A Call to Bring Julian Assange Home Consortiumnews

The Australian government has an obligation to free Julian Assange, John Pilger told a rally in Sydney on June 16, marking Assanges six years confinement in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

By John Pilger

The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy.

The Australian government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have an historic opportunity to decide which it will be.

They can remain silent, for which history will be unforgiving. Or they can act in the interests of justice and humanity and bring this remarkable Australian citizen home.

Assange does not ask for special treatment. The government has clear diplomatic and moral obligations to protect Australian citizens abroad from gross injustice: in Julians case, from a gross miscarriage of justice and the extreme danger that await him should he walk out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London unprotected.

We know from the Chelsea Manning case what he can expect if a U.S. extradition warrant is successful a United Nations Special Rapporteur called it torture.

I know Julian Assange well; I regard him as a close friend, a person of extraordinary resilience and courage. I have watched a tsunami of lies and smear engulf him, endlessly, vindictively, perfidiously; and I know why they smear him.

In 2008, a plan to destroy both WikiLeaks and Assange was

laid out in a top secret document dated 8 March, 2008. The authors were the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessments Branch of the U.S. Defence Department. They described in detail how important it was to destroy the feeling of trust that is WikiLeaks centre of gravity.

This would be achieved, they wrote, with threats of exposure [and] criminal prosecution and a unrelenting assault on reputation. The aim was to silence and criminalise WikiLeaks and its editor and publisher. It was as if they planned a war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech.

Vichy Media

Their main weapon would be personal smear. Their shock troops would be enlisted in the media those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth.

The irony is that no one told these journalists what to do. I call them Vichy journalists after the Vichy government that served and enabled the German occupation of wartime France.

Last October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Sarah Ferguson interviewed Hillary Clinton, over whom she fawned as the icon for your generation.

This was the same Clinton who threatened to obliterate totally Iran and, who, as U.S. secretary of State in 2011, was one of the instigators of the invasion and destruction of Libya as a modern state, with the loss of 40,000 lives. Like the invasion of Iraq, it was based on lies.

When the Libyan President was murdered publicly and gruesomely with a knife, Clinton was filmed whooping and cheering. Thanks largely to her, Libya became a breeding ground for ISIS and other jihadists.Thanks largely to her, tens of thousands of refugees fled in peril across the Mediterranean, and many drowned.

WikiLeaks Exposed Clinton

Leaked emails published by WikiLeaks revealed that Hillary Clintons foundation which she shares with her husband received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the main backers of ISIS and terrorism across the Middle East.

As Secretary of State, Clinton approved the biggest arms sale ever worth $80 billion to Saudi Arabia, one of her foundations principal benefactors. Today, Saudi Arabia is using these weapons to crush starving and stricken people in a genocidal assault on Yemen.

Sarah Ferguson, a highly paid reporter, raised not a word of this with Hillary Clinton sitting in front of her.

Instead, she invited Clinton to describe the damage Julian Assange did personally to you. In response, Clinton defamed Assange, an Australian citizen, as very clearly a tool of Russian intelligence and a nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator.

She offered no evidence nor was asked for any to back her grave allegations.

At no time was Assange offered the right of reply to this shocking interview, which Australias publicly-funded state broadcaster had a duty to give him.

As if that wasnt enough, Fergusons executive producer, Sally Neighour, followed the interview with a vicious re-tweet: Assange is Putins bitch. We all know it!

There are many other examples of Vichy journalism. TheGuardian, reputedly once a great liberal newspaper, conducted a vendetta against Julian Assange. Like a spurned lover, theGuardianaimed its personal, petty, inhuman and craven attacks at a man whose work it once published and profited from.

The former editor of theGuardian,Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published in 2010, one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years. Awards were lavished and celebrated as if Julian Assange did not exist.

Maligning and Profiting off Assange

WikiLeaks revelations became part of theGuardiansmarketing plan to raise the papers cover price. They made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks and Assange struggled to survive.With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hypedGuardianbook led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The books authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously abused Assange as a damaged personality and callous.

They also revealed the secret password Julian had given theGuardianin confidence and which was designed to protect a digital file containing the U.S. embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, who had enriched himself on the backs of both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, stood among the police outside the embassy and gloated on his blog that Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.

The question iswhy.

Julian Assange has committed no crime. He has never been charged with a crime. The Swedish episode was bogus and farcical and he has been vindicated.

Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape summed it up when they wrote, The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will.

This truth was lost or buried in a media witch-hunt that disgracefully associated Assange with rape and misogyny. The witch-hunt included voices who described themselves as on the left and as feminist. They willfully ignored the evidence of extreme danger should Assange be extradited to the United States.

According to a document released by Edward Snowden, Assange is on a Manhunt target list. One leaked official memo says: Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. Hell be eating cat food forever.

In Alexandra, Virginia the suburban home of Americas war-making elite a secret grand jury, a throwback to the middle ages has spent seven years trying to concoct a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted.

This is not easy; the U.S. Constitution protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers. Assanges crime is to have broken a silence.

They Never Happened

No investigative journalism in my lifetime can equal the importance of what WikiLeaks has done in calling rapacious power to account. It is as if a one-way moral screen has been pushed back to expose the imperialism of liberal democracies: the commitment to endless warfare and the division and degradation of unworthy lives: from Grenfell Tower to Gaza.

WhenHarold Pinter accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, he referred to a vast tapestry of lies up on which we feed. He asked why the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought of the Soviet Union were well known in the West while Americas imperial crimes never happened even while [they] were happening, they never happened.

In its revelations of fraudulent wars (Afghanistan, Iraq) and the bald-faced lies of governments (the Chagos Islands), WikiLeaks has allowed us to glimpse how the imperial game is played in the 21st century.Thatis why Assange is in mortal danger.

