Spying on Assange: UC Global, CNN and Russian Couriers

Binoy Kampmark

History’s scope for the absurd and tragic is infinite.  Like Sisyphus engaged in permanent labours pushing a boulder up a slope, the effort of making sense of such scope is likewise, absurdly infinite.

To see images of an exhausted and world-weary Julian Assange attempting to dodge the all-eye surveillance operation that he would complain about is to wade in the insensibility of it all.  But it could hardly have surprised those who have watched WikiLeaks’ battles with the Security Establishment over the years.

Assange is not merely an exceptional figure but a figure of the exception. 

Despite being granted asylum status by an Ecuadorean regime that would subsequently change heart with a change of brooms, he was never permitted to exercise all his freedoms associated with such a grant. There was always a sense of contingency and qualification, the impending cul-de-sac in London’s Ecuadorean embassy.

Between December 2017 and March 2018, dozens of meetings between Assange, his legal representatives, and visitors, were recorded in daily confidential reports written by an assigned security team and submitted to David Morales, formerly of special ops of the marine corps of the Spanish Navy. 

The very idea of legal professional privilege, a fetish in the Anglo-American legal system, was not so much deemed non-existent as ignored altogether.

The security firm tasked with this smeared-in-the-gutter mission was Spanish outfit UC Global SL, whose task became all the more urgent once Ecuador’s Lenín Moreno came to power in May 2017.  The mood had changed from the days when Rafael Correa had been accommodating, one at the crest of what was termed the Latin American Pink Tide.

Under Moreno, Assange was no longer the wunderkind poking the eye of the US imperium with cheery backing.  He had become, instead, a tenant of immense irritation and inconvenience, a threat to the shift in politics taking place in Ecuador. According to El País, “The security employees at the embassy had a daily job to do: to monitor Assange’s every move, record his conversations, and take note of his moods.”

The revelations of the surveillance operation on Assange had had their natural effect on the establishment journalists who continue taking the mother’s milk of conspiracy and intrigue in libelling the publisher. 

CNN’s Marshall Cohen, Kay Guerrero and Arturo Torres seemed delighted in finding their éminence grise with his fingers in the pie, making the claim, with more than a whiff of patriotic self-importance, how “surveillance reports also describe how Assange turned the embassy into a command centre and orchestrated a series of damaging disclosures that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States.” 

Rather than seeing obsessive surveillance in breach of political asylum as a problem, they see the quarry obtained by UC Global in quite a different light. The WikiLeaks publisher had supposedly been outed.

The trio claimed to have obtained documents “exclusive” to CNN (the labours of El País, who did the lion’s share on this, are confined to the periphery) – though they have not been kind enough to share the original content with the curious. 

Nor do they make much of the private security materials as such, preferring to pick from the disordered larder that is the Mueller Report.

The CNN agenda is, however, clear enough.

The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.”

Suggestions, without the empirical follow-up, are made to beef up the insinuated message.

“While the Republican National Convention kicked off in Cleveland, an embassy security guard broke protocol by abandoning his post to receive a package outside the embassy from a man in disguise.”

The individual in question “covered his face with a mask and sunglasses and was wearing a backpack, according to surveillance images obtained by CNN.” So planned; so cheeky.

Another line in the same report also serves to highlight the less than remarkable stuff in the pudding. “After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange’s allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was ‘no doubt that there is evidence’ that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.” 

Not exactly one to stop the presses.

CNN, in fact, suggests a figure demanding, unaccountable, dangerous and entirely in charge of the situation.  It is the psychological profile of a brattish historical agent keen to avoid detection. (Here the journalists are keen to suggest that meeting guests “inside the women’s bathroom” in the Ecuadorean embassy was a shabby enterprise initiated by Assange; the obvious point that he was being subject to surveillance by UC Global’s “feverish, obsessive vigilance”, to use the words of El País, is turned on its head.)

He is reported to have “demanded” a high-speed internet connection.  He sought a working phone service because, obviously, that would be unreasonable for any grantee of political asylum.  He requested regular access to his professional circle and followers. Never has such a confined person been deemed a commander, an orchestrator and master of space.  “Though confined to a few rooms inside the embassy, Assange was able to wield enormous authority over his situation.”

The account offered by Txema Guijarro García, a former advisor to Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño and an important figure dealing with the logistics of granting Assange asylum in 2012, is decidedly different. 

In general, “relations between him and the embassy staff were better than anyone could have expected. The staff had amazing patience and, under difficult conditions, they managed to combine their diplomatic work with the task of caring for our famous guest.”

The language from the CNN report suggests the mechanics of concerted exclusion, laying the framework for an apologia that would justify Assange’s extradition to the United States to face espionage charges rather than practising journalism.  It is a salient reminder about the readiness of such outlets to accommodate, rather than buck, the state narrative on publishing national security information.

It is also distinctly out of step with the defences being made in favour of publishing leaked diplomatic cables being expressed in the Tory leadership debate in Britain. 

While it should be construed with care, the words of Boris Johnson in the aftermath of the publication of British cables authored by the now ex-UK ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, are pertinent.  “It cannot conceivably be right that newspapers or any other media organisation publishing such material face prosecution”.

Even Johnson can take the pulse of history accurately once in a while.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]


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Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Jul 20, 2019 10:33 AM

The treatment of Assange is a mircocosm of the the so-called internation rules based order that the MSM love to use as an excuse to rationalise war crimes: the preposterous notion neocons were ‘spreaing democracy’ in Afghanistan and Iraq, for example.

Its essential to understand that there is no such thing as an international rules based order: there are just terror states (supreme amongst them is the US) and their junior partners (like the wretched Blair during Bush’s tenure) who are ABOVE the law so can thus use all and any means to achieve geopolitical goals, such as destabilising countries rich in gas, oil, or opium.
Of course there is no possibility of any court holding state actors to account legally, no matter how many lives they ruin, no matter how many cities they flatten, and no matter how many countries they devastate.
Courts are only for opponents predatory states take a dislike to like Saddam Hussein, or Slobodan Milošević, or for whistle-blowers like Julian Assange.

Julian was crazy enough to remind everybody of this and is now paying a terrible price because those going after him are not constrained by phony legal processes they control so can thus abuse.
Nils Melzer has been a game changer in revealing to the wider public the venal nature of our political leaders and by implication the sinister corporate and intelligence entities that are pulling the strings.

Bizarrely the MSM sobs all night if Roseanne Barr sends a tweet that fails to comply with the new puritanism yet laugh and sneer when a fellow journalist is being tortured in the centre of London.

Jul 20, 2019 2:32 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

The Central Intelligence Agency has always utilized impression management to add chill to counterintelligence gathering so that journalists like Assange can be controlled by fear alone. J. Edgar Hoover was an intelligence master that was primarily interested in control factors that would enable him to control all types of operatives from politics to intelligence.
The CIA learned from Hoover but they should have matured by now and they should have managed to become less pathological and more professional as time evolved.

Mature thinkers fully understand why Assange the journalist should be freed from the confines of the intelligence community. In brief, the Intelligence community needs to grow up enough to allow journalists like Assange room enough to do his research. A progressive governance in the intelligence community would be able to understand & appreciate the value that someone like Assange brings to the intelligence community and their better half of education.


Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Jul 20, 2019 4:04 PM

The intelligence community has pursued Assange with the kind of vigour one might associate with a drug cartel that has been crossed by a rival operator.

Cold, relentless and without any meaningful regard for due process.

Of the two I despise the intelligence community more because unlike crime rivals in the drug trade they hide their vindictive motives behind a bullshit form of legitimacy sold to the public by an amoral and dutiful MSM.

Make no mistake – Assange has been subject to a public punishment beating in order to ward off other journalists from exposing what humanitarian regime change translates to in countries deemed a grave threat (by neocons) to ‘our way of life’.

Jul 20, 2019 7:08 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

The neocons & Chicago School of Neoliberalism know implicitly that their overarching thesis of how the world works was unequivocally repudiated when Bear Stearns was murdered to set into place the ultimate check mate move on the world’s fourth largest investment bank & reigning all time ‘Gorilla of Wall Street’ Richard Fuld who was actually dimwitted enough to drink his own Lehman Brothers brand of Kool-Aid to in turn be drunk enough on the souls of the poor to hazard getting totally slammed up & jacked up on 44:1 leverage limits.

