One tries not to be endlessly distracted and railroaded by haters who want to change the narrative. The real narrative, after all, is much more engaging: an innocent journalist being silenced and slowly murdered by a whole string of governments, all because he dared to tell us their secrets. Nevertheless, sometimes it is necessary to repudiate nonsense. So *deep breath* here goes…
No, Julian Assange is not a Fascist. Nor is he to blame for Donald Trump becoming US President. Assange did not support and does not support Trump, who certainly does not and never did support WikiLeaks. Sure, Trump repeatedly exploited WikiLeaks revelations to help himself win the election, but that’s just political opportunism. In 2010 Trump said WikiLeaks revelations merited “the death penalty or something”. After winning power he made his lack of support for WikiLeaks even clearer.
TRUMP: I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, “Wow.” It was just a figure of speech. I said, “Well, look at this. It’s good reading.”
AP: But that didn’t mean that you supported what Assange is doing?
TRUMP: No, I don’t support or unsupport. It was just information...
AP: Can I just ask you, though — do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?
TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it’s OK with me. I didn’t know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it’s OK with me.
Some fools have criticized WikiLeaks for not publishing as much dirt on Trump as they did on the Democrats. But WikiLeaks can only publish the information they are given. They only got a few files about Trump, which had already been published elsewhere. They even asked Trump’s son to help them publish his tax returns (see DMs below), but were ignored.
OK. So what about those Twitter DM’s between WikiLeaks and the President’s son Donald Trump Jnr? What do they actually reveal? Let’s take another look, without the filter of biased corporate media. But where to start? Context is important!
For the record: the author of this article intensely dislikes “both sides” of entrenched 2-party US politics.
Maybe we should start in January 2013, when the Clinton Foundation was part of a Uranium One consortium that finalised a massive sale of US uranium to Russia. The deal was signed off by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but it started years earlier with President Bill Clinton, who later received $500,000 “for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock”. Putin was told that Russia now controlled “20% of the US uranium supply”.
Or maybe we should start in mid-2014 when Hillary Clinton compared Putin to Hitler. A year later, US media were reporting that Clinton was considered too hawkish to run for US President, especially because of her anti-Russian rhetoric.
We now know, thanks to WikiLeaks, that Hillary rigged the DNC system to make sure she got to run against Donald Trump, whom her team had hand-picked as a “Pied Piper” GOP candidate. So it’s worth asking why Clinton’s team particularly selected Trump as a preferred opponent. Surely they knew about his womanising — they probably already had the infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” tape — but did they also know secrets about Trump’s business deals with Russia? Or was Clinton’s team only ever linking Trump with Russia to deflate criticism of her involvement with Uranium One? Oh, what a tangled web that’s become.
At any rate, let’s remember that in 2016, while Clinton campaigned on WWIII with Russia, Trump was calling for an end to NATO, condemning US wars in the Middle East, and asking why USA and Russia could not be friends (never mind he has since back-flipped on these positions: US voters are clearly not so keen on war as their corrupt oligarchs).
Critics complain that Julian Assange exhibited personal animosity towards Clinton, which he denies; but if he did bear a grudge it would be totally understandable. The Obama administration spent years persecuting WikiLeaks journalists while Clinton was Secretary of State; on 3 October 2016, it was even revealed that Clinton had wanted to launch a drone attack on Assange.
OK, so with that context, now let’s look at those Twitter direct messages between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jnr…
On 11 July 2017, after pressure from media and Democrats, Donald Trump Jnr released emails about his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had connections to Russia’s powerful prosecutor general. On the same day, Julian Assange tweeted:
“Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us). Two hours later, does it himself… I argued that his enemies have it — so why not the public? His enemies will just milk isolated phrases for weeks or months… with their own context, spin and according to their own strategic timetable. Better to be transparent and have the full context… but would have been safer for us to publish it anonymously sourced. By publishing it himself it is easier to submit as evidence.”
Within 48 hours this lead to a whole chain of private Twitter DM’s between WikiLeaks and Trump Jnr being published in The Atlantic (it seems Trump Jnr provided the DMs to a congressional committee, who leaked them).
On 13 November 2017, Julian Assange tweeted:
“I cannot confirm the alleged DM’s from @DonaldJTrumpJr to @WikiLeaks. @WikiLeaks does not keep such records and the Atlantic’s presentation is edited and clearly does not have the full context. However, even those published by the Atlantic show that: 1/ … WikiLeaks loves its pending publications and ignores those who ask for details. Trump Jr. was rebuffed just like Cambridge Analytica. In both cases WikiLeaks had publicly teased the publications. Thousands of people asked about them. 2/… WikiLeaks can be very effective at convincing even high profile people that it is their interest to promote links to its publications. 3/ … WikiLeaks has such chutzpah that it allegedly tried to convince Trump Jr to leak his father’s tax returns & his own “Russian lawyer meeting” emails (he did). WikiLeaks appears to beguile some people into transparency by convincing them that it is in their interest. 4/ … Full text of alleged DMs with context provides a different reading, unsurprisingly.”
Part 4 of the above tweet thread came a day later, linking to a series of three tweets that Trump Jnr had sent on the following day (14 November):
“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”
So let’s look at the DMs from that “entire chain” of three tweets. The first screen-grab shows WikiLeaks making contact and offering useful information (which was already circulating on the web, but Trump Jnr didn’t seem to know that). Like any decent journalists they ask: “Any comment?” They then ask if Trump’s team can bring more attention to Hillary’s threat to drone Assange.
Trump Jnr says he’s already done that. Then he asks WikiLeaks about the “October Surprise” that many less-than-credible Trump supporters had been promising. WikiLeaks ignores his question (important: they also ignored Cambridge Analytica overtures) and instead asks for more coverage of their work…
Either the request is granted, or one thing leads to another, or Donald Trump just spontaneously calls on his followers (less than a month before the election) to pay more attention to WikiLeaks data.
Either way, Trump Jnr never again responds to WikiLeaks DMs. WikiLeaks start asking for his father’s tax returns… (talk about a conversation stopper!).
After this ignored request on 21 October, 2016 there’s a long break before WikiLeaks makes contact again on the day of the election, 8 November 2016. WikiLeaks are expecting Trump to lose and suggest that he should refuse to concede defeat. A lot of critics have made a big deal about this! But they deliberately ignore the rest of the DM, where WikiLeaks explain their motives: they want Trump to challenge “the media and other types of rigging that occurred” not because they expect the challenge to succeed but because they want a “transformative” discussion about “media corruption, primary corruption, PAC corruption, etc.”
After the election result, WikiLeaks (“Wow” above) are as surprised as anyone. With Donald Trump heading to the White House, they are still trying to keep this near-dead line of communication open. Any decent media organisation would do the same.
With the election over, attention returns to Julian Assange’s desperate situation. WikiLeaks hope Trump’s win will break the impasse that has kept him unlawfully detained by the UK for six years. They do not seriously expect Trump to organise an ambassador role for Julian (as media reports falsely suggested), they just want him to send a clear message to Australia, the UK and Sweden. They even send a link to help educate him.
Still receiving no response from Trump Jnr, WikiLeaks tries highlighting their credibility with the US public by sending a poll result.
Over a month later, on 11 July 2017, Trump Jnr was under huge pressure after a New York Times story linking him with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (see above). Seeing an opportunity to re-establish communication and get an exclusive release, WikiLeaks reaches out yet again.
Their offer to publish his emails is ignored. And that’s it, folks! There was no response and that’s all there is to the “scandalous” Twitter DMs between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jnr. Not exactly exposing Julian Assange as a Fascist or a Trump loyalist, is it? Just WikiLeaks doing top class journalism.
After the DMs above became public on 14 November 2017, Julian Assange couldn’t resist a final semi-humorous dig, tweeting this to the world:
“Dear @DonaldJTrumpJr our offer of being ambassador to the US still stands. I could open a hotel style embassy in DC with luxury immunity suites for whistleblowers. The public will get a turbo-charged flow of intel about the latest CIA plots to undermine democracy. DM me. #Vault8”
On the same day, after Trump Jnr posted his “entire chain” of DMs (above), the extent of media distortion became clear. Among other things, The Atlantic, which is based in the Watergate complex in Washington DC, had deceitfully cut off a WikiLeaks DM quote after the words “pro-Russia” with a full stop, ignoring the rest of the sentence: “that the Clinton campaign is constantly slandering us with”. This radically changed the meaning, as @Caitoz has carefully explained here.
Two weeks later, on 28 November 2017, with gullible fools around the world now convinced that WikiLeaks were a bunch of closet Fascists who had supported Trump, Julian Assange defiantly tweeted:
Too little, too late for gullible fools who trusted corporate media over WikiLeaks. Too confusing for idiots who only read the tweet and don’t bother to click on the link. Who read the headline and don’t have time to read the story.
It may have shocked people to learn that WikiLeaks was secretly communicating with Donald Trump Jnr during the election, but that’s exactly the kind of thing that editors, publishers and journalists do. A close reading of the DM’s reveals no collusion but instead, well… almost nothing. WikiLeaks tried to cultivate a potentially useful source and got nowhere. Just like top quality journalists do all the time.
End of story.