Oops, Donald Trump Jr. Did It Again (Wikileaks Edition)Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Politics Features Wikileaks
I could link you to the excellent reporting done by Julia Ioffe and The Atlantic to unearth more damning digital communications between someone named Donald Trump and very obvious Kremlin actors, but Junior gave us the goods right from the horse’s mouth. Last year, Trump Jr. was pitched a meeting with “the Crown Prosecutor of Russia” to give him dirt on Hillary, and after that bombshell dropped earlier this summer, Trump Jr. tweeted out a copy of the e-mail—certifying that he did indeed respond “I love it!” in response to an offer of committing a crime. A normal person would understand that confirming stories which look bad for you is not the smartest thing in the world to do, but we’re dealing with Fredo here. He’s not the brightest bulb in the box, and well, he did it again.
Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic! 1/3 pic.twitter.com/SiwTqWtykA
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 14, 2017
The key takeaway here is this passage from Wikileaks: “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us wlsearch.tk.” Why is it so important? Look what the dummy did.
For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: https://t.co/SGcEeM9rCS
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 14, 2016
It may seem innocuous to send that link out, but we have a very clear request coming from an entity whom the American government suspects is a laundromat for Russian intelligence, and the President of the United States’ son executed that order. From a legal perspective, that is very, very bad for baby Donald.
However, many on the left refuse to believe the obvious, and instead pretend that Wikileaks still exists in its initial iteration, and the underlying assumption is that all the financial troubles they endured did not impact their work at all. One glance at Wikileaks’ history reveals this as a patently naïve position. In essence, Wikileaks has always consisted of two outlets: one interested in transparency, and one interested in whatever Julian Assange wants. As the years have passed, the latter has become much more powerful than the former, to the point where Wikileaks is virtually indistinguishable from its corrupt CEO. Julian Assange is not some witty, subversive genius who has noble intentions to save us all from our sinister governments. He’s simply yet another charlatan trying to coopt a self-perpetuating movement. Assange is far closer to being Donald Trump than Edward Snowden.
Wikileaks began as a broke whistleblowing outlet in 2006, sending shockwaves through the world as it exposed government corruption and malfeasance. In 2010, governments fought back, and convinced Visa and MasterCard to halt payments to Wikileaks, quickly strangling the organization to near death. Later that year, in an interview with Russia’s top daily newspaper, Kommersant, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson teased an upcoming document dump, saying that “Russian readers will learn a lot about their country. We want to tell people the truth about the actions of their governments.”
In response, an official at the FSB (the successor to the KGB), told LifeNews that “It’s essential to remember that given the will and the relevant orders, [WikiLeaks] can be made inaccessible forever.” The documents never came out. A year later, Wikileaks was in far better financial shape, and Julian Assange had his own show on Russia Today—which just registered with the U.S. government as a foreign agent. While holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2015, Assange stated in a press release that he requested Russian security. One year later, Wikileaks would turn down documents on the Russian government at the same time that they were leaking as many Democratic Party e-mails as possible during the election—with a daily dump beginning the moment the Access Hollywood tape dropped in October.
Their actions last October should have removed all doubt as to whether Wikileaks’ prime motivation is transparency, because an agency truly interested in illuminating the actions of our leaders behind closed doors would publish the whole cache at once, instead of the drip drip drip of daily tidbits specifically designed to influence the news cycle. This had the benefit of distracting America from sexual assault revelations that should have ended Trump’s presidential campaign. It’s hard to see how Trump survives last October without the daily Wikileaks e-mail dumps to pivot towards (which I might add, were quite boring. The DNC leaks in the summer were substantive, but the Podesta leaks in October were simply mundane examples of the inner machinations of a political party). To top it off, Bill Maher accused Assange of being under the thumb of the Russian government last August, and Assange didn’t deny it.
Despite the hilarity of Trump Jr. telling the Wikileaks account that “this is off the record,” and those on the left who still revere him, Julian Assange is and never has been a journalist. But don’t take it from me, take it from former Wikileaks employee James Ball, who wrote in 2011:
Several at the meeting — myself included — stressed these documents, which would probably number hundreds of thousands, could not be published without similar careful redaction. Others vehemently disagreed.
Johannes Wahlström, Swedish journalist and son of antisemitic WikiLeaks activist Israel Shamir, shouted: “You do realise the idea of not putting ALL of these cables up is totally unacceptable to people around this table, don’t you?”
Julian took Wahlström’s side. One way or another, he said, all the cables must eventually be made public.
Prior to any significant portion of America even thinking about Russia—let alone being consumed by it on a daily basis—Assange was in possession of hundreds of thousands of pages of the most sensitive information on Earth, and he sided with the son of an anti-Semitic activist arguing on behalf of no redactions whatsoever. Some journalist.
And what about that son of an anti-Semitic activist overruling a room of journalists working towards transparency? WikiLeaks initially confirmed to Radio Sweden that his father, Israel Shamir, worked for them, before subsequently denying it—issuing a statement saying that “Israel Shamir has never worked or volunteered for WikiLeaks, in any manner, whatsoever.” This may have had to do with the fact that Novaya Gazeta reported that Shamir created a fake cable demonstrating collusion amongst members of the United Nations who walked out on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech. Wahlstrom’s past is not as blatantly damning as his father’s, but being Wikileaks’ sole representative in Sweden while also reportedly fabricating quotes and pushing anti-Semitism is enough to declare that the apple did not fall far from the tree in my book.
Creating a handful of forgeries amongst a sea of truths is a tactic that the Russians have been employing over the last century, because it’s very simple and effective. You take a pile of genuine offenses by the United States government, sprinkle in some lies, and poof: you help make a bad situation worse. If you’re still a skeptic, and think that we’ve all been tricked by the U.S. surveillance state into attacking an entity genuinely seeking reform, well then, I have a crossroads for you. See this e-mail from Wikileaks’ Podesta dump in October?
You have a choice to make, my friend. Either Wikileaks is a wholesome organization fully committed to transparency AND John Podesta knows about nonviolent extraterrestrial intelligence from the contiguous universe who are helping us bring zero point energy to Earth, or maybe Wikileaks isn’t so noble after all.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.