Help WikiLeaks Sue Guardian Over Fabricated Story
Help WikiLeaks sue The Guardian for fabricating a story that Julian Assange had secret meetings with Paul Manafort
The Guardian has claimed, using unnamed sources, that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had "secret talks" with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on three occasions. These claims are completely false and the story has been fabricated. But it has gone viral, repeated uncritically by media outlets around the world.
UPDATE: Paul Manafort has issued a statement unequivocally denying the alleged visits:
“This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks, either directly or indirectly.
“I have never reached out to Assange or Wikileaks on any matter. We are considering all legal options against the Guardian who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.”
The Embassy’s visitor logs – maintained by Ecuador – show no such visits, since they did not occur.
This is not the first time that the Guardian, and in particular its writer Luke Harding, have fabricated a story about Assange.
WikiLeaks is suing The Guardian for libel over this serious fabrication.
Bringing legal action in UK courts is extremely expensive. WikiLeaks is entirely funded by the public and urgently needs your support. We must hold The Guardian to account: your contribution will help make this lawsuit possible. Please make a donation today.
Thank you so much for your contributions thus far. This is an update:
Glenn Greenwald: Five Weeks After The Guardian’s Viral Blockbuster Assange-Manafort Scoop, No Evidence Has Emerged — Just Stonewalling
Greenwald also spoke to The Observer about what he called The Guardian’s “incredibly reckless” reporting, uncritically trusting Ecuadorian intelligence officials. Regarding those officials’ aims, he said, “I think that was the real goal, to turn the flames up on Julian’s expulsion. The Guardian’s happy to be used.”
Serge Halimi writes, ‘The Guardian’s Fake Scoop’ https://mondediplo.com/outsidein/guardian-fake-scoop
Ecuador continues to turn up the pressure on Julian Assange: former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, himself charged by the new President Lenin Moreno. reveals that Ecuador has begun a “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and citizenship.
We’re almost at $50,000! Share this link and donate now to help WikiLeaks fight back against The Guardian’s defamation.
As always, stay up to date on Assange’s situation in the embassy and related developments at our liveblog: https://defend.wikileaks.org/2018/07/23/liveblog-julian-assange-in-jeopardy/
- The Guardian’s fabrication has real-world, dangerous ramifications for Julian Assange's legal situation: In a letter led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, US lawmakers have utilized "media reports" that "Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, including as recently as March 2016" to ask Sec. of State Mike Pompeo to demand from his Ecuadorian counterpart "the complete, unedited log of Julian Assange's visitors at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London be made availabla to all ongoing U.S. investigations", "any security camera footage or other electronic media that was maintained by the Ecuadorian Government to supplement the visitor logs" and "the status of the Ecuadorian Government's discussions with the British Government regarding Julian Assange", adding "it is imperative that [Assange's presence in the Ecuadorian Embassy] be resolved swiftly" https://twitter.com/SenFeinstein/status/1072977963421978625
- The former First Secretary at Ecuador's London embassy and consul, Fidel Narváez, said in an interview with the Real News Network’s Ben Norton that The Guardian's Manafort-Assange report is false. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HimlwWHPRco
- Norton has also commented on the story’s hidden 3rd co-author, Fernando Villavicencio: “Guardian reporters Luke Harding and Dan Collyns co-authored this bogus story with opposition activist Fernando Villavicencio, who has close ties to the US and who Ecuador said previously doctored a document that was irresponsibly published by The Guardian “Ecuadorian opposition activist and Guardian contributor Villavicencio runs an "investigative journalism" site that churns out nonstop propaganda against Correa, the left, and @WikiLeaks.” https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/1075066876173213698
- Former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald tweeted his email to Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner, asking several questions about the story, its lack of evidence, and Narvaez’s comments: https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1072484810336161793
He added: “I'd like to ask again: how can a news outlet like @guardian possibly expect credibility when it demands transparency and accountability from other powerful institutions when it stonewalls and ignores all public inquiries in a case like this? They're stonewalling more than GCHQ. If you care about the loss of faith in news outlets & the ability of demagogues to attack journalism as Fake News, then you should be most vocal about demanding that outlets like @guardian avoid this kind of behavior, that feeds that distrust and lends credence to those attacks.”
- WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson commented on the lack of response as well: https://twitter.com/khrafnsson/status/1075058796400177152 “Three weeks since @guardian killed its reputation with Manafort-met-Assange fabrication. It has neither retracted nor tried to defend the story. No word from the journalists nor the editor @KathViner. Don´t think I've experienced anything as pathetic in my 30 yrs as a journalist.”
- Alan MacLeod has written for FAIR: Misreporting Manafort: A Case Study in Journalistic Malpractice https://fair.org/home/misreporting-manafort-a-case-study-in-journalistic-malpractice/ MacLeod spoke about the piece in an interview with journalist Slava Zilber: https://soundcloud.com/conversationswithslava/punching-down-the-mainstream-media-and-julian-assange#t=2:37
- Meanwhile, Der Spiegel has investigated its own scandal and admitted the deception to its readers: https://t.co/QylwAn8PUn
- Independent journalist and author Matt Kennard has pointed out that one of the authors of the Manafort-Assange fabrication, Luke Harding, has fallen silent since the publication of the story.
"Where’s the @guardian’s Luke Harding? He hasn’t published a story for three weeks. Has he been put on gardening leave after the fabricated frontpage Assange-Manafort story? #fakenews #boycotttheguardian"
- Finally, @AssangeLegal notes that The Guardian’s Media Group endowment and cash holdings total £1.01 billion, a reminder of what WikiLeaks is up against.
WikiLeaks ’s legal team is in discussions with libel lawyers and needs all the help it can get. Thank you for your donations thus far, and please continue to share articles and links about the fabricated article, as well as this GoFundMe link as widely as you can.
This is an update.
The Guardian has not yet retracted its story. It published the story on the front page of the print edition the next day. The print edition contained a significant discrepancy with the online version: a third author in addition to Harding and Collyns - Fernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian political activist who has been implicated in fabricated stories in the past. ( https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/1069670645586374658)
One week on, pressure is mounting on The Guardian to come clean:
* The Washington Post: The Guardian offered a bombshell story about Paul Manafort. It still hasn’t detonated
The report said "the Guardian bombshell looks as though it could be a dud. No other news organizzation has been able to corroborate the Guardian's reporting to substantiate its central claim of a meeting" —
*The Intercept — https://theintercept.com/2018/11/27/it-is-possible-paul-manafort-visited-julian-assange-if-true-there-should-be-ample-video-and-other-evidence-showing-this/
* Glenn Greenwald has made public an email to the editor of The Guardian, Kath Viner — https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1070003123874349058
* Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: Misreporting Manafort: A Case Study in Journalistic Malpractice —
* The Canary: Former diplomat challenges ‘fake’ Guardian claims about Julian Assange meeting Paul Manafort —
* DailyDot: Former Ecuadorian diplomat blasts ‘fake’ Manafort-Assange meeting story —
Please share this GoFundMe link encouraging others to contribute and share reports exposing the Guardian's fabrication.
Taking legal action against a newspaper is often reserved for the very wealthy (See — https://twitter.com/AssangeLegal/status/1068347771755917313).
With your help we've already raised 40K in a week. Our goal is 300K. An Oxford University report [ http://pcmlp.socleg.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/defamationreport.pdf] found that suing for libel in the UK is 140 times more expensive than the European average. We will explore all jurisdictional avenues.