THREAD - Did Julian Assange REALLY say that?

This thread examines the evidence for the often repeated statement that Julian Assange is purported to have made related to informants who might be named or identified by publication of the Afghan War Logs (25 July 2010).
The original publication of this statement appears to be in the book "Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy" by David Leigh & Luke Harding (Guardian Books/Hachette, 8 Feb 2011).

books.google.com.ar/books?id=5BY5D…
According to that book, the "discussion" took place at Moro restaurant in London, in the "bunker" phase prior to the publication of the Afghan War Logs. The conversation is between David Leigh & Julian Assange, but narrated in the book by Declan Walsh (also of the Guardian).
The words attributed to Julian Assange by the authors (via Declan Walsh) are:

"Well, they're informants. So if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it."

Variations of this report (which @wikileaks calls slander) have now been repeated thousands of times.
They were repeated, exactly, more than 6 months later in the Guardian by Nick Cohen in: "Opinion: The treachery of Julian Assange" (18 Sept 2011).

theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
Nick Cohen hated Julian, and had scathing things to say about Correa.

In 6 Sept 2015, again in the Guardian, he wrote: "Opinion: Oppressive states such as Ecuador crush the web’s power."

theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
However, Cohen's opinions about Assange are not the point here. What is more interesting is that the Guardian did not point out to him that, prior to the date of his 18 Sept 2011 opinion piece, they had changed their minds about with WHOM the "discussion" had taken place & WHERE.
By 7 July 2011, Nick Davies (in a Google video) had moved the location of the "discussion" to Stockholm & he was the person involved.

"[Julian] said a most extraordinary thing: 'If an Afghan civilian helps the coalition forces, then he deserves to die.'"

There won't have been TWO discussions in almost exactly the same words with Assange. So why change the location & person?

Did David Leigh "remember" the "error" in his book? If so, why didn't Declan Walsh (who purportedly narrated the London conversation) say something earlier?
Or could it be that there were witnesses to the London dinner - people who were not happy about the way the conversation had been reported?

The new ("Stockholm") location might remove that problem.

As it happens, there WERE people - not from the Guardian - at the London dinner.
This is even mentioned in the book: the "German reporters."

In August 2011, one of them - John Goetz from Der Spiegel - was asked about the dinner, eventually signing a statement saying that the conversation reported in the book DID NOT take place.

wlstorage.net/file/cms/Folde…
But Nick Davies appropriated the "discussion" and changed the location weeks BEFORE Goetz was questioned. Why would that be?

Reading the Goetz statement closely, it is apparent that the director of the film for which he was to be interviewed, Patrick Forbes, was fact checking.
In fact, Patrick Forbes had been preparing his documentary ("Wikileaks: Secrets & Lies", aired UK Nov 2011) for some time, having been introduced to the topic via his existing connections at the Guardian.

So the key players at the Guardian would have been aware of at least some of Forbes' questions before Goetz was approached.

Despite his (admirable) efforts at fact checking, the extent of Forbes' embedding in the Guardian world view is apparent here:

While a Stockholm meeting isn't mentioned in the video (now often known as "the Guardian documentary), an initial meeting between Nick Davies and Julian Assange in Brussels is highlighted."

In that segment, Nick Davies takes credit for 'masterminding' the multiple media (Guardian, NYT) approach to the forthcoming publications, Wikileaks later pointed out that they had been involved in many multiple media publications previously.

wikileaks.org/Guardian-s-Wik…
David Leigh makes his feelings about Assange very clear:

"Julian brought with him a rather strange charismatic quality. He carried himself as though he was a cult leader. We started making jokes ... about people around Julian drinking the Kool-Aid."

The redaction issue is addressed as "an unexpected issue" occurring after 10 July 2010.

This is odd, because both Wikileaks AND the Guardian staff claim (elsewhere, and in different ways) that redaction issues had been thought through earlier.

And then the London Moro "discussion" is presented on screen.

David Leigh repeats his "informant" story:

"Well, they're American informants. They deserve to die." (Wording differs slightly from the book).

Leigh: "This stuck in everyone's minds."

This documentary was screened in Nov 2011.

Nick Davies had already appropriated this story and changed its setting ("Stockholm") - although no evidence has ever been produced that he met Assange there.

And John Goetz had told the film producer the conversation didn't happen.
Julian Assange and Wikileaks have strenuously denied this allegation by Guardian staff, and say that it is slander.

The Guardian contingent present a story (that they treat as a movable feast) which has been repeated - as fact - thousands of times.

So WHO ARE WE TO BELIEVE?
And all of that is before we listen to Mark Davis, an Australian investigative reporter, who has now recounted his view (as at 8 Aug 2019) of the events of the same period:

twitter.com/i/moments/1160…

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