Russia’s state propaganda organ, RT (previously known as “Russia Today”), scooped Wikileaks yesterday on Wikileaks’ own story.
On October 22, at 8:20AM Eastern Time, the Russians tweeted a new story of theirs about the Wikileaks Podesta emails.
Then, 30 minutes later, at 8:50AM ET, Wikileaks announced its new Podesta emails to the world.
In other words, the Russians broadcast the Wikileaks story to the world before Wikileaks itself, and the Russians even had enough notice to write a story about it.
(Twitter adjusts the time-stamp to the reader’s time zone — so the tweets below are time-stamped for my time zone, US Eastern time, and thus are in fact 30 minutes apart.)
The suspicious correlation between the two tweets was initially discovered by American hacker @th3j35t3r, who is commonly referred to as “the Batman of the Internet” for his attacks on America’s enemies.
Here is Russia’s tweet — note the Russians even had a story already written:
And here is Wikileaks announcing the new emails, half an hour after the Russians already wrote a story about them:
Trump and Wikileaks also had a little Twitter love fest yesterday evening:
Many have speculated about the exact nature of the relationship between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence. Wikileaks denies any relationship; while US intelligence and private research firms have both concluded that the Clinton emails were stolen by Russia, with the likely intent of helping election Donald Trump, and more generally sowing confusing surrounding the US election.
And just two weeks ago, Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald came to his own conclusion about Wikileaks and Russian intelligence:
Folks: Wikileaks is compromised. Russia knew exactly where to look to take my words & put them in HRC friend’s mouth https://t.co/1d5qvU01Yi
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) October 10, 2016
Wikileaks head Julian Assange has previously expressed his preference for Donald Trump as president. From the NYT:
The emails were released by WikiLeaks, whose founder, Julian Assange has made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency.
In a separate NYT story, Assange detailed why he preferred Trump over Clinton as president, and that he was releasing the emails in order to hurt Hillary’s electoral chances:
Six weeks before the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks published an archive of hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of the Democratic convention, the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, foreshadowed the release — and made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency….
In the interview, Mr. Assange told a British television host, Robert Peston of the ITV network, that his organization had obtained “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” which he pronounced “great.” He also suggested that he not only opposed her candidacy on policy grounds, but also saw her as a personal foe.
At one point, Mr. Peston said: “Plainly, what you are saying, what you are publishing, hurts Hillary Clinton. Would you prefer Trump to be president?”
Mr. Assange replied that what Mr. Trump would do as president was “completely unpredictable.” By contrast, he thought it was predictable that Mrs. Clinton would wield power in two ways he found problematic.
As a result of my questioning the odd timing of yesterday’s Wikileaks and Russia Today tweets, Wikileaks has now blocked me on Twitter.
Whither Wikileaks? In the past 24 hours, Wikileaks has been a virtual anti-Clinton propaganda machine. Tweet after tweet attacking Hillary, and the US generally: One tweet even proclaims that the US is “no longer a democracy.”
I can’t say if Wikileaks has been compromised by the Russians. I can say that if I were the Russians, I’d be damn pleased about Wikileaks’ efforts to get Donald Trump, the closest thing America has ever had to a fascist, elected president. And that ought to give pause to any “fan” of Wikileaks who isn’t a fascist himself.