Trump adviser reveals how Assange ally warned him about leaked Clinton emails

The Guardian reports: A key confidante of Donald Trump has provided new details about the “mutual friend” of Julian Assange who served as a back channel to give him broad tips in advance about WikiLeaks’ releases of emails to and from key allies of Hillary Clinton.

Roger Stone, a longtime unofficial adviser to the Republican presidential nominee, was briefed in general terms in advance about the sensitive and embarrassing leaked Democratic emails by an American libertarian who works in the media on the “opinion side”, he told the Guardian in an interview.

Stone claims his American source, whom he declined to identify, has met with Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, in London and is a “mutual friend” of Stone and Assange. The WikiLeaks source, Stone said, is not tied in any way to the Trump campaign but has served as a back channel for Stone, who is an outside adviser to the Republican presidential candidate, allowing the adviser to tweet and comment very broadly prior to some key WikiLeaks disclosures.

A source close to Trump Tower also told the Guardian that Stone once boasted to him of meeting with Assange himself and told the source, who is active in GOP political circles, that WikiLeaks would be “coming down like a ton of bricks” on Clinton. Stone adamantly denied meeting with Assange (“Your source is bullshitting u” he wrote in an email) or having any direct contact with Assange or anyone with WikiLeaks.

Despite Stone’s advance tweets and comments about some major WikiLeaks disclosures – including recent ones in October relating to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and the Clinton Foundation – the self-styled “rabble rouser” and onetime Watergate dirty tricks operative said the FBI had not contacted him in its investigation into the illegal computer hacking of private Democratic emails, and he was not worried. [Continue reading…]

On October 12, CBSMiami reported: “I do have a back-channel communication with Assange, because we have a good mutual friend,” Stone told CBS4 News Wednesday evening. “That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk. I had dinner with him last Monday.” [Continue reading…]

In 2008, Jeffrey Toobin wrote: [Stone] was just nineteen when he played a bit part in the Watergate scandals. He adopted the pseudonym Jason Rainier and made contributions in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance to the campaign of Pete McCloskey, who was challenging Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1972. Stone then sent a receipt to the Manchester Union Leader, to “prove” that Nixon’s adversary was a left-wing stooge. Stone hired another Republican operative, who was given the pseudonym Sedan Chair II, to infiltrate the McGovern campaign. Stone’s Watergate high jinks were revealed during congressional hearings in 1973, and the news cost Stone his job on the staff of Senator Robert Dole. [Continue reading…]

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Inside the strange, paranoid world of Julian Assange

James Ball, who worked for Assange at WikiLeaks, writes: To an outsider, the WikiLeaks of 2016 looks totally unrelated to the WikiLeaks of 2010. Then it was a darling of many of the liberal left, working with some of the world’s most respected newspapers and exposing the truth behind drone killing, civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, and surveillance of top UN officials.

Now it is the darling of the alt-right, revealing hacked emails seemingly to influence a presidential contest, claiming the US election is “rigged”, and descending into conspiracy. Just this week on Twitter, it described the deaths by natural causes of two of its supporters as a “bloody year for WikiLeaks”, and warned of media outlets “controlled by” members of the Rothschild family – a common anti-Semitic trope.

The questions asked about the organisation and its leader are often the wrong ones: How has WikiLeaks changed so much? Is Julian Assange the catspaw of Vladimir Putin? Is WikiLeaks endorsing a president candidate who has been described as racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and more?

These questions miss a broader truth: Neither Assange nor WikiLeaks (and the two are virtually one and the same thing) have changed – the world they operate in has. WikiLeaks is in many ways the same bold, reckless, paranoid creation that once it was, but how that manifests, and who cheers it on, has changed. [Continue reading…]

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David Duke applauds his hero, Julian Assange

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Wikileaks emails provide Left fodder for challenging Clinton policy and appointments

Politico reports: Donald Trump is pointing to a stream of hacked emails as proof that Hillary Clinton would be a compromised president, but a surprising number of progressives are drawing similar conclusions — albeit for a totally different reasons.