Seven years ago, in Sydney, I arranged to meet a prominent Liberal Member of the Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull.

I wanted to ask him to deliver a letter from Gareth Peirce, Assanges lawyer, to the government. We talked about his famous victory in the 1980s when, as a young barrister, he had fought the British Governments attempts to suppress free speech and prevent the publication of the bookSpycatcher in its way, a WikiLeaks of the time, for it revealed the crimes of state power.

The prime minister of Australia was then Julia Gillard, a Labor Party politician who had

declared WikiLeaks illegal and wanted to cancel Assanges passport until she was told she could not do this: that Assange had committed no crime: that WikiLeaks was a publisher, whose work was protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Australia was one of the original signatories.

In abandoning Assange, an Australian citizen, and colluding in his persecution, Prime Minister Gillards outrageous behaviour forced the issue of his recognition, under international law, as a political refugee whose life was at risk. Ecuador invoked the 1951 Convention and granted Assange refuge in its embassy in London.

Gillard has recently been appearing in a gig with Hillary Clinton; they are billed as pioneering feminists.

If there is anything to remember Gillard by, it a warmongering, sycophantic, embarrassing speech she made to the US Congress soon after she demanded the illegal cancellation of Julians passport.

Malcolm Turnbull is now the Prime Minister of Australia. Julian Assanges father has written to Turnbull. It is a moving letter, in which he has appealed to the prime minister to bring his son home. He refers to the real possibility of a tragedy.

I have watched Assanges health deteriorate in his years of confinement without sunlight. He has had a relentless cough, but is not even allowed safe passage to and from a hospital for an X-ray.

Malcolm Turnbull can remain silent. Or he can seize this opportunity and use his governments diplomatic influence to defend the life of an Australian citizen, whose courageous public service is recognised by countless people across the world. He can bring Julian Assange home.

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London.Pilgers Web site is:www.johnpilger.com. His new film, The Coming War on China, is available in the U.S. fromwww.bullfrogfilms.com

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A Call to Bring Julian Assange Home Consortiumnews

Pamela Anderson Opens Up About Being Linked to Julian Assange …

Pamela Anderson is shedding more light on the nature of her relationship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The actress sat down for aninterview with The Daily Beast where she opens up about Assange, the whistleblower who has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past six years. Anderson has spoken in support of him several times and hinted at them being more than just friends, but seemed to shut down those rumors in the interview.

RELATED:Is Pamela Anderson Dating WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange? Its No Secret, He Is One of My Favorite People, She Says

It is sexism, Anderson said of always being linked romantically to powerful men by tabloids. Its all crazy. Its funny how your relationships do get reduced to some kind of sexual relationship. I think the world of Julian, I really do, and I think hes an important person that needs to be protected, and that bringing any attention to him helps keep him safe.

Julian Assange, Pamela Anderson

From Left: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP; Ricky Vigil M/GC Images

Anderson also gave more insight into their first meeting and how the two came to be friends. The actress says Assange heard about how she included him in one of her poems, and asked mutual friend Vivienne Westwood to introduce them. But when the two women got the dates mixed up, Anderson showed up to the Embassy on her own and met Assange one-on-one.

I went to the embassy, buzzed the buzzer, said who I was, and we had this long conversation, she explains. There were a lot of people in the room and then slowly it was just him and I. Then I came a few months later and started bringing him vegan food and made sure he was exercising, because I was worried about his healthhis skin was transparent. I learned a lot about him and we have a lot of mutual friends, so its nice to keep his spirits up.

WATCH:Pamela Anderson Looks Almost Unrecognizable as She Pumps Up the Glamour at Cannes

Although she maintains a friendship with Assange, Anderson has been dating French football player Adil Rami, who won the World Cup with his team on Sunday in Moscow. The actress has been seen supporting her boyfriend in Russia and attended his semifinal match against Belgium last week.

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Pamela Anderson Opens Up About Being Linked to Julian Assange …

Julian Assange, CrowdStrike, and the Russian Hack That Wasnt …

Robert Muellers investigation into the 2016 presidential election is predicated on Russian intelligence having hacked the Democratic National Committees computers. Russias guilt is such an article of faith among our political class, that a Republican-controlled Congress imposed sanctions and President Trump signed on, substantially worsening relations with an important and potentially dangerous nation.

Outside the Acela Corridor, however, one finds more skepticism.

A lot of ordinary folks wonder why the DNC wouldnt let any outside parties examine their server. Instead, the FBI accepted the word of CrowdStrike, a private contractor hired by the DNC, without any independent confirmation.

And a bunch of not so ordinary folks who know a thing or two about computers thinks there may be a simple explanation for the DNCs unwillingness to let outsiders have a peek at the evidence: There isnt any. The Russian hacking thats caused so much division and turmoil at home and abroad never really happened. It was all a ruse concocted by CrowdStrike.

One such skeptic is an anonymous journalist and computer aficionado who goes by the pseudonym Adam Carter. Carter has spent the last couple of years cataloging evidence, unearthed by himself and others, that CrowdStrike engaged in a disinformation campaign, inventing not just a fake Russian hack but also a fake hacker called Guccifer 2.0. Much, but by no means all, of Carters evidence is technical. And hes unquestionably found an inconsistency in the Russia narrative that ought to raise doubts in even the most computer illiterate congressmans mind.

Julian Assanges ThreatBut first, why on earth would a private contractor hired by the DNC engage in such tactics? For motive, we need to go back to June 12, 2016, when Wikileaks founder Julian Assange made an announcement that was sure to worry Hillary Clinton and her closest advisers:

We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton . . . We have emails pending publication.

