Category Archives: Jacob Appelbaum

Being Julian Assange

Certain journalists would consult an almanac for Washington DC on the night of the 2016 election, and begin this article with a few picturesque, scene-setting words about the chill winds whipping the capital as it lay poised, awaiting the results with bated breath.

But I have more respect for my readers than that.

So I’ll cut to the chase.

That Election

In 2016 an accused serial sexual predator ran for the US presidency against the notoriously corrupt wife of a previously impeached President – who is also an accused serial sexual predator.

That these facts alone were insufficient to invalidate the entire race is testament to the audacity with which corrupt power operates in the West, and how conditioned the public is to consuming the warped byproducts of its naked machinations.

Arguably the most contentious election in recent history, the accused serial sexual predator won.

During the race, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange aptly described the two candidates as “cholera vs gonorrhoea.” Edward Snowden ran a Twitter poll asking his followers whether they would rather vote for a “calculating villain”, an “unthinking monster” or “literally anyone else”. 67% chose the latter. Yet those who didn’t want to be forced into a false choice between Clinton or Trump became the forgotten voices, the silent majority; largely excluded from the endless, vapid mainstream media debates about the outcome.

Julian and Edward’s descriptors were flawless metaphors for the Presidential contestants; cartoon-like characters that when paired together and portrayed as a legitimate democratic choice, made a mockery of the entire concept of political representation.

Unfortunately, this sham wasn’t as anomalous as it may appear when viewed in such a simplistic light. The moral failings were business as usual in a modern “democracy”. No matter who had won, the global public was going to be subjected to a continuation of Barack Obama’s blatant lies and populist betrayals of his ‘Hope and Change’ platform.

The contenders for leadership are the reality TV stars (now, quite literally) of an intergenerational revolving political theatre: A four-yearly exercise in mass re-enfranchisement of the public, where two-dimensional aspiring figureheads promise to fulfil the dreams of their populace. You are told that with your vote, your candidate of choice will begin ending wars and bringing transparency to government, investing in infrastructure or asserting human rights and equality for all – yet once elected, the victor turns to the camera, sotto voce, like Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, and says “You didn’t really think I’d do that, did you?”

Meanwhile, the media and the money-power that pull their strings ignore the blatantly obvious and work feverishly to emboss the proceedings with a veneer of credibility. In tandem, government-aligned big data and social media companies are employing ever more loathsome technologies to remodel human history in real time.

This industrialised historical revisionism requires the excoriating of the public reputation of the virtuous, the sanitising of the compromised, and the constant manipulation of the living memory of both.

These are the core tenets of manufacturing consent. They aren’t just lying to us; they are already preparing the lies they will tell our unborn great-grandchildren.

It is some of those layers of contrived, mainstream bullshit that this article intends to peel back.

At the crux of the issue is a battle of authenticity versus falsehood, on a spectrum. With most of us sandwiched somewhere in between and WikiLeaks front and centre. Because WikiLeaks is the last available vestige of verifiable, unadulterated public truth.

That is why they are hated by those who fear the revelations WikiLeaks facilitates and why WikiLeaks’ public reputation is desecrated every day. It is why their every pillar of support is systematically undermined and why Julian Assange is being ever so slowly murdered in front of our eyes.

We, the people, are the last line of their defence. Part of protecting WikiLeaks – and ultimately ourselves – is to understand the relentless nature of the psyops employed against them; that the hardships inflicted upon them by the enemies of human progress are not just reputational or financial but physical; that for those waging this thankless war of truth on our behalf, this is a matter of life or death.

And that is why we must push back.

That is why we must tell the truth about them.

Talking A Man To Death

There is something morbidly voyeuristic about the vast majority of the conversations about Julian Assange that are occurring in the activism and journalism worlds of late.

While many of their harshest critics hypocritically profess ideological support for the world’s foremost publisher, too few of us are meaningfully acting to free him. More are tricked, provoked or incentivised into endlessly debating among our social circles what I can only describe as relative frivolities – what Assange said about such and such, or to who; what Assange thinks about this or that, what Assange did or didn’t do – while his body slowly decays in front of the entire world.

By design, these debates create social fissures and fracture points. They amount to both a distraction from the obvious urgency of addressing the larger circumstance of his seemingly inevitable decline and a delaying tactic, creating a pretext that prevents us from acting, and serves to justify our inaction.

Because doing nothing is a tantalisingly easy option. Taking action, requires guts. Blood, sweat and tears.

The lack of cohesive effort to pressure the great powers persecuting Julian coalesce with the absence of meaningful movement-building to achieve it. The lack of unity of purpose to save the life of someone who has himself saved the lives of many others, including some we hold most dear, has us all staring into the abyss of the greatest moral failure of this generation.

What we are collectively playing out is the personification of Bob Marley’s “how long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?” Except even more perversely, we aren’t just looking. We are, as a community and a society, already dissecting Assange like a cadaver. We are picking over his bones like vultures, while he is still clinging to life.

It is despicable and disgusting to witness.

Stripping The Target 

Assange’s story has gone beyond the stuff of books, movies or legend: one man altering the course of media, politics, technology, society, forever.

As if being the target of a Pentagon manhunt in 2010 didn’t put Assange far enough up the deep state shitlist, in 2017 WikiLeaks was declared a priority target for the CIA.

Yes, the agency infamous for destroying the lives of millions of people by engaging in every kind of malignant behaviour evidenced in human history, including countless assassinations and the active destabilisation of dozens of countries, now uses its press conferences to announce that the target they are after is not a despot, not an arms dealer, a war criminal or a drug trafficker – but a publisher.

A journalist.

While the sanctity of the Embassy in which Julian resides remains intact, this is only due to the thin hanging threads of the few remaining respected international laws that govern its existence. In a geopolitical climate in which almost every international covenant has been violated, even this sanctuary provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Ecuadorian people, cannot be taken for granted.

Unable to directly abscond with his physical body in the near term, the powers that have been, for years, overtly threatening Assange’s life have instead turned their attentions to undermining other aspects of his existence: his relationships, his finances, his organisational affiliations, his achievements, his reputation, his ability to communicate and even the internal affairs of the country which has granted him refuge.

Part of the Divide and Conquer playbook is to fracture natural allies. We see this in the determination to sever the relationships between our most significant whistleblowers so that they can never become a united force.

Manning, encouraged to distance herself from Snowden because Snowden didn’t stick around to face charges and/or torture and/or death. Brown, egged on to hate on Assange. On and on it goes.

Bleaching The Record

Part of undermining Assange and WikiLeaks (and indeed, any target) is to deny them any achievement. Narratives are developed and circulated to retrospectively strip them of their accomplishments, to reduce their significance.

We can see this in consistent attempts to diminish WikiLeaks’ efforts to defend and organise in support of Chelsea Manning and other whistleblowers.

But there are some smart exceptions who do not hesitate to give props where it is due.

Alleged UK hacker Lauri Love, who in a historic victory has defeated an attempt to extradite him to the United States, was swift to credit Julian Assange and the Courage Foundation:

Lauri’s homage to those who dedicated years of their life to supporting him is laudable and the effort to emancipate him from the extradition threat has established an important legal precedent.

By contrast, much of the digital history detailing the genesis of the campaign to free Chelsea Manning has vanished. Many of the key contributions of her original supporters have been bleached from the record.

The Twitter accounts @freebradley & @savebradley have been suspended.

The original support campaign websites, standwithbrad.org & bradleymanning.org are both down. Freebradley.org looks like this:

Privatemanning.org looks like this:

Chelsea Manning’s current official support network website has news archives only dating back to 2016. All prior updates have either disappeared or were never copied over to this new site in the first place. A loss of six years of supporter activities, bulletins, actions and updates.

And that’s not all that has vanished. Short links to critically important information like the below, have also been broken. (Some are available through archive services; many are not)

The true story is on WikiLeaks’ Twitter timeline. Starting from the very day that Manning, having been mercilessly betrayed by FBI-snitch Adrian Lamo, was arrested:

Sunshine Press is WikiLeaks’ publishing organisation. Proof that from the very moment Manning was detained, WikiLeaks was already mobilising in support of her.

The Bradley Manning Support Network was soon established:

Within days of her arrest, WikiLeaks had launched the first letter-writing campaign in support of Manning – while she was still in a cage in Kuwait:


Within less than a week of her arrest, WikiLeaks was already debunking mainstream smears of Manning:

WikiLeaks exceeded what could be expected of any publisher, in its support for its beleaguered alleged source:

Something I’ve yet to see anyone else piece together: even in the same week in late August 2010 that Julian Assange was in the midst of enduring his own lawfare attacks and ensuing public vilification, WikiLeaks was still relentlessly tweeting out support announcements for Manning:

Corporate censorship of the Support Network kicked off early with WikiLeaks reporting in September of 2010 that the 10,300-strong Facebook group for Manning supporters had been blocked by the social media company.

Despite this, a mere three months after WikiLeaks’ establishment of the Support Network, 20 cities were marching in solidarity with the whistleblower:

WikiLeaks’ exemplary legal team spoke publicly in defence of Manning:

If you thought Paypal and/or Pierre Omidyar were evil for cutting off WikiLeaks’ funding, you will likely be even more enraged to discover that they also subsequently cut funding to Manning’s Support Network:

…three weeks after WikiLeaks had been coordinating calls to the White House to free Manning:

Manning’s lawyer complained that she was not being treated like other prisoners.

The “special treatment” of Manning by the authorities, eerily foreshadows the case of Julian Assange. Years later, it would be revealed in emails of UK prosecutors obtained by the FOIA requests of Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, that they told their Swedish counterparts “please do not think that the case is being dealt with as just another extradition request.

Meanwhile, the Guardian was busy incriminating Manning, long before the trial. Their justification for doing so was the prior betrayal of Manning’s confidence by FBI-informant Adrian Lamo.

Once WikiLeaks began pushing the #freebrad hashtag, it soon spiralled into countless thousands of tweets. It took me several hours just to read through the 2011-2013 history of the hashtag. The sheer volume of content is overwhelming.

Shortly thereafter, Manning was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. WikiLeaks ingeniously kept her in the public consciousness by tallying every single day that she was spending in pre-trial detention.

WikiLeaks never misses a chance to achieve an ironic victory: by the end of 2012, they were encouraging people to vote for Manning to become the Guardian’s Person of the Year. Sure enough, they were able to raise enough support for her, and she won:

By mid 2012, the Support Network was petitioning Obama directly:

Many of the citizen heroes, journalists, and NGO’s who provided critical support to Manning in these early days have been conveniently forgotten. But in particular, the Twitter history shows that FireDogLake editor Jane Hamsher, reporter Kevin Gozstola, and a host of WikiLeaks satellite volunteers and supporters went above and beyond year in and year out in support of Manning.

Additionally of note was a continual flow of slick infographics and memes from pro-WikiLeaks designer SomersetBean, right up to the present day.

By January 2013, things were taking a sinister turn. While the Support Network was collectively investing themselves in this noble cause, the FBI were predictably undermining them at every opportunity:

However by February, the rising cacophony of support for Manning, directly attributable to the efforts of the network originally coordinated by WikiLeaks, had grown too loud to be ignored:

In April of the same year, Manning was again up for the Nobel Peace Prize, this time nominated by 36,000 supporters:

Devastatingly, on July 30th, 2013 Manning was convicted on 20 counts, regardless.

In total, the WikiLeaks main Twitter account sent over 800 tweets in support of Chelsea Manning between the date of her arrest in 2010 and the date of her conviction in 2013. The count only includes tweets containing the search term of the name by which she was known at that time, and only until the conclusion of her trial. References to her as Pfc, or similar, were not included in the search, and thus the calculation of the total. There have been countless hundreds of further supportive tweets by WikiLeaks since.

From what mainstream publication could we expect such a level of dedicated and consistent support for its sources? WikiLeaks’ efforts to free Manning – a source it had not burned – are unprecedented in modern media history, yet this is seldom, if ever, recognised.

In the quasi conclusion to his recent hit piece on WikiLeaks, The Intercept’s Micah Lee (ex-Electronic Frontier Foundation, currently with the Freedom of the Press Foundation) endeavoured to further distance Manning from WikiLeaks’ by hammering home the oft-touted quote that Manning had preferred to leak to the New York Times or the Washington Post, rather than to WikiLeaks. Neither mainstream outlet had responded to her attempts to make contact with them.

However, it is highly dubious as to whether either of those organisations, even had they replied, would have achieved the level of reach and global impact for Manning’s leaks that WikiLeaks did. It is equally doubtful that they would have gone out on such a limb to try to limit the damage wreaked upon Manning by the traitorous Lamo. Nor is it likely mainstream media outlets would have committed themselves and their financial resources to a multi-year campaign to build public support for the whistleblower. Likely as not, she would have been left to rot in that cage in Kuwait.

But WikiLeaks’ relationship with Manning and her supporters is not the only legacy to be actively suppressed by Lee, and affiliates.

The Mic Drop

The attempts to posthumously divorce the highly-skilled developer Aaron Swartz and his (now known as) SecureDrop project from Assange, has been an extremely public one.

Backtrack a few years before Micah Lee’s above assertion, and you’ll find Freedom of the Press Foundation’s own marketing materials promoted SecureDrop as – wait for it – “A WikiLeaks In Every Newsroom” – titling the launch video for the technology as precisely that.

The opening salvo from the host at their launch event reiterated the point: “This is SecureDrop – a Wikileaks in every newsroom… Freedom of the Press Foundation is a non-profit that was founded in December of 2012. It was originally created as a fancy way of laundering money for WikiLeaks but now it has expanded its scope…”  

There was originally no bone of contention about it: WikiLeaks was the inspiration behind the invention of SecureDrop and was the primary beneficiary of the Foundation.

Right up until December 2016, the default tweet generated when donating to the Freedom of the Press Foundation read “I’m supporting uncompromising journalism like @WikiLeaks. Join me and @FreedomofPress in changing the world! Freedom.press”

Even the surviving beneficiaries of SecureDrop, namely Lamo-confidante Kevin Poulsen, and by association, developer Micah Lee (now so keen to sever the concept from its WikiLeaks roots) were originally candid about its genesis.

Micah Lee openly stated that SecureDrop – who acquired the Github repository of Swartz’s pre-existing project known as DeadDrop, then rebranded it – was a way of making WikiLeaks-like tech available to everyone:

“When I first heard about DeadDrop, it seemed like a really fine, exciting project. WikiLeaks was really big in the news then and it seemed like it was kind of democratising that.” Micah Lee 

This is consistent with Kevin Poulsen’s statement that he wanted to standardise the secure drop box technology across all newsrooms:

“There was no standard way for sources to contribute securely tips and documents to a reporter so I wanted to develop a solution and I went to approach Aaron…” Kevin Poulsen 

In the wake of the Wall Street Journal’s 2011 attempt to create a secure dropbox, Aaron Swartz was asked on live television “Do you think that WikiLeaks has really changed the playing field over the last year, now we’re seeing this journalism arms race as to who can set up their own leaking site, or I guess alternative, faster?”

He answered: “Oh, clearly, I mean this is a huge vindication for WikiLeaks. We’ve gone from everybody saying that they should be locked up in prison, to the point where every newspaper and news outlet wants to have their own WikiLeaks site.” (emphasis added)

The facts of the matter couldn’t be any more clear: just as Aaron says, WikiLeaks was the reason that news rooms wanted access to the same technology. Just as Micah said, SecureDrop would bring WikiLeaks technology to the world. Just as Kevin Poulsen described in the New Yorker, he needed Aaron to do it, and accessed him via James Dolan.

Unfortunately, the two main developers of SecureDrop, Aaron Swartz and James Dolan, are no longer with us. Both are said to have committed suicide. Aaron Swartz was memorialised in an obituary by Kevin Poulsen.

Poulsen is also an ex-Wired reporter and one-time Freedom of the Press Foundation technologist. The circumstances of his brief tenure at the organisation, or the reasons for his departure are unknown. His participation is memorialised only by a now-defunct Freedom of the Press staff listing.

More significantly, Poulsen is also the very reporter to whom FBI-snitch Adrian Lamo leaked the private chat logs of Chelsea Manning, leading to her capture and torture.

Lamo had presented himself to Manning as being both a journalist and of all things, a priest, and stated that Manning could therefore be doubly assured of the confidentiality of their communications. An unconscionable betrayal of trust.

Poulsen’s partial reporting of the logs was lambasted by WikiLeaks, by Glenn Greenwald, and also by FireDogLake who analysed several different versions that found their way into the public sphere, and discovered major discrepancies.

Given these circumstances, one must marvel at the way Poulsen became a self-appointed gatekeeper of Aaron Swartz’s legacy. Especially when he fails to acknowledge the most basic of facts about him: that Aaron was a very public advocate for WikiLeaks up until his death, and a WikiLeaks volunteer.

Rewriting History

Like Poulsen, others who have survived Aaron Swartz make zero mention of WikiLeaks in their tributes to him.

Some actively deny the affiliation had any impact on Aaron’s work at all: for example, Anil Dash.

Those who put two and two together are swiftly directed towards Poulsen’s “beautiful” obituary on Aaron, which irregardless of merit has come to serve as an official history.

Conveniently, Poulsen’s obituary of Swartz contains zero references to the whistleblowing organisation. (Poulsen has a long and acrimonious history with WikiLeaks, as the latter believes his tailoring of the Lamo-Manning chat log narratives involved a direct attempt to incriminate WikiLeaks by association.) Nor is there any mention of WikiLeaks in Cory Doctorow’s Boing Boing obituary of Swartz.

The Guardian’s obituary also omits the WikiLeaks connection. Likewise does Time Magazine’s. Ditto, the LA Times, The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Telegraph and the New York Times.

All of the aforementioned placed the blame for Aaron’s death solely on the stress arising from the DOJ investigation into Swartz’s penetration of the JSTOR database at MIT. There is no mention whatsoever of any preceding status as a person of interest to the intelligence agencies targeting WikiLeaks.

Aaron appeared 13 times on RT, often engaging in outspoken public praise for WikiLeaks. Throughout the time period that the publisher was the subject of a worldwide manhunt and an “all of Government” investigation of “unprecedented scale and nature.” This continually goes unmentioned.

Only Rolling Stone names WikiLeaks at all – and very briefly. “WikiLeaks claimed him as an ally”, they wrote of Swartz. Yet it was Swartz who had repeatedly and profusely pronounced himself to be an ally of WikiLeaks, long prior to the JSTOR penetration that became the official reasoning for the relentless persecution of him by law enforcement authorities.

The net effect is not merely to render WikiLeaks irrelevant to the narrative retelling of Aaron’s life –  but to divert the spotlight from being shone upon the intelligence agencies that were hunting WikiLeaks staff and supporters around the world. The public is instead schooled to believe that the FBI’s interest in him was all about the MIT case.

Public rage at Aaron Swartz’s untimely passing was therefore directed at the university and the Department of Justice prosecutors, rather than the US intelligence community as a whole. The mainstream obliteration of Swartz’s WikiLeaks connections conceals an important contributing factor in the circumstances leading up to his death.

I have confirmed with WikiLeaks that Aaron wasn’t just a fan, a supporter, or a public advocate.

He was working directly with them.

But I already knew this, because of insights gained from yet another WikiLeaks volunteer, the significance of whose work and legacy is also being expunged from the public record. In this instance, while he is still alive.

Jacob Appelbaum.

The Forgotten History

At the Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon in 2015, Jacob Applebaum gave vital testimony about his contact with Aaron, and their relationship with WikiLeaks. He spoke of a history that has been all but erased; the real reasons Aaron Swartz was an enemy of the State. Sure enough, it wasn’t because he downloaded documents from JSTOR.

“Aaron and I worked on a few different overlapping projects and I very much respected him. Some of the topics that came up were light but some were very heavy and very serious. The topic of WikiLeaks was important to both of us. In November of 2009, long before I was public about my work with WikiLeaks, I introduced Aaron to someone at WikiLeaks who shall remain unnamed. If we had a secure, easy way to communicate, if some sort of communication system had existed that reduced or eliminated metadata, I probably could have done so without a trace. But we didn’t. You’re not the first to know – the FBI and the NSA already know. Less than a year later, Aaron sent me an email that made it clear how he felt. That email in its entirety is straightforward and his lack of encryption was intentional. On July 10th, 2010, he wrote “Just FYI – let me know if there’s anything ever that I can do for WikiLeaks.” Did that email cast Aaron as an enemy of the state? Did Aaron worry? 2010 was an extremely rough year. The US government against everyone – the investigation of everyone associated with WikiLeaks – stepped up. So many people in Boston were targeted that it was effectively impossible to find a lawyer without a conflict. Everyone was scared. A cold wave passed over everything and it was followed by hardened hearts for many… the sense of paranoia was overwhelming but prudent. The overbearing feeling of coming oppression was crushing… all of us felt that our days were numbered in some sense. Grand juries, looming indictments, threats, political blacklisting. None of us felt free to speak to one another about anything…  

Shortly after Aaron was found WikiLeaks disclosed three facts: Aaron assisted WikiLeaks. Aaron communicated with Julian and others during 2010 and 2011. And Aaron may have even been a source. I do not believe that these issues are unrelated to Aaron’s persecution and it is clear that the heavy-handed US prosecution pushed Aaron to take his own life. How sad that he was abandoned by so many in his time of need. Is it really the case that there was no link? Is it really the case that the US prosecutors went after Aaron so harshly because of a couple of Python scripts and some PDFs? No, clearly not…

When we learned more details about the US prosecutors, we learned that they considered Aaron a dangerous radical for unspecified reasons…” – Jacob Applebaum

As well as the key revelation that Aaron offered his services to WikiLeaks, a mere one month prior to the commencement of the DoD manhunt, Jacob makes some other very important points.

Firstly: When considering all of this forgotten history, be it the Manning support, Aaron’s work for WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks being the inspiration for SecureDrop, Julian Assange having been involved in founding the Freedom of the Press Foundation, (another fact denied by Micah Lee) or other related factors, one must understand that the FBI, the CIA and the NSA know full well the significance of WikiLeaks, their true legacy and their very real accomplishments.

That’s why WikiLeaks and anyone associated with them are targeted. That is why the truth is obscured or outright expunged.

The public are subjected to this whitewashed historical record, to prevent them from discovering the full extent to which WikiLeaks deserves our praise and support. The true historical record exists within the databases of the intelligence agencies and is hoarded by the elite, who then seek to manufacture a new public reality.

Fast forward to the same Aaron Swartz Day event in 2017 and confirmed NSA XKeyscore and FBI target Jacob Appelbaum does not appear. He is now persona non grata, excommunicated from the activism community after being the subject of a sexual assault scandal that is eerily reminiscent of the accusations made against Julian Assange.

Subverting The Legacy

It is only once the target is neutralised, be it via institutionalisation, capitulation, character assassination or death (whichever comes soonest) that their legacy may be allowed to be partly acknowledged and restored. Albeit only so it can be co-opted and massaged to suit the agenda of the neutralising force.

The revolutionary rock-rap act Rage Against The Machine voiced fragments of FBI texts from the Cointelpro files in their hit song ‘Wake Up’ in 1991. This later became the theme track to the Matrix movies.

The recording features a looped voice mimicking an FBI agent stating: “Through counter-intelligence, it should be possible to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralise them.”

This was the doctrine employed against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela, among countless others.

As Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Swanson pointed out during an #AntiSpyBill episode in 2017, and as was later ratified by Cynthia McKinney in that same series, Dr. King was not merely the civil rights activist and organiser that we are encouraged to remember him as. He was in fact an ardent anti-war, anti-militarism, anti-imperialism and anti-capitalist activist.

By acknowledging only one component of his work and instituting a national holiday to “celebrate” that limited aspect, his memory has been both sanitised and co-opted by the establishment.

Rather than recognise that King stood against absolutely everything that the status quo is, they are able to pretend he just took issue with one facet of society and argue that the US has progressed as a direct result. In reality, the overwhelming majority of the problems King dedicated his life to addressing have not been bettered, but in fact worsened in the passage of time since the State who now celebrates his memory, killed him. Such as systemic economic inequality, mass incarceration, the rise of the military-industrial complex, and Washington’s bull-in-a-china-shop foreign policy.

If we do not recognise these tactics, this is what we can expect to see play out again, and again, with the memories of our present day heroes. We have already seen this with Swartz; if we do not identify the process of sanitisation as it is occurring and intervene accordingly, the day will come when we will see it with Snowden, and with Julian Assange.

The Black Widow

It didn’t take much digging to find the connections between the self-appointed gatekeepers of Aaron Swartz’s legacy and the agenda to divorce it from WikiLeaks.

That agenda aligns with their priority task of denying WikiLeaks was the inspiration for SecureDrop.

Meet Quinn Norton, Aaron’s long-time ex-partner. Quinn is a journalist and also authored her own take on Aaron’s death.

Quinn has tweeted about WikiLeaks approximately 140 times, about 65 of which were derogatory in nature. She has named Julian Assange 40 times in her tweets, about 22 of which were also derogatory.

Despite the secretive nature of Aaron and WikiLeaks work, Quinn has long postured herself as an eye-witness due to her proximity to Aaron.

Even when directly called on the obvious, Norton was insistent that the mainstream media’s adoption of secure whistleblowing platforms was not derived from WikiLeaks’ famously having implemented their own secure whistleblowing platform first.

One might assume that she was simply guarding the legacy of Swartz, not wanting to detract from his memory or deny him full credit for his work on SecureDrop.

But to the contrary, she has frequently described the posthumous coverage of Swartz as unduly favourable.

It is not often that you see a loved one of the dearly departed complain that the public memory of them makes them look too good.

She complained bitterly of Aaron having been raised up as an icon by the infosec community.

As quoted earlier in this article, Jacob Appelbaum suggested that Aaron Swartz was not only a WikiLeaks volunteer and advocate, but a source. Others have also suggested this in the past, and the possibility has been acknowledged by WikiLeaks themselves: that his submissions were done in such a way that he could not be identified as the source, but given the nature of what was leaked and his closeness to the organisation, it cannot be ruled out.

Quinn, however, is adamant that despite Aaron’s life work being in support of the public’s right to know, that he was not a whistleblower.

In the heat of WikiLeaks’ organising efforts for the Manning Support Network, Quinn was being utilised in the effort to rehabilitate FBI-snitch Adrian Lamo’s image within the activism community.

The core of her interview with the informant Adrian Lamo contained a claim by Lamo that Poulsen cherry-picked the Manning chat logs in order to protect Manning. Ironically, the interview was conducted while Manning was being tortured in a cage in Kuwait as a direct result of Lamo’s actions.

Lamo additionally claims to have supplied WikiLeaks with a portion of the chat logs which then showed up at Aaron Swartz’s friend Cory Doctorow’s publication Boing Boing, in an article published by Boing Boing co-Founder and ex-board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Xeni Jardin. Norton writes that Jardin would not confirm her source, but I have confirmed with WikiLeaks that this never happened: Lamo did not, as he claims, submit WikiLeaks the logs, and they did not pass any to Jardin or Boing Boing.

While Norton became a conduit for circulation of Lamo’s disinformation, by contrast Aaron Swartz’s activism organisation Demand Progress was running a campaign to support WikiLeaks in the same year.

This is another incredible reference point in the excision of Swartz’s devotion to WikiLeaks from his public image.

Norton’s acidic commentary about Swartz, Assange and Manning, in the direct wake of Aaron’s passing, was raising eyebrows in the community.

But the real reason for the widespread scorn of Norton had been the revelation that she had cooperated with authorities and signed an immunity deal to inform on her then-partner Aaron Swartz.

Aaron’s family, who “never liked [Norton]“, were livid.

Aaron’s father, Robert Swartz told Larissa MacFarquhar from the New Yorker that Quinn’s betrayal had been devastating for Aaron, who tried to defend her to his family, regardless.

While Swartz’s family were told that Norton’s grand jury testimony hadn’t been of help to the prosecution, and Norton recounts that part of the story in great detail in this article, she also admits how damaging her prior cooperation with the prosecutor had been to Swartz.

Quinn, for her part, blames her lawyer for her caving to the pressure from authorities. Despite the fact that she was never charged with anything, and cooperated voluntarily.

Norton repeatedly describes herself as a technology journalist guarding sensitive sources that she was eager to protect.

Norton doesn’t adequately explain why if that were the case, she did not know to never ever talk to the authorities without lawyers present, let alone allow them in to her apartment for an informal chat, as she did with the Secret Service. Despite claiming to have already come to “expect raids, surveillance, and threats from powerful men who couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad in my world” she states only that she was “shocked and unsure”:

Ultimately, her relationship with Swartz didn’t survive the egregious breaches of trust and the two parted ways.

After Aaron’s death, Norton shared this statement by Aaron’s subsequent partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman.


Where self-interest and lack of empathy converge, ignorance abounds. Aaron is not the only truth-teller that Norton views unsympathetically:

Norton clearly made a positive impression on Lamo, whose Medium account shows him “clapping” on her work as recently as October 2017. Indeed, to this day, Norton still advocates on behalf of Kevin Poulsen over his Lamo collaboration. In a recent, bizarre Twitter diatribe Norton states her belief that Glenn Greenwald should apologise to Poulsen. Glenn had publicly sought to hold Wired to account over the filleted Manning chat logs.

But why would Poulsen be owed an apology? Greenwald’s sleuthing had long since confirmed thatsubstantial portions” of the logs withheld by Poulsen and Wired contained “vital context and information about what actually happened.

The long-winded premise for Norton’s ire is beyond strange: she accuses Greenwald of being like a “respectable gay from the 80s and 90s…” who she claims were biased against bisexual and transgender people.

