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A trans writer named Emma Best recently published over 11,000 messages from a private WikiLeaks chats between the Wikileaks Twitter account and about 10 different WikiLeaks supporters. They contain homophobic and transphobic comments and show that WikiLeaks wanted Donald Trump to win the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The WikiLeaks chats have since been mentioned by Newsweek and other mainstream press outlets and may exacerbate the tension surrounding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s continued residence at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The WikiLeaks chats mainly show efforts between the “secret info” publisher and its supporters to coordinate public relations on Twitter following negative press. Emma Best redacted some identifying information on the chats to protect the identities of non-involved third parties, but other active participants in the WikiLeaks chats are identified.
After Emma Best published the WikiLeaks chats, the publisher’s founder Julian Assange revealed Best’s name assigned at birth (what trans people refer to as their “deadname”). After doing so, Twitter temporarily suspend Assange’s account until he deleted the tweet.
Julian Assange’s Twitter account also accused Best of releasing the chat logs in retaliation for WikiLeaks refusing to hire her. But Best tells The Daily Dot that’s a lie. “[WikiLeaks] decided to get transphobic and make shit up about me having wanted to work for them,” Best says.
— Emma Best (ᴜ//ғᴏᴜᴏ) 🏳️🌈 (@NatSecGeek) July 30, 2018
Wikipedia refers to WikiLeaks as “an international nonprofit organization that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media provided by anonymous sources,” but the organization and its leader, Assange, stand accused as being Russian pawns during the 2016 elections.
During election season WikiLeaks released Russian hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and the Democratic National Committee, which hurt Clinton’s campaign for U.S. president. Newsweek reports, “American intelligence believes that a Kremlin-linked cutout (a Russian hacker) known as Guccifer 2.0 was in contact with the whistleblowing outlet (WikiLeaks) and potentially sent it stolen emails.”
Best writes, “At various points in the chat, there are examples of homophobia, transphobia, ableism, sexism, racism, antisemitism and other objectionable content and language [in the WikiLeaks chats]. Some of these are couched as jokes, but are still likely to (and should) offend, as a racist or sexist joke doesn’t cease to be racist or sexist because of an expected or desired laugh. Attempts to dismiss of these comments as ‘ironic’ or ‘just trolling’ merely invites comparisons to 4chan and ironic Nazis. These comments, though offensive, are included in order to present as full and complete a record as possible and to let readers judge the context, purpose and merit of these comments for themselves.”
As for Assange, he currently resides inside London’s Ecuadorian embassy and risks arrest. He formerly risked extradition to Sweden for rape charges if he were to step foot outside of the embassy, though that investigation has been dropped. Still, London police have said they would still be obliged to arrest Assange upon leaving the embassy.
The Ecuadorian embassy cut off his internet access on Mar. 28, 2018, to “prevent him from interfering in other countries’ affairs” and is currently deciding what to do with Assange as he has resided within the embassy since August 2012.