Wikileaks Refused To Publish Manafort Family Texts, So Someone Else Did

from the hypocrisy? dept

Update: A quick correction/clarification here. The hacked texts in questions were from Manafort’s daughter, rather than Manafort himself, but included texts between Manafort and his daughter, as well as other texts about Paul that his daughter sent or received. Wikileaks, for its part, says it didn’t publish the texts because they weren’t verified. Except that multiple people confirmed the legitimacy of those texts including Paul Manafort himself. The point of the article still stands.

We just wrote about why it would be a dangerous move for press freedom for the DOJ to prosecute Julian Assange for publishing leaked documents. In that post, we noted that even if you think Julian Assange is a horrible human being and proactively trying to undermine US electoral sovereignty, the mere act of publishing leaked documents should not be criminal. But, that doesn’t mean that Assange can’t be hypocritical and one-sided. Obviously, during the 2016 election, when Wikileaks helped spread both John Podesta’s emails and the DNC’s emails, some wondered if Assange would have published similar messages from the Trump campaign. While publicly Assange insisted he disliked both campaigns equally, other reports and leaked (of course) chat messages certainly suggested otherwise, as did at least some of his apparent attempts to ingratiate himself with Trump insiders, including asking Don Jr. to leak his father’s tax returns to Assange to “dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality.”

Of course, when faced with an opportunity to post the equivalent of the Podesta emails on the Trump side, it appears that Assange decided not to do it. Public records-savant Emma Best recently chose to publish the entire collection of leaked Manafort family texts in a searchable database. These texts have long been out there and available if you knew where to look — and had received widespread reporting in early 2017. However, beyond the excerpts, they were not fully available in a way that was searchable for most users.

Best communicated with Wikileaks, who admitted that it had the entire collection as well, but chose not to publish it — which certainly can be read as hypocrisy on Assange’s part, considering the similarities with the Podesta emails. As Best notes in discussing the decision to publish these in a more accessible format:

The public haven?t had access to the messages, and the press (including high profile and high budget outlets) haven?t had access to an easily searchable version ? instead only to an unwieldy database.

This was nearly not the case, however ? WikiLeaks had a copy of the database, but ultimately didn?t publish it, despite its newsworthiness and their willingness to publish unredacted information on the Democrats. Their unexplained decision not to put the database into a searchable format and make it public struck me as questionable at the time, but in light of the disclosure of their preference for the GOP it has become not only questionable, but hypocritical. WikiLeaks? decision can no longer be trusted prima facie or viewed in terms of presumed good faith.

[….]

This noteworthy refusal, along with ongoing probes and charges filed against Manafort by the Special Counsel?s office, makes the text messages and their contents undoubtedly newsworthy. Their relevance to the general public may go beyond this, as the personal reality reflected in the messages presents the Manaforts as real people, rather than merely as abstract figures. This same reality is, of course, also relevant to news and current events, and to understanding the character and actions of those involved.

There may be reasons why Wikileaks chose not to publish these texts, but the fact that it eagerly published the Podesta emails, yet held back on publishing these texts should at least raise serious questions. Obviously, every publisher makes different decisions on what to publish and what not to publish. And there’s no rule saying that you absolutely must publish every “equivalent” set of data or stories. But given all of the background here, and the high profile nature of this, it is noteworthy to point out the different approaches Wikileaks chose to take with two similar sets of data on different sides of the 2016 election.

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Comments on “Wikileaks Refused To Publish Manafort Family Texts, So Someone Else Did”

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48 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yeah, Assange created a really great utility, but...

That’s alright. We’ll find out all about it when he’s tossed into a torture cell and anally raped with razor blades. I’m sure he’ll talk. Plus it’ll be fun to listen to him scream and whimper.

That is…if Putin doesn’t just have him killed first.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Yeah, Assange created a really great utility, but...

Nah. I’d rather sadistically torment and torture Putin’s enablers and sycophants. They all deserve pain forever. And rapist Assange deserves double.

Hey, maybe we could pump his face full of liquified dog shit. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Firebombing and torture

My nation, the United States, is a nation that tortures. I really regret that we started (again). I really regret that mine is a government that finds it acceptable to torture, and that some Americans still believe torture, for any intent, is an acceptable policy under the doctrine of necessity.

