April 22, 2019

Wikileaks - The Julian Assange Controversy

by Harlan Richards (author's profile)


April 15, 2019

Wikileaks - the Julian Assange Controversy

Until the 2016 presidential election, I was a Wikileaks supporter. I agreed with their objective of obtaining incriminating government documents and making them available to the public.

Does anyone remember Daniel Ellberg and the Pentagon Papers? Or Deep Throat, and how his revelations exposed the worst criminal we've ever had in the White House, Richard Nixon? These were patriots acting for the good of our country, and I applaud them all.

But Julian Assange crossed the line in 2016 when he took an active part in helping the Russians elect Donald Trump. Had he not posted the hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee right before the election, Trump would not have won. Had he waited until after the election, that would have been fine. But we need to send a clear message that foreign nationals who interfere in our elections must pay a price for that interference. The same way the Russians involved were indicated and will face trial if we can ever get our hands on them, Assange also needs to answer for his actions.

We need whistle blowers. We especially need someone to leak the Mueller Report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. But we don't need someone using hacked materials to swing our presidential election to their preferred candidate.


Replies (12) Replies feed

Julia Posted 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 5 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Hi Harlan Richards,
just a thought on your post, you wrote that the Us don't need foreign nationals to interfere with US elections. This is a list of countries the United States were involved in regime change since cold war, not sure it is complete, wikipedia is the source:
5.1 1950s
5.1.1 1952: Egypt
5.1.2 1943–1970s: Italy
5.1.3 1949: Syria
5.1.4 1953: Iran
5.1.5 1954: Guatemala
5.1.6 1955–1960: Laos
5.1.7 Failed coup plots against Syria
5.1.8 1957–1959: Indonesia
5.1.9 1958: Lebanon
5.1.10 1959: Iraq
5.2 1960s
5.2.1 1960: Democratic Republic of Congo
5.2.2 1960: Laos
5.2.3 1961: Dominican Republic
5.2.4 1961: Bay of Pigs
5.2.5 1960s: Cuba
5.2.6 1961–1964: Brazil
5.2.7 1963: Iraq
5.2.8 1963: Vietnam
5.2.9 1965–66: Dominican Republic
5.2.10 1965–1967: Indonesia
5.2.11 1967: Greece
5.3 1970s
5.3.1 1971: Bolivia
5.3.2 1972–1975: Iraq
5.3.3 1973: Chile
5.3.4 1979–1989: Afghanistan
5.4 1980s
5.4.1 1980-1989: Poland
5.4.2 1980–1992: El Salvador
5.4.3 1982–1989: Nicaragua
5.4.4 1983: Grenada
5.4.5 1989: Panama
6 Post-Cold War
6.1 1990s
6.1.1 1991: Kuwait
6.1.2 1991: Haiti
6.1.3 1991–2003: Iraq
6.1.4 1994–2000: Iraq
6.1.5 1997: Indonesia
6.2 2000s
6.2.1 2000: Yugoslavia
6.2.2 2003: Iraq
6.2.3 2005: Iran
6.2.4 2006–07: Palestinian territories
6.2.5 Post–2005: Syria
6.3 2010s
6.3.1 2011: Libya
6.3.2 2015–present: Yemen

At the same time the United States don't accept that the International Court of Justice would make any trial against a US citizen. To give you a headline of 2018: "John Bolton’s crusade against the International Criminal Court is so hard-lined it threatens a US invasion of Holland". Which price you feel the responsible american citizens should pay for all that interference in foreign countries? Also, nobody forced the DNC to manipulate the election of Hillary Clinton. In all polls, Bernie Sanders did better against Trump than Clinton. For a big part, they were shooting in their own foot.
Warm greetings,

Harlan Richards Posted 5 months, 4 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Julia Posted 5 months, 1 week ago. ✓ Mailed 4 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Dear Harlan,
thanks for your reply and for appreciating my comment. And well, I still don't agree to put the Trump victory on Wikileaks and the Russians. True, it was unfortunate that those information leaked short before the election. Still, 62,984,828 Americans voted for somebody who said about women what he said about women and who bragged that "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters". My point is, maybe its good to look in the own mirror instead of pointing to the Russians as to why so many people considered voting for someone who spills so much hate.
And then Clinton did some strategic faults. Again some copy paste:

The Clinton Campaign Was Undone By Its Own Neglect And A Touch Of Arrogance, Staffers Say
In key battleground states, calls for help weren’t taken seriously enough.

