Monday 18th of February 2019

negotiating a change in Assange's legal predicament, in exchange for useful information...


Ex-FBI Director James Comey and some former Obama administration officials would have had much to lose if Julian Assange had shared his vision on what happened during the 2016 US presidential race, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel opined speaking to Sputnik, explaining why the ex-FBI chief was so "incurious" about the DNC server hacking.

The story of a might-have-been deal between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange told by John Solomon left one question unanswered: Why did former FBI Director James Comey step in and upset the agreement?

Sputnik got in touch with Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel, asking him to share his opinion on the matter.

"Comey was/is intimately familiar with the Steele dossier, and likely knows much concerning which foreign intelligence services may have proven useful in developing allegations against Americans and others connected to the Trump presidential campaign and to the incoming Trump administration," the investigative journalist noted, referring to the dodgy "Trump dossier" prepared by former British intelligence officer with the secret intelligence service MI6, Christopher David Steele.

Ortel explained that "prior to the presidential election on November 8, 2016, Comey and others may have felt their various activities would stand them in good stead with Hillary Clinton, who most assumed would easily defeat Donald Trump."


However, when their hopes did not come true, it is likely that many Obama administration officials, including the former president, were seriously concerned that they could soon "find themselves in legal jeopardy," the investigative journalist pointed out.

"Perhaps in league with other Obama era holdovers, Comey and Senator [Mark] Warner (let's not forget that he and the recently indicted leaking Senate staffer [James Wolfe, 58] have much to lose from determined investigations into history) likely decided to flush the Assange negotiations, perhaps encouraged by contacts in the UK intelligence community, who may also stand exposed for their cooperation in Trump-related investigations," the Wall Street analyst suggested.

Why Comey Remains so Incurious About the DNC Hack

In some twist of fate, Comey's intervention in the Assange-DOJ investigation also killed a chance to find out what forces had been involved in the Democratic National Committee's server hacking during the 2016 presidential race. WikiLeaks' founder was ready to provide ample evidence that Russia had not been behind the data breach.

On the other hand, it still raises questions as to why the Comey-led FBI had not examined the DNS server following the alleged cyber intrusion.

"Among many inexplicable decisions, the failure of the FBI to demand and obtain the DNC servers, and then the failures of  Obama administration Justice Department officials to determine quickly and before the 2016 election happened whether Russia or other foreign powers may have been interfering is tough to fathom," Ortel highlighted.

He recalled that under the Obama administration numerous accusations were made about supposed cyber espionage by states including China, North Korea, Iran and others.


"The logical move for the FBI after DNC hacking claims were made would have been to use the sophisticated tools that our Federal government does have to learn the truth," the Wall Street journalist emphasized. "Yet, Comey displayed and still displays a remarkable lack of interest in figuring out what happened with DNC server breaches, and with claims that Pakistani government-linked spies may have obtained Congressional and state secrets through use by so many Democrats of the Awan family."

It was previously reported that Imran Awan, an IT employee of ex-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and his family had access to the e-mails and electronic files of members of the House's Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees for years.

"A bad reason Comey and others remain so incurious may well be that they know exactly who started the Russian collusion narrative, that this narrative started much earlier than we presently know, and that US political interests and nations that had most to lose from a Trump presidency laid illegal traps various ways," the investigative journalist presumed.

Comey's Intrusion Appears to be a Plot

The question then arises as to whether it was Comey's own initiative to meddle in the DOJ's negotiations with Julian Assange or a "collective" decision.

"I see this much more as a plot," Ortel responded. "At first, to curry favor with Hillary Clinton, that quickly morphed into madcap efforts to protect Barack Obama, John Kerry, Loretta Lynch, James Comey and others in the pro-globalist, anti-Trump cabal."

The Wall Street analyst also presumed that in general, a Trump presidency was likely seen during 2016 as a threat to the "special relationship" between left-leaning British elites and their counterparts in the United States. Similarly, pro-globalist elites viewed the potential US-Russia rapprochement under Trump as a threat, he added.

