WikiLeaks’ Latest ‘Find’ Is a Conspiracy Theory From Trump’s Subreddit
The organization has spent the fall leaking hacked emails from the Clinton campaign, but it really had to reach for Thursday’s post about the Clintons and a ‘baby stealer’ in Haiti.
WikiLeaks posted a screenshot of a Reddit conspiracy theory on Thursday afternoon riddled with incorrect information that attempted to tie a “woman caught stealing children in Haiti with the Clintons.”
At 1:40 p.m. ET, WikiLeaks’ Twitter account tweeted “Significant, if partisan, find showing how the Clintons supported child stealer Laura Silsby,” then linked to a post titled “BREAKING: I believe I have connected a convicted child abductor who was caught stealing children in Haiti with the Clintons.”
“If we can connect the Clintons to a child abductor their campaign is DONE!!!” the post reads.
WikiLeaks has posted 28 batches of hacked emails from the personal account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in the run-up to next week’s election, and the Clinton campaign has not denied the veracity of the leak’s contents.
But WikiLeaks’ account has recently been engaging in speculation about the context of the leaks by linking to conspiracy theorists attempting to tie together characters and plotlines in the leaked emails to prove the Clinton campaign is part of a nefarious global conspiracy.
Thursday’s post comes from the subreddit R/The_Donald, the largest Donald Trump-related community on the web, where any criticism of Trump is grounds for an immediate ban. When the GOP nominee hosted an “Ask Me Anything” section on the subreddit, negative questions were immediately deleted and 2,200 accounts were banned for reasons like “No Dissenters,” which is one of the rules of the subreddit.
Written by user “PleadingtheYiff,” the post attempts to link the Clinton campaign to Laura Silsby, an Idaho missionary who served a six-month prison sentence in Haiti after the organization she founded, New Life Children’s Refuge, attempted to transport 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The user’s primary proof of links between the Clintons and Silsby: “Huma Abedin was constantly forwarding Hillary articles on this woman’s organization.” The post provides no email sent from Clinton to Abedin regarding the incident.
The theory then includes a major error.
“One of the first things Hillary did when she took over the scene in Haiti was to get Laura off the hook,” PleadingtheYiff writes, then links to a website called “AboveTopSecret.com.”
Silsby wasn’t freed and instead remained incarcerated in Haiti, where she faced trial and was found guilty. The nine other missionaries jailed alongside her were freed.
The top comment on PleadingtheYiff’s post links to eight threads on the white supremacist message board 4chan and another subreddit dedicated to “Operation Berenstain.” In its all-caps mission statement, R/Operation_Berenstain states: “OUR ONLY OBJECTIVE IS TO AID THE FBI IN RELEASING INCRIMINATING INFO REGARDING THE CLINTONS AND THEIR ACCOMPLICES.”
“Zero political opinion is permitted,” the subreddit’s rules read. “We have one goal and off topic activity is not allowed. We welcome people of all political affiliations. This is a non-partisan effort to expose crimes committed by the Clintons and their accomplices.”
R/The_Donald immediately claimed a major victory after WikiLeaks tweeted about the post.
“WikiLeaks referencing the_Donald," reads the top post on the subreddit at press time. “WE ARE THE MEDIA.”
The community has faced criticism on Reddit and elsewhere for its acceptance of racist speech. One comment about Muslims from August, for example, reads: “Fucking subhumans. I can’t wait for Trump to purge the nation of these filthy animals. I can’t even accurately describe the utter hatred and contempt I have for these vile rodents.”
Earlier this year, r/The_Donald had potential moderator applicants fill out a questionnaire that included the questions: “Is white supremacy different than white nationalism?” and “Was 9/11 an inside job?”