11/16/2016 huffpost
WASHINGTON ― In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s staff in key Midwest states sent out alarms to their headquarters in Brooklyn. They were facing a problematic shortage of paid canvassers to help turn out the vote.

For months, the Clinton campaign had banked on a wide army of volunteer organizers to help corral independents and Democratic leaners and re-energize a base not particularly enthused about the election. But they were volunteers. And as anecdotal data came back to offices in key battlegrounds, concern mounted that leadership had skimped on a critical campaign function.
“It was arrogance, arrogance that they were going to win. That this was all wrapped up,” a senior battleground state operative told The Huffington Post.

Several theories have been proffered to explain just what went wrong for the Clinton campaign in an election that virtually everyone expected the Democratic nominee to win. But lost in the discussion is a simple explanation, one that was re-emphasized to HuffPost in interviews with several high-ranking officials and state-based organizers: The Clinton campaign was harmed by its own neglect.

In Michigan alone, a senior battleground state operative told HuffPost that the state party and local officials were running at roughly one-tenth the paid canvasser capacity that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had when he ran for president in 2004. Desperate for more human capital, the state party and local officials ended up raising $300,000 themselves to pay 500 people to help canvass in the election’s closing weeks. By that point, however, they were operating in the dark. One organizer said that in a precinct in Flint, they were sent to a burned down trailer park. No one had taken it off the list of places to visit because no one had been there until the final weekend. Clinton lost the state by 12,000 votes.

Julia Posted 5 months, 1 week ago. ✓ Mailed 4 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
A similar situation unfolded in Wisconsin. According to several operatives there, the campaign’s state office and local officials scrambled to raise nearly $1 million for efforts to get out the vote in the closing weeks. Brooklyn headquarters had balked at funding it themselves, arguing that the state already had a decent-sized footprint because of the labor-backed super PAC For Our Future and pointing out that Clinton had never trailed in a single poll in Wisconsin.

The campaign’s state office argued additionally for prominent African-American surrogates to help in Milwaukee. “There are only so many times you can get folks excited about Chelsea Clinton,” explained one Wisconsin Democrat. But President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama didn’t come. Nor did Hillary Clinton after the July Democratic convention. She would go on to lose the state, hampered by lower turnout in precisely the place that had operatives worried. Clinton got 289,000 votes in Milwaukee County compared to the 328,000 that Obama won in 2012.

“They had staff on the ground and lots of volunteers, but they weren’t running a massive program because they thought they were up 6-7 points,” said the aforementioned senior battleground state operative.

In politics, much like anything else, victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan. A senior official from Clinton’s campaign noted that they did have a large staff presence in Michigan and Wisconsin (200 and 180 people respectively) while also stressing that one of the reasons they didn’t do more was, in part, because of psychological games they were playing with the Trump campaign. They recognized that Michigan, for example, was a vulnerable state and felt that if they could keep Trump away ― by acting overly confident about their chances ― they would win it by a small margin and with a marginal resource allocation.

Clinton herself has blamed FBI Director James Comey for re-launching an investigation into her emails only to clear her days before the vote; while operatives across the spectrum, including former President Bill Clinton in the campaign’s closing days, argued that she failed to adequately reach working class white voters that had been drifting away from the Democratic Party.

