Wikileaks and Their Increasing Credibility Problem

Wikileaks is desperate to stay relevant, and to retain their credibility. Following their 2016 publication of DNC emails (which were blown out of both proportion and context for the sake of publicity) they’ve struggled to reconcile their original goal of promoting transparency and highlighting wrongdoing and criminal acts that have been covered up, with turning into a political version of TMZ.

This new approach has won them many new supporters, who instead of being the cynical, analytical followers of the past that pour over every detail and ensure things that need exposing are highlighted, will vociferously devour and regurgitate – without hesitation or question – any salacious headline they care to deliver.

These braying mobs flocked to Wikileaks following the 2016 focus on Hillary Clinton, who was US Secretary of State from 2009-2013, and who Wikileaks head honcho Julian Assange blames for his legal woes (rather than himself, and his own hypocritical refusal to face accountability).

Faced now with an unquestioning loyal band, who have glommed on to his Anti-Clinton (and inherently pro-Trump – he has held back from releasing info on Trump in 2016)  stance, he has a desperate need to keep in front of the mob, and so we come to the past weekend.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating claims of Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election, which may or may not include the DNC emails released by Wikileaks in the summer of that year. Assange has been all over the place on those emails, claiming that he never knows the sources, but at the same time, he’s “1000% sure” that the source was not Russian. So either the Wikileaks submission system isn’t as secure as it claims to be (bad), this was handed to them outside the standard submission system (suspicious) or Assange is lying (also bad, but becoming par for the course).

So for obvious reasons, Assange is not viewing the Mueller investigation very favourably; either he exposes Assange lying again or the credibility of Wikileaks takes a hit, either way it’s not good for him. So the best way to try and deal with that is to try and undermine the credibility of Mueller, a strategy the White House has also been using.

On July 29th, Wikileaks posted a screenshot from a past cable to their facebook and Twitter.

If you can’t read it, it’s a highlighted section of a 2009 diplomatic cable saying:

“ (S/Rel Russia) Action request: Embassy Moscow is requested to alert at the highest appropriate level the Russian Federation that FBI Director Mueller plans to deliver the HEU sample once he arrives to Moscow on September 21.
Post is requested to convey information in paragraph 5 with regard to chain of custody, and to request details on Russian Federation’s plan for picking up the material. Embassy is also requested to reconfirm the April 16 understanding from the FSB verbally that we will have no problem with the Russian Ministry of Aviation concerning Mueller’s September 21 flight clearance. “

HEU is ‘Highly Enriched Uranium’ as wikileaks helpfully adds, along with the destination of the sample, the FSB (the successor to the KGB). Add this to the fake stories about Clinton selling off US Uranium to the Russians and you can see where it’s going, maybe this was a sample of the Uranium she was selling, so show it’s good like you see on every cliched cop show drug deal.

It’s a bold claim, which got a lot of their followers riled up about how Mueller was in bed with the Russians, and conspiring against Trump. The reality isn’t quite as exciting.

In an attempt to retain ANY credibility, they did link to the specific document, but did so to focus on that specific paragraph, rather than the document as a whole. There’s a reason for that. The top of the document makes a few things clearer, with the title “ALERTING GOR OF DELIVERY OF SEIZED HEU DURING SEPTEMBER 21 FBI DIRECTOR’S TRIP TO MOSCOW

As you read through the rest of the cable, it becomes clear that a quantity of enriched uranium was seized in 2006 during an investigation into nuclear material smuggling, and then-FBI Director Mueller was transporting a small sample to Russian authorities, where it could be forensically tested for information on its origin. This was requested by Russia, and approved by Georgia (nation, not state) and the US.

An item like that you don’t leave to minor flunkies. This sort of thing, this high level, you don’t let some n00b agent take it, the head of the FBI gives a suitable gravitas and seniority for an activity like this.

As for the FSB, that’s the Federal Security Service, it does the work of the Department of Homeland Security (and the FBI, and ICE), so yeah, you generally want to ensure they know that yes, this aircraft will set off radiological detectors. What’s more, the item in question is a mere 10g, which would be a ball 1cm (0.4 inches) across, so there will be that small amount, and nothing else.

That specific paragraph, of that specific cable was selected and promoted by Wikileaks, TWICE, to attempt to influence public perception against Mueller, who is investigating ties to Russia that might lead to Wikileaks, and undermining Assange, especially as he continues to push a Seth Rich conspiracy. This time is toned down some, as the May 19th posts say “WikiLeaks cable Robert Mueller delivering highly enriched stolen Uranium to Russia in 2009”, but many of the facebook followers weren’t as eager to bite, but it was another story on twitter, as it was picked up by right wing bloggers foaming at the mouth.

It’s really a bold attempt to make something out of nothing, by taking a single paragraph of a fairly large text, and putting it out of context. It’s not even the first time, as they’ve run the same images before, when Mueller was appointed special prosecutor. Nor is it the only one referencing him, as there’s over 300 in their database ().

That they have to reach so far to try and make a point says volumes about how desperate they are to try and stay on the Trump Train by staying in his good graces. It’s only a question of time though before Trump acts like the scorpion in the parable, and stings those that are keeping him afloat, because it’s in his nature.

As an amusing codicil, just as I was getting ready to publish, Assange let his Trump-love show just a little more, claiming that Trump’s Administration is the most transparent in living memory. Yes, you are not alone in thinking that’s a ridiculous thing to say. It seems his credibility is running out even faster than I thought.