The God-Honest Truth, A Stakeholder’s Performance Appraisal Feedback on Kristinn Hrafnnson.
Let’s seal a 7 month interval in history, then I can forget about it and focus on the upcoming Assange case to prevent his extradition to the United States. I am in the middle of editing a report on the performance of @Wikileaks.
Given that it’s been 3 years since Britain released documents concerning the Assange case but only dribbles of news stories have been reported, in hindsight, it would be understandable if Assange were outraged at the handling of the FOIA data results.
Editor in Chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson.
Any public figure should be held accountable to his/her stakeholders. As a long time supporter of Wikileaks and Julian Assange I have a right to voice my opinion and concerns about the current leadership of a pivotal organization, Wikileaks. If Hrafnnson works for the public, then the public gets to weigh in on his job performance. So does Assange, (+ his family, fiance and kids).
One cold Saturday night in February while I sat by my fireplace, nursing my severely injured dog recovering from surgery, watching the snow fall lightly, I was scouring the internet for documents that could advance the case for Julian Assange. Over the past 10 years, this has been my habit on a weekly or monthly basis. I’ve done it countless times with varied results.
It could have been happenstance, or it could have been my keen research abilities but somehow I clicked on a link to the UK’s 2017 FOIA release site, then kept digging and I found a link to Annex 15, released Aug. 3, 2017. I perused it, recognized immediately that I was looking at emails that I had not seen before, nor with far less redaction than any other emails previously reported by journalist Stefania Maurizi. As before, whenever I find emails that are new-to-me, I posted a link on twitter, conducted due diligence by consulting Maurizi, Wikileaks and other Assange supporters on line to determine if they had previously been reported. In the past, whenever I found collections of Assange documents on Scribd or other sites I was told that they were not new, or that it would be too time consuming to cross reference my findings with the 8 to 34 pgs. of documents reported by Maurizi,(Less than 1% of total results).
I took the rest of the evening to read, crowdsource and report preliminary “finds” on twitter, just as I had done many years ago in the wlfind hashtag (2011 or 2010). I found what I had been searching for for since May 2013, prior to UK extradition law revisions. I wrote a comprehensive blog concerning my thesis of an Assange Exclusion Clause two years ago (Sept. 12, 2018) based on the partial reporting of Maurizi. It’s worth a read, but set aside at least 30 minutes.
I called the Editor in Chief of Wikileaks that evening (I have the phone records) believing I made a massive breakthrough and to share the good news. I left a voicemail summarizing the findings and asked him to check my Twitter feed for links. I was consumed with reading the full 336 pgs. and was astounded by content I had not previously seen during 8+ years of intense research which included online translations of Swedish and Spanish documents. I was astonished by Annex 15 in particular.
The next morning (Canadian time) I called Hrafnsson at 8:46 am and he picked up. I was happy, enthusiastic, positive and summarized my hours of research which was almost continuous for 9 hrs with short cat naps. I used the words “I think I found the deleted emails, it says held in abeyance, cases are being adjourned regularly pending Assange, backlog and scores of other cases” that proves he was excluded. It confirms my first blog…” . Hrafnsson cut me off to tell me that he was at Belmarsh, he couldn’t talk because he was about to go in to visit him. I said I didn’t want to keep him, understood he had to go, enthusiastically asked him to share the good news with Julian, give him my solidarity, let him know we / I was working hard for his freedom and asked Hrafnsson to go to my timeline for links. I told him I’d send him some links directly and would spend the day writing another blog to report my findings. I was buoyed, hopeful and I trusted that he would pass the message along and he himself would understand the significance of what I had said.
Even though I was exhausted, nursing my dog recovering from excruciating surgery, shovelling heaps of snow and trying to stay on top of other responsibilities, I wrote a blog post and published it that day. Since then I have edited it about 87 times. In less than 24 hrs from me discovering Annex 15 and scanning the other annexes (total 545 pgs), I managed to crush out the Assange Exclusion Clause post (Britain Stacked the Deck) and posted it for feedback. I never heard back from Hrafnsson, he didn’t post it on Wikileaks Twitter feed, he didn’t review my blog post for feedback and after about 45 days of no feedback or reporting on my findings, I began to reconsider his approach to primary source documents which he could have leveraged to aid the founder of his employer, Wikileaks, who by March was in lockdown in Belmarsh. It was like I hadn’t called him, written a blog, DM’d him or that my findings were insignificant. It was odd and unnerving. I waited a bit longer before questioning his loyalties publicly on Twitter. In the meantime I had had some Twitter interactions with Maurizi, the original custodian of the emails who did the important work of initiating the FOIA process and was told that my findings were essentially redundant, even though I knew they were not. I continue to be grateful that Maurizi obtained the emails which are irrefutable evidence of UK and Swedish corruption, LawFare and collusion to arbitrarily detain Assange. Maurizi is involved in ongoing litigation for more documents from the UK, US, Ecuador and Australia so I am hopeful she / we will have more results to scour in the near future. I give credit where credit it due. (Aside, I do have complaints about her handling of the documents since Aug. 3, 2017 but that is for a different post).
It’s hard to pinpoint a moment when I began to seriously doubt Hrafnsson’s allegiance to Julian Assange, but it was like a tear gas cannister going off in my heart, and I felt nauseous, especially as the pandemic unfolded across the globe and into Belmarsh. Assange was put back into solitary confinement / prison lockdown, could not see his fiancee or sons, visitors were prohibited and even meetings with his legal team were cancelled. My concern led me to develop an hypothesis on the UK’s potential culpability in “Corporate Manslaughter” for a possible “Death in Custody” in their handling of Assange and most pointedly, the cruel denial of an urgent bail request. It felt sadistic. Judge Baraister was sadistic and unfair in court hearings which Assange could not attend either in person or by videolink due to COVID prevention measures and doctors’ recommendations. My alarm at Hrafnsson’s stonewalling of my reporting or even his refusal to post the documents on Wikileaks twitter feed to over 5.6 million followers grew more disturbing. Whether or not he liked my writing or reporting, it was urgent that he share the link to the full documents from the primary source UK government to inform the public, but he did not. Seven months later he still has not. That is worrisome, confusing and likely indicative of shifted loyalty. Afterall, Assange is not only his comrade, “co-conspirator”, friend and business partner, he is also a journalist undergoing transnational mobbing and torture, and his case will either protect press freedom or open the gates of Hell for any and every other journalist subject to the whims and vengeance of the United States. Assange is the slow-cooker version of Khashoggi (RIP Oct 2, 2018) who was violently murdered by Saudi authorities. The Assange case is precedent setting for the supposed “civilized”, democratic West so it is confusing that Wikileaks did not and has not amplified verified, pivotal facts concerning corruption in the case.
Given that Wikileaks is the “publisher of last resort” whose mission is to publish information in the public interest of political, ethical or historical significance, I am confounded at Hrafnsson’s editorial judgement to NOT publish at least Annex 15. I have asked that Wikileaks tweet the link (already public) then go further: Upload the emails, index them so they are searchable by researchers such as me, write a press release, do a press conference or a series of teaching videos to discuss the full results beyond those reported by Maurizi and advance Assange’s legal defence at this crucial point in history. Thus far he has not done any of these. It doesn’t fit Wikileaks M.O. or standards to publish full documents in the public interest and transparency. It made me question Hrafnsson’s editorial judgement.
Remember, Assange and Hrafnsson have worked together since 2010 following the removal of DDB who hijacked Wikileaks dropbox, embezzled funds and then reaped financial benefit for slandering Assange in interviews, a book and a film based on his betrayal. His libel was lucrative and did irreparable damage to Assange’s professional reputation. DDB was an early gaslighter in the GaslightingAssange machine.
I participated online in the rally leading up to Assange’s first court hearing (Feb. 24 to 28) and was very impressed by Hrafnsson’s brief speech calling for Assange’s freedom. It was stirring and moved me to tears. I trusted he was consulting with lawyers on Annex 15, planning to report on the UK corruption and possibly in the process of indexing the documents for publication on Wikileaks site. Hrafnsson’s public exhortations were compelling and his subsequent video conferences concerning the Collateral Murder video and developing case toward the US extradition hearing have been well done.
Assange’s mother has been impressed by Hrafnsson’s advocacy and messaging on behalf of her son. I view it from the lens of Gaslighting Assange whereby persons in positions of trust / leadership make public pronouncements affirming one thing while undermining that value in private. It is hypocrisy.
Hrafnsson was not only a colleague to Assange over the past decade; they became friends, partners in Sunshine Press and “brothers” in the struggle for press freedom and free speech. They knew each other’s secrets, strengths and weaknesses. They have had the bond of high-stakes trust between each other for over a decade. Hrafnsson was the logical choice to stand in for Assange when conditions at the Ecuadorean embassy became severely restrictive and tortuous. It was intended to be temporary, not permanent. In hindsight, perhaps in Hrafnsson’s mind, it was intended to be a permanent replacement.
Right now, the future of Wikileaks is in the hands of Hrafnsson:
The next betrayal will seal the coffin on Assange and behave like a sleeper cell within the organizational structure of Wikileaks and Courage. Time is on the adversary’s side. Prolific and passionate advocates for Assange have already died and more death is on the horizon, natural or otherwise.
Put yourself in the dark COVID place where Assange currently resides, emotionally and physically. Now rewind to August 2017 before he was placed under intense surveillance at Ecuador’s embassy in London and disconnected from the internet.
