WIKILEAKS AND JULAIN ASSANGE HAVE MORPHED INTO THE VERY TYPES THEY DECRY
WHAT HAPPENED TO TRANSPARENCY, THE FIGHT FOR GLOBAL OPENNESS AND NON-PARTISAN OBJECTIVITY?
As I’m sure you are aware, the New York Times is nearly the last, lonely bastion of what is called “the liberal press” most other such rags having succumbed to the torrent or conservative/right wing publications years ago. So with this fact in mind, one must always approach a news piece within its pages or on its website, with a fair degree of caution so as not to be sucked into the sinkhole of biased, liberal, yellow journalism. So to speak, anyway. (The term “Yellow Journalism” may not be familiar to the Millennial [see: YELLOW JOURNALISM] But in what has to be one of the paper’s lengthiest articles in recent memory, the Times has analyzed the apparent and not so apparent links, ties, associations, and webs between (or among) Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Russia and Putin. In the end, the article comes to no definitive conclusions – like it was the Russian government who hacked the DNC – but given the numerous examples of mutually beneficial actions and responses the Times illustrates and analyzes, it is difficult to come away with a conclusion that doesn’t implicate and support the Assange-Wikileaks-Russia-Putin connection. But, of course, this is what the Times does – leads you to a “liberal” conclusion better than any other publication on the planet save Mother Jones magazine.
At the outset here, I want to reveal my biases and why. I am done with Julian. Why? Well, when you announce to the world that you are the champion of the world’s whistle blower community where transparency is everything, and you are out to reveal the dirty secrets of governments anywhere and everywhere irrespective of any political ideology and then your actions are decidedly partisan against only the West (even Canada, for God’s sake!) and more specifically the United States, then you have simply destroyed whatever credibility you might have had (with me) as a universal seeker of truth and justice and have become simply another actor in the worldwide panoply of anti-U.S., anti-Western propagandists. Which, by the way, is not to say that the West and the U.S. are mere innocents. No. Not at all. The revelations of U.S. nefarious secret dealings with other nations and against all of us are worthy of exposure. But to ignore and/or promote Putin and Russia as if they are the real victims of the West is to turn a blind eye to how dissidents, let’s say, are treated in Russia. They are jailed. The number of Putin critics who have died under mysterious circumstances would be an embarrassment to any Western nation. Ignoring Russia’s incursions into sovereign nations. And a host of other not so great and wonderful activities that have become commonplace in Putin’s Russia. Fair is fair after all and objectivity and fair treatment is what Julian was supposed to have been all about. And as far as I'm concerned, his actions simply don't live up to his hype.
As noted in the piece, from the outset Wikileaks and Assange said he was motivated by a desire to use “cryptography to protect human rights,” and would focus on authoritarian regimes. But the reality of Wikileaks from the first release of documents in 2006 have often benefited Russia at the expense of the West. Mr. Assange, during the Times interview, states that Mrs. Clinton and the Democrats were “whipping up a neo-McCarthyist hysteria about Russia.” Given the actual pronouncements of one Donald Trump, it's a tad surprising to me that Julian blames the response to Trump's fascist ravings as the problem and not Trump himself. Julian seems to have strayed very far from this proclamation for the protection of human rights.
Back in 2006, when Assange sent a mission statement to potential collaborators, he stated that one of his goals was to help expose “illegal or immoral” behavior in the West but his prime focus, “primary targets,” are those “highly repressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia.” But when the Swedish Government issued an arrest warrant for his alleged sexual assault, followed by his arrest by Great Britain, Vlad Putin took up his cause and claimed Julian was being persecuted for “spreading information he received from the U.S. military regarding the actions of the U.S. A in the Middle East, including Iraq.” In 2012 he jumped bail when the “politically motivated” extradition request to England by Sweden was approved. It was then that he took up residence in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
It is, perhaps, troubling given the admiring words of Putin in his troubles that Assange has remained silent about Putin’s sweeping, new domestic surveillance law, Julian's pro-Russia comments related to the Ukraine, even declaring that the U.S. is the cause of Ukraine’s unrest by trying to “draw the Ukraine into the Western orbit, to pluck it out of Russia’s sphere of influence” and after the Russian annexation of Crimea, he responded that Washington and its allies have “annexed the whole world” though global surveillance. (The connection here is lost to me.) But, of course, Russia and China have equally broad and sophisticated surveillance operations as well as the U.S. It’s interesting to note that it was a popular and populist uprising by Ukraine’s youth [See: "WINTER ON FIRE: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom"] when then-President Viktor Yanukovych, backtracked on his promise of EU membership and had to flee to Russia as a result.)
Wikileaks also attempted to sabotage the Trans Pacific Partnership with its “Target Tokyo” release allegedly from leaked NSA documents that highlighted 35 American espionage targets in Japan. It was not successful. Earlier this year, some 11.5 million documents were leaked from a Panamanian law firm by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists outlining how banks, law firms and asset management companies help the world’s rich and powerful hide wealth and avoid taxes. Among the biggest revelations was how billions of dollars had wound up in shell companies controlled by one of Putin’s closest friends, a cellist named Sergei Roldugin. But in a rather astounding reversal of previous takes on such massive document leaks, Wikileaks focused on the contribution of one of the contributors to the collaborative leak effort, that of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. After the revelations about Roldugin, Wikileaks took the Organized Crime organization to task since it receives funding from George Soros (Democratic contributor) and the U.S. Agency for International Development. It made no comment on the Roldugin revelations.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Assange accused the Panama Papers consortium of “cherry picking” the documents it chose to release with a pro-Western agenda in mind. This assertion, however, flies in the face of the massive publicity that accompanied the release that included the father of then-Prime Minister of Great Britain David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, Italy’s ex Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, Iceland’s Prime Minister and a host of other Western folks who just happened to occupy positions of authority.
The NYT’s “How Russia Often Benefits” is a very worthwhile read. It telescopes the shift – if there has been a shift – from what we all thought was Wikileaks' and Julian Assange’s purpose: that of exposing wrongdoing by governments around the world to an organization just like uber-partisan Judicial Watch with a decidedly partisan agenda. I'm a proponent of exposing U.S. malfeasance but when it looks as if a foreign government, Russia, is bent on influencing our election to their favor and Wikileaks and Assange simply have nothing to say about it and even defend such actions, as being defensible when done by Russia but wholly indefensible when done by the West, then, as I said, I'm done.
Maybe we were wrong from the very beginning to trust both Wikileaks and Assange. Maybe all along they were and are folks who are simply out to get the United States.
Fine. Go at it then, but you no longer have my support. To me, you have engaged in deceptive advertising and I don’t appreciate it.
The full Times article is here: NYT ASSANGE AND RUSSIAN CONNECTIONS