A little less than three months earlier, on March 19, hostile actors had gotten ahold of all the emails in campaign chairman John Podestas main Gmail account. You may have heard that Podestas emails were hacked, but they werent. There were no faraway cyber-nerds searching for some vulnerability in the DNC network. He fell for a common spear phishing scam. A fake email from Google arrived, saying he needed to change his password and providing a link. The link was also fake. Instead of changing his password, Podesta gave it awayalong with all of his campaign emails.

Whoops!

The Clinton campaign learned of Podestas blunder almost immediately and must have suspected that the emails Assange was threatening to release were his. Moreover, on that date, a lot of the revelations contained therein would have been salientand not in a good way.

Just six days before, with Clinton still 570 delegates short of the 2,382 needed to win the Democratic nomination, the Associated Press angered Bernie Sanders and his supporters by claiming that shed already won. The New York Times, CNN, NBCNews, USA Today, and The Washington Post all followed suit, declaring Sanders loss a fait accompli.

But it wasnt.

The AP arrived at its numbers by polling unpledged superdelegates, who couldnt vote until the convention and were free to change their minds or even to deceive the AP.

Sanders supporters had been angry about the role superdelegates played in the nominating process for months. Sanders himself complained about it just one week before Assanges announcement and a day before the media began writing his campaigns obituary:

My problem is that the process today has allowed Secretary Clinton to get the support of over 400 superdelegates before any other Democratic candidate was in the race.

The next days headlines prematurely declaring Clintons victory brought Sanders supporters long-simmering anger to a boil. His spokesman blasted the corporate medias rush to judgement:

Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then.

For the rest of the week, the big election story was whether Sanders would exit the race gracefully and encourage his followers to forgive, forget, and rally round Hillary Clinton. But just 12 hours after Assanges announcement, Sanders emerged from a meeting with his top advisors, refusing to concede and reiterating his determination not to let the media gaslight his candidacy into a lost cause:

[W]e are going to take our campaign to the convention with the full understanding that were very good in arithmetic and that we know who has received the most votes up until now.

The Immensity of Podestas BlunderPodestas blunder had the potential to damage Hillary Clintons already precarious reputation with voters regardless of their feelings about Bernie Sanders. In some of his pilfered emails, top Clinton advisors, including Podesta himself, insulted herabilitiesandher ethics, commented on her poorhealth, made disparaging remarks about Catholics,Muslims, blacks, and Latinos, and complained that Clinton wanted unaware and compliant voters.

Many of Podestas emails also contradict claims made in defense of the private email server Clinton used as Secretary of State. Others reveal that the FBI investigation into the matter was anything but unbiased. At a minimum, the emails prove the Clinton campaign knew from the beginning that she was breaking the law.

Its easy to forget how serious an issue Clintons private server was on June 12, 2016, three weeks before FBI Director James Comey publicly exonerated her. A few weeks earlier, the State Department had sharply rebuked Clinton for violating department rules, generating unpleasant headlines like, Hillary Clintons email problems just got much worse.

A June 1 Morning Consult poll found that about half of voters thought her private email server was illegal, unethical and a major problem, with a quarter of Democrats agreeing. Theres little question that Assanges threat would have made the poll disturbingly salient to Clinton and her top advisers.

But, given Sanders supporters anger and Clintons need for their enthusiastic support to prevail against Trump, her team would have been more concerned about emails revealing her disdain for Sanders supporters and some of their most beloved progressive policies.

For example, Clinton secretly opposed gay marriage and supported fracking. She and other top campaign officials regularly insulted Sanders and his supporters. Making matters worse, Podestas emails also revealed that CNN contributor Donna Brazile gave Clinton at least three questions in advance for her debates with Sanders. And an extraordinary number of emails confirm Sanders supporters suspicions that the DNC and the mainstream mediawere colluding with Clinton to torpedo his candidacy from its inception.

But perhaps the most troubling of Podestas emails would have been those containing passages from speeches Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs and other big money outfits at $225,000 a pop. In these speeches, Clinton downplayed Wall Streets role in the 2008 recession and said big money bankers themselves are best equipped to write any necessary legislation.

Clinton in those speeches also conceded that her economic fortunes put her obviously out of touch with the struggles middle-class voters face. She further admitted that she has distinct public and private positions on political issues, and revealed that she secretly favors open borders.

Like the controversy over her private server, Clinton weathered this storm so well that its hard to remember how much her unreleased speeches alarmed Sanders supporters, to whom she was little more than a corporate shill. Sanders had been using Clintons speeches as a laugh linein his own stump speeches for months:

If youre going to give a speech for $225,000 its gotta be really, dont you think an extraordinarily brilliant speech, I mean why else would they pay that kind of money? . . . Must be a speech written in Shakespearean prose. So I think, if it is such a fantastic speech, the secretary should make it available to all of us.

To make matters worse, three weeks before Assanges announcement, Clinton released a mandatory financial statement that brought her Wall Street speeches to the forefront of campaign news, yielding headlines like, How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21Mand The massive scale of the Clintons speech-making industry.

A few days later, reporters even annoyed President Obama at a G7 summit in Japan by asking him whether she ought to release her speeches. On June 1, just 11 days before Assanges announcement, a Morning Consult poll had 64 percent of voters saying she should, including two-thirds of independents and almost half of Democrats.

Some readers have likely forgotten the many serious political headaches Hillary Clinton suffered in the week preceding Assanges June 12 announcement and how desperately she needed to placate Sanders angry supporters. If you werent too distracted by the Russia narrative, however, you probably remember some of the above revelations from Podestas emails that would have made doing so impossible had Assange not given Clintons camp so much time to prepare.

