The leaked messages span over two years, and cover an array of topics from the 2016 US election to Assange's disdain for transgender people.
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.
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.
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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