WikiLeaks abetting worldwide fascist take-over

We know we're going to be accused of alarmism, but please follow the logic. First, however self-serving it may be, the accusation of a Russian intelligence hand in the WikiLeaks dump of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee is plausible. Famously, the e-mails reveal DNC staffers pulling for Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders, prompting the resignation of the supposedly neutral body's chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The DNC had apparently been hit by Russian hackers, and Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook is now openly charging that Moscow is trying to boost Donald Trump.

Last month, forensic firm CrowdStrike found two different Russian hacker teams had penetrated the DNC's computers. The Washington Post states that "cybersecurity experts" say the cache appears to have been turned over to WikiLeaks by Russian intelligence. The report points to the Russian military's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which is believed to have created ostensibly independent hacker groups before. Most notorious of these was CyberBerkut, responsible for invading the electoral authority's computer network in Ukraine during the country's 2014 presidential race.

The entity that claims to have released the DNC cache to WikiLeaks calls itself Guccifer2, and claims to be Romanian. It rejects the claim of a Russian link, writing: "Shame on CrowdStrike." But a consensus appears to be emerging on the Russian thesis. An expert with another cyber-security firm, ThreatConnect, told WaPo: "Based on our analysis, we strongly feel Guccifer2 is linked to a Russian information operations campaign and is not the independent Romanian hacker that he claims to be."

DefenseOne website charges that Putin "weaponized" WikiLeaks to influence the US elections: "Considerable evidence shows that the Wikileaks dump was an orchestrated act by the Russian government, working through proxies, to undermine Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign."

And despite Trump denials, numerous sources point to a Putin interest convergence with the GOP's fascistic presidential candidate. In Cleveland, Trump's campaign blocked a proposed platform plank endorsing military aid to Ukraine. More famously, Trump shocked the foreign-policy establishment by saying he might withdraw the US commitment to defend NATO allies.

Putin has lavished praise on Trump, last December calling him "bright and talented" and the "absolute leader of the presidential race." Trump quickly returned the compliment, saying of the Russian strongman: "He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country."

And Putin's Russia already has quite a track record of meddling in other countries' elections—always on the side of ultra-reactionary nationalists, and even outright neo-fascists. Putin has financially backed the campaigns of Marine Le Pen in France, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Attack in Bulgaria, and Jobbik in Hungary. (New York, July 25; Slate, July 21; NYT, June 7; Slate, April 28; CNN, Dec. 18)

His most successful bid (so far) was the election of the pro-Moscow government of Victor Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2010. Interestingly, leading Trump political advisor Paul Manafort, a veteran lobbyist for foreign dictators, was also contracted some years back by Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, a key Yanukovych supporter. (PolitiFact, May 2)

WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange is making no secret of his ill will toward Hillary Clinton. In a recent interview with ITV, he boasted that his next release will "provide enough evidence" to see her arrested—which would nicely answer the popular chant in Cleveland: "Lock her up!" Embarrassingly, Sanders supporters actually echoed that same chant at a protest in Philadelphia as the Democratic Convention opened. (WSJ, July 26)

Now, we're the first to admit that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for animus toward the ambitious, opportunistic, power-hungry dynasty-builder Hillary Clinton. But there are also plenty of reasons to suspect WikiLeaks' motives.

For starters, the DNC dump was done with their usual complete lack of ethics. In The Register's smart-alecky headline: "WikiLeaks fights The Man by, er, publishing ordinary people's personal information." The released e-mails apparently contain personal information on thousands of Democratic Party members, including their names, home addresses, phone numbers, and even credit card, social security and passport numbers.

