Secrets and Lies
One of the factors that contributed to Hillary Clinton’s defeat and to Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was the “anti-establishment” WikiLeaks[i] and its founder, Julian Assange,[ii] who, for his own personal reasons, which we shall analyze below, hated Hillary Clinton with a passion, and wanted to expose her abuse of political power and to destroy Hillary. In July 2016 Assange’s WikiLeaks published documents that it had probably received from Russian hackers, stolen from the Democratic National Committee,[iii] which was trying to get Hillary elected President of the United States. In October it also published the e-mail messages of John Podesta,[iv] a key aide to Hillary’s husband, President Bill Clinton.[v] The Russians created a parallel website called DCLeaks, where in June 2016 a hacker named Guccifer 2.0,[vi] allied with the Russian G.R.U.,[vii] similarly leaked information damaging to the Democrats.
All this badly damaged Hillary. One journalist wondered, “Why does it seem like WikiLeaks hates Clinton so much? Part of the explanation is ideological: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has consistently expressed a kind of leftist-sounding critique of the United States that would lead him to despise Clinton’s foreign policy. That likely explains the seemingly personal antipathy that you see on, say, the group’s Twitter feed.”[viii]
Hillary as the Bad Mother
The deeper explanation of Julian’s hatred for Hillary lay in Assange’s unconscious mind, where Hillary had taken the place of his ”bad mother.” Julian had had a traumatic childhood and a troubled life. He had been born in Australia to Christine Ann Hawkins, a visual artist, and John Shipton, an anti-war activist and builder. Both parents seem to haver been emotionally troubled. Julian’s parents had separated before he was born, and later divorced. He did not know his biological father and did not carry his name. When he was a year old, his mother married Richard Brett Assange, an Australian actor, with whom she ran a small traveling-theater company. Brett adopted the boy Julian and gave him his last name.
Christine and Brett, however, fought, separated, and divorced in 1979, when Julian was about eight years old.[ix] Christine Ann was not a “good enough” mother. She was narcissistic and could not love her son as a person separate from herself. The little Julian had unconsciously split his inner image of his mother into two: an all-good mother who loved him and took care of hum, and an all-bad mother, who hated him and whom he wanted to kill. Consciously, Julian idealized and lover his mother; in his deeper feelings, she was the “bad mother” he wanted to murder.
After her separation from Julian’s stepfather, Brett Assange, the young Christine Ann Assange became involved with a charismatic but seriously-disturbed man named Leif Meynell,[x] also known as Leif Hamilton, a member of the “The Family,”[xi] with whom she had a son. “The Family,” which was formally known as the Santiniketan Park Association, after the Indian village of Santiniketan,[xii] founded by the father of the Indian Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore,[xiii] or the Great White Brotherhood, was an Australian “New Age” doomsday cult formed in the mid-1960s by the Australian yoga teacher Anne Hamilton-Byrne (Evelyn Edwards, born 1921), a beautiful and charismatic, but also delusional and very dangerous woman.[xiv] There was sexual abuse of children, rape, kidnapping, and all manner of dangerous goings-on in “The Family.”[xv]
In a classic case of unconscious splitting,[xvi] Julian Assange idealized and loved his first stepfather, Richard Brett, whom he had taken for his real father, and denigrated and hated his second one, Leif, who had “usurped his place.”[xvii] Leif tried in vain to persuade the boy Julian that he was his father. When Leif became murderously enraged with his stepson, he beat Julian up: “He had this brilliant ability to insinuate himself. He punched me in the face once and my nose bled. Another time, I pulled a knife on him, told him to keep back from me; but the relationship with him wasn’t about physical abuse. It was about a certain psychological power he sought to have over us.”[xviii]
Before Christine Ann and Leif Meynell broke up in 1982, when Julian was eleven years old, they had a son, a step-brother to Julian. Julian’s mother and stepfather often lied to him and concealed “shameful family secrets” from him. Julian feared that his stepfather might murder him or his mother. “My mother was in love with Leif. And I was too young to understand what sexual love was all about. I just knew that he wasn’t my father and that he was a sinister presence. He tried, again and again, to make the case that I should not reject him and he had this thing with my mother and he was my brother’s father and everything. But a time came when I told him I no longer accepted this deal. He had lied to us in a way that I hadn’t known adults could lie. I remember he once said all ugly people should be killed. He beat my mother from time to time, and you felt he might be capable of just about anything. I wanted him to leave, as he had promised me he would, but he denied that the conversation had ever happened.”[xix]
Julian Assange does not seem to have consciously realized that his beloved and idealized mother had lied to him as well. He unconsciously denied her painful character and idealized her. Julian had a nomadic childhood. By the time he reached his mid-teens, when he settled with his mother and half-brother in Melbourne, he had lived in over thirty Australian towns.
