A mainstream reporter with The Guardian has conjured up a link between Julian Assange and Trump associate Paul Manafort with zero evidence as part of his ongoing attempt to destroy both Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
By S.T. Patrick
London’s left-leaning Guardian newspaper has unofficially declared war on Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks. On Nov. 27, Luke Harding wrote an article for the Guardian accusing former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort of having met with Assange at least three times. These meetings, according to “sources,” were to have taken place in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange resided in political asylum.
The final meeting between Manafort and Assange was said to have taken place in the spring of 2016, when Manafort was made campaign manager for Donald Trump. The implication of the story is that Manafort met with Assange regarding the release of hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails that Russian agents had stolen. According to the questionable Steele dossier, Manafort was the key player in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the 2016 Trump campaign and covert Russian agents. He currently awaits sentencing in a jail in Alexandria, Va.
Harding is a foreign correspondent for The Guardian and the author of WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy. The book was turned into the film “The Fifth Estate,” which drew objections from WikiLeaks, citing that Assange never rushed to print without redactions.
Harding also authored The Snowden Files, a 2014 work about whistleblower Edward Snowden. It, too, was adapted into a film, “Snowden.” Though his written works have received critical acclaim, his recent column pairing Manafort and Assange may be 2018’s biggest fake news story.
Some responsible Democrats have pointed out the obvious holes in the story. Tommy Vietor, a former national security aide to President Barack Obama, noted, “If these meetings happened, British intelligence would almost certainly have video of him entering and exiting.” However, no such video exists. There is also no log of Manafort entering or exiting the embassy, which would have been regular protocol.
Democrats and mainstream media talking heads have jumped on the story to turn attention away from the failed campaign of 2016. Shining the spotlight on Trump via Manafort also keeps the attention away from the contents of the emails themselves, which show collusion within the Democratic Party to keep the nomination away from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The criticism also serves as a dog whistle to the liberal elite.
“The intention is to deeply discredit Assange, and by extension the WikiLeaks organization, in the eyes of right-thinking liberals,” wrote Jonathan Cook of “Consortium News.” “That, in turn, will make it much easier to silence Assange and the vital cause he represents: the use of new media to hold to account the old, corporate media and political elites through the imposition of far greater transparency.”
If the DNC email hacking originated from the DNC, then the party would have much explaining to do. The revelation of an inside job would also throw the Seth Rich murder case wide open. Assange has insinuated that the hacked emails came from Rich and were the reason for his murder. Harding’s story also serves to further the attacks on Assange, himself, from an elite media that feels a sense of entitlement about their craft.
Veteran journalistic elitists have long made the assertion that Assange is neither a journalist nor a publisher. If he, then, is neither, he should not be allowed the same first amendment freedoms as other American journalists or foreign journalists operating in America. Worse yet, he could potentially be labeled an unregistered foreign agent.
The Justice Department has already secretly filed charges against Assange. To chip away at his right to declare constitutional protections would be to further injure his case when extradited to the U.S. for trial. In what would be one of the worst miscarriages of justice in American history, Assange could foreseeably spend the rest of his life in a federal prison. It is Trump’s Justice Department that filed the charges against Assange, leading supporters to believe that the chance of a presidential pardon is nil.
If Assange winds up in an American prison, we will know that the Deep State has won. If the Trump administration lubricates that path, then we also have to question the legitimacy of his fight against the shadow government and the mainstream media.
In the end, a jailed Assange, an exiled Snowden, and a statement that disseminators of information online are not constitutional journalists would be the greatest gift of all for those establishment journalists that Trump purports to despise.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]