As we've noted, WikiLeaks' famous 2010 dump of US diplomatic cables contained information that placed dissidents at risk under several authoritarian regimes. And they seem to be at it again. Just days after the coup attempt in Turkey, WikiLeaks released some 300,000 "Erdogan e-mails"—actually from  top operatives of the Turkish president's Justice and Development Party (AKP). These also contain personal information on hundreds of thousands of AKP supporters. These people could now be targeted for reprisals by Erdogan's enemies. In fact, much personal information was released on thousands of women voters in Turkey, regardless of party affiliation. (World Post, July 25)

It should of course be noted that Erdogan and Putin are bitter regional rivals, backing opposite sides in Syria and nearly coming to war last year.

So is there a pattern of WikiLeaks serving Kremlin political ends? A commentary on Observer website calls the DNC data-dump a "clear attack by Putin on Clinton." It charges that by "stepping into the middle of our Presidential race," WikiLeaks "has outed themselves" as an "obvious Russian front." It notes WikiLeaks' longtime connection to Israel Shamir, a far-right open anti-Semite who boasts of his propaganda and intelligence efforts on the behalf of Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of Belarus.

Lukashenko is more of an open fascist than his ally Putin, but Putin is now rapidly catching up—passing laws restricting the Internet, unleashing relentless aerial terror on Syria, unilaterally annexing Crimea and persecuting its minorities.

The DNC leak should be seen in light of a bloc of strongmen and dictators now emerging on the global stage. As Erdogan consolidates his dictatorship in Turkey's post-coup order, he is also patching things up with Putin and even softening his stance on Syria's Bashar Assad. Putin (with Obama's encouragement) has instrumented an unofficial non-aggression pact, dividing Syria with his rival.

This convergence may extend beyond the immediate region. The Brexit vote has set Britain on the road to reaction. There is frightening potential for a Le Pen presidency in France. Democratic space is rapidly closing in China, amid a new territorial expansionism. Even in the Philippines, a self-proclaimed death squad boss just assumed the presidency.

A Trump presidency, of course, would seal the deal on this New Order. He of course supported the Brexit, and is in turn supported by Marine Le Pen. (WaPo,  Feb. 27) He has made plenty of admiring statements about brutal dictators (always with the escape clause of calling them "maniacs" or such). Kim Jong Un? Trump said "you have to give him credit" for the way he took control of North Korea after his father died. (FactCheck, May 24) Saddam Hussein? "He was a bad guy, really bad guy, but you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good." (NBC, July 6) He also spoke dismissively about Saddam's use of chemical weapons against the Kurds: "Saddam Hussein throws a little gas, everyone goes crazy. 'Oh he’s using gas!'" (WaPo, July 6) He called the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement a "riot" and praised the Chinese state's "strong" response. Then there was his intransigent defense of his tweet of a Mussolini quote: "Mussolini was Mussolini… It's a very good quote. It's a very interesting quote… what difference does it make whether it's Mussolini or somebody else?" (Meet The Press, Feb. 29)

It is not hard to imagine where we could be within a year: The planet divided by a combine of despots who give each other free rein in their respective infulence spheres while cooperating on the areas of mutual interest—smacking around immigrants, leftists, Muslims, sex deviants and commoners.

The bitter paradox is that this agenda may be abetted by the American left, which is now celebrating the DNC leak and glorifying its intellectual authors as heroes.

Way to go, WikiLeaks. Very well played.

  1. WikiLeaks anti-Semitism …again

    We've noted before Julian Assange's penchant for anti-Semitic tirades. Now Heatstreet website notes a tweet from WikiLeaks (presumably Assange), since deleted, that read: "Tribalist symbol for establishment climbers? Most of our critics have 3 (((brackets around their names))) & have black-rim glasses. Bizarre."

    If you don't get it, the triple brackets thing is code used by online neo-Nazi types to identify someone as a Jew. Heatstreet adds: "Not only the denigration of the ((())) symbol but also the use of the term 'tribalist' to imply Jews is, of course, base racism, a particular racism that Putin shares."