As Julian gradually discovered his parents’ secrets and lies, he became enraged, lost what little trust he had had in them, and sought to expose the lies and secrets of political leaders. In 2006 he created WikiLeaks. Four years later Assange leaked hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government military and civilian documents obtained from Bradley Manning[xx] to the press and published them on the WikiLeaks website. After WikiLeaks released the Manning material, the U.S. authorities began investigating WikiLeaks and Assange personally, with a view to prosecuting them under the Espionage Act of 1917.
Assange’s compulsive need to fight lies and reveal “the truth” at all costs was overwhelming. In 2010 Assange’s WikiLeaks published a quarter of a million classified U.S. diplomatic cables and hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military documents. U.S. Attorney General[xxi] Eric Holder[xxii] announced the existence of an active criminal investigation into Assange and WikiLeaks. Legal documents leaked over the ensuing months showed that Assange and others were being investigated by a federal grand jury[xxiii] in the Washington, D. C. suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. An e-mail message from a Stratfor[xxiv] employee leaked in 2012 said, “We have a sealed indictment on Assange.” The U.S. government, however, denied the existence of such an indictment.
Julian Assange had witnessed many traumatic scenes of sexual violence in his childhood and youth. In 2010 he was invited to Sweden, where he apparently had sexual relations with two women, who later filed complaints with the Swedish police alleging that he had raped them. The Swedish female prosecutor for this case, Marianne Ny,[xxv] wanted to question Assange personally. Assange said he would be happy to face questioning in Britain but the Swedish prosecutor said that Swedish law prevented her from questioning him by video link or in the Swedish embassy in London. Assange was arrested by the British police and had a bail hearing at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. In 2012 the government of Ecuador gave Assange political asylum in its London embassy. He remained in that embassy for years, knowing that he would be arrested if her ever left it.
In 2015, under criticism from her fellow lawyers, the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, changed her mind and agreed to interrogate Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The interrogation lasted from 2016 until 2017. It involved the British police, Swedish prosecutors, and Ecuadorian officials, and the transcripts of its sessions were published online. By this time, the Swedish statute of limitations had expired on the less serious allegations against Assange. The interrogation was about the “lesser-degree rape,” whose statute of limitations is due to expire in 2020.
In 2016, during the U.S. presidential election campaign, Assange personally attacked the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, on the WikiLeaks website: “I have had years of experience in dealing with Hillary Clinton and have read thousands of her cables,“ he wrote. “Hillary lacks judgment and will push the United States into endless, stupid wars which spread terrorism […] she certainly should not become president of the United States.”
Julian Assange’s attacks contributed to Hillary Clinton’s election loss. Following the Republican National Convention, during an interview by Amy Goodman, Assange said that choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is like “choosing between cholera or gonorrhea.” He added, “Personally, I would prefer neither.” The WikiLeaks editor, Sarah Harrison, has stated that the website was not choosing which damaging publications to release, but rather releasing all the information that is available to them.