Some of the left’s most influential voices and groups are taking offense at the way they and their causes were discussed behind their backs by Clinton and some of her closest advisers in the emails, which swipe liberal heroes and causes as “puritanical,” “pompous”, “naive”, “radical” and “dumb,” calling some “freaks,” who need to “get a life.”

There are more than personal feelings and relationships at stake, though.

If polls hold and Clinton wins the presidency, she will need the support of the professional left to offset what’s expected to be vociferous Republican opposition to her legislative proposals and appointments.

But among progressive operatives, goodwill for Clinton — and confidence in key advisers featured in the emails including John Podesta, Neera Tanden and Jake Sullivan — is eroding as WikiLeaks continues to release a daily stream of thousands of emails hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account that is expected to continue until Election Day.

Liberal groups and activists are assembling opposition research-style dossiers of the most dismissive comments in the WikiLeaks emails about icons of their movement like Clinton’s Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders, and their stances on trade, Wall Street reform, energy and climate change. And some liberal activists are vowing to use the email fodder to oppose Clinton policy proposals or appointments deemed insufficiently progressive. [Continue reading…]

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U.S. urged Ecuador to act against WikiLeaks leader Assange

NBC News reports: Quiet pressure from the U.S. government played a role in Ecuador’s decision to block WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from using the internet at Ecuador’s London embassy, U.S. officials told NBC News.

“It was a bit of an eviction notice,” said a senior intelligence official.

Ecuador’s government said Tuesday it had partly restricted internet access for Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, who has lived in the South American country’s London embassy for more than four years. A source familiar with the situation says the Ecuadoran government has been frustrated with Assange and his presence at the embassy in London for months and has been considering how best to proceed.

The action came after U.S. officials conveyed their conclusion that Assange is a willing participant in a Russian intelligence operation to undermine the U.S. presidential election, NBC News has learned. U.S. intelligence officials believe Assange knows he is getting the information from Russian intelligence, though they do not believe he is involved in helping plan the hacking, officials told NBC.

“The general view is he is a willing participant in the Russian scheme but not an active plotter in it. They just realized they could use him,” said a senior intelligence official. [Continue reading…]

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s isolation deepens

The Wall Street Journal reports: Ecuador’s pulling the plug on Julian Assange’s internet connection highlighted the isolation of WikiLeaks, the organization he founded to expose the inner workings of governments and other powerful institutions.

Ecuador said Tuesday that it restricted access to private communications at its embassy in the United Kingdom, where Mr. Assange lives, on concerns that he was meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

In a statement, the Foreign Relations Ministry said the decision to cut off communications at its embassy was to prevent interference in the “internal affairs of other states.”

Some former allies and observers say that after four years confined to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Mr. Assange is alienating former supporters and undermining WikiLeaks’ relevance. They cite a series of leaks that they say supported Russian efforts to disrupt the U.S. election and carelessly promoted Turkish government documents exposing the personal information of thousands of ordinary citizens.

WikiLeaks “has pioneered open government but has now gone off the rails in a way that damages the global transparency movement,” said Alex Howard, a senior analyst at the Sunlight Foundation, a group once sympathetic to Wikileaks that backs open-government efforts in the U.S.

WikiLeaks’ relationship with Russia has come under particular scrutiny lately after the release of thousands of documents from the Democratic National Committee and allies of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. U.S. government officials have accused Russia of conducting those intrusions as part of an effort to influence the U.S. election. Computer-security firm Kaspersky Labs ZAO said another set of documents published on WikiLeaks, known as the Saudi Cables, most likely came from the same hackers who breached the DNC.

There is no evidence of collusion between Russia and WikiLeaks, said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. “However, Assange has made it very clear that he’s willing to be a useful idiot for any intelligence service, as long as it furthers his own agenda,” he said. [Continue reading…]

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Pamela Anderson poisoned Julian Assange with a vegan sandwich?

