The WikiLeaks Conspiracy: The Government Prepares to Argue WikiLeaks Has Always Been an Organized Crime Syndicate

Last June, I ran into some folks who remain very close to Julian Assange. One of them scheduled dinner with me solely to scold me for writing honestly about the things that WikiLeaks had done in the past three years rather than focusing exclusively on the EDVA Espionage indictment charging Assange for things he did almost a decade ago.

The person complained that my factual reporting on 2016 election and — especially — the Vault 7 leak (I think this was the offending post) would undercut whatever unanimity there was among journalists (unanimity that I joined) that the existing charges against Assange were a dangerous precedent for actual journalists. Reporting true details about shitty things Assange had done in recent years on my humble little blog, it was claimed, would dangerously and singlehandedly undercut Assange’s defense.

No, I did not much appreciate the irony of being criticized for accurate reporting by someone purportedly defending journalism.

But I also thought the concerted effort to suppress what Assange had done recently, while perhaps necessary to generate the statements of support from journalists that were forthcoming, was short-sighted, because it misrepresents what Assange is actually facing. The grand jury in EDVA remains (as far as we know) active. The government specifically said, in June, that it needed Chelsea Manning’s testimony for subjects or charges not yet charged and said such charges were not time barred (as would be true of any ongoing conspiracy).

As the government’s ex parte submissions reflect, Manning’s testimony remains relevant and essential to an ongoing investigation into charges or targets that are not included in the superseding indictment. See Gov’t’s Ex Parte Mem. (May 23, 2019). The offenses that remain under investigation are not time barred, see id., and the submission of the government’s extradition request in the Assange case does not preclude future charges based on those offenses, see Gov’t’s Supplement to Ex Parte Mem. (June 14, 2019).

Since then, Jeremy Hammond has joined Manning in believing he can wait out whatever EDVA has in store.

Most of all, Joshua Schulte’s prosecution for the Vault 7 leak — a leak almost no WikiLeaks supporters I know will offer an enthusiastic defense of — kept chugging along. In recent weeks, Schulte has submitted a number of questionable filings claiming the dog ate his homework so he can’t be prepared in time for his trial:

  • The attorney appointed after defense attorneys said they needed one more attorney to prep for trial in time said he couldn’t prep for trial in time, but can’t talk about why not until he’s done with a week-long vacation
  • The government’s (admittedly long) motion in limine repeating details the government disclosed several times before took the defense by surprise
  • The defense can’t make a constitutional challenge to CIPA generally until the judge rules on CIPA specifically (this is the one arguably reasonable request)
  • The defense had no idea the government wasn’t claiming Schulte downloaded a terabyte of data onto a thumb drive that can’t hold that terabyte even though the government told the defense that a year ago and then again in November

But as of now, Schulte’s trial is due to start on January 13, a month and a half before Assange’s first substantive extradition hearing starting on February 25.

And at that trial, the government is preparing to argue that Schulte intended to harm the United States when he leaked these files to WikiLeaks, a stronger level of mens rea than needed to prove guilt under the Espionage Act (normally the government aims to prove someone should have known it could cause harm, relying on their Non-Disclosure Agreements to establish that), and one the government has, in other places, described as the difference between being a leaker and a spy.

To make that argument, the government is preparing to situate Schulte’s leaks in the context of prior WikiLeaks releases, in a move that looks conspicuously like the kind of ongoing conspiracy indictment one might expect to come out of the WikiLeaks grand jury, one that builds off some aspects of the existing Assange indictment.

In a motion opposing Schulte’s effort to disqualify Paul Rosenzweig as an expert witness (see this post for background), the government lays out some of the things it plans to have Rosenzweig explain to the jury. Some of this is dangerous criminalization of security, most notably tying WikiLeaks’ endorsement of Tor and Tails to Schulte’s own use of it.

But some of it fleshes out the scope the government laid out when it first requested to call Rosenzweig.

