Plans to poison or kidnap Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy were discussed between sources in US intelligence and a private security firm that spied extensively on the WikiLeaks co-founder, a court has been told.
Details of the alleged spying operation against Assange and anyone who visited him at the embassy were laid out on Wednesday at his extradition case, in evidence by a former employee of a Spanish security company, UC Global.
Microphones were concealed to monitor Assange’s meetings with lawyers, his fingerprint was obtained from a glass and there was even a plot to obtain a nappy from a baby who had been brought on regular visits to the embassy, according to the witness, whose evidence took the form of a written statement.
The founder and director of UC Global, David Morales, had said that “the Americans” had wanted to establish paternity but the plan was foiled when the then employee alerted the child’s mother.
Anonymity was granted on Tuesday to the former employee and another person who had been involved with UC Global, after the hearing was told they feared that Morales, or others connected to him in the US, could seek to harm them.
Julian Assange’s conversations in the latter part of his 7-year stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London were systematically bugged, even in the toilet, a London court heard Wednesday.
In written statements at Assange’s extradition hearing, two anonymous witnesses who worked for a Spanish firm with a security contract at the embassy said the WikiLeaks founder faced an intensifying bugging operation from 2017 onwards after Donald Trump became U.S. president.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser on Tuesday granted the two witnesses anonymity amid fears for their safety. Lawyers acting on behalf of the U.S. government did not contest the submission of the anonymous statements but said they were largely irrelevant to the matter under consideration in London’s Old Bailey court.
The computer charges claimed that, in 2010, Assange conspired with his source, Chelsea Manning, to crack an account on a Windows computer in her military base, and that the “primary purpose of the conspiracy was to facilitate Manning’s acquisition and transmission of classified information.” The account enabled internet file transfers using a protocol known as FTP.
New testimony from the third week of Assange’s extradition trial makes it increasingly clear that this hacking charge is incredibly flimsy. The alleged hacking not only didn’t happen, according to expert testimony at Manning’s court martial hearing in 2013 and again at Assange’s extradition trial last week, but it also couldn’t have happened.
The new testimony, reported earlier this week by investigative news site Shadowproof, also shows that Manning already had authorized access to, and the ability to exfiltrate, all of the documents that she was accused of leaking — without receiving any technical help from WikiLeaks.
And here's Joe Lauria's report on today's day in court.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, September 30, 2020. SON OF TRUMP: THE DEBATE.
Son of Trump. In the tradition of past sequels like THUNDERHEAD, SON OF FLICKA and THE SON OF MONTE CRISTO and SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, last night a new film was delivered: SON OF TRUMP.
Chris Wallace moderated a debate between US President and GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden. No others were invited -- not the Green Party's Howie Hawkins, not the SEP's Joseph Kishore, not the PSL's Gloria La Riva and not the Libertarian Party's Jo Jorgensen.
It was just Donald and Joe. Or Donald and Donald Jr. We'll get back to it.
Chris Wallace did not try to fact check. Thank goodness. Big boned Candy Crawley ending her sad career in disgrace as a result of her 'fact checks' which, as she herself admitted on CNN immediately after she completed 'moderating,' were incorrect. The moderator's job is to keep the debate going. It is the job of the candidates on the stage to hold one another accountable. So at least Chris avoided that nonsense.
Donald Trump won the debate.
One of the reasons for that is Chris Wallace. Both candidates interrupted one another throughout the debate, both spoke snide remarks while the other was speaking. Chris, at one point, corrected Donald Trump who then noted Joe was doing the same thing and Chris replied that Donald was doing it more.
A friend who was -- and still is -- planning to vote for Joe said that moment stood out to him (a well known liberal comic). Why? Because it was unfair and reminded him of high school. He was a class clown. He was not the only one. He sat with four others and a high school English teacher would always call him out. It might be any of the other three but she would always single him out. In part, it was because the other three included the superintendent's son. But it wasn't fair.
And Chris Wallace, in that moment, made this anti-Trump ("I hated him with all my heart") feel sorry for Donald Trump.
Fairness is something Americans count on. And that wasn't a fair moment. When Donald said Joe was doing it to, it was up to Chris to call them both out.
And Joe was doing it too.
Which is how we got SON OF TRUMP.
The bar for Joe was never going to be that high. Going into the debate, we all knew Joe was going to lie and the media would look the other way or rush to say it didn't matter. We all knew that the media would ignore Joe's mental issues and they did. On the latter, for example, no one's reporting over Joe, in the debate, confusing Medicare and Medicaid. On the former?
