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Luke Harding is a journalist with The Guardian, London.
From a Henry Jackson Society event profile:
- Luke Harding is a journalist, author and was formerly The Guardian's Moscow correspondent. Luke moved to Russia from Berlin where he was The Guardian's Berlin correspondent for four years.
He began his journalistic career at Oxford where he read English and edited the student newspaper Cherwell. After graduating, Luke joined the Sunday Correspondent - which folded soon afterwards - and worked for the Evening Argus in Brighton and then the Daily Mail. He joined The Guardian in 1996. Luke covered Jonathan Aitken's infamous libel trial for the paper and wrote - with the Guardian's David Leigh - The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken, published by Penguin and Fourth Estate. In 2000 he became The Guardian's South Asia correspondent based in Delhi. In 2001 he spent three months in Pakistan and Afghanistan covering the war against the Taliban, and won Foreign Story of the Year from the Foreign Press Association in 2002 for his reporting of the siege in Mazar-i-Sharif. He spent much of 2003 and 2004 in Iraq.
In 2007, Harding arrived in Moscow to take up a new job as a correspondent for The Guardian. Not long after, mysterious agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, broke into his flat. He was followed, bugged, and even summoned to Lefortovo, the FSB’s notorious prison.
The break-in was the beginning of a psychological war against the journalist and his family that burst into the open in 2011 when he was expelled from Moscow for reporting allegations that under Vladimir Putin the country had become a "virtual mafia state". The first western reporter to be deported from Russia since the days of the Cold War, Harding has written about his run-in with the new Russia in his recently published book, Mafia State.
Hatchet Job on Julian Assange
In 2010, Julian Assange came to an arrangement with the Guardian to share a trove of Wikileaks documents; Assange sought to obtain the widest possible dissemination of the information about the US war against Afghanistan and Iraq. The second batch of releases became known as Cablegate, the release of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic documents/correspondence from around the world. Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s editor, referred these documents as: “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years”. NB: Assange/Wikileaks were not paid for for the material provided to The Guardian. A disagreement ensued between The Guardian and Assange, dealing with the exclusivity rights for The Guardian. Assange’s argument was that if The Guardian didn’t use the material he was free to distribute it elsewhere. Concurrent with this spat was the publication in The Guardian of a series of articles about purported revelations about Assange’s sexual misconduct. The allegations stemmed from documents leaked directly from the Swedish police or prosecutor to David Leigh, the Guardian journalist impugning Assange’s reputation. Leigh also attacked the Wikileaks project in toto. The culmination of this vendetta was the publication of David Leigh and Luke Harding’s WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by Guardian Books in February 2011. It was an unflattering portrayal of Assange with ample references to the sexual misconduct, alliance with “anti-semites”, and the project’s irresponsibility.
On 17 April 2012, Julian Assange launched his RT Today: The World Tomorrow weekly program, and starred Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. Luke Harding wrote a derisory and insulting review of the first episode. It appears that The Guardian has launched a vendetta against Assange, and Luke Harding and David Leigh are their attack point-men.
- Luke Harding, Mafia State, Guardian Books, Septemper 2011.
- David Leigh and Luke Harding, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, Guardian Books, February 2011.
- Henry Jackson Society profile for a 2 November 2011 event at the House of Commons
- John Pilger, The smearing of a revolution, New Statesman, 6 October 2011.
- David Frost interview with Julian Assange, Al Jazeera, 22 December 2010.
- Julian Assange refers to Leigh’s receipt of dubious documents from the Swedish police/prosecutors at the 15:40min mark in the Frost interview.
- Luke Harding, The World Tomorrow: Julian Assange proves a useful idiot, The Guardian, 17 April 2012.