The Government recognizes the need to avoid undue prejudice, and will therefore limit Mr. Rosenzweig’s testimony to prior WikiLeaks leaks that have a direct relationship with particular aspects of the conduct relevant to this case, for example by linking specific harms caused by WikiLeaks in the past to Schulte’s own statements of his intent to cause similar harms to the United States or conduct. Those leaks include (i) the 2010 disclosure of documents provided to WikiLeaks illegally by Chelsea Manning; (ii) the 2010 disclosure of U.S. diplomatic cables; (iii) the 2012 disclosure of files stolen from the intelligence firm Stratfor; and (iv) the 2016 disclosure of emails stolen from a server operated by the Democratic National Committee.

For example, it will tie WikiLeaks’ failure to redact the identities of US sources in Chelsea Manning’s leaks — something charged in counts 15 through 17 of Assange’s indictment — to Schulte’s behavior. It sounds like Rosenzweig will explain something I’ve alluded to: WikiLeaks apparently left the names of some of Schulte’s colleagues unredacted, which given WikiLeaks’ big show of redacting the files could only have been intentional and would have required coordination with Schulte to do.

Mr. Rosenzweig will testify that WikiLeaks does not typically redact the information that it publicly discloses (even when that information may reveal confidential sources). The Government will introduce evidence, however, that the Classified Information was purportedly redacted when posted online. Mr. Rosenzweig’s testimony will help the jury understand the significance of WikiLeaks’ unique claim to have redacted the Classified Information, including, for example, the period of delay between when Schulte disclosed the Classified Information to WikiLeaks (in or about the spring of 2016) and when WikiLeaks first announced that it would begin to disclose the Classified Information (in or about the spring of 2017). [my emphasis]

One reason Assange made a show of redacting the identities was because he was attempting to extort a pardon at the time, so he had to appear willing to negotiate with DOJ. But it seems likely Rosenzweig will explain that that was just a show and that even as WikiLeaks was making that show it was also ensuring that other CIA SysAdmins might be targeted by foreign governments.

Likewise, Rosenzweig will tie the embarrassment caused by Manning’s releases to Schulte’s own intent to cause damage with his self-described Information War against the US.

The Government intends to introduce evidence (including his statements) of Schulte’s knowledge of Manning’s leak and the need for the U.S. government to maintain secrecy over certain information. Furthermore, the Government also plans to introduce evidence of how Schulte, from the Metropolitan Correctional Center (the “MCC”), declared an “information war” against the United States, pursuant to which he intended to publicly disclose classified information and misinformation, including through WikiLeaks (such as the Fake FBI Document), for the purpose of destroying the United States’ “diplomatic relationships,” and encouraged other U.S. government employees to disclose confidential information to WikiLeaks. Mr. Rosenzweig will explain to the jury generally information other leakers have transmitted to WikiLeaks that the organization published and how foreign governments reacted negatively to WikiLeaks’ disclosure of that information—leading, for example, to the highly-publicized resignation of the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

Effectively, the government will argue that if you want to conduct an Information War on the US, you choose to leak to WikiLeaks and ensure it will be as damaging as possible. Whatever the circumstances of Manning’s leaks, this uses Schulte’s stated desire to damage the US to retroactively taint what WikiLeaks has claimed in the past was mere journalistic exposure of wrong-doing. That doesn’t necessarily change the First Amendment danger in charging Assange. But it surely attempts to undercut WikiLeaks’ brand as a journalistic entity.

Most interestingly, the government will point to a claim Schulte made to a journalist while writing from jail (one that is plausible given some of his past public postings, but if true, is an unfathomable indictment of CIA’s vetting process) that he once belonged to Anonymous. Rosenzweig will tie this to Anonymous’ decisions to leak the Stratfor cables to WikiLeaks in 2012.

As described in the Government Motions in Limine, in encrypted communications from one of the Contraband Cellphones, Schulte (posing as a third person) stated that he had previously been a member of Anonymous, a group of online hacker activists. Mr. Rosenzweig will testify about how, in 2012, Anonymous and WikiLeaks worked together to release information from a private U.S. intelligence firm.