Camille Caldera (USA TODAY) claims to fact check whether or not Joe Biden called US troops "stupid bastards." She concludes:
Based on our research, the claim that former Vice President Joe Biden called the troops "stupid bastards" is missing context. Biden did make the remark in 2016 as part of a call to applaud a fellow soldier. It was a joke, per a spokesperson for his campaign. During the same speech, he praised the troops as the "finest generation of warriors" in the world and thanked them for their "incredible sacrifices."
Camille is missing context and demonstrating that she can't fact check -- either she's an idiot or she's a partisan who can't control her whoring.
In the debate, Donald stated Joe called the troops "stupid bastards." Camille tells you he did but it was supposed to be a joke. What's the liar leaving out?
The most important thing.
Joe didn't keep his mouth shut. Joe responded to Donald that it never happened, that he never said it.
That's the claim that Joe presented. He didn't say, "I was joking." He didn't insist, "I said it but . . ." He said he didn't say it.
That would be lying. Lying Camille, like what you do with your fact check.
That's not fair and, again, when people aren't fair in their treatment of Donald, it helps him.
The media's reputation is in the sewer. And it belongs there. They lied about the Iraq War, they lied for eight years insisting there were no scandals in the Barack Obama administration (Lois Lerner, Eric Holder being in contempt of Congress, Solyndra's half a billion unpaid loan that should never have happened to begin with, etc.). Barack employed the media and their spouses. In Ben Rhodes case (a disgusting piece of filth, Ben Rhodes), the brother of the CBS NEWS president David Rhodes. It was all across the board -- every element of the media. At THE NATION, for example, they let Chris Hayes cover the White House. No. His wife was -- oh, I'm being told that CRAPAPEDIA has scrubbed Chris' entry. To read it, you don't know now that his wife worked for the White House. That's okay, the whores of CRAPAPEDIA are not the final word. We can go to Barack's archived White House pages and grab the information:
President Obama Announces Key Additions to the Office of the White House Counsel
Deputy Counsels and Special Counsel
And we can stop right there because Kate Shaw is Chris Hayes' wife. January 20, 2009 he was sworn in and eight days later he announces Kate Shaw's in his administration. Which means the transition team had already vetted her. Which means Chris Hayes should not have been allowed cover any White House story or issue for THE NATION. That's not me slamming Chris. I don't think he was swayed by his wife's position. But I shouldn't have to think about it. Even if there's no conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict of interest was there. That's why NPR, for years and years, would not allow Michele Norris (ALL THINGS CONSIDERED host from 2002 to 2011) to cover various topics because her husband Broderick D. Johnson because of his various positions (in the Clinton administration, in the Obama administration, etc.)
The press repeatedly lied for Barack. Sometimes it was because he screamed and yelled at them -- or his minions did. And sometimes they'd get honest as they retired.
Oh, look, here's ABC NEWS' Ann Compton, retiring in 2014, talking about Barack's tantrums.
Please be clear that while she was the working press, while she was covering the White House for ABC NEWS, she never made these statements. She never reported those facts.
Barack got a free ride. That's the reality.
Barack born in Kenya?
Bob Somerby loves to lie and pretend that Donald Trump started that.
Barack Obama, THREE RIVERS PRESS (TIMES BOOKS, a book imprint of THE NEW YORK TIMES, was the original publisher but we're talking an article by AP when Barack was running for the US Senate and THREE RIVERS PRESS is the publisher that re-issued the book in 2004) and AP started that rumor. Add GOOGLE to it. In 2008, as Americans were beginning to discover Barack -- Hillary had seemed inevitable to many in 2007. In 2008, GOOGLE had some anniversary and allowed people to search old news items. (Later that year they would institute GOOGLE NEWS ARCHIVES which is still up but they no longer maintain.) It was then that the rumors of Barack being born in Kenya really took hold. People found the AP articles, the first ones written about Barack, and he was described as being from Kenya in the article. AP never issued a retraction or correction (to this day).
Did AP lie?
No. Their report may be inaccurate, but they didn't lie. They based that report on the press material for Barack's book DREAMS OF MY FATHER. That material was put out by THREE RIVERS PRESS. That material identified Barack as such.
Author Barack has to approve promotional material that the publisher releases. He was running for the Senate and apparently missed the mistake. But this whole controversy is on Barack and THREE RIVERS PRESS>
It's amazing how we can blame everyone but the press.
