9 votes

Five Weeks After the Guardian’s Viral Blockbuster Assange/Manafort Scoop, No Evidence Has Emerged – Just Stonewalling

8 comments

  1. [5]
    deadaluspark Link
    Previously, on Tildes

    Previously, on Tildes

    From the start, the massive holes in the Guardian’s blockbuster were glaring. As I noted on the day the story published, analysts from across the political spectrum – including those quite hostile to Assange – expressed serious doubts about the article’s sourcing, internal logic, self-evidently dubious assertions and overall veracity, even as many media figures uncritically trumpeted it.
    In particular:

    • How could it be that Paul Manafort, of all people, snuck into one of the most monitored, survilled, videoed and photographed buildings on the planet on three separate occasions without any of that ostensibly “smoking gun” visual evidence having emerged, including in the Guardian’s own story?
    • Why would the Guardian publish a story of this magnitude without first requiring that its Ecuadoran intelligence sources provide them with such photographic or video evidence to publish it or at least review prior to publication?
    • How could it be that Manafort’s name never appeared in any of the embassy entrance logs even though, as the Guardian itself admitted, “visitors normally register with embassy security guards and show their passports”?
    • What was the bizarre, sensationalistic reference to “Russians” that the Guardian included in its article but never bothered to explain (“separate internal document written by Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency and seen by the Guardian lists ‘Paul Manaford [sic]’ as one of several well-known guests. It also mentions ‘Russians'”).

    Five weeks later, all of these questions remain unanswered. That’s because the Guardian – which likes to pride itself on flamboyantly demanding transparency and accountability from everyone else – has refused to provide any of its own.

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      dubteedub Link Parent
      I usually can't stand Glenn, but I think he is right here. It seems like The Guardian was far too quick to put out this story and is now just trying to ignore it after they are unable to provide...

      I usually can't stand Glenn, but I think he is right here. It seems like The Guardian was far too quick to put out this story and is now just trying to ignore it after they are unable to provide sources or proof to their claims. It is an unfortunate case of bad reporting / journalism.

      I do disagree with this take by Glenn rounding out his write-up here.

      None of this is an aberration. Quite the contrary, it has become par for the Trump-Russia course. One major story after the next falls apart, and there is no accountability, reckoning, or transparency (neither CNN nor MSNBC, for instance, have to date bothered to explain how they both “independently confirmed” the totally false story that Donald Trump, Jr. was offered advanced access to the WikiLeaks email archive, all based on false claims about the date of an email to him from a random member of the public).

      Nor is it atypical for The Guardian when it comes to its institutionally blinding contempt for Assange: During the election, the paper was forced to retract its viral report from political reporter Ben Jacobs, who decided to assert, without any whiff of basis, that Assange has a “long had a close relationship with the Putin regime.”

      Trying to characterize this as "par for the Trump-Russia course" is waaay overblown. Much of the Trump-Russia collusion case has been proven and the dozens of indictments, convictions, and guilty pleas confirm that. Have there been a couple other whiffs along the way? Sure, of course. Does that mean that the whole Russia story is false? Fuck no.

      This is exactly why I pay as little attention as possible to Glenn and the Intercept as a whole. All the seem to do is try and discredit liberal politicians and the mainstream media as much as possible.

      I mean, even The Intercept has had plenty of issues itself of reporters straight up making up whole stories and quotes itself.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        deadaluspark (edited ) Link Parent
        Glenn is a crank, but when he does his research, he's generally astute and correct. He does have a high horse he likes to sit on, but I think folks with critical thinking can step back and realize...

        Glenn is a crank, but when he does his research, he's generally astute and correct. He does have a high horse he likes to sit on, but I think folks with critical thinking can step back and realize that Glenn can be absolutely right about the times when the media isn't doing it's job and is just taking "anonymous government sources" as gospel, but also be able to step back and see that doesn't mean Trump and co. aren't saints or something.

        I honestly agree that I think most of the Trump-Russia collusion has been proven, but the part that I get annoyed more people aren't skeptical about, and that I still have seen very, very little evidence to support, is the connection between the Trump/Wikileaks/Russia. That's honestly the thing that bothers me most about this story. To think that politicians won't let a good crisis go to waste, this was kind of the perfect crisis to allow the US government to throw Wikileaks under the bus. Assange himself is a narcissistic blowhard, but the fact of the matter is that Wikileak's have a solid track record and have made enemies of basically every major government on the planet, so the idea that major world governments wouldn't be using this situation to help discredit a group that is very problematic to them keeping secrets is honestly naive in my personal opinion.

        I mean, the US brought down the Bolivian President's plane in Austria to try to capture Ed Snowden. Do we really think they wouldn't be using such extrajudicial methods to discredit Assange? Our government trapped Snowden in Russia by cancelling his passport, and then claimed he was working with China/Russia, despite the fact his state destination had always been South America.

        I don't know, but based on past US actions in respect to people who leak their secrets, I have to be skeptical about it.

        Frankly, there's nothing wrong with critiquing mainstream media or liberals. You can do that and also still think they're better than the alternative.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          dubteedub Link Parent
          I mean, Don Jr. published his own messages with wikileaks where they coordinated release of the DNC hacked emails to best hurt the Democrats. WL has a political bias and was working to benefit the...

          I still have seen very, very little evidence to support, is the connection between the Trump/Wikileaks/Russia.

          I mean, Don Jr. published his own messages with wikileaks where they coordinated release of the DNC hacked emails to best hurt the Democrats. WL has a political bias and was working to benefit the Trump campaign.

          the fact of the matter is that Wikileak's have a solid track record and have made enemies of basically every major government on the planet, so the idea that major world governments wouldn't be using this situation to help discredit a group that is very problematic to them keeping secrets is honestly naive in my personal opinion.

          I honestly don't think that WL has a very good track record and think that it is pretty reasonable to assume that WL is a de facto agency of Russia at this point.

          In the fall of 2010, Wikileaks claimed they had a huge amount of information they planned to release on Russia saying "We have [compromising materials] about Russia, about your government and businessmen, but not as much as we’d like… We will publish these materials soon."

          It was largely believed that WL was going to publish definitive proof of corruption in the Russian government and how the oligarchs were siphoning billions from the government into offshore accounts.

          https://foreignpolicy.com/2010/10/26/is-the-kremlin-about-to-get-wikileaked/

          Just a few days later, the Russian FSB threatened Wikileaks saying "You have to understand that if there is the desire and the right team, it’s possible to shut it down forever."

          https://foreignpolicy.com/2010/11/01/russias-fsb-to-wikileaks-we-could-destroy-you/

          Wikileaks never published any of the supposed compromising information on Russia and Putin. Instead since then by all accounts they appear to be working actively with the Russian intelligence to undermine the United States, and specifically the Democratic Party.

          Both Putin and Julian have an axe to grind against the Democrats and Julian seems to be either acting as a willing idiot for the Russians, or may be compromised himself and being forced to act as an agent of the Russian intelligence.

          Hell, he even started a talk show on Russia's state owned propaganda network RT - https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/arts/television/julian-assange-starts-talk-show-on-russian-tv.html

          From looking at the timeline of Wikileaks major releases, they did not take on a specifically anti-Democratic Party bent until the 2016 Presidential election.

          https://www.cnn.com/2013/06/03/world/wikileaks-fast-facts/index.html

          7 votes
          1. deadaluspark (edited ) Link Parent
            Yeah sure, keep telling yourself that. Don Jr's emails: Wikileak's "missing" Russian files: That was 2011, thousands of documents destroyed, and while Wikileaks claims the documents contained...

            I mean, Don Jr. published his own messages with wikileaks where they coordinated release of the DNC hacked emails to best hurt the Democrats.

            Yeah sure, keep telling yourself that.

            CNN was forced to climb down from a report Friday that an encryption key allowing access to hacked content had been emailed to Donald Trump and aides two months before the presidential election.

            Such a key had been emailed, the cable network said in a corrected report, but the material it gave access to was already in the public sphere, and not previously unseen as an initial CNN report suggested.

            Don Jr's emails:

            One of the biggest questions at the heart of the Trump-Russia scandal is whether anyone on Trump’s team had any knowledge of or involvement in the hacking and leaks of leading Democrats’ emails.

            These new DMs do not indicate that that happened. Indeed, one DM makes Trump Jr. seem clueless about WikiLeaks’ planned Podesta email dump four days before it began. There’s no evidence at this point that the group tipped off him or anyone else in the Trump campaign.

            Still, the DMs do reveal that Trump Jr. was in contact with WikiLeaks during the fall of 2016, just before the group’s controversial Podesta email postings began.

            They also reveal that he told several of the highest-level Trump campaign advisers about this outreach, via email. The fact that so many on the campaign, including Don Jr., knew about this certainly makes it difficult to believe Trump himself didn’t also know. But knowing about messages like these and actively colluding in criminal activity are different things.

            Wikileak's "missing" Russian files:

            The dispute over exactly which files Domscheit-Berg destroyed has gotten murkier. “I can confirm that there was a No-Fly list in the batch,” Domscheit-Berg told Wired‘s Kim Zetter in an e-mail yesterday, but he said that WikiLeaks’ claims about other destroyed documents, such as the Bank of America files, were “false and misleading.”

            That was 2011, thousands of documents destroyed, and while Wikileaks claims the documents contained certain things, Domscheit-Berg claims that Wikileaks was being misleading, thus leaving us to not entirely know what was destroyed. Were Russian government documents potentially destroyed? Possibly. I'm not saying this is truth, but ignoring that possibility and instead saying "it just means they are compromised by Russians because they haven't published anything on Russia" completely ignores that they've had data lost. They also claimed they were going to do a big expose on Bank of America, and that never happened either. Does that mean that they are under the influence of Bank of America now??

            Hell, he even started a talk show on Russia's state owned propaganda network RT -

            So did Larry King and Slavoj Zizek. Are they under Putin's thumb?

            Last I checked, a lot of folks who are denied a place to put their show, end up placing them where they will be given a voice. The show was made in the UK by a UK production company, and they licensed the show to RT (as well as others, including an Italian newspaper), but I guess knowing how TV show licensing works is a fucking conspiracy. Anyone can license the show, but very few did. RT happened to be one of them. Unless you're genuinely insinuating every British citizen who works for Dartmouth films is somehow a Russian spook.

            EDIT: Also from those thousands of leaked Wikileaks chats:

            https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2018/02/wl1-1518631166.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90&w=1000&h=481

            https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2018/02/wl2-1518631191.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90&w=1000&h=324

            Yeah, really sounds like they're rooting for Trump here. It's all about the Trump winning.... Except for all that stuff about how it will allow the left to create a block to reign in his excesses while the left would continue to be mute under Clinton, just like it was under Obama (just look at the failure of the DAPL protests, and how few cared), and that literally they thought it would be better for America to have a big leftist coalition that could work together to activate change rather than just passing eight more years of the status quo. That does not sound like a ringing fucking endorsement of Trump to me, it sounds like the knowledge that Trump is so insane that it would create massive pushback (which, surprise, it has). It sounds more to me that they were generally anti-war, and were strategizing on how to limit American leaders penchant for being fucking war hawks.

            Wikileaks always had and will continue to have a lot of worthwhile problems that need critique on their own, including stances that are anti-feminist and anti-semetic, but basically none of that stuff is what they are being judged on.

            If this is the best they can do to prove he was "in the bag for Trump," well...

            1 vote
  2. Pilgrim Link
    I'd point out that sometimes news organizations will delay reporting in order to give government agencies, particularly intelligence and military groups, time to address their own concerns...

    I'd point out that sometimes news organizations will delay reporting in order to give government agencies, particularly intelligence and military groups, time to address their own concerns internally. For example, the Guardian releasing more source info or photographic evidence may out intelligence officers that would rather remain incognito. I'm not saying that IS what is occurring, but it's certainly plausible.

    1 vote
  3. [2]
    meme Link
    Greenwald is a wikileaks asset. That he doesn't immediately begin this argument by disclosing his deep ties to them and his history of defending them is very telling.

    Greenwald is a wikileaks asset. That he doesn't immediately begin this argument by disclosing his deep ties to them and his history of defending them is very telling.

    1. deadaluspark Link Parent
      Unless you want to come with some evidence to support that, you are literally contributing nothing to this discussion.

      Unless you want to come with some evidence to support that, you are literally contributing nothing to this discussion.