You can’t tell me that the neocons were even remotely intelligent enough to have envisioned just how stoned Richard Fuld was on his monetary heroin.

The neocons lost the chess game outright March 10th 08 around 11:00am Bear Stearns time New York shitty.


Jul 20, 2019 7:53 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

I’m in favour of looking for a better label than “intelligence community”.
The way this thuggish rabble operates today surely no longer fits into the category of “intelligence”.
A reasonably thorough IQ test would probably reveal some serious failings in our current minders, but since they would probably design the test themselves, I’m not holding my breath waiting for positive results there either.

Jul 20, 2019 10:09 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Machiavellian community??

Jul 21, 2019 2:15 AM
Reply to  Ramdan

If rats are Macchiavellian…
I understand that Macchiavelli himself really wasn’t such a bad guy.

Jul 20, 2019 4:34 PM

I don’t think this has much to do with “maturing”.
The CIA was not designed like a human being, with the potential to learn, grow, evolve and gradually attain some kind of wisdom.
It was designed like a 1930s machine, and today’s CIA is apparently quite happy to think of itself as such a machine.
The problem is that obsolete machines rust.

I reckon maturity is out of the question here.
Only replacement would make any sense, but the sort of decent people who could beneficially replace the current chaotic mess are automatically screened out somewhere around the time of their university graduation.
The machine doesn’t have the wit to know when it has rusted to bits.

Jul 20, 2019 6:50 PM
Reply to  wardropper

I was screened out exactly at the point of graduation so I more than fully understand exactly what you are saying, & inferring too. Creativity frightens uncreative rule abiding functionalists & functionalism which is pretty well dysfunctional once gatekeeping moves beyond their ken of understanding due to their lack of ability to ascertain when systems of knowledge get beyond them in terms of scope.

Scope & breadth of learning are not really domain of the intel community and more accurately it is a matter of pedagogy but one would think that they would still grasp the concepts, eh.


Jul 20, 2019 7:45 PM

Yep. One would think they might.
But if they don’t actually need to grasp concepts, I suppose they just can’t be bothered – or they have never actually had a concept of anything, perhaps?

Too much hard work . . . They like to keep it simple. Do what they’re told, sort of thing.
Concepts make you into a suspicious person, and then you end up like Assange.

Jul 20, 2019 8:47 PM
Reply to  wardropper

I think you are completely right which is kind of a weird thing on Internet because I rarely agree with anyone, much like everyone on the Internet these days. Complexity & complex systems require complex thought to match. The systemic financial complexity that ultimately blew fat tails on the excessive subprime RMBS in 08 was only perceived by the few that envisioned it & short sold the corresponding bets on those derivatives which makes what you are saying exactly right.

I think maybe we are looking at the real life dedication of Julian Assange to his cause of journalistic truth & fiduciary duty to it in contradistinction to the fiduciary duty of the NSA which is merely tasked to stop people like Assange on orders when it suits their purpose. Look at how the establishment allowed him to operate before they moved to arrest & incarcerate.

Assange has demonstrated to all that he is on moral high ground and as such his MIC detractors should just cease & desist in their pursuit. I don’t really see how the establishment is going to benefit by detaining Assange any further. It could be that we are not looking at this whole thing correctly in that Assange might in fact be a bargaining chip for Trump’s re-election campaign if the Democrats come out ahead anywhere before the election.

Trump’s administration was instrumental in getting Assange into custody of MI6 & UK Police because he pushed for it. In my estimation, Assange is currently being used by the Trump admin just in case the democrats get any sort of lead in the polls. If Trump’s numbers crash he will bargain with the voting left for a second term based upon how much he really likes he new friend Julian Assange.


Jul 21, 2019 2:22 AM

That scenario seems quite possible to me.
I would certainly like it to be true for Assange’s sake, but in any case I appreciate the realism of your assessment.
We really are in an appalling state as a civilization right now.