It's like with Jean Seberg. How many years online did I have to scream about NEWSWEEK before it finally got added to the record. The lie, when I came online, promoted by FAIR and every Indymedia outlet, was that Joyce Harber ran a blind item about Jean and Jean lost her baby as a result.
It was a lie. That was months prior. Jean went into the hospital when NEWSWEEK magazine ran an item claiming to have interviewed Jean -- they did not -- and telling the world that the child she was carrying was not her husband's -- now that didn't happen, I'm talking about the press, back then, if you were married and pregnant, end of story. Joyce Harber's item didn't mean a thing to Jean. The NEWSWEEK story did. And she and Romain sued NEWSWEEK and won and NEWSWEEK had to print an apology.
The first time I mentioned Jean Seberg a few months ago at The Third Estate Sunday Review
a few members wrote to ask if I was sure what I was talking about --
the government spying on an actress? They did their own research and
learned that, yes, it was true and that it went way beyond that. Someone
asked at one point (the third or fourth time I'd mentioned Seberg) why I
brought her up as opposed to others? That's a good question because
there are a long list of victims (some who managed to continue their
lives and some who weren't as fortunate).
We focus on the press here. And Seberg (Breathless is a good place to start if you never seen one of the films she made) is a solid example, to me anyway, of the problems with the press. Just to recap (and sorry for those who've followed comments at The Third Estate Sunday Review on this topic), Seberg is attacked by two press organs. The FBI wanted to plant a rumor about Seberg. She was an actress and she was also involved in politics. That included the Black Panthers which appeared to be a source of some of the "nervousness" about her (my term). (The reports from that period, clandestine spying by the FBI, the CIA and military intel, focus on any sexual aspect they can to the point that you visualize a bunch of prigs with their noses pressed to a bedroom window. There's a scene in Coming Home where Jane Fonda and Jon Voight are being spied upon and the comments focus on sex which is a good reflection of what the reports focused upon.)
So Seberg's on the enemy list (Nixon's) and she's spied upon. And the FBI floats the idea of planting a rumor that she's pregnant by a Black Panther in order to attempt to destroy her with the oft cited "middle America." At one point J. Edgar Hoover writes a memo saying not to go through with the plan. Either there are memos that were never released or someone elected to
act upon their own. So a blind item pops up in Joyce Haber's gossip column about an actress who's pregnant by a Black Panther. The item is written in such way that it could be any number of actresses (including Jane Fonda -- Seberg was married and living in Paris at the time) except for noting that the actress was filming a musical (that would be Paint Your Wagon).
Haber was the fall guy for that blind item in the eyes of many. But Haber didn't just come across the information. It was fed to her by her editor. Her editor, who claimed later that he couldn't recall anything about the matter, passed it to Haber by Bill Thomas who wrote on the tip that it came from a good source. He couldn't remember anything though when, in the seventies, it was revealed that the FBI had planned to plant a story like that with the press. When it came out in the seventies (as a result of the committees), Thomas struck the pose of "I don't remember." Haber was quite clear that she didn't take planted information from the FBI and, if this was planted information, Thomas was the one who needed to answer for it.
But, big surprise, everyone looked the other way. That shows you the problems with the press (mainstream) right there. But that's only the first example. Apparently the attempts to shock America over an interracial romance weren't completed. There were additional blind items. (And Nixon's staff, Erlichman, Mitchell, etc. received reports from Hoover that they presumably passed on in some form.) But then the "news organ" Newsweek, supposedly not a gossip rag, runs with it as well.
Edward Behr was the author of the piece. His claim is that he included at the end of the article to demonstrate his knowledge of the subject but didn't intend for it to be included. (It being that Seberg was pregnant by an African-American and not her husband, Romain Gary.) Behr may be genuine in his remarks because in his report that section was labeled "strictly FYI." Somehow (or "somehow") this false fact made it into Newsweek. The editor (Kermit Lansner) offered an excuse (my opinion, lame) that he hadn't checked the edition as he usually did because he'd had a scooter accident that day. (Late in the day, by the way. I'm thinking it was three or four o'clock, as Lansner told the story, when he had his scooter mishap.) True or not, the "fact" that Seberg was pregnant by "a black activist" makes it into Newsweek.
