It irks me when people pretend as though Wikileaks is some sort of heroic organization that stands up to corrupt governments by exposing the truth. It irks me because all it takes is a cursory glance at the organization’s past actions and the timing of some of their releases to see that it has an agenda that goes well beyond whistle-blowing and government transparency.
Examples of Wikileaks’ bias.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why people take Wikileaks with a huge pinch of salt.
Wikileaks’ criticism of The Panama Papers.
For a while now, there have been allegations that Russia has infiltrated Wikileaks and that their intelligence services are using the organization to target NATO and EU countries. The theory is that by exerting influence over an organization such as Wikileaks, Russia can selectively leak secret documents that will damage its enemies and benefit its own geopolitical goals.
“The Panama Papers” was a massive leak of 11.5 million documents belonging to a Panama-based law firm called Mossack Fonseca. The leak in question contained information about offshore accounts and financial schemes being employed by politicians throughout the world. The documents were anonymously leaked to a German journalist called Bastian Obermayer and then analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Unsurprisingly, Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange were desperate in their attempts to label the Panama Papers leak as a US-funded attack on Russian President Vladimar Putin. Why? Because the documents showed that close associates of Putin had $2 billion dollars stashed away in offshore accounts.
Two days later, Putin dismissed the Panama Papers as an attempt to destabilize Russia and stated the following: “WikiLeaks has showed us that official people and official organs of the US are behind this.”
There are two important things to note here:
- There has been no evidence to suggest that the leak was funded by the US government.
- Wikileaks’ claim that the leak was an attack on Putin doesn’t really make sense, as many Western politicians were also implicated in the documents. Examples include UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who was forced to resign after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose his investments in a foreign company called Wintris.
Why is Wikileaks is so hesitant to publish documents concerning Russia?
I find it suspicious that after all these years, Wikileaks has never released anything substantial about the Russian government or its long-standing president, Vladimar Putin. Are we supposed to believe that this famous whistleblower organization has never gained access to secret documents concerning one of the world’s most powerful nations?
In September of 2017, Wikileaks decided to try and quell suspicions about its links to the Kremlin by publishing a “leak” called “Spy Files Russia”, which showed that Russia had been using state surveillance to spy on Internet and cellphone users. Even US whistleblower Edward Snowden was surprised by the apparent turnaround in Wikileaks’ policy, referring to it as a “plot twist”.
Unfortunately, it seems that this “leak” was tame and that it didn’t really offer anything new. According to Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, the “Spy Files Russia” leak wasn’t a real expose: “It actually adds a few details to the picture, [but] it’s not that much.” He also added: “I would say it’s coming from the company, sent by people who obviously understand it doesn’t constitute a state secret, so it’s safe.”
Basically, whoever leaked these “Spy Files Russia” documents knew that they would not cause any harm to the Russian government.
So why did Wikileaks feel the sudden need to try and divert suspicion from itself?
Well, a month before this “Spy Files Russia” leak was published, an American news website called Foreign Policy revealed that Wikileaks had turned down the chance to publish leaked documents from the Russian Interior Ministry. In the summer of 2016, when the US presidential campaign was heating up, Wikileaks refused to publish leaked documents that would have cast Russia in a negative light.
When asked why they decided to reject these documents, Wikileaks said that the documents had already been reported on by other news agencies back in 2014. This was a half-truth however, as the cache of documents that was offered to Wikileaks in the summer of 2016 was twice as large as the cache of documents that had been reported on back in 2014.
So not only did Wikileaks refuse to publish the documents, it also lied about the reason behind its refusal.
Anti-corruption protests in Russia.
In March of 2017, an estimated 60,000 people took part in anti-corruption protests across Russia. While this was going on, the Wikileaks made a nice little “wink wink nudge nudge” post on Twitter, which basically insinuated that the protests in Russia were receiving an unfair amount of media attention:
Why would Wikileaks have a problem with anti-corruption protests in Russia?
Wikileaks wanted the GOP to win.
An internal conversation that was leaked in February of 2018 showed how Wikileaks wanted the GOP to win the US presidential election:
The conversation, which occurred in November of 2015, showed how Wikileaks saw Hillary Clinton as a “bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath”.
Their reasoning for supporting the GOP was that the party would be reigned in by the Democrats and the media – whereas Hilary Clinton would be given the freedom to enact hawkish interventionist policies:
Julian Assange’s fears of a Clinton presidency seemed to mirror that of Russia’s, which may help to explain why Wikileaks seemed so pally with the Kremlin and the Republican party:
Hillary Clinton in The White House with her blood lust and ambitions of an 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.
Wikileaks messages Donald Trump Jr.
In September of 2016, Wikileaks decided to direct message Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter and essentially warn him about an anti-Trump website that had been launched:
Let that sink in for a moment. Wikileaks was so desperate to aid Trump’s presidential campaign that they were willing to try and “guess” the password of a website that published information about alleged ties between Putin and Donald Trump.
Later on in the conversation, they asked Trump Jr. to hand them over “one or more” of his father’s tax returns so that they could seem more impartial. By improving the perception of their impartiality, their leaks could have a “higher impact” on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign:
Podesta email leak.
On the 7th of October, 2016, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold published a 2005 recording of Donald Trump making lewd remarks about grabbing women by the “pu**y”. Less than thirty minutes later, Wikileaks attempted to disrupt the media coverage of this tape by publishing stolen emails belonging to Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chairman, John Podesta.
In 2012, when Wikileaks was having funding issues, Julian Assange agreed to host a show on Russia Today – a TV network that is funded by the Russian government.
In response, the Russian owner of the Independent and London Evening Standard, Alexander Lebedev, tweeted:
Shame on you, Mr Assange! Hard to imagine a more miserable finale for a ‘world order challenger’ than employee of state-controlled ‘Russia Today’.
Personally, I find it difficult to overlook the irony of Julian Assange denouncing censorship on a Kremlin-controlled propaganda outlet.
Wikileaks’ downplays Mueller’s Russian indictments.
When it was announced that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had charged 13 Russian nationals with interfering in US election to help Trump, Wikileaks attempted to downplay the news:
Note how they specifically used the phrase “online trolling”, as if this was just a group of trolls that were making pro-Trump posts the Internet. This is despite the fact that these “trolls”:
- Stole the identities of Americans in order to hide their nationality.
- Communicated with individuals that were associated with the Trump campaign.
- Operated with monthly budgets as high as $1.25m.
- Organized pro-Trump rallies.
- Created bogus black and Muslim social media accounts in an effort to negatively impact the election turnout of minorities.
In August of 2017, Wikileaks tweeted a news article about how there were no signs of Russian interference in Germany’s elections:
Translation: “Stop worrying about Russian interference, guys. It’s totally just a case of hysteria.”
Another example of Wikileaks telling it’s followers to look the other way:
Saying that the “Russian threat” is “hysteria” because South Korea has a larger economy than Russia is beyond misleading. To put things into perspective: Russia has a larger economy than Saudi Arabia, a country that Wikileaks says funded ISIS, promotes terrorism and sustained “efforts to influence political and religious opinion within Australia’s Arabic and Islamic communities”:
Seems like Saudia Arabia has no problem being a threat, despite the size of their economy.
Wikileaks’ certainly didn’t like this cover image from The Economist:
It’s OK for Putin to be a killer because the US is also a killer:
Translation: “You can’t criticize Putin for being a killer if the US also kills people.”
A tweet criticizing Obama for banning Russian diplomats:
After it was announced that Robert Mueller had indicted 13 Russian nationals, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange showed his pro-Russia bias once again by stating that it was a “joke” and a “threat to freedom of the press”.
When news broke that Russian hackers had been probing US energy companies, Julian Assange reacted with some blatant whataboutism. If it was a news story about US hackers probing Russian energy companies, he probably would have retweeted it.
For some reason, Assange thought that it was very important that his Twitter followers read the official Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal:
Assange attempting to pour doubt on the theory that Russia attempted to interfere with US elections: