A WikiLeaks spokesperson has reportedly confirmed that the group, whose mission is to publish non-public documents and most recently made a splash by publishing U.S. diplomatic cables, some of them classified, works with an apparent Holocaust denier and anti-Semite as well as his son, who is sympathetic to his father’s beliefs.
Reason’s Michael C. Moynihan sifts through the reports. According to Swedish and Russian media—and with the “broad strokes” having been confirmed by WikiLeaks—the group’s official man in charge of deciding which cables get sent to Russian news organizations, is a man named Israel Shamir (or alternatively Adam Ermash or Jöran Jermas). Moynihan reports that Shamir has called Auschwitz “an internment facility, attended by the Red Cross (as opposed to the U.S. internment center in Guantanamo);” said, “It’s every Muslim and Christian’s duty to deny the Holocaust;” described the Jews as “virus in human form;” and endorsed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Wikipedia says Shamir was born in Siberia in 1947, moved to Israel in 1969, fought in the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem in 2004.
Moreover, his son, Johannes Wahlström, is a WikiLeaks spokesperson in Sweden (the country where the organization is generally based), and has been known to be sympathetic to his father’s views; he once argued in print that Swedish media was manipulated by Jewish interests to benefit Israel.
Shamir was the co-author of a recent, prominent essay alleging that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who recently turned himself in to British authorities after Sweden charged him with two sex crimes, was the victim of a “honey pot” scheme, that is, where someone is deliberately seduced in order to use the affair against him or her.
In brighter news, those who may find themsleves open to WikiLeaks’s raison d’être but turned off by the charges against Assange and now the group’s troubling association with Shamir may have a new champion: OpenLeaks, a splinter group “led by WikiLeaks veterans tired of Assange’s dictatorial style and obsession with being the organization’s public face” is soon to open up shop, Moynihan reports. He adds that the new group “claims to not be motivated by a particular set of political beliefs and promises to be transparent about its own operations and finances.”
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.