I'm sure that was just a coincidence. I'm sure that these coincidences just happen. It just happens that a rumor the FBI was interested in planting gets pushed onto Haber by her editor (Thomas) and it just happens that a false fact labeled "strictly FYI" ends up in Newsweek which did have fact checkers and was aware of the issue of libel. It didn't even run as a rumor, it ran as a fact in an item on Jean Seberg. I'm sure that all of that just magically happened and Nixon and his crowd were just, by magic, getting all the breaks when it came to this false story.
(Yes, that was sarcasm.)
When the Times (New York) ran a story about Jane Fonda and John Kerry in 2004, about the photo (doctored or genuine, I don't remember) people rolled their eyes because one of the claims (false) was that Fonda and Kerry were at another event together (the doctored photo).
Where Jane Fonda was in the early seventies should never be in question because the government recorded her every move. (Kerry was somewhere on the east coast. The undoctored photo was taken by Al Franken's brother, I believe, who immediately noted that the new one featuring Fonda and Kerry onstage together was a fake. To end this out, Fonda was in Los Angeles, as the FBI noted, at a fund raiser -- I believe for the Black Panthers.)
Now maybe the reporter who worked on that story for the Times suffered the same fate that so many did -- we expected would learn about COINTELPRO and other activities in their schooling and they didn't learn of it. Or maybe the reporter was just lazy. I don't know. But, my opinion, the false rumor never should have been floated in the paper in 2004 when it could have easily been dismissed via the government's own records.
I'm off on a tangent where even I've lost my place. But the point here is that Seberg was engaged in lawful activities protected by the Constitution. Those activities made the government nervous so she was (illegally) spied upon. The government floated the idea of creating false rumors about her and planting them with the press. (That happened also with a number of other actors, by the way.) And two large press organs, the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek, just happened to print the items that the FBI was interested in having planted.
It's just a coincidence that the government's smear plan on Seberg makes it into the press.
If you're a trusting soul, I guess. And I guess I'm not. And that's why we don't highlight Newsweek here and why I don't purchase the magazine. Robert Parry has rightly documented serious problems (more than that) at the magazine in the eighties when he worked for it. That should be enough to bother many people. But it didn't start there and if it ended there . . .
This isn't "wild talk." I've not offered my own theories. This is public record. And it was embarrassing for the Los Angeles Times when it came out in the mid-seventies. I don't remember Newsweek being embarrassed. (I don't remember the Times being that embarrassed. If they had been, the Reagan defense of "I don't recall" wouldn't have flown.)
So that's why I focus on Seberg. She was on the enemies list (Nixon's), she was spied on by the government, Nixon received reports on her (via Ehrlichman), the FBI devised a smear campaign to attempt to shock "middle America" and devalue Seberg and that smear campaign appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. In terms of Harber's piece, it was a blind item (an obvious one). In terms of Newsweek, the magazine that never prints that an actor is gay or lesbian until they come out, they ran it as fact. And somehow no one thought that this was something worthy of checking out. It's interesting the way Nixon's interests were so well served by the mainstream press with regards to Seberg but, of course, it was all some big coincidence. That's what the story supposedly is. Like the supposed story on Valerie Plame is that the outing just happened without planning on the part of anyone.
We covered it many times after that (here when FAIR was lying).
They lie and they cover for themselves.
And they lied like crazy for Barack which is one of the reasons you ended up with Donald Trump.
They've always lied -- Marilyn Monroe killed herself because she didn't have a job anymore! No, she was already going to return to SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE. They lie constantly and the American people are sick of it.
They're lying now.
Joe Biden did not do well.
He had one job: Draw a line between himself and Trump.
All he had to do was appear mature and thoughtful.
Instead, he argued with Trump, he belittled him with insults, he interrupted him.
This is who we replace Trump with? Son of Trump.
Joe was a disaster. He lost.
When they go low, Michelle Obama said, we go high.
Well Joe didn't last night. Joe didn't just step into the gutter, he wallowed in the gutter -- with glee.
"The party is me," he insisted. Then heaven help us all.
Then he claimed that Roe v Wade was on the ballot. Questioned, he insisted, " It's on the ballot in the Court." No, it's settled law. And when Joe claims otherwise, he weakens it. Settled law is settled law. If you support Roe v Wade, that's the argument you make. The majority of adults in the US favor it. The decision was made decades ago. It's settled law. People who argue otherwise aren't arguing law, aren't arguing fact, they're weakening Roe v Wade.
I'm no where near done with this debate. I may do a brief entry tonight, otherwise we'll continue it in tomorrow's snapshot.
The following sites updated: