“Free Riding Off The Free Speech/Greater Government Transparency Movement”

Hello, Metteyya

I notice that you spend all of your article focusing on Julian Assange’s supposed character. In almost no part of your article do you contemplate the implications of President Donald Trump’s Justice Department choosing to prosecute Assange, which is why you are writing such a piece about Assange in the first place.

At first, I almost fell for Assange’s cover story that he was only trying to boost the cause of the Green Party and Jill Stein, but when I considered that Stein had ZERO chance of winning, it became apparent that he really was boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump. Assange’s one-sided Wikileaks of Podesta and DNC emails was calculated to get Bernie Sanders’ supporters so angry at Clinton and the Democratic Party that they would either stay home and not vote, vote for Stein, or do the unthinkable — vote for Trump.

I don’t know where you got this “cover story.” It seems like you made it up for the purpose of this post. Is there a source where you saw this? Did Assange ever say anything about publishing emails to boost Jill Stein’s campaign?

…[To] deny the fact that the tension created between Bernie’s supporters and Clinton that was exploited and exacerbated by Assange and Wikileaks had a significant impact on the outcome of the election is dishonest.

Yes, but the New York Times published stories on stolen emails. The Washington Post published stories on stolen emails. There were numerous outlets and journalists — including me — who published stories on the emails.

I’d like to know what you would have to say in response to this:

Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, defended publication of our “stolen” material last year: “I get the argument that the standards should be different if the stuff is stolen and that should influence the decision. But in the end, I think that we have an obligation to report what we can about important people and important events.” David Lauter, Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, made a similar argument: “My default position is democracy works best when voters have as much information as possible . . . And that information often comes from rival campaigns, from old enemies, from all sorts of people who have motives that you might look at and say, ‘that’s unsavory.’ ”

So, Assange and WikiLeaks published emails that had political implications that affected voters’ decisions in the 2016 election. Is that any reason to prosecute a journalist or publisher?

Assange was rightfully afraid of what might happen to him if Clinton became president, but what would give him confidence that he would not face the same fate with Trump? Most Republican 2016 contenders other than Trump, and the vast majority of Republicans in Congress despise both Snowden and Manning as traitors for their leaks through Assange, and view Assange in particular as a threat to US national security.

Good point. But there is more bipartisan consensus than you acknowledge. Most Democrats are willing to be silent and let Trump pursue this prosecution or offer rhetoric similar to what you wrote that fuels a climate where targeting Assange is politically acceptable.

The other troubling aspect of Assange’s Wikileaks is, like the one-sided, Trump-boosting leaks, there also appears to be a one-sided approach when it comes to the United States versus Russia. Even though Wikileaks was founded in 2006, there has not been even one Wikileak on Russian government abuse until late 2017, and even that leak was fairly weak and did not tell us much more than what was already known from public sources.

This a U.S. government narrative fostered to delegitimize the work of WikiLeaks in the same way that alleging journalists who publish adversarial commentary are “aligned” with Russia, the Kremlin, or Russian-affiliated people.

Why does WikiLeaks have to balance out their publications on the U.S. with leaks from Russia? They’re going to publish the leaks that are capable of having the most impact. And as you point out, they published something on Russia in 2017, but it was “fairly weak.” Most of the public probably do not remember they published anything. So why would they spend the limited resources they have on another Russia leak?

Obviously, Julian Assange and any WikiLeaks associate has an interest in exposing every aspect of the U.S. government and the actions of powerful politicians because they are the ones focusing the might of a superpower on destroying his organization.

This one-sided approach to hacks and releases only makes sense if Assange himself is part of Russian Intel.

I challenge you to produce a source that contains proof that Assange or anyone working for WikiLeaks is working for Russian intelligence.

If it were not for Julian’s narcissism, he may have escaped being handed over to the British to eventually be extradited to the United States. Who in their right mind leaks embarrassing photos of the Ecuadorean president who is protecting you in ‘his’ embassy?

The Ecuador embassy subjected Assange to surveillance, and even violated doctor-patient confidentiality by taking “confidential medical notes” from a meeting room and moving them to where embassy surveillance staff work. Ecuador was engaged in repeated attacks on his dignity and human rights.

It’s like a house guest rummaging through your private papers and belongings and then posting photos of the most titillating and damaging ones for the entire world to see.

These photos, which were wielded as a pretext to escalate Ecuador’s betrayal against Assange, were of a leader of a country, who is a public figure not entitled to the same privacy as most people of the world.

Being able to instruct a worldwide network of hackers to hack into anyone’s phone or computer gave Julian a sense of immense power, but instead of using this power for good as he did initially with the Snowden and Manning leaks, he began using it for self-preservation.

Strong allegation. Once again, do you have a source for this? Is there proof out there that Assange instructed a “worldwide network of hackers” to attack Moreno?

When the reality is that he was simply doing what he was told by the Kremlin to undermine US democracy and sow division in the country to adversely affect US leadership in the world.

You cite no sources for this. You should get one. Something that substantiates your clear prejudice or abandon this line entirely.

***

Please take a moment to consider the implications for the First Amendment and for world press freedom before writing another piece like this that lends rhetorical support for the Trump administration’s prosecution.

Written by

Journalist. Writes about politics. Managing editor of Shadowproof.com. Twitter: @kgosztola

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