This despite Greenwald having in reality, been salubrious in print over Manning’s epic display of courage in coming out as a transgender woman the day after her sentencing in 2013.

Since the day it was announced, Greenwald has displayed unwavering support of Manning’s transition. Norton’s attacks on him are illogical and unsound.

This type of hysteria is common amongst WikiLeaks’ most high-profile detractors. The thread that binds them is a combination of betrayal and benefit.

A period of initial ideological support is required in order to make the betrayal effective. The benefit can be measured both economically, and in the ultimate currency of the energy vampire: attention.

A Beginners Guide To E-Drama

More than ever before we are not only schooled but actively incentivised to loathe Julian Assange. To mock him, malign him, judge him. In certain circles, you can gain significant amounts of social credit simply by being willing to engage in a giant circle jerk of anti-Assange mud-slinging.

The lack of empathy for the seriousness of Julian’s condition is jarring, but particularly when it comes from other known targets who have also suffered immensely.

In December 2017, I had a rather public stoush with Barrett Brown on Twitter. This resulted in him plus cohorts utilising their Pursuance Project platform to generate a small amount of negative media about me, specifically several You Tube & Facebook videos, a blogpost and a radio show appearance to pitch their side of the story.

I made a point of choosing to keep my own organisations and publishing platforms out of the fray, on principle and in the hope that doing so might encourage some self-reflection on Barrett’s part.

I refused media requests, didn’t discuss the issue on other social media platforms outside of Twitter, and to this day have not even watched Barrett’s You Tube or Facebook video diatribes about me or read the Pursuance Project blogpost.

The titles and descriptions contained so many inaccuracies that I felt no need to subject myself to the content and didn’t believe any good could come from doing so.

I decided to wait to address it in my own time and in the larger context which had led to the disagreement in the first place: Barrett’s constant attacks on Julian Assange. That is why I am now finally broaching the topic.

Courage Foundation beneficiary Barrett Brown’s obsession with skewering Julian at every opportunity is self-evident: In the period September 18th, 2017 to February 2018, there are 81 tweets by Brown referencing Assange. 80 of them are critical of him. (Tweets that do not directly reference Assange’s name are not included in the total.)

The first tweet of the 80 is this:

By contrast, WikiLeaks has 47 tweets about Barrett, all of which are promoting his work and urging support for him.

In many cases, including the above, Brown’s criticisms of Assange are provably without merit.

As I pointed out to Barrett at the time, the long-known practice of “two-hops” surveillance makes it impossible for a member of Trump’s administration to be targeted without Trump being caught in the dragnet by default.

It is genuinely bemusing to see Barrett, who I’ve always considered to be at the very least an advanced student in the field of surveillance practices, being unable to acknowledge the obviousness of the two-hops implication.

The two-hops rule has been public for many years (there are videos of me covering it as far back as 2014) and I’m certainly not the only one who has raised the point. Here it is being explained by the ex Technical Director of the NSA, William Binney:

This was far from the only example of Barrett making completely misguided assertions about Assange.

Brown fell for this giant piece of fake news from Julia Ioffe of The Atlantic, hook, line and sinker:

The alternative media sphere debunked the piece within minutes. In doing so, Caitlin Johnstone sourced some of my own observations about the hatchet job:

Caitlin and I weren’t the only journalists pointing out the lack of efficacy of The Atlantic piece. Glenn Greenwald was too, and Barrett Brown was “livid” about this, according to a recent profile of Greenwald by the New York Post:

In November, The Atlantic published Twitter correspondence from 2016 in which a WikiLeaks representative gave Donald Trump Jr. campaign advice. Greenwald pooh-poohed the coordination, implying that Julian Assange was just playing his usual 4-D chess. Barrett Brown — a pro-transparency autodidact who served more than four years in federal prison for spreading hacked data and won a National Magazine Award for Intercept essays he wrote while incarcerated — was livid. “He doesn’t seem to be engaging on the actual revelations that keep coming out on Russia and Trump’s people,” Brown says. “My best guess is he’s just ignoring these things in favor of the less difficult argument that some people who are backing the Trump-Russia narrative are full of shit.”

It doesn’t seem to occur to Brown that he inadvertently may be one of them.

Brown has joined the chorus of the aforementioned by making the false allegation that Assange had tried to claim credit for Aaron Swartz’s work – a claim that I have already debunked in this article.

Significantly, Brown had earlier asserted the belief that his own targeting by the authorities was not due to his activities around the Stratfor hack, but were a result of his “active defence of WikiLeaks..”

Brown’s description of being targeted for supporting WikiLeaks strengthens our prior argument that Swartz’s involvement with WikiLeaks (rather than the JSTOR hack) was the true cause of his persecution by authorities.

Unfortunately, Assange wasn’t the only target of Brown’s ire.

The radio show host in question was of course, Randy Credico, and the platform was Randy’s ‘Countdown to Freedom’ series interviewing key WikiLeaks supporters (including myself and Barrett) for his “Live on the Fly” show at WBAI.

However, that too was soon debunked, and the same day, Barrett retracted his statement.

Amusingly, Roger Stone had originally made the claims on, of all places, InfoWars.

Barrett’s tweets were accompanied by multiple video monologues about Assange (a pattern that he would later follow in his derision of me) posted to Barrett’s Facebook account. It is notable that Assange never replied in kind to Brown on either platform, or returned his hostility.

The only instance of Assange mentioning anything even vaguely critical of Barrett at all, was the below tweet about my unceremonious exclusion from the Pursuance project for defending Julian.

For this single tweeted question about the situation, Julian was pronounced by Brown to have “libelled” the Pursuance Project. A further Facebook video rant by Barrett ensued, and some more angry tweets.

Ironically, in the video description, Brown claims the root of the issue was me “calling our lead developer ‘menacing’ for having asked her a question on Twitter.” 

What was left out by Brown in his diminutive description of the scenario was that the “question” (falsely implied as a singular occurrence) was asked at the tail end of a slew of tweets from said developer, Steve Phillips. In reality, the berating of me came on the back of months worth of character assassination of Assange, stemming from both Brown and Phillips, and seeded within the embryonic Pursuance Project.

Julian’s inquiry about the e-drama was restrained and moderate: a single question on Twitter.

But it set others a-flurry, as the Pursuance coordinator, Raymond Johansen, appealed to me to calm things down.

Intellectual Honesty

To unravel the full story, we must go behind the scenes of Barrett’s 80 negative tweets about Assange.

The degrading and discrediting of Julian, the systematic stripping of his achievements and the undermining of his legacy was being promoted by Barrett’s offsider Phillips, under the guise of a new catchphrase: “intellectual honesty.

Eventually this Newspeak bled through into the public realm.

For months, this specific phrase was repeatedly slung about in the back-channels of the organising platform for Barrett Brown’s Pursuance Project: an unencrypted MatterMost instance where a who’s-who of seasoned activists from around the world were assembled.

The space was supposed to be for coordinating the sharing of our work and the building of Pursuance (and initially was). However, the conversation was soon diluted by periodic, malignant pile-ons critiquing Julian (a political refugee) to death.

The lines were quickly drawn between the few actors intent on diverting the space to indulge in derision of WikiLeaks, and the few staunch and vocal supporters unwilling to sit by quietly while the back-stabbing was playing out.

The majority of the members – experienced and accomplished activists, all – just rolled their eyes at the drama and kept out of it until it snowballed into the public spectacle that it inevitably became.

The server administrator, lead Pursuance developer Steve Phillips, was one of the key antagonists. Proximity to Barrett, or the desire to cement standing with him, appeared to be a motivating factor for participation in the anti-WikiLeaks “intellectual honesty” rituals.

Those of us who were reluctant to relentlessly armchair psychoanalyse someone who had been in arbitrary detention for six years with no end in sight, became increasingly disillusioned with the environment. As I was countering Barrett and Steve’s anti-Assange narratives both publicly on Twitter and privately in Pursuance, it was abundantly clear that my presence was less and less welcomed by them.

Indeed it was confirmed to me after my eventual expulsion that they had been discussing between themselves whether they could get rid of me (and thus my inconvenient counter-narratives) well before finally manufacturing a pretext under which to actually do it.

This was the context in which Steve sent me his “for the third and final time” tweet, which was a clear warning shot implying that he would have me banned if I didn’t capitulate to his demands for critical analysis of Assange. But if the US government with all its might and resources can’t bully me into turning my back on WikiLeaks, like hell was it going to happen because Steve wanted it to. So I called his behaviour out for precisely what it was: menacing, and authoritarian.

While Barrett took credit for “ordering” the banning, Anna Burkhart, Pursuance’s “Director of Operations”, who seemed to me to be a fringe figure as I’d never had any contact with her before, swiftly portrayed my excommunication as an exercise in policing… yup, you guess it… “intellectual honesty“.

Being excluded from a platform that risked becoming a cross between a cult of personality and a tinpot dictatorship, didn’t bother me at all. But having my access to direct messages of a personal nature between myself and other activists revoked without notice or consultation certainly did.

The restriction of an exiled activist’s ability to access their own communications raised legitimate questions as to Steve’s monopoly over the governance of user data, as sole server administrator.

Steve refused to allow me to retrieve my data, instead offering bizarre and inappropriate solutions such as him fetching the plain text from the database and handing it to me through third parties – an obvious breach of privacy. I declined.

The use of Pursuance’s publishing platforms to smear me to their public audiences was a significant abuse of organisational power. Steve refused to admit this, and yet again invoked their mantra of “intellectual honesty.” 

By contrast, I made a point of not dragging my own organisational affiliations into the drama. Instead of racing off to the Internet Party’s board, or to Kim Dotcom, and decrying the poor treatment, I confined my opinions to my personal Twitter account.

Adding offence to injury, the smear published on the Pursuance Project blog was accompanied by a social media share card displaying an image of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who apparently had no knowledge that his image was being misused to endorse an attack on an exiled activist, by association.

My only public statement was this:

SupporterGate

It is not possible to meaningfully undermine Assange without also taking ideological aim at his support base, so it was inevitable that I would be targeted one way or another.

Unfortunately, I am far from the only one.

A housewife and a librarian who attend periodic vigils for Julian in London, were recently shocked to find themselves among a group of WikiLeaks supporters being singled out by journalists with The Intercept.

Smelling a rat, one of the ladies wanted to keep all correspondence with Intercept reporter Cora Currier in the public arena and stated so in no uncertain terms, publishing their exchange on her blog:

Although the first public contact seems innocuous, screenshots of Cora’s ensuing DM’s felt intimidating to the other individual involved, who was keenly aware of the power imbalance between herself and mainstream journalists wielding a huge audience:

The member of the public replied to Currier:
a) that she is not a public figure
b) that the messages were “private, chatting between friends
c) that she hadn’t said anything that didn’t already appear on her regular Twitter timeline

She told me that she doesn’t know why Currier thought the EFF was ever mentioned by anyone: “Some of this is misrepresented, some out of context, and a few things are ideas, gripes, jokes, etc. Tossed around.

Most importantly, she verified what many others had posited: I never knew who was behind @wikileaks except that it varied. We all knew different people handled it at various times, no one ever identified themselves and we didn’t care.” [emphasis added]

Julian Assange is named 70 times in the article; 33 of which are explicit attributions of WikiLeaks’ private messages as being authored by him. The Intercept reporters use terms like “Assange decried“, “Assange called“, “Assange posted“, “Assange believed“, “Assange found“, “Assange emphasized“, “Assange maintained“, “Assange explicitly encouraged“, “Assange philosophized“, “Assange responded“, “Assange asked“, “Assange suggested”, “Assange wrote”, “Assange theorized”, “Assange instructed”, “Assange added” and “Assange joked” without ever having verified that the messages were sent by Julian Assange.

Incredibly, their own copy admits the lack of proof, stating: “Throughout this article, The Intercept assumes that the WikiLeaks account is controlled by Julian Assange himself.” [emphasis added]

A fundamental flaw, so problematic that it is almost comical.

The assumption undermines the core premise for the entire text. This factor should not have been overlooked by The Intercept’s editors.

Some of the messages attributed to Assange were sent at dates and times that it was physically impossible for him to have been the author.

Had Currier asked the supporters involved whether they believed they were speaking to Julian Assange, this misrepresentation could have been avoided. But she didn’t. Instead, the framing of her questions attempted to elicit inflammatory commentary under the cover of offering a right of reply. When what she should have been doing was fact-checking the foundations of her story.

I took issue with The Intercept journalists putting ordinary citizens on the spot like this, just because they were supporters of WikiLeaks.

It appears my sabre-rattling may have had some effect: To their credit, by the time the article eventuated, The Intercept had redacted the names of the members of the public caught up in the dragnet.

Unfortunately, it didn’t prevent hurt feelings. The supporters felt that the framing of the article was without merit and were particularly aggrieved to be depicted by Lee and Currier as having been party to misogyny, anti-feminism and anti-semitism.

One of the women told me:

It was a clear attack to undermine the solidarity and other work WL supporters do. The article smears us by its outlandish claims presenting us as participating in a cabal of misogyny/fascism/anti-semitism which I find extremely offensive as I know every single person in that chat supports humanistic progressive ideals of a great variety, most are women, many with Jewish heritage. The article’s claims are so outlandish and negative, so dismissive and morally reprehensible.

The article’s attribution of anti-semitism to WikiLeaks is weakly evidenced. Lee and Currier rely on a comment where WikiLeaks stated that they found a journalist’s work distasteful, “but” that he was Jewish. Whoever was at the helm of the WikiLeaks account that day was clearly implying that they were wary of calling the reporter in question out, lest any criticism be deflected as being anti-semitic. It is the greatest of irony that their suspicion has borne true, not by the reporter they mentioned, but by Micah Lee in his stead.

Another of the women targeted by Lee and Currier told me:

I was offended by being labelled as transphobic and as attacking feminists, among the other smears. I tried to make it clear in my own tweets I am only disturbed by the fanatical version of feminism that acts as though any disagreement with them on anything makes you misogynistic and that any accusation they make against any man, regardless of truth, evidence, or simple reality, must be accepted as gospel… I’ve always considered myself a humanist and an individualist, focusing on equal justice, equal treatment before the law, irrespective of all those things people try to use to divide one group of homo sapiens from another.”

The female supporters damaged by Lee and Currier’s article are not the only ones close to WikiLeaks who are incensed at the constant and unfair accusations levelled against them.

Widely respected investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi has also spoken out about her own extensive experiences with WikiLeaks. When Micah Lee thread-jumped one of her tweets, she responded in no uncertain terms:

Currier hadn’t mentioned to the supporters in her original direct messages who the “we” in her enquiries referred to. Although it was more likely than not, that this latest attempt to undermine support for WikiLeaks originated with none other than Micah Lee.

Two days prior to the article dropping, I had alluded to such:

Sure enough, that is precisely who appeared on the by-line, and then went on a campaign of collecting public credit for the nuclear fallout.

The Worst Article Ever

I had thought my below summary of issues with Lee and Currier’s article was a shocking list of editorial malpractice.

 

What I didn’t realise is that those shoddy journalistic practices would pale in comparison to what has since come to light.

It turns out that the damage wrought by Micah and Cora’s piece was not confined to WikiLeaks and its supporters.

The lack of due diligence in their article resulted in a highly damaging attack on the ability of conscientious activists to garner high profile support for the legal defence funds of whistleblowers.

In this case, Trident nuclear whistleblower William McNeilly.

Lee and Currier wrote:

Here are the WikiLeaks DM’s on which they were editorialising:

Had Lee and Currier been more conscientious in their methodology, they would have discovered that the tweet amplified by the Scottish MP Paul Monaghan was part of a campaign to raise support for the whistleblower McNeilly. McNeilly’s revelations were about dangerous misconduct aboard the Trident nuclear ship, parked in Scotland.

Lee, Currier and their editors neglected to locate or source the actual tweet which had been retweeted by the MP:

It was the above that was being celebrated by the WikiLeaks supporter, and to which WikiLeaks was saying “be the troll you want to see in the world.” They were not encouraging people to be trolls, but rather suggesting that the type of troll a good person would want to see in the world is one that acts in support of whistleblowers, rather than one that derides, smears or endangers them.

The supporter whose appeal had caught the attention of the MP told me she was extremely upset by Lee and Currier’s malpractice as the decontextualisation has produced material harm:

My very modest campaign supporting raising funds for whistleblower William McNeilly by promoting his Courage Foundation Emergency legal defence fund was never mentioned. De- contextualising my agency as a transparency campaigner, the implication is that sharing my modest joy of a re-tweet by someone within the political establishment who is followed by many of his constituents that might be moved to assist McNeilly’s Legal Defence Fund, is nothing more than a manipulative attack without merit. Political campaigning is perfectly legitimate. Spreading the word for the cause you support is consistent with participatory democracy.

Unfortunately, the damage wreaked by Lee and Currier goes far beyond upsetting the women. Their misreporting directly led to open calls on MP’s to no longer retweet WikiLeaks supporters – striking a blow to future attempts to provide urgent assistance to at-risk whistleblowers.

The butterfly effect of Lee and Currier’s effort to add another cheap shot at WikiLeaks to their pile, is that their article was immediately sourced for a Tory talking point to deride anti-nuclear support in the Scottish National Parliament – a direct violation of the progressive ideals that Lee and Currier claim to be motivated by.

Otherwise known as an own-goal.

Currier and Lee’s assertion that WikiLeaks supporters were targeting the MP on social media implied impropriety, and has undermined one of the most basic tenets of activism: appealing to democratic representatives. The very tactic that has recently freed Courage Foundation beneficiary Lauri Love from the threat of being extradited to the US.

After relentless efforts by campaigners, 73 Members of the British Parliament spoke out on Love’s behalf, with tremendous impact. Their support was gained through the same type of social media technique that WikiLeaks supporters were engaged in on behalf of Trident whistleblower William McNeilly.

This scandal is indicative of the whole: WikiLeaks’ DM’s with their supporters were taken at face value by Lee and Currier, who employed little care to ascertain what was truly going on behind the messaging. The pair failed to measure any potential negative impacts of their framing, beyond surface damage to WikiLeaks reputation.

Only entities likely to further the discrediting of WikiLeaks were given meaningful portions of the word count. In Currier’s DM’s to the WikiLeaks supporters, they were asked only about their statements on contentious topics such as EFF, Jacob Appelbaum or the lawyer of an Assange-accuser. No attempt was made to offer the ladies a chance to contextualise conversations such as the above – with disastrous results.

No consideration was given as to the ethics or dangers of undermining the future work of pro-human rights campaigners.

Lee and Currier’s negligence is to all of our detriment – The Intercept, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers, MP’s, progressive causes and the public at large.

When deception causes actual damage to the ability of good people to effect positive change in this world, it becomes an act of sabotage. In my opinion Lee and Currier have crossed that line.

The Freedom To Impress

In the last 5 years, Micah Lee has sent one tweet educating people about the TPP. Nevertheless, the diabolical trade agreement has become yet another reference point for his attacks on WikiLeaks. In what will become a running theme, Micah accused WikiLeaks of “taking credit” for the “people’s movement against the TPP“.

WikiLeaks tweet did no such thing. As Micah would know, if he a) had actually clicked on the link in it, or b) knew anything about the history of the movement.

The WikiLeaks link contained expert analysis of the leaked chapters by none other than Dr. Jane Kelsey – the New Zealand academic who spearheaded the movement against the TPP since 2008/2009. Kelsey worked relentlessly alongside international counterparts in Japan, South Korea, the United States, and other countries to build the coordinated effort against the TPP that finally resulted in the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement.

New Zealand’s movement in opposition to the TPPA, led by Kelsey’s coalition It’s Our Future NZ, was per capita the largest in the world (by orders of magnitude). She wrote opinion pieces in New Zealand media about the significance of the WikiLeaks publications of the TPP chapters, and how organisers of the movement were reliant upon the leaks for information on what the agreements contained.

Additionally, WikiLeaks directly engaged Kelsey and other academics around the world to analyse the leaked documents and published their findings alongside the releases. An invaluable service to humanity.

I genuinely wish that I was just reporting on Micah making a clown of himself over the TPP. Unfortunately his penchant for uninformed diminishment of the extremely significant work of those he smears has had a splash effect on other organisations with which he is affiliated.

In particular, the reputation of the Freedom of the Press Foundation has been dragged through the mud in recent times. This is due to even more accusations made against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by Micah Lee, that I can now confirm are false.

The proof is in Micah’s own Twitter timeline. To get to the bottom of the debacle, all we have to do is take a walk down history lane.

Micah has been tweeting about WikiLeaks since July 2010, nearly two months after Manning’s arrest.

Here is the first of his 230 tweets about WikiLeaks:

Initially supportive of the whistleblowing organisation, Micah has sent at least 62 highly critical and/or defamatory tweets about WikiLeaks. The turning point was December 2016. Immediately post election. By contrast, WikiLeaks has sent 2 about Micah.

62 separate tweets by Micah dating back to December 2010 explicitly name Julian Assange. Somewhere between 36 and 45 are highly critical and/or defamatory, depending on your tolerance for Micah’s acidity levels. Julian Assange has addressed Micah once.

The first major falsehood asserted by Micah Lee was over a year ago. He claimed that Julian Assange was lying about his involvement with the creation of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. The accusation was widely circulated:

The key to debunking Micah with his own tweets is in April 2012:

Sure enough, when you read the above article, you discover the evidence that Micah’s allegation against Julian is false:

The Guardian quote bears repeating:

“Supporters based in the US are now in talks with Assange to establish a US-based foundation…”

Lee’s first lie now dispensed with, something else that he had repeatedly stated kept echoing in my head, and led me to an even more consequential discovery.

According to the Guardian article, the first onboard with Freedom of the Press was John Perry Barlow (co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Grateful Dead lyricist) who then reached out to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Helpfully, in 2012 Micah had also tweeted a link to this Forbes piece, quoting Daniel Ellsberg on why the Foundation was started.

What that article reveals should send shockwaves among both the WikiLeaks and FPF communities, as well as that of related organisations.

Because it completely upends the official narrative about the recent decision by FPF’s board to sever funding ties to WikiLeaks.

FPF’s justification for the severance: that it had only provided a conduit for donations due to the infamous Visa, Mastercard and PayPal ‘banking blockade’ against WikiLeaks.

FPF board members claimed that because there was no recent evidence of the blockade continuing, that the funding channel could be closed down, and then did so.

But the Forbes quote of Ellsberg back in 2012 reveals a completely different motivation for setting up the funding channel: it was not just to aid WikiLeaks, but to protect the public.

“A lot of people would rightly be hesitant to go on record sending money to WikiLeaks because they think they could be questioned, blacklisted or prosecuted,” says Ellsberg, citing politicians like Joe Biden and Sarah Palin that have compared WikiLeaks at times to a terrorist organization. “With this the individual will have his or her anonymity preserved. It’s like WikiLeaks itself. WikiLeaks facilitated anonymous leaking. This is to facilitate anonymous donations.” [emphasis added]

This is an earth-shattering reminder of the true reasons for establishing FPF itself – it was not just to help media organisations like WikiLeaks. It was to safeguard those who wished to support them but were afraid to do so, by shielding donors from potential legal ramifications. 

Micah appears to have been well aware of this in 2012. As he tweeted the ArsTechnica headline that FPF would act as a “financially-shielded middleman for WikiLeaks“:

But by 2017 he was singing a very different tune. In a slew of tweets, he continues to encapsulate the issue as being about the banking blockade, implying that there is no other reason to maintain the service.

Just as we showed earlier that the Manning Support Network was monitored by the FBI, donors to Barrett Brown’s legal fund were also monitored. Kim Dotcom’s assets were seized and his funds frozen. Julian Assange’s accounts were likewise frozen while he was in Sweden. All whistleblowers, many dissident journalists (including myself) and their supporters have been interfered with financially.

The number one tactic of intelligence agencies is to go after the resources of their targets. To impoverish them by any and all means.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced at his first press conference of 2017 that WikiLeaks is a priority target. Subsequently, the very survival of the organisation, to this day, hangs in the balance, as do the lives of those who cast their lot in with them.

At this point, we must ask cui bono? Who would benefit from stripping WikiLeaks donors of their anonymity and potentially exposing them to liability?

Cutting off the anonymous donation channel has the potential to put supporters of free press around the world at risk.

Sacrifice (and Love)

Shortly after “Risk”, Laura Poitras’ documentary on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, came out, I read every review of it that I could find, before finally watching the film myself.

Most reviews parroted each other; the tabloid narrative of conflict between producer and subject was too tasty a morsel to pass up.

At the original 2016 Cannes screening of “Risk”, Poitras appeared alongside Jacob Appelbaum and Sarah Harrison, playing down any suggestion of conflict between herself and Julian Assange.

Question: “We believe through media that while making this documentary you had a kind of a series of differences of opinion with Mr. Assange and that you were not on great terms while you were making the film. Is it true?”

Laura Poitras: “I’m actually curious what your source is. I mean I’m very supportive of the work that WikiLeaks does and I think the work that I’ve done and the work that WikiLeaks has done, that we’re concerned about similar things and very concerned about what the US government is doing internationally. When we first started doing the reporting on Edward Snowden’s documents, one of the first things that the mainstream media did was this comparison model and I think that this is a really kind of move of the mainstream media to try to separate people and I actually think that, you know, Edward Snowden came forward after, I mean what he did came after, very much after Chelsea Manning and its not about comparing the two, it’s actually about looking at what they’re revealing, and so I think that, you’re taking a narrative and um, sort of following what the mainstream media is saying so I actually disagree with it.”

Also at Cannes, Jacob revealed that some of the most significant reporting on the Snowden documents had been undertaken in collaboration with WikiLeaks and had the full support of Julian Assange:

Jacob Appelbaum: “All of the reporting that is not shown in this film such as for example the Merkel phone story where we revealed that the NSA was spying on Chancellor Merkel as well as lots of other reporting including other media relationships, all of the time that I have worked with Laura in Berlin in the last three years was directly supported as WikiLeaks, these things that we were doing were supported directly by Julian with the understanding that sometimes the best thing to do is to partner up and not put WikiLeaks on the by-line because the most important thing is to get the news out and the facts. And the fact is Julian is a political prisoner who is being demonised in the press.”

This is extremely interesting because WikiLeaks’ detractors accuse them of taking credit for other people’s work. On the contrary, the above reveals WikiLeaks not taking credit for major achievements that they helped to bring about.

Poitras re-cut the film into a significantly different beast, alienating many of its participants. She then reversed her Cannes denials and admitted to her personal conflicts with Julian. (She also revealed her personal relationship with Jacob Appelbaum.)

The revised version of the film leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I was able to fill some of the gaps by watching countless shorts of interviews with Poitras and other characters, but the most gaping holes that may never be filled are the untold hours of footage Poitras shot and never released.

Poitras has left major pieces of the puzzle on the cutting room floor.

There were two very subtle revelatory moments that moved me deeply. Each were simple yet poignant and emotive: The first, Sarah Harrison’s hand rubbing Julian’s back, displaying a tenderness that transformed my view of his experience inside the embassy all these years.

There is nothing more perfect in this world than genuine love, and for Julian to have been party to it is a priceless gift.

This insight into Sarah and Julian’s relationship redefines the sacrifice and risk involved when Sarah went to Hong Kong to help Edward Snowden.

In the Grand Master Chessboard, this was Julian’s Queen being sent out onto the playing field. It was a high stakes move for a high stakes win. It denotes a willingness to make personal sacrifice where principles demand it. The legal ramifications of saving Ed physically parted Sarah and Julian from each other and elevated their target status in the eyes of the governments who have been persecuting them.

The price of their victory was three long years without that tender touch. Never once did they acknowledge the sacrifice, or complain.

This historic relationship is seldom given its full due by the press.

While Julian is depicted as the primary representative of WikiLeaks, he has had an intelligent, brave, accomplished and beautiful woman working with him every step of the way.

Sarah, alone in Berlin. Photo by Jacob Appelbaum

The second moment in “Risk” that stood out for me, was extremely brief but enough: the look on Christine Assange’s face when she turns to the camera as Julian is departing the hotel room in disguise, to travel to the Ecuadorean Embassy and seek asylum.

Julian’s courage is at a minimum, second-generation. But more shows through: there is an element of disdain. It is as if Christine knows too well that the camera is a tool both of benefit and betrayal.

There is a lack of self-consciousness in “Risk”. Just as it condemns Julian, at times it unwittingly exonerates him as well.

It looks almost certain now that it’s going to be Hillary versus Trump. Basically it will be Hillary versus Trump unless one of them has a stroke or is assassinated.  So that’s quite a bad outcome in both directions. We have a definite warmonger in the case of Hillary, who’s gunning for us, and in the case of Trump we have someone who is extremely unpredictable.” – Julian Assange, in ‘Risk’

In an Associated Press promo video, Laura lends credence to WikiLeaks’ foresight as the genesis of secure whistleblowing platforms: 

Laura Poitras: “Julian is somebody who, I think he understood that there was a new era in journalism, and that there would be a need for tools to protect sources, to use encryption, creating this anonymous submission platform, we didn’t know that in 2006 right? That the government was going to be able to monitor what your phone is and if a source calls you, right? So that its not enough for a journalist to say I will protect my sources if the government is able to understand who you met and where.”

A screen in ‘Risk’ reads:

The much-touted displays of sexism in the film, are a double-edged sword. In portraying Julian as a chauvinist, the film stripped out the significance and the accomplishments of the many women working alongside him, diminishing their relevance and downplaying their contributions to the events depicted.

