Julian Assange

The Great WikiLeaks Conspiracy?

There's been talk about a Roger Stone/Julian Assange plot, but the evidence being offered is pretty slim.

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This went up on Media Matters' site yesterday:

Media Matters

Stone is a longtime political operative now aligned with Donald Trump; Assange is the man behind WikiLeaks, the website that released a trove of the Democratic National Committee's internal emails last month. The Media Matters post consists of a brief exchange at a speech Stone gave Monday, when an audience member asked about Assange's plans to release damaging documents on Hillary Clinton before Election Day.

You can see why this would interest Trump supporters, who could use another Clinton scandal right now. More important, given Media Matters' liberal orientation, you can see why it would interest Clinton supporters: They'd love to link WikiLeaks to Stone, whose history makes him a good right-wing villain. And so the post has picked up traction online, with phrases like "unholy alliance" and "proof Assange is working directly with Roger Stone" sloshing through the Twitterspere. It has percolated into the press, too: Over at The New Republic, Jeet Heer declared that "Roger Stone and Julian Assange [are] in cahoots."

None of which is really supported by what Media Matters published. Stone isn't an entirely reliable narrator to start with, and I would not take his claims as "confirmation" of anything. But if he's telling the truth, it's not a very meaty truth. Here's the exchange:

Q: With regard to the October surprise, what would be your forecast on that given what Julian Assange has intimated he's going to do?

A: Well, it could be any number of things. I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there's no telling what the October surprise may be.

So: Stone "communicated with Assange" in some way. Stone communicates with lots of people. (Even me! I've interviewed him!) His interaction with Assange does not seem to have included any details about what the big "October surprise" is supposed to be, given that Stone says "there's no telling" what it is. It is possible, I suppose, that he knows more than he's saying, but the news here is supposed to be that he "confirmed" something. If this is cahooting, a postcard is a hug.

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  1. Roger Stone talking with Assange is a big deal.

    Bill Clinton meeting with Loretta Lynch is a big meh.

    1. Grasping at another straw to deflect attention from the content of the leaks, just like when they pointed at Russians for trying to sabotage Her Highness.

      Even if the assertion is true, does it have any bearing on the contents of the leaks whatsoever? Is Roger Stone an evil genius who made them up himself?

      1. Anyone who took the Russians are behind the leaks, seriously, is a retard.

        1. Why would you say that? Honest question. It certainly seems likelier that it’s a disgruntled staffer, but the Russians have the means and the motive.

          1. What motive?

            1. “What motive?”

              Exactly. If anything, I would suspect the Russians would be thrilled with a Hillary presidency as she has already proven that 20% of the US uranium market can be bought for $137 million in “speaking fees”.

              1. Hmmmmm . idea: has anyone pointed out to Hillary and Bill that their speaking fees will have to drop to zero if she’s elected? I mean, unless they are postponed, or under the table, but I think they’d be a lot harder to justify.

                1. Why? Bill kept cashing checks for speaking while she was SecState.

          2. By disgruntled you mean shot dead on the sidewalk in front of his house in a robbery where the robber took nothing?

          3. The only motive the Russians have is not to leak the emails. Intelligence Services do not give away means and methods. They keep those secret so they can continue to collect intelligence.

        2. Assuming the Russians have Hillary’s email archives, why would they want her to lose the election? Those archives are enormous leverage over her.

          Plus, intelligence agencies simply do not do data dumps in public.

          There’s no reason to believe its the Russians without some proof of it, none of which has been offered.

      2. Seconded Micro, Stone or no Stone has nothing to do with the veracity of what Assange leaks.

        1. More importantly, Assange has nothing to do with the veracity of what Wikileaks leaks. If anyone, anywhere, could show that they’d doctored documents, they’d become instantly irrelevant.

  2. Hey Hilldog! If you weren’t a corrupt, lying POS wikileaks wouldn’t have any bodies to dig up now would they?

    1. Oh, come on now, everyone knows that Assange is a closet Rethuglican.

  3. Anyone ever wonder why Julian Assange is always picking on Hillary?

    Maybe because she’s such an easy target?