By October 7, when Wikileaks finally began releasing Podestas emails, Democrats had been taught to tune them out by angrily reciting the mantras Putin and Russia. CNN told viewers it would be illegal for folks who didnt work for CNN or some other CNN-approved corporation to so much as look at the emails. Trump couldnt push Wikileaks because doing so immediately rebounded back at him, raising worries he might be Putins puppet, rather than reflecting poorly on Clinton.

Clinton Uses the Russia Narrative to Great EffectWhether Adam Carter is right that the DNC hack was a ruse designed to deflect the damaging Podesta emails, there is no question Clinton and her surrogates were instantly prepared to use it for that purpose.

Within hours of Assanges October 7 release, Podesta made a transparent attempt on Twitter to tie anything damaging in his emails to insidious Russian interference:

Clinton first publicly addressed Podestas emails 12 days later in her third debate with Trump:

But you are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks. What is really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government. Clearly from Putin himself in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election. So, I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this, and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election.

A more transparent attempt to tie Wikileaks, espionage against Americans, Russian government, and Donald Trump to any damaging disclosures that might surface from Podestas emails would be impossible.

So, by October 7 tainting Podestas emails with a Russian provenance was demonstrably the Clinton campaigns go-to strategy. But a Washington Post story about the DNC hack published two days after June 12 Assanges threat on June 12 shows the strategy was prepared much earlier.

CrowdStrikes Remarkable Announcement and Guccifer 2.0s DebutThe June 14 Washington Post article is the first time the DNC went public about the alleged Russian hack. It includes the detail that the hackers stole a file of Trump opposition research; which, though no ordinary readers could have known it at the time, would turn up months later when Wikileaks released Podestas emails.

Indeed, this detail is also the articles big takeaway, as its mentioned in both the lead sentence and the headline: Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump.

The story extensively quotes CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry, who previously headed the FBIs cybersecurity division, and Chief Technology Officer Dmitri Alperovitch; all information was provided voluntarily by CrowdStrike and the DNC. According to Alperovitch, they decide[d] to go public with information about their incident and give us permission to share our knowledge.

So, why did the DNC want the world to know on June 14 the embarrassing fact that the Russians had hacked their server and the content of one pilfered file?

Alperovitch says they wanted to help protect even those who do not happen to be [CrowdStrike] customers. But they must have had a more self-interested motive to justify again publicly connecting Hillary Clintons name to lost emails and unsecure servers while Comeys investigation was still a very serious campaign issue.

Clintons team had to suspect Assange had Podestas emails and knew the Trump opposition-research file was among them. So announcing that the Russians had stolen the file two days after Assanges threat is, in hindsight, either an incredible coincidence or the first step in a strategy to taint the damaging information in Podestas emails with Russian perfidy.

But CrowdStrike and the DNC werent the only ones calling attention to the stolen Trump opposition file. The very next day, a new actor appeared, calling himself Guccifer 2.0, and claiming to be the very hacker mentioned by Alperovitch in the Washington Post story.

And, to prove it, he posted 230 pages of Trump opposition research on his newly minted blog and emailed copies to Gawker and The Smoking Gun.

We are now supposed to think that Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian spy passing documents he hacked from the DNC server to Wikileaks. In fact, this is the only evidence that Russia hacked the DNC besides CrowdStrikes unverified examination of their server.

But if G2 really is a Russian spy, Russia ought to be pitied rather than sanctioned.

When he debuted taking credit for the hack mentioned in the previous days Post, G2 made no attempt to deny he was a Russian spy. Anyone reading his blog post who was also familiar with the Poststory would assume that he must be a Russian spy as it claims. Would a real Russian spy pretending to be something else connect himself to a report outing him as a Russian spy without denying it? Why would he connect himself to such a report at all?

Would a real Russian spy trying to hide his identity end the second sentence in his first blog post with ))), the symbol that Russians use in place of our lol. G2 did.

And, would a Russian spy working with Wikileaks to discredit Hillary Clinton announce to the world that hes working with Wikileaks? G2s advertising that connection, not denying hes a Russian spy, and using Russian emoticons had the completely predictable effect of tying Assange to Putin and thus discrediting any Wikileaks releases that might otherwise have harmed Clinton.

G2 denied being Russian only after it emerged that he left Russian fingerprints all over the documents he released. Odd enough by itself, given the superb operational tradecraft, attributed to him by Alperovitch.

But Carter and his intrepid virtual friends examination of the fingerprints revealed that, rather than accidentally leaving them, G2 went out of his way to plant them.

The first evidence of Russian involvement was found within hours of G2s June 15 debut. Someone at Gawker looked at the metadata in the files he sent and discovered the name of the founder of the Soviet secret police written in the Russian alphabet! No real Russian spy would be so careless. And if we werent so desperate for sensational news, a Gawker reporter finding evidence connecting G2 with Russian intel mere hours after his debut by itself would have raised red flags about the Russia narrative.

G2 also chose to use a company based in Russia to cloak his IP address. Even then, there are plenty of email providers that would conceal the Russian IP. Yet G2, who Hillary Clinton suggested clearly took orders directly from KGB prodigy Vladimir Putin, somehow chose one that didnt.

If G2 had simply done nothing, there would have been nothing connecting Wikileaks to Russia. Instead of doing nothing, he went out of his way to connect Wikileaks Clinton releases to Russian intelligence. Yet, somehow, were supposed to think he was out to hurt Clinton. And, despite claiming to be Clintons enemy, neither the Trump opposition file nor any of the other files he released with it contained anything damaging to her.

So a Russian spy intent on getting Trump elected released 230 pages of damaging information on Trump but nothing negative about Hillary Clinton?