    As we've noted here and here and here

    Assange's coziness with Moscow is also evidenced by the fact that he did a program for Kremlin-controlled Russia Today TV back when he was a free man…

    1. Brexit blowhard gets program on Kremlin mouthpiece

      From The Telegraph, Sept. 7:

      RT, the Kremlin-backed broadcaster formerly known as Russia Today, has offered Nigel Farage his own television show, as part of a major revamp of the channel's programming.

      The former Ukip leader is one of a number of outspoken public figures, including the columnist Katie Hopkins, who is understood to have held talks with the pro-Moscow broadcaster.

      RT executives are said to regard the US presidential elections, in November, as an opportunity to beef up its English-language programming, prompting concern in Whitehall over the increased reach of the channel, which is seen to follow a slavishly pro-Kremlin editorial line.

      "Seen to"? Really hedging our bets there, aren't we, Telegraph? And as for that "formerly known" bit… RT no longer stands for Russia Today like BP no longer stands for British Petroleum. Uh-huh.

      Still plugging RT as an "alternative," you fools? Total left-right convergence

      1. Brexit blowhard stumps with Trump

        Nigel Farage just joined el Gran Pendejo onstage at a rally in Mississippi, Rachel Maddow notes…. Just after he got a show on Russia Today (RT)… along with Julian Assange…. left-right convergence…

  2. American ‘left’ abets Putin-Trump fascist conspiracy

    As if we weren't already in the surreal-o-sphere with the DNC e-mail affair, Trump just said on that he hopes Russian intelligence agencies had successfully hacked Hillary, and encouraged them to release whatever they may have found—basically urging a foreign power to conduct cyber-espionage against a former secretary of state. "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing,” he blurted at a press conference, in an apparent reference to Clinton’s deleted e-mails. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

    And in denying ties to Russia, he also had to throw in more admiration for its strongman: "I have nothing to do with Russia! I said that Putin has much better leadership qualities than Obama, but who doesn't know that?" (NYT, July 27)

    He also said that if he is elected president, he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting the sanctions against Moscow. Trump said he "would be looking into that" when asked about his stance on Crimea and Russia. (Politico)

    US intelligence agencies are now said to have told the White House that they have "high confidence" the Russian government was behind the DNC hack. John Kerry apparently raised the matter with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at a meeting of foreign ministers in Laos. Russia of course denies everything.

    And so does Trump. Responding to questions about his financial ties, he tweeted: "For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia." (NYT

    Of course this leaves open the question of whether Russian oligarchs have investments in him. Conservative columnist George Will charges that Trump won't release his tax returns because they may show he's deeply involved with Russian oligarchs. (RawStory)

    Amid all this, New York magazine notes the sad reality that "Some Leftists Are Defending Donald Trump's Ties to Russia." The old Russophile element of the American left has now become hegemonic—even as Russia is embracing fascism a generation after abandoning Communism! Nathan J. Robinson in Current Affairs seems not to have got the memo about this, and wackily accuses the Dems of "Redbaiting like its 1956"!

    Absolutely amazing that American leftists are lubricating a fascist take-over, and actually think they are standing up to red-baiting. Through the looking glass.

  3. American ‘left’ abets Putin-Trump fascist conspiracy: part II

    It is enjoyable to see WikiLeaks sniping with Edward Snowden, who has taken issue with their reckless release of personal informaiton ("doxing") in the Turkish data-dump.  “Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake,” tweeted Snowden. Wikileaks hit back in a website statement: “Opportunism won't earn you a pardon from Clinton & curation is not censorship of ruling party cash flows.” (The Hill)

    A report on Motherboard Vice cited by Daily Kos asserts that "metadata" left behind on the DNC dump indicates some of the documents had been altered by the hackers, which would seem to raise questions about the veracity of the content.

    The Nation is the latest to accuse "liberal pundits" of "neo-McCarthyism"…. predictably, given that the editor is married to this open pro-Kremlin propagandist Stephen F. Cohen who continues to gush effluvia in praise of his hero Putin.

