Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has told of how the U.S. government could topple most others in the world using information from current leaders’ pasts. He also took a swipe at British journalists who he called “gentleman amateurs”, and blasted the Guardian newspaper for abandoning Wikileaks source Edward Snowden.
In an interview with Germany’s Der Speigel newspaper, Assange spoke at length on how British and American intelligence agencies work, revealing details about tactics employed by both agencies which could put companies out of business, and even the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, out of work.
“If you knew as a German politician that American intelligence agencies have been collecting intensively on 125 top-level politicians and officials over decades, you would recall some of the conversations you had in all these years and you would then understand that the United States has all those conversations, and that it could take down the Merkel cabinet any time it feels like it, by simply leaking portions of those conversations to journalists,” he said.
“They wouldn’t leak transcripts of tapped phone calls as that would draw focus to the spying itself. The way intelligence services launder intercepts is to extract the facts expressed during conversations; for example to say to their contacts in the media, ‘I think you should look into this connection between this politician and that person, what they did on that particular day.'”
The news may not be particularly enlightening to those in the intelligence community, but members of the public may be unaware that Britain’s security services operate some pretty ruthless tactics.
“The British GCHQ has its own department for such methods called JTRIG. They include blackmail, fabricating videos, fabricating SMS texts in bulk, even creating fake businesses with the same names as real businesses the United Kingdom wants to marginalize in some region of the world, and encouraging people to order from the fake business and selling them inferior products, so that the business gets a bad reputation. That sounds like a lunatic conspiracy theory, but it is concretely documented in the GCHQ material allegedly provided by Edward Snowden,” said Assange.
During the interview, Assange referred to Wikileaks as being like Cuba, and said that the organisation had undergone a raft of issues following the arrest of Bradley Manning, and exile of Edward Snowden. Security services cracking down on the group and its leadership meant that “staff had to take a 40 percent pay cut” while the organisation figured out how to exist as a pariah group.
“The result was a series of legal cases, blockades, PR attacks and so on. With a banking blockade, WikiLeaks had been cut off from more than 90 percent of its finances. The blockade happened in a completely extrajudicial manner. We took legal measures against the blockade and we have been victorious in the courts, so people can send us donations again,” Assange revealed.
“Most of the media organizations do burn sources. Edward Snowden was abandoned in Hong Kong, especially by the Guardian, which had run his stories exclusively. But we thought that it was very important that a star source like Edward Snowden was not put in prison. Because that would have created a tremendous chilling effect on other sources coming forward.
“In the United Kingdom at various stages, journalism has been the profession of gentlemen amateurs.”
Interestingly, the website’s founder – who is still holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, avoiding multiple charges from the U.S. and Swedish governments – made comments about the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
He said: “Over the last two years, we already have become specialists for the three extremely important trade agreements, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TP). WikiLeaks has become the place to go to leak parts of these agreements that are now under negotiation. These agreements are a package that the US is using to reposition itself in the world against China by constructing a new grand enclosure. We are seeing something that would result in a tighter economic and legal integration with the United States, which draws Western Europe’s center of gravity away from Eurasia and towards the United States, when the greatest chance for long-term peace in Eurasia is its economic integration.”