Jul 20, 2019 2:40 AM

Assange was generous with data so that the world & populations would understand the nature of geopolitical slaughter carried out in the name of the American taxpayer that is also being raped by the state arms of civil asset forfeiture & economic financial indentured servitude to the US Military Industrial Complex which actually houses the geopolitical security apparatus that just can’t understand that Assange is not wholeheartedly anal retentive & anally fixated like the motherfucking anal sadists in the security apparatus that are anally & sadistically holding Assange in a little anal retentive prison cell because they are socially & psychologically disturbed people just like the text book Psychopaths Mitchell & Jessen who were trained by the Central Intelligence Agency to torture human beings to see if they could find actionable information that would support the known false flag event that we have all come to know as 911 & the World Trade Center controlled demolition of 3000 American citizens and the lives of their loved ones that never could recover from the anal sadistic nature of the state that employs the creeps that hold Assange.

I could always psychoanalyse the US Military Industrial Complex and then write about their inherent psychopathology to expose their collective ego dystonia. That would certainly fix their wagons in a jiffy.

P.S. Let Assange out, Uncle Sam, you sadist bastard.


mo shom
mo shom
Jul 19, 2019 9:55 AM

seems to me the issues is not Julian Assange.. its bigger . Julian Assange is a soldier in the human army.. his army has no weapons but information and his information is pitted against the leaders of the nation states who have armed armies, and rule making authority to defend such leaders from the information weapons Mr. Assange throws at the leaders of the nation states. The leaders of the world nations have divided the populations of the world into people containers (nation states), and polarized the cultures, educational experiences, languages, and political persuasions of each of the people containers, with result that any one of the people in any one of the nation states can be called to go to war against any of the humans in any other nation and they will not say no. We humans have fallen for that.. ? Kill each other at the please of the leaders of the nation state?

Our demise as free humanity, doing our thing, but working together when it benefits us all, is about to end.. We allow the propaganda of those who control the nation state to interfere with, and to redirect our allegiance from human interests to nation state interest and then we appoint or allow to be appointed the most despicable, greedy, worthless, types of persons from among us possible, to dictate terms and conditions to us humans locked up inside of our particular nation state. The people we give authority to lead, use the nation state as their tool to accomplish their own interest as opposed to the interest of the humanity that occupies the world. (these bastards, not satisfied to ruin human life for those within the one nation state, have reached out to use their power and authority to try to control everyone in the world). If these leaders get away with 5g, they will have accomplished total control over mind, body and spirt because 5g is a weapon, its mind control technology, it can Zombie your mind, it can be used to personally identify and to simultaneously track each and everyone one of the 8 billion of us on this earth. The weapon, 5g, will place those in control of the operations of the nation state with 24/7 total control over all human activity and all human behaviors. Of course, it is immaterial that 5g power and frequencies equate to the frequencies that control Oxygen Oxygen bonding in blood, Ca channel signalling and so many of the operations that keep the cells within our bodies working. Early death from 5g causes, may bring a welcomed escape from the misery 5g controlled nation state prisons impose on its victims.

Some how we must understand that although the nation states say they have allowed free speech and publication they have conditioned such speech or publication on content and context. They have not criminalized the saying or the publication; but they have criminalized the content and the context. It bothers the leaders of the nation states the most, if the content is the truth, and the context is that the public has been exposed to the truth in an environment the nation state thought it had sufficient power to fully suppress speech and publication that is truthful or revealing. Yet the public sits idly by, unable to make the effort defend a persons right to reveal the truth, while the nation state holds its trial before it sacrifices the victim the nation state leaders have appointed to be hanged . Something is grossly wrong with this picture.. Are we humans smart enough to see through this? Do we really understand our duties?

Jul 19, 2019 2:03 AM

Future historians (assuming that there will be any to document the decline, downfall and devastation of Western civilisation) will be puzzled that, of all the historical materials produced on Julian Assange, probably less than 1% of it will actually be authentic. The rest of it will be the sort of fantastic literature not far removed from ancient Greek myths.

