Despite being spied on and having their privacy invaded by the UC Global firm that targeted Assange, reporters from major US news outlets have said nothing in protest. Meanwhile, new evidence of that firm’s CIA links has emerged.
A Spanish security firm apparently contracted by US intelligence to carry out a campaign of black operations against Julian Assange and his associates spied on several US reporters including Ellen Nakashima, the top national security reporter of the Washington Post, and Lowell Bergman, a New York Times and PBS veteran.
To date, Nakashima and her employers at the Washington Post have said nothing about the flagrant assault on their constitutional rights by UC Global, the security company in charge of Ecuadorian embassy in London, which seemingly operated under the watch of the CIA’s then-director, Mike Pompeo.
PBS, the New York Times, and other mainstream US outlets have also remained silent about the US government intrusion into reporters’ personal devices and private records.
The Grayzone has learned that several correspondents from a major US newspaper rebuffed appeals by Wikileaks to report on the illegal spying campaign by UC Global, privately justifying the contractor’s actions on national security grounds.
UC Global spied on numerous journalists with the aim of sending their information to US intelligence through an FTP server placed at the company headquarters and through hand-delivered hard drives.
Nearly all of those reporters have so far ignored or refused invitations to join a criminal complaint to be filed in Spanish court by Stefania Maurizi, an Italian journalist whose devices were invaded and compromised during a visit to Assange.
Proof of UC Global’s illegal spying campaign and the firm’s relationship with the CIA emerged following the September 2019 arrest of the company’s CEO, David Morales. Spanish police had enacted a secret operation called “Operation Tabanco” under a criminal case managed by the same National Court that orchestrated the arrest of former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet years before.
Morales was charged in October 2019 by the Spanish court with violating the privacy of Assange and abusing his attorney-client privileges, as well as money laundering and bribery. A mercenary former Spanish special forces officer, Morales also stood accused of illegal weapons possession after two guns with the serial numbers filed off were found during a search of his property.
The documents and testimony revealed in court have exposed shocking details of UC Global’s campaign against Assange, his lawyers, friends, and reporters. Evidence of crimes ranging from spying to robberies to kidnapping and even a proposed plot to eliminate Assange by poisoning has emerged from the ongoing trial.
In an investigation for The Grayzone this May, this reporter detailed how the Las Vegas Sands corporation of Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson functioned as an apparent liaison between UC Global and Pompeo’s CIA, presumably contracting the former on behalf of the latter.
It was the second time Adelson’s company had been identified as a CIA asset. (The first was in 2010, when a private intelligence report sponsored by gambling competitors alleged that his casino in Macau was sending footage of Chinese officials gambling so they could be blackmailed into serving as CIA informants).
The story placed the Trump organization at the center of a global campaign of surveillance and sabotage that ruthlessly targeted journalists, including Assange and virtually every reporter he came into contact with since 2017.
For the past four years, the Washington press corps has howled about Trump’s angry browbeating of the White House press pool, treating his resentful outbursts as a grave threat to press freedom. At the same time, it has reacted with a collective shrug to revelations that a firm that was, by all indications, contracted by the Trump administration’s CIA to destroy Assange had spied on prominent American national security reporters.
More revealingly, some of the reporters who had their personal information and notes stolen by UC Global, the apparent CIA contractor, have not said a word about it.
Maurizi, the Italian reporter who is filing a lawsuit against UC Global and serving as a witness in the current case before the Spanish judge, told this reporter she was stunned by the mainstream US media’s passive attitude.
“Imagine if Putin had done anything like this. Just imagine what a scandal this would be,” she remarked to the Grayzone. “It would be a giant scandal all around the world. But instead, [US media] is saying nothing.”
Randy Credico, a comedian, social justice activist, and longtime advocate for Assange’s freedom, also attempted to generate media interest in the spying scandal when he learned that UC Global had snooped on him in the embassy.
“I went to everybody, I went to MSNBC, to the Wall Street Journal, CNN, to journalists I knew, and I couldn’t get anyone interested,” Credico complained to The Grayzone.
“The agency of the stars and stripes wants to see us”
In his first public address as CIA director, Mike Pompeo branded Assange’s Wikileaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” and outlined a “long term” campaign of counter-measures against the crusading media organization.
At the time, Assange was trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and hosting regular visits there from his legal team, friends, and an array of reporters. Continued here.
The editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican Gomorrah, Goliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.
Published by The Grayzone
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.