WikiLeaks director and Julian Assange's mentor, Gavin MacFadyen, dead at 76
Gavin MacFadyen, beloved investigative journalist and educator, dies at 76. Photograph: (Others)
Gavin MacFadyen, the founder of the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) and the mentor of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has died of lung cancer at the age of 76.
The CIJ posted a tribute on social media, as well as on their website.
We are extremely sad to announce the death of Gavin MacFadyen, the CIJ’s Founder, Director and its leading light. https://t.co/F6oAjTtvEu— CIJ (@cijournalism) October 22, 2016
The document-dumping website WikiLeaks tweeted a tribute on their account, signed "JA", to indicate that it was personally written by Assange.
Gavin Macfadyen, beloved director of WikiLeaks, now takes his fists and his fight to battle God. Sock it to him, forever, Gavin. -JA pic.twitter.com/7zyzs1Qxxk— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 23, 2016
This Assange post comes as the WikiLeaks founder is said to be without internet access for the last week in his suite in the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange has been holed up in the embassy for more than three years, as he is wanted in connection with a rape allegation and fears he will be extradited to Sweden, and eventually to the US on spy charges, if he steps outside.
WikiLeaks has played a larger role as the end of the 2016 US election approaches, publishing thousands of emails allegedly hacked from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman. Together the emails outline the former Secretary of State's bid for the White House. Neither Clinton nor Podesta himself have verified the authenticity of the emails.
Ecuador claims to have cut off Assange's internet access, saying it didn't want to play a role in the 2016 US election. RT reports that, despite the cut, Assange has been able to contact WikiLeaks and is "still in full command". How much internet access Assange currently has will likely be made apparent in the upcoming days.
Meanwhile, the CIJ website has published a message from MacFayden's wife, also a member of Julian Assange's Defense Fund, Susan Benn:
"He was the model of what a journalist should be...He spearheaded the creation of a journalistic landscape which has irrevocably lifted the bar for ethical and hard-hitting reporting. Gavin worked tirelessly to hold power to account.
In journalism, especially in the adversarial type practiced by MacFayden, one's enemies say a lot about you.
In recounting his career, Benn noted that MacFayden had produced over 50 documentaries covering various topics around the world, and that his investigative work aroused the ire of the old Soviet Union and apartheid South Africa so much that they banned him, while he was also attacked by British Neo-Nazi.
In her CIJ post Benn goes on to say, "His life and how he lived it were completely in sync with the principles he held dear and practicsed as a journalist and educator, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."
Anonymous, among many others, also took to social media to issue condolences:
Our deepest condolences Gavin MacFadyen, we'll never forget your investigative journalism https://t.co/96yEqNA804— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 22, 2016