A former UK-based WikiLeaks employee who leaked chat logs to The Intercept in February which he says reveal a preference for a 2016 GOP election win is back for more - this time with additional screenshots and colorful commentary.
In response to the February article, Assange hit back in a series of Twitter rebuttals - pointing out that The Intercept's author, Micah Lee, failed to do basic fact checking, such as noting that the WikiLeaks account has a rotating staff (i.e. anyone could have written the controversial messages), and the article used "messages from late Oct 2016 when I infamously had no internet access."
- the @WikiLeaks account is run by a rotating staff as has been repeatedly stated over the years: https://t.co/RYrYbLeaNt— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 14, 2018
- basic fact checking would have shown this. another example: the article uses messages from late Oct 2016 when I infamously had no internet access.
And now, the WikiLeaks "defector" known only as "Iain" is back to take another bite at the anti-Assange apple in The Daily Beast - which makes the same assumption that the chat messages were all written by Assange.
Iain (The Daily Beast has agreed not to use his last name) is a 41-year-old writer, artist, and musician based in Edinburgh who joined a small circle of key WikiLeaks supporters after meeting with Assange in 2013, and remained connected to the group until October 2016. -The Daily Beast
Iain began working with WikiLeaks in 2012. The longtime liberal anti-war activist became directly involved in the organization after WikiLeaks came under fire for the Chelsea Manning leaks. Iain gained Assange's trust "through supportive posts on Twitter and his now-dormant website, titled Martha Mitchell Effect and later Hazelpress," however he said that after it became clear that the Wikileaks staff wanted to fight the US establishment.
He finally found what he sees as a kind of Rosetta Stone into Assange’s thinking in a leaked email Assange wrote way back in 2007 while soliciting support for the nascent WikiLeaks concept. One of the goals for WikiLeaks, Assange wrote, “is total annihilation of the current U.S. regime and any other regime that holds its authority through mendacity alone.” -Daily Beast
“I never understood at the time that these people are really quite fanatical, and not in a good way,” said Iain. “They will lie to your face, they will lie on Twitter… The pressure is being piled on, the lies are being piled on.”
Previously unpublished portions of the message logs show that Assange harbors lasting animus for those he views as opponents and traitors. While strategizing a response to a critique by former WikiLeaks volunteer James Ball, Assange lays out the need “to create doubt that he’s an accurate narrator.” Of Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an Icelandic politician who worked with Assange on the first big WikiLeaks release, he writes, “There’s no trust, one cannot trust a back-stabber, but there is an alignment of interests.” -The Daily Beast
Another message from February 2016 reads "WL enemies end badly... Sometimes it is because we cause it to happen, other times it seems like fate."
After Iain became disaffected with WikiLeaks, he gathered logs from the chat group which he organized called "WikiLeaks Plus 10," described as a "low-security channel for some very long term and reliable supporters who are on Twitter."
Iain said he felt compelled to leak the messages after the revelation that Assange held friendly, supportive online conversations with Donald Trump Jr. during the election. Before then, Iain had struggled to understand WikiLeaks’ sudden embrace of the alt-right. After the Trump Jr. chats emerged, Iain went back over the logs of the WikiLeaks Plus 10 group chats and also dug into Assange’s pre-WikiLeaks history. “What happened in 2016 was just so shocking to me. I was just trying to figure out, What was that? Where did it come from? And so I started looking back.”
The Daily Beast then goes on to mention WikiLeaks tweeting about "Hillary Clinton’s health, Pizzagate, and even Democrats engaging in satanic rituals at the same time it was releasing genuine material stolen from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign."
And the article's grand, underlined shocker?
This was not, as it might appear, a cynical bid to garner Donald Trump’s favor; nor was it simple pandering to a new funding base, argues Iain. It was part and parcel of Assange’s alignment with Russian President Vladimir Putin against their common adversary, the United States.
Speaking of Assange's "WikiLeaks Party" - a failed 2013 bid to win an Australian Senate seat, Iain says “The party’s website content now operated solely to legitimize Russian propaganda by placing it under the umbrella of WikiLeaks’ valuable brand of truth and transparency,” said Iain.
“Information and false information have always been weapons, used at all levels of society, from the family structure to the state, and WikiLeaks... uses both, and not just to inform or mislead society, but to literally reshape it according to a singular viewpoint,” said Iain. “It is a viewpoint that speaks of ‘annihilation’ and then acts in the taking of political ‘scalps.’”
We await Julian Assange's reply - as soon as he's allowed to use the internet again.