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I find it incredible that it took the Guardian 7 years to decide to write this article. EDIT: In fact, it's not even by the Guardian -- it's an opinion piece by an ex-Guardian editor who was (at least implicitly) part of the smear campaign against Julian Assange "back in the day".

Let's not forget that the Guardian sent Julian Assange a basket with soap and socks when he took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy[1]. What kind of a message does that send? They also didn't tell anyone involved in the Snowden revelations when GCHQ forced them to destroy their copies. They also (through their tehnical incompetence) leaked documents that WikiLeaks had not published, then blamed WikiLeaks and Julian Assange for the disclosure. Not to mention the ludicrously false and harmful articles they published about him meeting Manafort and co-ordinating disclosures with the Trump campaign alongside many other government puff pieces disguised as "journalism".

Now, all of a sudden, they feel it's a good idea to try to help him. It's too late for that. The right time to try to help him was 7 years ago. Doing it now is for the birds, it's pure political theater so they can pretend (in 15 years) that they were "on the right side of history". Absolute bullshit.

Then again, saying something is better than nothing. Here in Australia there is no public discussion about Julian Assange (an Australian citizen and journalist being tried under US terrorism laws). Even more ironic is that we recently had a bit of a "freedom of the press" scuffle because the ABC was raided by the Australian Federal Police because of some coverage from 2017 over Australian Army war crimes. I find it incredible that nobody mentioned Julian. At all. What an absolute disgrace today's press is.

[1]: https://youtu.be/vwjazrixP1Q?t=5255

And in fact, the Guardian published a blatently false story about Manafort holding "secret talks" with Assange, which they incredibly have still not retracted, despite literally zero evidence to back up this extraordinary claim.


That story was clearly fake. The Guardian reporter and his source have both proven to be unreliable in the past, no other newspaper could confirm the claims and the Special Council looked into it and found nothing.

And the Guardian has now “re-establish[ed] links” with British military/intelligence after their breakup post-Snowden:


Much of our media now coordinates and sources stories from national intelligence services. This has been true with some of the biggest stories of the past few years - many of which failed to pan out. So in some important cases our “news” has been literally government propaganda.

> a basket with soap and socks

Does this have some cultural significance? It a symbolic snub of some kind?

The speaker in the video says that they sent him this care package and then pauses and stares into space like it's the most obviously terrible thing they could have done and needs no further comment.

I don't get it?

If you have a friend who broke their ankle and is in hospital overnight, you send a basket with soap and socks (or more likely, flowers). If you are the head of a news organisation and have a fellow journalist (who you've worked with in the past and gave you "the biggest scoop in 30 years") and is currently facing political persecution by the most powerful government on earth, you send lawyers to help him get out of the situation and cover it endlessly until something is done about it. As Jacob Appelbaum said in the video I linked, it's an example of not treating such a serious situation seriously.

So yes -- it was a snub in the sense that it was literally the least useful form of "help" they could've given. Julian didn't need symbolic help. He needed actual help, and the Guardian left him out to dry (and then proceeded to publish countless articles smearing him -- including flat-out lying as in the "he met with Manafort" case).

Heck, WikiLeaks sent one of their lawyers to help Snowden in Hong Kong when he got in trouble (and bought him plane tickets and the rest of it -- even trying to rent a private jet to get him out of Russia while he was stuck in the airport) -- and they didn't even have anything to do with publishing the Snowden revelations.

It's funny you mention Appelbaum - he is another person who upset some powerful entities and had a smear campaign against him.

I have never myself heard that narrative about Appelbaum. It seems clear that, while some of the allegations against him were unfounded, others were made by women who publicly identified themselves and their experiences of being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted by Jacob Appelbaum.[0]

Is there really a narrative that these women fabricated stories of sexual abuse by Jacob Appelbaum because he upset some powerful entities?

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Appelbaum#Allegations_of...

See https://www.zeit.de/2016/34/jacob-appelbaum-sexueller-missbr... from the Wikipedia article) and briefly alluded to in the FAQ at http://jacobappelbaum.net/ (- If you're a sexual predator, what better cover story is there than "the FBI is making shit up about me.") and https://archive.is/UX9Jk

This was brought up in discussions at the time as being a potential smear campaign against him. I personally didn't really buy this as being the most plausible explanation -- though I will say that the US government has definitely done things like this before (the FBI tried to manipulate MLK into committing suicide by threatening him with "evidence" of sexual misconduct[1]). And if I was a spook, it's probably the first course of action I would take to discredit someone.

Personally though, I think the more obvious issue in the Appelbaum case is that he was held to "trial by social media", which is a very common pattern these days. In the end, there was no legal action taken by ether Appelbaum or the women accusing him (and the veracity of some -- though not all -- of the stories was challenged by other women in the Tor community). He's now back to doing crypto-related research as a student of Bernstein and Lange (recently publishing a paper about improving WireGuard's security).

So I don't think we'll ever know if the allegations were true or not, but it probably means he won't work as a journalist (or for the Tor Project) again.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI%E2%80%93King_suicide_lette...

All these activities seem wildly beyond the scope of what I’d consider journalism. Why don’t they just write about it rather than getting mixed up in it like this?

Journalism organisations have lawyers for a reason (and they do help other journalists and even sources with legal troubles), so I completely disagree it was out of their power to do something about it.

But also -- they didn't even write about it. They smeared him relentlessly for 7 years only to "change their tune" immediately after the point-of-no-return.

All these activities are exactly what investigative journalism is supposed to be.

Assange is riding the edge of what is considered permissible in society, where this line effectively divides the state and consolidated power, and the public.

These are matters of life and death for Assange, victims of the war crimes of which he's published, and future potential victims if journalistic freedom is further restricted and thus even less accountability for war criminals.

The Guardian has elected not to bring their clout and lawyers to bear on these matters. Instead, they sent Assange a basket of soap and socks for his extended stay in a foreign embassy.

> The Guardian has elected not to bring their clout and lawyers to bear on these matters.

Isn't it correct that the journalists stay out of the news themselves? They should be reporting, not becoming the story by 'bringing their clout' to anything.

I disagree entirely.

If it were possible to be apolitical, I would agree. I don't think it's possible for any one person or entity to be apolitical, thus I think they should simply be as honest as humanly possible.

Claiming any sort of neutrality merely serves to mask agendas.

It reminded me of various movies where a solid soap inside a sock is used as a weapon. Still I don't think this is what it's about in this case.

Related: https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanket_party

If I had to guess it's something (socks) you might give to a homeless person.

No, the problem is that it is literally the least useful form of "help" they could've given someone who is facing political persecution from the most powerful government on Earth. It's basically a really underhanded way of saying "you're on your own on this one".

We're not going to help you get out, so please accept these token socks and soap because you're on your own and you will need them in there.

I suspect they are responding because the recently added on espionage charges do pose a threat to journalism. The earlier, more narrow charges, didn't really mean much for journalists.

The accusations were only made public a few months ago (with some leaks less than a year ago pointing to them). If they feel so strongly that he's a journalist they should've been saying something for the past 7 years. Instead they've been publicly smearing him, and in some cases flat-out lying.

Assange predicted publicly for many years that the US was going to indict him under the Espionage Act, and now that it's happening everyone seems to be pretending that "we couldn't possibly have seen this coming!". I was still a high-school student in 2012 and I could see it as clear as day. I refuse to believe that any reasonable adult would be so naive to have not seen this coming.

What do you mean by "It's not even an article by the Guardian -- it's an opinion piece"

The author of the piece, Alan Rusbridger, is the Editor-in-chief of the Guardian

Rusbridger moved on in 2015. Also whilst editor he was complicit in the smear campaign against Assange which the Guardian has been running since seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Ah, I didn't look up the author's credentials -- I will edit my comment. Often opinion pieces in newspapers are not the same as articles written by journalists and published as fully-fledged articles (usually they have an implicit caveat of "this is not the official opinion of $newspaper").

I don't think you need to change anything. Rusbridger is no longer editor of the Guardian (he left in 2015).


I've edited it back -- though whether or not the article is by someone who works at the Guardian is the least important point I'm making.

The Guardian also saw an increase of their circulation - in a dying industry - during the time when they've published WikiLeaks and Snowden documents. Which translates into an increase of ad spending and consequently revenue.

Instead of blaming the press like they failed you as your life mentor, I’d also argue the actions of the media imply the disinterest of the people. The press is largely a mirror, just like marketing — it’s all based on what people think will sell to you. More articles on math? That doesn’t sell.

The press plays a much more important role when it comes to power. Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky is the classic text on the propaganda role of the press. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12617.Manufacturing_Cons...

This old BBC interview with Noam Chomsky about the topic is also illuminating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjENnyQupow

I would suggest you read "Manufacturing Consent" by Noam Chomsky. The media has an enormous amount of power in shaping public opinion, and in particular also has a massive amount of control over the Overton window. There are countless examples of this happening very publicly -- just in the past decade.

Agree, the Guardian has been one of the most vocal papers in attacking and ridiculing Assange. We collected some of this output here https://theguardian.fivefilters.org/assange/

Especially damning now with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture describing his treatment as psychological torture: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?N...

"Support non-corporate media"? Are you suggesting The Guardian is a corporation? (They are a trust.) Ah, your comment history shows you are waging a vendetta.

If you believe they are a trust (they're not), you should read this https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-03-03/hsbc-and-the-s... and this https://expressiveegg.org/2017/02/07/guardian-bothering/

You perhaps don't understand that the Articles and Memorandum of a Limited Company can define a very different model to what you are thinking. They are a trust, the Scott Trust.

> Are you suggesting The Guardian is a corporation?

The Guardian has been incorporated for hundreds of years. Yes they're a corporation.


PLC stands for Public Limited Company. A company is not a corporation.

I'm sorry, but your web site seems like a bit of nonsense veiled in a guise that it's out to present "the truth".

Many of the linked tweets don't resolve, and the rest of the web site appears to be purely a Greenwald support group in his seeming vendetta against his former employer.

The site also proclaims [paraphrasing] "do not trust the Guardian—read our write-ups of the same subjects instead".

I can't take that any more seriously than "corporate-state media".

I should add, if corporate-sponsored journalism outlets is a problem for your group, then I suggest you also drop The Intercept:

Financial backing for The Intercept was provided by Pierre Omidyar, the eBay founder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Greenwald

> Many of the linked tweets don't resolve

Two of the three linked tweets don't resolve because the accounts appear to have removed older tweets. Having followed the two accounts for a while (Mark Curtis and Matt Kennard), I'm pretty sure this has nothing to do with a change of heart about the Guardian (a look at their recent tweets will confirm this).

Mark Curtis's tweet is captured by the Wayback Machine:


Matt Kennard's new Twitter account has plenty of interesting findings on the Guardian's deputy editor:


> the rest of the web site appears to be purely a Greenwald support group in his seeming vendetta against his former employer.

Our suggested reading page - https://theguardian.fivefilters.org/assange/better-media.htm... - contains only one link to a Greenwald article, but considering Greenwald led the reporting at the Guardian on the NSA revelations which won the Guardian a Pulitzer, I think his comments on this matter shouldn't be so easily dismissed.

> I should add, if corporate-sponsored journalism outlets is a problem for your group, then I suggest you also drop The Intercept: "Financial backing for The Intercept was provided by Pierre Omidyar, the eBay founder."

Personally not a fan of The Intercept. I like Glenn Greenwald's work though.

I would argue that the only good journalism done by The Intercept is by Glenn Greenwald.

As for the rest of your comment, the general thrust of the page is accurate -- it is incredibly well-known that the Guardian has had a bone to pick with Julian Assange for years. Pretending that is not the case is an example of being intentionally misleading or deciding to ignore facts which disagree with your views.

I'm not picking on Greenwald, to be clear.

I also didn't say that they were inaccurate about their pointing out of the Guardian's treatment of Assange.

I'd argue that the Guardian never hid it. Also, that media literacy matters and you shouldn't treat every outlet as a single voice. It's terribly inaccurate and, I'd say, in bad faith to do so—as long as said outlet has a general track record for accuracy. Or, even more common, many outlets may have an injected column by interests, but they do not operate so unified as the page presumes.

I didn't read into the articles they've pointed out in any detail, but I'd pay more attention to who is writing them than painting an entire organization with one brush. That's a fools game. And likely to end up in reciprocal treatment.

Also to note—I wasn't just commenting on the page, but on the rest of the web site which maintains a theme of celebrating the Intercept above all other outlets.

It also comes across to me that GP's comment is derailing the nascent subject.

Editors have a lot of control over what is (and is not) published by a newspaper, so "the Guardian has a bone to pick with Julian Assange" could be translated to "the Guardian's editors have a bone to pick with Julian Assange". In addition, accuracy is not the only factor -- tone and angle are also incredibly important because they shape the conversation on a topic. And the tone of an article is definitely shaped by editors.

If there is a consistent record by a newspaper of negative (or in some cases outright false) articles about someone, I think it's fair to say that they have a bias against that person. I'm sure you'd agree with me the Fox News has a strong bias against AOC and Ilhan Omar -- it is sometimes reasonable to make a generalisation like that if the general trend is in a particular direction.

I don't think you can generalize editors so easily, either. They don't all operate on the same principles. Some exact more authority over tone than others. I don't know the Guardian's editors, so I can't speak to them.

I also can't speak to Fox News or American politics in that kind of detail.

Anyway this is going off of the main context of the thread, which was my original complaint. So if there's another one that comes up on this subject I think it would be more suitable to explore it there.

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