WikiLeaks lawyer Melinda Taylor explains:

“The content was selectively edited and taken out of context and it shows persons who never agreed to be in the film… if you’re showing a documentary about WikiLeaks, you should be talking about source protection, you should be talking about government surveillance, which was the real purpose of the film, or what they were led to believe the film would be about… WikiLeaks is the star of the documentary yet its been edited in such a way that you would think that Assange is WikiLeaks and there’s no one else. The women have been completely edited out of their process, they’ve been denuded of all agency, they’ve been shown as slavish minions…”

Risk‘s hypocrisy in claiming to denounce chauvinism while simultaneously reducing the women in its scenes to irrelevancy, led to a wonderfully karmic direct result: in its wake, the world got to learn much, much more about the women of WikiLeaks.

To better the interests of women, one must be prepared to celebrate them. Poitras’s very male-centric filmmaking, totally missed this opportunity.

But the beef wasn’t just about attitudes to women or feminism. It seems that at the time of re-cutting the film into its second incarnation, Poitras very much believed in Russiagate, and in the specific allegation (now extensively debunked) that Roger Stone was the key to proving a back-channel to WikiLeaks. On the promotional circuit and sharing a stage with Jeremy Scahill, Poitras stated of the #DNCLeaks:

Laura Poitras: “It was clear that it was going to be significant, [WikiLeaks] were on the world stage in a way that they hadn’t been I think since 2010, right, at that same level, that was obvious. I guess I needed to have a little bit of an understanding about what had happened. Jeremy and I just had a talk about this before, he just did an interview with Julian for The Intercepted, Jeremy’s podcast. Where things stand, or what we believe to be accurate, is that there was a hack that was conducted by Russia that a certain amount was submitted through an intermediary or cutout to WikiLeaks and that Julian denies that his source is a state actor.”

In response to a question by another audience member, Jeremy Scahill said “I think that the lives that have been impacted for the positive by WikiLeaks – it’s too many to count.

This was a welcome acknowledgement, coming after Scahill had earlier denounced Julian as “sexist“, and inappropriately quipped that Assange could be compared to Bill Clinton.

It would be very interesting to see a film that compared the lives of Julian Assange and Bill Clinton in this way…

When no one laughed, Scahill quickly backed out of his poor attempt at humour with “…no, I’m sorry” and swiftly moved on.

The apparent inability of self-styled defenders of women to differentiate between the physical and deliberate violence of actual rape, such as Bill Clinton’s rape of Juanita Broderick, compared to disagreements over condoms or in the case of Appelbaum, non-consensual back-washing, kissing someone in a bar, propositioning someone or making bad jokes, undermines and is frankly depressing to, those of us who are survivors.

Sexually harmful behaviours and other aspects of rape culture can and should be denounced and deplored, without having to equate it to rape. The proclivity of the liberal set for doing so waters down and diminishes the experience of rape victims, and the seriousness of it. It seems to be yet another function of privilege, to bandy about terms such as “rape”, “rapist”, and “serial rapist” without understanding the repercussions of doing so.

Rape is an assault on all five senses. For a protracted period of time thereafter, it renders you almost unable to live inside your body, to live inside your life. Unable to preserve your sensory perceptions or restore them to how they functioned before the rape.

To falsely describe sexually problematic behaviour common amongst the entire population as “rape” belittles and undermines survivors, as does unfairly expanding the definition of what constitutes a rapist, or branding every man a rapist by affiliation. Doing so causes many men who are not rapists to recoil from confronting what does need to change. It dissuades them from meaningfully engaging on legitimate issues. It encourages an inevitable and counterproductive backlash, that needn’t have occurred.

I was the first to meaningfully investigate JakeGate, at a time when it was anathema to do so, well before the European press followed suit. I did so because I instantly recognised that what the smear website presented as victim accounts, contained stark differences to the common attributes of survivor testimony.

As I dug deep down that rabbit hole, I found dozens more alarming implications behind what was going on with the activists and organisations involved, than merely what they were presenting on the surface.

Some aspects of which tie back to the extremely important work Laura Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum were doing together, before their relationship imploded.

Critics of Appelbaum decry the idea that he should still be remembered for doing “good work”. The truth is, he didn’t just do good work. He did vital, critical, essential work that very few if any have stepped up into his place to continue.

He worked with Guantanamo victims. He exposed surveillance technology that no one else had. He travelled around the world, helping at-risk activists and journalists to evade the targeting they were being subjected to by their governments.

In the above video, Poitras and Appelbaum are studying names from the NSA Kill List sourced from the Snowden files.

During those final years of his public advocacy, Appelbaum periodically jokes that if he is killed, that it was murder. While he smiles and laughs as he says it, there was a dark truth underlying his sardonic humour. For if he hadn’t been neutralised, socially neutered, in the way that he eventually was – if he hadn’t been made persona non grata by the very communities who he worked to insulate from governmental targeting – he may well have eventually been killed.

The ease with which the US empire can add a name to the list for assassination is evidenced in that very presentation by Poitras and Appelbaum. While the bar for inclusion is far lower in a warzone, only the naive believe that state-sanctioned killings of certain journalists and dissidents doesn’t also occur in the West.

We are hurtling towards a future where weaponised drones will be deployed above the heads of all Western citizens. Where it is not inconceivable that extrajudicial execution of “threats to national security” will occur on our own soil with little fanfare, just as they already do in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and god knows how many other countries.

It is this level of threat to human rights that we are up against. Being honest about the risks of activism is part of helping people to understand why they must join the fight to prevent those risks from worsening and spreading.

Most dissidents in the West will never rise to the target level of a Julian Assange or a Jacob Appelbaum. Acknowledging the threats that do exist for some of us, empowers people to better empathise with and support us.

Part of our duty of care to other activists is to share with them the full extent of the knowledge we have about the systems and methods employed against us, just as Appelbaum consistently did.

Why “Risk” is so titled is self-evident. The risks are real.

Everyone involved in the Snowden reporting was at risk – none more so than Snowden himself. Likewise, everyone involved in WikiLeaks – none more so than Julian. Just as everyone who was involved with Kim Dotcom, or anyone else who is being targeted by the upper echelons of the US Empire.

To openly state so shouldn’t be shied away from. It is a simple fact of our existence.

But there are different types of risk, too.

I can’t believe what he allows me to film..” Laura says of Julian, in ‘Risk’.

But Assange wasn’t just letting her film it. He was intending to leak the true history of WikiLeaks to the public: Poitras was only meant to be the conduit.

Laura acknowledges this in a Showtime promo: “I actually think he wanted there to be a record of what was happening.” 

The movie covers momentous events of enormous historical value: Julian living under house arrest, working on massive publications, attending court, adopting a disguise and making the mad dash to the Ecuadorian Embassy, engaging in conversations with lawyers, diplomats, celebrities, his mother.

This was supposed to be the focus of the movie. This was the grounds under which WikiLeaks staff gave consent.

At 1:53 in the Showtime video Laura says of her conflicts with Julian over the final cut: “I do find it somewhat ironic that he’s trying to censor the content of the film given the ideological mission of what WikiLeaks does.”

After many hours of pondering this, I realised Poitras’ movie is the personification of the curation debate.

Sitting in her editing suite, Poitras was the curator. By refusing to allow the affected parties to have any input in that, she was retaining control over which pieces of their lives and relationships would be allowed to shine through, and in what light.

The WikiLeaks model would be to simply release all of the footage. The curated model of film making, is to take the footage captured, then edit it into a narrative, package it and release it. They refer to film making as a craft.

Thus events are vulnerable to the creative decision-making of the filmmaker, long before they are subject to the interpretations of the audience. Assange’s very acerbic, very outlandish, very Aussie sense of humour, becomes impropriety in the view of an American liberal filmmaker’s lens. Even though I as a viewer recognise his acerbic wit for what it is at its core, it has been presented to me as something else. The editing has made it third-hand information. Less witnessing, and more Chinese whispers. It has become a script.

These contrasting viewpoints, are at least very human. Two ways to image any single whole. Refracted light, which Poitras loves to fill her frames with; sunbeams and shadow… become representations of the difference of opinion.

These can be forgiven. They come down to the beholder.

Less forgivable, are blatant lies and untruths.

Blatant Lies and Untruths

For reasons unknown, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has a long track record of criticising other whistleblowers and those who promote their work. Her target list includes Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, and in particular, Edward Snowden. 

Her publishing organisation Newsbud posts articles and videos deriding all of the aforementioned and many more.

Recently, Edmonds interviewed Whitney Webb of MintPress News (disclosure: I wrote for MintPress for several years) on her recent series of articles about the connections between Pierre Omidyar, PayPal, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The articles are postured as being a defence of WikiLeaks, but do so by attacking all of the aforementioned.

Edmonds introduces Webb’s work as being “solid investigative journalism” although it is little more than an aggregation of circumstantial facts from the public record, strung together into a derogatory narrative.

The Edmonds/Webb interview contains a number of falsehoods.

At 3:20 in the video, Webb kicks off by suggesting that The Intercept was only launched to report on the Snowden documents: “its come out over the years their whole basis with the Snowden leaks and whatnot ended up not really becoming true, they’ve had a lot of other stories that have come out that don’t really have anything to do with those documents…”

The Intercept’s launch announcement from 2014 contradicts Webb: “Our central mission is to hold the most powerful governmental and corporate factions to account and to do so, we will report on a wide range of issues.”

Webb continues, speaking of the Snowden documents: there was a document that came out at the end of last year and it was one of the first Snowden releases that The Intercept had had come out in a really long time.”

In one of her many attacks against Glenn Greenwald on Twitter, Webb stated:

In 2017 The Intercept released up to 600 Snowden documents, with nearly a dozen individual reports based on them.

Webb’s claim to the contrary betrays her total ignorance. All Webb would have had to do to educate herself on the topic, is to have visited their website and clicked on “Documents”. Her failure to do so demonstrates total ineptitude.

Edmonds and Webb follow this up with multiple assertions (also commonly circulated on social media) that The Intercept deliberately withheld the file Webb referenced.

“The document that came out was an NSA document… The Intercept had sat on that document for about four and a half years at the time.

Webb has no basis for making this claim: It is impossible to substantiate any intent on behalf of The Intercept to suppress the release of an individual document.

Julian Assange contextualised the issue of the founding rationale for The Intercept and pointed out that no intent can be ascribed, re withholding a specific document:

Edmonds and Webb’s focus on Omidyar and PayPal (which I think is entirely valid) swiftly expands to outright slander of Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden.

By 4:40 in the video, Sibel is calling the veracity of the Snowden leaks as a whole into question while Whitney cackles throughout.

Sibel states “the birth of The Intercept was based on the so-called Snowden case, the supposed Snowden leaks, let’s put it that way. And Glenn Greenwald. Supposedly there is this whistleblower who leaks supposedly over 500,000 pages and he doesn’t leak it. He gives and he hands this information over to this supposed investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald…” [emphasis added]

Sibel’s repetitive language is a common manipulation tactic reminiscent of neuro-linguistic programming: She has no hard evidence that Snowden’s leaks weren’t leaks, no evidence that Snowden isn’t a whistleblower, no evidence that he leaked 500,000 pages (Greenwald & Snowden themselves have quantified the archive as being substantially less than that) and she sure as hell has no evidence that Glenn Greenwald isn’t an investigative journalist. Especially given his many years of investigative journalism pre-dating the Snowden releases.

By 9:00 Webb is stretching herself thin, trying to depict Booz Allen Hamilton’s tacit connections to the Omidyar Network as being somehow related to the Snowden leaks. She says “the Snowden-Omidyar Booz Allen Hamilton connections… they’ve been called the most profitable spy agency, James Clapper was an ex-Director… if you remember back to the Snowden story years ago, Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton… even though the pace of the leaks has been truly glacial, Snowden hasn’t complained at all..”

The implication is that Booz Allen Hamilton has somehow benefited from the leaks, as if it was a positive development for them to be globally humiliated for having one of their employees compromise their systems, extracting thousands of top secret documents and transporting them across international borders.

Meanwhile back in reality, Booz Allen Hamilton’s stocks plummeted in the immediate wake of Snowden disclosures. There was open musing as to whether the company would survive the scandal.

This, for what Webb described as “the most profitable spy agency” was not a boon at all. It was a looming fiscal armageddon.

Incredibly, Webb and Edmonds repeatedly reference a #GIFiles release that revealed intelligence contractor HB Gary’s efforts to discredit WikiLeaks, by targeting Glenn Greenwald because of his support for them. Within minutes of presenting this as evidence of the threats WikiLeaks faces, Edmonds is ripping into Greenwald, suggesting that he was some kind of gay porn king on the lam from the US Government, in hiding in Brazil. Malicious rumours spread by none other than the FBI in the immediate wake of Greenwald’s Snowden reporting.

Webb tried to weasel out of the outlandish claims after the fact, by blaming them all on Edmonds. It went down like a sinking ship.

Julian Assange called Edmonds’ attacks on Glenn “scurrilous“. I couldn’t agree more.

The inanity of referencing the HB Gary plot to undermine Greenwald’s support of WikiLeaks, before attacking Greenwald mercilessly, seems lost on both Edmonds and Webb.

Fortunately, Julian and Glenn have a ton of well-earned mutual respect and have been around way too long to fall for Edmonds’ Divide and Conquer scam.

Webb’s litany of falsehoods about Glenn and The Intercept seems endless. She has essentially taken legitimate critiques about Pierre Omidyar – a member of the billionaire club – and stretched it to tar anyone vaguely connected, with the same brush.

Glenn was having none of it, and ripped it apart in two seconds flat.

Unfortunately, Webb’s nonsense wasn’t limited to Sibel Edmond’s show. She put in another dismal performance on Stranahan

At 7.20 in the interview she almost nails a key point, but still hadn’t done enough homework to get it right. Webb states, of the Freedom of the Press Foundation: “its board of directors are almost all writers for The Intercept or people like Edward Snowden.

There is a very key common thread between the majority of members of the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) board. But it is not The Intercept. It is the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). 

Of the nine members of the board of FPF, five (at a minimum) have direct ties to the EFF.

John Perry Barlow, of course, was a co-founder of EFF. Rainey Reitman is the current Activism Director at EFF. Micah Lee was a staff technologist for the EFF. Trevor Timm, the Executive Director of the FPF (essentially the operational manager) is also ex EFF. Laura Poitras has worked with the EFF’s legal team. There are further direct ties to the EFF on the FPF staff and on their Technical Advisory Board.

This is the real smoking gun that contextualises the FPF board decision to cease funding WikiLeaks – not connections to The Intercept, as Webb claims. (More critical info about the EFF appears later in this article)

By 12:45 in the Stranahan interview, Webb is making more erroneous claims about The Intercept’s Snowden reporting. She now states that “three stories a year have come out on these documents.” As has already been demonstrated, this is patently untrue.

By 13:00 Webb is claiming “as the FBI whistleblower mentioned in my story, Sibel Edmonds, she exposed in 2013 that a lot of the Snowden leaks factually contained information that is very damning for Paypal, and Paypal’s connection to the US government, the NSA, the CIA and the Treasury Department so it seems like Greenwald has changed his stance on leaks since being employed by The Intercept.

This slur by Edmonds tracks back to 2014.

When taking aim at Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept, Edmonds and Webb are attacking the only remaining media organisation still publishing the documents, and the only organisation to have engaged in bulk releases of Snowden files. 

Edmonds and Webb don’t just produce work attacking Greenwald and The Intercept, they also rake the Freedom of the Press Foundation over the coals.

But to what end?

Just as with the post-election conversation, the prevailing narratives about the FPF decision to cut off WikiLeaks have fallen along two strictly diametric lines:

  1. Freedom of the Press Foundation is good and WikiLeaks is bad (promoted by Micah Lee/EFF people)
  2. WikiLeaks is good and the Freedom of the Press Foundation is bad (promoted by Whitney Webb/Sibel Edmonds)

Whichever of the above you have so far believed to be true, serves the same agenda.

The truth can only be discovered by taking a much closer look at how the decision to cut off WikiLeaks was reached.

In doing so, we will discover that there is a third way to view the situation. A middle way.

Game Theory and the Middle Way

Just as Greenwald recently said of RussiaGate: proponents should take it to its logical conclusion and ask themselves what that is?

The same applies to this situation with the FPF. What is the net result if we assume Micah Lee’s position? What is the net result if we adopt Sibel Edmonds and Whitney Webb’s?

Both outcomes serve the intelligence agencies.

In Micah Lee’s version of what happened, the Freedom of the Press Foundation made a unanimous decision to cut off funding to WikiLeaks as there was no evidence that the banking blockade remained in place.

Edmonds and Webb allege corruption, claiming the Freedom of the Press Foundation cut off WikiLeaks because they receive funding from billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

Both narratives neglect to mention that the issue was actually a bone of contention resulting in a long running debate within the FPF. An internal conflict that included the resignation of a board member and may have presented an existential predicament for the organisation.

The November 2017 article “Free Press Group Ready To Cut Off WikiLeaks“, by Kevin Poulsen and self-confessed ‘Petraeus Cultist’ Spencer Ackerman, preceded the official announcement by the FPF of the decision having been reached.

The article attempts to justify FPF’s impending action by making a number of claims about WikiLeaks that have been disproven. Including outlandish statements like “WikiLeaks has made common cause with extreme right-wing forces, principally Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin” and poses a dangerous, reckless question: asking if WikiLeaks has “become something else, something less journalistic, during the election?”

WikiLeaks has earned its journalistic status more than arguably any other media organisation on earth, having endured personal risk and hardships at a level unmatched in its generation. The tacit attempt by these reporters to strip WikiLeaks of journalistic protections retrospectively is cowardly and underhanded.

Poulsen and Ackerman also drastically downplay the significance of FPF’s cutting funding to WikiLeaks, writing: “The practical effect of the move is minimal—WikiLeaks donors in America may no longer be able to claim a tax write-off.” 

As demonstrated earlier in this piece by way of Daniel Ellsberg’s original statements about the purpose for the donation channel, the implications for WikiLeaks supporters go well beyond that simplification.

Poulsen and Ackerman attribute direct messages to Julian Assange, without sufficient evidence. Their only ‘proof’: the same tweet later linked to by Lee and Currier, of Assange suggesting that Donald Trump consider “our offer to… open a hotel-style embassy in DC with luxury suites for whistleblowers.” 

An obvious joke that many reporters have disingenuously taken at face value.

It is frankly idiotic that the use of the word “our” in the above tweet is the basis for Poulsen, Ackerman, Lee and Currier’s conclusion that all WikiLeaks account messages are sent by Julian Assange.

The recipient of the messages, Xeni Jardin, shared them with the FPF Board in the wake of the 2016 election. Jardin resigned as a Board member in December 2016, and told Poulsen and Ackerman that she had felt “unsupported“. Their article states that “Micah Lee was the only board member at the meeting to agree the time had come to cut ties” (with WikiLeaks).

It took “a year-long debate among the directors at the Freedom of the Press Foundation” before a statement by FPF Executive Director Trevor Timm confirmed that consensus on the question of funding WikiLeaks was finally reached in October 2017.

Multiple other figures sourced in the article confirmed that the issue had divided the Board. It took the reframing of making it about whether the banking blockade was still in existence, in order to justify the decision to sever WikiLeaks.

This blows apart the notion that the decision was in any way related to FPF’s funding, connections to The Intercept or to Pierre Omidyar. Else why would it have taken a year to achieve, after the loss of the Board member who originally raised the issue?

Laughably, Micah Lee told Poulsen and Ackerman “Protecting free press rights for publishers we disagree with is important… but that doesn’t mean WikiLeaks should be able to harass our board members without consequences.”

It is highly debatable whether the few direct messages received by Jardin could be considered harassment; predictably Micah Lee’s far more protracted and public harassment of WikiLeaks and of Julian Assange goes completely unmentioned.

Snowden himself is subtly targeted by the article, which twice alludes to having unnamed sources that are leaking Snowden’s alleged opinion to them:

“Snowden, sources close to him tell The Daily Beast, has felt for a long time that Assange has taken WikiLeaks far from a positive, constructive vision of what Snowden believes WikiLeaks could or should be.” – Poulsen/Ackerman

“Several members of the board, including Snowden, have grown disenchanted with WikiLeaks. Snowden has for some time considered it to have strayed far from its laudatory transparency and accountability missions, sources familiar with his thinking have told The Daily Beast.” – Poulsen/Ackerman

Like Assange, Snowden is very careful in his public appearances to never speak on behalf of any other individual. He is extremely unlikely to utilise others to leak information about his opinions to, of all people and places, FBI informant Adrian Lamo’s close pal Kevin Poulsen or the Chelsea Clinton-affiliated The Daily Beast.

Those who are close to Snowden or Assange are known to fiercely guard their privacy, by necessity and out of respect.

This means others involved with FPF are referencing Snowden to try to shore up their own positions, and Poulsen/Ackerman are masking the identities of those people.

The subtext of their article is “You might not comment directly to us but others will, Snowden. You have a leaky ship.”

Edward Snowden is a man smart enough to swipe the NSA’s most closely guarded secrets from under their nose, ensure it becomes global news and live to tell the tale. He is the last person on earth who would need to be told to keep his friends close, and his enemies closer.

As President of the Board, Snowden’s role is to preserve the ability of the executive to function smoothly, in service to the integrity of the organisation. Having dragged out over the course of a year and already suffering the loss of a Board member, the drama is likely to have caused him more than one headache.

Interpersonal issues and ideological conflicts between Board members may have become the first serious existential threat to the organisation.

If it came down to maintaining their ability to move forward as a group or risking implosion, the eventual unanimous vote to sever WikiLeaks may have been less about WikiLeaks and more about protecting the viability of FPF as a going concern.

This is the third way – the middle way – to view the situation. It is not a case of FPF and WikiLeaks respectively being ‘bad’ or being ‘good’.

It is a case of an organisation with internal conflicts and multiple forces pulling it in different directions, being pressured over a long period of time to cut ties with another beleaguered, under attack organisation.

Like most things in life, the situation is complex and nuanced.

We need to see through the too-easy narratives spun by people like Poulsen, Ackerman, Lee, Currier, Edmonds and Webb.

WikiLeaks fans must not be tricked into showing their support by attacking what are in reality, other WikiLeaks supporters.

Nor should fans of the Freedom of the Press Foundation be goaded into attacking a media organisation targeted by the State.

Picking one side or the other in this fight, is detrimental to both.

Saving Ourselves

Throughout history, it has never been established institutions that have saved us or progressed our society, but average citizens banding together to support each other and achieve change.

NGO support is usually reactive, and seldom proactive. They rise for only those who it is in their own political or public relations interest to do so. (Or for those whom have independently achieved a level of public awareness of their situation that if ignored by the NGO, would materially damage their reputation.)

Furthermore, almost without exception, NGO’s accept money from the same governments and military entities that are the root cause of the problems the NGO’s profess to address.

FOIA research specialist Rachael Tackett recently described this to me as the “NGO Industrial Complex.

Tackett sought me out after seeing me tweet about the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). She pointed me towards her October 2017 analysis of their funding, which includes money from the State Department’s ‘Internet Freedom’ fund, by way of the Broadcasting Board of Governor’s Cold War project ‘Radio Free Asia’, an infamous foreign propaganda wing of the US government.

Tackett writes:

Much heralded in the media, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is depicted as championing digital civil liberties and fighting the US government’s mass surveillance. EFF also receives money from the same government that it claims to fight.

The EFF has explained away the funding source by stating that the contributions are not “directly” from the U.S. government but “originate” from it. The source it is directly from, Radio Free Asia, is notoriously opaque.

Tackett explains “Since Radio Free Asia has failed to file the transparency reports, the money that Radio Free Asia gave to EFF does not appear on USASpending.gov, the US government’s funding transparency website.”

Tackett continues:

EFF also argues that the Radio Free Asia money is allocated towards specific projects rather than general funds. But this argument doesn’t hold water: How the money is spent is less consequential than the fact that EFF is a State Department vendor.

Of greatest concern, is the Congressional stipulations for the funding in question:

The EFF isn’t just accepting government dollars; it is receiving funding earmarked explicitly for advancing US national security and foreign policy interests.

Although it considers itself to be an activist organisation, the EFF has been targeted by Bay Area activists for their connections to Google and other corporates.

The headquarters of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, targeted by activists

Look at the bios of EFF’s current staff and you find International Relations degrees, an ex Twitter employee, multiple ex Google employees, ex Department of Commerce and multiple Obama White House employees.

Reading the Advisory Board page reveals that the Google Public Policy fellowship program places staff members directly into EFF.

In a recent podcast interview, “Surveillance Valley” author and journalist Yasha Levine says of the EFF:

“It’s a corporate think tank. It’s a corporate think tank that’s – it’s main objective is to appear as a grassroots organisation but that in reality is wholly carrying water for its corporate donors. So you’d call it an astroturf group… it represents the interests of its corporate sponsors because its completely funded by Silicon Valley so of course its going to represent its interests. But its power lies in convincing us that it cares about our interests and the interests of average Americans…”

Unfortunately Levine then goes on to make the claim that EFF never criticises Google or draws attention to surveillance implications in the private sector. This claim is contradicted by a simple search of EFF’s social media accounts.

But that is far from an exoneration of Google and EFF’s close relationship. A comment on the podcast page reads:

Julian Assange previously wrote an entire book – When Google Met WikiLeaks – on the deep ties between Google and the State Department, suggesting that they are essentially one and the same.

Look at the bios of the EFF Board of Directors and you discover:

  • a Computer Science Distinguished Career Professor of Carnegie Mellon University –  the institution famously caught accepting $1 million from the FBI to unmask Tor users after receiving a subpoena
  • an ex-Obama White House Science and Technology policy developer, also ex-Department of Health and Human Sciences, and ex-CTO of the World Economic Forum, the literal hub of globalism worldwide
  • ex-Vice President and General Counsel of Verizon Communications, a massive telco neck deep in domestic spying programs, also an advisor to the G8
  • Shari Steele – EFF’s ex Executive Director for 15 years, famously married to a self-admitted NSA contractor (you can read his blog about her). Shari moved from the EFF to Tor in December 2015 and within six months oversaw the rolling of the entire board of the Tor Project. Despite having moved to Tor, she remains on the board of the EFF.

The ties to the World Economic Forum (WEF) are particularly interesting. Founded by an ex-Bilderberg steering committee member, the Forum brings a who’s-who of monied elites from industry and government together to plot out the future of humanity. They openly advocate transhumanism, corporatism and globalism.

Membership of the WEF starts at $50,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a company. Per year.

The WEF meeting at Davos was where EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow famously wrote his A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace in 1996.

Indeed the WEF immortalised the recently deceased Barlow in this poignant obituary, which screams about openness and internet freedom until you get to the fine print.

After waxing lyrical about his ideals the narrative switches to undermine them:

“There is general consensus that the path we are on is not sustainable. But there are no silver bullets here. We want to be able to leverage large-scale intelligence to stop human trafficking, while also protecting the privacy of the vast majority.”

In the above, “large-scale intelligence” is a euphemism for mass surveillance.

Shortly thereafter, the obituary propagates the idea that user fears over the sovereignty of their own data are irrelevant in the information age:

“We can argue all day about “Who owns my data?” – but in an internet world, as data is an infinitely replicable, non-exclusive good, does the question even make sense?”

The obituary quotes:

“Cindy Cohn, the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a long-time co-worker of Barlow’s, accepts he was “sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive techno-utopianism that believed that the internet could solve all of humanity’s problems”.”

While going on to frame the internet as being a melting pot of the collective decisions of millions of users, the article tacitly admits:

“Governments have fully understood the power such a ubiquitous medium offers – both in terms of gathering intelligence and exerting influence.”

There can no longer be any doubt as to the extent that the EFF is in bed with government. State Department programs are not the only government entities that have been receiving EFF invoices.

There is a long history of EFF employees and/or the organisation as a whole, contracting directly to the intelligence agencies that it attempts to hold to account.

Knowing that EFF founder John Perry Barlow was a treasured friend of Julian Assange, I was extremely surprised to discover just how far back EFF’s relationships with the intelligence community stretched and how deeply entrenched they were. I learned about the connections from Barlow’s own words.

In a massive article for Forbes in 2002 entitled “Why Spy?”, Barlow recounts his then-decade plus of contracting to the CIA and NSA.

I’m not going to attempt to regurgitate all the key points here as there are too many – it simply must be read in full. In it, Barlow is seen in all his complexity – admonisher of bureaucracy and secrecy, but admirer of General Michael Hayden. Critic of the intelligence agencies, yet longtime financial beneficiary of them.

I don’t presume to judge Barlow. My gut instinct says that Julian would know far more than I ever could about who John Perry really was and what merit he brought to the table, both personal and professional.

But I can say this: In the wake of SecureDrop developer James Dolan’s passing, I discussed what I’d learned about Barlow with a major WikiLeaks supporter on an unencrypted forum.

That person pointed out that many of our extended friends in privacy activism had ties to or had worked for intelligence agencies. I responded that the litmus test for Barlow’s legitimacy, would be whether or not he had become a target. For one is not able to act against the interests of the intelligence agencies, without falling into their crosshairs.

In all my years of activism I’d never heard a single bad word said about the EFF. Nor was I aware of any discernable smear campaign against them, such as has been employed countless times against other activists and organisations. I surmised that the lack of institutional attacks against EFF suggest that the organisation is not a target. I pointed out that I didn’t know Barlow personally, but that those who did would be able to quickly determine whether he was made to pay a price for his criticism of the agencies and his support of Snowden, Julian and WikiLeaks.