Viewed in quick and haphazard slices, G2s debut may look like a collaboration with Putin and Assange. But Russian spies trying to hide their identity dont openly confess to crimes the Washington Post has attributed to Russian spies the day before.

Nor do they use Russian emoticons.

Nor do they reveal their connections to organizations secretly shilling for them.

Nor do they intentionally plant evidence of their identity.

And when Russian spies release 230 pages of negative information about Donald Trump, its Trump, and not his enemies, they are trying to harm.

When we widen our view, the suggestion that G2 is a Russian spy is revealed as a naked insult to the nations intelligence.

Where Did Guccifer 2.0 Get the Trump File?Hindsight together with Carter and crews hard work shows that G2, rather than trying to harm Clinton, worked to manufacture a fake connection between Assange and Russian intel. This fake connection would later be used by Clinton to deflect the avalanche of damaging information in Podestas emails when Assange released them.

The Washington Post headline that the Russians hacked a Trump opposition document from the DNC set the stage. But the article made no mention of Assange or Wikileaks. So, considered alone, it had zero potential to discredit any damaging Wikileaks releases.

G2 forged the crucial link to Assange the next day; by taking credit for the hack and claiming to have turned over the spoils to Wikileaks. His release of the Trump opposition file, which would later turn up when Wikileaks finally released Podestas emails, would also then provide confirmation for his story about being the hacker; and, as a result, strengthen the links between Putin and Assange he was creating.

Absent G2 bringing Wikileaks into the picture, the Washington Post story would have informed voters of an embarrassing Russian DNC hack of some Trump opposition research, without any mitigating way to connect those Russians to Julian Assange, and thereby discrediting him.

So the information released to the Post serves no purpose and, indeed, would harm Clinton, unless CrowdStrike knew G2 would immediately enter the fray and shift attention away from Russian intels breach of the DNC server and towards speculation about Russian intels connection to Wikileaks.

But theres another more conclusive reason to think that G2 had to be working with CrowdStrike and Hillary Clinton.

Remember, on June 15, Guccifer 2.0 emailed a Trump opposition file to Gawker and The Smoking Gunand posted it on his blog. But we now know, apart from the Russian fingerprints he planted, the very same Trump opposition file was among Podestas emails when Assange released them four months later.

So, how did G2 get ahold of a file from John Podestas emails? Thats what Adam Carter wants everyone to start asking.

Since G2 manifestly isnt the implacable enemy of Hillary Clinton he pretended to be, its unlikely that he hacked the DNC server as claimed. And, Carter and other experts say, his claims arent technically credible, anyway.

Given how hard G2 worked to discredit Wikileaks, neither is it credible that he got the file through them.

Without the Trump file, G2 might have just been some unconnected third-party trolling Julian Assange. But the fact that G2 possessed a file from Podestas emails seems inexplicable, given everything else we now know, unless G2 is part of a CrowdStrike disinformation campaign to protect Hillary Clinton from the consequences of John Podestas blunder.

The foundations of both Robert Muellers investigation and the sanctions placed on Russia appear to have crumbled into dust.

Lets hope our political class notices.

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Julian Assange, CrowdStrike, and the Russian Hack That Wasnt …

Report: Julian Assange Soon May Be Kicked Out of Embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon be evicted from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London after six years as high-level talks continue between that country and Britain, The New York Post reported Saturday.

Citing The Times of London, the Post said that Assange’s fate at the embassy, where he has been since 2012, depended on the outcome of the discussions.

Former President Rafael Correa granted Assange, 47, asylum after he was accused of sexual assault and rape in Sweden.

But his successor, Lenin Moreno, who was elected in May, considers Assange an inherited problem and has ripped him as a “stone in the shoe.”

Moreno’s government has already cut off Assange’s Internet access and has banned most of his visitors to the embassy.

Assange has claimed that the Swedish charges were created by the United States to discredit him after WikiLeaks published hacked information that discredited the Obama administration, the Post reported.

He fears that he would be extradited to the U.S. if he leaves the embassy, an even more likely possibility the Post disclosed after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments, accusing the Russians of leaking hacked data from the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and party operatives to WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0 and others.

The stolen emails, the Post disclosed, included Democratic plans to derail the campaign of Bernie Sanders to boost Hillary Clinton.

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Report: Julian Assange Soon May Be Kicked Out of Embassy

Why I Stand With Julian Assange | The American Conservative

This weekend I joined a number of people for an online vigil in support of Wikileaks Julian Assange. Some have asked why I did it: after all, Assange is at best an imperfect figure. But supporting Assange transcends just him, because the battle over his prosecution is about something greater: the future of free speech and a free press. Even if you think Assange doesnt matter, those things do.

Assange is challenging to even his staunchest supporters. In 2010, he was a hero to opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others called him an enemy of the state for working with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Now most of Assanges former supporters see him as a traitor and a Putin tool for releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee. Even with the sexual assault inquiry against him having been dismissed, Assange is a #MeToo villain. He a traitor who hides from justice inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, or a spy, or some web-made Frankenstein with elements of all the above. And while Ive never met Assange, Ive spoken to multiple people who know him well, and the words generous, warm, and personable are rarely included in their descriptions.

But none of that matters.What matters is that Assange has ended up standing at a crossroads in the history of our freedoms: specifically, at what point does the right of the people to know outweigh the right of the government to keep information from view? The question isnt new, but it has become acute in the digital age, when physical documents no longer need to be copied one-by-one, can be acquired by hackers on the other side of the world, and are far removed from the traditions, obstacles, safeguards, and often-dangerous self-restraint of traditional journalism.

A complex history precedes Assange. In 1971,Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret U.S. government-written history of the Vietnam War, to the New York Times. No one had ever published such classified documents before, and reporters at the Times feared they would go to jail under the Espionage Act. A federal court ordered the Times to cease publication after an initial flurry of excerpts were printed, the first time in U.S. history a federal judge had censored a newspaper. In the end, the Supreme Court handed down a victory for the First Amendment in New York Times Company v. United States,and the Times won the Pulitzer Prize.

But looking at the Times case through the lens of Wikileaks, law professor Steve Vladeck points out that

although the First Amendment separately protects the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, the Supreme Court has long refused to give any separate substantive content to the Press Clause above and apart from the Speech Clause. The Supreme Court has never suggested that the First Amendment might protect a right to disclose national security information. Yes, the Pentagon Papers case rejected a government effort to enjoin publication, but several of the Justices in their separate opinions specifically suggested that the government could prosecute the New York Times and the Washington Post after publication, under the Espionage Act.

The Supreme Court left the door open for the prosecution of journalists who publish classified documents by focusing narrowly on prohibiting the government from exercising prior restraint. Politics and public opinion, not law, has kept the feds exercising discretion in not prosecuting the press, a delicate dance around an 800-pound gorilla loose in the halls of democracy. The government, meanwhile, has aggressively used the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to those same journalists.

The closest a journalist ever came to being thrown in jail was in 2014, when the Obama administration subpoenaed New York Times reporter James Risen. They then accused former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling of passing classified information to Risen, information that it said had appeared in his book State of War. After a lower court ordered Risen to testify and disclose his source under threat of jail, the Supreme Court turned down his appeal, siding with the government in a confrontation between a national security prosecution and an infringement of press freedom. The Supreme Court refused to consider whether there existed a gentlemens agreement under the First Amendment for reporters privilege, an undocumented protection beneath the handful of words in the Free Press Clause.

In the end, the government, fearful of setting the wrong precedent, punted on Risen. Waving the flag over a messy situation, then-attorney general Eric Holder announcedthat no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail. Risen wasnt called to testify and wasnt punished for publishing classified material, even as the alleged leaker, Jeffrey Sterling, disappeared into prison only to emerge three and a half years later in January. To avoid creating a precedent that might have granted some form of reporters privilege under the Constitution, the government stepped away from the fight.

Those same issues now hover over Julian Assange.Should the government decide to prosecute him, there are complex legal questions to be answered about who is a journalist and what is publishing in the digital world. There is no debate over whether James Risen is a journalist and whether a book is publishing. Glenn Greenwald has written about and published online classified documents given to him by Edward Snowden, and has never been challenged by the government as a journalist or publisher. Both men enjoy popular support and work for established media. The elements of fact checking, confirming, curating, redacting, and providing context around classified information were all present in the New York Timescase with the Pentagon Papers; they are also present with American citizens Risen and Greenwald. Definitions and precedents may be forming.

Assange is an easier target. With him the government is able to mold the legal precedents with such certainty that, where they backed away from other cases in their long-running war of attrition against free speech and the press, this one they may seize.

Assange isnt an American. He is unpopular, drawn now into Americas 21st-century Red Scare. He has written nothing alongside the millions of documents on Wikileaks, has done no curating or culling, and has redacted little. Publishing for him consists of uploading what has been supplied to him. The government could argue that Assange isnot entitled to First Amendment protections simply by claiming that a mouse click isnt publishing and Assange isnt a journalist. The simplest interpretation of the Espionage Act, that Assange willfully transmitted information relating to national defense without authorization, would apply. He would be guilty, same as the other canaries in the deep mine shaft of Washington before him, no messy balancing questions to be addressed. And with that, a unique form of online journalism would be squashed.

And that really, really matters. Wikileaks does indeed sidestep the restraints of traditional journalism. In 2004, the New York Times held the story of George W. Bushs illegal warrantless eavesdropping program until after his reelection. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times suppressed a story on the governments wiretapping of Americans when asked to do so by the NSA. Glenn Greenwald said it plainly: too many journalists work in self-censoring mode, or obsequious journalism, as he called it. Meanwhile, Assange has made mistakes while broadly showing courage, not restraint, under similar circumstances. And the public is better informed because of it.

Wikileaks version of journalism says here are the cables, the memos, and the emails. Others can write about them (and nearly every mainstream media outlet has used Wikileaks to do that, some even while calling Assange a traitor), or you as a citizen can read the stuff yourself and make up your own damned mind. That is the root of an informed public, a set of tools never before available until Assange and the internet created them.

If Assange becomes the first successful prosecution of a third party under the Espionage Act, whether as a journalist or not, the government will turn that precedent into a weapon to attack the medias role in any national security case. On the other hand, if Assange leaves London for asylum in Ecuador, that will empower new journalists to provide evidence when a government serves its people poorly and has no interest in being held accountable.

Freedom is never static. It either advances under our pressure, or recedes under theirs. I support Julian Assange.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author ofWe Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi PeopleandHoopers War: A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell.

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Why I Stand With Julian Assange | The American Conservative

State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley decries Bradley …

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning

AP/Grpahics Bank

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET with comments on Manning’s treatment from President Obama.

State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley, speaking at an academic event regarding new media and foreign policy Thursday, called the treatment of accused Wikileaks leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid,” according to reporting from BBC reporter Philippa Thomas.

Crowley was speaking at an event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he was asked about the treatment of Manning, who is currently detained at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.

Crowley criticized the Defense Department’s handling of Manning but added that “Nonetheless Bradley Manning is in the right place.” Crowley continued that “there is sometimes a need for secrets… for diplomatic progress to be made.”