Jul 18, 2019 7:54 PM

Don’t know why, but the threat of the million+ Earthlings to invade & investigate Area 51* offered a ray of sunshine in this 21st Century of non-stop horror stories. A spark of magic for a change.
Mr. Assange’s fate is basically in the hands of the two biggest culprits of 21st Century perfidy; the US and England. Given the absurdities we have witnessed in the past 2 decades as the result of these 2 bad actors, Julian’s fate will need a huge spark of magic to escape what many of us fear is going to happen.

*The New NSC is in Utah. The new Area 51 is in western Utah, and has been for years…

Jul 18, 2019 6:04 PM

The real casualties of this affair are the hopelessly compromised, corrupt and politicised UK/ Swedish/ US “Justice” systems, used for the purpose of political persecution and intimidation.
Some people still believe in the Rule of Law and independent judiciary.
Some people still believe in Father Christmas.

Jul 18, 2019 1:15 PM

“Assange is not merely an exceptional figure but a figure of the exception.”

Needn’t say much more. Thanks.

William HBonney
William HBonney
Jul 18, 2019 1:12 PM

The best hope for Assange now is to be sent to Sweden. The reputation of the Swedes would be in the toilet if they subsequently find him innocent of the Swedish charges, but then allow an American extradition.

George Cornell
George Cornell
Jul 18, 2019 1:41 PM

The rep of the Swedes is already in the outhouse, and gravity is accelerating their descent. They shamelessly caved to American pressure before in this very case.and will do so again.

Jul 18, 2019 6:17 PM
Reply to  George Cornell

Absolutely. But to say it like it is, we should refer to “toilet bowl”, or “sewer”, not “outhouse”.

Jul 19, 2019 9:38 PM
Reply to  wardropper

An ‘outhouse’ is a toilet, usually one without a sewer or a toilet bowl: just a board to sit on over a bucket or a pit full of shit. ‘Outhouse’ says it exactly like it is; ‘toilet bowls’ and ‘sewers’ are the appurtenances of a much more genteel ‘civility’.

Jul 20, 2019 12:09 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

“Shithouse” it is then.
I didn’t mean to be argumentative about your comment, just angry about the Swedes’ reputation.
I stand corrected, but don’t you find “outhouse” somewhat genteel too . . .?
: )

Jul 20, 2019 10:12 AM
Reply to  wardropper

“Shithouse” will do.

John A
John A
Jul 18, 2019 2:26 PM

As there are no Swedish charges, all else is irrelevant

Jul 18, 2019 3:27 PM

Sweden and the UK between them have made a dog’s dinner of Julian Assange’s life and should be held to account. I shall take the liberty of paraphrasing or plagiarising a recent article published on the 21st Century Wire website (link below) to highlight the latest revelations.

In case anyone missed it in the msm (sarcasm) Sweden’s Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions stated in the first week of July this year that

“It is currently not on the cards to issue a European Investigation Order [to interview Julian Assange]”.

For now they will be analysing evidence before making a decision regarding procedure.

In other words there is currently insufficient evidence to justify a prosecution.

This begs the question how the British agreement to extradite Julian Assange in 2010 was arrived at, being that the decision was based on the premise that Swedish prosecutors had issued the European Arrest Warrant in order to prosecute and not just interview him. It would now appear that the 2010 EAW was issued in order to interview him, and not to prosecute, and, therefore, the actions of the British courts at that time were wrong.


Julian Assange has been totally stitched up from the beginning, and it is undoubtedly going to continue.

William HBonney
William HBonney
Jul 18, 2019 3:53 PM
Reply to  JudyJ

As you say.

It really is a mystery as to why charges that were so grave, now seem so unimportant, unless they were fabricated in the first place.

Personally, I rarely find myself in the position of condemning American skullduggery, but they surely deserve it here.

Jul 18, 2019 6:05 PM

There never were any “charges.”

Jul 19, 2019 8:28 AM

I rarely find myself in the position of condemning American skullduggery

No, you wouldn’t want to bite the hand that feeds you. Or even the hand that feeds the hand that feeds you.

William HBonney
William HBonney
Jul 19, 2019 10:43 AM
Reply to  milosevic

No, you wouldn’t want to bite the hand that feeds you

(laughs) Did an American run off with your wife?