Alternative facts - How the media failed Julian Assange
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- Alternative Facts, by Andrew Cockburn
- Andrew Cockburn, Kyle Paoletta, Tom Vanderbilt, Lisa Wells
- Feb 10 2023
- Word count
- 4063 words
This thread feels markedly like a lot of people trusting a single, surprisingly biased article to formulate there entire opinion on the Assange matter.
I will remind everyone that the larger bulk of WikiLeaks revelations were likely recieved from the Putin Regime, and Assange, by all accounts, knowingly released the documents understanding he was carrying water for the Putin Regime, especially in that very little in any of the revelations included dirt on Republicans, but remarkable amounts were singularly about the Democratic nominee for the next presidential election.
I will remind everyone that this targeted leak likely played a very large part in initiating the hellscape that is 2017-Present, by allowing Trump to become president, which likely carried numerous Republican governors, senators, and congressmen into power, while also resulting in 3 Supreme court nominations.
Nobody with a brain cell, minus your typical American zealot and government officials, cared about the other leaks. The debate was whether or not he should be considered a willing pawn in the Russian propaganda machine.
Assange is not Snowden. Snowden is a hero. Snowden gave up everything for the truth. Snowden's whistleblowing had no politically motivated or targeted content. We fail Snowden everyday he doesn't recieve pardon.
Yep. The rape accusations and other details about his personal conduct don't matter anymore. The man intentionally withheld information that the Kremlin didn't want released, and that completely undermines everything he claims WikiLeaks stands for, and it means absolutely nothing they do can be trusted.
Do you have information the Assange/wikileaks actions were politically motivated? My impression was that they [edit: they being wikileaks/assange] strived to be apolitical, and also truthful. Even if the leaks were political, and would have devastating effect, my opinion is that they should have been made public if accurate.
We on the left (not me personally, mind you), had every opportunity to present similar information.
It’s disingenuous also to blame Trump et al on this. It probably helped, but my sense all along was that Trump was reaching and activating people who were already there. And to be brutally fair, the Clintons, and many 90s steeped lefties, cared naught for poor, rural people. Neither does Trump & Co, but at least he speaks to them in their language.
All we have, and all we will ever have, is the word of one side or the other. Assange et al. would never admit to it, government agencies and the news, as presented by this article, will try to paint the opposite picture. The various information I've put together paints a fairly damning picture on this particular topic that I can't see an alternative for.
A Senate committee found this was the case, and based on the various evidence I have seen I choose to believe it. I'm also not here to convince anyone otherwise, if they see the evidence point in a different direction.
The truth is, there is no "truth" on this matter. Very little in the Clinton leaks were actually damning and yet the leak, without a doubt, had a major effect on Clinton's campaign. If you believe Trump eked out his win because he engaged certain voters, then that's fair, but I don't see it that way. The leaks were were huge at the time and Comey thrusting them back into the news cycle a month before election day, for absolutely no reason, didn't help either.
I always found it interesting that Assange was painted as a journalist despite his background as a hacker, with very little if any background as a true journalist. Even if he was to be considered a journalist, I personally find it naive to assume journalists are purely ethical and won't have biases affecting their work.
If one finds Assange to be a hero journalist, I'm not here to convince them otherwise but the evidence doesn't point that way for me and this article painting a rosy picture of his activities rubs me the wrong way.
Looking at eric_th_cerise’s Wikipedia post, it appears wikileaks motivation was to assist Bernie, rather than Trump. That’s a noble goal from my perspective.
I had forgotten about the comey thing, which is inexplicable from a dnc strategy perspective. Perhaps he had some resentments?
Being as how the Comey letter leak was well after Bernie had already endorsed Hillary Clinton I find that hard to believe.
Maybe you could argue it was to shank Clinton rather than to assist Trump, but that's the same thing.
My recollection is hazy, but I don’t recall wikileaks having anything to do with the comey stuff. Wikileaks stuff was all prior to the primary, again my recollection is hazy and a quick google has not revived it.