    Trump now says he was being "sarcastic" in his call for Russia to engage in espionage against the US. (NYT) This is his usual tactic—just say it was a joke, while throwing his intended audience a wink. (Like when he denied that he meant what he obviously meant in the "blood coming out of her whatever" remark.) Only this time his intended audience seems to be not misogynist Angry White Males, but the Kremlin

    Meanwhile, his reaction to the Democratic Convention speeches was yet another appeal to violence: "You know what I wanted to. I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard. I would have hit them. No, no. I was going to hit them… I was gonna hit one guy in particular, a very little guy. I was gonna hit this guy so hard his head would spin and he wouldn't know what the hell happened." (ABC)

    This wannabe Führer is fucking spelling out what he has in store for us, and all my "leftist" friends are like, "There's no difference! Hillary is the real fascist!" And some are even looking to great leader Putin to save us from the evil Hillary Clinton.

    You poor, poor, deluded fools.

  4. Pendejo betrays Crimea —of course

    Pendejo's outrageous comments on Ukraine (now partially retracted) are presented by ThinkProgress under the misleading headline "Trump Appears To Be Ignorant Of A Major International Conflict." Here's what he said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos…

    “[Putin’s] not going into Ukraine, okay, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want,” Trump said.

    Stephanopoulos pushed back, reminding Trump that Putin's "already there, isn’t he?" Trump quickly changed the topic to Obama-bashing: "Okay — well, he’s there in a certain way. But I’m not there. You have Obama there…"

    Um, "in a certain way"? Even if there is some ambiguity about whether there are Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, there is no ambiguity about Crimea—illegally annexed by Putin, but still a part of Ukraine under international law.

    When the convo explicitly got around to Crimea, here's what Pendejo had to say…

    "I'm going to take a look at it. But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also… just so you understand, that was done under Obama’s administration."

    Gratuitous Obama-bashing aside (thrown in as a mere afterthought), it is pretty clear that Pendejo is on Putin's side on the Crimea question. So he isn't "ignorant." He is just on the wrong side.

    This says much about why all my "leftist" friends are directing their ire at Hillary rather than Pendejo. He shares their reactionary line on Ukraine… To the proverbial T.

  5. American ‘left’ abets Putin-Trump fascist conspiracy: part III

    MediaMatters notes that Julian Assange, that hero of the "left," has been in contact with Trump advisor (and former Manafort partner) Roger Stone—who actually admitted this in a speech in Florida. Meanwhile, the Washington Post, under the surreal headline "Trump allies, WikiLeaks and Russia are pushing a nonsensical conspiracy theory about the DNC hacks," notes that Moscow's state-controlled press (abetted by volunteer partisans all over syberspace) is plugging Stone's theory that the DNC hack was linked to the death of Seth Rich, a young DNC staffer who was shot in early July in Washington DC. Stone says his claims are based on statements by Assange. Newt Gingrich has also endorsed the theory. Rich's family has publicly asked Assange and Trump not to use his death for their own political purposes. 

  6. Paul Manafort’s Yanukovych connections exposed

    A most welcome New York Times exposé today notes that Ukrainian government investigators examining secret records have found in the name of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as well as companies he sought business with—revealing a corrupt network they say was used to loot assets and influence elections during the administration of Manafort's main client, former president Viktor F. Yanukovych.

    Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Manafort from Yanukovych's political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine's newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

    In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Yanukovych's inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable TV assets to a partnership put together by Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

  7. Manafort steps down as Ukraine charges mount

    Paul Manafort stepped down as Trump's campaign chair Aug. 19—two days after an AP exposé implicated him in illegally routing at least $2.2 million in payments from the Yanukoch political machine in Ukraine to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012. Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump's campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the Yanukovich party. Gates was also at this time worked with of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

  8. Trump foreign policy advisor’s neo-fascist connections

    NewRepublic and IfYouOnlyNews.com both make note of various outrageous Jew-hating comments (including abject Holocaust denialism) attributed to Joseph Schmitz, a former Defense Department inspector general who is one of five Trump foreign policy advisers. His background makes this unsurprising. As we've noted, he is an Opus Dei member and former chief of operations for Blackwater.