We once had the same internal dialogue regarding firebombing. We reduced Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo to ash by way of terrible firestorms, and while we can apologize and say our nation had just acquired the power to firebomb, that we were in a terrible and desperate war, that we didn’t know the horror of firestorms, it still means that tens of did not live, that my nation killed them, and their ashes are, if in part, on my hands. We did that. Some of that shame is mine and my grandson’s, despite that neither of us were alive when it happened.

Putin is a hard man to say no to, let alone cross. He is the quintessential mob boss having pushed his way to the top of his career pyramid. And even if he’s a world leader, he still behaves as a mob boss. I don’t forgive those who work for him, but I understand they fear for their lives, and I wouldn’t torture them, especially not for sheer vengeance.

I’d really rather live in a nation that neither firebombs nor tortures.

John Smith says:

Re: Yeah, Assange created a really great utility, but...

Russia is a diversion. They are not the problem.

We are ruled by a country far more sinister for reasons which should be obvious, but which apparently are not.

Start with the two things that are easiest to use to compromise a wealthy person and follow the breadcrumbs.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Wikileaks Competition

There should be competition for the kinds of things Wikileaks does. Not that one should have say a greater market share than other, or make (or more to the point collect via contributions) more money than the others, but to have availability to people with different agendas. Hate Assange, fine go to a rival. Not in the US go to a rival that makes sense. You are in the US go to the rival that makes sense. Maybe they could all publish the same things.

My point is, there should be multiple venues for the dissemination of such information, and at least some of them out of the reach of various governments, with the division of work being ‘We’re out of reach of them’ and others ‘We’re out of reach of those’, with the end result being at least some one of them is out of reach of whoever is embarrassed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

One of Assange’s motivations against publishing might also be that he still hopes he can persuade President Moreno (Equador) to continue to allow him to stay in their embassy. But no matter how you slice it, Assange’s motivations have always for personal gain, and benefits to others are just “collateral damage.” He’s no better than any national government in that respect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No actually, Assange published the videos of our American Army slaughtering foreigners from the safety of million dollar gunships in the hope that Americans might assess their lack of moral backbones in exporting the arbitrary murder of thousands of ‘others’ continuously for decades.

His other motivation was getting laid. I pray Mr. Trump has always used a condom, or is he in trouble…

When your otherwise horrible neighbor shows a video of YOU drowning puppies for fun and profit to the Town Council, forget about how horrible your neighbor (Russia) has been; you’re the one $drowning puppies.

Next time you’re found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant
But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time you’re gettin’ low
‘Stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
When troubles call, and your back’s to the wall
There’s a lot to be learned, that wall could fall
Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he’d punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin’ that dam
‘Cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes
He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time you’re feelin’ bad
‘Stead of feelin’ sad
Just remember that ram
Oops, there goes a billion kilowatt dam
Oops, there goes a billion kilowatt dam
Oops, there goes a billion kilowatt dam
All problem’s just a toy balloon
They’ll be bursted soon
They’re just bound to go pop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop, kerlpop

Songwriters: Jimmy Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn

OGquaker says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’ve been around a handful of powerful people in the last sixty years, worked closely with a few. I have washed floors and reset furniture 5 times a week for people who gave UN speeches, or won political office, or was ‘Shan@RAND.org’. I’ve sucked up to two of the top ten film directors of all time, for years at a time.
Two points; powerful people are jerks to close supporters and their goals are unknowable to their second lieutenants. But good works (and bad) are independent of personality. Want proofs? Join a math club.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I personally wonder if the actions against Wikileaks pushed them into Russian influence since when you want shelter against the US and its allies it makes them handy as someone not afraid to embarrass them.

There is no mistaking that they are corrupted and have failed at a mission of promoting transparency and reigning in intelligence community abuse.

Disturbingly the rhetoric against leakers of misconduct remains strong and authoritarian calling for torture and death to those who dare to prove their wrongdoing.

Anonymous Coward says:

More Russian conspiracy?

Funny how no link has ever been made between Trump and Russia and now we have more conspiracy theories that Assange is helping him on behalf of Russia. You guys crack me up.

Run a good candidate, really almost anyone other than Hillary, and the presidency was yours. Hlllary lost the election more than Trump won it. Plain and simple. But keep up the shouting, name calling, national news backed conspiracy theories and you might put him back in for 4 more years.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Friends of Russia

Just earlier today, my San Francisco buddies were showing me pre-presidency group photos of Ivanka with Russian aristocracy, wearing a jacket of the same furs as one of the wives. While this tidbit alone is not enough to establish a conspiracy, it does establish familiarity.