That was in January. By February 9th, the Freedom of the Press Foundation and others, were announcing that Barlow – who it was widely known had been very ill for an extended period of time – had passed away. On the 22nd anniversary of his authorship of the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. 

EFF has four current lawsuits against NSA:

First Unitarian v. NSA: EFF’s case challenging the NSA’s phone metadata surveillance

Jewel v. NSA: EFF’s case challenging the NSA’s dragnet surveillance

Hepting v. AT&T: EFF’s case that challenged AT&T’s complicity in illegal NSA spying

Smith v. Obama: EFF’s appeal with the ACLU of an Idaho nurse’s challenge to the NSA’s phone metadata surveillance.

Given its ex Legal Director Shari Steele is literally in bed with an NSA contractor, it’s hard to ignore the nagging possibility that, by proxy through the EFF, these lawsuits might effectively be the NSA suing the NSA.

The EFF has also compiled a comprehensive timeline of NSA spying revelations, with zero mention of EFF’s own involvement with and ties to the NSA. Of particular note is their extensive commentary of events in the year 2002 – the year in which Barlow was most closely rubbing shoulders with Hayden. The relationship is not disclosed.

Regardless of what is going on at the top of the organisation, it is abundantly clear to me that at the bottom of it, talented privacy activists are recruited to work on legitimate projects, and to lend the EFF street cred.

FOIA researcher Rachael Tackett also discussed this with me, stating:

“I also wanted to reiterate that some of the people at EFF might believe that they are doing good and trying to do the right thing. Criticism of nonprofits in the US is still a very rare viewpoint to have, especially outside of the more radical anarchist scene. If you engage with some people in the US who work for nonprofits (especially middle and lower employees), some of them may just have zero awareness of who their funders are. They may also not understand the criticisms of nonprofit culture. They could be very confused about why anyone would criticise their organisation.”

It is not long ago that I would have shared their confusion.

The defining moments in my own awakening to the dual-purposes of nonprofits lay within a combination of Chelsea Manning’s testimony at her court martial hearing, and within the Snowden docs.

From the former, I learned that a network anonymity tool heavily promoted to activists worldwide on the pretext of protecting them, is in fact a part of the US military software kill chain.

To be fair, the Tor Project discloses this fact on its website, but uses vastly different language to do it.

Military targeting practices are described as being aimed at “insurgents“, and Tor is framed as protecting the military, rather than aiding them in killing people.

The Global War on Terror by definition, as spelled out by George W. Bush and many intelligence agency executives since, dramatically expands both the definition of who can be defined as an enemy and where. The whole world is a battlefield, we were told post 9/11 and that is precisely what it has become.

In the myriad talks and discussions I have witnessed on the benefits of Tor over the years, never once have I heard frank mention of the fact that prevalent use of Tor was aiding the ability of the US military to mask their kill traffic.

From our #DecipherYou project studying the Snowden documents we have learned about the ways the NSA uses some nonprofit organisations as a cover for its activities, and how it targets others.

At this point, it seems the NGO’s are either forced to be complicit with Empire in order to prosper, or subjected to targeting for maintaining their integrity.

With 99%’ers at the bottom and 1%’ers at the top, it’s pretty clear in which category EFF falls.

I created the following slide to encapsulate the relationships between the people mentioned in this article in the context of the EFF’s relationships to FPF and SecureDrop.

All of the key players involved in developing SecureDrop either have a hostile relationship with WikiLeaks or are deceased.

A majority of the board members of the FPF have extremely close ties with EFF.

Given all of the evidence presented in this article, it can no longer be acceptable for EFF to retain such a heavy influence on the Freedom of the Press Foundation, if the latter is to remain independent.

Provenance

Being Julian Assange is named in homage to arguably my favourite movie of all time, Being John Malkovich. (Its number one placement in my affections is contended only by Leaving Las Vegas).

In the movie, self-hating celebrity-obsessed zombie fans of John Malkovich risk life and limb to enter a portal into Malkovich’s consciousness and live vicariously through him for a limited span of time, before reality strikes and they are spit out, covered in shit, onto the side of the New Jersey turnpike.

Although the plot line isn’t why I chose it as the concept for this article, I can’t help but be amused by the obvious parallels to Assange’s critics.

The fantastic custom graphic design at the header of this article, by @SomersetBean, reflects the poster design from Being John Malkovich. It parodies Assange’s detractors – often hiding behind masks, and always trying to get inside his head.

Freedom of the Press Foundation board member John Cusack’s performance in “Being John Malkovich” is in my opinion a career-best. He artfully assumes a deranged, tortured puppeteer tired of his mundane daily existence, frustrated by his unfulfilled dreams and obsessed with a work crush, who turns access into Malkovich’s inner existence into a pretty profit before his fixation consumes him utterly.

This article has monopolised my time for more than a third of a year. The research phase spanned months. The writing phase was more than two weeks straight of 12-20 hour days. The article now stretches well over 15,000 words and may need to be consumed by readers in several sittings.

The hundreds of hours invested have been for one very grave reason:

I am concerned that Julian Assange is slowly dying in front of our eyes while we argue about his tweets.

While Julian has never asked for our pity – quite the opposite, he regularly shakes off any discussion about his suffering – in good conscience I refuse to be silent in the face of the obvious physical degradation that is resulting from his unjust and illegal arbitrary detention.

The Doctor’s Orders

We can’t say that we haven’t been warned.

More than four years into Julian’s arbitrary detention in the Ecuadorian Embassy, WikiLeaks published the findings of medical personnel who had examined him, to gauge the physical and psychological effects of his unprecedented confinement.

According to a ‘Trauma and Psychosocial Expert’ who assessed Assange, Julian’s situation is “tantamount to a prisoner being detained indefinitely but without a prisoner’s normal healthcare…”

The ill effects go far beyond those we have commonly heard about – the lack of sunlight and resulting Vitamin D deficiency, the undiagnosed and thus untreated shoulder injury, the lack of dental care (two and a half years ago, Julian needed a root canal and is yet to receive it), or Julian only being able to breathe recirculated air.

There are psychological effects upon Julian that we could only have guessed at, but which the medical reports lay bare.

For he who is hunted by the world’s best funded and most vicious intelligence agencies, to reveal any new avenue for personal attack can present a mortal threat. According to the report, Julian was “particularly reticent” about alluding to “any vulnerability or any concern that his cognitive or emotional faculties might be degraded… as a result of his situation..” 

This inability to freely confide in medical professionals, or to admit the full extent of his own suffering to others around him, prohibits it being meaningfully addressed (if this is even feasible anyway).

The doctor reports: “Mr. Assange reiterated that he fears medical information about him will be used against him, and that he cannot appear ‘weak’ in his current circumstances.”

This exacerbates his mental isolation while contributing to the public perception of Julian as being somehow invulnerable or super-human. Thus he is not viewed as empathetically as he should be, and public demands for a humane resolution to his situation have not yet reached the crescendo of urgency that it merits.

The medical report continues: “There is clinical evidence to suggest that Mr. Assange is suffering from significant alterations in his sense of time, space and internal perceptions of his body in relationship to the external environment. These changes are all consistent with the restrictions associated with his current living situation.”

While Julian’s self-perception is being affected by his limited personal space and its physical restrictions on his body, he is fully aware of the extent of the oppressive forces laid out around him beyond the walls of the Embassy.

Police forces, including counter-terrorism personnel, numbering up to 100 full-time positions, staff “three rings of surveillance around the Embassy, 24/7.

Menacing incidents and intrusions abound, from plainclothes officers armed with submachine guns, to a would-be cat burglar attempting to scale the facade of the building, to the delivery of an envelope containing white powder.

Constant death threats and calls for Julian’s assassination make last week’s pronouncement by an MI6-affiliated Municipal Court judge that Julian could merely sun himself on the first-floor balcony of the Embassy, both sickly ironic and insulting to the intelligence of the public.

The psychosocial report states: “The system of surveillance as cited by Mr Assange is a constant source of psychological pressure. It is omnipresent reminder of his fundamental vulnerability in his relationship to the authorities.

Julian himself is fully aware of the paradoxical nature of the aggressive surveillance on his person, and is quoted on it: “My whole life’s work has been in the service of fighting for liberty and the right to privacy. Now I have none.

The report reiterates this point in the context of its detrimental effects on Julian’s sense of identity and self; noting that the intensity of the surveillance upon a privacy activist creates additional stressor points: “The surveillance described earlier in this report can be viewed as incompatible with Mr Assange’s own ethos and identity when he himself is virtually under a microscope and as such is both traumatizing and destructive to his personality.”

The effects of indefinite detention are listed:

  • Chronic anxiety
  • Physiological and cardiovascular stress
  • Depression and suicide risk
  • PTSD
  • Personality changes
  • Loss of hope
  • Insomnia
  • Sensory deprivation

Julian spoke about the way his perceptions are being altered.

“…the walls of the Embassy are as familiar as the interior of my eyelids. I see them, but I do not see them.” He commented on how it was increasingly hard to see how objects related to each other or to grasp the passage of time. “Nothing is before or after anything. There is a diminishing set of reference points”.

Even sleep brings no respite, as police officers throw unidentified objects at his bedroom window in the middle of the night and have accessed the apartment above the Embassy.

To be subjected to the above is severe enough, but to experience it while being viciously attacked, libelled and misrepresented by negative press worldwide; enduring every slur imaginable, called a rapist, a pedophile, a Nazi, a chauvinist, a misogynist, a narcissist, a covert agent, a fraud and an anti-Semite;  having your past allies and friends stripped away and your support base eroded by incessant black propaganda campaigns, is unthinkable and on a scale that is without precedent.

Julian’s detractor’s complete irreverence to the reality of his physical condition – and in some cases, the open mockery of it – magnifies the indecency.

They have become the modern day hype men encouraging the spectators to cheer and celebrate state-sanctioned torture at the Colosseum.

Far from the narcissist he is portrayed as, insights into Julian’s self-image belies concerns for others rather than himself. The report reveals:

This, from a man who the report concludes: “lives in a chronic state of health insecurity” and warned as far back as December 2015 that “The effects of the situation on Mr. Assange’s health and well-being are serious and the risks will most certainly escalate with the potential to become life-threatening if current conditions persist.”

Stating The Obvious

The doctor’s dire warnings of those risks to Assange’s health are manifesting in full view.

In his most recent live appearance, Assange is insightful, learned and brilliant as ever. But he is visibly suffering the ever exacerbating physical effects of his 7 year confinement.

After more than half a decade without fresh air to breathe, he coughs and clears his throat constantly. He struggles to maintain cognitive flow – breaking and reforming his thoughts, soldiering on in a concerted effort to express his ideas. It is obvious to any viewer that his vision has been affected. Our eyes need regular exposure to both short and long distances, as well as natural light changes, to maintain their health. With only four close walls to look at, Assange faces partial blindness, as well as a host of other negative effects from his unjust confinement.

Although there are countless social media threads and tweets circulating about Julian and WikiLeaks every day, few if any seem to register the serious and grave possibility that, immersed in our collective complacency, we may lose them forever.

Mostly, they are instead filled with either outright conspiracy theories (Julian is dead/in CIA custody/etc) or endlessly reconstituted conjecture about his personal proclivities, opinions, quirks, or relationships.

Even among more highbrow Twitterati circles, myriad Assange imposter accounts are gifted an undeserved legitimacy through retweets from established mainstream journalists replete with blue ‘verified’ check marks.

Meanwhile, the most vitriolic of detractors overtly wish doom, death and destruction upon Assange.

Again, the calls for his assassination are coming from ‘verified’ Twitter accounts.

But those who argue that the world would be better off without WikiLeaks, may soon live to regret their ignorance if the day comes when the same systems and resources that have so avidly sought its demise, are freed from their encumberances and unleashed upon new targets.

WikiLeaks is the dam holding back the tide of intelligence agency resources used to target them. If we allow cracks in the bulwark to go unaddressed, the day will come when the dam bursts and we will find ourselves drowning in the deluge.

Something Has Got To Give And It’s Us

To make change, we have to care, and implore those around us to care also, Edward Snowden told the world in a Reddit AMA on Christmas Eve.

This is what we do, those of us who hold our humanity dear, us activists: we care. We care so much that we put our principles ahead of our wellbeing, our conscience ahead of our profitability, our compassion ahead of our personal ambitions.

Even where that entails great sacrifice and seemingly little reward.

The military, by comparison, teaches soldiers to be dispassionate. To psychologically separate themselves from their humanity. Blind obedience and conformity, which in and of themselves are tiny deaths of identity, cannot coexist with independent thought. Soldiers are taught to mentally abdicate their volition; not to think, but merely to react in an ingrained fashion. To let others – their superiors – think for them. To forfeit steering the courses of their own lives, one action at a time.

Where activists focus on healing our broken societies, and evolving them; soldiers simply focus on a mission assigned to them by shadowy, privileged bureaucrats they have never met: to undermine, disempower and defeat an enemy.

Increasingly, activists risk being socially engineered into becoming the soldiers of Empire. So much so that the lines between those who themselves were once hunted and those who hunted them are becoming blurred. And the same stalwarts of established power structures that support the military, are now aligning with activists, and calling themselves The Resistance.

As the political opinions and positions of intelligence agency executives and the thought leaders of activism merge, we are surrendering the reins of social progress to those most committed to limiting it.

There is no easier way to describe this nouveau Resistance, than by sharing the bio of one of its self-proclaimed leaders.

“I help lead #TheResistance”.

Gone are the days of freedom fighters like Mandela at the head of the people’s struggles; now we get ex-heads of intelligence agencies, Hollywood stars and the millionaire funders of notoriously corrupt politicians, as the self-described leaders of resistance.

I was mortified when a long-term (and very persecuted) activist and new media stalwart explained to me very frankly, why some activists opposing Trump were knowingly choosing to get in bed with the very same  intelligence agencies who had been trying to destroy their lives in the years prior.

Paraphrasing him, he said: “we should pursue our shared goals to bring down Trump, then we can deal with them after that.”

In my opinion, as well as being morally abhorrent, this the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend-temporary thinking is pure folly. It is also extremely dangerous. Yet this is what is occurring all around us: activists are legitimising and facilitating the aims of the very agencies that destroy the lives of activists, in the vain hope of achieving joint short term political objectives.

This is the slippery slope of a deal with the Devil. Should it inevitably go awry and the agencies emerge ever more powerful and entrenched in their footholds within government, it is those same activists that will be paying the ultimate price for having marched to a tune that ensured their supremacy.

For the intelligence agencies have even loftier goals than subverting activism for political gain. As we’ve learned from studying Snowden’s documents, their tentacles have already expanded into every area of our lives imaginable.

But that is not enough for these self-styled Masters of the Universe: Their “Collect it all” strategy isn’t just about our communications, our present perceptions or our collective future.

They also seek to become the curators of the past: to control our legacies.

How Wikipedia Sanitises Fake News

I have proven that the living history of Julian Assange’s involvement with Chelsea Manning’s Support Network, Aaron Swartz, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation have been altered to negatively skew his contributions.

The revisionism doesn’t end there. Examination of the Wikipedia biography of FBI-snitch Adrian Lamo shows the reverse: he is sanitised as a “threat analyst” who “indirectly reported” Manning, and you have to get halfway down the page to find further context about his informant activities.

By comparison, a cursory examination of the Wikipedia biography for WikiLeaks demonstrates how quickly fake news generated about the whistleblowing organisation is laundered into the official record.

The academic reputation of WikiLeaks as a whole is thereby subject to gross manipulation and censorship.

WikiLeaks’ historical significance is reflected in the length of their Wikipedia profile: the page is over 10,000 words. The content, however, has been feverishly micro-managed to the benefit of their persecutors.

Two classic examples of this appear in the 3rd paragraph, within the very summary of what WikiLeaks supposedly is: yup, you guessed it. Julia Ioffe’s Atlantic article and Micah Lee and Cora Currier’s Intercept article.

The core premises for both have been debunked, yet they are ranked at #20 and #21 of the 370 source links that form the backbone of the page.

There is no mention of or reference to the critical deconstructions that discredit either piece. Why? Because articles whose falsehoods have been perpetrated by monied organisations with editorial boards are acceptable to Wikipedia – an encyclopaedic tool utilised by millions of students and teachers worldwide.

But articles published by independent sources are not. Even when the latter demonstrate greater analytical merit than the former.

By this mechanism, lies are indelibly etched into the history books, while the truth is censored out of them.

The opinions of intelligence agencies are ranked even higher than the other mainstream slurs of WikiLeaks.

The Wikipedia source link at #22 goes ten steps further, attempting to depict Assange and WikiLeaks as being sympathetic to Putin and Russia.

The New York Times article in question attempts to downplay WikiLeaks releases that have implications for both.

It states “Notably absent from Mr. Assange’s analysis, however, was criticism of another world power, Russia, or its president, Vladimir V. Putin, who has hardly lived up to WikiLeaks’ ideal of transparency.”

One must then read to the 20th paragraph of the article before it begrudgingly admits that WikiLeaks has published detrimental information about Russia.

But the author contains this by limiting it to Manning’s CableGate leaks – “a cache of State Department cables” and writes off the significance as being “far more damaging to the United States’ interests than to Russia’s.”

In actuality 660,036 WikiLeaks documents name Russia and they are from 19 separate WikiLeaks releases – not just CableGate.

The suggestion that all of these are more damaging to the U.S. than Russia is not only completely inane but provably false.

One very pertinent example: We know from the WikiLeaks “Hacking Team” releases, that the Italian mercenary surveillance company was selling their technology to a Russian military agency:

The same release also contains information about Russia’s activities in the Ukraine; an extremely contentious topic for the Russian government.

Of course, this is not news to those of us who actually bothered reading what WikiLeaks documents have to say about Russia.

Caitlin Johnston has also made mincemeat of the WikiLeaks-Is-Pro-Russia conspiracy theory, and in doing so sourced my original research from my 2015 article on the same topic.

The sad fact is that those who are genuinely interested in evidentiary truth about Russia will find exponentially more of it in the WikiLeaks releases than they ever will in reading hit pieces about Julian Assange. 

In their zeal to align WikiLeaks with Russia and Putin, those same critics will likewise ignore the fact that I am highlighting this information about Russian military intelligence while living in extremely tenuous circumstances in Moscow, engaged in the process of seeking temporary asylum due to threats on my life.

That I am bringing attention to this truth at my own peril does not suit their narrative.

Emancipating History

Julian Assange’s true legacy is a lesson in personal agency.

He did not sit and wait for the better world he hoped for to miraculously materialise. He is neither utopian nor idealist. He knew he had to create it.

Julian has done so by scrutinising the past, scrying into the future and then shaping the present.

He is extremely pragmatic in his thinking, yet intuitive to boot; a rare combination.

His past writings are the closest glimpse of his inner world we may ever be able to access, other than the manifestations of those narrated hopes and dreams that bleed through into his actions.

He has taken that action – relentlessly – both in spite of and because of the dismal outlook humankind has made for itself.

Julian is not an agent of any nation – he is an agent of change.

Stagnation is his enemy. Even stationery in the Embassy for over 2000 days, Assange never allows himself, WikiLeaks, or society to stagnate. There is always a new day. There is always progress, forward momentum. A new initiative, another release. There is always change.

To recognise this is to truly understand his actions surrounding the 2016 election. By design, the limited options produced by the electoral system provided little promise. The only “choice” was, as he warned us, between “cholera or gonorrhoea“.

In such a dichotomy, what would an agent of change do?

Regardless of her hatred for WikiLeaks and threats against Assange, enabling the continuation of the ruling elite Hillary Clinton represented, would never have appealed to Julian. He has been railing against them his whole life, because it is they that shepherded society into this mess, and most profit from it.

He could not single handedly cure the disease, but he did offer us the brief respite of a switch in malady. For change makes space. Even if what replaces the status quo is equally woeful, or worse – change does bring opportunity.

It was always up to us to grab the reins.

It still is.

When Trump was elected I said privately “We’ve bought six months.” I was talking about World War III. The sheer logistics of a change of US regime gifted the world a temporary pause in the bloodletting.

How many lives were saved in that window of time?

Had Clinton gotten in, we would have seen an immediate acceleration in death and destruction.

WikiLeaks is an anti-war organisation. I am always astonished by those who fail to recognise this simple fact. Julian is from a line of anti-war activists.

When Lady Gaga asked him how he feels, he replied “I don’t care how I feel.” When anyone gets close to touching on his personal suffering, he diverts the focus to those on this planet who may not live out the day without being shot, or having a bomb dropped on them.

I have seen him do this time and again in interviews throughout the years, whenever his hardships are raised. “What about the people in Iraq?” he asks. “What about the people in Syria?”

Detractors claim WikiLeaks puts lives at risk, to distract you from the reality: WikiLeaks saves lives. It is the true purpose for its existence. This goes beyond the many whistleblowers and journalists it has valiantly fought to save and to protect. WikiLeaks exists to end wars. To raise the political stakes so high on governments and on the military industrial complex that it has the potential to impact deployment, withdrawal and resourcing decisions. Precisely as Manning’s leaks are credited with doing.

Julian’s personal power is at its core rooted in solidarity with the suffering of others and personal agency to do something about it, rather than his often-praised fierce intellect, mastering of philosophy, or technical ability.

While you are talking smack about Julian Assange, he is saving another whistleblower. Facilitating another leak.

Handing us, on a platter, the true history hidden from us.

Cowards loathe him.

The corrupt fear him.

The heroic help him.

It Starts With This

Sometimes we hear things, we are told things, we believe things, we know things – but they still don’t sink in, until we feel them. Then the penny drops. Then we can begin to see things more clearly.

Then we can change them.

Feel the walls that you have been looking at for six years, closing in around you. Feel the days without closure bleed into months and into years.

Imagine watching your children grow up on a screen. Listen down a wire as the birthdays, weddings and funerals you can never attend pass by. Imagine being in constant fear for the safety of everyone you care about.

Now imagine knowing that despite all the degradation and hardship, the difference that you make in the world can save millions of people.

Feel the determination well within you, to fight on no matter what.

Imagine being Julian Assange.

What Next? A Call to Action!

The findings in this article have multiple grave implications. We must work together to to correct the injustices.

1. Establish an ‘Emergency Response Team’ comprised of members of the public who can come together outside the Ecuadorean Embassy en masse if required. 

Sometimes to achieve justice we have to take matters into our own hands. We call for the WikiLeaks Task Force to form an action group that people who want to help Julian can register for, that can be triggered in the event of an imminent threat to Julian Assange. For example, London Police violating the sanctity of the Embassy and attempting to arrest him, or any other immediate risk to Assange’s wellbeing. If activated, an emergency alert will be sent to all members of the action group, asking that they assemble at the Embassy immediately.

2. Email Freedom of the Press Foundation and ask them to immediately act to reinstate the anonymous donations channel to WikiLeaks. 

Send a polite email to info@freedom.press or use the contact form on their website to send them a message. Suggested text:

“FPF Board Member Daniel Ellsberg said in 2012 that the purpose of the FPF anonymous donation channel to WikiLeaks was to provide legal protections to members of the public who wish to donate to WikiLeaks. FPF’s cessation of the service potentially exposes private citizens to legal jeopardy. I respectfully request that you immediately act to reinstate the donation channel to WikiLeaks, in service to the public good.”

3. Email The Intercept and complain about Micah Lee and Cora Currier’s reckless journalistic practices and ask that their article be amended accordingly. 

Send a polite email to betsy.reed@theintercept.com, Editor in Chief of The Intercept. Suggested text:

“As evidenced in the article ‘Being Julian Assange’ at Contraspin.co.nz, reckless actions by The Intercept reporters Micah Lee and Cora Currier have resulted in proven harm to the future ability of transparency campaigners to petition Members of Parliament to raise awareness and financial support for whistleblowers. This is a violation of the public good and has also materially damaged the reputation of The Intercept. I respectfully request that you take reasonable and prompt action to sanction these reporters accordingly.”

4. Share this article!

We live in an Orwellian age of suppression of information, it is up to you to seed this all across the internet if you want to help achieve change.

[Clarification 9/03/18: This article initially included a call to action for WikiLeaks to establish a publishing arm with an editorial board to publish works from independent media so that they could qualify for inclusion in Wikipedia. WikiLeaks is obviously already a fully-fledged publisher with a full editorial board. They have an unblemished, pristine, professional publishing record tracking back over a decade. The intention was only to suggest that an additional, separate publication and board be set up to review and publish works that currently only exist in the blogosphere and are thus ignored  by Wikipedia. The original wording of the call to action was ambiguous and unclear and has thus been removed.]

[Retraction 12/03/18: This article originally contained a line that said “Hammond, taught to hate on Snowden for getting more press.” Upon reflection I have decided to retract that line in full and my reasons for doing so and the greater context within which it was written are explained at this link.]

Author’s note: a huge thank you to Elizabeth Lea Vos, Editor in Chief of Disobedient Media, who spent dozens and dozens of hours tirelessly editing and proofing this article for me. Her assistance and expertise was an invaluable contribution to the final copy. 

Written by Suzie Dawson

Twitter: @Suzi3D

Official Website: Suzi3d.com

Journalists who write truth pay a high price to do so. If you respect and value this work, please consider supporting Suzie’s efforts via credit card or Bitcoin donation. To support the incredible work that WikiLeaks does please donate to WikiLeaks here. To contribute to Julian Assange’s legal defence fund click here. Or donate to help the Courage Foundation save the lives of whistleblowers. Thank you!

The Weaponising Of Social Part 3: The Resurrection Of IOError

The genesis of this groundbreaking series was a moral obligation to highlight obvious discrepancies in the coordinated smears against Jacob Appelbaum (IOError). That smear campaign’s self-pronounced and ostensibly achieved aim was to permanently shut down his (anti-surveillance, anti-three-letter-agency) public speaking by casting him out from the very communities he has dedicated his life to supporting.

Implemented, that aim had very little to do with protecting actual rape victims but everything to do with manipulating (by asserting social control over) the speaking circuit which is the visible face of the privacy and infosec movements, as well as dominating the critical infrastructure and the corporate structure (at board level) of the Tor Project:

board1

Series In Review

The Weaponising of Social” series kicked off with the first long-form article with the guts to seriously analyse the allegations against Jacob Appelbaum. This hit a lot of nerves and got a lot of exposure, with word-of-mouth more than making up for the total lack of commercial platfom, promotion or marketing of the work.

While intended to be a 3-part series, it really turned out to be 4 parts:

1. The Weaponising of Social Part One: The Crucifixion of IOError

Performing a rudimentary linguistic analysis of the statements of the alleged victims (which range between 81 and 703 words each), the article notes that “people who are not survivors of rape cannot competently impersonate survivors of rape” and explains precisely why that is:

  • the inordinate brevity and apparently manufactured linguistic conformity of the JacobAppelbaum.net claims;
  • the profound and highly unusual absence of victim impact in those statements; and
  • the obvious presence of editing by third parties, giving the effect of multiple ‘voices’ within a single piece, when the norm is to respectfully allow the words of survivors to stand on their own merit without editorial manipulation.

The smear website’s initial exposure, then non-transparent retraction, of the name of a woman unrelated to the claims, is highlighted.

The article mentioned Meredith L. Patterson, the founder of a think-tank called “Weaponising Social“. One of three self-appointed “eye-witnesses” that famously went to media with a story about an incident that was promptly debunked by the alleged “victim herself.

The piece raised a plethora of concerns surrounding the site copy and the plagierism allegations, and pledged that a deeper look into the responses and conduct of the Tor Project and media, as well as the WikiLeaks connection, would follow.

2. The Weaponising of Social Part Two: Stomping On IOError’s Grave

Part Two dives headfirst into what it really means to be a Person of Interest – which there is no doubt Jacob Appelbaum is, especially given the context of the FBI and DoJ (amongst other agencies) investigations into WikiLeaks.

It discusses Appelbaum’s 30c3 revelations of spyware emitting up to a kilowatt of hardware radiation (which we dubbed #spycancer on Twitter at the time) – literally microwaving targets – and tells of my own experiences of being directly stalked and persecuted by state intelligence contractors when trying to amplify Jacob’s findings.

The near uniform anti-WikiLeaks positions of Jacob’s public critics are exposed, in their own words – including those of Leigh Honeywell, Valerie Aurora, Meredith L. Patterson, Andrea Shephard and Alison Macrina, just to name a few.

The article proved that Isis Lovecruft had (presumably unsuccessfully) attempted to gain access to the back-end of WikiLeaks’ secure whistleblowing platform, a year prior to her allegation against Jacob, and according to her own timeline, one year after he allegedly assaulted her.

While the smear website was designed by supposed privacy activists dedicated to anonymity, the article identified numerous security compromises inherent in its design.

Finally, it cautions that the desecration of Jacob Appelbaum is being actively used to hurt others associated with him including but not limited to Edward Snowden, and demonstrates that known FBI informants like Adrian Lamo (responsible for the arrest of beloved whistleblower Chelsea Manning) and Hector ‘Sabu’ Monsegur (whose betrayals led to the arrest of Jeremy Hammond among other whistleblowers) have been cheerleading the ostracision of Appelbaum from the outset.

3. Orwell’s Swan Song: Free Speech Activists Whitewashing Wikipedia To Silence Dissent

This much shorter piece was initially intended to cover just a single issue – that Jacob Appelbaum’s Wikipedia page was being constantly monitored and manipulated by an editor, Kenneth Freeman, who openly espoused Tor and EFF affiliations and touted a personal friendship with one of the accusers – Alison Macrina.

