Category Archives: Julian Assange

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:

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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’:

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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.

am4

[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)

Just As Intended: The U.S. Election Is Tearing Us To Shreds

The only credible narrative about the US election is that both the main candidates are shit and the system is fundamentally broken.

The third-party candidate, while enjoying organic growth in public support, is largely blacklisted by media and in the last election cycle was handcuffed to a chair for a prolonged period of time in order to prevent her from participating in the Presidential debates at all.

In the backwards Orwellian nightmare we live in, exercising common sense or stating things as they quite plainly are and thus expressing views that oppose the monied and complicit status quo, is deemed a ‘radical’ and untenable position.

Radical because too few have the proverbial balls to openly speak their mind or own the full extent of their true opinions in public, making those of us who do a rarity.

Untenable because doing so makes you a target for relentless persecution or worse; a deterrent which is highly effective against those who treasure their public perception or persona, possessions, property, prosperity or (perceived) privacy above the need to appease their conscience by calling a spade a spade, honouring their humanity and openly advocating for the sociopolitical evolution we so desperately need.

It was only a few years ago that millions of people were emboldened to speak up and demand radical (read: common sense) change. The relative speed with which they were largely subdued and corralled back into the political mainstream is frankly shocking and testament to the lethal efficiency of the systems of social control that surround us.

Even Occupy Has Forgotten What Occupy Is About

“No true democracy is obtainable when the process is determined by economic power.” – The Occupy Wall Street General Assembly

The founding declaration of Occupy Wall Street needs to be periodically revisited, to remind us of what birthed the movement.

It is poignantly read below, by Keith Olbermann.

Unfortunately, the societal conditions described remain to this day and have become even further entrenched; exacerbated by the passage of time. Every word of the founding statement holds true, yet the spirit of resistance in which it was authored, has been mostly co-opted by the same politicians and organisations who it once critiqued and decried.

occupy

During Occupy, the idea that our main social media accounts – @OccupyWallSt & @OccupyWallStNYC would be used to congratulate politicians, would have led to a massive outcry, but we have become so used to the blatant co-option of our movement that few barely even notice it anymore.

Our Revolution Endures” etched in the colours of a political party, above a “Paid For By Bernie 2016″ campaign disclaimer makes a complete mockery of the word revolution:

revolution

Not the billionaires” it says inside parentheses, the words spelled out in a pale grey scale – as if, as I predicted in December 2015 that he would, Bernie hasn’t just sold his campaign supporters out to Hillary and the very same billionaires he spent so long decrying.

I got the month wrong – April rather than July – but it was clear from the outset that Bernie Sanders was B.S.

bs2

Occupy was born of the betrayal of the broken promises of Obama.

Of course the elites knew that ruse would work again. It always has. Generation after generation, we never learn.

obama

And thus – when the politician full of attractive rhetoric eventually sells us out – the cycle of disillusionment, civic rage and institutional violence, oppression and then political co-option renews.

It isn’t revolution at all.

It’s a cycle and it’s perpetual. Manufactured by the elites. They just pull the levers and watch it spin, around and around again.

bs

I smelled it coming when the compositional horror story that is the band “Nickelback” released the song “Edge of a Revolution.” I can’t even embed the video here because it is so revolutionary that anyone who uploads it to You Tube is instantly hit with a copyright notice and removal.

Bless her soul, even Jill Stein isn’t immune to using the word ‘revolution’ to describe a political campaign. I retweeted and liked the tweet despite it, because I also think if Bernie was worth his salt that in the wake of the betrayal, he would have joined Stein and not Clinton.

revolution2

The real revolution started by Occupy and not yet finished can be quantified in the bodies of the literal dead – the hopes crushed, the houses lost, the citizens exiled, the relationships and careers destroyed, the homeless re-disenfranchised by the evictions, the property stolen and destroyed.

Every time a politician says the word ‘revolution’ that is all I see. Tents being ripped to shreds, the People’s library being hauled away in rubbish trucks ultimately paid for by the same People whose will was being subverted, whose dreams lay shattered.

Those who gave everything they were and had, to bring the movement to prominence, only to be completely betrayed and violated by the societal infrastructure that was supposed to protect us.

We are spat on every time the language of our struggle is misappropriated for temporary political gain.

The Age Of Hypocrisy

This is the age of hypocrisy that we live in. We know the political process is bullshit – we knew it in 2011. Prior generations knew it, railed against it and lost, just like us. But here we all are, participating in it once again nonetheless.

I know full well that it is all just a great big reality TV show. But I have still voted every election cycle of my adult life.

Most of the people who know me, with the exception of those few who are in even deeper trouble for their honesty and principles than I am, would tell you I am the most ‘radical’ person they have ever met.

Yet even I find myself writing tweets and articles – albeit criticisms, including this one – that feed the electoral monster just by giving it breath.

My own inadvertent complicity scares me almost as much as the corruption and the collusion behind the political farce – because it indicates the level of saturation of the message that participation in the political process – even the critique of it – is a requirement of a properly functioning democracy.

But we knew in 2011 that the process was irredeemably broken.

Just like we knew it in 2000. In 1986. In 1963. In 1935.

George Bush’s brother handing him the presidential election was “democracy” in action.

JFK getting shot in the head on live TV. That was “democracy” in action.

Wall Street making billions while everyone else goes bankrupt. Police beating, pepper-spraying and mass arresting protesters, while “protecting” a bronze bull statue. That was “democracy” in action.

The same nepotism, grand larceny, financial crimes and human rights violations that the USA accuses everyone else of but themselves. That, is “democracy” in action.

We don’t need or want it and desperately have to find a way to get free of the political mousewheel, for good.

In a real revolution, no one would be allowed to own luxury holiday homes in seven different cities that sit empty 50 weeks per year, while retirees and veterans sleep on park benches.

Every bedroom in the White House would be open to homeless families.

Public money paid for every luxury in that building, yet the public are restricted from even seeing the inside of it let alone enjoying it.

All politicians, including the U.S. presidents are the same ilk of usurpers, usurists and tinpot dictators that they so frequently decry.

A real revolution would put direct democracy into the hands of everyone, and undermine the power of the few.

It is long overdue.

Snowden Nailed It

The U.S. election is an illusion of choice and that fact, at least, is more widely accepted than ever before.

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Edward Snowden’s publically expressed distaste for both political candidates tracks back quite some time.

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WikiLeaks Led The Charge

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ criticism of Trump tracks back even further.

Largely as backlash for the wildly successful #DNCLeak, the world’s corporate  press are currently accusing WikiLeaks of essentially being a front for Russian hackers and/or favouring Trump.

Yet in a September 13, 2015 interview with Assange by Argentinian newspaper Página/12, Assange was asked about his opinion of Trump.

A rough translation of his response was:

I look at it from the following perspective. I followed Hillary Clinton for years, you know that I have a personal issue with Hillary because she was Secretary of State when we published diplomatic cables and more recently emails refused to disclose. And she is much more warlike than Obama. What happened in Libya, the destruction of that country and the collapse of its state, it was mostly a war of Hillary. Hillary was behind it all. Pentagon generals opposed to intervene but Hillary pushed for that bombing. So now comes in Donald Trump, who is more ‘guerrero‘ than Hillary. So whoever wins will be even more aggressive than Obama. The Trump phenomenon is interesting. At this time there is not a massive flood of Latin Americans wanting to enter the United States. Then it is interesting to see where does this phenomenon. Trump is appealing to the same grotesque nationalism can be seen in discussions on refugees in Australia and Europe. The issue of immigrants really was not on the agenda significantly until Donald Trump began to lift. The rest of the Republican Party has more decency and more willing to like voters Hispanic roots.