In 2017 the Swedish authorities dropped their sex-crimes investigation of Assange, claiming that the Ecuadorian embassy in London did not communicate reliably with Assange about their case. Mike Pompeo,[xxvi] the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (later Donald’s Trump’s State Secretary), formally classified Wikileaks as “a nonstate hostile intelligence service” and a threat to U.S. national security.”[xxvii] Realizing the utility of her efforts, the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, revoked Assange’s arrest warrant but said that his investigation could still be resumed if he visited Sweden before August 2020.
Martyrdom as Self-Destruction
In late January 2019 Assange’s WikiLeaks published a secret Vatican document showing the pope’s personal involvement in the power struggles among the Catholic Church’s cardinals.[xxviii] Pope Francis appealed to Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno,[xxix] and Ecuador’s population was mostly Roman Catholic. Assange seemed to be in a bad mental state. He had allegedly soiled the walls of the embassy with feces.
This was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. After almost seven years of harboring Assange in their London embassy, the Ecuadorians evicted Assange from it. President Moreno posted a video on Twitter declaring that Assange had repeatedly “violated the provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas, despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules, particularly the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states.”[xxx]
A white-haired, white-bearded, distraught Assange was dragged from the embassy by British police and arrested under a U.S. extradition warrant. He could be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial on charges of conspiracy, theft of government property and violating the U.S. Espionage Act.[xxxi] Assange could also be extradited to Sweden to face charges of rape.
Assange’s lawyers, the British Liam Walker, the Australian Jennifer Robinson and the American Barry Pollack, announced that he would fight his extradition in the British courts, but the chances of his success were slim. The British judge Julian was brought before, District Judge Michael Snow, angrily accused Assange of taking advantage of the journalists in the courtroom to accuse previous British judges of so-called “bias”against him.
Assange had previously accused another British judge, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, of lack of impartiality, and his lawyer, Liam Walker, claimed that Assange had been “subjected to a tribunal clearly biased” against him. A clearly-angry Judge Snow told Walker that it was unacceptable for him to air that claim in front of a “packed press gallery.”
The judge told Walker that it was grossly unfair of him to drag Ms. Arbuthnot’s reputation in front of the press “when you should have challenged it yourself [in Judge Arbuthnot’s court]. He (Mr Assange) has chosen to make accusations about a senior judge not having the courage for cross examination.” The judge described Mr Assange as displaying the “behaviour of a narcissist”, and called his behaviour “shameful,” adding “I therefore have no hesitation to find Mr Assange guilty.”
Julian’s compulsion to expose the secrets and lies of his parents, symbolized in his unconscious mind by the authority figures of the political world, was his undoing.
[i] WikiLeaks, international non-profit organization that publishes secret political, diplomatic and military information, news leaks, and classified “media” provided by anonymous sources, which had accumulated a database of ten million documents from 2006 to 2016
[ii] Julian Paul Assange (Hawkins, born 1971), Australian computer programmer, founder and editor of WikiLeaks, who came to international attention in 2010, when WikiLeaks published a series of leaked secret U.S. Government documents that helped Russia hack the U.S. election; the federal government of the U.S. launched a criminal investigation into Assange and WikiLeaks and asked allied nations for assistance; in 2018 it filed secret criminal charges against Assange
[iii] The Democratic National Committee is the governing body of the U.S. Democratic Party; the DNC coordinates political strategy to support Democratic Party candidates in local, state, and federal elections; every four years it organizes the Democratic National Convention to nominate and confirm its candidate for president and to formulate the party’s platform
[iv] John David Podesta Jr. (born 1949), American Democratic political aide, White House Staff Secretary and White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998, White House Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001, Counselor to President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2015
[v] Philip Bump, “What we know — and don’t know — about WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and the 2016 campaign,” in The Washington Post, April 11, 2019
[vi] Guccifer 2.0 was the online nickname of a group of Russian intelligence officers who hacked into the U.S. Democratic National Committee computers and leaked its documents to WikiLeaks; in February 2018 the indictments by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury called Guccifer 2.0 an officer of the Russian state security organization GRU; in July 2018 Mueller’s grand jury indicted twelve GRU agents for allegedly perpetrating the cyberattacks
[vii] G.R.U. was the acronym for the former Russian military intelligence agency, now the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
[viii] Zack Beauchamp, “Why WikiLeaks hates Hillary Clinton,” in Vox, October 11, 2016
[ix] Julian Assange, Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography, Edinburgh, Canongate Books, 2011
[x] Leif Meynell, also known as Leif Hamilton, a member of the “The Family”
[xi] “The Family,” also known as the Santiniketan Park Association and the Great White Brotherhood, Australian “New Age” doomsday cult
[xii] Santiniketan (abode of peace), Indian town near Bolpur, West Bengal, seat of the Visva Bharati University, founded in 1862-1863 by the father of Rabindranath Tagore
[xiii] Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Indian Bengali poet and polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art, with contextual modernism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
[xiv] Aileen Cullen, “Anne Hamilton-Byrne Wiki: Facts to Know about The Family Cult Leader,” in Earn the Necklace, December 18, 2017
[xv] Chris Johnston & Rosie Jones, The Family: A powerful story of investigative journalism that reveals the legacy of a notorious cult, Melbourne and London, Scribe Publications, 2016; U.S. Edition, The Family: the shocking true story of a notorious cult, Scribe US, 2017
[xvi] Splitting is the unconscious defensive psychological process underlying a person’s failure to bring together the pleasant and painful qualities of his or her self, and those of others, into a cohesive, realistic whole; splitting leads to black-and-white and all-or-nothing thinking; the person thinks and feels in extremes and sees his own and other people’s actions and motivations as all-good or all-bad, with no middle ground; Donald Trump is another classic case in point
[xvii] “Julian Assange: ‘We just kept moving’,” in The Independent, September 22, 2011
[xix] ibid. (my italics)
[xx] Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning in 1987), trans-sexual American activist, politician, and former U.S. Army soldier who was convicted by a U.S. Army court-martial in 2013 of violations of the U.S. Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents; in a statement the day after his sentencing, Manning said that he had had a female gender identity since childhood, that he wanted to be known as Chelsea Manning, and that he desired to begin hormone-replacement therapy; he (or she) was imprisoned from 2010 to 2017
[xxi] In the U.S. the Attorney General is the Cabinet member who heads the Department of Justice
[xxii] Eric Himpton Holder Jr. (born 1951), African-American attorney, 82nd Attorney General of the United States, under President Barack Obama, from 2009 to 2015, the first African American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney General
[xxiii] Under the U.S. legal system, a “grand jury” is a jury empowered by law to conduct legal proceedings and investigate potential criminal conduct, and determine whether criminal charges should be brought; its is separate from and independent of the courts, and it may subpoena physical evidence or a person to testify before it
[xxiv] Stratfor (short for Strategic Forecasting), American geopolitical intelligence-gathering firm founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas, by George Friedman, who was its chairman; Chip Harmon became its president in 2018; Fred Burton is Stratfor’s chief security officer.
[xxv] Inger Marianne Ny (born 1953), Swedish lawyer, jurist and state prosecutor, chief prosecutor for the Swedish government, former prosecutor at the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s development center in Göteborg (Gothenburg)
[xxvi] Michael Richard (Mike) Pompeo (born 1963), American Republican businessman and politician, U.S. Secretary of State since 2018, former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, member of the arch-conservative “Tea Party” movement within the Republican Party
[xxvii] James McAuley, Karla Adam & Ellen Nakashima, “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on behalf of U.S. authorities, British police say, citing extradition warrant,” in The Washington Post, April 11, 2019
[xxviii] “Pope’s Orders: Pope’s Private Letter Reveals Early Involvement in Power Struggle,” on WikiLeaks, January 30, 2019
[xxix] Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés (born 1953), Ecuadorian politician, President of Ecuador since 2017, former Vice President from 2007 to 2013 under President Rafael Correa
[xxx] Lenín Moreno on Twitter, April 11, 2019
[xxxi] McAuley & al., ibid.