"Knowing how much so many in the Obama administration may have colluded to promote Hillary Clinton's candidacy and then to obstruct president-elect, numerous persons likely pulled strings over James Comey until President Trump correctly, yet belatedly, fired him," Ortel suggested.

According to Ortel, "the forthcoming Inspector General Horowitz report concerning how Obama era officials and others may have ordered and attempted to cover up illegal spying on Americans by US and allied government security services should further shake the Washington, D.C. establishment to its core."

On June 25, award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon came up with a story about how Julian Assange tried to make a deal with the Trump administration in January 2017, ahead of WikiLeaks' massive exposure of CIA global hacking techniques in March-April 2017. According to Solomon, Comey's unexpected instructions to stop negotiations undermined the deal placing the CIA under fire and preventing Assange from disclosing the secret of the DNC server.

It wasn't a mere chance that Assange's lawyers approached DOJ officials to strike a deal. As Ortel remarked, the WikiLeaks founder and his team "hoped that the incoming Trump administration might be more receptive than previous administrations to negotiating a change in Assange's legal predicament, in exchange for useful information."

The views and opinions expressed by Charles Ortel and Ekaterina Blinova are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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let assange free...

A UK Foreign Office minister has offered cupboard-dwelling WikiLeaker Julian Assange access to medical attention if he leaves Ecuador's London embassy.

Sir Alan Duncan told Parliament this afternoon that the British government is "increasingly concerned" about Assange's health.

"It is our wish that this can be brought to an end and we'd like to make the assurance that if [Assange] were to step out of the embassy, he would be treated humanely and properly and that the first priority would be to look after his health, which we think is deteriorating," Sir Alan told the House of Commons earlier today.

"Of course, he's in the embassy of his own choice," the minister added.

Sir Alan's statement about Assange's supposedly deteriorating health is intriguing for Assange watchers. When Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot KO'd Jules's last attempt to walk free from the embassy in February, she summarised his health as it was back then:

Mr Assange is fortunately in relatively good physical health. He has a serious tooth problem and is in need of dental treatment and needs an MRI scan on a shoulder which has been described as frozen. I accept he has depression and suffers respiratory infections.

For his part, Assange's Twitter operatives (he himself no longer has internet access – see below) took the news in the same sort of vein that the man himself would probably have done...


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the end of pretence...

The US has long sought to deny its hegemonic character while emphasizing its democratic character. It now seems all such pretence has been abandoned.

“False face must hide what the false heart doth know,” Shakespeare writes, in words that for time immemorial should have sat pride of place under the Great Seal of the United States on front of the podium whenever any president, cabinet member, congressman, or indeed any US official proclaimed their country a champion of democracy.

Now, with the US Department of Defense amending the mission statement of the US military from a ‘deter war’ stance to a ‘sustain American influence abroad’ stance all pretense, as mentioned, is over, allowing the country’s political and military elite to bask in the warm glow of hegemony unmasked.

According to Task & Purpose – a news site tailored to US veterans – this semantic shift in mission statement ‘seems a significant change for the department [Department of Defense] under President Donald Trump.’ But though perhaps for some it may constitute a ‘significant change’, students of US history will no doubt counter this particular assertion with the point that though it may constitute a change in form, it is anything but when it comes to content.

How could it otherwise when imperialism and hegemony are the very fulcrum of US foreign policy, and always have been? Both, in fact, lie at the very foundations of the country’s existence, reinforcing a muscular identity rooted in nationalism, exceptionalism and supremacy – a toxic brew responsible for some of the most heinous crimes in human history.

From the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, resulting in the US seizing half of Mexico at that time – an episode lambasted by former slave and famed US abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, as a “disgraceful, cruel, and iniquitous war with our sister republic” – all the way up to the war for regime change in Libya in 2011, under the rubric of NATO, the US has been the single greatest threat to peace, stability, and justice around the world.

That champions of US expansionism wave the banner of democracy, human rights, and liberty to justify its objectives only adds an extra layer of mendacity to the character of what has proved an insatiable beast of conquest and domination.


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