yet another lying piece of shit crap package from CNN

To Attack Julian Assange, CNN Twists Embassy Surveillance Records That Were First Covered By Spanish Newspaper
Kevin Gosztola, Shadow Proof, Jul 16 2019

Spanish newspaper El País reported on Jul 9 that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was spied on by a Spanish private defense and security firm called Undercover Global S.L. when he lived in the Ecuador embassy in the UK. The report was based on “documents, video, and audio material” that was “used in an extortion attempt against Assange by several individuals.” In May, Spanish police arrested journalist José Martín Santos, who had a record of fraud, and a computer programmer for their alleged involvement in an “attempt to make €3m from the sale of private material.” Reporters for El País found the spying on Assange’s legal defense meetings to be most significant. They were stunned by the fact that Assange felt he had to hold meetings in the women’s bathroom if he wanted to ensure privacy. And they took note of U.C. Global’s “feverish, obsessive vigilance” toward “the guest,” which became more intense after Lenin Moreno was elected president of Ecuador in May 2017. That is not how CNN viewed the same cache of information compiled by the private security company and eventually used to allegedly extort Assange. Although EL PAÍS makes no mention of meddling in the 2016 presidential election in its coverage, CNN approached the material like analysts at the CIA. They voraciously consumed logs hoping the documents would confirm Assange collaborated with Russian intelligence assets to release emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. Compare the two reports, as they appeared on the news organization’s websites:

CNN was unable to find concrete proof, and the words “potentially” and “possibility” do heavy lifting for the media organization. The CNN report reads:

New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 Pindo election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.

Yet, there is little to no evidence in the report to substantiate the conspiracy theory that CNN reporters want the public to believe. Much of CNN’s report quotes from the Mueller report, not the private security company materials. It plugs in meetings and interactions Assange had with visitors that align with dates in the report in order to claim this appears to be evidence of collaboration with the Russian government, but CNN does not know what transpired. For example on Jul 18 2016, CNN states:

While the RNC kicked off in Cleveland, an embassy security guard broke protocol by abandoning his post to receive a package outside the embassy from a man in disguise. The man covered his face with a mask and sunglasses and was wearing a backpack, according to surveillance images obtained by CNN. WikiLeaks informed the Russian hackers that it had received the files and was preparing to release them soon. It’s not clear if these incidents are related, and the contents of the package delivered to the embassy are unknown.

Nonetheless, hours after the report was published, CNN splashed the headline, “When Russia came knocking for Julian Assange” on their website, with a grainy but lurid frame from a surveillance camera that showed the Masked Man who made a delivery.

This is similar to when CNN went searching for a story about a Russian-funded digital media project called In The Now that produces viral videos aimed at “undermining Pindo democracy.” When reporters could not find information to substantiate their state-identified suspicions, they manufactured a news story that involved giving Facebook a pretext for removing the project’s pages. Ecuador granted asylum to Assange in Aug 2012. The Ecuador government concluded Assange was a journalist, who faced the threat of persecution and would not receive a fair trial if was extradited. He also would likely suffer cruel and degrading treatment if he was sentenced to prison. Since then, Pindo media organizations like CNN have refused to accept that Assange was a journalist targeted by the Pindo government. The ignorance of CNN reporters shows in the report. CNN claims:

He had a special list of people who were able to enter the embassy without showing identification or being searched by security. He was even granted the power to delete names from the visitor logs. From the outset he demanded (and was granted) high-speed internet connectivity, phone service and regular access to professional visitors and personal guests. This arrangement enabled him to keep WikiLeaks active, the documents said.

Assange was not living in a prison cell, although he certainly suffered psychological trauma from his confinement in the embassy. He did not have restrictions like inmates. Of course, he was permitted to continue his work managing WikiLeaks and meeting with anyone who wanted to see him. But if one reads CNN’s report, it is clear, like the CIA, they do not view the work Assange was doing as journalistic bur rather the work of an “enemy” of Pindostan. CNN reporters fixate on Andrew Müller-Maguhn’s visits to the embassy and a part of the Mueller report that referred to Andrew Müller-Maguhn, a German who met Assange through the Chaos Computer Club in 2007 and sits on the board of the Wau Holland Foundation. The Mueller report stated:

The Office cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries, who visited during the summer of 2016. For example, public reporting identified Andrew Müller-Maguhn as a WikiLeaks associate who may have assisted with the transfer of these stolen documents to WikiLeaks.