  9. Did Wikileaks cover up Russia-Syria corruption?

    From TPM, Sept. 9:

    Wikileaks in 2012 published emails from Syrian government officials obtained by hackers, but the website did not include an email noting that the Syrian regime transferred more than $2 billion to a state-owned Russian bank, according to a Daily Dot report published on Friday.

    Wikileaks denied that it purposefully excluded the record from the trove of emails it published, and the transparency group threatened retribution against reporters at the Daily Dot if they continued to report on the document.

    The Daily Dot obtained U.S. court records from an unnamed source about hackers' success in breaking into the Syrian government's networks and obtaining emails about bank transactions. And "most of the emails found their way into a WikiLeaks database," according to The Daily Dot. But the outlet reported that some documents about bank transfers never made it to Wikileaks' website…

  10. Clinton e-mail dump: KGB psy-ops? #JustAsking

    Is it just us, or do some of the claims in the WikiLeaks dump of Clinton e-mails seem a little…. implausible? At the very least, they are being distorted and inflated by dishonest media coverage. Among the tamer of the supposed revelations is that a New York Times reporter agreed to give Clinton "veto power" over which quotes from an interview would be used, in the headlined words of PoliZette. Now, reporters do make such compromises as the cost of "access." But the critical fact that the interview was officially "off the record"—only revealed several paragraphs deep in the story!—means that no ethics were actually violated. In fact, not giving Clinton "veto power" would have been an ethics breach!

    Far, far more indicting—and far, far wackier—is yet to come…

    Salon's annoying Ben Norton offers this loaded lede: "A recently leaked 2014 email from Hillary Clinton acknowledges, citing Western intelligence sources, that the US-backed regimes in Saudi Arabia and Qatar have supported ISIS." Of course the word "acknowledges" is inherently misleading because it assumes the claim is true. The more honest word would be "claims," or even just plain old "says." Here's the actual quote from the putative e-mail: 

    We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.

    We're from Missouri, thank you. The notion that Saudi Arabia is backing ISIS is certainly counter-intuitive—to be as generous as possible.

    Most irresistible to the conspiranoids will be the claim, aired in the Observer, that the DNC sought to promote the GOP's "Pied Piper candidates" early in the race to make Hillary look better in comparison—including (of course) Donald Trump. (Note that the story closes with the following italicized line: Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.)

    Of course this will further fuel the persistent conspiracy theory that Trump and Clinton have been in league from the start—although even if this is true and the DNC really was that mind-bogglingly stupid and cynical, we aren't sure why it matters at this point. The phenomenon of Trump fascism is real, regardless of whether it began as a Clinton stratagem.

    But these claims seem just a bit too convenient to anti-Hillary propaganda, as well as flat-out improbable. Daily News Bin notes that Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald claims that his own words are falsely attributed to Sidney Blumenthal in one of the released e-mails (about the Benghazi affair, and sent to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta)… likely because his article was attached in the e-mail in question, and then presented (with malice or due to mere sloppiness) by WikiLeaks (or whoever provided it to WikiLeaks) as part of the actual text of the e-mail. Or perhaps the subterfuge (or error) emerges from an apparenrly now-scrubbed write-up about the e-mail on Kremlin media mouthpiece Sputnik, which was read from verbatim by Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Penn…

    This raises the question of how many other e-mails in the dump have been thusly misconstrued, manipulated, or even outright invented. Homeland Security is now flatly accusing WikiLeaks of receiving the e-mail caches from Russian intelligence. John Podesta, whose account was hacked for this latest dump, says the same thing, according to the NY Times. Vladimir Putin, recall, is a veteran of the KGB. Are we American voters getting played in a psychological operation by its successor agency the FSB, or its military equivalent the GRU (that charged with global electronic surveillance)?