Of course, Anonymous didn’t just leak the Stratfor cables to WikiLeaks. They also shared files stolen during the Arab Spring and the Syria files. The latter leak provides one of the earliest indicators where the process by which WikiLeaks obtained files may have involvement of Russia, because somehow a file that would have been very damning for Russia never got published. But both would make the story the US wants to tell more complex (though still potentially consistent).

In any case, the focus on Stratfor may explain why the government is holding Jeremy Hammond in contempt to try to get him to testify in the EDVA grand jury, particularly if the government has reason to believe that Schulte was part of that hack.

Finally, the government will use Rosenzweig to explain how, in the wake of the DNC leak and at a time he was in a huff at his CIA bosses again, Schulte did … something in August 2016.

The Government intends to introduce evidence that Schulte transmitted the Classified Information to WikiLeaks in the spring of 2016, that WikiLeaks did not begin to disclose the Classified Information until March 2017, that Schulte was angry with CIA management in August 2016 over a performance review he received, that Schulte’s protective order against Employee-1 was vacated in August 2016, and that, around that same time (i.e., in August 2016), Schulte began to conduct extensive research online about WikiLeaks. The Government intends to offer evidence relating to those searches, including the specific queries Schulte conducted. Schulte has argued in his writings that his August 2016 research was related to WikiLeaks’ August 2016 disclosure of information stolen from a Democratic National Committee server (the “DNC Leak”). Mr. Rosenzweig will testify about the DNC Leak, including the type of information that WikiLeaks actually disclosed in connection with that leak, which will demonstrate why Schulte’s WikiLeaksrelated searches include queries that had nothing to do with the DNC Leak

Side note: Part of the media blitz Assange did in the wake of the DNC leaks included a claim to Chuck Todd that if WikiLeaks ever received information from US intelligence, they would publish it.

Well, it’s a meta story. If you’re asking would we accept information from U.S. intelligence that we had verified to be completely accurate, and would we publish that, and would we protect our sources in U.S. intelligence, the answer is yes, of course we would.

No one else would have, but Schulte would presumably have recognized this as a nod to him, reassurance provided on heavily watched TV that WikiLeaks was progressing towards releasing the files Schulte had leaked. Which is why the likelihood that Schulte also stole a single file reflecting CIA collecting information on who might win the 2012 French presidential election, which WikiLeaks subsequently falsely portrayed as proof that CIA had infiltrated political parties in France rather than asked well-placed sources for readily available information, is of particular interest.

The government, however, is going to point to other Google searches by Schulte from August 2016 that lump Edward Snowden and Shadow Brokers in with WikiLeaks.

For example, in addition to searching for information about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, its primary leader, Schulte also conducted searches using the search terms “narcissist snowden,” “wikileaks code,” “wikileaks 2017,” “shadow brokers,” and “shadow broker’s auction bitcoin.” “Snowden” was presumably a reference to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who disclosed information about a purported NSA surveillance program, and “Shadow Brokers” was a reference to a group of hackers who disclosed online computer code that they purportedly obtained from the NSA, beginning in or about August 2016.

I have long wondered whether Vault 7 was not a free-standing leak but instead part of the Shadow Brokers operation.  This seems to suggest the government knows they are. If that’s right, it would suggest that in the period when the government was trying to figure out precisely what Russia had done in 2016, both the NSA and CIA’s ability to spy on Russia (and other countries) would have been been deliberately burnt to the ground. And if Schulte knowingly participated in that — in an effort to ensure that the US would struggle to even learn what Russia had done in 2016 — it would explain why they’re planning on arguing he is more of a spy than a leaker.

Which would, in turn, explain why they took the first steps towards arresting Assange as FBI started putting together the evidence needed to charge Schulte on these leaks in 2017.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying I’m sure they’ll fill all these details in a superseding Assange indictment (though the government said it could not provide Assange the underlying evidence even for the 2010 charges until around Christmas — at which point Schulte will have gone through the CIPA process of declassifying classified information for use in his defense, and they could add charges at least until the February 25 hearing). It may still be that the government won’t want to get into the level of classified detail they’d need to to flesh out that case, particularly if they can’t coerce Manning and Hammond to cooperate.

