HomeArticleDebunking The Smear That Assange Recklessly Published Unredacted Documents

Debunking The Smear That Assange Recklessly Published Unredacted Documents

This is a new section for my newly updated ongoing mega-article Debunking All The Assange Smears, a resource for debating 30 of the most common smears against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Use it, share it, and let me know if there’s anything you think should be changed or added.

The prosecution in the Assange extradition trial has falsely alleged that WikiLeaks recklessly published unredacted files in 2011 which endangered people’s lives. In reality the Pentagon admitted that no one was harmed as a result of the leaks during the Manning trial, and the unredacted files were actually published elsewhere as the result of a Guardian journalist recklessly included a real password in a book about WikiLeaks.

A key government witness during the Chelsea Manning trial, Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, testified under oath that no one was hurt by them. Additionally, the Defense Secretary at the time, Robert M Gates, said that the leaks were “awkward” and “embarrassing” but the consequences for US foreign policy were “fairly modest”. It was also leaked at the time that insiders were saying the damage was limited and “containable”, and they were exaggerating the damage in an attempt to get Manning punished more severely.

As Assange’s defense highlighted during the trial, the unredacted publications were the result of a password being published in a book by Guardian reporters Luke Harding and David Leigh, the latter of whom worked with Assange in the initial publications of the Manning leaks. WikiLeaks reported that it didn’t speak publicly about Leigh’s password publication for several months to avoid drawing attention to it, but broke its silence when they learned a German weekly called Freitag was preparing a story about it. There’s footage of Assange calling the US State Department trying to warn of an imminent security breach at the time, but they refused to escalate the call.

It wasn’t long after that that the full unredacted archive was published on a website called Cryptome, where it still exists in its unredacted form today, completely free from prosecution. It wasn’t until the leaks were forced into the public, at the initiation of Leigh’s password shenanigans, that WikiLeaks published them in their unredacted form.

“Assange said the leak publishing outfit’s usual editorial ‘harm minimisation’ procedures had become irrelevant after other websites published the full text of the unredacted cables,” New Scientist reported in 2011.

“For harm minimisation, there are people who need to know that they are mentioned in the material before intelligence agencies know they are mentioned — or at least as soon after as possible,” Assange told New Scientist. “By the time we published the cables, the material was already on dozens of websites, including Cryptome, and were being tweeted everywhere. And even a searchable public interface had been put up on one of them.”

Assange’s US criminal defense lawyer Barry Pollack said in a press conference after the second day of the extradition trial being held at Belmarsh Prison: “What was laid out in great detail in court today was that the United States government making this extradition request claimed that Julian Assange intentionally published names of sources without redaction. We learned today that the United States government knew all along that that wasn’t true. That when others were about to publish those names without redaction, Julian Assange called the State Department to warn the State Department that others were about to publish, and pleaded with the State Department to take whatever action was necessary to protect those sources. The idea that the United States government is seeking extradition of Julian Assange when it, the United States government, failed to take any action is really unfathomable. I think we will learn more as this trial goes on that the United States government simply has not disclosed, in the extradition request, the underlying facts.”

The US government doesn’t care about unredacted publications, or it would have gone after Cryptome. The US government doesn’t care about people being harmed by the Manning leaks; it knows that didn’t happen. The US government cares about punishing a journalist for exposing its war crimes, plain and simple.

The attempts to smear Assange as reckless, cold and cavalier with the Manning leaks have been forcefully disputed by an Australian journalist named Mark Davis, who was following Assange closely at the time filming footage which would become the documentary Inside WikiLeaks. You can listen to Davis’ account of what transpired here, or you can read about it in this WSWS article.

Davis details how The Guardian, the New York Times, and Der Spiegel journalists were putting Assange under extreme pressure to go to press before Assange had finished redacting names from the documents. None of the outlets offered any resources or support to help redact them, and Assange had to pull an all-nighter himself and personally cleanse the logs of over 10,000 names before going live.

Davis says that it was Guardian journalists such as Leigh and Nick Davies, the two most vocal critics of Assange, who were displaying the cavalier attitude toward redaction back then. 

“Of course, it was apparent that they would be risking, if not the safety, certainly exposing the identity of many people – there’s tens of thousands of documents there,” said Davis. “I never witnessed a conversation where anyone took that seriously. Not one.”

Davis says the only conversation that he witnessed on the topic of redaction was between Davies and Leigh, and Assange wasn’t present.

“It occurred to Nick Davies as they pulled up an article they were going to put in the newspaper – he said ‘Well, we can’t name this guy,'” recalls Davis. “And then someone said ‘Well he’s going to be named on the website.’ Davies said something to the effect of ‘We’ll really cop it then, if and when we are blamed for putting that name up.’ And the words I remember very precisely – from David Leigh was he gazed across the room at Davies and said: ‘But we’re not publishing it.'”

Indeed, the only ones who seem to concur with this “cavalier” characterization of Assange are those who’ve had a lot invested in making sure they weren’t blamed for the leaks.

Journalist Iain Overton observed on Twitter recently that his experience working on the Iraq war logs with Assange was very different to the gossip about him.

“I worked closely with Assange when editor of Bureau of Investigative Journalism on the Iraq War Logs,” Overton said. “This claim absolutely false when it applies to that. We went to great lengths to redact names, protect identities. This is an assault on whistleblowing.”

Finally there is a quote attributed to Assange by Leigh, “They’re informants, they deserve to die,” with regard to the sources in the logs that he painstakingly redacted all their names from. It was supposedly said at a dinner that was attended by John Goetz from Der Spiegel, who provided a testimony saying that he heard no such thing from Julian.

In a classic case of projection, it appears that Assange’s enemies are charging him with the very sins they were committing.

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Latest comments

  • “In a classic case of projection, it appears that Assange’s enemies are charging him with the very sins they were committing.”
    Exactly. Sociopaths always expose themselves by doing this — they accuse their opponents of their own malfeasance. It happens almost like clockwork. When you know what to look for, you can see them clearly, while the public can only fawn over them with ignorant admiration.

  • Assange also sought to confer with US government officials about any possible security risks associated with the material provided by Chelsea Manning. The US government rebuffed his efforts and, through compliant media, promoted a narrative absent that information. Assange also has pointed out that the US government ITSELF was careless in how it stored the information of allegedly covert contacts, making it accessible to a huge number of people, violating accepted information security practice.

  • Vanessa Baraitser is clearly what we call a “jobsworth”, if she does not obey the political masters then she will be sacked, thus even hinting that she has any empathy with the prisoner is more than her job is worth. There is a whole culture of jobsworths now, a sad example is the Department of Work and Pensions, in which human sympathy is totally disallowed.

  • My neighbor calls it ” Railroading ” when people such as Julian Assange are placed inside a ” court system ” that is already rigged for a ” conviction ” no matter what kind of evidence is presented inside the courtroom. Almost every day in these United States people that have spent many years in jail on ” wrongful convictions ” are found to be innocent. If Mr. Assange is handed over to United States ” authorities ” the ill treatment he has received in the United Kingdom will seem like a ” picnic “.

  • “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” – Mario Savio
    Mario Savio was one of the founders of the Berkeley Free Speech movement.

  • Do you have a web link to a folder of all your Assange articles?

    If not I suggest that you consider doing so. It would be an invaluable link to provide to those who have little knowledge about Assange. Believe it or not many exist. Even politically aware people are unsure about Assange as the ‘good’ guy or the ‘bad’ guy. I had such a conversation yesterday.

  • Since all governments, of any form, are eventually saturated by sociopaths and psychopaths, what would one expect? The sooner we learn to distrust any of them the better. There is nothing you can imagine that is so evil the Sociopaths In Charge will not do if they believe it serves their personal interests.

  • The real problem I think isn’t so much the public smear, as it is of freedom of religion, if my neighbor practices human sacrifice; do I have a right to complain? If the offering is of my own flesh and blood; do I still have to respect my neighbors religion?

    • Religions are spiritual filters. We don’t respect filters, we just throw them out or purge them when they are full of gunk.
      If my neighbor was practicing human sacrifice I’d be moving out of my house fairly quickly.

  • Injustice is very much alive and kicking many an innocent person way below the belt. The United States government and all of its lackeys deserve to be in jail; not Julian Assange.

  • That dickwad Luke Harding released the unredacted password too? Jeez…

  • LOL…People really believe this DRAMA…Assange is a SHILL, he works for the elite not for us…WAKE UP PEOPLE..

    Magically, all his Wikileaks are exposing what we all already know PLUS he exposes some dirty truths which brings foreign regimes down which are opposed to the Globalists.

    I’m a hardcore “Conspiracy Theorist” never in a Million years I would fall for Main Stream Drama. Lets see

    Julian Assange..

    1. Never ever mentions 911 was an Inside job, instead take the mainstream fake lies.

    2. What about Building 7…No Answer.

    3. CIA transporting drug from Afghanistan

    4. Dangers of Vaccines.

    5. GM food

    6. Fluoride in water

    7. Freemasons, Pedophilia, rituals etc etc

    8. ISIS is created by MOSSAD & CIA

    & 1000 others like Rothschild family and presidents been puppets nothing more….All his so called Revelations are for mass media consumption and make fools out of humanity.

    This is a very dangerous mistake to be making

    • OK, the good news is that you won’t be taking my space in line for the COVID-19 vaccine?
      ….
      It is interesting to be so old that fluoridation of water has gone from being a far-right-wing conspiracy theory to being a far-left conspiracy theory. You follow in the footsteps of Col. Jack D. Ripper who only drinks grain alcohol worried about his Purity of Essence. All I know is that I’m old and I’ve got healthy teeth.

      • John it’s possible that your teeth are healthy because your ancestors were healthy and that you have not been addicted to sugar in any of it’s forms. Over the preceding generations as the western diet became more refined and the consumption of alcohol became commonplace our DNA has become damaged to the point where children’s teeth are not as strong as their grandparent’s teeth.
        As for fluoride, it may or may not be an elite conspiracy to damage the critical thinking in the population and push us into complacency. It may just be a hoax carried out by the fertilizer industry to be able to sell their waste rather than pay to have it disposed.
        Either way, fluoride is definitely a neurotoxin. It could be made available to people who believe that it is good for them but it should not be forced on the general population.
        Many of the young people in the town near me who would otherwise have beautiful healthy teeth have the flecks of dental fluorosis quite visible on their teeth. No matter how hard they try to keep their teeth healthy, the fluorosis scars keep growing.

  • Wr choose who to believe among so much information and disinformation. My confidence in all things is shaken. Life has become a barrage of competing facts. Ignorance is truly bliss.

    • The life of a caterpillar is truly blissful until a bird swoops on it and eats it. In this age of instant communication we have the choice to continue to be blissfully ignorant or we can try to work out where that bird is coming from and avoid being eaten.
      When a single bird in a flock warns the rest of the flock of impending danger they all fly away to safety. In the current human society we destroy the ones who are warning us.
      You have a point Khatika, sifting through all the available information is really testing our inner judgement and it is also providing us with plenty of material for nightmares. It makes me want to be the happy caterpillar munching on a juicy leaf.

  • His strategy and tactics are brilliant, exceptional and powerful: way above the mental abilities even for highly intelligent people. Unfortunately, early Roman Catholic bishops twisted, edited and censored His lectures and instructions to hide the Truth from those who stand to benefit from what Yeshua said and meant when training His Ambassadors for a global revolution.

  • Excellent work Caitlin! Assange has been fighting the evil empire and you help expose the dirty tactics perpetrated by paid and bribed agents of the Deep State. The truth we hate to admit is that protestors and dissidents are relatively complacent with their circumstances and inadvertently (usually indirectly) support the status quo which they so aggressively criticize. The evil empire will only be defeated when dissidents study, understand and collectively put into practice the revolutionary strategy and tactics which Yeshua trained His Ambassadors to teach and practice. Unfortunately, His strategy and tactics are brilliant, exceptional and powerful: way above the mental abilities even for highly intelligent people. But early Roman Catholic bishops twisted, edited and censored His lectures and instructions to hide the Truth from those who stand to benefit from what Yeshua said and meant when training His Ambassadors for a global revolution.

  • Will you be surprised if the military aricraft transporting Assange to Virginia changes course and lands a Guantanimo, and Assange ends up living the rest of his life in a cell at whatever they call Gitmo nowadays. Of course Assange will be afforded a “trial” in THAT kangaroo court, too. The thing of it is that the conditions in that Gitmo court will likely be just like that at Belmarsh, only Assange’s lawyers will have to travel several thousand miles to put on his defense. If the history of the justice doled out at Gitmo means anything, the meetings between Assange and his lawyers will be monitored by the prosecutors and the CIA and Assange will be denied access to anything that he might possibly use to help himself.
    .
    This is justice in the US and its ass-licking lap-dog, the UK (and the rest of the US’s vassal states).
    .
    And if all of the above turns out to be accurate, what can any members of the bewildered herd do about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
    .
    At one time a mass of thousands of supporters may have been able to move Assange from the Ecuadoran embassy to, say, the Russian embassy in London, but not now. Now there may very well turn out to be no hope whatsoever for Hero Julian Assange.

