By Jason Taylor
While it is true that many of us know little about the machinations behind today’s French election, we are discovering that Julian Assange and his Wiki Leaks project has become an unabashed ally of global right-wing authoritarianism.
Far from struggling on behalf of the objectively free flow of government secrets, it has thrown its weight behind demagogues and dictators. Assange is part of the propaganda machines of Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen and other assorted enemies of civil society on the rightmost fringes of international politics.
Europe and the United States need to act, powerfully, quickly and effectively to preempt further destabilizing attacks on the sovereignty of western nations.Whether or not it is proven that Russia was behind these fresh hacks — as is expected — western nations must find non-military but decisive means to dissuade Putin and his minions from continuing their insidious, spectacular cyber-warfare.
If not, the whole world will face an escalation of state-sponsored hacking, psyops, sabotage and malicious mischief that will make the cold war arms race look like a quaint historical footnote by comparison.
Macron, a 39-year-old former banker and economy minister, celebrates immigration as a cultural and economic force for good. Flags with the E.U.’s blue field and gold stars are a common sight at his rallies, and he enthusiastically endorses the bloc as the continent’s best guarantor of peace. His supporters tend to be educated, urban and optimistic.
Le Pen, the 48-year-old leader of a far-right party that her father founded in the 1970s, rails against the evils of mass immigration and warns that France is losing its identity amid a tide of mostly Muslim newcomers. She has called for the dismantling of the E.U., threatened to take France out of NATO and heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Her backers tend to be rural, white, less educated and, without a radical shift in direction, gloomy about France’s future.
What a strange and newly troubled world we live in thanks to that very thing that brings this message your way: the internet. This medium has given persons heretofore on the “tin-foil hat” fringes, a platform and an international megaphone amplified in ways agitators from the past could only imagine.
This new access is now coupled to an alliance previously thought impossible except by fiction writers. The far-right and the ex-KGB chief in a sweaty embrace. Well, there was the Hitler-Stalin pact briefly, and Lenin took advantage of the Imperial German high command’s benevolence, so perhaps some precedent. That we have a robust white racialist-nationalist crowd at all, is in no small part caused by the refusal of one of our parties to denounce them in no uncertain terms, and a President comfortable with the Breitbart crowd at his elbow in the White House influencing policy.
There are suggestions that Americans have participated in spreading hack information or fake news. Regardless of who they supported, I support and demand an immediate expression of outrage from our Presidency and Congress and a promise to prosecute any Americans involved to the fullest extent of the law and to facilitate any extradition movements to the greatest extent possible. In addition, we should publicly reprimand and publish names of any American citizens who might cower under the shield of “free speech” in order to affect French elections.
Most Americans were outraged at the Russian participation in hacking our elections. Unless we decide that the Russian behavior was acceptable, we must condemn any of our own citizens’ attempts to sway the results of an election in the country of a very close ally and apologize profusely.