An analysis of articles published by the Guardian over several months reveals what appears to be a campaign to link WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with Russia and the Kremlin. But the paper has provided little or no evidence to back up the assertions. And amid recent revelations that Guardian journalists have associated with the psychological operations experts at the Integrity Initiative, we should perhaps be more sceptical than ever before.
This particular campaign by the Guardian appears to have begun with an article on 18 May 2018 from Luke Harding, Dan Collyns and Stephanie Kirchgaessner. It stated that “Assange has a longstanding relationship with RT”, the Russian TV broadcaster; and the headline was Assange’s guest list: the RT reporters, hackers and film-makers who visited embassy. Assange has had hundreds of people visit him at the embassy, but the article was keen to focus on the “senior staff members from RT, the Moscow TV network described by US intelligence agencies as the Kremlin’s ‘principal international propaganda outlet’”.
On the same day, the Guardian published another article, claiming that Assange had visits from “individuals linked to the Kremlin”, but which offered no evidence for this.
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On 20 June, Harding and Kirchgaessner wrote a story focusing on “Assange’s alleged ties to Russia”. It claimed that “a longtime US lobbyist for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska visited Julian Assange nine times at the Ecuadorian embassy”. Yet the article’s sub-heading stated: “It is unclear whether Adam Waldman’s 2017 visits had connection to Oleg Deripaska”. Waldman is a lawyer, and visited Assange in that capacity.
By 21 September, Harding, Collyns and Kirchgaessner wrote about “Assange’s ties to the Kremlin”, without even an “alleged”. Then, on 26 September, Collyns wrote again of Assange’s “ties to the Kremlin”,