However, the rabbit hole got even deeper. It emerged that some of the vociferous anti-Appelbaum troll accounts which had been, on a daily basis, lambasting anyone who questioned the narrative of the smears are allegedly operated by some of the accusers themselves.

In the interim, their associates were leaking information to, of all people, the very journalists at The Daily Dot who had worked to redeem the reputation of FBI informant Hector ‘Sabu’ Monsegur (but abysmally failed – he remains almost universally reviled to this day).

Meanwhile, it was revealed that Jacob Appelbaum had been incensed by the discovery of CIA infiltration at the Tor Project.

The same CIA proven to have a track record of editing Wikipedia pages.

4. The Weaponising of Social Part 3: The Resurrection of Jacob Appelbaum

This monolithic undertaking will dive deeper into some of the above issues and cover those aspects yet to be discussed – namely:

  • The attitudes of those involved in the smears, in their own words, and further details of the extent of their involvement
  • The professional conduct of the Tor Project management and the web of associated relationships
  • The role of mainstream media, particularly the New York Times
  • The wider political environment and effects on the movements

The Worm Turns? Die Zeit Investigate

In a long-awaited move, Jacob Appelbaum has spoken with the German weekly magazine Die Zeit, who performed an in-depth investigation into the allegations against him.

The results – a depiction of that particular corner of the Berlin hacker scene as being drug-fuelled and sexually promiscuous – aren’t particularly flattering to anyone, but the findings with regards to the lack of veracity of the key allegations are utterly damning.

Speaking to eight eye-witnesses who spent the days in question with River and who vehemently deny that any sexual assault took place, many further details emerge, including some hard evidence that things may not be as she initially depicted. Particularly pertinent is that River had sent Jacob affectionate email communication after the fact, and spoke publically of wanting to return to Germany for more ‘fun’.

Furthermore, it is revealed that Alison Macrina – author of the 369-word “non-consensual washing” complaint posted under the pseudonym ‘Sam’ – is alleged to have had consensual sex with Jacob after his bath, a material factor that she did not reveal in her complaint against him, or apparently since.

When questioned about this by Zeit, she became incensed, and suggested that she did not consider her alleged omission of the consensual sex to be relevant.

The encounter between Jacob and Alison is said to have occurred in the days following what is alleged to be a consensual threesome with River that occured privately in a bedroom, rather than non-consensual sex in the lounge as had been claimed. This raises the possibility that the complainants becoming aware of the close timing of each other’s sexual encounters with Jacob may have retrospectively impacted the way they viewed, portrayed and related their interactions with him.

Taking Down An NSA Target

Regardless of the women’s motives, the net effect of their action has been the utter desecration of Jacob Appelbaum’s public image.

More, they have quite literally, now taken down an NSA target:

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Appelbaum’s Tor Directory Authority had been specifically listed as an XKeyscore target in leaked NSA documents.

Jacob’s work with the documents furthered his interest and involvement in trying to curb the excesses of intelligence agencies engaging in surveillance.

There is a long, long list of reasons why the National Security State and its international counterparts are extremely pissed at him.

In the below video of an event at which he appeared with WikiLeaks’ Investigations Editor, Sarah Harrison (who is also the Acting Executive Director of the Courage Foundation) Jacob openly calls for direct action to be taken against US military bases, specifically the drone operation relay center at Rammstein, suggesting that activists should target its water supply:

Fastforward to this week and Alison Macrina tweeted:

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According to Zeit and others before them, after Jacob Appelbaum’s expulsion from Tor their website listed Alison Macrina in his former position:

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When I had questioned Macrina about this, she replied to me via Twitter that it was not true and stated that she does not work for the Tor Project. She then promptly blocked me before I could retweet her denial or screenshot it. Her tweet then disappeared from Twitter.

Why she stated that she does not work for Tor and may have deleted the tweet, is unclear. She is published on the Tor website, directly amplified through the official @TorProject Twitter account and additionally was named by Roger Dingledine in internal communications as someone that Tor staff should speak to with regards to the accusations against Jacob Appelbaum.

The association is beyond denial. So why would she attempt to distance herself from Tor? The only distinction that can logically be drawn is that as the founder of the Library Freedom Project, she may be in fact a Tor contractor/supplier of services rather than a salaried employee. Which, for someone so visible within the organisation, is splitting hairs.

Desecrating The Heroes Who Shared Their Platforms

Alison Macrina’s rise in exposure got a giant boost via the Library Freedom Project being amplified by Edward Snowden on Twitter in October 2015. On February 8th, 2016 she officially introduced herself to the Tor community by authoring a guest post on the Tor website.

Her profile was raised even higher after her inclusion at a March 2016 CIJ speaking event alongside Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.

Alison’s body language during the event was in stark contrast to the others present. Nervous laughter and fits of protracted too-loud and too-long giggling, combined with, at one point, her arms folded tightly across her chest. When it was her turn to speak, she spoke eloquently and confidently; when it was others speaking, she picked at loose strands of invisible fluff on her shoulder, kicked her crossed leg back and forth and leaned back in her seat.

At 54:35 in the video, when the person sitting next to her on the panel, David Mirza Ahmad, mentions Jacob Appelbaum by name, Alison Macrina does not even blink. There is no sign whatsoever of any recognition, discomfort, negative association, suppression of emotion or even the most subtle reaction to hearing Jacob’s name.

Despite the event occurring several months after she now alleges he had sexually assaulted her and some eight to ten weeks prior to her involvement in publishing the accusations against him.

In the wake of going public with her allegations, Macrina was directly pressuring WikiLeaks for comment.

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By the end of July 2016, Appelbaum dispensed with, Macrina’s constant ribbing of and ire towards WikiLeaks, who were understandably reluctant to be drawn into the maelstrom, was being ratcheted up several notches:

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amssHer above tweet – which was in defense of Edward Snowden – seemed ignorant of the fact that as a direct result of the campaign against Appelbaum, Snowden himself was being attacked by sock puppet accounts who were accusing him of being a rapist by association.

Some of the ensuing rhetoric got really, really nasty:

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Unfortunately, it is not just sock puppet accounts attempting to take chunks out of Snowden.

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After some discussion about ‘gatekeepers’ and leaking methodologies, this:

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The term “rapey” is itself, offensive. With its use, the definition of rape is being willfully expanded into borderline meaninglessness and obscurity. As if there can be “racisty” or “sexisty” or “homophobicy”. There cannot. Rape is an absolute, and a serious crime against humanity. The term should not be callously invoked; watered down for the social convenience of he or she exercising the privilege inherently wielded when bastardising the language of the violated.

Macrina’s participation in the desecration of the very people who helped her rise to prominence, extends to jumping on the bandwagon of any criticism against WikiLeaks whatsoever, whether or not it was subsequently proven to be founded.

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New York Times writer Zeynep Tufekci’s varying accusations of WikiLeaks having published (it didn’t) a dump of private information, have been thoroughly debunked:

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And debunked again:

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Yet this has gone unacknowledged by Macrina and supporters, who lambast WikiLeaks at every opportunity.

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Amazingly, WikiLeaks staunch support of organisations whose staff are actively undermining it, has continued unabated. When someone tried to deny that support exists, WikiLeaks made the salient point that in fact, every single page of their website promotes the use of Tor.

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Unfortunately, these days WikiLeaks’ solidarity with these organisations seems to be a one-way street.

By August 2016, Alison’s original guest post on the Tor Project website had evolved into “Alison’s blog” – a dedicated space for her voice to be amplified by Tor, where she has now championed the release of official Tor internal policy documentation.

Die Zeit raises a fascinating point:

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The passage they quote is from what I think of as the ‘second voice’ in River’s testimony… and we’ll look into how that may have come about soon.

A ‘Come To Jesus’ Moment

So how did Alison get from sitting on a stage with Julian Assange mid-March, not even registering or flinching at the mention of Jacob Appelbaum’s name, to claiming to be a sexual assault victim?

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“I had my ‘come to Jesus’ moment months ago when I started hearing from victims.” – Alison Macrina, 6/6/2016

Herein lies a common thread in these stories.

What Alison is saying explains why she didn’t twitch a muscle at the mention of Appelbaum’s name on March 16. Because she didn’t realise she was a “victim” until later, when she heard complaints from other women.

River also says she didn’t realise she was a victim until she was told that her experiences were rape.

Isis Lovecruft says she had tried to convince herself she wasn’t a victim.

As explored in this series previously, Leigh Honeywell said she didn’t realise she was a victim until she took exception to Jacob Appelbaum’s support for Julian Assange.

So all four of the most significant claims of sexual assault, took years/months and group-think/collaboration in order to “realise” that they had been assaulted.

The strangeness doesn’t stop there. Isis’s blogpost revealing that she is the accuser ‘Forest’, simultaneously claims that she:

  • had spent “six months” collecting the stories of ‘victims’
  • didn’t initially tell the ‘victims’ who supposedly confided in her, that she was also a ‘victim’
  • didn’t intend to tell the Tor Project
  • planned to threaten Jake that they would tell the Tor Project “and other organisations”
  • told the Tor Project, but didn’t initially tell them she was a ‘victim’ either

After Jake caught wind of the intervention and, Isis alleges, threatened her, she presumably shelved the plan for an intervention. Her recounting of the so-called threats is really oblique at best, although later in her piece she subjectively lists a prospective legal count of blackmail.

In fact, she lists an entire slew of prospective legal counts against Jacob, with a final count of 35 years imprisonment as per her own calculations, all under the guise of answering why she wouldn’t pursue legal remedy. But the entire exercise just comes across as, ironically, a threat.

Especially given the sheer invention of counts such as “instructing a third-party to rape”, which do not reflect the published accusations at all.

Multi-party Edits, Manipulations and Manufactured Testimony

Researcher Janine Römer, who has been instrumental in documenting the unfolding saga, found evidence that seems to point to the presence of multiple editors making changes to the copy of the accusations published on the smear website.

The following is an excerpt of a conversation I had with her:

Janine: I noticed yesterday that the text of the entries on GitHub are coloured blue in odd places, and some have more blue text than others. Daniel’s has the least amount of blue from what I can tell. I can’t be sure about this but I suspect the blue text might be editing marks. The reason I think they’re editing marks is that places where I would expect the writer to put identifiable details (like Phoenix’s, where it describes the event), are areas where the text is blue. Same with the one that mentioned Jake’s fiancee. Actually in the one with “Jake’s fiancee,” it’s the opposite. Surrounded by blue text but then black text is inside the quotations. Either way I don’t know why the text is different colors.

Suzie: Typed/edited by multiple people?

Janine: Yes, this could support that.

Suzie: Fits with everything else I’m finding. Is there any way to show that that break in [River’s] rape testimony was typed by another person? If I’m right and it was an interjection – it says a LOT about the psychological profile of the person who did the interjecting and particularly in the powerplays of their relationship to that victim.

Janine: I’m not sure [of] it, they are images and I don’t know if the metadata would show that.

Given the obvious contentiousness of non-survivors editing or interjecting their own voice into alleged rape testimony, it is past time for the administrators of the site to come clean as to whether this indeed did happen, and to what extent.

Janine also brought to my attention the following tweet by one of the authors of the Die Zeit article:

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Janine says of the above tweet:

“It sums up my thoughts on it. People who use GitHub do so for transparency reasons – open-source code, open-source writing. But the way they did it was not transparent, as they tried very hard to erase evidence of mistakes by deleting repositories.” – Janine Römer

Additionally Janine tells me that there was “an obvious tampering” with the dates of the entries on the website:

“The GitHub copies of the entries are PNG images. Initially, all the entries were marked with the same date of December 31st, 2015; since then, newer entries have not only been given different dates but the dates on earlier entries were changed (you can [compare them in the archives](https://archive.is/https://github.com/ioerrror/jacobappelbaum.net*)). It is unclear what the date signifies.” – Janine Römer

According to Die Zeit, at least one of the ‘victim’ testimonies was manufactured on their behalf without their permission:

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That the creators of the site saw fit to outright concoct a testimony on the basis of hearsay and rumour, then to publish it without the consent of the so-called ‘victim’, jeopardises the integrity of all of the testimony that they published.

Of additional concern, is the 81-word testimony of ‘West’:

west

From the beginning, this account seemed anomalous. How could someone traumatised by an unwanted advance of a sexual nature only have 81 words to say about it? The reference to being ‘very wary of communicable disease‘ reads as if the writer needed to create a reason why the subject would be so offended by a surprise kiss. The reference to ‘others present voiced their disapproval of the surprise advance, especially given my concerns about disease‘ begs the question – how did these others know of said concerns?

Is West an actual complainant, willingly participating in JacobAppelbaum.net? Or has this account been manufactured to, yet again without consent, represent the subject of the later-debunked claims of what Shepherd, Patterson and Tan said they saw at a hacker event?

Regardless, the fact that such a benign allegation was ever included alongside a claim of rape, speaks volumes about the intentions of the editors. Their focus on quantity of allegations over quality has only served to dillute and detract from the severity of the accounts of River and Isis.

Revisiting The Linguistics

In the first part of this series, I published screenshots of linguistic analyses of each of the allegations. All of the originally published testimonies including Sam and Forest’s, with the exception of Daniel and West, resolved to a reading level of 9th-10th grade.

Daniel and West’s pieces were written at ‘College Student’ reading level.

Curious about the anomaly, I analysed multiple samples of each of Alison Macrina, Isis Lovecruft and Meredith Patterson’s published writings on other blogs. All of the test samples produced a ‘College Student’ reading level.

So who wrote Daniel’s testimony? Did that same person then write West’s? If so, logically these accounts would be written by Meredith. Only she can confirm whether that is true. And why would the ‘Sam’ and ‘Forest’ testimonies on JacobAppelbaum.net be written at a 9th-10th grade reading level, when their writings on other sites are all ‘College Student’ level?

Apparently, if you want your information to have impact, good writing is all about knowing your readers:

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According to the below statistics (from the website linked directly above), the average adult reads at a 9th grade reading level. The maximum “tolerable limit” is 11th grade.

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According to The Clear Language Group:

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It appears that the core testimonies on JacobAppelbaum.net were carefully constructed to have impact with a wide, common audience, and thus needed to be dumbed down in order to be approachable.

Yet the editors apparently felt that Daniel’s either couldn’t or shouldn’t be altered, which speaks to the power dynamics within the “collective”.

In short – the site copy was constructed to achieve maximum saturation.

Maximum damage.

Meredith, Victims of Jake & Weaponising Social

What first gave me the idea to analyse the linguistics of the allegations was the early discovery that Meredith L. Patterson is a linguistics graduate.

Her widely circulated Twitter commentary on the scandal, along with her track record of many years of labelling Appelbaum a plagiarist, and later a rapist; the prominence of the accusations of plagiarism on the JacobAppelbaum.net website; and the early reference of the @VictimsofJake account (then called @TimeToDieJake) to her deceased husband, Len Sassaman, led to a logical conclusion that she may have a deeper significance in the campaign against him.

However, the @VictimsofJake tweet was not the only instance of Sassaman’s death being tied to Appelbaum by someone who dislikes him:

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According to Janine Römer:

“The VoJ account was created on June 3rd and that’s when it first tweeted and it had relatively early knowledge of the website because it tweeted a link to an early version that wasn’t live anymore. That was also the day Steele published the first blog post…

…very few knew about the website before the 4th [of June], so anyone who did is significant.” – Janine Römer

Founder of the think-tank Weaponising Social, Meredith has, funnily enough, published a 3-part blog series about the saga. It is framed as a complex theoretical-cum-practical academic discussion about psychopathy and sociopaths.

The first line of the first part is:

There’s a pattern most observers of human interaction have noticed, common enough to have earned its own aphorism: “nice guys finish last.” Or, refactored, “bad actors are unusually good at winning.” – Meredith L Patterson

She soon launches into a mini-lecture about social engineering:

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She sneers at the idea that federal agents might work to engineer a scenario like this, even though the Snowden revelations re JTRIG, and many other real-world examples have proven that is precisely what they are employed to do.

“As accounts of the sociopath’s misdeeds come out, the sociopath’s narrative has to become more and more convoluted in order to keep the fanboys believing. “They’re all feds!” he shrieks. “Every last one of them!” Uh-huh. Sure. Because the feds always assign multiple agents not only to target one guy who can’t even keep his dick in his pants, but to become his coworkers, don’t they? This is not exactly an inexpensive proposition. Reality check: if the feds had wanted to pull a honeytrap (which there’d be no reason to do, given his mascot-only status at Tor), everything would have been a lot more cut-and-dried.” – Meredith Patterson

Funnily enough, the extrapolation of valid, precedented, founded fears of malicious interference by state agents into “They’re all feds… Every last one of them!” is something I have not seen suggested by any of Appelbaum’s supporters, but which is constantly touted by his detractors, in defense of themselves.

The obvious reality is that it wouldn’t have to be “all”. That is simply a smokescreen. It would only have to be one.

One who for example, dressed the “collective” action up as a good cause (defending victims! Holding a serial rapist to account!) to convince a couple of others close to them that they had been wronged and should participate. Who then collectively convinced increasing numbers of people that they should side with the ’cause’, for everyone’s benefit. While, funnily enough, the end result is to almost everyone’s detriment. Except the engineer/s of the plot and their small handful of key beneficiaries.

Patterson is right however that HUMINT infiltration of activist’s lives is not an inexpensive undertaking. That is why, literally, billions of dollars are assigned to funding U.S. Counterinsurgency strategy, which has been proven to be at play against activists and is predicated upon a theory that the target’s ideology, places of refuge or sanctuary, and resources must be relentlessly attacked and ultimately denied them.

Precisely as has happened to Jacob Appelbaum.

The sanctity of his home, his established reputation, his community affiliations and organisations, his employment and income, his reputation and even his ideology, stripped from him.

In the 3rd part of her blog series, Meredith resurrects her claim that this is somehow an unfounded fear rather than a daily reality:

“The rockstar activist plays on non-rockstars’ fears of organized state opposition to their activism, and convinces non-rockstars that any challenge to the rockstar’s status is evidence of an organized plot against the activist group.”

It defies logic that Meredith isn’t well aware of how The Empire operates. She quotes military theory in her own blogposts:

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Especially in the context of her think-tank, Weaponising Social, her last sentence is really worth quoting again, as it is just so fitting to this entire situation.

“Push hard enough from enough directions, and possibly the victim even becomes overwhelmed and stops functioning – a distributed denial of service.” – Meredith Patterson

There are further edifying references to her own involvement. In the 2nd part of her blog series Meredith says:

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She continues:

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The first Twitter accounts to tweet out the ‘early version’ of the website were:

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On 15 June 2016 @VictimsOfJake intimated that Wired magazine would be interviewing River.

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No such interview eventuated. Wired‘s June 6th article appears to be their only published piece on the scandal.

However, the suggestion that River will be coming forward to the press reinforces information provided to me by various sources. Though the subject of that information also seems to take issue with the @VictimsofJake account.

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One person suggested that @VictimsofJake is EFF Director and journalist Jillian C. York, although based on other evidence, it is unlikely to be the case.

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Distancing Themselves From Themselves

On August 9th, two months after the fact, Meredith finally covered off the topic everyone had been wondering about, for so long: why she hadn’t apologised for coming forward as an ‘eye-witness’ to an alleged incident that turned out to be a misrepresentation of yet another (non)victim:

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As for Andrea Shepherd, this is the closest to an (non)apology that I’ve been able to find: [note: if something more substantial exists elsewhere, I’ll happily include it here]

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The full-time anti-ioerror troll account @VoodooHacks seems to think Shepherd was the instigator of the scandal:

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In Meredith’s posts, she ostensibly admits to being an organiser of the events, chides accuser Leigh Honeywell and alludes to Andrea Shepherd being a survivor of rape:

“Honeywell conveniently neglects to mention that this solution has its own critical failure mode: what happens to members of marginalized groups whom the existing affinity group considers unpersons? I can tell you, since it happened here: we had to organize on our own. Honeywell’s report came as a surprise to both me and Tor developer Andrea Shepard, because we weren’t part of that whisper network. Nor would we expect to be, given how Honeywell threw Andrea under the bus when Andrea tried to reach out to her for support in the past.” – Meredith Patterson

This seems to be reinforced by the @VictimsofJake account:

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[UPDATE: further information has shed light on Meredith’s comment – she was apparently not intimating that Andrea had complained of rape to Honeywell, but of harrassment re the Pando crowd]

Clearly there is no love lost between the organisers of the campaign.

Or at least, as Meredith says of sociopaths:

“the opportunity to gloat over seeing one’s prey stumble is too difficult to resist.” – Meredith Patterson

It is a shame Shepherd, Tan and Patterson didn’t take Meredith’s own advice and just frankly and immediately publically apologise for what they did to Jill, who was needlessly dragged into this highly public mess through no fault of her own.

“An honest person will try to find out how to make it right, while a bad actor will try to make it all about them.” – Meredith Patterson

When Friends and Enemies Say The Same Thing

An anonymous Tor developer posted a text file to the internet which made a number of significant claims about who is behind the JacobAppelbaum.net site and what their involvement is.

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@VictimsOfJake promptly responded in a similar format.

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Meanwhile, one of Alison Macrina’s friends was inadvertently corroborating some of the claims of the anonymous Tor developer and dropping Macrina in the proverbial by bragging about the extent of her involvement, on Jacob Appelbaum’s Wikipedia Talk page.

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He then recanted “for legal reasons”.

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A puzzling element regarding Macrina’s involvement, is why her ‘Sam’ story was not published when the site went live. It was in fact at that time, merely a placeholder.

Looking back at her Twitter timeline, she spent the night of the release of the allegations “excited to see the morning sunlight“. Her next tweet was a retweet of the Stanford rape survivor’s statement – seemingly a deliberate attempt to prep her audience for what would come. However, as discussed in Part One of this series, at 7,200+ words chock-full of victim impact, that statement bears absolutely no resemblence whatsoever to the so-called testimonies subsequently posted on the smear website JacobAppelbaum.net:

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So Macrina went from not realising she was a victim and not being one of the original statements posted, to being the first to ‘out’ herself as a victim publically, to being ‘OK’ with her face being plastered onto her alleged attacker’s Wikipedia page.

Branding The Take-Down

There was a clear agenda to brand Macrina as “the face of victims” – despite the fact that she had not been raped.

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The attempt to have a non-survivor become a self-styled representative for the survivors of violent rapes is reprehensible.

But there is no doubt that the scandal was yet again raising Macrina’s profile.

When being called out by Shava Nerad, ironically the original Executive Director of the Tor Project, for decrying “rock stars” while quite obviously becoming one, none other than Macrina’s Wikipedia-editor friend jumps to her defense:

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Becoming The Police

The unfortunate Tor employees and advocates who had nothing to do with either those being smeared or those doing the smearing, were inevitably feeling the strain.

As were the wider activist community. What was done to Appelbaum had a catastrophic effect on personal relationships between long-time colleagues and friends, and fractured solidarity between organisations and subgroups.

We’ve seen peak Berlin“, a core member who had been around for more than a decade told me.

Anyone who had visibly worked closely with Appelbaum and didn’t choose to instantly abandon him became collateral damage and subject to attacks and rumourmongering.

Even if their choice was based on knowledge that what was being said about him didn’t add up.

Tor allowing months to go by with accusations of rape hovering over the heads of unnamed persons known only as “Jake’s friends” was a callous and effective smear on everyone that knew him. Their constant refusal to this day to elaborate on precisely what those friends are supposedly guilty of or alleged to have done, on what basis two of them have now been fired, and the masking of their identities, is a brush that has tarred scores of people.

Meanwhile, the over-saturation of the story, which was being rehashed by anti-ioerror sockpuppet accounts on a daily basis, who were acting as a thought police by asked leading, open-ended questions of anyone who even mentioned him on Twitter, began to wear thin.

The controversy became more than an attack on Appelbaum – it became an existential threat to the Tor Project itself:

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The narrative of the so-called ‘victims collective’ was ‘codes of conduct’ and ‘(un)acceptable behaviours’ and ‘safe spaces policy’ – social contracts that have ironically been used to rip activists groups apart for decades.

The introduction of safer spaces policy at Occupy had been the turning point that marked the rise of the movement becoming the demise of the movement. As soon as your personnel and resources are spent writing social contracts that then require enforcement, your focus is no longer external but internal.

Because when you start making laws, then someone has to become the police.

And having police around doesn’t make anyone feel any safer.

The message has been very clear: if you are with the newly ruling clique, they have your back. If you question them, the bees are coming.

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In this instance, the institution of safer spaces policy and codes of conduct is a reinforcement of the rule of those who have formed a new executive governance.

That the policies are being instituted by the same people who have wreaked havoc upon the community, is a signal: if you don’t bow down, then as Meredith says, either jump or be pushed.

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[Note: the social contract promoted by Macrina above is not the new code of conduct and community guidelines which is supposedly, to follow.]

Selective Solidarity and Dirt Digging

Little of the conduct evinced in this article by Tor’s new police force aligns with the creation of inclusive, safe spaces.

While perceived adversaries are mocked and mobbed instead of embraced and reconciled, the hostility culture is only going to get worse.

Likewise as ideological disagreements become highly personalised.

Throughout this series I had people come foward to me with information. I also uncovered a ton of it myself. This included veritable mountains of info about people’s intimate and sexual relationships. Some of the evidence I found blatantly contradicted other public claims they have made about them. I have decided not to publish any of it, because, as Shepherd once said of Pando:

ggt

In defense of her misrepresentations about the AKP emails “dump”, Zynep Tufekci sent me a link to a New York Times piece that was supposed to reinforce her claims. Being me, I clicked on the source links and found myself at Gawker and Gizmodo, reading about Julian Assange’s children, and his ten-year-old love letters.

Any credibility the article had went straight out the window.

The state agencies come at you through your romantic relationships, whether it be past, present or future; through your children, through your family, through your work, through your identity. That is the methodology of the unscrupulous; the immoral. Of scoundrels.

It is clear without any doubt that all personal grievances aside, the ultimate target is WikiLeaks and the aggravating factor is that the U.S. Presidential election is now a matter of mere weeks away.

The corporate media are speaking in unison against Trump and for the election of Clinton. You can find a half dozen articles decrying the former and another half dozen promoting the latter on any of the vast majority of big name American media websites.

It is not a coincidence.

Even though, to (very loosely) borrow from Sebastian Mondial, the candidates are two socks on the feet of the same person.

As this series progressed, the uniformly anti-WikiLeaks positions of Appelbaum’s accusers and their supporters became increasingly evident. Which neatly lined up with larger governmental objectives of bringing down the entire WikiLeaks publishing organisation rather than just some individuals associated with it.

But just as with the very protracted desecration of Julian Assange’s reputation, despite all the furore and spectacle the public dismemberment of Jacob Appelbaum did not stop WikiLeaks publishing, nor has it visibly hindered their work.

In the wake of the #DNCLeak, arguably WikiLeaks most successful release to date, it has become clear that yes, WikiLeaks remains the meta target, and more – that the catastrophic divisions created within the privacy and infosec community in the wake of the Appelbaum smears are falling squarely along ideological political lines.

The Circus In Full Swing

Election year madness has kicked in full-throttle, exposing the true colours of organisations and individuals alike and throwing a bunch of unlikely bedfellows together.

Wholly embracing the stage-managed divide-and-conquer dichotomy of (in Assange’s words) “Cholera versus Gonorrhea“, countless major players have thrown their full weight behind their preferred candidate.

The military industrial complex has stamped their seal of approval on Hillary Clinton. They fully intend her to be the next President of the United States of America.

So have the major New York magazines and newspapers – in particular, the New York Times, and more broadly, the vast majority of the media networks and the monopolies that own them.

In the case of the New York Times – denouncing WikiLeaks is not only ideological but a desperate attempt to distance themselves from any perceived culpability for having partnered with them, co-publishing their leaks, in the past.

It is the mass media equivalent of obtaining immunity by publically testifying against your co-accused. A corporate’s version of “turning state witness” – before the trial, in the court of public opinion.

As was beautifully articulated by the great American actor and writer John Cusack’s “What Is An Assange?, in the Huffington Post:

nytt

The same New York Times that told America in 2002 that Iraq had WMD’s, has published at least three hit pieces on WikiLeaks this month alone, and incredibly, yet somehow fittingly, became the “exclusive” publication of choice for the Tor Project’s “independent investigation” findings.

nytt1

The ties between the Tor Project and the New York Times run deep. It is well known, and was publically celebrated by those close to the individual involved, that an ex Tor Project employee took up a significant position at the NYT.

Nicole Perlroth, the author involved failed to answer as to how or why they had gained access to the ‘exclusive’ from the Tor Project, and the Tor Project refused to answer to why the findings of a rape investigation was an ‘exclusive’ at all.

ttpnyt

Perlroth has a history of propagating anti-WikiLeaks sentiment in the paper.

nytwl

In her June 4th statement, published the same day that JacobAppelbaum.net began widespread public circulation, Shari Steele wrote:

“We expect that this will be our only public statement.” – Shari Steele, Executive Director of The Tor Project

Less than two months later, Steele is exclusively interviewed by the New York Times. What happened in between, to prompt such a radical change in strategy?

Tor’s choice of mass-media outlet was almost as strange as the packaging of rape-investigation findings as an “exclusive” at all. Not to mention that, without any apparent request for retraction or correction by the Tor Project, the New York Times had recently reported that the Tor Project’s board “was pushed out“:

nyt1

…a claim that directly contradicted Executive Director Shari Steele’s statement that the board had “elected” their replacements in “a bold and selfless decision” to effectively resign en masse.