    1. Yeah, being pure evil ,and the most corrupt politician in all of time and space does maker her an easy target.

  4. emails are old news. nothing is going to penetrate the collective consciousness if the word email is in the headline.
    emails now are nothing more than a bunch of blah blah blah.
    We’d have something to pay attention to if WikiLeaks could release evidence of corruption on some other form of communication media than email. But more leaks of emails? Zzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. “They’d love to link WikiLeaks to Stone, whose history makes him a good right-wing villain.”

    I thought they already had the Russians, did that fall through?

    1. +1 polonium tipped umbrella.

    2. One can never have too many right-wing villains.

  6. Are we so starved for intrigue that we need a secluded, translucent Napoleon Dynamite, and a shameless self-promoter who proudly displays a Nixon tattoo to tease us with some?

    C’mon, people.

  7. I think you can say a couple things about this with some certainty. First, it is very unlikely that the Russians were the source of the leaks. If the Russians were reading the DNC’s mail, the last thing they would do is leak them to the public and destroy their ability to do so in the future. If you are a foreign intelligence agency and are reading the DNC’s mail, you don’t want them to know it. That way you can keep reading their mail and obtaining intelligence. So it was almost certainly an insider who gave it to wikileaks and not the Russians.

    Second, Assange has no reason to lie. If he says there are going to be more leaks as the fall goes on and they are going to get worse, there is no reason to doubt him. It should be a very interesting couple of months.

    1. Also, can we clear something up about Trump “calling for espionage” by the Russians? How stupid was that critique? Hillary’s server was online and unsecured for years. Any espionage would have and almost certainly did take place during that time. Trump called on Russia to turn that information over to the American press. I don’t really buy into the idea of TDS, but his critics are very selective when they attribute dumb flubs and active malice to the guy.

      1. That was like 10 “controversies” ago…

        1. You can see why this would interest Trump supporters, who could use another Clinton scandal right now.

          11th times a charm!

    2. If the Russians were reading the DNC’s mail, the last thing they would do is leak them to the public and destroy their ability to do so in the future.

      Didn’t it already come out that they’d been hacked before the WikiLeaks emails were published?

      Assange has no reason to lie. If he says there are going to be more leaks as the fall goes on and they are going to get worse, there is no reason to doubt him.

      Like any owner of a media outlet, he has a reason to hype his stories in advance. I don’t think he’s lying about having something, but we’ll have to wait and see how bad it is.

      1. I don’t remember if it came out that they were hacked. But that doesn’t make the Russians the source of this. The Russians probably did hack them and read their mail. That however doesn’t preclude some staffer from copying the information on it and uploading it to wikileaks.

        As the owner of a media outlet, Assange has every incentive not to over hype his story. If he builds up expectations and then doesn’t meant them, he loses his readership and credibility. Assange seems to understand the art of releasing things in a series so each one has its maximum effect. He also seems to understand that you save the best for last.

        Maybe Assange is lying. I can’t read his mind. But it would be counter to all of his behavior and PR expertise he has shown in the past.

  8. One other thing that has been lost about this but should not have been. A day or two after the leaks the FBI came out and said “they knew the Russians did it”. Everyone remember that? Now Assange says that is not true. Maybe he is lying but the FBI claim that it was the Russians has disappeared.

    Think about that for a moment. Our government is so compromised right now that the FBI happily put out a total lie to cover for a Presidential candidate. That is just stunning.

    1. I do remember that, but did the claim come directly from an FBI spokesperson or was it from a Clinton person claiming the FBI told the Clinton folks it was the Russians?

      (crappy sentence from me, hope it is decipherable).

      1. did the claim come directly from an FBI spokesperson or was it from a Clinton person claiming the FBI told the Clinton folks it was the Russians?

        I believe there was a bit of both.

        The media were first told there was a russian angle by the Clinton camp.

        The FBI came to the DNC in ~may or something, and said, ‘you may have been hacked and here’s some detail’. The DNC never told anyone further about it at the time.

        When the Wikileaks dump came, the Dems then coughed up that detail.

        The FBI may or may not have then confirmed it and offered additional substance, but i think the nature of the narrative was a blend of the DNC and some ‘spokespeople’.

        The problem with the claim is that almost any hack of anything anywhere at any time will have “Russian connections”. Of course they don’t mention that.