A State Department official told CBS News that Crowley’s comments reflected his personal opinion and do not reflect the official policy of the U.S. government.

Manning has been held in restrictive conditions at Quantico since July 2010, and some have questioned why the legal proceedings against him have taken so long to begin. Earlier this month, the Army filed 22 new charges against Manning and for the first time formally accused Manning of aiding the enemy, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported.

Following news that Manning is being forced to sleep without clothes in his cell, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) charged that the miilitary’s treatment of Manning is comparable to the abuse carried out at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

UPDATE:In a press conference today, President Obama said the Department of Defense has assured him that Manning is being treated appropriately.

“With respect to Private Manning, you know, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards,” Mr. Obama said. “They assured me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.”

2011 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted here:
State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley decries Bradley …

Bradley Manning: Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to …

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: A military judge has sentenced Army Private Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the U.S. wars overseas and U.S. foreign policy. Mannings leaks included a video showing a U.S. military helicopter in Iraq shooting at two vans and killing civilians, including two Reuters journalists. Mannings documents were released in an effort to open the eyes of Americans to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and provoke a more intense debate, Manning said.

The 35-year sentence has been widely criticized by human rights group, legal and press freedom groups. The sentence is much longer than any punishment given to previous U.S. government officials who have leaked information to the media. The editors of The New York Times described the sentence as excessive, pointing out Manning was sentenced to a longer prison term than Michael Behenna, a U.S. soldier who killed an unarmed Iraqi man who was being questioned. Behennas original sentence was 25 years; it was then reduced to 15. The Guardian compares Mannings sentence to that of Army Reserve Corporal Charles Graner, who was convicted of abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Graner was sentenced to 10 years and released after six and a half.

In Mannings case, Army prosecutors initially sought a sentence of life without parole plus more than a hundred years. With parole, the 25-year-old Manning could be released on parole in about seven years.

On Wednesday, defense attorney David Coombs announced he plans to ask President Obama to pardon Manning. At a news conference outside Fort Meade, Coombs read a statement from Manning.

DAVID COOMBS: The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. Weve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact weve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracythe Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment campsto mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’

I understand that my actions violated the law. I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all and he puts in here women and men are created equal.

AMY GOODMAN: Attorney David Coombs reading a statement from Bradley Manning yesterday. The statement is part of Mannings plea to President Obama for a pardon.

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Bradley Manning: Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to …

2018 Bahamas Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Conference

Day 1 June 20th

All Day Exhibits (Local, Regional, and Global Companies Sponsors, Service Providers

9:00am 10:15am Official Opening Programme

10:30am 11:45am Speaker/Panel/Fireside Chat Opportunities

Topic: How Can I Get Funded?

Moderator: Rhonda Eldridge, CPA, CA, Founder & Impactioneer, Harness All Possibilities, Inc.

Panelists

12:00 noon 1:15pm Invitation Only: Prime Ministers Lunch

Speaker: The Honourable K. Peter Turnquest, M.P., Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

1:30pm 3:15pm Afternoon Panel Discussion:

Topic: The Technology Sector in The Bahamas is Open for Business: Cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and Exchanges

Moderator: Dr. Donovan Moxey, Chairman, 2018 BBCC Planning Committee and Co-Founder, CBI Mobile (Bah) Ltd

Panelists

3:30pm 4:45pm Speaker/Panel/Fireside Chat Opportunities

Topic: Islands in the Data Stream: Blockchain as a Global Resource for Seed and Growth Capital

Moderator: Kristie Powell

Panelists

5:00pm 6:30pm Speaker/Panel/Fireside Chat Opportunities

Topic: Should I Invest?

Moderator: Kelly Banks, Head of Digital and Innovation, Ansbacher

Panelists

6:30pm Private Reception

Day 2 June 21st

All Day Exhibit (Local, Regional, and Global Companies Sponsors, Service Providers

9:00am 10:45am Investor Pitches

11:00am 11:45pm noon Opening Keynote Address

Speaker: Michael J. Casey, Chairman, CoinDesk Advisory Board

12:00 noon 1:15pm Lunch Break at Local Establishments

1:30pm 4:15pm Main stage

1:30 pm Investor Pitches

2:20 pm 3:15 pm Full STEAM Ahead: Small Island Nation Educational Outreach

3:30 pm 4:30 pm RoundTable Discussions Outreach

Topic: Bahamian Blockchain Enthusiasts

Moderator: Michael J. Casey, Chairman, CoinDesk Advisory Board

Panelists

4:30pm 5:45pm Afternoon Panel Discussion

Topic: A Global Perspective on Regulatory Frameworks for Cryptocurrency and ICOs

Moderator: Joel Telpner, Partner, Sullivan & Worcester

Panelists

Day 3 June 22nd

All Day Exhibit (Local, Regional, and Global Companies Sponsors, Service Providers

9:00am 10:45am Investor Pitches

Discussion Leader: Donovan Moxey

11:00am 11:45am Keynote Address

Speaker: Mr. Anthony Di Iorio, CEO, Decentral

12:00 noon 1:15pm Lunch Break

1:30pm 2:45pm Afternoon Panel Discussion

Moderator: Stuart Hoegner, General Counsel, Bitfinex

Topic: Digital Token Exchanges

Panelists

3:00pm 4:15pm Investor Pitches

4:30pm 6:00pm Afternoon Presentation and Fireside Chat Topic: What Does the Future look like for Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and FinTech Solutions?

Interviewer: Kimberly King Burns, Managing Director, Convergenz

Speaker(s): Manie Eagar, CEO, Digital Futures; Matthew Arnett, CEO, Po8; John Willock, Co-Founder & CEO, Quantex, Ltd.