    Just asking.

    And in any case, we must ask again: Which is more frightening and unseemly—the supposed revelations in these leaked e-mails, or the way clueless American liberals are viewing Daddy Putin as the great savior from the evil Hillary Clinton?

    1. Greewald shills for Putin… of course

      The grievous Glenn Greenwald of course rushes to absolve WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence on The Intercept, arguing that Sputnik commited on honest error:

      [T]he Sputnik story inaccurately attributed the text of the Newsweek article to Blumenthal, thus suggesting that one of Clinton’s closest advisers had expressed criticism of her on Benghazi. Sputnik quickly removed the article once Eichenwald pointed out that the words were his, not Blumenthal’s. Then, in his campaign speech last night, Trump made reference to the Sputnik article (hours after it was published and spread on social media), claiming (obviously inaccurately) that even Blumenthal had criticized Clinton on Benghazi.

      So Sputnik is given the benefit of the doubt. The possibility that the distortion was intentional and allowed to go live on the net just long enough for Trump to read it from the stage at a rally is not even considered. No such slack is cut for Eichenwald, however. Greenwald writes: 

      Although the purpose of Eichenwald's article (like everything he says and does) was to defend Clinton, one paragraph in the middle acknowledged that one minor criticism of Clinton on Benghazi was possibly rational.

      So in Greenwald's world, Sputnik just made a mistake and then remedied it by removing the story (rather than publicly retracting it!, please note), while Eichenwald is part of the sinister media conspiracy to promote Clinton.

      Even Greenwald's headline betrays his double standard: "In the Democratic Echo Chamber, Inconvenient Truths Are Recast as Putin Plots." This is a classic false dichotomy, implying that Hillary's "inconvenient truths" and a "Putin plot" to reveal them are mutually exclusive. He's already chosen sides… Putin's.

      1. Greewald shills for Putin… redux

        Greenwald is interviewed on the (ever-predictable) Democracy Now (if we can flatter such non-adversarial puffery as an "interview"), under the headline: "A New McCarthyism: Greenwald on Clinton Camp's Attempts to Link Trump, Stein & WikiLeaks to Russia." The mind simply boggles… "attempts to"? Greenwald is simply denying objective reality. And the reference to "McCarthyism" is a bizarre anachronism. Russia is no longer communist. Closer to fascist.

        1. Snopes weighs in on Clinton e-mail controversy

          Daily Bin News is zapped by Snopes for their misleading headline, "Newsweek proves that WikiLeaks is leaking phony 'Hillary Clinton emails' to try to hurt her." Snopes rates the claim "False," asserting that the distortion lies with Sputnik not WikiLeaks. OK, but we'd like to know why that Sputnik story stayed on the web just long enough for Trump to read from it at a campaign rally. The Young Turks also want to know this…

  11. Hack the vote

    NPR's Here & Now interviews "career intelligence officer" Malcolm Nance of the Terror Assymetrics Project (TAPSTRI), author of The Plot to Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election. He paints a very sobering picture. In addition to portraying the US as vulnerable to a Russian hack of the election, he also raises the prospect of actual cyber-warfare—claiming the Moscow remotely seized control of three Ukrainian power plants last year in a show of power. He has these choice words for the Assange cult: "WikiLeaks themselves are not actually hacking. WikiLeaks right now is a laundromat for Russian intelligence. And the veracity of whatever they've done in the past is out of the window now."

    He does commit one error, saying Putin was "director of the KGB," which he wasn't—just an agent.

    1. Yes, 17 intelligence agencies said Russia was behind hacking

      USA Today, fact-checking Hillary Clinton's claim in her debate with Trump that 17 intelligence agencies found that Russia was behind hacking, gives her a thumps-up: "On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement on behalf of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The USIC is made up of 16 agencies, in addition to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence." The USIC statement read:

      The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.