“It is not black and white,” said Michael Tate, the former chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “I can tell you in Wisconsin that the staff they had leading the effort were top-notch field operatives. Period. Would it have helped if Hillary Clinton came in? Yes. Would it have helped if Comey didn’t push his shenanigans? Yes. Would it have helped if Trump hadn’t visited right before the election? Yes ... But I think the folks here did a good job and they just came up short in an election where we were running two historically unpopular candidates.”

Julia Posted 5 months, 1 week ago. ✓ Mailed 4 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
The more universal explanation, however, was that the data that informed many of the strategic decisions was simply wrong. A campaign that is given a game plan that strongly points to success shouldn’t be expected to rip it up.

“We all were blinded, and even at the end, we were blinded by our own set of biases,” said Paul Maslin, a Madison-based Democratic operative and pollster.

Which explains why, in a Midwest battleground state that the Clinton campaign’s data said would be closely contested, its ground game capacity was robust. Adrienne Hines, chair of the Democratic Party in Ottawa County, Ohio, just east of Toledo, said the Clinton campaign had a very active outreach and turnout operation. But the county, which Obama won twice, still went to Trump as his message ― however detail-free ― of bringing back jobs to the economically depressed area resonated.

“We were dealing with somebody who could say whatever he wanted. It is like being at the Olympics and somebody is on steroids and somebody is not, and then blaming the person not on steroids,” Hines said of criticism of Clinton campaign tactics.

As Democrats begin to repair their party and learn from the shortcomings of the Clinton campaign, one of the primary arguments being made is that candidates have to show up if they expect to win. Obama said as much in a recent press conference when he tied his success in Iowa to the sheer number of stops he made in the state while campaigning. And the data strongly suggests that this was a vulnerability for Clinton. As the Washington Post reported, Clinton’s campaign and outside groups supporting it aired more television ads in Omaha during the closing weeks than in Michigan and Wisconsin combined. And as NBC News reported, during the final 100 days of the election, Trump made 133 visits to Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin while Clinton made 87.

On the margins as well, campaign operatives say the Clinton campaign’s failure to have a footprint did real harm. In Pennsylvania, for example, the campaign had a healthy canvassing operation and was flush with volunteers, many of whom poured in from New York City and Washington, D.C. But according to one longtime grassroots campaign operative who was involved in the 2016 cycle, leadership was focused predominantly on turning out their own voters and not on persuading others to come on board.

This was a perfectly logical strategic decision, considering the massive voter registration advantage that Democrats enjoy in the state. But it meant that the Clinton campaign wasn’t able to anticipate the surge in Trump support in the rural areas because they weren’t having conversations with voters there.

Julia Posted 5 months, 1 week ago. ✓ Mailed 4 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
The results bear this out. In Philadelphia County, Clinton got slightly more votes than Obama did in 2012 despite having a slightly smaller percentage of the vote total. But outside the city and suburbs, she lost badly. Whereas Mitt Romney won 57 percent of Elk County, 63.7 percent of Clearfield County and 72 percent of Jefferson County in 2012, Trump took in 70 percent, 73.1 percent and 78.3 percent of those counties respectively.

“Paid canvassers compensate for candidates who don’t have a huge volunteer base,” said the grassroots campaign operative. “Hillary Clinton had [a huge volunteer base]. It just wasn’t always in the places they needed it to be.”

End of article

I agree with you concerning the Supreme Court. That will haunt the US for a long time. And I for sure am not happy with Trump as a president. It's just that it seems to me that if Hilary Clinton does fingerpointing, she really has to do it to herself. One of the things leaked by wikileaks is that Clinton and the DNC pushed Trump as a candidate as they expected to win against him. I don't know if you know that she talked (jokingly, assumably) about dronebombing Assange. She was not forced to say such horrendous thing. Assange is mentally not healthy after all those years in isolation.
Anyways, I keep it here before I write a book, have a good day Harlan,