        Any pirated movies/software/material you find will be sourced on lots of Russian/Eastern Bloc servers. Hacker communities routinely use servers/hosts located in that region, regardless of their own actual origins.

        the fact is that the way the stories were told, even when there was some actual real information involved, was complete horseshit intended to create the impression that there was some “Espionage” element, when all the facts suggested it was nothing more than routine internet security failures.

        1. Side note =

          My own belief, based on the nature of the leak, is that it was someone inside the DNC who provided bulk-access to some outsider, or actually just DL’d and stole lots of internet data.

          Someone who thought what they were doing was sleazy and unfair to sanders voters.

          They don’t want anyone in the media to run THAT story because it would expose the reality – which is that the behavior of the DNC was completely dishonest to their *own people*.

          After the mess at the DNC convention where the bernie people were making such a fuss… suddenly this “Russian” angle was all over the front pages. And it didn’t stop for 2 weeks. Duh.

          The whole thing is a a disgusting cooperation by news media to completely change the subject.

          1. I think there is more there than Hillary screwing Sanders. Remember, there are going to be more leaks. If it was just more “Hillary screwed Bernie” I doubt Assange would have parceled it out like this. Stringing it out and promising bigger bombs to come just ups the expectations and makes more “Hillary screwed Bernie’ stuff look irrelevant compared to what was expected. That is not the way to do this and Assange seems to know that. So whatever reason the staffer was pissed, it wasn’t Hillary screwing Bernie or only that. There is more.

            1. well that’s speculation.

              i do think the insistence about pushing this idea about “Russian attempts to manipulate the election” is like covering up one lie with an even bigger one.

              which may suggest that they know there will be more (and worse) disclosures to come, and want to have a pre-packaged narrative ready in response.

              I don’t know if the ‘bernie’ angle is as small as you think. from the European/Australian POV of people like Assange, Bernie is a “normal” politician, while Hillary is almost more like a right-wing militarist. I can very much see the screwing-over of bernie being a significant concern of lefties worldwide.

              Which frankly, they should be commended for, at least for their interest in fair and open-govt, democratic processes, etc.

    2. A day or two after the leaks the FBI came out and said “they knew the Russians did it”. Everyone remember that? Now Assange says that is not true.

      To be precise, both things can be true (i.e. multiple entities accessing the network), and I don’t see where Assange has said otherwise. His statement has been that the source of the leaks was the DNC, which is true in one, and possibly two different ways: one, that literally, the material consists of DNC emails, and another, as he’s now implied, that it was leaked by DNC staff.

      But I don’t believe Assange has made any statement to the effect that Russian hackers couldn’t also have accessed that network. If they had been the source, wikileaks would not have commented, but if it was the murdered staffer, we’re in a uncharted territory: why protect a deceased source, especially when naming them dispels untrue accusations?

      1. Unless they had help from people that haven’t been murdered. Yet.

  9. I’m loving watching all of these lefties turn to hating Julian Assange and Wikileaks and accusing them of being in cahoots with the Russians. Wasn’t too long ago he was their hero.

    1. All of Clinton’s goons, anyway. The Berniebros at least rallied around him.

  10. so far, from the major-news-outlets i’ve seen 2 days of coverage of the actual content of the Wikileaks DNC-emails that got DWS shitcanned…

    …and about a month+ or so of stories about the “possible” links between Trump, the Russians, and the reverse vampires, and their insidious motives to undermine the good work of the Democrat party.

    I think there were also some leaked voicemails? but how would i know. No one reports on that stuff.

  11. “proof Assange is working directly with Roger Stone”

    Has the definition of the word “proof” been changed to “circumstantial evidence that confirms one’s preconceived biases?” If so, I didn’t get the memo.

    1. It’s like you’ve never even SEEN Law’n’Order.

  12. I don’t see any confirmation by anyone that the DNC hack was Russian.

    I see the FBI saying they suspected it was Russians. And there’s a slew of essentially unsourced and completely unsupported articles about “intelligence agency consensus” blah blah that it was the Russians.

    http://www.reuters.com/article…..SKCN10E09H

    But I don’t see anyone saying “It was definitely the Russians, and here’s our proof.”

  13. On a completely unrelated note, Swedish prosecutors are being allowed to interview Assange inside the Ecuadorean embassy.

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