They show tweets from @Rixstepnews – the twitter account that regularly tweets abuse at the plaintiffs and publishes nasty attack articles about them – and which @Wikileaks used to follow and which they retweet fairly often. But this time, Rixstep seems to be linking to info14.com – a neo-nazi website. He’s saying that somebody complained about the Amnesty International statement on Assange (he’s not the only one, by the way: Amnesty Sweden have also complained about the same statement) and that the person has a dodgy history. Well: according to the neo-Nazis, anyway. Update: many thanks to this blogpost for pointing out the tweets still exist and we missed them! Here they are:
Rixstep is giving sources from a nazi website as if they are reliable reports. The article on info14 shows that they hate a left-wing activist who they say committed an assault and an arson. Was he arrested for those crimes? We don’t know, but unlike Rixstep, we’re not willing to take the word of a neo-Nazi site against a left-winger.
Assanganista retweets a lot of stuff – including some of ours, so for that account we are inclined to think it was probably just another RT that they spotted on Assange (update: the Assanganista tweets are also still up and the blog post confirms our view – er guys? It’s easier if you tweet us corrections instead of just hoping we find them on your feed by chance!).
It could be that Rixstep didn’t know that info14 is a neo-Nazi site, and that they just tweeted the story because it was critical of an Assange critic (a standard tactic), without checking the credibility or reliability of the source. That is certainly believable, given the scarcity of fact-checking done by some pro-Assange accounts (but especially Rixstep). Update: Rixstep offered this by way of explanation:
— Rixstep News (@rixstepnews) October 25, 2012
So Rixstep appears to be confirming that the twitter feed simply tweets out articles that they happen to agree with, without confirming them, the source, or anything else about them. An interesting admission, and it certainly fits the pattern of the published articles on their site.
It is also worth noting that Rixstep hosts an article by notorious neo-Nazi Tony Olsson – but credit him merely as a “criminal”, without mentioning his politics. The official Wikileaks site justice4assange.com also link to that Olsson article from this page (search for “body language”). So it’s not as if links to Nazis are new to the Assange campaign.
We will be interested to see if those tweets stay up over the next few days.
Update: the tweets did stay up. The responses from Rixstep and Assangista were not sent directly to us, but spotted on their feed by an eagle-eyed reader. The blog post we referred to was written by Assangista. We invite everyone to read it – it makes some very good points, and we are very grateful to Assangista for providing the links to the tweets themselves. We clearly missed the ball on that one, and will have to change the way we search back histories on twitter feeds!
The main point, however, remains unchanged: @Rixstepnews tweets – by their own words – links to a Nazi website because “nobody here knows what the site is”. It’s worth noting that Rixstep also still hosts that article written by a Nazi – without saying that’s what he is. He can’t not know who the most notorious criminal in Sweden is – yet, as with info14 – he doesn’t mention that he’s a Nazi.