[Note: The Google translation of the word ‘guerrero’ made little sense so I left the word in Spanish and linked to another translation of that specific term which seems to explain it]

More recently, Assange made his feelings even more plain:

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If essentially calling Donald Trump “Gonorrhea” isn’t enough to convince you – time for more hard evidence than merely opinion.

WikiLeaks, it turns out, as part of the very same leak they are copping so much criticism for, actually published Donald Trump’s donor list.

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WikiLeaks – A Library Besieged By Barbarians

For the Empire, WikiLeaks getting 16,202 retweets on a single tweet is a nightmare from hell. Especially when the tweet in question was an epic release of US government insider information from inside the political party of the sitting US president.

The corporate media are no doubt equally apopleptic over WikiLeaks getting 14,304 retweets on a tweet like this:

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Even the spelling mistake couldn’t stop such a pertinent point about the obvious mass media politically-motivated collusion and hypocrisy from going viral.

Yet politically-motivated collusion is what those already proven to be engaged in, are so eager to accuse WikiLeaks of. Along with a slew of associated accusations that ultimately just serve to distract from the actual content of the disclosures, which have been catastrophic for the Democrats.

Their subsequent National Convention has devolved into nothing short of a circus, as disillusioned Democrats find their voices and raise them in unison.

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Julian Assange has famously compared WikiLeaks to the ancient Library of Alexandria. A colossal treasure trove of authentic documentation – a catalogue of human knowledge and historical documents, unmatched in modern times and besieged by barbarians who wish to bury, burn or suppress that knowledge by any means possible.

The barbarians in question are a who’s-who of the military industrial complex, as well as politicians in positions of significant power in many governments around the world who have been embarrassed, inconvenienced or angered by WikiLeaks publishing hidden truths.

The Greenwald ‘Slate’ Interview

Hyped by Snowden last night, was this 99% amazing interview with my favourite journalist, Pulitzer Prize-winner Glenn Greenwald.

His insights are really welcome and the interview is filled with original thought.

The interview debunks a slew of the criticisms against WikiLeaks.

On leaks versus hacks:

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Information is constantly stolen by intelligence agencies the world over, for their own ends – yet when it is “stolen” and released to the public for the public good, the same governments who profit from the antics of their intelligence agencies, suddenly take affront at the methods by which the information in the releases are obtained.

Greenwald tackles this beautifully, with his comparison to Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers:

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With regards to criticisms (which are prevalent but for which no actual evidence has been provided by critics – only conjecture) that WikiLeaks withheld the DNC release until the most politically expedient time, for maximum damage – Greenwald entirely debunks the theory, stating that -if- this was done, that it is a common practice for news media to withhold stories, for a variety of reasons.

“I think there is a lot of hypocrisy going on in criticizing WikiLeaks for that.” – Glenn Greenwald

The journalist presses him on the issue, but Greenwald stands strong in the face of continued questioning. He goes on to tackle some of the major anti-Trump talking points also; pointing out that criticism of NATO’s interventionist escapades (especially post-Libya) and a desire to tone down the aggression against Russia does not actually make Trump an agent of Russia – that these are legitimate aspects of foreign policy debate that should be had regardless of who is standing.

The pushback gets even firmer when Greenwald states:

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Burn!

It gets better. Reading the next part, I’m literally applauding in my seat. Finally, finally, a major mainstream figure is speaking the righteous rage of the people, without co-opting the message to a particular political platform.

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The quote is so incredible it really needs to be read twice.

The reason [Brexit] resonated is that people have been so fucked by the prevailing order in such deep and fundamental and enduring ways that they can’t imagine that anything is worse than preservation of the status quo. – Glenn Greenwald

Absolutely correct and this sham of an election is just adding fuel to the fire.

America saw martial law in how many states last year? Three? Four? Neither Clinton nor Trump are going to address any of the prevailing social conditions that have led to that situation. As was made famous by the Occupy Oakland activist and livestreamer BellaEiko – and as I have heard repeated so many times by people around the globe – “Shit is FUCKED UP and BULLSHIT!

I don’t usually litter my articles with swear words and neither does Greenwald usually propagate them in his interviews either. But this is the level of frustration we are experiencing.

Nothing meaningful has changed since 2011. And we are all sick to death – literally – of that. No justice – no peace.

The Slate interview is long and comprehensive and there is a ton more worthy content in it than what is discussed above. It is well worth your time to read.

Old Grudges Rehashed

Unfortunately the debunking of so much of the anti-WikiLeaks hysteria has been predictably overshadowed by the singular criticism Greenwald upheld – and not for the first time.

In a media environment where few words and fast output equals easy money for beleaguered “journalists” – a single tweet by Snowden often spirals into global news.

Few journalists are interested in the “big picture” unless it can be explained in a paragraph or two and in a way that aligns with their own strategic career goals.

At a time when the temperature of establishment rage towards WikiLeaks is well past boiling point, it was inevitable that any criticism levelled at them by a usually sympathetic figure, or anyone who may have been viewed as an ally, would be immediately picked up and capitalised upon.

And whoomp – there it is:

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Snowden sharing the Greenwald interview? 610 retweets. Snowden concurring with the singular Greenwald criticism of WikiLeaks? 5,100 retweets.

Which really makes you wonder how many people lauding the criticism actually bothered to read the full interview.

But the point Snowden was making isn’t new. He’s said it all along.

Snowden’s tweet counts 138 characters. (Yes, I’m such a geek as to have checked). Which might account for some of the problematic language. Being, the diminutive “helped“, when WikiLeaks has arguably engineered, advanced and championed their field, at extreme risk and sacrifice; and the inflammatory “hostility“.

Hostility unfairly implies emotion rather than ideology, at least to my reading.

The tweet itself generated plenty of hostility – predictably dividing respondents into three categories – those who agree with WikiLeaks on principle, those who agree with Snowden on principle, and those who don’t want to see them criticising each other for whatever reason, and just want them to play nice and get along.

The emotiveness of the tweet is reminiscent of counter-criticisms that track back years regarding Snowden’s strategy for his release of information. I think both parties are so conditioned to receiving torrential waves of abuse regarding their every choice and utterance, that they are understandably tender from the constant bruising.

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Snowden and Assange are not silly people. They are in fact, the smartest and most strategic thinkers on the planet. Neither are prone to rashness. They know full well the impact and consequence of their actions. I suspect there is likely much more at play than meets the eye, more than any of us observing can know or guess at.

The Slippery Slope

WikiLeaks’ immediate and biting retort focused on the ideology of digital curation – selective redacting or editing of content.

The issue of curation is an interesting one to me, because in order to have curation, you must have a curator, or curators.

Snowden often makes the point of the behemoth surveillance apparatus – that it isn’t just about who controls the infrastructure and calls the shots now – but who will in the future.