I’m also not making a normative judgment that this eliminates the very real problems with the way Assange is charged now. Without seeing the government’s case, it’s too soon to tell.

What I’m trying to do is lay out what the government seems to be preparing to argue about WikiLeaks in the Schulte case. No doubt this will get me invited for another stern scolding at dinner, but it’s time to stop pretending Assange is being prosecuted for the understanding of WikiLeaks that existed in 2010. By all means, people can and will still defend Assange for taking on an imperialist America. For much of the world (though presumably not among any Five Eyes governments, including Assange’s home country), that still makes him an important dissident taking on a superpower. There is some merit to that stance, but it also requires arguing that superpowers shouldn’t have democratic elections.

But the government is preparing to argue that, after helping Russia tamper in America’s election, WikiLeaks deliberately burned some of CIA’s collection abilities to the ground, making it harder for the US to figure out how Russia did so. The government is preparing to argue that such actions are consistent with what WikiLeaks has been up to since 2010.

I’ve been expecting we might see an indictment alleging WikiLeaks and its associates were and remain engaged in an ongoing conspiracy (a possibility that, if Manning and Hammond’s lawyers haven’t warned them about, they are being utterly negligent, because the government could well argue that obstructing this investigation by refusing to provide immunized testimony is an overt act furthering the conspiracy).

The citations the government has used to justify Rosenzweig’s testimony are heavily focused on terrorism and mob cases (United States v. Farhane and United States v. Mustafa, which are al Qaeda cases; United States v. El Gammal, which is an ISIL one, and United States v. Rahimi, the self-radicalized Chelsea bomber; United States v. Lombardozzi and United States v. Locascio which are Gambino cases, United States v. Amuso, a Lucchese case), including one RICO case. That’s undoubtedly why Schulte’s lawyers really want Rosenzweig’s testimony excluded, to avoid having WikiLeaks treated like an organized crime syndicate.

But if the government is preparing to claim that WikiLeaks worked with Schulte not only to obtain files it tried to use to extort a pardon but then released them in a way that would hurt America’s efforts to respond to Russia’s 2016 operation, that’s a pretty compelling analogy.

Update: After comments from Stefania Maurizi, I’ve rephrased how I described what happened with the Syria Files. I want to be clear the statement in the post was not based on what I’ve been told by reliable sources about the process by which those files got shared with WikiLeaks.

As I disclosed last year, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

60 replies
  1. Bob In Portland says:

    Will someone actually interview Assange, Murray et al for this “criminal conspiracy”?

    Of course not. It would require reality to shine in.

  2. Ruthie says:

    So a measure of independence remains in the DOJ on this case, presumably, since it definitely wouldn’t suit Trump or Republican claims that there was no coordination between WikiLeaks and Russia. Did Barr have ever have the ability to shut it down, or was the investigation too far advanced by the time he was sworn in?

  3. drouse says:

    I would take Schulte’s claim to be a part of Anonymous with a large grain of salt. One would think that a member of a semi-imfamous hacker group to already know how to use the Tor network. Not the mention that he used Google from an IP that traced back to him.

    • emptywheel says:

      Actually, that’s utterly consistent with Anonymous’ OpSec as exercised in 2012, both parts of it. They didn’t get good at OpSec until after that round of arrests.

  4. Rapier says:

    It’s seems to be a universal tendency for people to choose a side. Their side being the good one, all good, and the other being all bad. You might think that a culture that is informed by Christian teachings, a major one being that humans are inherently sinful, would lead to a widespread cultural rejection of this good guy/bad guy framing. Well I doubt this has occurred to almost anyone but mildly depressive oddballs like me, It doesn’t occur to many, devote Christians least of all.

