- A leaked trove of Twitter messages sent by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was obtained by The Intercept.
- They cover a host of issues from 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to Russian geopolitics.
- Highlights from the release are below.
More than 11,000 private Twitter messages between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and some of his closest supporters have just been released.
The messages, which were obtained by The Intercept, were all sent to a group of around 10 individuals that Assange had dubbed the "WikiLeaks Task Force."
The messages were exchanged over the course of more than two years from May 2015 through November 2017, and while they cover a wide range of issues from Assange's thoughts on Russian politics to his disdain for 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, they do not delve into some of the most pressing questions about WikiLeaks' involvement with the campaign of President Donald Trump. The group was in contact with the campaign at various points leading up to the November 2016 election, and was responsible for leaks of the Clinton campaign's internal emails and speech transcripts.
The messages were leaked by a former WikiLeaks volunteer known as Hazelpress. He articulated his reasoning for the disclosure to The Intercept.
“At this point, considering the power exercised by WikiLeaks, [disclosing] literally anything Assange says is in the public interest,” Hazelpress said. “WikiLeaks purports to be a neutral transparency organization.”
The messages paint a picture of a man desperate to portray WikiLeaks as a beleaguered organization existing within a hostile environment, and one who is willing to support a Trump presidency in order to achieve broader socio-political goals. They also reveal Assange's misogyny, as well as hints of anti-Semitism. Behind this though, the messages do reveal that years after WikiLeaks gained notoriety, Assange remains as committed as ever to his anti-state secrecy agenda.
On Hillary Clinton:
- From November 19, 2015: “We believe it would be much better for GOP to win. Dems+Media+liberals woudl [sic] then form a block to reign in their worst qualities. With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities., dems+media+neoliberals will be mute. She’s a bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath.
- Also from November 19, 2015: "Her role in the war in Libya is what should bring her down, however, the GOP is too close to others who have benefitted to exploit this, it seems. that Hillary helped to sew the foundation for ISIS against pentagon generals advice seems huge. But the GOP resolutely ignores it. Hillary so so much slime on her shirt it is now hard to dirt stick"
- From March 2, 2016: "Perhaps Hillary will have a stroke."
- From March 3, 2016: "HC in whitehouse with her bloodlutt and amitions [sic] of empire with hawkish liberal-interventionist appointees like [Anne-Marie] Slaughter and digital expansionists such as Google integrated into the power structure. Then the republicans and trump in opposition constantly saying she’s weak and not invading enough.”
From June 13, 2015: “It runs an independent foreign policy and its arms sales are the only thing that keep a semblance of independence for smaller states. Russia is absolutely terrified. Kalingrad, Crimea, and its only foreign naval base, Syria are all under threat and are not protected by Russia’s strategic depth. Meanwhile the US hacks the hell out of it, and attempts to forment an orange revolution in an explicitly states policy of regime change. Consequently the Kremlin in deeply paranoid of everyone, including foreign funded NGO’s and invading ‘western’ cultural practices, like gays and the internet… US next generation weapons are serious advancements. It’s play in Ukraine was in Russia’s sister country. and so the Russian ruling class… are terrified the same thing could happen to them.”
Note: Assange is referring to the 2004-2005 anti-corruption Orange Revolution in Ukraine that shook Eastern Europe.
On making WikiLeaks and Assange look like victims:
- From November 27, 2015: "Please troll this BBC idiot: [link to journalist Chris Cook’s Twitter account] Our interest is in having inflamitory [sic] tweets from him about [Julian Assange and WikiLeaks] that we can use in legal cases to show that a toxic climate exists the UK… The guy clearly has a thin skin and thinks a lot of his clique, which means he can’t see how his tweets are dangerous for him."
- From August 18, 2015, in reference to the rape case against him: “Money, influence, glamour for women helping women imprison men. It may not be your type of feminism, but they don’t cae [sic].”
On women, sexuality, and transgender issues:
- From November 25, 2015: "We just find it completely amazing that all the cliterati of London have entirely avoided what is the clearest, most grotesque, most significant and highly newsworthy violation of women in the UK in the last decade."
- From October 1, 2015, in reference to Clinton asking what the vulgar acronym FUBAR meant: "It’s amusing that she’d never heard the phrase before even through the Monica 90s. WikiLeaks took Hillary’s FUBAR virginity."
- From May 3, 2015, in reference to transgender whistleblower Chelsea Manning: “if they want to tour the statue accross [sic] localities that are conservative, it makes sense to not draw attention to the sex issue. They probably thought Bradley Chelsea Manning was a good way of getting the popular name in, and the new one, and not getting diverted. But thats going to happen regardless thanks to statist fake radicals. The gender issue really is vulgar.”
- From May 16, 2015: “Manning does have a Y chromosome and male genitalia.”
On Jewish people:
- From August 23, 2016, in reference to AP reporter Raphael Satter: "He’s always ben a rat. But he’s jewish and engaged with the ((()))) issue."
Note: The parentheses Assange mentions are related to a neo-Nazi campaign to brand Jewish Twitter users. Many people began using the parentheses as a show of solidarity with branded users.
WikiLeaks rose to international fame when they published a trove of documents in 2010 that had been leaked to them by Chelsea Manning, who was then a US army private.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump praised the pro-transparency organization, on numerous occasions, and the group made frequent contact with Donald Trump Jr. to ask him to promote leaks they published. At several public events and on Twitter, the older Trump complied.
"Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks," he tweeted in October 2016. "So dishonest! Rigged system!"
On one particular occasion, Assange asked the younger Trump to have his father convince the government of Australia to make him their ambassador to the US. Assange, a native Australian, is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and recently received Ecuadorian citizenship after being granted asylum in the embassy. There remains a warrant out for his arrest in the UK for rape allegations levied against him in Sweden.
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