The strange tale of a dating site’s attacks on WikiLeaks founder Assange

For an online dating site, toddandclare.com seems really good at cloak-and-dagger stuff. Disconnected phones. Mystery websites. Actions that ricochet around the globe.

But the attention grabber is the Houston-based company’s target: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, whose steady dumps of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign have given supporters of Donald Trump the only cheering news of the last few weeks.

In some ways, toddandclare.com’s campaign against Assange is as revelatory as the leaked emails themselves, illustrating the powerful, sometimes unseen, forces that oppose WikiLeaks.

Whoever is behind the dating site has marshaled significant resources to target Assange, enough to gain entry into a United Nations body, operate in countries in Europe, North America and the Caribbean, conduct surveillance on Assange’s lawyer in London, obtain the fax number of Canada’s prime minister and seek to prod a police inquiry in the Bahamas.

And they’ve done it at a time when WikiLeaks has become a routine target of Democratic politicians who portray Assange as a stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his reported efforts to disrupt the U.S. election.

One part of toddandclare’s two-pronged campaign put a megaphone to unproven charges that Assange made contact with a young Canadian girl in the Bahamas through the internet with the intention of molesting her. The second part sought to entangle him in a plan to receive $1 million from the Russian government.

WikiLeaks claims the dating site is “a highly suspicious and likely fabricated” company. In turn, the company lashed out at Assange on Thursday and “his despicable activities against American national security,” and warned journalists to “check with your libel lawyers first before printing anything that could impact or endanger innocent people’s lives.”

So why are the parties to the melee coming out with both barrels blazing? That remains a mystery of the kind that might take a WikiLeaks-style document dump to suss out.

 

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