The Daily Beast reports: In past years, a Presidential nominee calling women he’s accused of groping ugly liars or a major foreign power allegedly hacking into huge swathes of campaign emails would be Internet-breaking ammo. In this election cycle, that’s a slow news day. As America’s collective bad karma continues to manifest in this strange surreality, we’ve become increasingly un-shockable. It’s been a few weeks since a non-Trump headline has hit this new, higher bar for astonishment. And then Pamela Anderson allegedly poisoned Julian Assange with a vegan Pret a Manger sandwich.


According to The Daily Mail, WikiLeaks founder Assange “says his internet link was ‘severed’ by state agents hours after claims he was poisoned by a Pret vegan sandwich brought to him by Pamela Anderson.” We might be less than a month away from a post-apocalyptic hell of our own creation, but no one can ever take that lede away from us.

Ludicrous as these death-by-Pret theories may seem, the facts in this case might be even stranger than fiction. [Continue reading…]

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Putin’s hope to ignite a Eurasia-style protest in the United States

Jackson Diehl writes: In the fall of 2004 Vladi­mir Putin suffered a blow he has never forgotten. The fraudulent election of a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian president, which Putin had directly and brazenly engineered, was overturned by a massive popular uprising. What came to be known as the “Orange Revolution” created a model for resistance to rigged elections in autocracies across Eurasia — in Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan and, in 2012, Russia itself.

Most of the rebellions didn’t succeed. But Putin developed an obsession with “color revolutions,” which he is convinced are neither spontaneous nor locally organized, but orchestrated by the United States — and in the case of the Moscow protests four years ago, by Hillary Clinton herself.

That’s the context in which Russia’s intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election must be understood. Putin is trying to deliver to the American political elite what he believes is a dose of its own medicine. He is attempting to ignite — with the help, unwitting or otherwise, of Donald Trump — a U.S. color revolution.

Let’s look at the way those revolts unfolded. In every case, they pitted an outsider political movement against an entrenched elite willing to employ fraud and force to remain in power. The outsiders mobilized their followers to collect evidence of rigging on election day and, when they could, conducted exit polls and “quick counts” to obtain vote totals they could contrast with official results. They disseminated their findings through satellite channels and other foreign media. When the inevitable victory of the ruling party was announced, they called their followers to the streets for mass protests they hoped would cause the regime to crumble — or at least discredit its phony election triumph.

Of course, Trump’s populist campaign is no more comparable to the pro-democracy insurgencies in formerly Soviet lands such as Ukraine and Belarus than Clinton’s administration-in-waiting is to the Putin regime. But Putin’s audacious goal is to create the illusion that they are. “He’s trying to establish that our system is just as bad, just as corrupt, as his,” says Brian Whitmore, a senior editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. [Continue reading…]

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Julian Assange — still alive — uses internet to claim a ‘state actor’ cut off his internet connection

Motherboard reports: One of Julian Assange’s only ways of communicating with the outside world from within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been disconnected, according to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks claims that a “state actor” has cut off Assange’s internet access, with the group’s Twitter account confirming on the morning of October 17 that Assange’s connection has been “intentionally severed” and contingency plans are being activated. It’s unclear what those contingency plans may be and Motherboard was unable to verify Wikileaks’ claim. The Ecuadorian Embassy also did not immediately provide Motherboard with any more information.


WikiLeaks’ tweet came after the organisation posted on Sunday night what were rumored to be the “dead man keys” to documents; encryption keys that would allow for the publication of leaked documents. Users on Twitter and Reddit suggested that these tweets indicated Assange had been killed, and that these documents should be revealed in the wake of his death.

But these rumors were shut down by WikiLeaks’ Kelly Kolisnik. “Julian Assange is alive and well,” Kolisnik tweeted. “Rumors circulating that he tweeted out a ‘Dead Mans’ switch are completely false and baseless.” [Continue reading…]

It remains somewhat unlikely that President Obama will, during his last months in office, authorize drone strikes on central London. Likewise, the recent announcement of planned U.S. cyberattacks aimed at Russia probably didn’t signal that Wikileaks would get knocked out in what would predictably be a fruitless effort to silence Assange. Perhaps a more plausible interpretation of Assange’s “outage” is that he’s running out of damning revelations designed to torpedo the Clinton campaign. Maybe Wikileaks is now resorting to a narrative which revolves less around truth revealed and more about secrets suppressed.