Our intelligence agencies seem to have enough evidence to determine meddling with high confidence.

If we develop means, motive and opportunity, that’s enough to convict a man for murder (allegedly). What is necessary to convict a man of conspiracy? Of collusion with a foreign power to meddle in a presidential election?

At very least, we have Trump’s public call for Russian hackers to obtain Clinton’s emails. (It appears enough evidence has surfaced to establish which hackers were doing it and when), which might be enough to convince a jury that it was a conspiracy in plain sight. Think Trump was joking? He’s been unable to play his proverbial cards except face up, so it looks exactly like collusion. The question is if that is the limit of the Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Evidence is that advisors in the Trump campaign sure wanted to collude, whether or not they successfully did. And that’s based on a modicum of the available evidence.

Anonymous Coward do me the kindness of doubling down on your assertion that there’s no link between Trump and Russia. That way I can rule you out as one who doesn’t care about the facts. I can even assume you’re a troll, possibly one on Putin’s payroll, showing interest in this discussion only to attack it and its participants.

Otherwise, it’s pretty obvious in a justice system that could indict a ham sandwich that there’s enough material to warrant a thorough investigation of intersection between the Trump For President campaign and the Russian administration, if not Putin, himself. After all, if we did assume that Trump didn’t do anything wrong, Trump himself would want collusion ruled out, to assure the people of the US that its own administration is trustworthy. Right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Friends of Russia

All of that dribble is quite entertaining. Yet here we sit, almost 2 years into a false conspiracy investigation and still can’t find any link between Trump and he Russians. What you can find is Hillary helping those nasty Russians to a big chunk of uranium. You can also find that she paid for a fake Russian dossier to get the whole investigation started. So the only conspiracy I see is between Hillary and the Russians.

As for meddling, you like all liberal liars conflate that with direct vote rigging. There is nothing showing that a single vote was changed by the Russians. Did they buy ads, sure from big time liberal Mark Zuckerberg. Apparently he will sell out his cause if the price is right. Also, there is no evidence that the ads had any influence on people’s vote.

You guys are being played like a fiddle. The media tells you to throw a fit, you throw a fit. You don’t even know why you are doing it.

The funniest part is now I am a Russian troll. I don’t know how you guys even get out of bed with all this sky is falling crap. I guess you like wearing tinfoil?

Please step out of your bubble and watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPgxVtDBZRs

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: More Russian conspiracy?

But keep up the shouting, name calling, national news backed conspiracy theories

I sure will. If it’s good enough for the retard in the white house, it’s good enough for me.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, Obamacare is still the law of the land, there’s still no wall, and Hillary is not locked up.

and you might put him back in for 4 more years.

Correction – the Russians and simple-minded chimps who bought his bullshit might.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: More Russian conspiracy?

This article conflates hacked text messages of family members are not only fair game, but comparable to the email database of Podesta. Going after the children of political figures is beyond the pale. Were they involved in business dealings, sure why not. For example in the Podesta case if he had a daughter who had an account with the DNC server, and that’s what leaked to Wikileaks, I could see moving forward with the learnings from those emails.

Were we talking about second-hand accounts of a Podesta daughters texts with second hand uninvolved separated from any inner circle where decisions are made — how do you vet that? The invasion of personal texts is a high cost to the Wikileaks platform and the reputation they’re defensive of. Completely reasonable that the information was not released.

Mike Masnick shows signs of increased Trump Anxiety Disorder severity. Writings come across as increasingly unhinged. Starting to sounds more of the political muckraking Washington Post is engaged in than the critical mind pre-2016 writings demonstrated. Would love to see him turn off the televised news for a week and review what’s going on in the world with the high-emotion outrage tabloid reporting removed.

lol says:

Re: "Equivalent"

they have no public interest, and Im pretty sure wikileaks would not be telling people what they have. While everyone screams russia russia russia, there is currently a Russian on trial, but in stead of talking about the Russian that showed up and said prove this shit, we are talking about the guy connected to the Trump Team. The entire Russia event, is a distraction from Hillary cheating Bernie, thousands of ballets being purged, like in NY and a host of other things. Assange did not make killary a criminal she did that, he just told us and as an American Im very happy, he did. I support wikileaks and their FIRST Amendment right to publish

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