In 2011, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had a “secret” meeting with Google chairman Eric Schmidt at the Ecuadorean Embassy in the U.K., where Assange is hiding to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he faces sexual assault charges.
The meeting was ostensibly to help Schmidt research his book, The New Digital Age.
But Assange now claims that the meeting is proof that the U.S. State Department uses Google, and Eric Schmidt personally, to do “things the CIA cannot do” in areas like Iran and Azerbaijan.
You can read Assange’s theory on how the State Department achieves this on Cryptome, and there’s a full transcript of the conversation Schmidt had with Assange here. The conversation is a technical one about new trends and developments in web technology.
It’s important to note that the conversation does NOT actually prove Assange’s allegation that Google is a willing pawn of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, conducting foreign policy that the U.S. itself dare not. Assange makes that case by alleging that for legal reasons, he had to place a call to Clinton and leave a message with her legal staff. Here’s how Assange says that call was returned:
Shortly afterwards another one of our people, WikiLeaks’ ambassador Joseph Farrell, received a call back, not from the State Department, but from Lisa Shields, the then girlfriend of Eric Schmidt, who does not formally work for the US State Department. So let’s reprise this situation: The Chairman of Google’s girlfriend was being used as a back channel for Hillary Clinton. This is illustrative. It shows that at this level of US society, as in other corporate states, it is all musical chairs.
The returned call came AFTER Assange’s interview with Schmidt. (In other words, Schmidt and Shields had reason to call Assange anyway.) Assange does not say why he believes that Shields was acting for Clinton.
He does, however, make specific allegations about how the U.S. uses Google for covert operations, in a way that leaves Google “holding the shit-bag” if things go wrong in foreign countries:
Documents published last year by WikiLeaks obtained from the US intelligence contractor Stratfor, show that in 2011 Jared Cohen, then (as he is now) Director of Google Ideas, was off running secret missions to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan. In these internal emails, Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice President for Intelligence and a former senior State Department official, describes Google as follows:
“Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do… [Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit-bag.”
In further internal communication, Burton subsequently clarifies his sources on Cohen’s activities as Marty Lev, Google’s director of security and safety and … Eric Schmidt.
We reached out to Google for comment and we’ll add to this story if we hear back.