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Palestine | North Bay / Marin

Rebuttal to Article Alleging that Wikileaks CEO "Made a Deal with Israel" Over Cables
by anonymous
Thursday Dec 9th, 2010 12:37 AM
This article is a rebuttal to a anonymous piece that recently appeared in Indybay that specifically analyzes how this article is not only defamatory, but fails to meet even the most minimal journalistic standards. People are advised to use caution when reading articles that are self-published because although they MAY appear to be sourced, unless you check the footnotes, that may not in fact be the case - as was the case with this scurrilous piece of character assassination.
FACT FINDING RESULTS ON THE INDYBAY ARTICLE - Note: no author for this article is listed –the article appears under a section entitled “Palestine”

Link to Indybay article:

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/12/07/18665978.php

Allegations [1] – [8] and Sources numbered as footnotes [1] - [8] at the bottom of the page, and links thereto:

The first and most damaging allegation in the Indybay piece (Indybay is an all-volunteer organization affiliated with Indymedia with links to Indymedia on its web page banner, but is not synonymous with that organization) is that Wikileaks' CEO Julian Assange struck a secret deal with Israeli authorities to insure that any documents that could damage Israel’s interests would be ‘removed’ before the rest of the documents became public. The source for that allegation, included as footnote [1] is a Wired Article, see link below. This article provides nothing to corroborate and verify this damaging allegation, rather the article focuses on disgruntled former Wikileaks employee Daniel Dorsheit-Berg, why he left Wikileaks and internal politics within the Wikileaks organization.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/wikileaks-revolt/

The second very damaging allegation is that Assange accepted money from ‘semi-official Israeli officials’ and that moreover he specifically agreed in exchange in a secretly taped interview not to publish any documents that would hurt Israeli interests. This allegation links to an article in Syriatruth and it is printed in Arabic, and cited as footnote [2] in the article, with no reliable verbatim translation from Arabic to English provided.

http://www.syriatruth.info/content/view/977/36/

Because the entire Syriatruth article is completely in very exquisite Arabic script it is impossible for non-Arabic readers or speakers to confirm whether the article in fact makes these allegations, let alone go any further with fact-checking on this issue, due to formidable language barriers that the authors of the Indybay article do nothing to assist readers concerned about the truth to surmount.

The third, fourth and fifth allegations footnoted [3], [4] and [5] link to articles in the German Press, as follows, NOTE the first link to taz is in German and thus non-German readers cannot check for veracity, let alone follow-up for further fact-checking.

http://www.taz.de/1/netz/netzpolitik/artikel/1/vom-hacker-zum-popstar/

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,732212,00.html

and

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,719619,00.html

The last two Der Spiegel articles in English linked directly above again relate to the saga of disgruntled former Wikileaks’ employee Daniel Dorsheit-Berg, why he left Wikileaks, internal squabbles in the organization, and Dorsheit-Berg’s opinions about Julian Assange’s leadership skills. The one article that includes quotes from an interview with Dorsheit-Berg cited as [1] includes a section that relates to internal decisions about Wikileaks decision-making concerning information is the Wired Article, previously referenced, however nothing specific is said in that article about internal issues or decisions to corroborate the damaging allegations in the Indybay article, i.e. that Assange made an agreement with Israel and accepted money from them in exchange for an agreement not to publish anything damaging to Israel’s interests. In fact the Wired piece quotes from Dorsheit-Berg only serve to underscore Dorscheit-Berg's sour grapes and his being at odds with Assange over decisions concerning organizational priorities that prevented what he felt was a much-needed reorganization - even though he was not the CEO of Wikileaks. Nothing in any of these three articles in the German Press, therefore, as presented, substantiate the general damaging claims made in the Indybay article.

The sixth allegation in the article, accusing Assange of engaging in a secret meeting in Geneva with Israeli officials and agreeing to expung any leaked documents related to the Israeli attacks on Gaza and Lebanon, in 2006, and 2008-9, references as [6] a piece in Haaretz in which, not surprisingly, Israeli leaders said that Wikileaks helped them because the leaks underscored that Arabs themselves were calling on the US and Israel to take care of the problem with Iran. Alhough this information is sourced ostensibly to ‘Al-Haqiqa sources’ – no footnote whatsoever is provided.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-wikileaks-revelations-were-good-for-israel-1.327773

No one can control what any government leaders say about anything and naturally they will put whatever spin serves their purpose on any news and will extract from an information dump whatever serves their interests and emphasize it. This Haaretz article does not even state, and does not prove that Assange arrived at a prior agreement with Israel concerning leaks of documents, or that he took money from Israeli officials in exchange for that agreement or that he in fact expunged such documents.

Allegation seven concerns Assange “praising Netanyahu as a hero of transparency and openness.” [7] linking to an article in Time Magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2034040-2,00.html

Nowhere does this article quote Assange as saying that Mr. Netanyahu is a “hero of transparency and openness” as alleged so this article does not verify accusation #7. There ARE some areas of ambiguous language in the piece, however, that COULD be conflated to infer something. But what, is unknown from the actual language in the piece. In fact the interviewer,(I am not able to provide you his name because the link [7] is only to page 2 of 4 pages in the Time article.) was the one who suggested that the information in the leaks underscored Israel’s position with respect to Iran by revealing that certain Arab leaders wished to decapitate the Iranian government.

The last allegation in the article is that Assange met twice with a left-leaning Lebanese newspaper who offered him money to obtain documents related to a secret war meeting ostensibly held between the US, Israeli and Lebanese parties at the "US embassy in Beirut" (does the US in fact even HAVE an embassy in Beirut?) in July 24, 2006. According to source [8] the documents received by Al-Akhbar Editors left a gap and only covered information from 2008-forward, according to the Indybay article, thereby “supporting the Israeli deal allegations” - leap of the imagination by any calculation.

Unfortunately again, footnote [8] links to an article in a Syrian paper that is entirely written in Arabic so it is completely impossible for a non-Arabic speaker or reader to verify whether in fact this article actually corroborates the allegations in the Indybay article, let alone enable one in search of the truth to take their fact-checking any further.

This is the second link to Syria Truth here:

http://www.syriatruth.info/content/view/986/36/


Conclusion:

The Indybay article does not meet even the most elementary journalistic standards. Aside from being riddled with conditional adverbs like “appears” – it is basically a hack-job cobbled together by someone with vindictive and malicious motives. The sources cited DO NOT corroborate the primary damaging allegations being made, i.e. that Julian Assange of Wikileaks arrived at an agreement with Israel to redact any damaging documents prior to release, let alone that he accepted secret payments from them or from the newspaper Al-Akhbar for special dispensation. The ONLY allegations that are sourced and corroorated relate to the statements of a dismissed and disgruntled Wikileaks employee who wished Wikileaks luck, and did not corroborate the damaging allegations in the Indybay article. Moreover, knowing full well that the readers who will read the Indybay article are prmarily English readers and speakers, the article links to non-English publications as sources, two in Arabic and one in German, attempting to provide legitimacy and the 'cover of ethical journalism' for its “news” reporting, DELIBERATELY further obscuring the truth.

The Anonymous Authors of this article should be very ashamed for what they have done. Whatever their motives, the ends do not justify the means.

The principle of TRUTH is an important core human value. The battle between TRUTH and the LIE has been joined.

May TRUTH and freedom prevail.