The logical answer would be to have an editorial board, but in these times of freedom of information organisations being under siege – what guarantee is there that any such board would also remain in tact?

We have just witnessed the wholesale firing of the entire board of the Tor Project – or to be politically correct – their “graciously stepping down” en masse… on the back of revelations of a Central Intelligence Agency employee literally having left the agency one day and started work at Tor the next.

WikiLeaks is arguably THE most under-threat journalistic organisation in the entire world. (Which for the record, Greenwald has covered extensively in a long string of brilliant articles about the US persecution of Assange, WikiLeaks and associates).

So the question for me is, where would the curation start and where would it end? Every person has their own ideas of precisely how such curation should or could be done and it would be extremely difficult to get a unified consensus on every single instance.

For their particular threat model, having one fixed rule that can provide a benchmark and carry on for future generations seems the safe bet.

Then of course, there is the significant issue of resourcing. WikiLeaks has been under a historic banking blockade for years now. They can’t place ads in newspapers and hire staff. They rely on an extemely rare breed of people who are willing to quite literally dedicate their lives and risk losing everything they have, in order to skill share with the organisation.

It is high risk and often thankless work.

That they manage to produce what they do, under the circumstances they are daily confronted with, is frankly miraculous. None of their detractors could compete with their output. None are. Their tally was at over 10,000,000 documents some time last year. Over a dozen major releases in 2015 alone.

Many, many stones are cast but who can even begin to claim achievements on a similar scale?

It’s not even just a matter of their journalistic output – they somehow not only manage to keep their head above water while facing unprecedented levels of danger, obstruction, interference, infiltration, oppression and difficulty – but they also support others who are endangered.

Recently, they have constantly had the stuffing kicked out of them by some staff at organisations who they continue to support and promote on their pages.

At what point do we actually collectively pause, consider what they endure in a field few else are endeavouring to compete in and have the graciousness to say THANK YOU WIKILEAKS!!!!!!!!!!

Their publishing models and releases have been capitalised on by multiple news organisations who have made bank off their work and then stabbed them in the back. Yes, I’m looking at you New York Times and The Guardian, in particular.

News organisations all around the world have their own SecureDrop installations – and what is the genesis for the concept? WikiLeaks.

Brother Vs. Brother, Org Vs. Org, Friend Vs. Friend

I recently said on Twitter: “The US election is a public exercise in Divide & Conquer and the extent to which it is working is frankly depressing.

I can’t help but wonder how many people all over the United States are falling out with each other over the Trump-vs-Clinton dichotomy. How many family members. How many workmates? Employers and employees? Siblings? Lovers? Husbands and wives?

Does this ridiculous, unnecessary side show result in divorces? Broken homes? Is the price really worth it?

What exactly do the public stand to gain?

The obvious irrationality of both candidates, and their unsuitability for office, is so obscene it would be hilarious if it weren’t so horrific.

The wife of an impeached president versus a casino, golf club and supermodel tycoon. And it’s even worse: this is the reality that few will confront, but everyone is really having to subliminally reconcile regardless:

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The image on the left is a Huffington Post article begging people not to turn a blind eye to the current child rape allegations against Trump.

The image on the right is a Free Beacon article containing leaked audio of Clinton bragging about how she got a child rapist’s 30-year possible sentence reduced to 2 months time served.

The devastating follow-up article by The Daily Beast is a really, really hard read, including details of the traumatic ordeal of the victim and the manipulation and callousness she subsequently suffered.

Journalism In The School of Hard Knocks

Many people, especially this year, have been referring to me as an investigative journalist. I actually wouldn’t call myself that, because I’m not classically trained in investigative journalism and that hasn’t been my primary focus.

Nearly 5 years ago now, I began reporting live from events then blogging about them afterwards. News spotting in my spare time. Keeping a close eye on what was happening to our fellow independent media teams in occupations around the world and working with them to the best of my ability.

Amplifying for anyone I felt wasn’t getting the attention for their issues that they deserved.

I morphed into a long-form journalist by necessity – in a chronically nepotistic media microcosm (New Zealand) – telling as many people as possible about the corrupt political and media antics being wielded against people in my home town of Auckland. It wasn’t really journalism so much as whistle-blowing. Over and over and over again. Whistle-blowing on police, on civic authorities, on the intelligence agencies, on the military industrial complex.

I eventually came to the conclusion that that is what a good journalist is. Someone who blows the whistle and never stops.

It’s usually circumstantial rather than deliberate. I get curious and dig, or I accumulate scraps of information over a protracted period of time, or I witness things myself. My mental data-microwave goes “DING!” and out pops an article.

Overall what drives me is the realisation that I’m in a unique position to contribute and I feel morally obliged to, despite the obvious drawbacks.

Whenever our media team was burning out, overtired, overstressed, suffering from lack of resources and the strain constantly imposed upon us by state and private agencies and saboteurs – when we really didn’t feel like going on anymore – we would look at each other and say, “if not us, then who?” Then we’d get off our butts and go do it all again. That is the spirit in which I write.

I think the real reason I am being described as an investigative journalist is because I have a habit of unearthing significant information that corporate media haven’t or won’t. What few realise is how easy that is to do, and what an indictment it is on the mainstream press that they so often either fail at it, or refuse to look.

How did I find out WikiLeak’s position on Trump? I searched “@WikiLeaks” + “Trump” on Twitter.

The idea that the dozens if not hundreds of journalists falsely accusing WikiLeaks of being a front for Russia and/or Donald Trump didn’t do the same thing, is astonishing. Or that if they did, that they didn’t amplify the obvious.

But among the learned and free thinkers – there is consensus. Assange thinks, as does Snowden, and apparently Greenwald, that Trump is as bad as Clinton.

For what it’s worth, so do I.

As Greenwald stated in the Slate interview, much better than I could:

I think in general there is no effort on the part of media elites to communicate with [Trump sympathisers] and do anything other than tell them that they are primitive, racist, and stupid. And if the message being sent is that you are primitive, racist, and stupid, and not that you have been fucked over in ways that are really bad and need to be rectified, of course those people are not going to be receptive to the message coming from the people who view them with contempt and scorn. I think that is why Brexit won, and I think that is the real danger of Trump winning. – Glenn Greenwald

As for the accusation that WikiLeaks is in league with Russia… that has already long since been dealt to. It is an unfounded and ridiculous allegation. A smear.

If only the mainstream media would get the memo and cast off their willful blindness.

But that is merely wishful thinking. while money, promotions and status remain largely bestowed upon those most beholden to the corporatocracy that are the true string-pullers, the shadow governments of the West.

And while the vanguard of the people; namely WikiLeaks and Julian Assange; remain Public Enemy Number One.

[This post was blogged live. Thanks for watching! Further source links yet to be added.]

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!

[Update/January 2018] This post is now available at my Steemit blog

UN Ruling On Assange Exposes UK Lawlessness

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

For any student of modern propaganda techniques, the ruling announced last week in favor of WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) has provided fertile ground for research. Indeed, the level of media frenzy sparked by the ruling can be regarded as a barometer of the power and extent of establishment forces ranged against him and his organization.