Would he have withheld any in whole or in part? Would he have indexed and published them for easier access and referencing for journalists and bloggers (eg. Podesta and Stratfor email releases)? Would he, as Editor in Chief of Wikileaks at the time, deem the emails to be insignificant from an historical, political or ethical standard? Wikileaks is the publisher of last resort, not bound by publication bans, that releases information of historical, diplomatic, ethical and political value. It appears, from this tweet below, that in Nov. 2017 he did not have the full annexes of FOIA results obtained by Maurizi on Aug. 3, 2017.
If anyone had a right to immediate access to Annex 15, it was Assange. If he had these documents 3 yrs ago, he would have fought to reopen an Appeal to the UK Supreme Court and asked the United Nations to reiterate its ruling that he has been unjustly arbitrarily detained based on Annex 15 evidence. It should have been top priority to circulate the data and explain the historic weight of it.
Full docs or it didn’t happen: If Wikileaks refuses to publish the emails, or tweet the link to 5.6 million followers, or issue a press release and/or generally handle the evidence of UK corruption with indifference, the logical conclusions are problematic. There is essentially no where else to go unless another courageous publisher decides to publish it. Last week I tweeted a series of tweets which I categorized as “channeling Assange himself” in so far as I was able to put myself in Assange’s position with days before an international US extradition hearing, fear of COVID 19, ongoing torture, deprivation of liberty, denial of bail, lack of access to his lawyers and functioning technology and I asked myself the question, “What would Assange say if he could address Hrafnsson directly”?
Dear Kristinn, Why didn’t you publish the full documents, with indexing, a press release and interviews for wider public attention? You have a huge platform via Wikileaks and you squandered it. You saw me in Belmarsh on Feb. 2nd right after Jude called you to tell you about her explosive findings. You dropped the ball. Why haven’t you defended me with all of your might, partnered with other journalists and lawyers or even tweeted the links? You are the Editor-in-Chief of a free speech/free press, anti-censorship media organisation so why are you trying to vilify a reporter who is trying to inform the public about UK corruption in my case? Where does your loyalty lie? Do you have a side-hustle with the CIA, FBI or UCGlobal? How hard could it be to just retweet the link to our 5.6 million followers? You are supposed to be a friend and an ally but you have not behaved as either one. If you refuse to amplify the full documents which demonstrate UK corruption, what else are you sitting on from the Wikileaks dropbox? Are you censoring other massive leaks or news? Where is your editorial judgement?
Kristinn, you must resign from Wikileaks. There is absolutely no excuse for your passivity. Let your conscience and integrity guide you to do the right thing.
Don’t you realise that since August 2017 I have endured increasingly harsh torture, been disconnected from the internet and my lawyers, lost my public voice, my name has been dragged through the mud in media accounts, I was arrested, robbed of my belongings, prevented from marrying Stella or being a dad for Gabriel and Max, been denied contact with my family, exposed to a killer virus, humiliated in court, dragged out of the embassy, had my Ecuadorean citizenship and asylum revoked and am now facing the press freedom fight of the century but am unable to defend myself. How could you have buried the very documents that could have changed all of this or prevented it from happening to me? It is either a gross oversight or a bitter betrayal. You owe me explanations. You owe my family, lawyers and global supporters an explanation. How could you do this to me? Are you trying to kill me? Your inaction is sabotaging Wikileaks. Your inaction is enabling my ongoing torture. Whose side are you on? I’m caged in Belmarsh prison unable to convey my frustration and rage at your indifference to me.
Annex 15 could still be leveraged to free me or at least help me achieve justice. If I die today, you are culpable in different degrees. You could have done something but you did not. I may not survive the damage your oversight or betrayal has caused. I am in the custody of my greatest adversary, the US, because you did not publish the full set of documents which could have saved me. Don’t pretend to be friend, ally or a champion of press freedom as long as you refuse to draw more public attention to the evidence of UK corruption. You are a fraud. Ditto to the others who knew of the emails but did not crowdsource. How can you even call yourself an investigative journalist when you did not investigate the emails on my behalf or discarded them to the trash bin?
I was arrested on a ruse of bail breach, publicly humiliated by Ecuador’s lies, then arrested on behalf of the US. I was put in the equivalent of a fish tank in a court room as a prisoner in Category A prison, strip searched, had my documents confiscated, prevented from full participation in court room dynamics and repeatedly excoriated by UK judges. Legal defence funds have been squandered because if these documents were widely published, in full, with indexing, and comprehensive reporting, press releases, media interviews, I would not be here in Belmarsh. This is a nightmare. This could have been prevented.
Court appearances have been a cruel extension of torture for me and given Britain the stage to gaslight, deride and obstruct justice. They have provided narrative cover to justify the stonewalling of the United Nations WGAD and Nils Melzer who came to evaluate me a year ago. I was dehumanized and subjugated unnecessarily.
