at Whitney Webb, a successful journalist working for MintPress News at the time and whose work was being retweeted by Assange. Using the exact same playbook she did with Pursuance, Dawson attacked Webb, tried to malign her, played the “I’ve been victimized” card, and then included Webb in her “Being Julian Assange” article alongside Barrett Brown and the Pursuance Project. Dawson’s attacks were even more vicious the second time around.
Featured image: See “Suzi3d – The Anonymous Scandinavia video“
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