Tag Archives: WikiLeaks

Seth Rich, the DNC, and WikiLeaks: The Plot Thickens

WikiLeaks Retweet of Seth Rich Story
WikiLeaks Retweet of Fox News’s Seth Rich Story

According to the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department, the nation’s capital reported 135 homicides last year. One of those homicides, the killing of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich on July 10, 2016, continues to make news ten months later.

Who killed Seth Rich, and why? We may never know for sure. On the other hand, a significant piece of the puzzle may have just fallen into place.

Fox News, citing a federal investigator as source, reports that Rich may well — as long rumored — have been the source of DNC emails published by WikiLeaks, less than two weeks after he was shot twice in the back during a robbery in which, curiously, nothing was apparently taken from him.

That email release, which revealed an internal DNC conspiracy to ensure the nomination of Hillary Clinton for president at the expense of her opponent, Bernie Sanders, wounded Clinton’s campaign and cost US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz her position as DNC chair.

The federal source, as well as an investigator hired by the Rich family (former DC homicide detective Rod Wheeler), claims that Rich communicated with (now deceased) WikiLeaks director Gavin MacFadyen.

WikiLeaks founder/director Julian Assange, in line with the organization’s policy against outing sources, has resolutely declined to confirm or deny Rich as the DNC leaker. On the other hand, WikiLeaks did put up reward money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer or killers — and retweeted, without comment, the Fox News story referenced above.

For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. In the case of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the right-wing conspiracy theory project of putting every fatal heart attack and accidental traffic death in America on a constantly updated, Internet-circulated “Clinton Body Count” list tends to make the rest of us cautious about just assuming skulduggery on the part of the Clintons and their associates in any given instance.

Still, it can’t be denied that Hillary Clinton has, as what her husband called his “co-president,” as a US Senator, and as US Secretary of State, proven herself to have both a sense of political entitlement and a distinctly murderous bent. If you doubt this, watch the CBS News video of her giggling “we came, we saw, he died” response to the killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Clinton’s publicly flaunted attitudes lend credibility to claims, admittedly listed as “unproven” (not necessarily “false”) by pro-Clinton site Snopes.com, that as Secretary of State she once seriously proposed the assassination of none other than Julian Assange: “Can’t we just drone this guy?”

Is it really that far-fetched to hypothesize that Clinton, or officials in her campaign or party — many of whom are accustomed to exercising power of life and death in when actually in office — wouldn’t quail from likewise killing in pursuit of their political interests? The DNC leak (and therefore the DNC leaker) arguably cost Clinton more than the 80,000 votes or so by which she lost the 2016 presidential election.

As the straight news types like to say: Developing.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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Pompeo vs. WikiLeaks: It’s No Contest

English: A van that purports to be the 'WikiLe...
English: A van that [falsely] purports to be the ‘WikiLeaks Top Secret Information Collection Unit’ parked at the protest event Occupy Wall Street in New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last July, while stumping for then-candidate, now-president Donald Trump, US Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) gleefully referenced nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails released by the transparency/disclosure journalists at Wikileaks. “Need further proof that the fix was in from Pres. Obama on down?” Pompeo tweeted. The emails showed that DNC officials had worked overtime to rig their party’s primaries for eventual nominee Hillary Clinton and against challenger Bernie Sanders.

What a difference nine months makes! On April 13, Pompeo — now in charge at the Central Intelligence Agency — used the bully pulpit of his first public speech in his new job to call out his old ally as “a nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

WikiLeaks says that no, it is not in fact abetted by Vladimir Putin’s regime.

If I have to choose between believing WikiLeaks or believing Mike Pompeo, I’ll believe WikiLeaks six days a week and twice on Sunday.

Over the course of more than a decade, WikiLeaks has built a sterling reputation for delivering the real goods on various governments (including Russia’s). The next document it releases which is shown to be fake will be the first. WikiLeaks has earned the trust of the public — and moreover, it has shown that it trusts the public with information about what our governments are doing in our names and with our money.

The US intelligence community, on the other hand, spies on us, lies to us about it, and expects us to pick up the check even after decades of irrefutable evidence of its dishonesty and incompetence.

The publicly released evidence for Pompeo’s allegation that WikiLeaks is in bed with the Russians is: Zero, zip, zilch, nada, a big fat goose-egg. If Pompeo has any such evidence, he’s keeping it secret. And  that’s not very believable: After all, the CIA has done a pretty poor job of keeping secrets lately.  WikiLeaks is in the process of releasing “Vault 7,” a trove of CIA documents revealing the agency’s work to subvert the electronic devices we all use on a daily basis and spy on us through them.

If Pompeo had any evidence that WikiLeaks was working with or for Putin, someone (maybe even WikiLeaks itself) would likely have already procured and published that information. Just sayin’.

WikiLeaks has changed the world, and it’s changed it for the better. Pompeo and his old and busted spy mill, not so much.

 

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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Vault 7: What it Means for You

The -foot ( m) diameter granite CIA seal in th...
CIA seal in the lobby of the original headquarters building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 7, the transparency/disclosure activists at Wikileaks began releasing a series of documents titled “Vault 7.” According to the New York Times, Vault 7 consists of “thousands of pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the [US Central Intelligence Agency] to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions.”

If the documents are authentic — and WikiLeaks has a sterling reputation when it comes to document authenticity — every paranoid thriller you’ve ever watched or read was too timid in describing a hypothetical surveillance state. Even the telescreens and random audio bugs of George Orwell’s 1984 don’t come close to the reality of the CIA’s surveillance operations.

In theory, the CIA doesn’t spy on Americans in America. In fact, digital traffic pays no heed to national borders, and the tools and tactics described have almost certainly been made available to, or independently developed by, other US surveillance agencies, not to mention foreign governments and non-government actors.

Bottom line: You should accept the possibility that for the last several years anything you’ve done on, or in the presence of, a device that can connect to the Internet was observed, monitored, and archived as accessible data.

Paranoid? Yes. But the paranoia is justified.

Even if “they”  — the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, some random group of credit card thieves or voyeurs or whatever — aren’t out to get you in particular, they consider your personal privacy a technical obstacle to overcome, not a value to respect.

If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear? Everyone has something to hide. Somewhere, some time, you’ve said or done something you regret or wouldn’t want the world to know. And you probably said or did it within a few feet of your smartphone, your laptop, or your Internet-connected television. Maybe nobody was listening or watching. Or maybe someone was. The only plausible conclusion from the Vault 7 disclosures is that you should assume the latter.

Vault 7 confirms that as a state entity, the CIA answers to philosopher Anthony de Jasay’s description of the state as such. Just as a firm acts to maximize profits, the state and its arms act to maximize their own discretionary power. Even if it doesn’t do some particular thing, it requires the option, the ability to do that thing. It seeks omnipotence.

The abuses of our privacy implied by the WikiLeaks dump aren’t an aberration. They’re the norm. They’re what government does.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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