      More at DefenseOne

  12. FBI investigating Manafort’s Russia ties —to no media hype

    Amid all the hoopla about Hillary's e-mails, NBC cites unnamed sources to the effect that the FBI is "conducting a preliminary inquiry" into Paul Manafort's "foreign [read: Russian] business connections." Manafort dismissed the claim as "Democratic propaganda." 

    And FBI director James Comey, after dealing Hillary a last-minute sucker-punch, apparently declined to issue a statement on Russian attempts to undermine the elections, on the ostensible basis that it was too close to the elections… (CNBC)

    Meanwhile, almost certainly in league with Trump and Russian intelligence, Wikileaks is doing exactly what Nixon was savaged for doing in Watergate—eavesdropping on the rival party leadership. And the stupid fucking "left" is cheering it on. Perverse beyond all imagining.

    The most absurd charge is that those who raise the alarm about Russian meddling are engaging in "McCarthyism" or "red-baiting." While Putin—himself more fascist than "red"—is conniving with Trump, the far-right candidate!

    Amazing. Total leftist-Republican convergence in denying the Russian role….

  13. Julian Assange free ahead of anticipated US plea deal

    Julian Assange is free after 12 years of confinement, having negotiated a plea deal with the US Department of Justice on charges related to his website WikiLeaks’ publication of classified materials.

    In 2006, Assange founded WikiLeaks, a website reputed for high-profile releases of leaked classified documents, including unredacted US diplomatic cables and sensitive defense information. A deeply polarizing figure, his supporters see him as a champion of free speech whose dedication to transparency has exposed war crimes and human rights abuses, while his critics see him as a threat to national security whose leaks endangered lives.

    He had spent the past five years in a UK prison, where he had been battling extradition requests from the US. For seven years prior, he was confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge from legal battles in the US, on national security grounds, and in Sweden, where he was accused of sexual misconduct. Though he was initially granted asylum by Ecuadorian authorities, the grant was revoked in 2019, and he was taken into custody by British authorities.

    Assange had faced 18 counts in the US related to the acquisition and dissemination of military and intelligence leaks. Had he been extradited to the US, he could have faced up to 175 years in prison under the US Department of Justice’s previous indictment. Updated inictment documents released JUne 25 charge Assange with one count of “conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense Information.” The document alleges that Assange worked with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to publish leaked US documents classified as top secret, secret, and confidential. Manning was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in military prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, including most infamously a 2007 video that showed a US Army helicopter firing on people, killing several of them, including two Reuters journalists. President Barrack Obama commutedManning’s sentence in 2017, citing disproportionate punishment.

    Assange is expected to enter a guilty plea on the morning of June 26 in a US federal courtin the Northern Mariana Islands—a US commonwealth about 3,500 miles north of Sydney, Australia. According to court documents, Assange had been resistant to entering a plea in the US mainland, thus prompting the parties to agree to the remote Pacific Ocean location.

    A letter from US prosecutors revealed expectations that Assange would plead guilty to the updated charge and return to his home country immediately thereafter, indicating the time already served in the UK will cover his sentence:

    We anticipate that the defendant will plead guilty to the charge in the Information of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information relating to the national defense of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(g), and be sentenced by the Court for that offense. We appreciate the Court accommodating these plea and sentencing proceedings on a single day at the joint request of the parties, in light of the defendant’s opposition to traveling to the continental United States to enter his guilty plea and the proximity of this federal US District Court to the defendant’s country of citizenship, Australia, to which we expect he will return at the conclusion of the proceedings.

    WikiLeaks announced via X on June 24 that Assange had been released on bail and then immediately departed the UK for Australia, where he is to reunite with his family. The organization noted that Assange had successfully negotiated a plea deal, but that its details had yet to be finalized:

    This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organizers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations. This created the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalized. 

    (Jurist)