Yet, the Mueller report’s citation was wildly misleading. The source for this example was a 2018 profile of Müller-Maguhn by journalist Ellen Nakashima published by the WaPo, which CNN refers to in its report but does not bother to quote. Müller-Maguhn told Nakashima it “would be insane” for him to hand deliver sensitive files, especially when the CIA has labeled WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service.” He said:

How many of you wouldn’t be scared shitless by the head of the CIA declaring you the next target?

He characterized this allegation as a “lame attempt” by Pindo intelligence agencies to hurt the Wau Holland Foundation so they cut off their tax-free donations to WikiLeaks in Europe. The materials that CNN and El País examined show Müller-Maguhn visited Assange “at least 12 times before the 2016 election,” but the most CNN can report is that he “potentially” was a courier. They have no evidence for their claims that are largely dependent on coincidence and guilt by association. El País’ report details the intrusive surveillance that the firm was hired to perform. Such surveillance violated the protections Ecuador supposedly granted Assange as a political asylee. According to El País:

The security employees at the embassy had a daily job to do: to monitor Assange’s every move, record his conversations, and take note of his moods. The company’s drive to uncover their target’s most intimate secrets led the team to carry out a handwriting examination behind his back, which resulted in a six-page report. Company employees also took a feces sample from a baby’s diaper to check whether Assange and one of his most faithful collaborators were the child’s parents. This intelligence work had nothing to do with protection duties.

CNN did not find the fact that company employees took a feces sample to be all that important. Instead, their mention of feces involved the scurrilous statement made by Moreno that he once “smeared feces on the walls out of anger.” Allegations against Russia have been world news, but Russia is mentioned only once in El País report. El País describes:

The recording equipment picked up on several secret plans drafted by Assange’s team to spirit him out of the embassy in disguise and take him to Russia or Cuba. The projects were never executed because the Australian-born activist refused, as he considered this solution ‘a defeat.’

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou said:

The CNN report is deceptive and misleading. It takes old information, adds conjecture, and reaches conclusions that simply are not supported by facts. It’s not news. It’s unsupported opinion and entertainment.

CNN management must keep churning out gossip pieces like this report on Assange because its ratings partly depend on sustaining the panic around Russia’s alleged influence. Although Mueller was unable to “establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” that does not matter to the news network. Worse, the Trump administration indicted Assange for allegedly violating the Espionage Act when he published classified documents from Chelsea Manning that revealed war crimes, diplomatic misconduct, and other acts of political corruption. They launched a prosecution that could set a dangerous precedent that would greatly impact the ability of CNN to engage in newsgathering activities. Such a precedent would not affect CNN when it produced intelligence agency propaganda like this story on Assange, but it could impede reporters if they dared to engage in journalism that challenged officials, particularly those involved in natsec operations.

New CNN Assange Smear Piece Is Amazingly Dishonest, Even For CNN
Caitlin Johnstone, Jul 16 2019

CNN has published an unbelievably brazen and dishonest smear piece on Julian Assange, easily the most egregious article of its kind since the notoriously bogus Assange-Manafort report by the Groon last year. It contains none of the “exclusive” documents which it claims substantiate its smears, relying solely on vague unsubstantiated assertions and easily debunked lies to paint the WikiLeaks founder in a negative light. And let’s be clear right off the bat, it is most certainly a smear piece. The article titled “Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling”, admits that it exists for the sole purpose of tarnishing Assange’s reputation when it reports, with no evidence whatsoever, that while at the Ecuadorian embassy Assange once “smeared feces on the walls out of anger.” Not “reportedly.” Not “the Ecuadorian government claims.” CNN reported it as a fact, as an event that is known to have happened. This is journalistic malpractice, and it isn’t an accident. Whenever you see any “news” report citing this claim, you are witnessing a standard smear tactic of the plutocratic media. Whenever you see them citing this claim as a concrete, verified fact, you are witnessing an especially aggressive and deliberate psyop. The Ecuadorian embassy was easily the most-surveilled building in the world during Assange’s stay there, and the Ecuadorian government has leaked photos of Assange’s living quarters to the media in an attempt to paint him as a messy houseguest in need of eviction, so if the “feces on the walls” event had ever transpired you would have seen photos of it, whether you wanted to or not. It never happened. The article begins:

New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 Pindo election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

In its very first sentence the article invalidates all the claims which follow it, because its use of the word “potentially” means that none of the documents CNN purports to have contain any actual evidence. It’s worth noting at this time that there is to this day not one shred of publicly available evidence that any of the Demagog Party emails published by WikiLeaks in 2016 were in fact “hacked” at all, and could very well have been the result of a leak as asserted by former British ambassador Craig Murray, who claims to have inside knowledge on the matter. The glaring plot holes in the Mueller report’s assertions about Russia being the source of the 2016 WikiLeaks drops have already been ripped wide open by journalist Aaron Maté’s meticulous analysis of the report’s timeline in an article accurately titled “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims”. The CNN smear piece, which claims to “add a new dimension to the Mueller report,” is entirely relying on this porous timeline for its reporting. Plot holes include the fact that Mueller claims (and CNN repeats) that the Russians transferred the emails to WikiLeaks on or around Jul 14, which Maté notes is “a full month after Assange publicly announced that he had them.” CNN kicks off its smear piece with the inflammatory claim that “Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments,” mentioning both “Russians” and “hackers” in the same breath in an attempt to give the impression that the two are related. It’s not until paragraph 43 and 46, long after most people have stopped reading, that the articles authors bother to inform their readers that the “hackers” in question are German and have no established connection to the Russian government whatsoever. The “Russians” counted among Assange’s scores of visitors consist of RT staff, who have always consistently reported on WikiLeaks, and a “Russian national” about whom almost nothing is known. The article falsely labels Assange a “hacker”, a defamatory claim the mass media circulates whenever it wants to tarnish Assange’s reputation. Assange, of course, is a publisher. WikiLeaks publishes materials which are given to it, it doesn’t “hack” them. CNN also repeats the long-debunked lie that RT “published articles detailing the new batches of emails before WikiLeaks officially released them” during the 2016 election, citing no evidence because this never happened. RT reported on a WikiLeaks release in Oct 2016, after it had been published by WikiLeaks but before the WikiLeaks Twitter account had tweeted about it, and western propagandists willfully conflated WikiLeaks publications with tweets from the WikiLeaks Twitter account in order to make it look like RT had insider knowledge about the publications. In reality, RT was simply watching the WikiLeaks site closely for new releases in order to get an early scoop before other outlets, because Podesta email leaks had been dropping regularly.  RT America editor Nebojša Malić‏ tweeted in response to the smear:

That is a LIE that’s been debunked over and over. We published ONE article about the emails that were RELEASED already, just not TWEETED about yet, because WikiLeaks had been releasing them like clockwork and we paid attention. It’s called journalism, they should try it sometime.

RT’s Ivor Crotty tweeted:

Yes that is fake news. I was the editor on the team that monitored wikileaks and by Podesta 6 we knew they tweeted at 9am EST each day (1pm Dublin) — so we checked the database by reverse searching and discovered a new dump, tweeted about it, and the conspiracy theorists jumped.

It’s not possible to research the “RT had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks drops” conspiracy theory without running across articles which debunked it at the time, so the article’s authors were likely either knowingly lying or taking dictation from someone who was. This would be the same CNN who told its viewers that it’s against the law to read WikiLeaks, with Demagog Party prince Chris Cuomo lying:

Remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media, so everything you learn about this you’re learning from us.

The same CNN which falsely reported not once but twice that Assange is a pedophile. The same CNN which has been caught blatantly lying in its Russiagate coverage, which has had to fire journalists for misreporting Russiagate in a media environment where that almost never happens with Russia stories, which has deleted evidence of its journalistic malpractice regarding Russiagate from the internet without retraction or apology. So this latest attempt to tarnish Julian Assange’s reputation from CNN is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that the article contains exactly zero of the “exclusive documents” which it says validate its claims and insinuations. Nor is it surprising that CNN is using invisible evidence which almost certainly came into its hands through a government agency to give weight to its smear. But the sheer volume of disinformation and deceit they were able to pack into one single article this time around was just jaw-dropping. Even for CNN.

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