The CIA Plan to Poison Assange Wasn’t Needed. The US Found a ‘Lawful’ Way to Disappear Him
BY JONATHAN COOK
A Yahoo News’ investigation reveals that, through much of 2017, the CIA weighed up whether to use wholly extrajudicial means to deal with the supposed threat posed by Julian Assange and his whistleblowers’ platform Wikileaks. The agency plotted either to kidnap or assassinate him.
Shocking as the revelations are – exposing the entirely lawless approach of the main US intelligence agency – the Yahoo investigation nonetheless tends to obscure rather than shine a light on the bigger picture.
Assange has not been deprived of his freedom for more than a decade because of an unimplemented rogue operation by the CIA. Rather, he has been held in various forms of captivity – disappeared – through the collaborations of various national governments and their intelligence agencies, aided by legal systems and the media, that have systematically violated his rights and legal due process.
The reality of Assange’s years of persecution is far worse even than the picture of a thuggish, vengeful, power-mad CIA painted by Yahoo’s reporting.
More than 30 former senior officials, who either served in the US foreign intelligence agency or the Trump administration, helped to piece together for Yahoo the various components of the CIA’s plan. They show that the agency considered two main options for dealing with Assange in addition to then secret moves laying the groundwork for prosecuting the Wikileaks founder in the US courts.
One plan was to kidnap Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he had been seeking political asylum since 2012.
The aim was to smuggle him to the US – violating the sovereignty of Ecuador and the UK – in an operation that would have had all the hallmarks of “extraordinary rendition”. That was the illegal procedure the US used after 9/11 to abduct suspects in the “war on terror”, usually so they could be sent to “black sites” where they were tortured and held without judicial oversight.
The other CIA proposal was to assassinate Assange – or, perhaps more accurately, commit extrajudicial murder to silence him once and for all. Poisoning him was reportedly one of the methods considered. Ctd....