We Need To Know About The Putin-Assange-Trump Connection Now More Than Ever

Assange, supposedly the champion of open government, siding with a crazy, incompetent fool.
03/09/2017 10:30 am ET Updated Mar 09, 2017
Peter Nicholls / Reuters

The Wall Street Journal, predictably, ignored the real point of yesterday’s story about the CIA hacking, in their editorial, “Wikileaks’s New Damage,” when they said, “The country [Wikileaks] loathes and wants to bring low is America.”

Not quite true. That doesn’t square with the fact that Wikileaks, in combination with Putin and we-don’t-yet-know-who on Trump’s staff, got Donald J. Trump elected President. So it’s not true that they “want to bring America low.” No, what they want to bring low is American-style liberal democracy, and particularly the Democratic Party. What they want to see is a strong, plutocratic, paranoid, Republican America, led by a looting family run by an authoritarian demagogue—which, curiously, sounds like Russia.

But why? What could possibly be Wikileak’s motive?

First, note the curious timing of this latest dump about the CIA. Why did Assange act now? Well, guess what scandalous series of stories this new news is deflecting attention from? Yes, Trump’s Russia connection and, more importantly, his psychotic accusation against President Obama.

Why Trump invented that one is obvious. He’s desperate to change the subject. His lie about Obama tapping Trump Tower is only the latest example of his watch-the-shiny-object prevarications. Who thinks this stuff up anyway—Trump, all alone in the middle of the night, perhaps snorting whatever? Or Trump with Bannon (which is pretty much the same thing)?

The question of why Julian Assange supports Donald Trump has mystified everyone who’s looked at it. It’s a WTF? moment: Assange, supposedly the champion of open government, siding with a crazy, incompetent fool. One theory is that Assange, who’s holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London and is said to be physically and mentally deteriorating, believed that a President Trump might help free him if he, Assange, helped Trump get elected—whereas Hillary Clinton would provide Assange a one-way ticket to Leavenworth, were he to return to America. He clearly hates her; “[O]ur next leak can bring her down because it is something that FBI can’t overlook,” he bragged to Putin’s Russia Today radio show, a little more than a month before the election—a threat that turned out to be true in the sense that the leaks convinced just enough swing voters to vote for Trump.

The question of why Julian Assange supports Donald Trump has mystified everyone who’s looked at it.

Another theory is that Assange really, really likes Putin, even more than Trump does. Assange once was a radio talk show host on “Russia Today,” and even requested (but did not get) a Russian security detail to protect him in his embassy confinement.

Why is the Wall Street Journal so naïve about Wikileaks? They want to put Wikileaks out of business, and they’d love to see Assange in jail. But editorially, they have never copped to the curiosities of the Trump-Russia-Putin connection, and they seem blind to the fact that Assange himself might well be a Trump mole. Of course, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is not where you go to find out facts; it’s where you see what the right-wing fascists and their paid minions are up to. I make the distinction between the paper’s op-ed pages and their news coverage; the real reporters (unlike the columnists) want to do good journalism. But in this, they are increasingly stymied. An interesting peek into the inner mentality of the Wall Street Journal appeared last month, in which WSJ reporters were said to be “increasingly concerned that the paper’s coverage of President Donald Trump is not critical enough and too willing to defend his actions rather than serve a watchdog role.” For example, an ukase went out from the paper’s editor-in-chief (who obviously got it straight from Murdoch) instructing reporters “to stop referring to the countries targeted in President Trump’s travel and refugee executive order as ‘seven majority Muslim countries’ in news coverage. That was after Trump’s first travel ban went down in flames because the Courts understood it for what it was: anti-Muslim religious discrimination.

I was a journalist for thirty years. It’s demoralizing to be told not to tell the truth because it might upset your boss’s rich and powerful friends. On the other hand, if you’re a Wall Street Journal reporter, you have a pretty good job, and you don’t easily risk it by publicly criticizing your boss, or by engaging in fruitless inter-office complaining that will just get you the reputation of being a pain in the ass. So you do your best, hope that things get better, censor yourself—and hit the bars and maybe the bong after work to forget how humiliating it all is.

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