No Wikileaks was drip-feeding leaks throughout the election. The Comey Letter was sent to pre-empt another wikileaks drop that came right around mid-to-late October to sway the most persuadable voters. Their drops were specifically timed to maximize the negative impact on Hillary Clintons' campaign. It's possible it was merely coincidence that it worked out that way, but it would be a hell of a coincidence.
Weaponizing damaging information to manipulate media cycles, we should note, is also what Putin did to neuter his own opposition in Russia. So this is a well established part of his playbook. If they wanted to be impartial they'd have at least just dumped it all at once instead of strategically calculating dumps for key milestones in the campaign cycle.
It doesn't matter. The fact that they withheld documents that the Kremlin didn't want leaked completely undermines their mission statement. We can see what they withheld and easily surmise that it was politically motivated, but that doesn't matter. They've proven they can't be trusted.
Per Wikipedia, it sure sounds politically motivated.
OTOH, while looking that up, it just occurred to me that—assuming it was a political ploy by WikiLeaks to help swing the US election—it could well be thought of as blowback for 5+ years of Obama Admin per/prosecutorial zeal.
Also, while looking that up, I learned that WikiLeaks has published 10M+ classified documents over its lifetime, and apparently, no one has ever established that anything they've ever released has been fake/fraud/forged.
While that is true, they have been known the exaggerate and outright lie about the substance of their leaks to the point of harming innocent people. I know it from first hand that when they released the so-called "AKP files" about the corrupt government of Erdogan, the contents of the emails contained nothing about Erdogan or his party, but tons of strictly personal email exchanges that had nothing to do with politics. When they were called out on it by Turkish citizens, including myself, Wikileaks accused people of being lackeys of Erdogan.
I support Assange. He's being punished because he agitated some extremely powerful people, but he and his organization is far from perfect.
I agree. Often, they also go to a lot of trouble timing the release of docs to have greatest impact towards a particular goal. The Clinton emails are a prime example.
This is worth a read.
It's an opinionated piece, but a good one, arguing that journalists and news organizations have misrepresented Assange for over a decade, enthusiastically reporting things about him that later turned out to be mistakes/lies, and then doing little/nothing to correct the record, things like that.
After I read this I feel I know more and I should be the first to admit that I fell for some of the Assange-bashing going on later on.
Didn’t help that alt righters and cryptobros basically adopted the guy as their hero.
Yeah, but that's not his fault. To my knowledge, he's never done anything to associate with those guys, or even any specific political movement in the US.
It is his fault, because he was selective in what documents he leaked in 2016 in a way that possibly swayed the election. It doesn't matter what his intent was, the fact that he didn't just release everything completely undermines the integrity of his operation.
Yeah I don't understand the willingness to say that it's exonerating for him if it turns out he was just a mark who was manipulated. We all have potential to be marks that get manipulated. That's why norms around disclosure and information leaks exist and expect to go through journalistic channels that can vet it in the first place. Elon Musk is pretty clearly a mark who is being manipulated by VCs and the Saudis and Russians to destroy Twitter, who they've all had it out for ever since the Arab Spring and Color Revolutions. But we don't extend him the same leeway. These people are exercising tremendous power to sway geopolitical events whether they want to cosplay as Hack-the-planet activist underdogs or not. And they choose to exercise it with zero sense of responsibility for the consequences beyond score settling against people or institutions they don't like.
A large part of it was the larger political picture, as much of the later WikiLeaks stuff was politically inconvenient for people who disliked America's right-wing, which helped provide an easy target for Assange. As an American who doesn't like our right wing, I found myself falling into it, even if I knew the narrative was at odds with his very opinionated actions and loudly proclaimed ideals. It was easier to accept that he was a pawn, if not a player, on the side damaging the team I rooted for, I guess.
While I didn't buy it fully, this narrative chipped away at me, and I think we failed him and are failing Snowden, who gave his freedom for the world. We'll probably do it to the next whistleblower if we haven't already. (Chelsea Manning even got some of it, but was immediately reviled anyway).
It's only a small side-note of that article, but it does touch on how horribly the US govt is treating whistleblowers in general ... and that's the "good" side (meaning the Dems) ... Obama established an absolutely horrible, brutal standard on how to handle them, and so far, Biden seems totally cool with it.