In election hacking, Julian Assange’s years-old vision becomes reality

Jim Rutenberg writes: From the start, Mr. Assange said WikiLeaks’ prime directive was to expose hidden data sets that “reveal illegal or immoral behavior” in government and big business.

But in the essay [published in 2006, the year Assange founded Wikileaks] he also wrote in more ambitious terms about forcing regime change through data and technology rather than through the old, barbaric means of assassination.

As Mr. Assange saw it, power was held by vast networks of conspirators who shared vital information in secret, giving them a superior understanding of reality that enabled them to hold on to power. The technology revolution, he wrote, was providing the conspirators with the means to achieve what he called an even “higher total conspiratorial power.”

But it was also making them more vulnerable to sabotage, so that a governing conspiracy could be “slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to comprehend and control the forces in its environment.”

As an example, he pointed to “two closely balanced and broadly conspiratorial power groupings,” the Democratic and the Republican Parties in the United States.

“Consider what would happen if one of these parties gave up their mobile phones, fax and email correspondence — let alone the computer systems,” he wrote. “They would immediately fall into an organizational stupor and lose to the other.”

The essay got new attention when WikiLeaks, working in tandem with The Guardian, The New York Times and other outlets, released extensive diplomatic cables in 2010, making WikiLeaks more of a household name.

No one seemed to grasp what Mr. Assange was hinting at more clearly than the conservative writer John Sexton, who foresaw the events of 2016 in a post that was published on Breitbart News and his own blog in 2010.

“You can take his example further by imagining what would happen to, say, the D.N.C., if it suffered a massive Wikileak of secret data,” Mr. Sexton wrote, referring to Mr. Assange’s essay. “It seems entirely possible that a leak of the contents of their email for one month would be exceedingly damaging to them.” [Continue reading…]

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