Harlan Richards Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Julia Posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 3 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Dear Harlan,
thank you for your response of July 22. Let me get into it.
A bit off topic, but I would welcome it if we could get rid of polls. They also led to politicians doing rather election management than having a sincere point of view.
40% of approval can easily be enough, as only a bit more than 60% voted in 2016. But I guess that's no news to you.
Well, who would be the best candidate. I really would appreciate if it will not be Joe Biden. That would be just business as usual, and that business was not good. And if you look at the amount of donations Bernie Sanders knows to accumulate, or rather the amount of people that donate to him. Right now he has 746.000 donors, next is Elizabeth Warren with 421.000 donors. Biden is fifth at 256.000.
Have you seen the democratic debates? I thought CNN did a horrible job, looking to set them up one against the other.
So what is your favorite candidate? And what about continuing this conversation the next months, I enjoy it, and nice to not have the same opinion.
Also, you live in a potentially crucial state, you know some people you can convince to do the right thing? ;)
I am also curious what you think of the climate crisis. Is it a topic that is of interest of you?
Well, have a good day, I am looking forward to your response, Julia

Harlan Richards Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Julia Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 1 month, 1 week ago   Favorite
Hi Harlan,
good to read from you.
Am I a political Junkie? I guess I am. I am not on it 24/7, but I am surely interested. Lately I enjoy listening to podcasts, some by NPR are quite good. But those of course are inaccessible without the internet.
Well, busted, yes, I am from Europe, I live in the Netherlands, grew up in Germany.
Concerning the candidates, you sound like Elizabeth Warren could become your favorite. These are the ones that qualified for the next debate: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, and Julián Castro. But I don't think anyone but Biden, Sanders or Warren stands a chance, if nothing crazy happens.
Interesting that there are no openly MAGAinmates. Too bad you can't vote.
Have you heard of the change of law in Florida that now allows most former inmates to vote? One puzzling thing about it that the push for this was supported by the an organisation financed by the Koch brothers ("The amendment was officially supported by Floridians for a Fair Democracy, which gathered more than 1.1 million petitions to put it on the ballot. It received bipartisan endorsements from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Koch brothers–backed Freedom Partners.") - while one would expect all of this will rather profit the democrats in such a crucial state. No it seems that the Republicans want to have people pay a fee or sth - seems like the last word is not spoken on this issue.
Concerning the dollar, I guess that also might be a case of too big to fail. But on the other hand, I am afraid the financial system is not stable at all. It's not that the factors that led to the last financial crisis don't exist anymore.
That is my little rant of today,

Harlan Richards Posted 1 month, 1 week ago.   Favorite
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Julia Posted 2 weeks, 3 days ago. ✓ Mailed 2 weeks, 3 days ago   Favorite
Hello Harlan,
now I am busted again, as a Russian troll. Yes please tell me how you knew...
MAGAinmate should have been KAGinmates. My bad. KAG being Keep America Great. You mentioned that Trump does not have many support inside prisons, so there are not many KAGinmates...
At the moment I do not follow politics too much. I was horrified at what Trump did in Norther Syria, or what he facilitated by concentrating the troops just around the oil fields. No friends but the mountains, as the Kurds proverbial say.
Elizabeth Warren released her health care plan and that was the financial headline afterwards: Health-Insurance Stocks Rise as Elizabeth Warren Details Plan for Medicare for All. Same article: When Bernie Sanders introduced the Medicare for All bill in the Senate in April, the S&P 500 Managed Health Care index dropped 13.5% in a week. I guess one of the two is more a threat to the status quo.
Concerning the media reporting of Bernie Sanders, the onion had the following headline: MSNBC Poll Finds Support For Bernie Sanders Has Plummeted 2 Points Up.
It's sad one gets so fed up with some issues even though they are quite of importance, like Brexit, how long is that already going on? And now again, prolongation till January 31.
Meanwhile Beto dropped out, Harris kind of gave up New Hampshire and Buttigieg thinks it's between him and Warren.
So long,
have a good day,

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