Last Sunday appeared on Yahoo!News this article describing that the CIA has made plans to kidnap and/or assassinate Julian Assange. The timing of these "revelations" almost exactly one month before the appeal hearing in the extradition case against Julian Assange is remarkable and even the authors are actually not the usual suspects who otherwise write articles about Wikileaks.
The said article about CIA plans to "deal" with Wikileaks founder and embassy associate Julian Assange has found a strong echo in the "quality media", which has recently followed this case with only moderate interest, although the protagonist is incarcerated in inhumane conditions as a remand prisoner in London and his extradition to the US was rejected in January by the competent district judge, citing the risk of suicide and inhumane conditions that would await him in the US penitentiary.
Here, for example, a summary of the Yahoo!News articles on ntv in German. The star, SPIEGEL and Guardian also reported. Telepolis reports as one of the German-language media that has not lost sight of the case over all these years.
The three Yahoo!News writers claim to have spoken to up to 30 sources from the US intelligence apparatus, and as one can easily find out, they are in fact firmly connected to the establishment. Zach Dorfman has written for the Aspen Institute and now serves on the Carnegie Council. Sean D. Naylor was an embedded reporter for the Army Times for over 20 years. Michael Isikoff is the author of the book "Russian Roulette", which seems to serve the anti-Russian currents in the US and elsewhere.
Overall, when reading the article and classifying the authors, skepticism is widespread because of their placement in the US military and security apparatus and one wonders what the intention may be for such an article, especially because some details also seem rather strange.
The current Yahoo!News article is riddled with not only subliminal accusations against Russia. It is alleged that Russia, for its part, tried to get Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London to present him as another "SUCCESS" alongside Edward Snowden in Moscow, without this being backed up by sources other than US. Snowden had spent 39 days in no man's land at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport before being granted asylum in Russia. Not necessarily a sign of Snowden's great popularity with his hosts, or that he was even welcomed with open arms, or that his trip to Russia was long planned.
Sarah Harrison does not give this impression in the above article, although of course it also applies here that you do not have to take everything at face value and can, what the individual actors claim. Nevertheless, I am more inclined to believe Snowden, Harrison and Assange than the governments that have thousands of lives on their conscience with their wars of aggression.
Unfortunately, there are no longer many countries to which the long arm of the USA does not reach. In any case, Germany has not yet dared to offer Snowden free escort or asylum.
Nor is the prevailing "Russiagate" narrative, according to which it was Russian agencies that leaked the Clinton and other emails of the "Democrats" to Wikileaks, questioned in any way, although many indications are that the emails were not hacked, but came from a disappointed insider in the Democratic Party.
If released, Assange may have no choice but to seek asylum in Russia, China or North Korea.
As for the article about the statements of the 30 (former) US officials (so designated in the article), there is a lot to note. Eight of these officials reported on specific plans to kidnap Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy or to assassinate him and other people close to Wikileaks.
The release of secret CIA material by Wikileaks, which describes in detail the CIA's activities in the IT sector, is seen as the trigger for these extreme plans. It is hacking, cyber war, the placement of malicious software, etc. Actually a much more far-reaching computer intrusion than what Assange and Wikileaks are now accused of. These publications were called Vault 7 by Wikileaks. The article also mentions that there may still be unpublished parts of these files that act as a kind of life insurance policy for Assange and other Wikileaks employees. By the way, the charge against Assange refers not to the Vault7 publications.
On Yahoo!News article claims that these revelations whitewashed newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo because it was the largest data leak deep inside the CIA to date.
The article also admits that there was no direct link from Wikileaks to Russian or any other foreign intelligence service, and that Pompeo, in one of his first appearances at a Washington think tank, called Wikileaks a "non-state intelligence service" to pave the way for a tougher stance against Wikileaks and Assange, who at that time had been sitting in the embassy asylum in London for almost 5 years.
The three authors also create a misunderstood image at the Ecuadorian Embassy, in that a photo intended to show the Ecuadorian embassy shows the entire eight-story building, in which the embassy occupies only half a floor. This gives the impression that Assange spent the almost seven years with a lot of space, whereas he was accommodated all the time on about 20m2, without direct sunlight and in the end also with severely limited contact with the outside world.
This speech by Pompeo is said to have inspired CIA employees to think about the kidnapping and murder of Assange for the first time, and Pompeo is said to have said at meetings that no consideration was too far-reaching and that everything that could harm Wikileaks and Assange must be examined. This, in turn, has raised concerns among CIA personnel about the legality of some of the proposed actions, and they have raised those concerns in secret to the National Security Council and Justice Department officials.
This is the only reason why they would have written an indictment against Assange so that the US authorities would have something in their hands in the event that Assange suddenly finds himself in their hands through kidnapping. It overlooks the fact that there has been evidence of secret charges against Assange since 2010.
That the reader should be led to believe that in the end the rule of law predominates even in the Trump administration seems quite daring, considering that even under the liberal Obama, the persecution of whistleblowers and the number of drone killings have increased exponentially. But maybe these can also be presented as somehow legal.
What is interesting is how the three authors seem to take at face value everything that has been leaked to them by their contacts in the security apparatus. Of these contacts, only two are named, including the director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, who resigned in January, one day after Biden took office. He is quoted in the article with these words about Wikileaks, without any further explanation or comment:
"They're not a journalistic organization, they're nowhere near it."
The article gives the impression that there were, so to speak, the extreme Pompeo / Trump and parts of the CIA faction, whose activities were stopped by the law-abiding employees of the Ministry of Justice. It completely hides the fact that the flimsy US indictment is also hard on the edge of illegality. One only needs to read something to the UN Special Representative for Torture, Nils Melzer, to see that the Assange case has been riddled with legal inflections for more than 10 years. Here you can see Melzer in a recent interview with Randy Credico, which was published after the Yahoo!News article was made. He stressed there several times that the case must now be filed.
It is also noteworthy that the article describes the monitoring of Assange in the embassy asyl and that the data went directly live to the USA. Although this is the common assumption, this has not yet been heard from the official side. The fact that conversations of the potential defendant Assange with his defense lawyers and doctors were also intercepted, this is illegal to the highest degree and the prosecution would have to collapse immediately, does not seem to catch the eye of the three authors.
Several times in the article, U.S. officials are quoted as saying that all these plans have not been realized because it is London and not Pakistan or Egypt. Even this neo-colonial attitude does not seem remarkable to the authors.
In addition, there are no criminal offences due to the alleged non-implementation of the plans, while at the same time, also with the help of the article, a threatening backdrop is built. Part of this threatening backdrop is certainly the ongoing detention of Assange supporter Craig Murray. In the end, the British would have prevailed, who would have refused a kidnapping on their territory.
The article also fails to mention that the British authorities, in their own abduction of the Ecuadorian citizen Assange from the embassy asylum, were also hard at the edge of the law, if not outside it. The embassy asyl and Assange's nationality had been revoked by the Ecuadorian President Moreno by decree, with no possibility of opposition on Assange's part. If the article of the Three always emphasizes the law-abiding nature of the state actors, they should also have commented on the pre-eminent role of the British authorities.
It is also not mentioned that the British authorities, together with the Ecuadorians, allowed the theft of Assange's belongings by the USA a few days after his arrest. These were computers, medical and legal documents.
The fact that one of the prosecution's key witnesses, who was moved by the FBI to make a statement against Assange by means of a criminal decree, has now withdrawn it as fabricated, is also not mentioned in the article of the three analysts.
Although the said article is riddled with further inconsistencies, Assange's American defender Barry Pollack also has his say:
"As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information,"
Is it possible to kidnap or murder someone after a trial?
Investigative journalist Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald also speak, and mention is made of the fact that the US authorities tried to define the activities of these two as non-journalism.
Overall, the article appears to be an attempt to portray the machinations of the CIA and other U.S. agencies as misdeeds of the Trump administration, while there have been and continue to be law-abiding employees at the Justice Department, and that the Obama/Biden administration(s) are taking the law more seriously than Trump. This is the scattering of sand in the eyes of the public and anyone who has dealt with the case a little closer will recognize it as such.
Nevertheless, the timing of the release is remarkable. Perhaps the US and UK authorities have realised that they have overstepped the mark and that the procedure cannot be continued without it becoming clear that it is not a procedure governed by the rule of law.
In the meantime, more and more people are realizing that this story has not been done in the right way, and this is also where the actions of Assange supporters begin. There are currently some large billboards in London pointing out the case.
Perhaps the British judges should be given the opportunity here to put the case on record with reference to Assange's risk of suicide, without the misconduct of the authorities of the participating countries Sweden, the USA, the United Kingdom, Ecuador and Australia having to be rolled up further. The final sentences of the article, namely that Wikileaks is now obsolete and US policy should not be guided by revenge, would also fit this. However, the authors think that Assange still has a long way to go through the instances.
In order for the case to become even more public before the next trial, each of us can participate in the currently taking place vigils. This is not just about the freedom of man Assange, but about the freedom and free speech of all of us. The corrupt and misguided activities of those in power must be stopped now, immediately and here. How to do this nonviolently and with humor is certainly worth further consideration.