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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.





Comments  (Hide Comments)

by deanosor
( deanosor [at] mailup.net ) Thursday Dec 9th, 2010 2:05 PM
There is no US embassy or consulate in Syria. There is no official direct diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the Arab Republic of Syria.
by anonymous
Thursday Dec 9th, 2010 3:08 PM
Update - thanks to an anonymous individual, the German text of the taz article has been translated. This article does NOT corroborate any of the damaging allegations in the hack-job and entirely concerns itself with the whining and crabbing of a disgruntled former Wikileaks employee.
by Vespa
Friday Dec 10th, 2010 3:26 AM
Brian Whittaker, former Guardian middle east editor on a more plausible explanation as to why Israal does not feature in the cables.

http://www.al-bab.com/blog/blog1012a.htm#wikileaks_where_are_the_israel_documents

"Wikileaks: Where are the Israel documents?

While we're on the subject of Wikileaks, I've been waiting eagerly for some interesting cables to emerge from the US embassy in Tel Aviv. After all, I seem to remember Hillary Clinton apologising to the Israelis in advance for any embarrassment that might ensue.

But it seems that all we're getting is incidental references to Israel in cables from the US embassies in other countries.

I've heard people voicing suspicions about this. Have the Israel cables been suppressed, they ask.

The answer, apparently, is no. There's little or nothing from Israel in the 250,000 or so documents – and the explanation, I'm told by someone who ought to know, is very simple.

Israel, in the eyes of the US diplomats, is not a normal country like any other and so it's not dealt with in the normal way. Sensitive documents from Israel go through different channels – to the White House rather than the State Department – and are therefore not among the batch leaked to Julian Assange"
by anonymous
Friday Dec 10th, 2010 10:55 AM
Please note that contrary to false information being promulgated by the mainstream media less than 1,000 of the 260,000 document have actually been released by anyone yet. The way the process goes is Wikileaks dumped the big file (260k) on their media partners who analyze the information redacting information deemed by THEM to be potentially harmful prior to release to the public which is done by them, NOT Wikileaks. So we are up to about 1,000 documents in the big file ............ and everyone is going nuts. What does that tell you about what is in the rest of the dump? Just stating the obvious.
by anon3
Sunday Dec 12th, 2010 2:28 AM
Ever hear of a language translator? THere's only about 550 of them available for download on any softwarez site such as CNET, Softpedia, etc. So your counter allegations are even more misleading as you outright lie over assumptions on your part. I'd say you are the one who's being elementary AND dishonest. Maybe people are sick and tired of 90% of all media that lies almost every time they write about crime and politics.
This same comment is also posted here on the WikiLeaks 'struck a deal with Israel' over diplomatic cables leaks article.

I have written and posted a blog post entitled: "Open Interrogatories and Requests for Documentation to Daniel Domscheit-Berg of OpenLeaks Concerning Accusations of Zionist-Bribery Against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks."

It needs traction. Please share it and spread it, etc. We need to get to the bottom of this. Thank you.
by Steve Short
Saturday Jan 1st, 2011 8:42 PM
Despite this rebuttal which I have no issue with, there are undoubtedly some very strange aspects to this affair which I might summarize as follows:

(1) There is no doubt the Wikileaks '250,000 cables' release hit the world media stage just as Israel was indicating to the US (and the Palestinians) that they were going to lift the freeze on Israel settlement of the West Bank and very much distracted international attention from that new development. In my view, that development was all the more significant because at the same time Israel rejected a US$3 billion bribe of military hardware by Obama to renew the freeze. Nothing since has convinced me that Israel has not made what is to all appearances is a watershed decision to allow unlimited Jewish settlement of the West Bank and deny the Palestinian hopes for a sovereign state for all time. I think that is a very significant develeopment and it appears to me the Wikileak event was possibly very carefully timed to coincide with that.

(2) The manner of the 'official' Wikileaks release of the the cables agreed with teh 5 newspapers i.e. in a low rate stream which even today 2 January has still not reached 2500 cables i.e. 1% of the promised. To anyone with a decent statistical training (such as myself), this would be the ideal manner/mechanism of public release if it were desired to maximize statistical uncertainty in any effort to determine statistically unusual content biases e.g. in respect ov subject matter or embassy of origin etc. In other words any statistically reliable analysis of such biases gets delayed to a point distant in the future (if at all).

(3) There is no doubt that thus far there appears to be a distict lack of meaningful cables relating to relations between the US, Israel and the Palestinian (Fatah) administration, specifically in respect of 'peace negotiations' designed to limit Isareal settlement of the West Bank and allow a Palestinian State Even Assange admits that. His recent explanation on the Al Jazeera interview (as reported in the Qatai newspaper The Peninsula goes as follows:
"WikiLeaks will release cables concerning Israel, the Second Lebanon War and the Mabhouh assassination in the next six months. Only a small number of documents related to Israel have been published so far because newspapers in the West that had exclusive rights to publish the material were hesitant to publish sensitive information about Israel,The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even The New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US."
As best as I can determine from lists published about the entire Wikileaks database e.g. by the Norwegians (as translated for me by a Norwegian friend), the entire database does contain, just as Assange said, material concerning the Second Lebanon War and the Mabhoub assination ONLY. There is essentially nothing of significance in the database (at least the one the Norwegians have gotten) about the Obama administration US-brokered Israeli/Palestinian negotiations, which had been going on for more than a year.

(4) Given that Netanyahu has boasted:
"The Israeli state, being the world's experts on intelligence (!), identified the vulnerability of the US diplomatic channels, i.e. that over 300,000 people (or was it 2 million) had access to classified information, and foresaw that it was just a question of time before the leaks occurred. They chose to avoid communicating via these channels." Whether you belive that or not (I don't) there would seem to no reason whatsover why Assange should 'hold back' any cables for another 6 months? No reason that is unless his statement was designed to delay, as long as possible, the simple fact that he/Wikileaks has nothing to offer - either because Netanyahu is speaking the truth or the whole ACTUAL cables database has indeed already been corrupted by the deliberate redaction of cables relating the the Middle East peace process. I note that at no time has Assange taken issue with Netanyahu's claim. On the contrary, in the earlier Time interview Assange chose to say that Netanyahu "believes that the result of this (Wikileaks) publication, which makes the sentiments of many privately held beliefs public… will lead to some kind of increase in the peace process in the Middle East and particularly in relation to Iran". Assange then complimented Netanyahu by saying he is "not a naïve man" and "a sophisticated politician".

It seems to me that Assange has been, to use the Shakespearian expression, 'hoist with his own petard' by that Al Jazeera interview. Therefore unless Assange produces something meaningful, and I mean soon, in respect of cables dealing with the Middle East peace negotiations, in my view there would be nothing much left to deflect the fairly strong inference at this point in time that:

(a) the Wikileaks "250,00 cables" "release" was, in reality, an elaborate Mossad psyops operation designed to deflect international attention away from the radical seachange in Israeli official policy to allow unfettered settlement of the West Bank by what are mostly fundamentalist US-born Jews and repudiate irreversibly the possibility of a Palestinian state forever; and hence

(b) Assange himself is either the long time dupe/tool of someone else within Wikileaks or in his (Assange's) own past or even a Mossad agent himself.