Wikileaks Links Benghazi Embassy Attack to Assange's Handling in U.K.

Wikileaks has flown into a firestorm this morning after it linked the storming of the U.S Embassy in Benghazi to the treatment of Julian Assange. The original tweet, "By the US accepting the UK siege on the Equadorian embassy in London it gave tacit approval for attacks on embassies around the world" was deleted and later rewritten, with Wikileaks claiming that the word "tacit" was underused and therefore misunderstood. Is that Wikileaks tacitly calling Twitter users thick?

Meanwhile, protests against the Islam-baiting film, Innocence of Muslims, are continuing in the Middle East. Earlier today the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, was overrun by rioters who broke through the main gate of the compound. Yesterday, following the death of the four U.S. embassy workers, YouTube announced that it was suspending use of its service in Libya and Egypt. Fast Company contacted their press representative by email and asked if they were going to extend the suspension to the Yemen, and they replied that they had "nothing to add right now."

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  • Debra

    The corporate press has conveniently ‘forgotten’ that 30,000 people watched a livefeed from outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on the night of 15 August. We saw 50 to 60 police officers around and going into the building. We saw 4 police custody vans grouped around the building. We saw a special marked “diplomatic custody” vehicle. Later, an AP photographer caught police instructions about arresting Assange that warned of “risk to life” and made it clear that UK counter-terrorism police units and also Special Forces were involved in the operation. And we heard Assange describe how that night he could hear “police swarming up the internal fire escape of the building”. Now the UK government – and the press – is trying to deny any of this ever happened. But we SAW it. For all those criticising Assange’s subjective response to the Libya raid, have you ever been through an embassy raid yourself? No, thought not. Where’s YOUR sense of empathy?

    I also don’t see where in these tweets Assange is claiming any direct causal link between the Libyan raid and what happened to him, as certain sections of the press are saying. The tweets don’t say any such thing or speak about the direct cause – that crass anti-Muslim film – of the attack on poor Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues. That’s how people are interpreting the tweets, but it's not what they are actually saying. I agree the fact that people were killed in Libya has made people react very strongly to the point Assange was trying to make, but we don’t know how fearful for his life he was on 15 August, do we? Someone should ask him. Even the police instructions which were accidentally revealed in that AP photo think there was a possiblity of “risk to life”…

    The tweets do, however, point out how the British FCO’s planned action to violate the sanctity of an embassy has left themselves open to other people thinking ‘well, we can do that too’. And the US government’s hypocrisy in turning a blind eye when what (nearly) happened suits their agenda, but are (rightly – I want to stress that) outraged when their diplomats are under threat or killed.

    As far as I am concerned I did see a raid on the Ecuadorian embassy that night, which was aborted at the last moment – maybe because there were so many of us watching via the livefeed. Are people aware of the DDoS attacks – very unusual, according to Bambuser – trying to take the livefeed down that night? I think Anti-leaks claimed responsibility for it. And Darkernet’s (darkernet.wordpress.com) done a very good analysis of what actually happened at the embassy, and further details about the counter-terrorism/military involvement in it all.

    [Links removed, to see if this comment will get through moderation this time]

    But perhaps what some journalist really ought to do is to ask Julian Assange what it was like to be inside that embassy on 15 August. I think that would give quite a lot more context to his remarks on Twitter last night. He did refer to it during his balcony speech a few days later – “but I knew there would be witnesses” – remember that? That sentence really leapt out at me, because I had stayed up all night to watch the livefeed, so I knew that it was a truthful and revealing statement but I didn’t see it picked up or reported hardly anywhere in the press.

    Over here in England the mainstream press are really following the government line that ‘oh no, there was never any threat, nothing happened at all.’ Instead, it’s all being rewritten with the usual switch to ‘this is typical of the ravings of a deeply unpleasant… narcissistic… blah blah… self-absorbed twat.. etc’. Shoot the messenger time again. Can’t anyone else see how see-through all this is and what’s really going on here?