Almost all of my resources have been drained: financially, emotionally, legally and access to my lawyers has been obstructed. Any person who had access or possession of the FOIA annexes concerning me but did not make that information public is complicit in my torture, arbitrary detention and possibly my death. Failure to publish this information may lead to US extradition, which amounts to a death sentence any way you slice it.
Your indifference, incompetence or likely collusion with my adversaries is not just a betrayal of me, but Stella, John, Christine, my children, friends, all publishers/journalists, the United Nations and global supporters who have fought for my freedom.
I am at death’s door. I’ve gone through hell and continue to go through hell every second of every day. What prompted you to tuck the information into an abyss or into the pouch of a marsupial out of scrutiny? Silence is complicity. Your refusal to amplify the full documents or the importance of the previously unreported findings has maximised the harm done against me and put me on the precipice of being handed over to my enemy.
Explain yourself in writing, in public. Until you do so, you are not welcome into my court hearing and I do not want you to speak on my behalf. Move aside. Publish or perish. Publish or resign. Publish or get out of the way of others who have the courage to publish.
“This could have been prevented.”
~Julian Assange (speculatively)
The Mission of Wikileaks:
Wikileaks has always had a policy of disclosing full documents with the least amount of redactions within a context of harm minimisation. As of today, it has not done this, despite my repeated requests. https://cps.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/publications/disclosure_15_annex_0.pdf
If he had access to documents which could have exposed UK corruption on a previously unknown level which could have prevented Assange’s expulsion, arrest by UK police, incarceration in maximum security, Covid19 exposure and massive theft of all his electronics…but did not act, not even tweeting a link to the UK’s FOIA site, nor reporting on new findings in the 545 pgs, even after I called him twice, spoke once directly w him… on his way in to see Assange in Belmarsh Feb 2 2020 then he is not meeting the basic expectations of being an Editor or even staff member with Wikileaks.
If you were the Editor in Chief of Wikileaks, don’t you think that researching and reporting on the legal case and well being of its founder Assange would be a top priority? Me too. We need to put pressure on Wikileaks to inform the public fully on Annex 15, with interpretation and strongly worded statements to remedy the injustice.
Many years ago Wikileaks published emails obtained by Jeremy Hammond and others from private spy contractors and analysis companies called and HB Gary and Stratfor. The emails outlined how to penetrate the lives of investigative journalists (particularly Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and Wikileaks associates) then undermine their integrity. It concentrated on sabotaging the accuracy of stories and publications and destroying the trust network within the organization or collegial relationship.
I do not trust Kristinn Hrafnsson in his role as leader of Wikileaks, a main spokesperson for Assange himself or his stewardship/custody of current and future leaks to Wikileaks dropbox. I hate hypocrisy, especially by those who are supposed to be allies and who hold positions of trust. I feel betrayed by Hrafnsson, but worse, I feel sickened by his betrayal of his former mentor, employer, colleague and friend Julian Assange. This post will serve the purpose of a partial performance appraisal of Hrafnsson in the role of Editor in Chief since Assange was disconnected from the internet and tightly tortured behind the walls of Ecuador’s embassy beginning Oct. 2018.
He has known about the Assange Exclusion Clause for over 7 months and I can verify this directly with records. He has had evidence of corruption of the case at the highest level but has chosen to reject it as a topic of discussion, tweeting, press release or publication (full indexing / searchability on Wikileaks site). My question is “Why?”.
Others have posited that the reasons are “legal”, but I have had no direct response from Hrafnsson explaining his decision to suppress this information, therefore I do not trust him. Some tweeps have acted as “back-channels” to silence me from my queries and concerns. It was not helpful; their arguments were neither rational or accurate.
Given the restricted, vetted and limited media access to the AssangeCase, I believe that Hrafnsson is not worthy of occupying the court room where Assange will be physically present. His presence may cause more harm to Assange than good. Any press briefings held outside the courtroom which involve Hrafnsson will only serve to give him an audience to pose as a champion of Press Freedom, advocate for Assange and competent leader of Wikileaks. He is a fraud. He is a free speech fraud, free press fraud and a frenemy of Assange. It would be grandstanding and a soapbox for more Gaslighting Assange tactics.
Hrafnsson has shown himself to be an unreliable, or incompetent, or intimidated, or physically/mentally ill custodian of information which he should have amplified in the public interest, in his role at the helm of Wikileaks. He must retire or resign immediately from his current role.
I cannot trust him nor do I believe he deserves the public’s trust.
I am going “on the record” on this. It is my opinion as a long time Assange and Wikileaks supporter.
(Note: I will add more details to this as I am able. My focus has been on directing attention to the Assange Exclusion Clause, lack of Open Justice in UK courts and the Gaslighting tactics being deployed.)