    That disparate critics of American power and economic life ranging from Assange to Greenwald to JH Kunster have openly aligned on some levels with anti democratic fascist/racists is to me the wonder and really terror of this time. As someone whose dramatic reading of American political history has it that Liberalism has been an endless rear guard action against fascism since the 1920’s, to see so many suppose allies fall away is hard to take.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      “That disparate critics of American power…have openly aligned on some levels with anti-democratic fascist/racists is to me the wonder and really terror of this time.”

      Absofuckinglutely!!! And this reality is the biggest threat to the very idea of a free press.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      “You might think that a culture that is informed by Christian teachings-”

      Western culture, especially the USA, has very little to do with the actual teachings of Christ. They’re more into Old Testament violence (not the law) and New Testament craziness (Apocalypses).

    • General Sternwood says:

      As an example, I was driving the other day listening to KPFA which is a wonderful institution in the Bay Area, and my source for Amy Goodman. It was late afternoon (long after “Democracy Now!” — perhaps “Flashpoints”) and there was a rather fawning interview with Ray McGovern. Ray is going on about the wonders of Tulsi Gabbard. The interviewer turns to journalism, and asks Ray whose work is outstanding today. Ray says without a doubt it is John Solomon, one of the few truly independent journalists left. I am sorry but something is rotten in Pacifica if Giulianism is what passes for progressive politics.

  5. Peterr says:

    it’s time to stop pretending Assange is being prosecuted for the understanding of WikiLeaks that existed in 2010


    In addition, the more recent developments make me wonder how accurate those 2010 understandings were back in 2010. Dumping the entire archive of State Dept cables in unredacted form . . . while Assange claimed it was for full transparency to allow those mentioned within them to better protect themselves from US pressures, the five media outlets with whom he worked immediately condemned this as inicimal to good journalism.

    It is, however, something that Vladimir Putin might have enjoyed seeing play out. In 2010 I didn’t think this at all, but today it smells more like a trial run for the 2016 Russian cyber attacks on the US election. I’m not saying Putin was behind Assange and Wikileaks, but rather that Putin may have watched this all unfold and say “You know, after seeing all these Westerners attacking one another like this, we could have a lot of fun messing with everyone’s heads online as the 2016 US election approaches, by throwing a bunch of information (legit or fabricated) into the mix.” Note that, per wiki, the Internet Research Agency was founded in mid-2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    • BobCon says:

      The 2012 incident described above where WL withheld info that would have been damaging to Russia suggests one possible pivot point, slightly later than 2010.

      That doesn’t mean that Assange wasn’t already flirting (or more) with Russia in 2010, of course, but it does suggest a significant shift in the mission towards the current beast happened slightly later.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Undercutting journalistic “unity” should be a good thing. Facts survive crowd scrutiny or they do not. An unexamined fact is not worth believing – or publishing.

  7. tvor_22 says:

    Is it fair to imply that Wikileaks had knowledge that the Central Bank of Syria email was not included in the original batch of emails given to them? For example, like, if some corrupt ringleader of said hackers (Popov, for example), were responsible for getting them an initial batch of curated emails?

    “At some point after March 2012, RevoluSec, or one of its members, passed WikiLeaks a larger batch of backup email files.” which *did* contain the offending email, which Wikileaks happily hosted on their website, after all.

    In a similar vein, I wonder if Uncle Putin will turn up in an unfavorable light in Phineas’ latest release?

    • emptywheel says:

      Unclear. I’ve been told details of how those Syria files got to WikiLeaks and as I understand it it was several (at least two) entirely different channels and pretty chaotic.

      • Areader2019 says:

        So… this is a very complicated case. Thank you for explaining these facts in a way no one else attempts.

        My personal summary:

        “Assange may have started out with good intentions, but he became a tool. First a tool of Russian disinformation. Now the US may use him as a tool to batter the laws that protect journalists.”

        Am I on track, or missing something?

        • bmaz says:

          So, just because some malefactor has, as some point, had a journalistic function, at least nominally, there is nothing he can do that can be a legitimate and prosecutable crime? Not sure I follow.

