In a blistering article published on the website of UK magazine The New Statesman, journalist Kapil Komarredi accuses Julian Assange and Wikileaks of playing a role in stunting democracy in Belarus with the help of noted crazy person Israel Shamir.
Shamir, a former Jew who claims he once fought in the IDF before moving to Sweden, has been described by both Tablet Magazine and The Guardian as a Holocaust denier and anti-Semite. Many, many others have echoed this sentiment. He's also been involved with Wikileaks and is a close friend of Assange. In fact, it was Shamir who allegedly revealed the identity of Assange's rape accuser in Sweden.
Shamir has recently been accused of ferreting secret Wikileak documents to President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus in 2010 without redacting the names of opposition activists, who are typically not treated great. Komareddi provides a description of Lukashenko's ruling style below:
For 17 years, Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus, a former Soviet state, in the fashion of his hero Joseph Stalin: public assembly is banned, the press is censored, the internet is monitored, telephones are tapped, and people's livelihoods — and lives — depend on eschewing politics
Back in 2010, Lukashenko received these documents, allegedly with permission from Assange, just prior to an election that he would win with an estimated 80% of the vote. Following the election, things got worse. Writes Komireddi:
Belarusians reacted by staging a mass protest. Lukashenko dispatched the state militia. As their truncheons bloodied the squares and streets of the capital, Minsk, Shamir wrote a story in the American left-wing journal Counterpunch extolling Lukashenko ("The president of Belarus ... walks freely among his people"), deriding the dictator's opponents ("The pro-western 'Gucci' crowd", Shamir called them), and crediting WikiLeaks with exposing America's "agents" in Belarus ("WikiLeaks has now revealed how... undeclared cash flows from the U.S. coffers to the Belarus 'opposition' ").
The following month, Soviet Belarus, a state-run newspaper, began serializing what it claimed to be extracts from the cables gifted to Lukashenko by WikiLeaks. Among the figures "exposed" as recipients of foreign cash were Andrei Sannikov, a defeated opposition presidential candidate presently serving a five-year prison sentence; Oleg Bebenin, Sannikov's press secretary, who was found dead in suspicious circumstances months before the elections; and Vladimir Neklyayev, the writer and former president of Belarus PEN, who also ran against Lukashenko and is now under house arrest.
Komareddi then accuses Assange of directly providing Shamir with the documents he brought Lukashenko:
His subsequent attempts to distance himself from Shamir were undermined when James Ball, a former WikiLeaks staffer, revealed that not only did Assange authorise Shamir's access to the cables — how else could he have got hold of the documents from this impenetrably secretive organisation consecrated to transparency? — he also stopped others from criticising Shamir even after news of his Belarusian expedition became public.