7:30pm Closing Reception/Celebration/Local Culture Sponsored by: BTC

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2018 Bahamas Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Conference

The Trump Administration Is Hiding a Crucial Report on NSA …

Despite requests from a senator and the European Union, the Trump administration is refusing to make public an important report by a federal privacy watchdog about how the U.S. government handles personal information swept up by its surveillance.

The public has a right to know what the government does with the vast troves of private data that American intelligence agencies collect in the course of their spying. On Thursday, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the release of the report, significant portions of which are unclassified.

The report is from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which was created by Congress to be an independent, bipartisan agency. Its mission is to help ensure that national security laws and programs dont infringe on individual rights. As part of that mission, the board has issued several significant oversight reports addressing government surveillance. While we have not always agreed with the conclusions of these reports, they have played a vital role in the democratic process by educating the public about the powerful spying tools at the governments disposal. In the wake of Edward Snowdens revelations about the National Security Agencys illegal mass surveillance programs, the boards work informed the public debate by prompting the declassification of additional details about these secret programs.

Recognizing the boards importance as a mechanism for transparency, Congress required that it make its reports public to the greatest extent possible. But now the Trump administration is wrongly trying to keep its findings secret.

The report were seeking concerns the implementation of President Obamas 2014 policy directive on government spying and the handling of personal information, which can include emails, chats, text messages, and more. The directive recognized that all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information. While Obamas policy changes left much to be desired, they did include improvements, including some very modest protections for the handling of personal information of non-American citizens abroad. The directive also encouraged the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to provide the president with a report assessing how the new policies were carried out.

In December 2016, the board delivered its report to the White House and congressional intelligence committees. Two months later, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote a letter to Office of the Director of National Intelligence, urging it to make public the unclassified portions of the report and to declassify the rest of it as soon as possible. European Union officials and representatives have also called for the reports release.

In response, the Trump administration has refused to release any of the report, even with redactions, citing executive privilege. By shrouding the report in secrecy, the administration is depriving the public of the ability to understand how the government is applying Obamas efforts to impose even minimal privacy safeguards on highly controversial NSA spying.

The European Union has said that the disclosure of the report is important for its annual assessment of the central U.S.-EU data-sharing agreement, known as Privacy Shield. That agreement allows American tech firms operatingin Europe to easily transfer data to the United States.

Just last week, the European Parliament called for the suspension of the Privacy Shield agreement because the United States is not complying with EU law. Suspending the agreement would be devastating for Silicon Valley. One of parliaments many concerns was Trumps claim of presidential privilege over the boards report, which likely addresses the implementation of privacy protections for Europeans.

In addition to keeping the report secret, the Trump administration appears to be undermining the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Boards proper functioning. Since February 2017, four of the boards five positions have been vacant, preventing it from doing much of its work to investigate government overreach. Three new members have been nominated but are still awaiting Senate confirmation after many months. Even if all three were confirmed, that would leave the board imbalanced, with three Republicans and only one Democrat. In this scenario, the boards rules require that the next member not be a Republican, but Trump has made no nomination.

Given the vacancies and the fact that the current nominee for chair of the board is on the record supporting unconstitutional surveillance programs there are now serious questions regarding whether the board will act as an independent check on surveillance abuses by the executive branch in the future.

Despite questions about the future of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, its reports have shed much-needed light on the governments surveillance practices. By hiding the report that were demanding today, the Trump administration is not only undermining the boards purpose its also undermining democratic accountability.

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The Trump Administration Is Hiding a Crucial Report on NSA …

Obama knew of NSA spying on Merkel and approved it, report …

President Barack Obama knew of the organizations spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and approved of the efforts, a National Security Agency official has reportedly told a German newspaper.

The Economic Times writes the high-ranking NSA official spoke to Bild am Sonntag on the condition of anonymity, saying the president, not only did not stop the operation, but he also ordered it to continue.

The Economic Times also reports the official told Bild am Sonntag that Obama did not trust Merkel, wanted to know everything about her, and thus ordered the NSA to prepare a dossier on the politician.

The account could mean difficulties for the White House, given another report claiming Obama told Merkel during a telephone conversation last Wednesday he was not aware of the NSAs spying.

The Economic Times cited Frankfuter Allgemeine Zeitung in writing that when Merkel called Obama last week to alternately complain — and get an explanation — about the NSA surveillance, the president assured her he wasnt aware of the campaign regarding her, and would have halted it, had he known.

According to The New York Times, Susan E. Rice, the presidents national security adviser, insisted that Obama did not know about the monitoring of Merkels phone, during a call last week with Christoph Heusgen, Rices German counterpart.

The unnamed NSA official’s allegations delve deeper into a Saturday report, published by the German magazine Der Spiegel, claiming the U.S. spy agency has monitored Merkels phone since 2002, or even before she rose to her countrys chief executive position and was only an opposition leader.

The revelations follow earlier reports of the NSA monitoring phone calls made by French and German citizens, an account prompting both nations foreign ministries to summon the respective American ambassadors to each country for an explanation. Much — if not all — of the reporting on the alleged spying scandal stems from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden.

According to the Associated Press, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich was quoted Sunday as telling newspaper Bild am Sonntag he wants “complete information on all accusations” and that “if the Americans intercepted cellphones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil.” He added wiretapping is a crime and “those responsible must be held accountable.”

The Der Spiegel report also alleges the German leaders mobile phone number had been part of a special surveillance list used by the NSA as late as this past June. Der Spiegel writes the nature of the alleged monitoring isnt clear, or whether Merkel’s conversations were recorded or her contacts scrutinized.

Click for the story from The Economic Times.

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Obama knew of NSA spying on Merkel and approved it, report …