You’d have to be living within one of Brazil’s so-called “Lost Tribes,” those indigenous people groups who’ve had no contact with the outside world, to not know that Julian Assange has probably been the most influential person on the planet in 2016. Assange’s organization, Wikileaks, created havoc in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, arguably making for a spectacle only Barnum and Bailey could rival.
As 2016 is coming quickly to a close, still left to decide is Time’s Person of the Year for 2016. And who’s leading in the reader polls? You guessed it! No, not Vladimir Putin, or Donald Trump. It’s Assange! And if you’d like to vote for him, or anyone else, you can do so by clicking here. Currently, he leads with 10 percent of all the votes cast, just ahead of Trump (9 percent) and Putin (8 percent).
While Time is under no reader-poll obligation to select Assange as their cover boy, they are likely to consider him, and all of his contributions to this year’s historical record. So, for the record, here's a quick recap of what Assange did in 2016 which certainly influenced the outcome of Trump's election as president.
On July 4th, 2016, Wikileaks hosted a searchable database containing the contents of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her unauthorized private email server, those only the State Department and the FBI had in their possession.
Perhaps he’d hoped Clinton would have been charged with violating the Espionage Act, evidenced by comments he made about the release. Assange said, “We could proceed to an indictment, but if Loretta Lynch is the head of the [Department of Justice] in the United States, she’s not going to indict Hillary Clinton...That’s not possible that could happen." Just as predicted, she wasn’t indicted and was shielded from prosecution, after being exonerated by FBI Director James Comey on July 5th, just a day after Wikileaks’ email dump.
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Apparently dissatisfied with the FBI's refusal to recommend an indictment for Clinton, Assange released (July 22nd) another batch of emails, more damning than the first. Those hacked emails belonged to the Democratic National Committee and served to demonstrate how the DNC collaborated with members of the mainstream media to portray Clinton in a more favorable light. They also revealed how DNC staffers showed favoritism to Clinton, actually working against one of their other presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders, during the primaries.
Assange’s data dump was coordinated with the timing of the Democratic National Convention and resulted in the resignation DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, just prior to the convention's kickoff. The embarrassing situation for the Democrats was followed by their assertion that Russia was behind the hacked DNC servers, and that Assange was collaborating with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
More data dumps followed with Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta being Wikileaks’ next high-profile target. The Podesta emails may have been the death knell for Clinton’s bid for the presidency, having exposed Podesta’s proofreading privileges of New York Times articles -- pre-publication.
The knowledge that the Clinton Campaign collaborated with the mainstream media to prop up Clinton, may have swayed many voters who were on the fence as to whether or not they should vote for her. Podesta’s emails also exposed the apparent fact that Saudi Arabia was funding ISIS, CNN’s Donna Brazile fed Clinton debate questions, and that Podesta was complicit in encouraging the destruction of Clinton’s now infamous emails.
Assange’s role as the head of Wikileaks marked him as a world changer for 2016. It’s very likely that without his commitment to forcing the DNC, Clinton, and the Clinton Campaign to be transparent, it’s highly probable Hillary Clinton would have been selected as the next president of the United States.
While many, including the sitting U.S. president, are pointing to “fake news” organizations as having disillusioned the American people during Election 2016, few are saying Assange didn’t have anything to do with it. And for those reasons alone, Assange should win Time’s controversial title. But then again, Time embodies all that the mainstream media represents, and there’s likely no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks he’s going to be named what he really is, The Person Of The Year.