Project Veritas has obtained a never before heard phone call between Julian Assange and Hillary Clinton’s State Department from prior to the publication of 251,000 US embassy cables that the WikiLeaks founder has now been charged with releasing.
The stunning phone call between Assange and State Department lawyer Cliff Johnson sheds light on the efforts Assange went through to minimize the damage caused by the release of the cables.
Notably, the audio from the call on August 26, 2011, makes clear that WikiLeaks only re-published the full US embassy cables after they were on hundreds of websites, torrent sites and Twitter. Specifically, the full cables were published on Cryptome.org and the Pirate Bay — days before they were published on WikiLeaks.
Warns US Government Trouble Was Coming Their Way With Unredacted Release Of Classified Cables Stolen From Wikileaks pic.twitter.com/hx5u2fSzuC
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) December 16, 2020
“Yes, so the situation is that we have intelligence that the State Department Database Archive of 250,000 diplomatic cables including declassified cables is being spread around and is to the degree that we believe that within the next few days it will become public and we’re not sure but the timing could be imminently or within the next few days to a week. And there may be some possibility to stop it,” Assange warns in the call.
Johnson responds by asking, “And who would be releasing these cables? Is this WikiLeaks?”
“No, we would not be releasing them, we are doing our usual thing of continuing on with our redaction plan, but we have in the past 24 hours released a some 100,000 unclassified cables as an attempt to head off the incentives for others to release the entire archive, but I believe that nonetheless while we may have delayed things a little by doing that they will do so unless attempts are made to stop them. We have already engaged in some legal attempts to get them to stop but I think that it will not be enough,” Assange explains.
The audio shows that Assange went to great lengths to try to prevent the uncontrolled publication of the full US State Department cables by third parties on the internet. He attempted to get editors not to run stories that would call attention to the unredacted cables and tried to get an injunction on Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a previous employee who had been suspended a year prior, and the German publication Freitag, but was told by his German lawyers that he had no standing because they cables weren’t his — they belonged to the US State Department.
See, the password for the unredacted files was published by Guardian journalist Luke Harding in his book about Wikileaks and Domscheit-Berg was spreading around the link. The establishment journalist and the rogue former employee never had to plead for asylum in a foreign embassy however, and Harding remains employed by the Guardian.
Assange repeatedly reached out to the State Department to offer his assistance with mitigating the damage. He explained to them how to stop the spread six full days before the broader public gained access. Clinton’s State Department did nothing. He explained that the US would need to get an injunction in Germany, because WikiLeaks did not have the right to do so. They ignored his warnings.
During the call, Johnson asks if WikiLeaks had taken any efforts to stop the rogue employee and others from publishing the unredacted materials. They explained that they had, but that the only real way to stop it was for the State Department to step in and, at the very least, warn people who may be at risk that the publication could happen within a week.
“What we want the State Department to do is to step up its warning procedures which it was engaged in earlier in the year, like last year, to a State Department sources to mention it in the cables. I assume but am not sure that all of those individuals at the State Department at risk in despotic regimes have been contacted and certainly they’ve had because of the press significant warning that this sort of thing was coming, but in case they are any individuals who haven’t been warned that they should be warned. Insofar as the State Department can impress upon people within Germany to encourage them to desist that behavior that would be helpful,” Assange explained.
Assange also asked for someone to meet him in person from the US embassy, because he was on house arrest and could not get to London. He wanted them to meet him so that he could provide the file location and password because he did not want to give it to them over unsecure lines. They declined to do so.
The audio makes it very clear that WikiLeaks spent nine months diligently working to protect people who would have been at risk and slowly rolling out stories as they were verified and properly redacted.
He was publishing journalism, and doing so responsibly.
The US government knows that Cryptome and others published first, but never charged them or targeted them the way that they did to Assange.
This is clear evidence that the prosecution of Assange is selective and political.
LISTEN TO THE FULL 75 MINUTE CALL HERE: