WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Democracy Now!)
Many questions remain about the role WikiLeaks played in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, addressed many of them on Monday in a Democracy Now! interview with Amy Goodman and Juan González.
Speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living for almost five years, Assange maintained that Russia was not the source of leaked documents about Hillary Clinton, and he accused the Democrats of blaming Russia and WikiLeaks for Clinton’s loss to Trump.
Here is an exchange between González and Assange.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Julian, I want to turn to Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff speaking at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee last month.
Square, Site wide, Mobile
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Later in July and after the convention, the first stolen emails detrimental to Hillary Clinton appear on WikiLeaks. A hacker who goes by the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claims responsibility for hacking the DNC and giving the documents to WikiLeaks. The leading private cybersecurity firms, including CrowdStrike, Mandiant and ThreatConnect, reviewed the evidence of the hack and conclude, with high certainty, that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29, who are known to be Russian intelligence services. The U.S. intelligence community also later confirms that the documents were in fact stolen by Russian intelligence, and Guccifer 2.0 acted as a front. Also in late July, candidate Trump praises WikiLeaks, says he loves them, and openly appeals to the Russians to hack his opponent’s emails, telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Congressman Adam Schiff. Julian, I’m wondering if you could respond to some of the things he’s saying in that statement?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, Mr. Schiff is a Democratic congressman who’s trying to whip up a kind of neo-McCarthyist fervor in order to distract from the epic failure of Hillary Clinton and that team when they lost, of all people, to Donald Trump. So, it’s not particularly interesting.
I think we should pull back and put things in context. The United States government, since 1950, has intervened in 81 elections—interfered, to use Schiff’s language, in 81 elections. That is not including coups, which have overthrown the government. So there’s a long history of the United States doing this to places around the world, in infamous ways, and, most recently, alleged interference in the election of Israel. So, I think we should understand that the United States is in a glass house when it comes to allegations of attempting to interfere with or influence election results.
But let’s look at what is the real meat of this issue. How is it alleged that Russia has interfered in the U.S. election process? While they say there’s been a variety of hacks, well, that’s quite normal intelligence gathering process, as far as can be determined, and a few extremely ineffectual websites, such as DC Leaks or Guccifer 2.0, that no one really paid any attention to, and then there’s our publications, which people really did pay attention to.
Now, what is in our publications? Well, from our perspective, we have just published, accurately and fairly, what Hillary Clinton said her positions were, in her secret speeches to Goldman Sachs and in relation to the DNC and its attempt to rig the election to exclude the primary—primary person, sorry, to exclude Bernie Sanders. So, at the heart of this issue is whether people were told the truth about Hillary Clinton and the DNC. If there hadn’t been an ugly truth there, it wouldn’t have made any difference. There was an ugly truth. And we published, accurately and fairly, that ugly truth. Now, our source wasn’t from the Russian state. But if it had been from a state, would we have suppressed that information before an election, or would we have accurately and fairly published it? Of course we would have published it.
Watch the full interview below.
To read the transcript of the above interview, click here.
In another Democracy Now! interview on Monday, Assange appeared with activist and journalist Allan Nairn and discussed whether WikiLeaks stayed “true to its radical transparency mission” and avoided playing partisan politics by releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, during the 2016 election.
To read the transcript of the interview with Nairn and Assange, click here.
In a third interview, Assange talked about the “Vault 7” release of secret CIA documents in March.
To read the transcript of the Vault 7 interview, click here.
—Posted by Eric Ortiz