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What did Trump know, and when did he know it?

Glen Caplin, Senior National Spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, writes: Intelligence officials say that Donald Trump was reportedly briefed in mid-August about Russia’s efforts to meddle in our election. So, at the first presidential debate, when Donald Trump blamed a 400-lb. hacker…

 

…and at the second debate, when he said this:

 

In each case, Trump had reportedly already received intelligence briefings about Russia’s role in the hacks, but he apparently chose to ignore the evidence and defend Vladimir Putin.

Security experts have evidence that the so-called “Guccifer 2.0” is actually a front for Russian hackers. The hacked emails have been made public by WikiLeaks, run by Julian Assange, who has well-documented ties to the Kremlin and released the Russian-hacked DNC documents in June. In fact, we are starting to see Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks separately release the same materials that purport to come from John Podesta’s email account.

On August 13, Trump’s close friend and longtime political adviser Roger Stone appeared on Alex Jones’ show and confirmed that he was in communication with Assange. [Continue reading…]

Reuters reports: Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said evidence implicates Russia in recent email hacks tied to the U.S. election, contradicting his running mate, Donald Trump, who cast doubt on Russia’s involvement.

Pence said in an interview aired on “Fox News Sunday” that Russia or any other country involved in hacking should face “severe consequences.” The disagreement with Trump, the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, came after the pair also publicly disagreed about U.S. policy toward Russia in Syria. [Continue reading…]

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Julian Assange’s intervention in the U.S. election

The Hill reports: Julian Assange’s grudge against Hillary Clinton is playing out on the grandest stage possible.

Between now and Election Day on Nov. 8, WikiLeaks is expected to release more than 40,000 more emails about Clinton that are meant to damage her run for the White House — possibly in batches on a near-daily basis.

The emails, from hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton confidante John Podesta’s email account, may be the best chance Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has of knocking off Clinton, the Democratic nominee and heavy favorite to win the White House.
That makes WikiLeaks founder Assange one of 2016’s biggest wild cards.

Assange appears to relish the role.

“He has become which is what I think he always wanted to be: an alternative statesman,” said Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former spokesperson from the organization’s early days.

“He’s not officially elected, but he’s involved in the highest level of political debate. He can have an influence on the U.S. election. It doesn’t really get much bigger than this.”

Assange has repeatedly vowed to release information expected to be damaging to Clinton, and on Thursday made public the sixth installment of material allegedly stolen from Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.

The WikiLeaks Twitter account, believed to be manned by Assange, vacillates daily between defending the organization against detractors and promoting damaging stories about Clinton — some of which border on conspiracy theory.

It rarely touches on Trump, and Assange in interviews has been cagey about his support of the business mogul. Trump confidante Roger Stone has repeatedly claimed contact with Assange, telling CBS Miami Wednesday that he has “a back channel communication” with Assange via a mutual friend with whom he dined as recently as last week. [Continue reading…]

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CIA prepping for possible cyber attack against Russia

NBC News reports: The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the situation say the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging “clandestine” cyber operation designed to harass and “embarrass” the Kremlin leadership.

The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency had already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation. Former intelligence officers told NBC News that the agency had gathered reams of documents that could expose unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vice President Joe Biden told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd on Friday that “we’re sending a message” to Putin and that “it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”

When asked if the American public will know a message was sent, the vice president replied, “Hope not.”

Retired Admiral James Stavridis told NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden that the U.S. should attack Russia’s ability to censor its internal internet traffic and expose the financial dealings of Putin and his associates. [Continue reading…]

And what better way to expose such information than by providing it to Wikileaks. Julian Assange can then demonstrate that he’s not a puppet of Putin’s — or risk being outed if it turns out his organization chooses not to release such material.

Wouldn’t that turn Wikileaks into a puppet of the U.S. government? Kind of — except Assange’s position is that it’s not his job to pass judgment on the motives of his sources. His commitment is to protect his sources and publish secrets.

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