Russia

Assange Used a Conspiracy Theory to Cover His Own Ass

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

In August of 2016, WikiLeaks promoted the Seth Rich conspiracy theory -- the theory that the slain DNC staffer was responsible leaking Democratic emails -- by announcing a $20,000 reward for information that leads to Rich's killers.

As crazy as it sounds, the idea was that Rich was killed by someone connected to the DNC or the Clintons and Wikileaks implied as much by offering a reward for information leading to them.

In reality, the Mueller report makes it clear that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had already been in close contact with Russian intelligence agents for months; agents who were his sources for the DNC emails, not Seth Rich.

From The Daily Beast:

As laid out by Mueller, Assange’s involvement in Russia’s election interference began with a June 14, 2016 direct message to WikiLeaks’ Twitter account from “DC Leaks,” one of the false fronts created by the Russians to launder their hacked material.

“You announced your organization was preparing to publish more Hillary's emails,” the message read, according to Mueller’s report. “We are ready to support you. We have some sensitive information too, in particular, her financial documents. Let's do it together. What do you think about publishing our info at the same moment? Thank you.”

A week later, WikiLeaks reached out to a second GRU persona, Guccifer 2.0, and pitched WikiLeaks as the best outlet for the hacked material. On July 14, 2016, GRU officers used a Guccifer 2.0 email address to send WikiLeaks an encrypted one-gigabyte file named “wk dnc link I .txt.gpg.” Assange confirmed receipt, and on July 22 he published 20,000 DNC emails stolen during the GRU’s breach.

Assange began communicating with the Russians in June, they passed the files to him in July, and Assange implied that Seth Rich was his source in August.

And that's all it took for Fox News and the wingnutosphere to embark on conspiracy feeding frenzy that still hasn't been entirely extinguished in 2019.

Seth Rich's family has been put through hell because of an actual conspiracy between Wikileaks, the Trump campaign, and Russian intelligence.

  • muselet

    Assange began communicating with the Russians in June, they passed the files to him in July, and Assange implied that Seth Rich was his source in August.

    Because real journalists, a category entirely too many people try to shoehorn Julian Assange into, routinely lie about the sources of their stories and knowingly implicate factually innocent people in illegal activity.

    When Ecuador finally turfed Assange out of its embassy in London, a surprisingly large number of analysts tried to make him into a martyr for press freedom. He’s not. He’s an advocate for a particular political view of how power should be distributed in the world and always has been.

    Maybe now I can go back to ignoring Assange and WikiLeaks.

    –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    This is the guy Glenn Greenwald admires, for Christ’s sake. The one thing you can tell about Assange right off is that he has no real concern for people. Any people. Not even the people who give him sanctuary. Not people who are victims of war or oppressive regimes. Certainly not Jamal Khashoggi. He is no ‘hero’. He is and has always been a slime bag egotist, if not an outright sociopath. There is literally no bar low enough for him to not slink under and lie about why he is doing it.
    He is and has always been a man without principle. A man without honor.

    • Draxiar

      I think you perfectly described a sociopath.

      • Badgerite

        IMO, the last two lines certainly describe Assange.

    • mnpollio

      Glenn Greenwald has absolutely no relevancy as far as I am concerned. I actually admired some his reporting during the Bush years, but then when he fell in with Edward Snowden his ability to actually distinguish fact from fiction hit the skids because he had so many stars in his eyes from the platforms that being Snowden’s conduit gave him. It galls me that legitimate news sources trot out Greenwald as some kind of knowledgeable source to debunk the Russian conspiracy with Trump and never bother to disclose that Greenwald has skin in the game here. What I would not give for some of these sources to ask him point blank “So, Mr. Greenwald, your asset and the person most responsible for your fame and fortune, Edward Snowden, has been living under the purview of Vladimir Putin and Russia for several years now. Given that you want to protect your asset, why should we believe anything you say about Russia collusion given you have such compelling motivation to protect your asset who is at their mercy?” He would probably implode.

      Similarly, I do not trust Matt Taibbi even a smidge on Russia. He can be a great journalist, but he spent a number of years working over there and you can tell from his reminiscences that he admires them and has many friends in high places still over there. I do not understand why two of the biggest voices on the Left preaching against Russia helping Trump happen to also be two people with ties of some sort to Russia and no one keeps hammering them on this. Wouldn’t this fall under the category of full disclosure?

      • Badgerite

        I’ve never thought much of Greenwald. There is very little of substance disclosed by Snowden that wasn’t already available to anyone who can read an fffing statute. The only thing Greenwald and Snowden provided was the drama needed to make people pay attention and then freak out without having a clue what the actual law was that provided oversight of the NSA was.
        I have never thought much of Taibbi. His big story was Wall Street and everything he wrote I had been aware of months before because it had been reported by other people who did the research. Taibbi was a big deal because the people who read Rolling Stone hadn’t read the reporting already available on the issue.