Wikileaks’ publication of stolen internal Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails prove what everyone already knew — that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton and tilted the primary and caucus process against Bernie Sanders. Sanders supporters are right to be outraged but few are asking the bigger and more important questions here:
- Who is behind the leaks?
- Why did they wait until the eve of the Democratic National Convention to leak this vitally important information?
- What is the leaker’s agenda?
Trying to answer these questions is important if we want to avoid becoming pawns in someone else’s chess game.
The DNC data breach was reported in mid June, just days after the last Democratic Party primary in Washington, D.C. According to Bloomberg, the breach was the handiwork of hackers working for the Russian government:
“The Russian hackers who hit the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign burrowed much further into the U.S. political system, sweeping in law firms, lobbyists, consultants, foundations and the policy groups known as think tanks, according to a person familiar with investigations of the attacks.
“Almost 4,000 Google accounts were targeted in an elaborate ‘spear phishing’ campaign — intended to trick users into providing access so that information could be gleaned from personal and organizational accounts — from October through mid-May, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
“The sweeping scope of the spying on the U.S. political establishment suggests an information dragnet far larger than previously reported and one meant to gather a near-encyclopedic understanding of the next president and those who will influence his or her thinking. Based on data now being analyzed, various security researchers believe the campaign stems from hackers linked to Russian intelligence services and has been broadly successful, extracting reams of reports, policy papers, correspondence and other information.”
Not long after, “Guccifer 2.0” appeared on the internet and published stolen internal DNC and Clinton campaign documents, including the DNC’s entire opposition research file on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The first post of Guccifer 2.0’s blog claimed that a “lone hacker”– not Russian or Russia-affiliated, of course! — broke into the Democratic Party’s databases. Not long after, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange began threatening to publish internal documents damaging to Clinton.
Wikileaks followed through on that threat while Guccifer 2.0 seems to have mysteriously fallen silent.
What neither Guccifer 2.0 nor Wikileaks can or will explain is not one, not two, but three non-governmental cybersecurity experts concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for the data breaches. Wikileaks preaches transparency but has never practiced it. The group’s funding and internal decision-making processes are secret. As one disillusioned Wikileaks activist wrote, “WikiLeaks is not a conventional organisation. It has no board, no governance, and no effective rules.” This tyranny of structurelessness means Wikileaks as an organization is an unaccountable one-man dictatorship run by Assange.
Lately, Assange has been on the defensive over Wikileaks’ relationship to the Russian government and rightly so. He says “there is no proof whatsoever” that Russian spies were the source of the DNC emails Wikileaks published, but of course proof and evidence are two different things. The preponderance of evidence indicates that Russian hackers were responsible for hacking the DNC and the Clinton campaign. And since Assange refuses to reveal the source of this leak, his denial of Russian government involvement rests solely upon his personal credibility.
But why should we believe Assange, a man who has spent years hiding in an Ecuardorian embassy in Britain to avoid a lawful arrest warrant issued by Sweden over rape/sexual assault allegations? Why should we believe Assange that Wikileaks is not colluding with the Russian government when Assange asked the Ecuadorian embassy for permission to have Russian security services act as his bodyguards and told leaker Edward Snowden to seek safe haven in Russia? Why should we believe Assange that Wikileaks is not colluding with the Russian government when Wikileaks collaborator and Holocaust-denier Israel Shamir handed unredacted U.S. diplomatic cables revealing the names of pro-democracy dissidents over to Belarus’ pro-Putin dictator, leading to their imprisonment?
Putin is clearly partial to Trump and it is not hard to see why given the Trump campaign’s close ties to the Kremlin, Trump’s Putin-friendly rhetoric, and hostility to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is no surprise, then, that Russian hackers are targeting Trump’s opponent, Clinton and the Democratic Party.
What needs to be explained is Wikileaks’ rationale for the timing of their DNC email leak — on the eve of the Democratic National Convention when such revelations would be most politically damaging to Clinton and Democratic Party unity. This is especially pressing since there have been no (and will be no) similarly damaging Wikileaks targeting Trump, the Republican Party, or the Republican National Committee. Assange describes the choice between Clinton and Trump for president as a choice between “cholera and gonorrhea” and yet Wikileaks is only actively sabotaging one of these two horrendous candidates.
Wikileaks feigns impartiality between Clinton and Trump just as the DNC feigned impartiality between Sanders and Clinton. The difference is that the DNC’s hidden bias and scale-thumbing had nothing to do with a foreign government’s agenda.