For such a claim to go unchallenged, and answered by the granting of an “exclusive”, reads as if the messaging of what had really occurred was being tacitly approved if not outright pushed through the NYT, from behind closed doors at Tor.

Selecting The New Board Members

Ideological alignment with the actions of Shari Steele and “the company” regarding Appelbaum’s exit, and/or those behind the JacobAppelbaum.net site, may have been an assumptive prerequisite of qualification for placement on the new Tor Project board.

On June 24th, renowned anthropology professor Gabriella Coleman, wrote a comprehensive blogpost, quoting feminist group theory and endorsing the actions of Steele and Tor.

Coleman begins with praise for the aforementioned:

coleman1

20 days later, she was officially announced as a member of the new board.

Also announced as a new board member, was Associate Professor Matt Blaze:

mbtb

Shari Steele’s NYT Exclusive

It is in the wake of this appointment of the new board that Shari Steele was ‘exclusively’ interviewed by the New York Times, over the outcome of the Tor Project investigation into the rape claims.

The crux of the exclusive interview with Steele isn’t even mentioned until the 15th of the 18 paragraphs in the article.

The two sparse quotes from Shari appear at the very bottom and comprise less than 10% of the total word count.

Why did the New York Times feel the need to minimise their exclusive access?

They state that their interview with Steele was undertaken “late Tuesday” – that is the day before the Tor Project announced the findings of the investigation. So there is no doubt that they indeed had exclusive access regarding the outcome. Gizmodo had knowledge of the exclusivity of the interview at least several days beforehand. Yet that fact is as downplayed as the verbiage of the original allegations.

It may have something to do with the first sentence of the article:

The Tor Project, a nonprofit digital privacy group, announced on Wednesday that an internal investigation had confirmed allegations of sexual misconduct…

“Sexual misconduct.”

The article references the official Tor Project statement that accompanied the so-called release of the findings.

“Many people inside and outside the Tor Project have reported incidents of being humiliated, intimidated, bullied and frightened by Jacob, and several experienced unwanted sexually aggressive behavior from him.”

“Sexually aggressive behaviour.”

Not sexual assault. Not rapes. Not gang rape. Not serial rape. Not instructing others to rape. Not violence, or sexual violence. Not stupefication. Or any of the other claims plastered all over social media and elsewhere, by his accusers and others.

Instead, as a result of their supposedly thorough, independent investigation, the claims have been dramatically downgraded.

I anticipate that Tor’s defenders will say that this is just the organisation trying not to get sued. Trying to limit its liability. That the statement is the result of professional advice. That they are not law enforcement and cannot label something a crime that hasn’t been tested in court by a judge and/or jury.

Which would run completely contrary to the lauding of Tor by those same defenders as having taken a strong stand for women, in support of the community and against rape and sexual assault.

As being ‘feminist’ superheroes, working for Gaia.

What is far more likely, is that the promised “dozens of victims” never manifested.

[UPDATE: the majority of the existing allegations relate to inappropriate workplace behaviour. However, with the exception of one joke at the Valencia conference where the complainant was not the person the joke was directed at, all other complaints of ‘professional misconduct’ did not occur at a place of work. There was in fact, no workplace. Jacob has been in exile for three years. There were no official Tor rules against, and indeed there was a culture of, social fraternising at pubs/clubs/private homes.)

The H.R. Leaks

On the liability front – Tor’s prior statements and conduct regarding this debacle have been highly questionable. Tor management have allowed multiple staff members to remain employed while visibly running an ongoing online smear campaign against another employee. There is evidence senior management knew about it in advance. They have tacitly endorsed, by their silence regarding it, the leaking of private human resources documents and other information from within the organisation. Leaks that were prejudicial and likely to be in the personal interest of those anonymously making the disclosures in order to support their own claims and to shore up the position of the organisation, rather than in the public interest.

Tor’s initial statement was, in the words of Roger Dingledine, “stripped down” and “bland“. It was in fact 24 words.

It was soon followed up by a much more verbose statement that vastly contrasted their intially minimalist statement.

Rape Survivors Denied Justice For Decades

It is actually highly unusual for cases, even involving large numbers of victims, to get immediate attention in mainstream press.

Bill Cosby has constantly been brought up by Appelbaum’s detractors, but what they fail to note is that Cosby’s victims, all of whom had been raped or sexually assaulted, had to organise and fight for decades in order to be heard.

Likewise with those behind the Child Sex Inquiry in Britain, which has also spanned decades and still not yet achieved any laudable outcome.

While ignoring demonstrable, provable cases of rape, those who seek to champion rape survivors in name only have a tendency to apply their sympathies only where it suits them.

Or else those same self-appointed advocates would be raising hell about the leaked audio tapes where Hillary Clinton brags about destroying the case against the rapists of a 12-year-old victim; or about the rape and harrassment of Juanita Broaddrick.

nyte

ch

Co-option By Stealth

Worse – there is a clear pattern of partisanship evidenced by key voices in other major outlets which were specifically established to provide a critical counter-narrative to the duopoly of the status quo. Partisanship to me does not mean expressing political views – by all means, journalists should have and express political views. But when their articles are running the same lines as the New York Times on a regular basis – and ignoring material facts while quoting New York Times writers – chances are, they should still be at the New York Times.

Slowly but surely, once-radical organisations which many risked their lives to establish, grow and promote, are being co-opted into reinforcing the reality TV sideshow of the election cycle.

Those who are naturally disgusted by both the obviously corrupt and dangerous Hillary Clinton and the painfully inept and equally dangerous Donald Trump are being browbeaten into supporting Clinton regardless, constantly bludgeoned by the manufactured ‘threat’ of Trump being elected.

They are told that third-party ‘protest’ votes either don’t matter, or worse. As if third-party options that have incrementally increased their vote share, maturing and ultimately rising to prominence around the world (and ultimately even winning elections) did do so by no one voting for them.

The obviousness that in order for there to be a viable third party, people have to vote for them, seems to escape these hawks, who are so obsessed by chasing their next funding round that they end up undermining their own founding objectives and principles, to the detriment of us all.

In their quest to ‘play the game’ and thus secure their own fiscal future – nothing guarantees a favoured status like promoting amongst their own ranks and supporters, hatred of and disdain for Clinton’s number one enemy: Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

CIA Employee Hired By Tor Project

As has been proven, Tor/EFF and associated organisations are now being dominated by WikiLeaks detractors. But even more menacing, is the revelation of a CIA employee literally leaving the agency one day and starting work for Tor the very next day.

His inclusion took employees by surprise, and none were more visibly incensed about it than Jacob Appelbaum.

Funnily enough, when the ‘State of the Onion’ address at HopeX rolled around this year – an update on Tor Project recent happenings that Appelbaum traditionally gives – the schedule contained absolutely no mention of the elephant in the room:

s2

The widely-perused leaked chat log of Appelbaum and others confronting the recently ex-CIA employee about his presence in Tor speaks volumes about the internal culture, and the voraciousness of Appelbaum’s understandable opposition to the hiring.

What hasn’t been widely read is the full text of the email that the ex-CIA employee sent to Tor staff, which was mentioned in the above chat transcript. You can read the full email at this link.

In short, the employee says he left the CIA because he loves Tor so much. You be the judge.

Jake’s concerns about Tor funding had predated the ex-CIA employee incident by some time:

jakedol

While the target of widespread criticism for being effectively paid by the same government that he so often railed against, it is clear that Jacob himself was deeply concerned about Tor’s funding ties and the extent to which that effected decisions made by the organisation.

[Note: Several people – none of which are Jacob – have come forward to me privately raising concerns not just about the above issues but also about other activities that Tor has been “spending money on” – including but not limited to enhanced metrics for measuring user activity and location around specific ‘events’. That project has been funded “in part by the National Science Foundation”, and as other specific project funders (“sponsors”) are marked only by pseudonymous letters, it is an entire kettle of fish in and of itself that will need people with more technical expertise than I to examine further.]

WikiLeaks and The Iraq War

Indeed, the derision Jacob has faced has not only been due to the sexual assault/rape allegations, or the funding sources of his former employer.

Rather than ask the obvious questions surrounding the revelations of the ex-CIA employee ostensibly leaving an intelligence agency one day to arrive amongst the ranks of Tor developers the next, the topic of conversation over the leaked log astonishingly instead focused on other comments made by Jacob in the log.

Particularly, where he referenced his volunteer work with WikiLeaks.

His reference to WikiLeaks having helped to scale down military conlict in Iraq were personified to him.

s4

The ridicule expounded upon Jacob’s comment: “later with WikiLeaks, I did help end the Iraq War.” This was regurgitated by @ErrataRob, to great hilarity, that Appelbaum was claiming to have “single-handedly ended the war in Iraq“.

err3

However, in the eagerness to poke fun at Appelbaum and at WikiLeaks, the facts of the matter fell by the wayside. As Glenn Greenwald had reported for Salon – WikiLeaks indeed did have a hand in events that ultimately led to decisions by the Iraqi government that led to the down-scaling of the conflict.

“..negotiations were strained following WikiLeaks’ release of a diplomatic cable that alleged Iraqi civilians, including children, were killed in a 2006 raid by American troops rather than in an airstrike as the U.S. military initially reported.” – Glenn Greenwald

s1

[UPDATE: as per WikiLeaks statement at the time, which ratifies the above: “It was WikiLeaks’ revelations – not the actions of President Obama – that forced the U.S. administration out of the Iraq War. By exposing the killing of Iraqi children, WikiLeaks directly motivated the Iraqi government to strip the U.S. military of legal immunity, which in turn forced the U.S. withdrawal.”]

err2

The above accusation that Appelbaum doesn’t back up his assertions is eerily similar to the denials by FBI informant Hector ‘Sabu’ Monsegur that Appelbaum was of interest to the FBI.

sabu

In the above thread, @ErrataRob demands logs of Appelbaum’s references to Monsegur having attempted to entrap him on behalf of the FBI.

Ironically, Sabu also asks for logs. The reason it is ironic, is because it has been widely reported that the FBI monitored all of Sabu’s interactions 24/7, throughout the time that he was entrapping and informing on activists and journalists, including myself. So the simple answer is – while we might not have the logs – the FBI sure do. But funnily enough, they aren’t forthcoming with information, as poignantly demonstrated by the FBI General Counsel’s replies to Jacob Appelbaum’s questioning of her, in the below video:

National Security Letters were served on providers requesting the personal data of Jacob Appelbaum and gagging them, as reported by the Wall Street Journal in October 2011. Well in advance of Sabu’s informing rampage which stretched at least throughout most of 2012, and well into 2013. Yet Sabu continues to maintain that Appelbaum is not an FBI target.

sabu2

Mustafa Al-Bassam promptly replied with the obvious:

mab

@ErrataRob has a long history of trying to debuff Appelbaum, only to be shot down with publically available information.

err5

It is now being reported by Violet Blue that Jacob Appelbaum has been listed as “an official Charlatan”:

vbcs

Branding Appelbaum a charlatan is an eerie throwback to years of FBI informant Monsegur slinging about the exact same term. Searching @hxmonsegur & ‘charlatan’ yields 19 results.

sob

Now that using the term ‘serial rapist’ is clearly off the cards, maybe subjective terms like ‘charlatan’ are all his detractors have left.

The long list of people the FBI informant has referred to as a “charlatan” is quite impressive.

Fastforward to this week, and the ‘rapist’ smear of Jacob Appelbaum is being downgraded to ‘sexual aggressor’.

err1

This is probably indicative of the trajectory of opinion for the vast majority of the crowds that got on the anti-Appelbaum bandwagon early, only to belatedly discover that things are not at all as they seemed.

The Voice Of Reason

There were several voices of sanity, however. Even in the heat of the campaign, Courage beneficiary, whistleblower and hacker Lauri Love made it clear the issue was not the simple black or white dichotomy that Appelbaum’s accusers had been determined to force people into.

lauri

The ‘you’re either with us or against us’ attitude espoused by @VictimsofJake, openly wielded against anyone who didn’t immediately side with the mob from the outset, is immature, hypocritical and counter-productive.

voj1

vojar

Risky Behaviour

At 01:09:51 in the first video embedded in this article featuring Sarah Harrison and Jacob Appelbaum, Jacob makes a fascinating offhand comment:

“I know that I’ve behaved completely differently knowing that there’s probably sex tapes being made in my – not just by me! – not to imply what I think I just implied but, you get the point…” – Jacob Appelbaum

This corroborates my earlier suspicion that Jacob knew full well that his home was under constant surveillance and that that surveillance may extend to the interior of his home and not just the exterior.

Germany spying on foreign journalists is beyond contention.

Making the suggestion that he was an operational serial rapist, under such conditions, even more ludicrous and difficult to believe.

Many have asked – both supporters and detractors – how could Jake have been so foolhardy, to have engaged in risky behaviours and socially grey areas like promiscuity and group sex, in his situation?

For a known Person of Interest, there is a catch-22. Due to the well-established depravities of state actors, you become quickly isolated.

Common conventional methods of forming romantic partnerships that the general public takes for granted, become simply out of the question. Dating apps, cruising bars, hooking up with strangers for one-night stands, or engaging in liaisons outside of your trusted peer group can present not just a reputational risk but even a mortal one. Many of us, as a necessary measure of self-protection, are forced into prolonged periods of abstinence purely for survival.

When meeting new people doesn’t gel with your threat model, there is no other choice but to seek comfort amongst those in your existing community. Thus, the answer as to why Jacob engaged in such ‘risky’ behaviour is likely that amongst his close friends – those he perceived as facing many of the same challenges as him – was the sole environment in which he could express his sexuality.

A lesson hard learned.

In that same video, Appelbaum comments:

“You can’t really blow the whistle these days without blowing up your own life; on really serious issues, with large state adversaries.” – Jacob Appelbaum

The massive powers that Jake Appelbaum took on, have taken the spotlight off themselves, by making a spectacle of him.

Just as they did with Julian Assange.

The Missing Dozens

FBI informant Sabu’s publication of choice The Daily Dot, claimed a female source told them there were “easily a dozen” victims of Appelbaum.

dzn

The author of this pastebin, Dell Cameron, says:

For the record, the Daily Dot has spoken to a dozen sources alleging misconduct. We have spoken to four people who have relayed personal stories of harassment and sexual assault. Some of these women have described themselves as members of an underground “victim network” that now consists of more than a dozen individuals. We understand some are discussing revealing their names and stories soon.

In Isis Lovecruft’s follow-up blogpost, she writes:

“…additional reports of extremely severe sexual assaults and rape are pouring in to The Tor Project.”

In the findings of the Tor Project’s rape investigation there is only mention of two other cases. It is not stated whether these two cases are ‘Briar’ and ‘Alice’.

Isis continues…

“It should not be required that a dozen people are harmed before any one of them is taken seriously.”

However, if we take into account the information in this series, and in the Die Zeit article, it changes that picture dramatically.

“Victim”

Nature of Complaint

Public / Anonymous

Material Factors

Sam

“Non-consensual washing”

Public
(Alison Macrina)

Allegedly omitted mention of consensual sex following the bath. Claim relates to same timeframe as River

River

Rape

Anonymous

Eye-witnesses claimed to Die Zeit: multiple consensual events over a three day period have been muddled into one misrepresentative non-consensual claim and that no rape actually occurred.

Forest

Sexual Assault

Public
(Isis Agora Lovecruft)

Organised victim statements/reported to Tor Project but didn’t disclose that she was also a victim. Later claimed victim status

Daniel

Professional grievance

Anonymous

Potentially written by one of the creators of the website or its administrators

Kiwi

Professional grievance

Anonymous

Extremely brief account that does not detail any specifics

West

Uninvited kiss

Anonymous

May have been invented by one of the creators of the website/administrators

Phoenix

Professional grievance

Anonymous

Professional improprieties including propositioning. Has been ratified by several prominent eye-witnesses.

Nick

Professional grievance

Claims was targeted after entertaining notion of snitch-jacketing Appelbaum

Alice

Withdrawn

Anonymous

‘Alice’ says her account was manufactured/ published without her knowledge or consent

Briar

Never eventuated

Anonymous

It is unknown at this time why this ‘placeholder’ account never eventuated

Leigh

Boundaries ignored
during BDSM consensual sex (particulars of claimed non-consensual activity unstated)

Public

Historical claim. Says that years after the fact, Appelbaum’s support for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange made her realise she had been violated

Jill

Self-described “eye-witnesses” wrongly claimed that Jill was a “victim”

Public
(came forward by necessity)

The “victim” herself says she was not a “victim” and was alarmed to find that she was being misrepresented as one

In the above table:

ORANGE: Accounts that may have been misrepresented, manipulated or invented by smear organisers. (Not reflected: a ‘second’ voice may also have been inserted into middle of River’s testimony)

GREY: Claims that do not involve physical contact of any description but outline personal or professional grievances

BLUE: Complaints that don’t actually describe what happened in detail or are highly unlikely to be pursuable by law – i.e. being kissed in a bar

RED: Claims which are contested by eye-witnesses or by the ‘victim’ themselves

YELLOW: The sole remaining testimony which details a crime

Not listed above:

  • Accounts by others who say they were pressured into claiming ‘victim’ status
  • Some other historical accounts by third parties related to unprofessional or unkind speech – such as has already been admitted to by Appelbaum in the Die Zeit article and prior to that, in his original press statement

Taking the findings in the table into account, using the same colour code and looking objectively at what remains, this is what the “serial rapist” / “dozens of victims” claims now look like:

storiesnow

Isis a.k.a. ‘Forest’, who admits to spending “six months” collecting the stories of “victims”, and who didn’t reveal her own allegations to the others or to the Tor Project until after the fact, is the only one left.

Only two people know for sure whether her allegations are true.

Jake and Isis.

The Macrina Logs

Multiple sources have provided me with chat logs featuring Alison Macrina. Some I have been able to verify the authenticity of, some I have not.

There is evidence of a concerted effort not just to air the grievances of alleged rape victims, or to warn others away from having anything to do with Appelbaum, but of a conspiracy to act against him in unison with the very specific objective of damaging his career beyond repair.

Furthermore, there is evidence of pressure being applied both to people whose testimonies appear on the smear website and some who don’t, to denounce Appelbaum or to come forward publically to shore up support for the others involved.

At this time, in the interests of source protection I am withholding the full logs. It is possible that they will be released at a future date.

[UPDATE: this heartbreaking open letter by @shiromarieke cannot be ignored. It catalogues the toxic culture remaining at Tor, the failures of management, the lies and selectivity of those who created the smear campaign and the extremely disappointing end results.]

[UPDATE: posted on the same day as the above, but from half a world away, yet another Tor supporter (one who was the subject of a police raid for running a Tor exit node) has pulled his support from the project, citing gross professional misconduct on the part of Tor management.]

Yes It Is All About Us – They Make Damn Sure Of That

For Persons of Interest, it is made to be all about us because the government is desperately afraid of it being all about them.

Their illegality, their wrongdoing. Which is perpetrated on a massive scale.

So they invest ridiculous amounts of resources into creating a file that is quite literally all about us.

They undertake investigations which are internally framed as being all about us.

They plant agents and concoct situations which are all about us.

They attack us by every possible vector because to them, their very survival requires that it be all about us.

The reason for this is because having shone a spotlight on the powers that be is usually how Persons of Interest are selected in the first place.

Then, once they’ve turned our lives upside down and made a huge spectacle of us, they say “oh – so it’s all about you! You’re a narcissist!”

They called Julian Assange a narcissist, they called Edward Snowden a narcissist, now they call Jacob Appelbaum a narcissist.

In this, the post-Orwell age – where spy agencies are turned upon their own citizens just like the Stasi they used to decry, and drone murderers kill teenagers and babies and then win the Nobel Prize: to be called a narcissist by these people who are the ultimate narcissists – those who kill with impunity and lie about it with no remorse – to be told with scorn and derision in a mocking and accusatory tone that it is “all about you” – is a badge of merit and a profound honour.

One that we gratefully accept.

Written by Suzie Dawson

Twitter: @Suzi3D

Official Website: Suzi3d.com

Please note: further source links and supporting materials are still being added to this post. (Many citations yet to come)

Orwell’s Swan Song: Free Speech Activists Whitewashing Wikipedia To Silence Dissent

If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be writing a blogpost in July 2016 about how EFF and TorProject supporters are actively censoring free speech on the internet, I would have thought I’d be writing it for The Onion.

Unfortunately, I’m not.

I have supported and amplified for EFF, the Tor Project and related organisations, staff members and campaigns relentlessly, for years. As a ‘Person of Interest’, I have relied on their enterprises to keep me safe. I have defended them ideologically and in principle, when they have been unfairly under attack.

However in an unbelievably Orwellian twist, recent and current events have completely transformed the situation from free speech organisations being similarly under attack by the State, to the State using free speech organisations to attack enemies of the State, and free speech as a whole.

I recently wrote two articles for Contraspin, raising numerous questions about Tor Project staffer’s extra-judicial character assassination of arguably the world’s most well-recognised Tor advocate and WikiLeaks journalist and technologist Jacob Appelbaum, known as @ioerror.

In the first part I analysed the copy of the smear website used to destroy his reputation and career. In the second part, I proved that nearly all of the main characters involved had been publicly lambasting WikiLeaks in the years prior to grouping up to take down Appelbaum.

Although the only promotion I did for the articles was a couple dozen tweets, they received many thousands of hits each, likely because they were the only serious long-form articles available providing a critical look at the allegations against Appelbaum.

Other authors and analysts were understandably shit scared of being labeled a rape apologist by the massive online lynch mob that had been assembled and unleashed upon anyone who dissented against their position. Those fears were well-founded, as a cabal of sock-puppetTwitter accounts rumoured to belong to some of the accusers themselves, relentlessly trolled the ‘ioerror’ search results, lambasting anyone who dared question the allegations or related areas of concern.

However, one publication was brave enough to pick up and republish my work – an online magazine called The Indicter, run by a group of Swedish Human Rights intellectuals, including several PhD’s.

That website was then cited on Jacob Appelbaum’s Wikipedia page. One of the most vociferous anti-ioerror sockpuppets, by the name of @VoodooHacks, picked up on it, and described my articles as ‘partisan blogs‘.

vh

A Wikipedia moderator named Kenneth Freeman, responded that he had deleted the references as ‘a biased, unreliable source.’

wiki1

According to his Twitter bio, Kenneth Freeman associates himself with both EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation), and the Tor Project.

wiki2

According to Wikipedia’s rules on “Conflict-of-interest editing” this should logically preclude him from making editorial decisions regarding Appelbaum’s Wikipedia page.

Indeed Wikipedia states: “If you have a Conflict of Interest, you are strongly discouraged from editing effected articles.”

Furthermore, in it’s ‘Best Practices for Editors with Close Associations‘ it is stated: “Be up-front about your associations with the subject” and “Avoid making controversial edits to articles”.

However, the edit log shows that Kenneth has edited the page more than a dozen times since the allegations against Appelbaum arose.

One person in particular was exuberant over the removal of the references to my articles: the Christian Science Monitor’s Dan Murphy.

wiki3 wiki4

Looking further into the past, it seems that Murphy had past beef with Appelbaum:

io2

I knew I’d seen Murphy on Twitter, but initially couldn’t place it. However it’s not every day you get misquoted by someone with a blue tick, so I soon remembered – it was the same person who had written the below misrepresentation of my article:

dm

To state the obvious, I have never said that “All the women accusing ioerror of rape are lying”. Those words have been wholly invented by Murphy, paraphrased and falsely attributed to me.

For starters, the statement “All the women accusing ioerror of rape” is a literal impossibility as only one person has accused ioerror of rape. One other, of sexual assault.

Every other person has accused Appelbaum of a bunch of vague actions that range from propositioning someone to embarrassing them in front of workmates, kissing them or ‘washing’ them.

As things currently stand, in order for Appelbaum to not be a rapist, only one person would have to be “lying” – and I certainly did not accuse her of that – or to have been belatedly convinced that what she experienced was rape, which would be supported by the first sentence of her own account of what happened, which describes precisely that scenario having occurred.

For Appelbaum not to be guilty of sexual assault, only Isis Lovecruft would have to be “lying”. I didn’t accuse her of that either.

Regarding the other claims against ioerror it is likely, given the content of Appelbaum’s own statement, that some of the superfluous accusations have some founding in reality, as he states:

I want to be clear: the accusations of criminal sexual misconduct against me are entirely false.

Inevitably, there may have been moments in my professional or private life when I may have inadvertently hurt or offended others’ feelings. Whenever I was aware of these instances, I have, and will continue to, apologize to the friends and colleagues in question and to continually learn how to be a better person. Though the damage to my reputation caused by these allegations alone is impossible to undo, I nonetheless take the concerns of the Tor community seriously.

But the obviousness of the above facts escape his accusers and their supporters, who have put all their eggs in the “ioerror is a rapist” basket and refuse to look critically at the wider picture.

It seems there may be a concerted effort to have me declare that the women involved are all lying, as I had received a query along these lines from another sock puppet account heavily engaged in denouncing Appelbaum:

w

As well as engaging me frequently, the above account had been particularly concerned with why I hadn’t, and then later why I had, signed ourresponse.org – a website established by journalists, academics, researchers and others in support of due process for Appelbaum.

A board member of FreeAnons has accused the above account of being a sock puppet of Isis Lovecruft herself:

ray

The account retweeted but did not deny the accusation.

If it is true, it would make an interesting partial timeline of events.

June 12: The sock-puppet account asks me why I hadn’t signed ourresponse.org

June 13: The post by Isis outing herself as an accuser of Appelbaum is written, but ostensibly not publically released.

June 14: The sock-puppet account asks why I -had- now signed ourresponse.org

June 15: Isis publically announces her self-outing.

Strangely, of all people, Dell Cameron of The Daily Dot had announced on Twitter that some victims would out themselves, several days ahead of time.

That a journalist who is infamous for defending if not openly advocating for the FBI informant ‘Sabu’, to the endless consternation of many, would be privy to such information is telling.

Why, of all people, would he become the journalist of choice for Appelbaum’s accusers? Who are supposedly pro-whistleblower pro-free speech pro-privacy activists?

As mentioned in my Contraspin articles – Sabu was one of the first to leap on the recent ioerror witch-hunt bandwagon – soon followed by @6, the informant who put Chelsea Manning behind bars.

Sabu, of course, also had a long-standing feud with Appelbaum, who said Sabu had also tried to entrap him.

While Sabu claims that Appelbaum was not an FBI target – an idea that is laughable given that years prior, the FBI had showed up at a speech Appelbaum gave in lieu of Julian Assange, hunting the latter – Appelbaum was sufficiently a target for the US Department of Justice to gag Google over the seizure of Appelbaum’s personal records, as reported by The Intercept:

gg

ti

So yes, Jacob Appelbaum was a target of the US Government, who are no doubt overjoyed not only at the desecration of his reputation, his almost wholesale removal from the stages on which he shared pleas for people to leak sensitive intelligence information, to take direct action at NSA sites, his revelations about the dystopian surveillance complex affecting us all and of the tactics being employed against persons of interest.

Likewise, those who wish to compromise the architectural integrity of the Tor network will be overjoyed at the recent removal of Jacob’s Tor directory authority.

wl

Conclusion

As usual, the rabbit hole turns out to be so much deeper than the original intention behind this post, which was just to write about the Wikipedia whitewashing being engaged in by an EFF/Tor supporter who is also a Wikipedia moderator.

The history of such whitewashing is long. According to Wikipedia itself, conflict-of-interest editing has been undertaken by many dubiously-motivated parties including the Central Intelligence Agency:

wp

That would of course, be the same CIA that is now revealed to have had an employee resign one day and become a Tor employee the next – much to Jacob Appelbaum’s chagrin at the time:

c

True free speech activists are unafraid to allow those who disagree with us, their opinions or their platform. They do not harass or abuse those who will not tow their lines.

The suppression of dissent and targeting of people like Jacob Appelbaum is par for the course for intelligence agencies and associated corporations.

It is frankly an eternal shame and disgrace that supposed free speech activists can now be added to that list.

Written by Suzie Dawson

Twitter: @Suzi3D

Official Website: Suzi3d.com

Journalists who write truth pay a high price to do so. If you respect and value this work, please consider supporting Suzie’s efforts via credit card or Bitcoin donation at this link. Thank you!

The Weaponising Of Social Part 2: Stomping On IOError’s Grave

I once tried to tell Jacob Appelbaum a funny joke. He did not think it was funny.

In fact, he was visibly mortified and uncomfortable.

My joke was a retelling of something that had happened to me when I was still on the opposite side of the planet.

I have a really dark, sardonic, acerbic Kiwi sense of humour, that has been sharpened by surviving everything that has been thrown at me to date.

Unfortunately, it didn’t translate well.

Fortunately, he didn’t make a smear website lambasting me about it.

Warning

There are Persons of Interest who the surveillance state merely monitors – and there are those who it actively harms.

The latter, and those who facilitate and inflict that harm, will instantly understand that every word of this article is true.

Everyone else is going to need to read carefully, do a lot of thinking, and click on all the links and their source links in turn.

For this post is not just about a group of women who accused Jacob Appelbaum of heinous assaults and social improprieties, although that will be extensively covered.

This article is, as promised, about the mammoth and monumental, colossal issues which are intertwined with that and are conveniently being overshadowed by it.

For we are all being polarised into a fake diametric supposition – that either Jacob Appelbaum targets people, or Jacob Appelbaum is being targeted.

But the real target is WikiLeaks.

The Joke

I was stunned by the massive and consequential ramifications of Appelbaum’s #30c3 revelations, so I was determined to get the key messages through to non-techy people.

