Republican anger at Trump grows as Turkey launches 'sickening' attack on US allies.
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US officials have long warned of the vulnerability of the "pop-up prisons" housing some 11, to 12, ISIS fighters captured on the battlefield, 2, of whom are foreigners not from Iraq or Syria. Despite Trump's assertion, only several hundred of the prisoners are believed to be from Europe.
Those same officials emphasize that the security of the facilities is very much in question and a "huge concern" as Syrian Democratic Forces personnel head to the front lines. The fear is that they abandon post," said a congressional aide who attended a classified briefing given Tuesday by national security officials on the detention facilities. Turkey is aiming to undermine all successful efforts and achievements that we gained during our fighting against ISIS. Trump's decision to pull US troops from the area, thereby giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a de facto go-ahead to proceed with his long-planned move against Kurdish fighters who make up part of the Syrian Democratic Forces and had fought against ISIS with the US has provoked a backlash from Republican allies.
Turkey launches military offensive in Syria, days after Trump announced pullback of US troops. It could also potentially reverse one of Trump's main foreign policy achievements, the elimination of ISIS's so-called caliphate, which the President had heralded in March. Analysts warn that should the ISIS prisoners escape it could be a major step toward the militants regrouping and challenging for territory again.
Two weeks ago, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Ambassador Nathan Sales, warned that "destabilizing events" could "trigger the release of these folks. That's not an effective strategy. Sales said more funding and support were needed to reinforce the often-overcrowded facilities but argued the only long-term solution was to repatriate the prisoners, something Trump has repeatedly called for. A staff member had to run out to buy an antenna. He began watching at around midnight, when the first polling stations were closing. When Trump took the lead, he recalled, the smugness disappeared.
But then, remarkably, they got back into their groove, and adapted. What they saw was that a new power structure had come about—and I just thought, This is the true nature of a worker of a large institution. I asked if he had thought: I did this. After the campaign, Assange helped produce an annotated anthology of his election publications.
But, for Assange, a far more serious question looms: How did he get that material in the first place?
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He has turned the official assessment—at best, a declaration that he had been used—into a symbol of American failure, establishment mendacity, Democratic hysteria, neo-McCarthyism, and fake news, in this way stoking partisan anger and needless institutional mistrust. The extent to which Assange has developed close ties with Russia remains a matter of controversy, too. Assange regarded it as unfair and even fraudulent.
At times, though, Assange has had questionable associations. Shamir, a convert from Judaism to Greek Orthodox Christianity, has written several anti-Semitic screeds. Some WikiLeaks volunteers viewed him as an eccentric hanger-on; some suspected that he had ties to Russian intelligence. During one visit, Assange—who had become lax in his attitude toward the State Department trove—gave him more than ninety thousand unredacted U.
How can they do this? The WikiLeaks staff at Ellingham Hall found out about the incident when Belarusian activists began contacting them in a panic, and immediately became alarmed. Some wanted to investigate the matter. Assange in prison? Assange told me recently that the show was a cover for his efforts to secure asylum. One thing seemed clear: RT had made an investment in the show, but it did not appear to regard the deal in normal business terms. Mark Stucke, the C. But Julian was the guy who drove the relationship.
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Assange told me that, as he negotiated the deal, he pushed for editorial freedom. He then asked about inviting a Chechen terrorist, and got an unambiguous no. For Assange, the show on RT was an opportunity.
In addition to providing money, it offered a platform, and perhaps, more crucially, a kind of legal protection—journalistic credentials. For the Russians, it provided access to an international celebrity with sympathetic views. When I first met Assange, his political beliefs blended libertarian and anti-establishment ideas with his own idiosyncratic world view. Since then, he seems to have increasingly come to the view that the United States, despite its humanitarian rhetoric, acts primarily to increase its power in the world, using both economic and military coercion.
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In this, he shares the position of Noam Chomsky, whom he admires. Gittoes told me that Assange was moved. I guess Russia eventually thought, There is nothing we can say, so we can say the truth.
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So they twist things in relation to Ukraine and to their immediate neighborhood, but, in terms of their broader description, then they are free to say what, in my view, is pretty accurate. WikiLeaks still published material, but none of it was as significant as the trove that Chelsea Manning had leaked to him. In isolation, Assange came to resemble the Wizard of Oz, a pallid inventor hidden behind a grand machine.
In , Edward Snowden walked out of an N. The material—voluminous, technical, classified—had the potential to transform not merely perceptions about the N. It was, in many ways, the ultimate WikiLeaks submission. Snowden flew from Hawaii to Hong Kong, where he decided to identify himself—immediately causing American authorities to seek his extradition.
Assange stepped in. The plan was to smuggle him to Moscow, and then on to a sympathetic Latin-American country, but en route his U. After a month, Russia granted him asylum.
Even as Assange was striving to lead a movement, his publication model was increasingly regarded with suspicion. Glenn Greenwald, a longtime WikiLeaks defender, and one of the journalists who worked with Snowden, told me that Snowden did not want the material handled in the WikiLeaks way.
Julian Assange, a Man Without a Country | The New Yorker
Curate it. When Assange was denied access to the trove, his frustration boiled over. A story based on the Snowden files ran on the Intercept, describing an N. After consulting with the N. Assange learned the name of the redacted country, and declared on Twitter that if the Intercept did not reveal it within seventy-two hours he would do so unilaterally. We are part of this history, and we feel we have a right to see that it is properly done. It was not hard to see that he was desperate for attention-grabbing material.
In May, , the WikiLeaks online submission system—offline since —was finally restored. Perhaps more significant than the trove itself was the attribution. For the first time, it seems, a state had sought to use WikiLeaks to release a database. An entity called the Yemen Cyber Army had taken credit for the breach, and a Web site called WikiSaudiLeaks, which published some of the material, claimed to have given the bulk of the trove to Assange. Cybersecurity analysts believe that both were fronts.
The consensus view is that Iran created them to weaken an adversary, but this assessment is not universally accepted. An expert familiar with the forensics told me that several indicators also point to Russia. This spring, a few days after Assange showed me the Newsweek special edition on Hillary Clinton, I saw him again. The claim is irrational, just completely irrational! In one way, Assange was right.
The problem with his argument is that no one in Washington or in the intelligence community is seriously making this claim. The Russian government appears to have penetrated the D. The precise trigger for the event is unclear, but it came at a time of escalating tensions between Russia and the United States.