A 7,200-word Yahoo! article, “Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks”, published on 26 September 2021 has received some mainstream media coverage over the past several days. But Max Blumenthal of The Grayzone was the first to report the story back in May 2020, and for 16 months the establishment-backed media ignored it. The Yahoo! article provides some important new details of the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) plans to kill Julian Assange, and that WikiLeaks “associates” were considered as possible assassination targets as well. But the article is filled with crucial errors, including misinformation about Russia’s alleged role with WikiLeaks and a coverup of the Obama administration’s role in targeting Assange in Iceland in 2011.
In a 2 October 2021 article at Consortium News, “What the Yahoo! Assange Report Got Wrong”, Joe Lauria describes in detail the misinformation run by Yahoo! “The thrust of the Yahoo! article”, states Lauria, “is that the Obama administration was good to Assange while elements of the Trump administration plotted the assassination or abduction before taking the acceptable path of making a legal case against Assange.” As Lauria and Consortium News have long documented, there is no such “acceptable” legal case against Assange, as he has committed no crime.
One of the authors of the Yahoo! article, Michael Isikoff, was one of the most prominent media promoters of the Russiagate conspiracy theory that Russia and WikiLeaks colluded to bring down Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election. Isikoff was co-author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, which title needs no further explanation. The Yahoo! article reports as fact that Russia hacked the Democratic Party and gave its emails to Assange, but this conspiracy theory has long been thoroughly demolished, as the Australian Alert Service’s Washington Insider reported in July 2020.1 Based on analysis of the speed of the data download, William Binney, who was technical leader for intelligence at the US National Security Agency until his retirement in 2001, and former CIA Russia specialist Raymond McGovern proved that that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails were not hacked, but stolen at the DNC headquarters.
Throughout the entire Yahoo! article, the word “Iceland” does not appear once. Yet as the Australian Alert Service reported on 28 July 2021, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran a sting operation on Assange in 2011 which sought to frame him in a criminal case of hacking—conspiracy to commit computer intrusion—in Iceland. This operation under the Obama administration is a major scandal, as a key US witness in the indictment of Julian Assange participated in the FBI sting but has since changed his story and admitted his “evidence” against Assange was a lie. Despite the witness in question, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, being a diagnosed borderline sociopath, convicted serial paedophile and financial fraudster, US prosecutors have long sought to use his “evidence” to pursue Assange’s extradition. That the Yahoo! article omits this from its 7,200 words indicates establishment damage control rather than any genuine attempt to reveal truth.
The Yahoo! article also uncritically reported a concocted story about Russia trying to extract Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. According to Stella Moris, an Assange lawyer and his fiancée, the story of a Russian extraction from the embassy is false and was devised by the Spanish security company UC Global, which was responsible for security at the embassy. This story would “satisfy the CIA and keep the $200,000 a month contract going, a not uncommon tactic of informants to make stuff up to please their paymasters”, opined Lauria.
The Yahoo! article, continued Lauria, “also sets up a misleading idea that the CIA’s extrajudicial methods, such as assassination and abduction, sometimes as freelance acts without a presidential directive, are rare in the agency’s history. That history is littered with criminal acts, scores of which were uncovered by mid-1970s congressional investigations.” For instance, the CIA was behind multiple assassination plots of foreign leaders from 1959 to 1973 which were exposed in the declassified “Family Jewels” reports. And under Operation MK-Ultra the CIA, without presidential authority and illegally operating on US soil, drugged and tortured US citizens as part of a mind-control experiment. This is all on public record. What is occurring now is likely worse, as future historians may come to know.
What the Yahoo! article did reveal is the lengths that the CIA went to get around the US First Amendment (freedom of speech) issues in Assange’s case, as the following quote identifies: “Still chafing at the limits in place, top intelligence officials lobbied the White House to redefine WikiLeaks— and some high-profile journalists—as ‘information brokers’, which would have opened up the use of more investigative tools against them, potentially paving the way for their prosecution, according to former officials. It ‘was a step in the direction of showing a court, if we got that far, that we were dealing with agents of a foreign power’, a former senior counterintelligence official said.”
The White House rejected this attempt to redefine some journalists as “information brokers”, but in effect free speech barely still exists in much of the world where journalism has been infiltrated by intelligence agencies’ propaganda. German journalist and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper editor Udo Ulfkotte exposed this well in a 2014 confession speech broadcast by RT, in which he referred to the “puppets on a string of the Central Intelligence Agency”. It’s therefore more important than ever for an educated citizenry to demand political accountability, instead of relying on the media to keep governments honest.
1. “Russiagate hoax has unravelled”, Australian Alert Service, 22 July 2020.
By Jeremy Beck, Australian Alert Service, 6 October 2021