UNWGAD found that the predicament of Assange amounts to ‘arbitrary detention’, a legal term that is clearly defined, deriving from Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that both the United Kingdom and Sweden are signatories to. Article 9 states that ‘no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile’. Arbitrary arrest or detention ‘are the arrest or detention of an individual in a case in which there is no likelihood or evidence that they committed a crime against legal statute, or in which there has been no proper due process of law’. ‘Due process’ is defined as ‘the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person’.

Dr. Roslyn Fuller, a lecturer in International Law based in Ireland, has this to say about the ruling:

The Working Group stated they considered Assange’s case to fall under Category III, which covers cases where a trial does not comply with international human rights norms. The Working Group found that Sweden and the UK have pursued Assange in a disproportionate manner, given that the Swedish prosecutors could have questioned Assange at any point and he had declared himself willing to cooperate.

The two claims against Assange that were ‘dropped’ by the prosecutor last year were dropped because they were about to become time-barred. The prosecutor chose to allow this rather than to question Assange. One would think that if the prosecution had the interests of the alleged victims at heart, they may have chosen to pursue questioning in the UK – a common enough activity – rather than let the investigation lapse.

So while Assange may be holding out, so is Sweden, and nations have obligations to move the wheels of justice along as swiftly as practicable. The Working Group’s assessment is basically, “how hard can it be to conduct a preliminary investigation?” with the implication that if the prosecutor were serious, they would have gotten this wrapped up by now.

Furthermore, the Working Group found that “the grant itself and the fear of persecution on the part of Mr Assange based on the possibility of extradition, should have been given fuller consideration in the determination and the exercise of criminal administration, instead of being subjected to a sweeping judgment as defining either merely hypothetical or irrelevant”.

In other words, British and Swedish authorities should have considered that Assange’s fear of persecution might be founded and questioned him in the embassy, something it was perfectly possible to do with minimal effort in the interests of pushing their case forward. Questioning Assange at the embassy would not have jeopardized their case, whereas coming out of the embassy could have jeopardized Assange’s life. Thus, it would be disproportional to force him to do so when there was nothing to be gained by it. Assange’s interest in being protected from extradition to the United States outweighed the Swedish prosecution’s interest that he only be questioned in Sweden. Dismissing these concerns out-of-hand was arbitrary.

Even before UNWGAD’s announcement, serious pressure will have been felt by members of the group not to rule for Assange, according to the former chair, Norwegian lawyer Mads Andenas, as he explains in this short radio interview. Although reluctant to provide specifics, he makes it clear that any ruling against ‘big’ nations like the UK or the US face considerable institutional resistance.

The media reported the ruling before its announcement, allowing the headlines to get the digs in early. This BBC article stated: ‘Julian Assange is being “arbitrarily held”, UN panel to say’. In casual speech, ‘arbitrarily’ is often used in a roughly synonymous manner to ‘randomly’, implying that the UK is randomly detaining Assange. Cue an avalanche of outrage and indignation on social media and elsewhere from casual news readers deeply offended at the suggestion that the UK is somehow behaving like a dictatorship and randomly applying justice, given that Assange is of course free to leave the embassy at any time and further given that through relentless media disinformation and misinformation for years, the average news consumer now believes that Assange must ‘face justice’.

A Downing Street spokesman was on hand to supply fuel for the fire: “We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy.”

This statement also employs the non-legal use of the term ‘arbitrary’. Readers, the vast majority of whom have little or no knowledge of or concern about the details of the Assange case, are therefore given validation of an already misleading statement by an authority figure: classic psychological manipulation.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond rejected the UN group ruling, condemning it as ‘ridiculous’. Mr. Hammond, who has no legal expertise or background, further made the false claim that the group is made up of ‘lay people, not lawyers’ and that the ruling is ‘flawed in law’. [Note: Former Guardian journalist Jonathon Cook expands on this point expertly here]

The corporate media was also on hand to deride and condemn the ruling. The Guardian’s Marina Hyde, who has form smearing Julian Assange, wrote a rambling, vindictive, error-strewn article that has to be read to be believed. She then engaged in a smug, arrogant and self-congratulatory round of ‘banter’ [here and here] with like-minded journalist mates on Twitter, displaying a staggering level of contempt for a man described by the United Nations as deprived of liberty (add sunlight to that) for years as well as an embarrassing lack of awareness of her own gatekeeper role. It raises serious questions about editorial integrity at the Guardian, a newspaper of record, that a journalist with such obvious dislike for the subject of her article (with precedent) was permitted to write an analysis of a major story like this, particularly in light of the fact that Hyde usually covers showbiz and, by her own admission, has no detailed familiarity with the Assange case.

Social media lit up as soon everyone became an expert on international law and the qualifications and credentials of the members of UNWGAD. Comments below the line of articles all over the world slammed Assange with the usual tired and long discredited arguments.

The first wave of attack generally concerns the allegations of rape. It takes only a short period of research to find out the facts. [Note: anyone who believes they know what they are talking about with regard to the Assange case should read this FAQ here]

From the FAQ [emphasis (bold) mine]:

[] new information has emerged that both women explicitly deny having been raped by Mr. Assange. In a statement to the UK Supreme Court, the prosecutor acknowledged that the complainants wished only to ask the police for advice about HIV tests, having discovered they’d had both had sex with Mr. Assange. (There has never been an allegation Mr. Assange has HIV.) Neither of the women wished to lodge a formal complaint.

The woman of whom Mr. Assange is accused of the offence of “lesser rape” (a technical term in Swedish law) sent an SMS to a friend saying that she “did not want to accuse JA [of] anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges”. The other woman tweeted in 2013 that she had never been raped. Both women’s testimonies say that they consented to the sex. A senior prosecutor already dismissed the ’rape’ accusation, saying that there were no grounds for accusing Mr. Assange on this basis. But a third prosecutor, lobbied by a politician who was running for attorney general, took over the investigation and resurrected the accusations against Mr. Assange. Due to the great number of incorrect reports [], it is best to rely on primary source documents in this matter, which are on the internet and the UK Supreme Court “Agreed Statements of Facts” agreed to by the UK, the Swedish authoritiesm and Mr. Assange’s legal team. (See here and here.)

The women themselves in their own words explicitly say they were not raped. The women themselves in their own words said they had no wish to lodge a complaint. Yet to the experts in the corporate media and on social media or below the line, Assange is apparently a ‘cowardly rapist’ who is ‘holed up’ in an embassy ‘evading justice’. They occasionally even remember to write ‘alleged’ before ‘rapist’.

The next line of attack concerns Assange’s alleged evasion of justice. Yet Assange left Sweden on 27th September 2010 without impediment from prosecutor Marianne Ny, who had been assigned to the case from September 1st. It is worth noting that if this case was so serious that it became an international incident leading to the (very unusual) issuance of an Interpol Red Notice, and if the well-being of the alleged rape victims was such a priority for the prosecutor, the fact that Ny did nothing to question Assange before he left as a matter of urgency is highly suspicious.

It is also notable that Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, made some very disturbing claims with regard to the two women involved:

Julian Assange’s Swedish lawyer was shown scores of text messages sent by the two women who accuse him of rape and sexual assault, in which they speak of “revenge” and extracting money from him, an extradition hearing was told.

Björn Hurtig, who represents the WikiLeaks founder in Sweden, told Belmarsh magistrates court that he had been shown “about 100” messages sent between the women and their friends while supervised by a Swedish police officer, but had not been permitted to make notes or share the contents with his client.

“I consider this to be contrary to the rules of a fair trial,” he said. A number of the messages “go against what the claimants have said”, he told the court.

One message referred to one of the women being “half asleep” while having sex with Assange, Hurtig said, as opposed to fully asleep. “That to my mind is the same as saying ‘half awake’.” One of the women alleges that Assange had sex with her while she was sleeping.

Before destroying a man’s reputation an objective, honorable or honest person would first look into the details and circumstances surrounding the case. Such considerations obviously do not apply to Assange.

One final line of attack is the idea that Assange is ‘voluntarily’ hiding in the embassy. It is insulting to the intelligence and legal abilities of the UNWGAD lawyers to think that they are incapable of correctly interpreting this unusual situation in legal terms. Anyone believing that they are in danger of political persecution, as Assange does, has the legal right under international law to seek protection on humanitarian grounds. From the FAQ:

International law says that a sovereign country has decided to recognise Mr. Assange as needing protection from political persecution on humanitarian grounds. Mr. Assange has a right to meaningfully exercise that protection through passage to Ecuador. Ecuador invoked a number of applicable conventions, including the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. The United Kingdom and Sweden are also parties to the 1951 Convention and are obligated to recognise the asylum decision of Ecuador. While both states have been careful to avoid saying that they do not recognise the asylum, their actions can only be interpreted as a wilful violation of Mr. Assange’s right to ’seek, receive and enjoy’ his asylum. In international law, the obligation to protect persons from persecution under the 1951 Refugee Convention prevails over extradition agreements between states.

The United Kingdom says it has a treaty obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden even though he has not been charged with an offense. There is a conflict between the United Kingdom’s obligations to the 1951 UN refugee convention and its obligations under the European Arrest Warrant system. It is established law that these conflicts are to be resolved in favour of the higher obligation which is to the 1951 convention.

Rather than follow[] international law, the United Kingdom has chosen to interpret the conflict in favor of its geopolitical alliances. The United Kingdom has a history of breaking international law in this manner, for example, in its invasion of Iraq, its cooperation with US rendition operations, and its facilitation of global mass spying via its intelligence service GCHQ. Sweden is also a party to these last two violations.

Assange has reason to be concerned. A secret, long-running US investigation has been mounted against him, according to US Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd. “The grand jury is a serious business,” said Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer advising Assange. “They’re all over this,” he added. [Sources here]

Reason for concern indeed given the US approach to whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, who was tortured while awaiting trial, as well as the US’s clear contempt for international laws and conventions, highlighted dramatically when it forced down the plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales in the mistaken belief that Edward Snowden was aboard. That case also highlighted the powerful influence the US wields over European nations: France, Italy and Spain all denied airspace to Morales forcing the plane to land in Austria.

The UN ruling puts the UK and Sweden in a very sticky position as they recklessly try to play it both ways. In the past both nations have welcomed rulings by the same group when they benefited their geopolitical priorities, as this Crikey article explains:

What happens when the UN panel that you previously thought was excellent produces a verdict that you don’t like?

That was the problem facing UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (little-known outside the Tory Party and best known for having been a Goth in his younger days, not that there’s anything wrong with that) when the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in favour of Julian Assange’s complaint that he had been arbitrarily detained by the UK and Sweden.

But Hammond’s problem is the Cameron government had a very different view of the WGAD when it ruled that the Burmese regime’s ongoing detention of Aung San Suu Kyi was a breach of international human rights law. “As in its previous five ‘opinions’, the Working Group has found that the continuous deprivation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s liberty is arbitrary, and has requested the government of Myanmar to implement its previous recommendations and to remedy the situation,” Hammond’s predecessor William Hague said in calling for her release. Indeed, it’s been only a few months since the British government was happy to quote the WGAD in its guidance on handling particular types of protection and human rights claims about China.

China is a constant target of the WGAD. Unlike other UN bodies that might be criticised for obsessing about Western governments while ignoring the human rights abuses of dictatorships, WGAD focuses almost entirely on non-Western countries. In the years while Assange has been detained, the Working Group has ruled against China 14 times — with most rulings dealing with multiple detainees — and against Iran nine times, as well as ruling against Cuba and North Korea (again, often covering multiple cases) four times each. Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the Palestinian Authority have also been among its targets. It’s in such company the UK and Sweden now find themselves.

The United States was also happy to cite the WGAD in the case of Alan Gross, who spent several years in a Cuban jail after travelling to the country to provide Cuba’s Jewish community with internet access. US politicians and the State Department were happy to cite WGAD’s finding that Gross was arbitrarily detained. The US Justice Department also cites WGAD decisions in its criticisms of the human rights records of other countries. And the WGAD ruled last August that Iran was holding US journalist Jason Rezaian arbitrarily as well; the State Department also invokes the WGAD’s decision about other imprisoned journalists.

In short, the WGAD is usually a reliable source for Western countries eager to criticise the human rights records of countries like China, Iran and Cuba. But the moment it looks askance at Western practices, it’s “ludicrous” and dismissed.

This episode teaches some lessons. Essential among them is the fact that analysis in the corporate media is now crippled beyond repair, its credibility a smoking wreck. If one desired an analysis of an aspect of astronomy or cosmology, would one read the opinions of a writer who still advocates the Ptolemaic Model of the solar system? The same applies to an analysis of the complicated legal case of Assange by obviously biased and prejudiced non-experts who are given a platform to speak to millions nonetheless. This further applies to much of foreign policy and other areas that require ‘nuance’ in the corporate media because advertisers are so touchy about what reaches the general public. The only meaningful analyses now come from independent journalists and writers who are free from corporate or government/lobby-group influence.

We also learn that corporate journalists not only act as gatekeepers in their day job, but even in their free time, gleefully towing the establishment line and seemingly oblivious to the deadly consequences of their obfuscations as they help to bring liberal, anti-war opinion over to the ‘humanitarian interventionist’ camp of the imperialist ‘right to protect’ doctrine.

Disturbingly we can also acquire a sense of the enormous power wielded behind the scenes by those who want Assange. If the UK and Sweden are willing to reject the findings of a United Nations panel of legal experts, a panel they never had complaints with in the past when they were condemning China etc., then we know that the stakes are as high as they get. The recklessness of this rejection is staggering, as explained by the Center for Constitutional Rights [Emphasis (bold) mine]:

In our briefs to the WGAD, we argued that someone is effectively detained when they are forced to choose between confinement and running the risk of persecution. That is the precise dilemma faced by Mr. Assange, who would lose the protection of his asylum if he stepped out of the embassy. The risk of extradition is the ‘fourth wall’ for the now repudiated claim that he is free to leave the embassy. As a result, it has been years since Mr. Assange has had access to proper medical care, sunlight, or the ability to see his family.

The WGAD’s decision in Mr. Assange’s case sets an important precedent for refugees. In our submissions we analogized the situation faced by Mr. Assange to that of asylum-seekers in detention facilities. States may claim that asylum-seekers held in subhuman conditions are not ‘detained’ because they are technically free to leave for their home country, but this is a non-choice, since the home country would persecute the asylum seeker.

