The two most annoying icons of the rad left, WikiLeaks and Anonymous, team up to target the equally annoying Stratfor. Their joint press release of Feb. 24 headlines that Dow Chemical paid the “strategic intelligence” firm to spy on satire group Yes Men and grassroots activists seeking justice in the Bhopal disaster. The small print says they sent someone around to attend the Yes Men’s public appearances. The coup wins WikiLeaks more gushing alterno-coverage, while Max Fisher in The Atlantic scoffs that WikiLeaks has fallen for Stratfor’s “marketing campaign,” and that nobody has taken them seriously for years. But, predictably, nobody is talking about WikiLeaks’ shameful silence on charges of complicity with grave human rights abuses in Belarus, the country dubbed “Europe’s last dictatorship.”
Readers of World War 4 Report already know the details. In unrest following the evidently stolen elections of December 2010, dictator Alexander Lukashenko had some 600 protesters and dissidents rounded up. Several were tortured, and the campaign to win their release brought courageous “silent protesters” repeatedly to the streets. The affair won Belarus the opprobrium of the EU, US State Department and human rights organizations, but (happily for Lukashenko) few international headlines.
Last year, it came to light that WikiLeaks’ man in Belarus, the neo-fascist Israel Shamir, likely provided the Lukashenko regime with intelligence from leaked US diplomatic cables to help determine who to round up. Lukashenko boasted in the state-controlled media of receiving WikiLeaks intelligence; Shamir was meanwhile boasting claims in the vile pseudo-left organ, CounterPunch, that WikiLeaks cables provided “proof positive” the December protests were “orchestrated” by the State Department. The “proof positive”? Some indications of a US AID contractor’s involvement in money smuggling. Did Shamir turn over WikiLeaks cables to Lukashenko that “named names” of activists identified or cultivated by the State Department? It sure appears that way—in which case WikiLeaks provided the kind of aid to Lukashenko in 2010 that the CIA did for Pinochet in 1973.
Even the much-maligned “Mainstream Media” (which is supposedly biased against WikiLeaks) has failed to give this affair significant coverage. Index on Censorship, to their great credit, queried WikiLeaks on the issue—to be met with a glib dismissal.
Israel Shamir (probably a pseudonym for the Swedish far-right writer Jöran Jermas) is a notorious and obsessive Jew-hater, whose website cheers on Holocaust deniers. No wonder he loves the Lukashenko regime, with its paranoid anti-Semitism.
For all the coverage on who Julian Assange was literally in bed with in Sweden, there is little interest in who he is politically in bed with in Belarus. With the left happily cheering on WikiLeak’s heroic crusade against Big Daddy, leave it to organs of the neocon right to call out Assange on his association with the hideous Shamir. The Weekly Standard‘s John Rosenthal reported last March that it wasn’t Shamir who sought out Assange and sold him a bill of goods—but the other way around: “[F]ormer WikiLeaks ‘no. 2’ Daniel Domscheit-Berg has told me that it was, on the contrary, Assange who ‘sought out’ Shamir and asked him to collaborate on the WikiLeaks project.” Daniel Domscheit-Berg, to his credit, has defected from WikiLeaks over such issues. The implication is that Assange was attracted by Shamir’s anti-Semitism. Domscheit-Berg rejects this theory, but Fisher writes:
Nonetheless, some of Assange’s archived contributions to the Cypherpunks electronic mailing list certainly give cause to pause. For instance, in a laconic November 20, 2001 response to a post by one Tim May, Assange writes simply, “Quoting Jews again, Tim?” According to fellow list member John Young, Assange was a member of the Cypherpunks list from 1995 to 2002.
When one considers such details in conjunction with the latest reports of Assange complaining about a “Jewish conspiracy” to deprive him of support, it would appear that Assange’s association with Shamir is anything but coincidental.
The New York Times, while silent on the Belarus connection, has reported on Assange’s apparent anti-Semitic tirades. CounterPunch continues to run the spewings of Shamir.
Spare us the bogus response that these spewing are legitimate “criticism of Israel.” No they aren’t. As we’ve said before: Ritual squawking that “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism” is just that—an empty ritual bereft of meaning—if we don’t call out real anti-Semitism. Use of the “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism” mantra to excuse this ugliness is no better than the Zionists’ bogus use of the charge of anti-Semitism to silence critics of Israel. In fact, it is exactly the same propaganda device.
We want a full accounting from WikiLeaks and Assange about their involvement with Israel Shamir, and with the Belarus dictatorship. We will not drop this until we get it. And till that time, WikiLeaks and its cult-like amen chorus can shut up with all their empty prattle about “human rights.” They had a case that it was about human rights when this started long ago with Bradley Manning and the “collateral murder” leak. Now it is clearly just about an Oedipal revolt. If WikiLeaks and their fans had any genuine commitment to human rights, there would not be this deafening silence about Belarus.