  • This is how a seemingly impenetrable wall crumbles and falls.
    You learn the facts about one instance. You learn how governments betray everything that they are supposed to stand for. You learn how they lie, cheat and steal to obtain an immoral goal. In the specifics of one instance, you see the truth.
    This is why any who come to learn the real truth about the governments denying all pretense of liberty and democracy to shut down a journalist who challenges them by revealing their lies, their cheats and what they’ve stolen.
    Because, once you’ve seen the truth in one area, the whole dang wall crumbles to the ground. You learn not to trust the people whom you know have lied to you. You begin to see the other lies and the other deceptions. You begin to question what you’ve been taught since an early age, because now you know that its all bull and its all a deception because in an important case you know they lied, they cheated and they stole.
    You talk to someone else, who has studied some other instance where the governments have lied, cheated and stolen and knows the facts about it. As you trade knowledge of what you know, you realize that similar lies were told. You recognize some of the liars in their story as the same liars you already know about.
    Now that you’ve unraveled two lies, you question authority more and more. You learn to question everything you’ve been taught. You start to realize that everything is a lie. That you are working to give money and wealth to others. That you are killing other people who also see the lies because that’s what you’ve been told and tricked into doing.
    The whole wall crumbles into dust around your feet, and now you realize what a horizon truly looks like.
    This is the path to freedom. You are now walking along that path.
    Now you can help others to find and walk that path.

  • Thanks for your great work from germany Mrs.Johnstone
    some time ago I published those 2 songs
    because this whole story makes me sick.
    https://soundcloud.com/smnt/free-assange
    https://soundcloud.com/smnt/the-most-important-journalist

  • Please share! Here is a report from journalist Craig Murray, who was in the courtroom on day 1 and day 2. Excellent synopsis. DAY 1: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-1/ and here is DAY 2. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-2/comment-page-2/#comments

  • To understand the ruling elites against Assange, you have to know that they are in a “save the System” mode against him not without some similarities with the ruling elites of 2000 years ago against Jesus.

    Most of the people backing Mr Assange do not care for the “System” but the ruling elites do. They are people for whom money has primacy over people and their needs.

    It is a violent society as it was in the days of Noah, our days being the return of those days just before the return of Jesus and I pray the Rosary to hasten His Glorious return because I have seen more than enough bs.

    • Yes, its all a system to the corporations we work in the products we make to harm each other for money to survive. So sad.

      • Yeshua said we cannot serve both God and money and His revolutionary strategy and tactics are powerful: The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Unfortunately, early Roman Catholic bishops twisted, edited and censored His lectures and instructions to hide the Truth from those who stand to benefit from what Yeshua said and meant when training His Ambassadors for a global revolution.

  • They moved him to 3 different prison cells in the night, too. No sleep for tortured Julian.​
    Julian Assange was handcuffed 11 times, stripped naked twice and had his case files confiscated after the first day of his extradition hearing, according to his lawyers, who complained of interference in his ability to take part.
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/25/julian-assange-handcuffed-stripped-naked-claim-lawyers

    http://www.johndayblog.com/2020/02/brief-opportunity-window.html
    I work in public health, garden 3 vegetable gardens, and bike commute. I’m outta’ bandwidth.
    This morning I have to go get beans, rice, oil, salt, Thai red curry in little jars, bar soap, shampoo…
    Jenny scored toilet paper and mixed nuts at Costco yesterday, and I ordered $1300 of things that I would be ordering soon for the family homestead in Yoakum. A Pioneer heat pump and 5 stainless steel shelving units seem to be available, so I put them on the credit card.
    I tended the vegetable garden there at People’s Community Clinic for an hour and a half yesterday afternoon, after finishing all my patient care work, then rode the hour home.
    2 people really almost hit me on the way home. Distracted and in a hurry, I guess.
    It makes me ready to fight.
    I’m glad I’m not on a Chinese or American nuclear sub with one infected mate.
    I have made suggestions for a mobile viral assessment unit in the parking lot at People’s Clinic, and how to run it, weekend before last. Haven’t heard back.
    I also said I anticipated we’d need to work out home visits for our patients. No reply yet.
    I volunteered. I’m a fatalist.
    We have no test kits, but we can report suspicious people who traveled to Wuhan, I guess.
    Who makes the test kits?
    Jenny listened to NPR on her way home from work last evening. The CDC was advising Americans to hoard, er, “stock up for a quarantine at home”.
    Get stuff you’ll need now. Window of opportunity.
    This morning after coffee, Jenny wished me a good day as she headed to work.
    “I love you”, I said. “I hope you don’t die of coronavirus”.

  • Not being a lawyer but from what I have now read on the court actions to extradite , it is obvious that the judge presiding on the case is extremely biased , shooting down any argument presented
    by the defense . I do so hope that Assange is set free but have serious reservations on this happening .Fingers crossed .

    • Don’t expect paid and bribed agents of the Deep State to administer justice

    • Where the hell are they dredging these cruel and inhuman judges from? The cess pit of the Tower of London?
      Judge Vanessa Baraitser responded to the 48-year-old journalist and publisher by saying she would not allow him to address the court: “Mr Assange, generally defendants do not have a voice.”
      There goes my very last vestige of respect for judges and the justice system. What an absolute filth ridden travesty issued from that demon Vanessa Baraitser’s disgusting mouth.

  • Thanks ever so much for this.

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