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WikiLeaks Should Be Applauded for Removing the Mask of U.S. Power

A 2010 demonstration in Sydney, Australia, in support of Julian Assange, who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. (Elekhh / Wikimedia)

The latest chapter of WikiLeaks’ courage is exposing the cowardice of the United States political system.

Julian Assange should be praised for having the guts to stand up to power and reveal how the sausage gets made in Washington, D.C. His journalism—and that is what WikiLeaks is doing—is a public service. Instead, the Podesta emails have reconfirmed a sad truth: There are more characters on Mahogany Row than character. Right about now, many of them are looking for the real-life Winston Wolf.

Of course, the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party want inconvenient truths to remain in the shadows. The emails released by WikiLeaks may not show they have done anything illegal, but their actions straddle the ethical line. Admit nothing. Deny everything. That is the company mantra. How refreshing would it be if our leaders took responsibility for their actions, acknowledged their wrongs and served the will of the people?

Deflection is not a show of strength. By choosing to demonize WikiLeaks, blame Russia and vilify Donald Trump, the Clinton camp and the oligarchs and plutocrats in their orbit are embarrassing America and exposing the illusion of democracy. They also are missing an opportunity to show leadership and be presidential.

Donald Trump’s “locker-room talk” turns the presidential race into even more of an un-presidential sideshow. Yes, his conversation with Billy Bush was lewd, crude and rude. Anyone with a conscience should be repulsed. Indeed, Trump deserves a punch in the face by Robert De Niro.

But is 1992 Trump or 2005 Trump any different from 2016 Trump? His words and actions are who he’s always been—an entitled, trust-fund ego looking for publicity. When he was leaking stories to Page Six or playing a tyrant on TV or getting played by Howard Stern, it was entertainment. Now he’s the big, bad boogeyman?

Trump is the distraction, a first-rate heel, exploited by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. Their strategy on the GOP was outlined in an attachment to an email dated April 23, 2015.

To: The Democratic National Committee
Re: 2016 GOP presidential candidates
Date: April 7, 2015

Friends,

This memo is intended to outline the strategy and goals a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign would have regarding the 2016 Republican presidential field. Clearly most of what is contained in this memo is work the DNC is already doing. This exercise is intended to put those ideas to paper.

Our Goals & Strategy

Our hope is that the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate. We have outlined three strategies to obtain our goal:

1) Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election;

2) Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents;

3) Muddy the waters on any potential attack lodged against HRC.

Operationalizing the Strategy

Pied Piper Candidates

There are two ways to approach the strategies mentioned above. The first is to use the field as a whole to inflict damage on itself similar to what happened to Mitt Romney in 2012. The variety of candidates is a positive here, and many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right. In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more “Pied Piper” candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Ted Cruz
  • Donald Trump
  • Ben Carson

We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.

The Clintons and certain key members of the DNC evidently wanted to elevate Trump. Perhaps that’s why Bill Clinton talked to him a few weeks after the DNC’s GOP plan was discussed. The DNC officials in league with Clinton apparently believed Trump could destroy the Republican Party. The Clinton Machine knew Trump would make Hillary look more presidential. Much of the media has played along.

“The American liberal press, in falling over themselves to defend Hillary Clinton, are erecting a demon that is going to put nooses around everyone’s necks as soon as she wins the election, which is almost certainly what she’s going to do,” Assange told The New York Times during an Aug. 31 interview on Facebook Live.

What Hillary Clinton does if she is elected president remains to be seen. But if how she has handled the WikiLeaks case and her campaign is any indication, integrity may not be at the top of her agenda.

To be fair, Clinton has some good ideas. And not all of Trump’s ideas are rotten, either. But dissecting the ones that are, as if they were part of the Zapruder film, is straight out of a page from the DNC playbook—shoot the messenger, muddy the message. In other words, take American eyes off the ball. Bury important stories. Use the media to marginalize insurgents (Bernie Sanders) and third-party challengers (Jill Stein and Gary Johnson). Avoid honest discussions on key issues that are being underreported: climate change, education, military spending, universal health care, and homelessness, to name a few.

Politics is a dirty business. Things are not always as they appear. That is why we—America—get bread and circuses.

As the poet Juvenal wrote, in his tirade against the Roman people, some Americans now care more about the spectacle than the struggle.

… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

WikiLeaks has removed the mask of U.S. empire. It is revealing the true machinations of power.

Thank them.

Eric Ortiz
Contributor
Eric Ortiz is a journalist and innovator with two decades in digital media, Ortiz founded the mobile app startup Evrybit, a live storytelling and reporting tool, as a 2014 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at…
Eric Ortiz

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