In choosing to reject the UN ruling, not only are Sweden and the UK failing to live up to their treaty obligations because they do not suit their agendas – a working definition of an action of what Western nations traditionally call ‘rogue nations’ – but they are also putting their own citizens at risk by setting a dangerous precedent that will allow any evil dictator anywhere to also reject the findings of the UN in the future.

It is profoundly telling – a shocking demonstration of the power of media propaganda – that millions of people automatically side with governments who have lied time and time again on every issue imaginable, that have committed some of the most terrible crimes in history, against one man who has risked his freedom and life to expose some of those crimes. The idea that he might have been set up or has been persecuted is summarily dismissed despite the obvious motive for Western governments to do such a thing and despite the enormous amount of documented evidence demonstrating that this is precisely the case.

The Assange situation has long been a farce but now a ruling of the United Nations has been permitted to become a political football. This way utter lawlessness lies. The UK must immediately release and compensate Julian Assange as the UN ruling dictates. Failure to do this will only serve to confirm its status as a rogue nation and US lapdog.

Written by Simon Wood

Twitter: @simonwood11
Official Website: The Daily 99.99998271%

In Plain Sight: Why WikiLeaks Is Clearly Not In Bed With Russia

With Glenn Greenwald debating General Keith Alexander live on stage as I write this, it is rather convenient timing for this insipid hit piece to emerge claiming definitively that Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and anyone who supports them are “in bed with the Russians”.

wlr2

John Schindler’s tweet is just plain irresponsible and dangerous as well as untrue. The smear is an old one; the tactic timeless; the source/author dubious but several angles are worth addressing that I don’t think have been properly before.

The Primary Lie: That WikiLeaks Censors Itself For Russia

The biggest lie is the easiest to disprove. Heard so many times it’s impossible to count – that WikiLeaks doesn’t print documents on/about Russia or that aren’t in its interests… that they somehow exclude Russia from their databases or only print approved messages.

Using the most basic investigative method available, let’s see whether this is true: by going to WikiLeaks official website and typing “Russia” into the search bar.

wlr

In case you can’t see that writing at the bottom – there are 647,208 results for ‘Russia’ in WikiLeaks’ database.

Let’s look a little closer.

wl1

So. Just in the first few results alone we have:

  • an article exposing Russian investigations into Tor users – from the Edward Snowden files no less
  • an article describing a Russian government decision as ‘foolish’
  • a report on Russian attempts to regulate the blogsophere/new media
  • a report on Russian censorship of a BBC interview

I think it’s safe to say we won’t have to analyse the entire 647k docs to find more that are critical of Kremlin political views and positions.

WikiLeaks’ Solidarity With Russian Activists

The Russian activists and performance artists known as “Pussy Riot” aren’t just friendly to the cause – they even sit on the advisory board of the Courage Foundation.

None of the detractors explain why, if WikiLeaks is so far “in bed with the Russians”, they work with Russian dissidents who have been targeted for arrest and prosecuted by the State.

Stuck In The Airport For 39 Days

In the pro-NSA anti-Snowden “counterintelligence” fantasy-land of John Schindler, WikiLeaks sent one lone woman to take Snowden ‘from Hawaii to Moscow’ to “defect” only so that he could be… stuck in a Moscow airport with no valid passport for 39 days, desperately applying for asylum, to a whole host of countries?

No, if he was defecting, he’d be welcomed with a parade. Not stuck in civil and physical limbo for over a month. He would have had entire teams of security guys flying him around in military or private jets – instead his entire transit was on civilian airliners.

What makes far more sense is that Edward and Sarah Harrison’s lack of co-operation is what effected their circumstance, leaving them stranded in the airport.

Even after asylum was granted, Sarah stayed on with Edward for several months… this too, indicates that WikiLeaks provided aftercare for him; he was not simply abandoned or left to fend for himself.

A Long Look In The Mirror

Central to the claims that Snowden is colluding with the Russians is the suggestion that intelligence agencies are just so badass that non-cooperation with them is not an option.

This may be true for those without public visibility and a high profile, but as Sarah herself pointed out, Russian authorities were aware that she had access to a platform with millions of followers able to rally in defense of their rights at a moment’s notice.

I can’t help but wonder – who is Julian Assange supposed to hire for bodyguards? Americans? Why is the mere presence of people of Russian origin in one’s life basis for a conspiracy theory?

But any smear will do and smear they have. If the constant boasting of Schindler’s “counterintelligence” / “counterterrorism” background isn’t enough of a clue, a quick look through the author’s past posts exposes his agenda.

He entreats;

Ever since the Snowden saga broke a few weeks back I’ve defended the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) against the most scurrilous charges in the media..

Like clockwork, derisive, salacious and defamatory posts date from June 2013 to the present day, making wild accusations. That Snowden is working with the Chinese – that he is working with the Russians – that WikiLeaks is working for the Russians – with the grave nature of what Snowden actually leaked ignored in an attempt to deflect blame away from the elites in control of the intelligence agencies.

One of the author’s smear pieces claims Snowden did no damage and is irrelevant – the next that he did vast, lasting and unforgivable damage. Snowden’s position and access is minimised to him being “just an IT guy”; the next minute it is complained that he took over a million documents. The story is ever-changing and in aggregate, discredits itself.

Snowden’s True Significance

Edward Snowden did many remarkable things – countless things. That he managed to extricate so much information, get it out to the public, and make his “escape” is in itself incredible.

But his greatest achievements are the least talked about.

Snowden is solution-focused. Rather than merely inform the public, he presents them with an array of tools and resources with which to protect themselves.

It is this engagement that is next level. Not just standing on a stage and giving a speech but taking steps to implement actual change. Not merely educating his audience, but changing their practical behaviours, impacting their decision-making.

As much as his critics downplay him as “just an I.T. guy” Snowden’s words and actions are reminiscent of every individual role in a development team. He is the tester – testing the safety and suitability of open source products for public use. He is the analyst… mapping and understanding systems and making recommendations. He is the database administrator… the networker… the technical writer… the architect… the development manager… the delivery manager… the CTO.

Yet it is not these roles he is recognised for so much as his less tangible qualities. Truth-telling. Bravery. Valour, in its truest sense – ‘great courage in the face of extreme danger‘.

Snowden has brought back a time when celebrity meant more than vain idolatry. When statues were carved, or buildings were named, not for those of elite birthright, great wealth or superficial beauty but for those of daring, heroic deeds undertaken for a greater good.

False promises of corrupted political systems aside – when our children aspire to be more like Edward Snowden than Justin Bieber; or Jesselyn Radack than Britney Spears; there is hope and there will be change.

The World Grows Weary

While humans bicker and slander, steal, oppress, tax and incite, the Earth grows weary. There is ecological devastation wherever we look. Apocalyptic weather patterns, extinctions of multiple species and constant natural disasters.

Refugees are fleeing war-torn countries in their millions while financial systems inflict poverty upon billions.

Pretty soon there will be no amount of anti-Snowden op-eds sufficient to bedazzle us in the face of our reality: humankind is in big fucking trouble and it will take more than words to get us out of it.

