By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
In another indication of his service to the Russians, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told The New Internationalist magazine that the Swedish security services intercept 80 percent of Russian Internet traffic and share the information with the United States. The claim is making big news in Russia, where Assange is regarded as a hero for his charges and disclosures damaging to America and its allies. The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti trumpets Assange’s charges.
Assange is angry at Sweden because the government wants to extradite him from Britain to stand trial on sexual assault allegations. But Assange is also working for the Russian government, which has given him a visa, a television show on Russia Today (RT), and has announced that he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Significantly, RT has been hammering the Swedish government for “heading from neutrality to NATO” and taking too much of a pro-American stance in foreign policy. “Swedes are already venting anger at their government for committing troops to Afghanistan, and feel their national interests are being sacrificed for NATO and the US,” an RT report declared. RT quoted an anti-NATO and anti-American activist from the Swedish “direct action for peace” group OFOG.
On April 1, hundreds of so-called “peace activists,” including dozens of Swedes, attempted to break into NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
A promo for the new Assange Russia Today show, “The World Tomorrow with Julian Assange,” insists that he wants to “keep journalism honest” and achieve the “maximum political impact” by releasing “full source material.”
But Assange has been anything but honest about his own sources. For example, he insisted that he had no contact with U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, now on trial for treason, when evidence at Manning’s preliminary hearing demonstrated correspondence and communication between the two. Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, some of them dealing with counter-terrorism and sensitive national security matters.
Perhaps in a preview of what he intends to talk about on his own RT program, Assange attacked alleged Swedish cooperation with the U.S. in his interview with The New Internationalist, saying that “…the FRA [Försvarets Radioanstalt], which is the big spy agency in Sweden, intercepts 80 per cent of Russian internet traffic and they sell it on to the national security agency in the US.”
Such a claim can only serve the purposes of those, like the Russian government, who object to cooperation with the U.S. on intelligence matters.
The FRA, the National Defense Radio Establishment, is dedicated to the protection of Sweden and Swedish interests and can monitor telephone and Internet traffic. Sweden joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace framework in 1994 and may consider full membership in NATO, regarded as an anti-Soviet alliance during the days of the Cold War.
Interestingly, an official release from WikiLeaks describes Assange as “one of the world’s most recognizable revolutionary figures” and says he will be interviewing on his new RT show “key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world.”
In the context of giving an interview to The New Internationalist, such a description has to be viewed as being in cahoots with the international pro-communist Left. The publication has run such articles as “The Meaning Of Che,” describing the ruthless associate of Fidel Castro as having a “selfless dedication to the poor and the oppressed.”
The New Internationalist claims it focuses attention “on the unjust relationship between the powerful and the powerless worldwide in the fight for global justice.” But the interview with Assange demonstrates the anti-American bent of the magazine and Assange. It did not ask about his failure to disclose documents on corruption in Russia that he had promised to release.
Asked if WikiLeaks aims for “some kind of global balance of the countries whose secrets they release” and if “there [is] a policy of focusing on some countries and states in particular,” Assange said, “WikiLeaks is entirely source-driven—sources come to us with their material, and we publish. And we promise to publish everything that is given to us, provided it meets our editorial criteria: that the material is of diplomatic, political, ethical or historic significance, has not been published before, and there is some kind of force preventing its publication: a physical or legal threat, or it has been censored recently—it might have been published but then it was unpublished.”
But this doesn’t make any sense, in light of Assange’s relationship with the Russian government and his failure to hold the Moscow regime accountable for its domestic and international policies. Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor wrote, “Worries that WikiLeaks might dump a lot of embarrassing material about the Russian government into Internet never panned out.”
The “worries” cited by Weir had come from the Kremlin, which somehow managed to convince Assange not to publish the material. One factor may have been threats against Assange, and his knowledge of how Russian journalists who probe too deeply into Kremlin affairs are killed. But another factor may have been the prospect of working with the Kremlin. Moscow-funded Russia Today subsequently hired Assange to do a TV show.
Before going over to the Kremlin’s side, Assange had told the pro-Russian government Izvestia newspaper, “We have [compromising materials] about Russia, about your government and businessmen. But not as much as we’d like… We will publish these materials soon.” Another WikiLeaks spokesperson, Kristinn Hrafnsson, was quoted as saying, “Russians are going to find out a lot of interesting facts about their country.” None of this materialized.
According to the book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, Assange sought funds from billionaire George Soros. Assange did not specifically deny this in an interview with the Indian paper afaqs! when asked about support from Soros, but claimed that “(It is common) in the US to allege George Soros is behind everything. To be fair, the only vaguely conspiratorial things that George Soros has been behind is some of the ‘Colour Revolutions’ in Eastern Europe about five or six years ago that I know about.”
But if Soros did indeed play a role in opening up the former Soviet bloc, as Assange implies, it is certainly a fact that the situation in the former Soviet Union is moving in the opposite direction.
Assange’s statement, of course, obscures the nature of Soros and his international operations, which span the globe and have been funded, according to his own estimate, to the tune of almost $8 billion. Most of that money in the U.S. has been funneled into the coffers of what is called the progressive Left.
Soros funding for WikiLeaks has not been confirmed. However, a Soros-funded group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, is currently defending Assange free of charge in the U.S. and sends legal representatives to the Bradley Manning trial. And another Soros-funded group, the Alliance for Global Justice, is the financial sponsor of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
WikiLeaks has rejected the idea that Assange is subservient to Moscow because of his new RT television show, saying, “Assange show is independently produced and Assange has control. Broadcasters license, only.”
But this is similar to what we were told by Thom Hartmann, a major figure in the U.S. progressive movement who also has a show on RT. During a filmed interview, which went badly for Hartmann, who tried to grab the camera, he was forced to concede that the Russian government was paying him directly. Hartmann, however, had also tried to claim that he was somehow independent of the Kremlin because of the nature of his contract.
Assange told The New Internationalist that he was concerned about “the huge expansion by state intelligence agencies, which are now monitoring nearly every border and nearly every internet traffic flow,” but exhibited no concern for what is happening in Russia, where the KGB has become the FSB, the Federal Security Service. Former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Konstantin Preobrazhensky’s book, FSB’s New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent, describes how the intelligence service played a key role in smothering an emerging independent media in Russia and how it operates inside the United States.
Preobrazhensky has described RT, which has studios in Washington, D.C., as a channel for disinformation and propaganda from the Russian intelligence services. He appears in the trailer for a new film titled “KGB Does Not Exist.”
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].