Julian Assange
Julian Assange on a balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (Image: AAP/Lloyd Jones)

Racing round the world this morning is a fresh “shock horror” WikiLeaks story, which purports to show that even if the organisation isn’t just a bunch of balalaika strumming Cossacks in the pay of Putin, it may as well be.

“WikiLeaks Turned Down Leaks of Russian Government During US Presidential Campaign” the headline reads to a piece on the Foreign Policy site. Has the smoking AK-47 been found?

Well, no, as it turns out. The story is based on a leaked/hacked WikiLeaks chatlog concerning a 70-gigabyte trove of documents from inside the Russian Interior Ministry, which the story alleges the organisation “refused” to publish during the 2016 US election campaign. Foreign Policy only has the WikiLeaks side of the chatlog — but that’s enough to debunk the story’s angle, for it includes the statement at the time by WikiLeaks that: “As far as we recall these are already public.” According to the story, the trove was published elsewhere, and gained little attention. Presumably because it was 70 gigabytes of turnip requisition forms. WikiLeaks has long stated that it doesn’t republish material readily available elsewhere (save for its curated reference libraries such as the Plus D database).

So no story at all, but enough to make an evidence-free charge that WikiLeaks was suppressing information because it could have been seen as anti-Trump. In that respect it’s worth remembering what Foreign Policy is: the global in-house journal of a geopolitical power elite, founded by Samuel “clash of civilisations” Huntington in the early 70s, and now publishing a range of movers and shakers — including, in 2011, Hillary Clinton herself, outlining the dream of “America’s Pacific Century,” the policy underlying the now-abandoned TPP. You won’t find isolationists, anti-imperialists or other such voices in Foreign Policy. What you do get apparently, is pro-Hillary beat-ups of such low quality that they contradict themselves from the get-go.

Twenty-twenty’s looking good. Looking good for 2020. And another five seasons of Veep.

Peter Fray

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