Critical thought, research and dissemination of information are the foundations to change but we are now past the point where action is required. Our support for whistleblowers needs to be more material than effortlessly debunking the libel of the status quo’s talking heads. To that end, this article is going to be about more than just the critics.

WikiLeaks is doing a brilliant job of directly confronting the system by holding a mirror up to it. Now we need to show our solidarity and not just declare it. Let our actions combine in beautiful, complex ways.

Effecting change where the State refuses to do so, creating new systems that bypass it entirely.

For we should not aspire just to slowing the pace of human destruction, but to creating new pathways of preservation, new avenues of possibility…

…to literally birth a new world. The evidence of the unsuitability and unsustainability of the old one is all around us.

No longer do we need to debate it.

We need to create it.

Successes

There have been three recent geographically-disparate and diverse political actions that have produced immediate results.

Glenn Greenwald and First Look Media co-ordinated a brilliant fundraising effort to raise contributions for the legal defense of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, resulting in over $100,000 being donated within the first 48 hours.

Aspects of Manning’s case are precedent-setting and will have ramifications for future whistle-blowers therefore empowering her to pursue her rights to their full extent now may become even more consequential later.

Berliners responded to a treason investigation into two journalists from Netzpolitik by taking to the streets, and launching an online solidarity statement signed by local and international journalists, publishers, academics and various luminaries in support.

The investigation was dropped and the investigating prosecutor fired.

  • Transsexual Kiwi Prisoner Wins Transfer To Female Prison

A group of activists in New Zealand who began a hunger strike and various online initiatives in protest at a transsexual woman being incarcerated in a men’s prison has achieved a resounding victory.

Prisoner Jade Follett has now been transferred to a womens prison and is to receive an apology from the Department of Corrections. The Twitter account of protest group No Pride In Prisons that organised the actions, is calling for more than an apology.

In their press release celebrating success, the group states:

‘The fact that the policy places trans women almost always in men’s prisons by default shows how much needs to be changed…

That it took a hunger strike to get Corrections’ attention to this urgent issue indicates just how little regard they have for prisoners’ safety…

‘If it emerges that other trans prisoners have been treated in a similar manner, we will not hesitate to take action’

In Conclusion

The above is proof that diversity of tactics is more than a catch-phrase; ends can be achieved by a variety of means.

It is also proof that people power is winning battles.

These victories are won when actions are organised and carried out speedily, loudly and on hot-button issues, where the State has insufficient time to prepare countermeasures and is forced to opt for ‘damage control’ tactics that can ultimately count in the favour of protesters and effect change.

With all the problems of the present and uncertainties of the future it is WikiLeaks, independent media and whistleblowers informing us; open-source technological initiatives protecting us; and real people opening their hearts, raising their voices and taking action on the streets, that are the difference between certain human self-destruction and social evolution.

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!

[Update/January 2018] This post is now available at my Steemit blog

The Farcical Case Against Julian Assange

“Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed – and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment – the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution – not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply ‘give the public what it wants’ – but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.” – John F. Kennedy

12 June 2014 marks the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Mr. Assange has been detained in the United Kingdom against his will without charge for almost four years. This anniversary should serve as an opportunity to once again attempt to inform the many millions of people made ignorant or uncaring of the realities of this complex case thanks to a concerted media disinformation and smear campaign against both WikiLeaks and its founder.

Readers who are open to the possibility that they may have been misled on this issue should first follow these links and read/watch in full:

A FAQ here explains some of the general circumstances of the case.

This short animated video also provides a clear, informative summary.

Writing in USA Today, Michael Ratner also took the opportunity to raise points that highlight the farcical nature of this standoff:

Harassment, targeting and prosecution of whistle-blowers, journalists and publishers have become a dangerous new normal — one we should refuse to accept, especially in a time when governments are becoming more powerful and less accountable. It’s time to end this assault, starting with granting Snowden amnesty and withdrawing the threat of U.S. criminal prosecution of Assange.

In the two years Assange has spent cloistered in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British extradition law under which he was ordered to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct has changed. With this change, the allegations that originally secured Assange’s extradition order to Sweden would no longer suffice. Now, a decision to charge Assange with a crime is necessary for extradition, but Sweden has never made that decision.

That hasn’t kept Britain from ignoring Assange’s right to asylum by clinging to the now-invalid law. Instead, British police and security forces keep watch on the entrance, windows and surroundings of the Ecuadorian Embassy around the clock, which has cost $10 million.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to investigate Assange and might have secretly charged him without his knowledge. A grand jury empaneled in 2010 remains open, keeping Assange in legal limbo. Under such conditions, leaving the embassy would mean a stop in Sweden before Assange is given a one-way ticket to a U.S. prison to likely face inhumane treatment and a sentence similar to Manning’s, including extended solitary confinement.

Similar harsh treatment and excessive punishments haven’t applied to the people in government who perpetrated the crimes exposed by these whistle-blowers and published by WikiLeaks. In fact, people such as national intelligence director James Clapper, who lied under oath to Congress, have avoided consequences altogether.

Britain should respect Assange’s asylum and allow him to leave the embassy unmolested. Whistle-blowers such as Snowden and Manning should not face the impossible decision between living in exile and spending decades imprisoned. We deserve a justice system that holds governments accountable and considers the public service done by whistle-blowers and the people who publish their information.

Sweden can end this standoff easily by questioning Assange by video or by sending investigators to the embassy. Both of these options are permissible under Swedish law, and indeed both have been utilized in the past. Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office maintains it has a ‘legal duty’ to extradite Mr. Assange, despite, in a clear instance of double standards, resisting (and preventing) the extradition to Spain of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, arrested in 1998 in London under an international arrest warrant (issued by a Spanish judge) on multiple counts of murder, torture and war crimes.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the often hostile public reaction to the plight of Julian Assange is the assumption by so many of benign intent on the part of the US and its close allies, the UK and Sweden. Despite the mass intrusive surveillance apparatus exposed by Edward Snowden, under the umbrella of which strategies reminiscent of the East German Stasi have been laid out for the world to see; despite the long documented history of illegal, covert operations undertaken by agencies of the United States like COINTELPRO, Operation Mockingbird, Operation CHAOS and many others; despite dozens of illegal interventions and bombings of foreign sovereign nations; despite multiple CIA-sponsored coup d’etats that replaced democratically elected leaders with murderous dictators; despite the numerous fake FBI terror plots to justify the enormous dedication of resources to the ‘war on terror’; despite the quite insane double standards displayed in the ‘intelligence’ arena…despite all these documented realities, perplexing it is indeed that any serious person could assume any benign intent whatsoever. Indeed, given the above list, an intelligent person would surely assume the precise opposite.

The myth persists that Julian Assange is somehow the malign party (‘He ‘stole’ the documents’ etc.) for enabling the cables leaked by Bradley Manning and others to see the light of day, documents that contain thousands of accounts of mind-boggling criminality perpetrated by officials elected in our democratic systems and the people under their command.

Did you know, for example, that WikiLeaks informed the world’s people of the following (from an earlier article on this blog):

It was official government policy to ignore torture in Iraq.

U.S. officials were told to cover up evidence of child abuse by contractors in Afghanistan.

Guantanamo prison has held mostly innocent people and low-level operatives.

There IS (despite government claims to the opposite) an official tally of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

US Military officials withheld information about the indiscriminate killing of Reuters journalists and innocent Iraqi civilians.

The State Department backed corporate opposition to a Haitian minimum wage law.

The U.S. Government had long been faking its public support for Tunisian President Ben Ali.

Known Egyptian torturers received training from the FBI in Quantico, Virginia.

The State Department authorized the theft of the UN Secretary General’s DNA.

The Japanese and U.S. Governments had been warned about the seismic threat at Fukushima.

The Obama Administration allowed Yemen’s President to cover up a secret U.S. drone bombing campaign.

Also:

The U.S. Army considered WikiLeaks a national security threat as early as 2008, according to documents obtained and posted by WikiLeaks in March, 2010.

Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commanders repeatedly, knowingly lied to the American public about rising sectarian violence in Iraq beginning in 2006, according to the cross-referencing of WikiLeaks’ leaked Iraq war documents and former Washington Post Baghdad Bureau Chief Ellen Knickmeyer’s recollections.

The Obama administration worked with Republicans during his first few months in office to protect Bush administration officials facing a criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies that some considered torture. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid obtained by WikiLeaks details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.

A U.S. Army helicopter allegedly gunned down two journalists in Baghdad in 2007. WikiLeaks posted a 40-minute video on its website in April, showing the attack in gruesome detail, along with an audio recording of the pilots during the attack.

US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished..

US special-operations forces have targeted militants without trial in secret assassination missions, and many more Afghan civilians have been killed by accident than previously reported, according to the WikiLeaks Afghanistan war document dump.

Five years ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross told U.S. diplomats in New Delhi that the Indian government “condones torture” and systematically abused detainees in the disputed region of Kashmir. The Red Cross told the officials that hundreds of detainees were subjected to beatings, electrocutions and acts of sexual humiliation, the Guardian newspaper of London reported Thursday evening.

The British government has trained a Bangladeshi paramilitary force condemned by human rights organizations as a “government death squad”, leaked US embassy cables have revealed. Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which has been held responsible for hundreds of extra-judicial killings in recent years and is said to routinely use torture, have received British training in “investigative interviewing techniques” and “rules of engagement”.

Secret U.S. diplomatic cables reveal that BP suffered a blowout after a gas leak in the Caucasus country of Azerbaijan in September 2008, a year and a half before another BP blowout killed 11 workers and started a leak that gushed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States was secretly given permission from Yemen’s president to attack the al Qaeda group in his country that later attempted to blow up planes in American air space. President Ali Abdullah Saleh told John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, in a leaked diplomatic cable from September 2009 that the U.S. had an “open door” on terrorism in Yemen.

Contrary to public statements, the Obama administration actually helped fuel conflict in Yemen. The U.S. was shipping arms to Saudi Arabia for use in northern Yemen even as it denied any role in the conflict.

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest origin points for funds supporting international terrorism, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged U.S. diplomats to do more to stop the flow of money to Islamist militant groups from donors in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government, Clinton wrote, was reluctant to cut off money being sent to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan.

A storage facility housing Yemen’s radioactive material was unsecured for up to a week after its lone guard was removed and its surveillance camera was broken, a secret U.S. State Department cable released by WikiLeaks revealed Monday. “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” a Yemeni official said on January 9 in the cable.

Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, constructed with apparent help from North Korea, fearing it was built to make a bomb. In a leaked diplomatic cable obtained by the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice wrote the Israelis targeted and destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor just weeks before it was to be operational.

Diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks indicate authorities in the United Arab Emirates debated whether to keep quiet about the high-profile killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai in January. The documents also show the UAE sought U.S. help in tracking down details of credit cards Dubai police believe were used by a foreign hit squad involved in the killing. The spy novel-like slaying, complete with faked passports and assassins in disguise, is widely believed to be the work of Israeli secret agents.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Al Jazeera network that some of the unpublished cables show “top officials in several Arab countries have close links with the CIA, and many officials keep visiting US embassies in their respective countries voluntarily to establish links with this key US intelligence agency. These officials are spies for the U.S. in their countries.”

Pope Benedict impeded an investigation into alleged child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. Not only did Pope Benedict refuse to allow Vatican officials to testify in an investigation by an Irish commission into alleged child sex abuse by priests, he was also reportedly furious when Vatican officials were called upon in Rome.

Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness carried out negotiations for the Good Friday agreement with Irish then-prime minister Bertie Ahern while the two had explicit knowledge of a bank robbery that the Irish Republican Army was planning to carry out, according to a WikiLeaks cable. Ahern figured Adams and McGuinness knew about the 26.5 million pound Northern Bank robbery of 2004 because they were members of the “IRA military command.”

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has infiltrated the highest levels of government in Nigeria. A high-ranking executive for the international Shell oil company once bragged to U.S. diplomats, as reported in a leaked diplomatic cable, that the company’s employees had so well infiltrated the Nigerian government that officials had “forgotten” the level of the company’s access.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told a U.S. official last year that Latin America “needs a visible U.S. presence” to counter Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s growing influence in the region, according to a U.S. State Department cable leaked to WikiLeaks.

McDonald’s tried to delay the US government’s implementation of a free-trade agreement in order to put pressure on El Salvador to appoint neutral judges in a $24m lawsuit it was fighting in the country. The revelation of the McDonald’s strategy to ensure a fair hearing for a long-running legal battle against a former franchisee comes from a leaked US embassy cable dated 15 February 2006.

LIST ENDS

Much of the information in the cables had nothing to do with national security and was most definitely in the public interest – a seemingly endless litany of illegal behavior by the US and its proxies or allies. And yet, while the instigators of these acts walk free, many enjoying promotions, lucrative jobs and book tours, Julian Assange is denied freedom of movement, despite being granted political asylum by the respected sovereign nation of Ecuador over legitimate concerns of possible human rights violations and political persecution.

What, then, is the cause of this baffling hostility towards Mr. Assange, when, given the scope and depth of criminality he has uncovered, he would in a sane world be receiving with our deep gratitude the world’s most prestigious honors and awards for services to the public and democracy?

Culpability clearly lies with the corporate-owned media. Numerous articles have appeared throughout the mainstream press that have printed lies, inaccuracies, lazy reporting, smears and personal insults. [Note: one such article was analysed on this blog last year]. Comments below the line on these pieces published in major newspapers often mirror the incorrect factual statements made by the writers and the general confusion is added to by the input of obvious astroturfers drawn to the fray with every new assault.

Julian Assange, recognised by the UK high court as a journalist and a recipient of several prestigious journalism awards (including the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism and the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism), is the victim of an obvious fit-up, a crude, clumsy, clearly bogus attempt to force him into the clutches of those who want not only their revenge, but also – mafia-style – to ‘send a message’ to deter anyone else who might entertain the forbidden desire of informing the public of the secret evils carried out behind their backs in their name and with their taxes.

In the interests of law, of protecting press freedoms and the essential democratic ideal of holding those with great power accountable, not to mention the human rights and freedom of a man unjustly held against his will, right-thinking people of conscience must raise their voices and hands in defense of Julian Assange.

Written by Simon Wood

Twitter: @simonwood11