          • Areader2019 says:

            Oh, I agree. I think Assange may have committed a crime. He started out with good intentions, and entered a world way above his head.

        • Katherine M Williams says:

          The GOP’s lawlessness and cheating at elections may have had an origin of wanting to strengthen and protect the USA, but their party has been taken over by Oligarchs, including Putin, and is now being used to turn our country into a feudalistic totalitarian state. Lie down with rabid jackals get up with rabies.

          It’s the GOP that used the Constitutionally protected “freedom of the press” to insist that lies and propaganda = Free Press.
          It’s the GOP who insist “corporations are people and entitled to Free Speech rights (i.e. legal propaganda and lies) and the GOP (thru Justice Roberts) that money = also equals Free Speech, therefore making bribery legal.
          Of course the GOP (now infiltrated by Russian agents, with a Russian Agent, Trump, as its nominal Head) will claim that Wikileaks’ publications, be they lies, results of enemy spying, propaganda or truth, is Free Speech as defined in the US Constitution.

          Will the DOJ go along with this? Will McConnell-appointed federal judges?

  8. Eureka says:

    The government, however, is going to point to other Google searches by Schulte from August 2016 that lump Edward Snowden and Shadow Brokers in with WikiLeaks.

    For example, in addition to searching for information about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, its primary leader, Schulte also conducted searches using the search terms “narcissist snowden,” “wikileaks code,” “wikileaks 2017,” […]

    Why, in August 2016, would Schulte search “wikileaks 2017”? [If it was a subsequently-corrected typo’d search, I’d expect the corrected string to have been quoted as well or instead.]

      • Cathy says:

        Hm. The quote is faithful to the source; the next sentence: “Indeed, in contrast to the period before August 4, 2016, between that date and March 2017 (when the first of the Leaks occurred), Schulte conducted searches for Wikileaks and related information on at least 30 separate days.”

        Maybe it was an announcement he was looking for, part of an arrangement for coordinating the release after a vetting period? Wonder how Schulte’s expectations of how this would play out may have changed between Summer 2016 and the period after the election.

        • emptywheel says:

          I actually think the filing comment was about the entire period from August 2016 to March 2017. So my fault in excepting.

          • Cathy says:

            Suggesting that perhaps after the first of the year Schulte may have been limiting some searches to the “new” stuff.

            In context though, that particular block quote is used to point to the government’s interest in the Snowden & SB queries; @Eureka just has a very acute anomaly-meter. :-)

          • Eureka says:

            As I’d said on the prior post, I was ~lightly entertaining any indications and alternatives that his searches could be attempts to communicate. That seems N/A here (especially in light of your comment upthread about his remnant opsec: if he’s that crappy at purported basics, how likely is it he’d have been smart enough to exploit it for communicative ends — absent instruction, of course).

            But it’s interesting that you note Assange effectively communicating with Schulte via the Chuck Todd interview, and Schulte perhaps answering to that and more with the France 2012 stuff.

            • Cathy says:

              Still better than my speculation: that an estimated delay may have been communicated as part of the submission of the material, an estimate designed to cover an anticipated vetting period, after which Schulte starts getting antsy and looking for hints about a release date. The Chuck Todd interview (31Jul16) is a more sensible trigger for Schulte’s uptick in activity. Way more.

            • Savage Librarian says:

              Yes, the possibility of Assange communicating with Schulte via the Todd interview is notable. It brings to mind other players and the potential scenarios that may or may not have happened. For example, Assange and Stone. And, as we know, Trump and Tucker Carlson and/or Hannity, with Manafort somewhere in the mix, have stirred the pot.

              Using, in plain sight, a commonly employed medium or service as a coded communication tool opens other avenues, as well. Back in February I wondered whether amazon might be used this way. I came across some recordings by Mikhail Morgulis (a Belarusian, but born in Kiev, I think. He secured the Russian-American vote for DT in FL, and maybe elsewhere.) He is a friend of Millian. But, since I first mentioned this, I can no longer locate those recordings (which I believe were in Russian.)

    • Mitch Neher says:

      Excerpted from the article linked above:

      President Donald Trump on Saturday said his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani wants to testify before congressional impeachment investigators about his most recent trip to Ukraine.

      “He has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress,” Trump said to reporters at the White House before a trip to Florida. “I hear he has found plenty.”

      [End excerpt]

      So . . . The Demagogue, Trump, intends to ratfuck his own impeachment. Or use his own impeachment to ratfuck the 2020 election. Or turn his own impeachment into the pre-impeachment of his political opponent(s).

      You know what? We’re going to need a better word than “ratfucking” for this latest . . . “ratfuck?”

      • Mitch Neher says:

        The buggering of our Constitutional government by its Constitutional officers, for its Chief Constitutional officer is a buggerment of the people???

  9. Eureka says:

    An alarming survey result on its face (I haven’t vetted out its quality), relevant perhaps to this topic as both cause and consequence in re elements of Assange cult and pro-RU (or hybridized ~ anti-American) propaganda:

    Eric Brewer: ““The second annual Reagan National Defense Survey…found nearly half of armed services households questioned, 46%, said they viewed Russia as ally.” [link to voanews]”

      • Cathy says:

        [VOA excerpt]

        U.S. defense and security officials have told VOA that Russia has been targeting U.S. military personnel, specifically, with a ramped-up influence campaign, as far back as 2017 in preparation for the November 2018 midterm elections.

        Russia’s goal, they said, was not so much to swing the result of the elections but to seed U.S. military personnel with the right type of disinformation so that they would be predisposed to view Russia and its actions in a more favorable way in the future.

        [end excerpt]

        Such as in time for their absentee ballots in 2020? Hmmm.

  10. Desider says:

    While it doesn’t make the DoJ’s case as far back as 2010, Assange’s misuse and lies about Seth Rich’s death to smear Hillary, along with his cute little readers poll re: “What’s causing Hillary’s collapse & coughing & strange movements?” rather put them outside of journalism and into the realm of paid propaganda – along with its previous abandonment of redactions once they’d screwed up with doc archive passwords (blaming it on the reporter, rather than their own dumbness or intentionally not changing passwords).

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Bmaz retweeted an essential piece of humor for Sunday morning, from @tjlong63:

    “4 dumps and 7 flushes ago, Trump wrote the constipation proclamation.”

    I would add that he later wrote a new Preamble for the Constitution:

    We the President of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Me, establish inJustice, insure My Tranquility, provide for My defence, promote My Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Myself and Ivanka, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of Me.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    For music fans, @samgreis has this vignette from a State Department dinner honoring Kennedy Center nominees, including Linda Ronstadt.

    Mike Pompeo, as Mini-Trump, thought he coined a cute one when he asked, “When will I be loved?” When Linda Ronstadt stood up to receive her laurels, she answered him, “maybe when you stop enabling Donald Trump.” As @samgreis says, an Icon.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That dinner was after Mikey had spent the day telling his troops to enforce his ban on critics of el Presidente from being sponsored to attend any State Department-supported event. That support is important for global audiences to hear the voices of those without independent means.

      Mikey had just yanked support from Stanley R. Sloan to speak at an event in Denmark. An academic, Sloan’s topic was his recent book, Defense of the West: NATO, the European Union and the Transatlantic Bargain. [A topic Trump opposes anyway.]

      The Danish foreign ministry canceled the conference rather than allow American censorship to control the debate. Three cheers, sort of.

      • bmaz says:

        Sort of. Still, the censorship worked, the Trump cartel not only cancelled Sloan, they cancelled the whole conference.