I had been talking about what was being done to activists cellphones by spy agencies since early 2012. The reason I knew what was happening was not from reverse engineering spyware like Jake or Morgan Marquis-Boire or Jeremie Zimmerman and other clever people do, but from my own personal experience of being a target.

Quoting from the blurb of this video of “To Protect and Infect – The Militarisation of the Internet“, presented by Morgan Marquis-Boire and Claudio Guarnieri:

“Chaos Communication Congress – 29/12/2013

2013 will be remembered as the year that the Internet lost its innocence for nearly everyone as light was shed on the widespread use of dragnet surveillance by the NSA and intelligence agencies globally. With the uprisings of the Arab Spring where people raided the offices of their regimes to bring evidence to light, we’ve seen a tremendous phenomenon: a large numbers of whistleblowers have taken action to inform the public about important details. The WikiLeaks SpyFiles series also shows us important details to corroborate these claims. There is ample evidence about the use and abuses of a multi-billion dollar industry that have now come to light. This evidence includes increasing use of targeted attacks to establish even more invasive control over corporate, government or other so-called legitimate targets.”

That amazing speech was then followed by Jacob’s astonishing presentation: “To Protect and Infect Part 2“.

To have hacker-journalists discussing the intracies of the capabilities I had seen in use against me and other Kiwi activists, was incredible. As far as I was concerned, and still am, that Congress was one of the most important ever, and to this day the vast majority of people still remain willfully ignorant of the messages contained in it.

[Note: that also happened to be the very same Congress at which Nick Farr says he entertained the notion of giving airtime to someone who claimed Jacob Appelbaum was a plant. Yet Jake’s work revealed in the above talk is utterly beyond reproach.]

So I endeavoured to belatedly tweet out a point by point time-stamped, dumbed-down, layman’s-terms version of his speech, hoping that the NZ mainsteam media, who by late 2013 were avidly following my timeline in the wake of the GCSB movement, would pick it up.

As soon as I started the tweets, the stalkers/spies/private contractors who had been increasingly intruding on my life ever since I had first started documenting FBI and DHS activities in New Zealand, during Occupy, went into overdrive.

I could always tell when I was hitting a nerve by their reaction, which would be immediately reflected in the aggressiveness of their interventions in my life and by 2014, their outright physical assaults on me. On this particular occasion, I was at home alone, and once again, they began hurting me.

You see, it isn’t just as a rape victim that I had to struggle to be believed. All tellers of uncomfortable yet obvious truths not yet accepted by the mainstream face a hell of a time trying to explain what is being done to us.

For a long time I didn’t talk to anyone outside of my immediate activist circle about electronic weapons being used on me. Because they “didn’t exist” as far as the public was concerned, and as a solo mother, the stakes were twice as high for me if I disclosed it. It likely would have been used by the state as justification to question my mental health, which is a known tactic that they use to cover for their crimes and silence their victims.

So I developed my own method of coping with it when it would happen. First, I would call someone from my media team and tell them “I’m going onto TrapWire“. They would know instantly what I meant – that I would escape my house and go to somewhere as visible and as public as possible. So public in fact, that it was on public surveillance cameras (hence the TrapWire reference).

This was a deliberate tactic that we had developed to force an evidence trail if we were followed and continued to be hurt.

So in this particular instance, I went to the original site of Occupy Auckland at Aotea Square, which is an urban green space wedged between the Town Hall and the Auckland Council building. It is surrounded by cutting edge facial recognition cameras with pan, tilt, zoom, area mics and all the bells and whistles, and I continued my tweeting.

Two years later, in Berlin, what was the joke that I was trying to tell Jacob?

That when being attacked with electronic weapons by teams of private contractors intent on preventing us from spreading his truth-telling, we had evaded them by learning how to use public surveillance systems against them.

To me, especially as someone who had written about TrapWire when the GIFiles revelations came out, the irony of using The Empire’s own fascist systems to outwit them and continue my work, was delicious.

Jacob Appelbaum didn’t laugh.

He was aghast.

Beyond Any Shadow Of A Doubt

It is a testament to how well truth is hidden that many will get to this point of the article and have decided that I am certifiably nuts.

Because they will not have read this:

htew

Hacking Team is a government contractor, and they don’t hand over EUR8,800 for a weapons procurement report that is conspiracy theory.

They pay it because they know it is fact.

For those who were too lazy to check the link and read the article, here’s more:

htew1

The above is the specific list of contracts for the procurement of electronic weapons and who by.

Below is the list of manufacturers of the weapons.

htew2

So we know electronic weapons exist, that they have been tested *prior* to their roll-out for use by law enforcement 2014-2024, we know who manufactures them and who they have been sold to.

We know this because of the Hacking Team leak published by WikiLeaks.

The source email for the above article, can be found here and there are more emails related to this topic if you go to the WikiLeaks’ Hacking Team main page here and type ‘Directed Energy Weapons’.

What The Hell Does This Have To Do With IOError?

To answer that question, you have to look at what I was tweeting that day, that so enraged those paid to harm me.

This Pirate Pad contains 10 of the key points. [Other people made transcriptions of some of my tweets which were derived from Jacob’s speech].

But that’s just a drop in the bucket. To read what should technically be all of my tweets from that day of me being chased around Auckland, it seems you need to expand each one to read them all – click here to have a go at it.

(Please note – the dates are Twitter dates not New Zealand dates. Which is why this tweet is marked 4 Jan 2014, when the earlier ones are marked 3 Jan. They were in fact all tweeted on the same day.)

The content speaks for itself.

As does the fact that by attempting to translate and promote Jacob Appelbaum’s work to mainstream audiences, activists can be and are subject to such attacks.

What Total Surveillance Really Means

If you work for WikiLeaks like Jacob Appelbaum; or if you start movements against intelligence agencies; or if you write about the FBI/DHS/CIA & co without massive organisational backing, funding and visibility; or if you boldly and righteously declare to people in a position of significant governmental power that they should leak sensitive internal intelligence information about immoral government activity that should be in the public realm, then are flabbergasted and elated to find that they do so; or if you are involved in any serious research which is inconvenient or dangerous to the security state; or if you target any individual in the chain of political hierarchy and they get wind of what you’ve done; then the great Eye of Sauron feels entitled to, and does, make a point of of trying to know every single thing you do, say and think, 24 hours out of every day, 7 days a week.

It pays for the entire undertaking with a virtually limitless pool of tax money.

Even if Jacob was able to secure all his devices, his communications, his hardware and his personal spaces, he still could not do a damn thing to prevent external methods of surveillance intruding upon him. Satellite surveillance, which is used at the push of a button as readily as XKeyscore, PRISM or anything else, right down to private investigators mounting microphones and sound amplifiers pointed at Jacob’s house and wherever else he frequents, are just some of those ways. Let alone HUMINT.

Therefore it is highly unlikely that any events that occurred within the supposedly private space of his home were actually private.

In yet another great irony, if anyone knows the truth about the accusations against ioerror – it is likely to be those who control the global surveillance apparatus, and I presume he would be well aware of that fact.

Listening to the stories being told about him, you would think Jacob a callous, foolhardy, exhibitionist. Every experience I’ve had of him and his inner circle (and no, I do not know them exceedingly well however, being in Berlin, they are very visible within the community) is that they were the opposite. Careful, reserved, private. Particularly wary of outsiders and newcomers.

Well aware that they are all targets and of the ways in which they could be entrapped.

Early on in my investigation into this giant debacle, it occurred to me that taking down Jacob may be part of a continuing series of major blows against WikiLeaks, stripping it of key allies.

It is election year after-all and as far as The Empire is concerned, Julian Assange is Enemy Number One.

The WikiLeaks Connection

One of the first ‘corroborating’ public testimonies against Appelbaum was a historic claim made by Leigh Honeywell.

I was instantly struck by the following passage from her blogpost, which at the time seemed anomalous:

lhja

Leigh identifies herself as siding with Assange’s persecutors.

She says that she didn’t ‘fully realize how bad [her] own experiences with [Appelbaum] had been‘ until she saw him support Julian Assange.

The link in the above screenshot leads to a post she wrote in December, 2010.

In that post, she details the reasons why she thinks Assange is at fault, then says ‘I’m tired of my friends being assaulted’, and links to feminist blogs she has read on the issue, as well as other links she feels are pertinent to support her opinion.

The key problem with this, and which Leigh couldn’t have known in December 2010, is that Assange’s “victims” themselves say they were not raped.

From John Pilger’s special investigation:

frcjaPilger’s source is an affidavit from the case.

The following passage is from this International Business Times article:

ibja

Honeywell might not be blamed for jumping to conclusions in December 2010. Many people did and WikiLeaks themselves didn’t know about this evidence until December 2011.

But with the “victims” themselves saying they weren’t raped, it certainly shines a different light on her position.

jaa

So if Appelbaum supporting an alleged rapist tipped the balance for Honeywell, but then the alleged rapist turns out to be innocent, where does that leave us?

Yet not only does Honeywell still blame Assange, she describes the allegations against him – as recently as this month – as “sexual violence“.

Despite there being no allegation of such.

This made me wonder – what are the opinions and positions of Appelbaum’s other accusers and key supporters, on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks?

Back in December 2015 – five years after Honeywell’s post about Assange and four years after the text messages from the “victims”, Honeywell has the following exchange:

lhva

So Honeywell wouldn’t donate to Freedom of the Press Foundation because of their support for WikiLeaks.

Her tweet is ‘liked’ by one Valerie Aurora.

Appelbaum Detractor’s Takes On WikiLeaks

Vocal supporter of the alleged Appelbaum victims, Valerie Aurora has been quoted in the media about the case. From her Twitter account:

vaja

Yet as pointed out by the commenter, WikiLeaks’ first tweet had in fact linked to the website featuring the accusations against Appelbaum. Its second, linked to his denial.

They did not take a public position (and still have not, to my knowledge) as being in favour of either side. Yet Valerie Aurora ostensibly deliberately, and quite ridiculously, extrapolates the benign reporting as being an attack on anonymity and whistleblowing, even though neither are even mentioned by WikiLeaks.

Tor Project employee Alison Macrina recently disclosed that she is ‘Sam’, the ‘nonconsensual washing‘ bath story discussed in the first part of this article.

In that disclosure, she states “it took months to be honest with myself about what happened” and then alleges hearing of “often violent” behaviour by Jacob Appelbaum.

amov

Much like the original ‘Serial rapist‘ claim by @VictimsofJake, the ‘often violent‘ claim seems to be completely unsubstantiated. Taking a protracted period of time to realise she’d been allegedly violated, however, is a recurrent theme in the allegations against Appelbaum.

It seems Macrina has also displayed past hostility towards Julian Assange despite her having shared stages with him as recently as March 2016.

amwl2

Macrina recently wrote the following tweet:

amwl

The person she has cc’d into that tweet, is someone who recently disclosed that she is the Appelbaum accuser “Forest”.

ilc

Her post begins:

ilc1

…after two years spent trying to inhibt my rage and convince myself that I hadn’t been hurt, followed by seeking out other victims..” – Isis Lovecruft

In a sub-section of her disclosure titled “The Plan”, Lovecruft describes how she “first started out seeking other [alleged] victims“, and had planned to group them together to confront him at a Tor event in Spain. Jake apparently found out, and that plan was set aside.

Having run out of ideas and being threatened out of alternative options, I reported everything to the rest of The Tor Project. Well, almost everything. Originally, I only reported others’ stories (with their permission). I left my own story out, and I did not tell it until it was decided that Jake would no longer be part of The Tor Project.”

Despite repeatedly stating that she doesn’t recommend filing legal complaints, (a position endorsed by many rape victims including myself who have had horrific experiences trying to obtain justice through law enforcement) Lovecruft strangely goes on to list a whole bunch of laws and accompanying sentencing guidelines that she feels would apply to Applebaum.

Curiously, these include charges that aren’t reflected in the original allegations themselves, even if they are taken at face value, including: “Instructing a third party to rape the victim (§177 of the Strafsgesetzbuch paragraph 2, sentence 2), making it a “severe case”.

Although she attributes the application of this law to the accusations by ‘River’, those accusations do not state that Jacob instructed another party to rape the alleged victim.

Given the gravity of the situation and that both Macrina and Lovecruft are garnering hundreds of retweets effectively declaring the takedown of Appelbaum as a done deal, it is impossible to reason why the exaggeration of potential charges would be deemed necessary, or in fact the inclusion of them at all.

It is as if those references to laws and sentences exist only as an overt threat to Appelbaum.

Given the pattern of anti-WikiLeaks sentiment amongst the other accusers, I looked to see what Lovecruft’s position was.

I saw this:

wlsub

Then I saw THIS:

wlsub2

The bottom tweet on that thread is Isis Lovecruft effectively asking for access to WikiLeaks’ source code for their whistleblower submission platform.

I’m going to say that twice.

The bottom tweet on that thread is Isis Lovecruft effectively asking for access to WikiLeaks source code for their whistleblower submission platform.

Who Is Behind The Website?

The identities of most of the accusers including the lone rape accusation, and of those who co-ordinated the launch of the site are an ‘open secret’.

That said, I am not at all comfortable with revealing the name of anyone who has not already done so themselves in a public forum. I do believe that the alleged victims have a right to anonymity should they so choose to exercise it.

I have also received a number of communications from various people providing further contextual information. I am not prepared to and will not publish the names of, or information provided by, anyone whom I cannot independently verify and who has not given me express permission to do so. Therefore the information that appears in this article is restricted to what is already in the public realm.

Neither of the women who have made these recent disclosures outright admit to being a part of creating the website JacobAppelbaum.net, presumedly either for legal reasons, or because they actually weren’t involved in the creation of it, or both.

It might also be because the site itself is a travesty from a privacy perspective. Non-HTTPS, with a stated JavaScript reliance and apparently lacking a no-JS fallback, which is used to make sure a site can be displayed, and forms used, by dated or uncommon browsers.

At the present time it is still not public which person/s actually registered, built, wrote copy for, curated and edited the site, although there are certainly many clues.

Some other people who came forward to media and were named as eye-witnesses to an alleged incident (which, as discussed in the first part of this article, was later disproven) were already named in my previous article, and that incident referenced.

They are Meredith L. Patterson, Andrea Shephard and Emerson Tan.

To the best of my knowledge they are yet to issue a retraction of or apology for their very public false allegations.

Meredith appears to be the root of the ‘plagiarism’ accusations against Appelbaum, of which there seems to be a tiny bit more light shed on in this thread, which really speaks for itself, both in terms of not actually appearing to justify any accusation of plagiarism by definition, and in her refusal to continue to engage on the subject.

While great pains seem to be taken by the accusers to validate the sexual assault claim, very little seems to be forthcoming about the claims of plagiarism.

Here is the first iteration of the JacobAppelbaum.net ‘About’ page:

jan

As pointed out to me by researcher Janine Römer, the About page originally consisted of five lines of text attacking Jake for everything under the sun except rape and sexual assault, then the claims of sexual, emotional and physical abuse are shoved into the final line.

Making it really clear where the writer’s priorities, or where they felt the strength of their arguments, lay.

In this thread, Meredith explains why a person’s behaviour off the stage and on the stage should be considered seperately. When someone argues that it shouldn’t, Andrea Shepherd backs Meredith up. Meredith’s theory is that if they exhibit unsavoury behaviour off the stage, you should separate it from their public speaking. She says if they exhibit their bad traits on the stage, you can kick them off the stage. But if they don’t exhibit it on the stage, to leave them on.

I had a look to see what Meredith’s take is on WikiLeaks.

wlis

In 2012 Meredith decries “Assange supporters *attacking allies*” and says it “delights both’s mutual enemies”.

mp1

Given that the accusations against Appelbaum have been picked up and are being run with 24/7 by every known anti-Snowden anti-WikiLeaks anti-Assange anti-privacy pro-govt and anti-Tor troll under the sun, the above is just plain ironic.

Targeting an iconic essay by Assange in the book ‘Cypherpunks’ – “A Call To Cryptographic Arms”;

mp2

Given sentiments like that, it is getting harder and harder to deny that WikiLeaks, rather than Appelbaum, may be the utimate target here.

Despite the statements of the women involved in Assange’s case actually exonerating him, Andrea Shephard agrees with a commenter that she sees “parallels” between the women in both the Assange and the Appelbaum allegations:

pv1

Previously, to her credit, she had rightly been critical of the New York Times’ tabloid-style reporting about Assange.

pv2

However there is more derision of WikiLeaks by Andrea.

jcas2

Manhunting WikiLeaks

Stepping back to 2010 again, we discover where Tor and WikiLeaks really intersect.

The manhunt of Julian Assange.

pentja

prayingforja

wltor

In the same time period as FBI agents were showing up in New York looking for Assange at a conference, and he was being ‘manhunted’ by the Pentagon, WikiLeaks identified Tor as being a core part of their infrastructure, and asked their supporters to use and help strengthen it.

From Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept’s analysis of Snowden documents relating to the WikiLeaks ‘manhunt’:

manhuntingwl

So according to the US Government, “non-state actor Assange, and the human network that supports WikiLeaks” are the dangerous ones.

As opposed to everyone named in this article who publicly kick the shit out of WikiLeaks.

Women Protecting Women

As much as I would have liked to wrap up this article and never have to write about it again, it seems inevitable that there will eventually be a 3rd part.

With the creators of the site still not yet taking reponsibility for it, Jacob’s enduring silence and the key sole accusation of an actual rape occurring and the context of that remaining obscured, it is highly unlikely this is the end of the saga.

The primary complainant is being sheltered behind a periphery of other women complainants. If this is truly for her protection that is admirable. But if that person is indeed being sheltered to prevent the discovery of other profoundly mitigating information that would dramatically change the overall depiction of this situation, the effort is not only corrupt but is in vain.

The truth will out.

When it does, the 3rd part of this series will be titled “The Weaponising of Social Pt 3: The Resurrection of Jacob Appelbaum”.

What caused me to write these articles was not a wish to protect Jacob, or to befriend him. We are not in direct contact, nor have I sought to be.

The “risks” (in terms of that hideous and constantly flung-about term ‘social capital’) far outweighed the gain for me but if I was risk averse out of self-interest I wouldn’t be me.

I am speaking out because of all the reasons above, below, aforementioned, and yet to come.

Why Did I Continue Writing, When His Accusers Are Already Celebrating?

Because there is clearly more to the story than is being told, much, much more. I will not sit idly by while the life of a genuine radical is dismantled by women of privilege bizarrely aspiring to victim status who want to take him down in the name of representing rape survivors.

The initial and most serious allegation of all, that Jacob is a ‘serial rapist’ is clearly utterly without merit. It is additionally frankly offensive that an alleged ‘rape’ testimony sits alongside what by contrast seem to be frivolous complaints. Is there such doubt in the original claim that it couldn’t stand alone? Does it really need to be surrounded with circumstantial accounts of what, by comparison, are the most minor of alleged infractions?

Has sexual assault really now come to mean ‘anything I found uncomfortable, was upset by or was unable to deal with’? From being kissed, to bad jokes, to being propositioned, to being pulled into a bath and washed, to having someone out the fact that you were dating a workmate in front of your workmates?

Who hasn’t had these things happen? Why don’t we just declare everyone on Earth a victim? Because when you actually are a survivor of a violent rape, you understand clearly what the difference is.

Presenting common social occurrences as being tantamount to sexual assault, or even posting them on equal ground alongside them, profoundly trivialises what real rape and sexual assault are.

Likewise these accusations of ‘violence’ in terms of the use of the word ‘rape’ fall well short of the violent rapes that are genuinely prevalent in society – violent, horrific rapes that occur every single day all over this planet – especially to teenagers, street-workers and the homeless. Particularly to women of colour. For some people rape is a seemingly constant experience. There are women who can’t remember how many times they were raped. There are victims of domestic violence and incest who are raped for years on end.

Is it really necessary for the accusers to assemble a list of everyone their accused ever offended in his adult life, in order to lend their testimonies credibility?

The lack of victim impact in the statements is massively disturbing. It is as if the statements were written and/or edited by women who are not victims at all.

I have highlighted that in bold type because it is such a profound and obvious discrepancy. It sticks out like a sore thumb, across all of the testimonies.

There is constant complaint of power imbalance and fear of reprisal but no tangible complaint of ongoing personal emotional ramifications from these alleged experiences, other than embarrassment. No claim or description of lasting harm. This contradicts everything I have seen, witnessed and personally experienced over the years, and I find it impossible to ignore.

If you don’t understand what victim impact is, let me spell it out for you.

I was abducted from quite literally the central street of my city. I had to walk up and down that street countless times in my life since. Every time, swallowing the memories. Feeling that the concrete under my feet, my very city, had betrayed me.

I was gang raped at night in the rain on a children’s playground at what Americans would call an elementary school. I knew that the next day, little children’s feet would be skipping over the asphalt where I lay, or playing hopscotch. It haunted me for years. (Massive understatement). I still remember the feeling of the asphalt, the feeling of the rain (which far from soothing, felt like a karmic betrayal in itself; it was just wet and cold and utterly miserable), and anytime I went near a school, I relived the experience as if it was floating in front of my eyes like a translucent movie superimposing itself over my vision. For months if not years afterwards, you walk around in a semi-stupor, as if you are inebriated, out of focus, because you are seeing two things at once – what is in front of you and what is behind you.

The sign at the front of the school is forever burned into my mind’s eye. Because when I saw it, I still didn’t know whether or not they were going to kill me, so I was trying to memorise everything I saw in case I survived. I constantly had the irrational urge to go to the school and demand that they close it down, because it seemed too sick to allow young children to play every recess and lunchtime on the very ground where a woman was gang raped. Even though I knew on a subconscious level that the closure of an entire school was a ridiculous and extreme measure that would never manifest. For years I wondered inane irrelevant things… had the teachers been told? Did the caretaker know? Did the student’s parents know? Even though the school was in a part of town I had never been to in my life and would never go to again. A part of town where I knew no one. Even though the actual location where they did that to me could have been anywhere, I was transfixed on the specificities.

You see, it is not merely the act that is grotesque and destructive it is the haunting. The way in which completely normal things become utterly poisoned by the experience: in later years, going to events at my children’s school and wondering if anyone had ever been raped on their playground. Being triggered by the back seats of cars. By petrol stations. By things you have to see again every single day, and somehow have to learn to live with, or else drown in the pain.

It is this haunting, and the profound emotional after-effects, which take a horrendously long time to begin to fade, All of your relationships are affected. No matter of what type. From re-learning how to answer when a stranger says “How are you?” To how to face your parents. How to explain to your friends why you stare off blankly into space when they’re trying to talk to you. How to make love again without fearing an impending act of violence with every touch.

Your very identity is internally called into existential question.

There are a hundred, a thousand more intimate details of aspects that haunted me, which I will not detail here because they are utterly disgusting and despicable and it is frankly no ones business. It took a significant portion of my life for the memories to start to not be so jagged, the triggers to not be so visceral, all-encompassing.

Generally speaking, I actually consider myself healed. Enough so that I don’t feel physically ill anymore. I am finally able to live in the present now.

I am re-opening that old wound for the sole purpose of demonstrating for you all what victim impact is. It is hideous and embarrassing to have to do but it serves a greater good. The difference between the Stanford rape survivor’s victim impact statement and the allegations on the Appelbaum-hit site should be abundantly obvious to even the most casual observer. Seven supposed testimonies on that site and not a single one describing post-trauma victim impact. It is not a coincidence.

They have conflated common tenets of rape culture with actual rape.

There was a time when a trigger would cripple me for an entire week, then eventually just an entire day. Now when I read the Stanford rape testimony – all 7,500 words of it, I just press my clenched fist against my mouth, squeeze my eyes shut, tell myself ‘breathe, breathe’ for a few seconds and then I can resume reading.

I can tell you exactly how many triggers I had while reading that testimony. Three. And its been 17 years.

Victim impact is what made the Stanford rape victim’s account so compelling, because real rape testimony cannot be manufactured.

Sadly, with the level of co-ordination behind their efforts and realising that they’ve been seen right through, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a belated go at it now, so vociferous is their opposition to Appelbaum, so fervent their stated desire to prevent him speaking truth on stages. Still, they will fail.

Survivor status is not something to aspire to or to claim lightly.

It is an indescribable burden.

Ending Appelbaum’s Career

The constant demand that Appelbaum, who so directly confronts superpowers, stop doing so in the name of victims is just plain suspicious.

What is being exercised by his accusers is the power to harness social media to cause mass distraction and brutal damage, to their own ends.

In practice, their demand for the utter exclusion of Appelbaum entails preventing him from continuing to explain to Persons of Interest the precise ways in which the agencies trying to torture and kill us on taxpayer dollars are doing so.

Information that has been of extreme value to targets and should be also to the public, who largely remain blissfully unaware of the full extent of what is being done on their dime.

Information that he has long been circulating that, more than an inconvenience; is an extreme danger to the perpetrators of torture, rendition and murder.

Information which cannot be replaced by a bunch of Tor developers waxing lyrical about safe spaces and self-care while ripping our community apart.

Just try self-care on for size if 3-letter agencies have decided they want to actively destroy your entire existence. I wish you the best of luck.

Mammoth resources – literally BILLIONS OF DOLLARS – are being wielded against people like us, and the too few truly combating it, those like Jacob and Julian, are constantly under life-threatening attacks, including from personalities in our own movements.

I would be far more sympathetic to a description of how the state interferes with and meddles in every single aspect of the lives of Persons of Interest as being ‘rape’, than I am someone being kissed in a bar or propositioned at dinner, or embarrassed in front of workmates.

POI’s are unable to hold down a job because the state will not allow them to have access to funds or employment. The Empire literally destroys any and every opportunity that comes their way because one of their main priorities is to not allow POI’s to have any assets or sustainable resources. They set teams of HUMINT against POI’s in the workplace, in domestic spaces, in social spaces.

(Don’t believe me? The Snowden docs aren’t academic. They are an in-practice guide of what is still happening every single day.)

At least that kind of all-encompassing trauma comes closer to the after-effects of an actual rape because it fucks up your entire life. But for those who have made a career out of privacy, those who came to it from academia or because they work for an NGO, or because it is “The Scene” – or because they heard about it in some cool videos – guess what? You might be monitored but you aren’t individually targeted. Any more than someone who has been hit on or propositioned is a sexual assault victim. You live in a bubble of luxury – a meritocracy as you call it – where you can actually make something of yourself despite being monitored.

Unless a gang of people and their group-think activism come after you and do the government’s work for them.

For first they came for Julian Assange… then they came for Jacob Appelbaum.

Real militant truth-tellers can only run and hide and seek refuge however and wherever they can, while telling as much truth about The Empire as they can, in whatever time they have left before they are taken out of the equation. The truth is not permitted in this day and age. The truth is not published by Dell Cameron in The Daily Dot. If it was, they would have Michael Hastings’d him. Yes, my hero, and that of thousands, Michael Hastings, is now a verb. You won’t see Dell running articles on how we know for a fact electronic weapons are being used on human beings, on activists and (truly radical) feminists, on journalists, and have been for years. Or how Julian Assange’s vanguardism through WikiLeaks, which the WikiLeaks detractors are all busy shitting on, is the only reason we even know that. Nor will you see the Guardian writing that, or Violet Blue, or any of the half dozen publications that it is now claimed are interested in running more stories about the accusations against Appelbaum.

Have a guess how long any mainstream journalist would remain employed if the manufacturers and sub-contractors making, distributing, experimenting with and selling electronic weapons became their subject of choice.

The last person to seriously go after that network was Barrett Brown.

Instead everyone wants to play popularity contest, and protect-my-job’ism, and be-politically-correct’ism, and listen to each other wax lyrical about power and social capital and solidarity, while the bodies of real POI’s, activists, journalists, hacktivists and lawyers stack up around them.

While they sit in comfy chairs critiquing WikiLeaks and convincing themselves that they are “dangerous together”, hardcore supporters of WikiLeaks are being taken out one by one. People are losing their LIVES, their citizenships, their liberty. The biggest investigation in US history is ongoing – remember why the FBI supposedly wants to talk to Isis Lovecruft?? Because they’re already after Jake and WikiLeaks. Yet these women are now writing congratulatory tweets about how they took down someone who is actually an FBI target.

The difference between the instances of alleged sexual assault and all the other superfluous crap that has been kicked up could stretch from the North Sea to Antarctica.

The way this campaign against Appelbaum – and let’s be frank, that’s exactly what it is – has been conducted is a disservice to rape victims, a disservice to activism, a disservice to the privacy community and a disservice to humanity.

Somewhere the heads of the agencies that harm us are rubbing their hands together with glee at our own-goals. Proposing toasts. Laughing at our collective foolishness. Exactly what Meredith once accused WikiLeaks supporters of, Appelbaum’s detractors are fulfilling. That is their legacy.

Every time this scandal is used to smear Snowden, to smear Assange by association, to hurt WikiLeaks, and subsequently all the whistleblowers and journalists they support through the Courage Foundation, Freedom of the Press and anywhere else.

six

The above tweet using the Appelbaum allegations to disparage WikiLeaks is authored by the FBI snitch Adrian Lamo. Lamo is responsible for social engineering the heroic whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who as a direct result of Lamo’s manipulations, was arrested and sentenced to decades in jail.

For the next 5 years, this hit on Appelbaum will be used to undermine everyone whose life is actually on the line. It is already happening.

Dear Jake

If someone passes you this to read and you make it past the reminder of my terrible joke, the documentation about the electronic weapons, the umpteen stupid tweets from foolish people, and the example of an actual victim impact statement, to this point: here’s my unsolicited advice.

You helped start Noisebridge? Start another collective. Make it invite only. The most skilled of the skilled will continue to work with you just as they continue to work when targeted by the same shit themselves.

Funding-dependent conferences jumping on the CIA bandwagon? Start your own conferences. They don’t even have to be attended in person. Put up a black sheet and tell us the truth Snowden-style. We will still listen, be inspired by it, and share it.

Your audience will follow you.

Because to be honest, we don’t give a flying toss how many new libraries are running Tor nodes nor do we want to spend hours on end listening to a bunch of pseudo-“victims” waxing lyrical about the inherent violence in their non-violent would-be-rapes.

We want to hear about what you described as those who operate on the dark edges of society – the agencies, the contractors, the sub-contractors, and the technology they use against anyone that they perceive is standing in the way of their fantasy of global domination.

You helped build the following that the deluded think they can usurp.

You can do it again and time will tell all truths.

Karma Rules

Karma rules and I suspect that there are many, many more revelations to come. They will come from people way smarter and more accomplished than me. So I am going to set this aside for now and do what I do best.

Writing, for free, about which country the CIA wants to pass new laws to legally-illegally kill people next, or why we are being taught to hate refugees, or what immoral weapons of torture are being used against Persons of Interest in the shadows of the mainstream, or what the Prime Minister of my country, which exiled me after trying to kill me, has been up to with his dodgy lawyer.

In the meantime, Appelbaum’s accusers will continue collecting their salaries while sticking Jake’s head on a pike and dancing on his grave. THAT is their privilege.

Trading on the profiles they have gained from sitting on stages that WikiLeaks’ support of the Tor Project put many of them on in the first place.

Click here to read Part 1: The Crucifixion Of IOError

Click here to read Part 3: The Resurrection Of IOError

Written by Suzie Dawson

Twitter: @Suzi3D

Official Website: Suzi3d.com

Please note: further source links and supporting materials may be added to this post given time.

The Weaponising Of Social Part 1: The Crucifixion of IOError

Thanks to a small group of supposed anonymity-protecting privacy activists thousands of people now know the name of Jacob Appelbaum’s fiancée`. Even those that didn’t want to.

We found it out by reading an extremely controversial website launched a week ago, that had a few sparse accounts of some nasty sounding happenings allegedly involving Jacob, with promises of more to come.

No one truly concerned with privacy issues should care if Jacob has a fiancée let alone who she is, out of respect for his right to a private life and because it is patently obvious that attacks on him shouldn’t extend to her.

Her name was later removed after the bulk of the damage had been done, without any editorial admission that it had ever been there in the first place.

Unfortunately, that simple yet far-reaching invasion of privacy, is only the tip of the iceberg.

[Update 12/06/16: Detractors are claiming the above is factually incorrect as they say Appelbaum is no longer engaged. The source was the smear website itself, which named Appelbaum’s ‘partner’, then removed her name and called her his ‘fiancée’, and now implies past tense. IMO, who he is or isn’t engaged to is frankly his own business. The point stands.]

Preamble

In a strange paradox, Jacob Appelbaum’s accusers both want to deny any relevance between their accusations and him being a known target of the US government as a result of the nature of his work, while having the clearly stated aim of wanting to prevent him from being able to continue it.

Even as they are being dwarfed, swept aside and forgotten in the controversy, the topics on which Jacob Appelbaum and WikiLeaks work are much larger and more important than any individual.  Those who concertedly dedicate themselves to such causes are unjustly forced to quite literally risk our safety, our families, our livelihoods, our citizenships, our liberty and everything we own, in our fight to preserve our ideals and our planet.

The high stakes in a situation like this demand more than knee-jerk reactions, hearsay, and because-all-my-friends-say, when one of us is attacked or discredited. They deserve the investment of time; of serious, weighty yet measured consideration; analysis; and investigation. All of the elements that should be prerequisite to forming any intellectual opinon, let alone one where reputations and potentially lives are at stake.

But we are yet to see any of that, at least anything more in-depth than a series of personal statements via “Twitlonger”. Just a whole lot of uproar; a whole lot more silence; and a bunch of axe-grinding. With very little actual analysis, because the topic of rape is so taboo that most people are shit scared of approaching it objectively.

As such, this post should be subtitled “We Owe IO More Than 600 Words”. Because we do. We owe him much, much more than that.

We owe it to him and to our causes, to find out the truth.

Preamble dispensed with, I’m going to give some historical context to what made me write this article and analyse the claims made on and by the anti-IO website. In Part 2 of this article, we will look into the main personalities that appear to be driving this, discuss some of the environmental factors affecting the response and get into the wider context, which is all but being ignored

Lessons Long-Since Learned 

The website now being widely sourced as justification for dismantling Appelbaum’s career and reputation does as much to discredit itself as it does to discredit Jacob.

That the name of the female closest to him was disclosed in a forum that claims to exist to protect women was not the first red flag.

Several years ago, a situation unfolded where a prominent activist (Activist A)  was privately accused of rape by another activist (Activist B). This was then broadcast far and wide through the creation of a Twitter account that purported to be Activist B talking directly and openly about her first hand experience of being raped by Activist A.

Many fell for it, and instantaneously an online frenzy was being whisked up against Activist A. For all the same – on the surface – seemingly valid reasons that we see people turning on Jacob Appelbaum for now.

However, when I read the tweets of the account calling for the persecution of Activist A, I innately knew that what I was reading was not the words of a rape survivor. It came across to me as someone trying to posture themselves as one, out of empathy and/or indignation, rather than legitimately recounting an actual firsthand memory of a personal experience.

So I did the socially unacceptable but morally right thing and spoke out. While people were aghast that I dared to question a “victim” – the facade soon crumbled and it turned out that my instincts were absolutely correct.

The account claiming to be a rape victim was not Activist B at all. It was Activist C, her boyfriend, who had (according to Activist B, without her knowledge) taken it upon himself to impersonate her and attack Activist A in public after she had raised issues in confidence. There had been some question of infidelity, she had privately claimed lack of consent, Activist C had decided that Activist A’s life should be ruined as a result, and gone public.

Whether or not Activist A ever did in fact rape Activist B got lost in the controversy of Activist C’s foolish meddling in the entire situation. Activist A claimed no. Activist B claimed yes. Activist C permanently obscured the situation by his actions.

So how was I able to immediately identify, on gut feeling, that this anonymous account claiming to be a rape victim was not a rape victim? And why did I risk my “social capital” to speak out on such a highly contentious topic?

Because people who are not survivors of rape cannot competently impersonate survivors of rape. They think the act itself is the whole story but it is just a tiny fraction of it. So when they attempt to concoct the scenario, they always limit it to the specific event rather than the holistic experience, the emotional journey.

Rape Testimony

Real rape testimony is 20% what physically happened and 80% how it affected us. It is visceral. It is memories and shapes and impressions and images. It is sights and smells and feelings, a twisted nostalgia we would desperately like to free ourselves from but cannot ever. It is asymmetrical and it evolves. It unfolds. The expression of it is a cathartic, painful release but a necessary step in the healing.

It is not a telegram. It is not a thematical construct with set form or submission rules.

They are not a fixed length. Nor fixed sentence structures. They do not have a statistical linguistic pattern. They are not uniform. They ebb and flow in proportion to the victim’s telling. They sway and move, mobile in the outpouring of emotion, of grief.

When multiple examples of rape testimonies are compared side by side, they don’t conform in any way save in their effective translation of trauma, of a raw and primal pain.

So when I realised the extent to which the accounts on the anti-Jacob website do conform and began to note other anomalies, huge alarm bells started ringing.

Speaking From Experience

As someone intimately acquainted with the plight of survivors, you can feel inside you when something is just not right with a situation like this. As a survivor, my personal obligation to other victims and to the truth has led me to speak up several times in the past – even when it is utterly humiliating, damaging to my reputation or even outright dangerous to do so. This is not an expectation I have of others – I have the benefit of the passage of time, maturity, experience and healing – water under the bridge – that many others don’t. Thus I spoke out in an article addressing statements made by the Minister of Police and the grotesquely poor conduct of NZ cops in handling sexual assault including my own historical abduction and gang rape. I likewise spoke the difficult and humiliating truth against the notorious ‘FBI’ snitch Sabu when he assumed the identity of one of my friends in order to target me sexually, in an attempt to entrap me. I spoke out about my favourite publication in the world when a new staffer there published a ridiculous pile of rape apologist bullshit. I spoke out against the self-admitted serial pack rapists known as The RoastBusters who weren’t even so much as arrested after bragging about stupefying and pack-raping dozens of 13-16 year old girls. Then I spoke out against media’s irresponsible reporting on the issue. And again, when the Minister of Justice used the plight of the many Roastbusters victims who had received no justice whatsoever, in order to falsely justify the passage of anti-trolling legislation.

Even though it triggered the hell out of me to do so, I attended protest events, supported movements, and covered live actions in support of survivors, and in defiance of the repressive tactics wielded by New Zealand’s blatantly corrupt and incompetent police forces, who so profoundly fail survivors, and the public.

As faithfully as I spoke out in all those cases, so must I speak out too when I believe that rape testimony may be being falsely manufactured, or manipulated, or misrepresented, or used to serve the ulterior motives and agenda of someone(s) who may not be rape survivors at all.

Believe victims“, some people say. The key word is not believe. The key word is victims. Not “believe any two-bit twat(s) who impersonate survivors and/or edit rape testimony because they have something to gain by smearing someone all over the net, in the name of other victims.”

Especially when in doing so, knowingly or not, those someone(s) are also serving the interests of The Empire and damaging movements that people pay dearly to create, build and sustain. (If you are in any doubt about this take note that among the first people gloating about Jacob Appelbaum’s perceived downfall was in fact, Sabu.)

For The Empire, I can assure you, does not give the slightest flying shit about rape victims, unless they can be used to its advantage. On a daily basis, it perpetuates and facilitates mass rape all over the world, while expending tax dollars to cement and maintain all of the societal and environmental conditions that create rape culture.

The double-edged sword of the taboo of rape was constantly wielded against Julian Assange and his supporters over the last five years, albeit with ever-dwindling effectiveness. Allegations of rape against information activists are a lose-lose situation for us but a ‘win’ for our enemies, and that is again apparent in Appelbaum’s case. The end result is a real-life example of why these types of accusations are such an efficient tool for those wishing to utterly devastate and incapacitate a perceived rival. It emboldens the targets enemies and silences their friends. It isolates them and eclipses all their prior undertakings.

For all these reasons I cannot merely sit silent, or put out an ambiguous 600-word opinion piece sitting on a fence.

Instead I did what I do best. I read, read, read, read and read more. Dug, investigated and analysed.

The following, is my findings.

Analysis Is What We Do Best – So Let’s Do It

In the first hours of the allegations against Jacob hitting the public sphere, they were primarily pushed through one website, a shady Twitter handle with acrid yet low output, and two personal Twitter accounts. Although in the days that followed many, many others jumped on board, some of the first out of the gates were:

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mlpj32

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The Meredith quoted above, who, incidentally, is described as the founder of a “think-tank” called “Weaponizing Social”, went on to send more than a dozen tweets about the situation, in surplus to those quoted above.

From this post about Weaponizing Social on AspirationTech.org:

ws

What a strange question they ask – “who watches those watching the watchmen?” One would assume, the Watchmen do, because they keep a super close eye on anyone questioning or shining a light on them, and in reality they do much more than simply “watch”.

[“Weaponizing Social” both as a concept and an entity will be further discussed in the second part of this article.]

For now, looking closely at the anonymous website featuring the accusations against Jacob is key to better understanding the whole situation.

JacobAppelbaum.net

The first impression of the website (which strangely, is not HTTPS) is of a huge picture of Jacob Appelbaum with his name written across it in bold type. It initially gives the impression of being an official website. Until you read the ‘About’ page.

Hey there! We’re a collective of people who have been harassed, plagiarized, humiliated, and abused — sexually, emotionally, and physically — by Jacob Appelbaum. Jake enjoys manipulating people through his built-up social capital, influence, and power, in order to get what he wants.

Here are some of our stories.

— http://jacobappelbaum.net

Taken at face value, the About page conforms to all the rules of good marketing – short, to the point and high impact.

The high gloss effect slips though, the further you get into the content.

The ‘Victims’ Page

This page makes three central claims.

Firstly, that Jacob Appelbaum seeks out ‘new’ members in activist communities and targets them for their naiveté.

Although several stories published on the site mention looking up to Jacob as a central figure in the movement, none claim to have been fresh on “The Scene” at the point of the alleged incidents.

Secondly, under the sub-heading “Have a partner?”  the page states “If you spurn Jake or attempt to stand up to him, he’ll go after the people you care about the most next, doing whatever he can to humiliate and harm them.” Given the fact that Jacob’s alleged fiancée became the collateral damage of the publishers of the website, this passage is highly ironic.

Nor does their concern appear to be providing any protection to a woman being accused of being currently romantically involved with Jacob Appelbaum:

dell

Thirdly, the page claims that Jake is a plagiarist who falsely claims credit for other people’s work in order to “increase his level of power and influence“. The claims of plagiarism against Jake are extremely hard to track down, especially Meredith’s. While she waxes lyrical about Jacob having allegedly taken credit for “our research in 2007” it is difficult to ascertain to what she is referring. Then there is this semi-famous exchange between Appelbaum and @kaepora, which is frankly an obscene stretch of the term plagiarism to say the least, for which kaepora ultimately withdraws and apologises, stating: “I’m sorry I let [a] personal fight interfere with my judgment of Jacob on a purely professional issue. That’s something I certainly should apologize for.”

But the hollow complaint of plagiarism, and the ascribed accusation of a motive of wanting to increase his power and influence, completely ignore Jacob’s numerous, frequent and significant achievements in recent activism history. From calling for civil disobedience against the behemoth NSA data storage facility in Utah; to being extremely visible (understatement) in the #Landesverrater movement that stopped a German treason investigation into journalists in its tracks and resulted in the German Minister of Justice firing the Chief Prosecutor who had brought the charges; to being a supporter of @PengBerlin’s #IntelExit initiative advocating for the employees of intelligence agencies to quit their jobs; to supporting the victims of renditions and wrongfully accused ex-prisoners of Guantanamo Bay, to photographing noteworthy activists and journalists by old-school means and holding gallery openings…  the guy has hardly been sitting on his laurels. To claim that he makes his bones via plagiarism when he is so prolific, is a massive stretch at best. It’s like throwing one tiny brick at a wall and hoping it will fall down. No wonder they needed something more to try to cut him at his roots.

The FAQ

The FAQ, which contains more content that appeared in the wake of the initial launch, gives away much.

As to the question of “Who Made This Site?” the pseudo-answer reads: “Some of us have personal stories of being abused by Jake and some don’t.” Red flag! Another red flag in the very next sentence: “We have heard lots of complaints about his behavior over the years, and have experienced it first hand.” Given the recently debunked eye-witness accounts provided by Tan, Shephard and Patterson… the words “have experienced it first hand” just don’t quite have the ring they used to.

If this is a site about rape victims, it needs to be by and for rape victims, without the meddling of non-victims who have merely “heard lots of complaints” and talked of experiencing things that turned out to not be at all what they claimed. “What Is The Goal Of This Site?” another question asks. This is where the biggest giveaway of all can be found, after a smooth claim that it is just for awareness and protecting people. Word for word, the crux of the issue:

“Also we hope that this site will prompt groups and organizations to think twice about any involvement they have with [Jacob Appelbaum]. Maybe it is not a great idea for him to be part of their communities. Maybe they shouldn’t invite him to speak at or attend their conferences. Maybe they don’t want to be associated with a person who is accused of the behaviors detailed on this site.”

Could the NSA have written it any better themselves? By making these stipulations, the publishers are literally stating the express wishes of The Empire. They don’t ask for apologies. They don’t ask for Jacob to acknowledge his actions. They don’t ask for him to be educated. They don’t ask for him to spend his life educating others about rape culture and sexual assault. They ask for him to no longer be allowed to educate the world about privacy, information security, activism and surveillance.

Appelbaum was involved with both the Snowden disclosures and with Julian Assange – literally the two most controversial, polarising, wanted, endangered men in the entire world. Men who have massive resources set against them, up to and including for the purposes of their immediate detainment, rendition and/or extradition, and trial.

Are we really supposed to believe that an anonymous group of people expressly stating that they wish to put a permanent and wholesale end to Jacob’s inclusion in the forums in which he promotes his work, and to his professional relationships, are valid in doing so, based on prima facie complaints?

On “Why Should I Believe You” the would-be career-ending complainants state “If you’re a sexual predator, what better cover story is there than “the FBI is making shit up about me.” If the FBI has it in for you, what better story is there than for you to be anonymously labelled a sexual predator??? None.

Their response to “Why won’t you stand publicly behind what you’re saying?” gets even more ludicrous: “We are afraid we will be doxxed or harassed… We are afraid Jake will threaten us or falsely smear our reputations.”

Any activist worth their salt – let alone a legit Tor developer – has already been doxed or worse, long since. First and foremost by multiple governments and a network of private security companies (yup, they call it a file) then secondarily through social media. Such people are already harassed on a daily basis. Are usually rightly in fear for their very life.

The only people who could reasonably by “afraid” of such elementary levels of actions being taken against them, at this echelon of infotech, are either active in fields which are not seen as threats at all to any government, or who serve their purposes. Everyone else is a target.

There are gaping holes all the way through the rest of the FAQ. From the claim that Twitter requiring phone numbers for new accounts prevented them getting a Twitter (as if there aren’t free guides as to how to circumvent this, not to mention the option of just buying a throwaway SIM or using a virtual number… come on now, countless anonymous accounts are created every day…) to the claim that the site was created out of an altruistic wish to make people safe. Considering the timeline of events as revealed by Cryptome, there are indications that the existence of the complaints were used as a tool for what could easily be described as employment-related blackmail before they even went public.

If that isn’t damning enough: the proof is in the pudding:

mc1 mc2

The Stories
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect is the vague and then staggered manner in which the stories appeared on the site.

The best part of a dozen images of Jacob Appelbaum appear under (fake) names of victims – each linking to an individual story of being wronged by him. Unfortunately, in its first iteration, the vast majority of these images, when clicked on, simply lead to text which read  “This is a placeholder“.

Several instances still remain to this day. Leaving it up to our imagination as to whether or not there was actually a victim behind each fake name at the time of first publishing, or whether the publishers were hoping to collect more once the site was live and post them at a future date.

Immediately sensing something wrong, I tried to put my finger on it. Then I realised the first giveaway. The word counts. I ran some basic stats on each testimony that was posted. These and my observations on the stories that did appear, both initially and in the later versions of the site, are as below.

Story 1: Sam  (369 words)

1sam

“Sam”‘s story did not initially appear on the website. It starts “Jake and I had some minor romantic interest in each other when he invited me to his apartment one evening.” It continues on to describe Jake allegedly pulling him or her into a bath and then washing their back against their wishes. “His nonconsensual washing lasted about a minute or two before I leaped out of his bathtub and started crying in the corner of his bathroom.” The alleged victim states “I eventually confronted Jake about this, plus other behaviors I’d witnessed: he started drunkenly kissing another person at the bar with no invitation, he started giving another friend a really aggressive shoulder massage with no invitation, plus a million stories that I’d heard through backchannels.”
[It is unclear whether the bar incident to which they refer is the same incident which is the subject of allegations made to Gizmodo by Meredith Patterson, Emerson Tan and Andrea Shepherd which have since been debunked by the alleged victim herself.]

2. River (703 words)

2river

This account was one of the first published and is by far the most serious accusation against Jacob. Firstly because it is the only story that involves an actual allegation of outright rape and secondly because it implicates (but does not name) other people as being witness to and/or complicit in the alleged rape.

The account begins: “I didn’t know until very recently that nonconsensual sex, by a friend, is rape.” indicating that it is a historical claim (which does not make it any more or less valid, but is contextual information) and that something that has occurred “very recently” has altered how the alleged victim viewed what happened.

There are 34 instances of the word “I” in the first section of the story before there is a break in what had very clearly been, until then, a first-person narrative. The break reads in its entirety:

This cannot continue.

He cannot be a leader in this community, the first name that many people think of, an inspiration to those new entering the field, and also someone who uses his power and influence to sexually prey on individuals who think he is trusted.

It is critical that our community is safe for women, and for any individual who is passionate about protecting privacy and anonymity.”

“The Tor Project in particular should be recognized for how they have handled this respectfully and honorably.”

Due to the sudden lack of personalisation of the sentence structure, and the concrete position, it reads as if another voice has been inserted into the text.

The break over, the testimony is concluded with a final paragraph, which includes another 6 instances of the term “I”, feeling very much as if it has returned to the original voice.

The most puzzling aspect of the account is why the person involved fails to name any of the eye-witnesses and/or participants that they allege were present.

Under the cover of anonymity, and obviously having a good idea of what was at stake for Jake, why not name the others involved? In not naming them, anyone who is one of Jacob’s “friends” or “followers” is subject to fall under the cloud of suspicion. Was this intentional or negligent?

The storyteller states firmly that they believe they were not the only one to receive this treatment from this group of people. So if the stated aim of the site, as it claims, is to forewarn other women and to protect them, why only name Jacob? If he is, as claimed, just one of a group participating in the sexual assault of intoxicated women?

3. Forest (596 words)

3forest

This is the story which initially named “Jake’s partner [REDACTED]” which was later removed without acknowledgement and replaced by the term fiancée. The writer complains that both her partner and her had been “completely humiliated” by Jacob, yet then “invited him to stay at my house” and to sleep in her bed, as friends. She says this “turned out (mostly) fine” though it is unclear what “mostly” means in this context. The author says they “proceeded to share beds in a friendly manner over the years, and nothing bad ever happened.” She then describes visiting Germany and staying at Jake’s house and sleeping in his bed, where she describes him sexually assaulting her while they were sleeping. She then describes confronting Jake, and him initially denying it, then apologising and saying that he had mistaken her for his fiancée in his sleep.

4. Daniel (463 words)

4daniel

Unlike the aforementioned accounts, “Daniel” writes in a markedly different linguistic style, as noted by the above table. The crux of the accusation is that Jacob divulged the existence of a romantic relationship between workmates that they had endeavoured to keep secret. This appears to conform to the prior instances of misconduct discussed in a recently leaked Tor Project HR email.

torhr

5. Kiwi (257 words)

5kiwi

“Kiwi”‘s complaint is that Jacob has attempted to influence and/or control the trajectory of his or her career and professional relationships. They state “sexual abuse is not the only form of abuse” and refer to not having “so much social power as Jacob.” Whether or not true, equating interpersonal social and employment issues with sexual abuse just waters down the seriousness of the other allegations.

6. West (81 words)

6west

At 81 words, it is hard to put much stock in “West”. Were they really so alarmed or harmed, it seems incredibly hard to believe that all they would have is 81 words to say about the matter.  The account reads as if it were an attempt to write in the first person by someone else – perhaps someone who had believed they had witnessed the incident and was attempting to write as the victim, in a foolish attempt to lend credibility to other claims on the website.

The core of the whopping 4 sentences posted is that Jake kissed them without first gaining prior consent. The triviality of the claim by comparison to the accusations of sexual assault, is stark.

When someone kisses you, it is generally referred to as “being hit on”, or someone “making a pass” at you. While I certainly don’t suggest that people go around kissing people who they don’t know for sure want to kiss them back, the act of being hit on is usually the point at which you either return the attention, or not, rather than a crime or an actionable offence.

7. Phoenix (408 words)

7phoenix

Phoenix appears to suggest that, a) Jake solicited a sexual encounter with them, b) that he used his access to Julian Assange to impress them and made a foolish remark about Julian being accustomed to him doing so. Despite the obvious discomfort of the storyteller, which should be taken into account, the complaints could as easily amount to being the subject of a bunch of bad jokes being taken the wrong way. In UK English, we would call it “taking the piss“. Americans might call it “joshing“.
While the writer clearly wasn’t amused, there is no way to be sure that humour was not the intention.
If not, and Jacob was being as knowingly inappropriate as the writer suggests, once again these allegations dramatically pale in comparison to those of sexual assault.

8. Nick (1,661 words)

8nick

Nick’s 1,661 words leave no doubt at all that he feels victimised sufficiently to be compelled to express it at length. Again there are references to “social capital” – in this case, his own – and then a rather disproportionate comparison to Bill Cosby, who is known to have drugged and raped dozens of women (if not more) over decades.

Nick clearly takes the other complaints at face value and proclaims “whatever you do don’t cast doubt on Jake’s vctims of sexual abuse. It’s one thing to be raped, that’s enough to destroy someone’s life. It’s quite another thing to speak up after being raped by your hero and lose your job, your friends, everything you’ve worked for and your trust in humanity to boot. Imagine what that must be like.”

To date, the only person who appears to have “lost their job” as a result of making allegations against Jake, was not in fact claiming to be a victim, but to have been made aware of the rumours/allegations of others and then spreading them in turn.

When they participated in circulating these, they were, along with Jake, subject to disciplinary action and subsequently resigned, as outlined in the leaked Tor Project internal email linked to already.

The strangest part of Nick’s story is that he admits that he attracted ire by entertaining the notion of giving people who wanted to snitch-jacket Jacob Appelbaum a platform in a forum in which he was participating. I can’t help but wonder if the situation were reversed, and it was Jake considering giving someone ‘Lightning Talk’ space at Congress in order to snitch-jacket Nick, how Nick would have felt about that. In such a situation, surely you have to ask ‘but what if the shoe was on the other foot?’

The most serious allegation made by Nick is that anonymous notes were left in his hotel room. He feels sure that these were left by someone close to Jacob or Jacob himself.

Yet this is a tactic known as “gaslighting“, and is usually perpetuated by intelligence agencies. As a ‘Person of Interest’ in New Zealand, I would routinely return to my home to find items that didn’t belong to me, left in unmissable places. On occasion a newspaper I had not purchased would be left lying open on my coffee table, turned to a specific article about a topic on which I would understand the significance.

If Nick was having a very public beef with Jacob, as it seems, it is not out of the realm of possibility that intelligence agencies were aware of this, and intervening with the express purpose of accelerating and aggravating the gravity of the situation.

From Nick’s testimony there is absolutely no way to know for sure that Jacob or his friends were somehow accessing his hotel room and planting the notes, or whether other malicious parties had a hand in the events and were capitalising on the situation.

“Alice” / null  – remains a “placeholder”

“Briar” / null – remains a “placeholder”

The Stanford Rape Testimony

For comparison, here is the stats on the testimony of the rape survivor in the case of the convicted rapist Brock Turner that recently went viral.

stanford

Lack Of Evidence

The site is particularly unusual in that it lumps in people who have personal grievances against Jake alongside allegations of rape.
Evidence of one rape is enough to destroy any reputation. But it is clear that the authors of the site were going for quantity over quality; hoping to win over readers with the sheer number of testimonies, rather than actual evidence.
This has the net effect of both trivialising and cheapening the experiences of rape victims, and of watering down the severity of the claims, in an attempt to present a united front – or in the words of the site, “a collective” – of victims.

cloudingissue

Early on, top Italian journalist and WikiLeaks affiliate Stephanie Maurizi had tweeted:

smaurizi

The lack of hard evidence is likely why the media were initially reluctant to report on the accusations, although that changed when Tor released a statement about Jacob Appelbaum leaving the Project.

Given the recent unravelling of some of the accusations, and the fervour with which the same paid government troll accounts that have been going after Assange, WikiLeaks, Snowden, Appelbaum and anyone associated with them for years, are now lapping up the opportunity to milk the Appelbaum controversy for all it is worth, it is impossible to exclude the motives of and gain to The Empire, from this analysis.

The Empire

Nothing pisses The Empire off more than those of us who engage others to fight against their corruption and oppression. Perusing and spreading information puts you on their radar. Instructing others to undertake actions takes you to a whole other level.

So when you hear Jacob Appelbaum openly calling on the employees of intelligence agencies to leak secrets to him, or encouraging people to compromise utilities at NSA facilities as acts of civil disobedience, there can be no doubt how far up the shitlist of the military-industrial complex that puts him.

By its own admission, The Empire classifies us all as either:

a) Idealist (can be disillusioned, such as by fallen heroes etc, or otherwise convinced to turn away from their ideals)
b) Realist (motivated by money or self-interest, can be bribed/coerced into capitulation)
c) Reformist (restricted to conventional avenues of political change… politics, academia, NGO’s; places where you are forced to  ultimately tacitly compromise your ethics in order to achieve/excel or progress in your environment)

OR… dum de dum dum….

d) Radical (demands system-wide change, is active & incorruptible)

The Empire has decided that the best way of dealing with “radicals” (the label THEY have constructed and imposed upon qualifying “persons of interest”) is to completely dismantle their lives at a “whole of Government” level. Which means, politely, using all the various departments and avenues of civic oppression available to them.

The Empire has deemed Jacob Appelbaum, a radical.

As it did Julian Assange.

Part Two of this article will cover the elephants in the room:

  • The (second) Tor Statement
  • The media response
  • Other accusations against Jacob on the WWW
  • The WikiLeaks Connection
  • A much deeper look into those who lay behind the curtain of JacobAppelbaum.net

Click here to read Part 2: Stomping On IOError’s Grave

Click here to read Part 3: The Resurrection Of IOError

Written by Suzie Dawson

Twitter: @Suzi3D

Official Website: Suzi3d.com

Please note: further source links and supporting materials may be added to this post given time.