        • timbo says:

          I do not endorse the “praise Trump” or else crap that the Trump regime is pushing down everyone’s throats but that doesn’t mean that basic state-craft should be out the door just because. Yeah, so I read Sloane’s prepared speech (he has publicly posted rev 5 of such). Reading this, it’s not surprising the US DoS removed him from the invite. In his prepared remarks Sloane gets into US politics directly and explicitly. He also is very negative about the current state of NATO, etc. While he may be correct in his observations, analysis, and speculations about Trump and NATO, etc, that doesn’t make what he wanted to say at the 70th Anniv Con NATO appropriate at all. (Plus, the Danes do not want to sell Greenland… so the whole thing is complicated yet further. Etc.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Hence, the sort of. Organizers would have sent a stronger message had they picked up the slack and paid for Sloan’s attendance. Leaving in a huff, however satisfying in the short term, ain’t gonna cut it. Even if Trump loses in 2020, the movement will continue.

        Trump – heir to Truman, Ike, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon – is actively working to destroy alliances harmful to Vladimir Putin. Putinism, a combination of neoliberalism, authoritarianism, and criminal oligarchy, appears to be a growing worldwide phenomenon.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Correction, the conference was organized by a Danish think tank, the Danish Atlantic Council, not directly by the FM.

        Sloan’s invitation was with withdrawn thanks to the American ambassador, Carla Sands, a wealthy Breitbart fan, former (?) actress, chiropractor, investment banker, and friend of Trump’s friend, Eliott Broidy. A tall blond and Trump political appointee, natch.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      From a September 2019 New Yorker piece on Ronstadt.

      “Q: What are you reading right now?
      “A: I’m reading Thomas Mann, “The Magic Mountain.” I somehow got to be this age without having read Thomas Mann, and I’m trying to make up for it. I read “Buddenbrooks,” and I fell in love with his writing. His books are nice and long, so it takes a couple of days to get through them.”

      His books are nice and long. What a lovely understatement. Buddenbrooks, Mann’s first novel, and the Magic Mountain, written twenty years later, won Mann the Nobel Prize in 1929. Both are ambitious, dense, complex novels. Mr. Trump, with his genius brain, German ancestry, and bourgeois outlook would never have gotten past the title page.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Another comment from that same New Yorker piece, about current events:

        I wish there was a little bit more political activism. I’m waiting for the Reichstag to burn down, you know? Because I was interested in the Weimar Republic, I’ve always been aware that culture can be overwhelmed and subverted in a very short time. All of German intellectual history—Goethe and Beethoven—was subverted by the Nazis. It happened in a thirty-year span and brought German culture to its knees. And it’s happening here. There’s a real conspiracy of international fascism that wants to defeat democracy. They want all the power for themselves, and I think that suits Donald Trump right now. He’d like to be a dictator.

        Trump probably thinks Weimar is a brand of Kosher hotdog. Ronstadt, the same age as Trump but battling Parkinson’s for ten years, speaks more clearly than his Greatness. He would like to be a dictator, and he’s one reason Putinism is becoming a global phenomenon. Thank you, Linda, for everything.

  13. e.a.f. says:

    Crime syndicate or drug cartels being branded as terrorist organizations, its about all the same, in my opinion. Reporters as fake news, enemies of the state, etc. Its all part of what ever dtrump, putin and others are up to. You change the name and create something worse in the public’s mind. Then you can send the military after them and kill them or send them to prison for longer terms

    Thank you for writing this article. We need to pay attention.

  14. greengiant says:

    The feud between Clinton and Putin, Assange and some Anonymous members accelerated with the cutting off the Wikileaks revenue stream and Assange’s “honeypot hookups” and charges in Sweden. The Trump media and social media operatives were and continue to be hand in glove with the anti Clinton feuders.
    Too bad the possible ongoing conspiracy charges are not likely to include conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

  15. Mitch Neher says:

    The article linked below is very long, but it makes a pretty good case that Andriy Telizhenko is both the Alpha and the Omega of Giuliani’s descent into madness. Also, the entire cast of GOP-T characters have cameos in the story.

    (On the odd chance that everybody already knows about Telizhenko, be advised that I remain firmly committed to catching on all the time.)

    Nov 4, 2019 … Andriy Telizhenko has propelled himself from a minor functionary at the Ukrainian Embassy to a bespoke purveyor of conspiracy theories to …

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