Assange vows US vote leaks
BERLIN: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed yesterday to publish new “significant” documents related to the US presidential elections ahead of the Nov 8 vote, as the online leaking platform celebrated its 10th birthday in defiant mood. Taking aim at critics accusing him and his organization of manipulation, Assange pledged he would not be muzzled as he sought to raise “an army” of supporters to join in the defense of WikiLeaks.
“We hope to be publishing every week for the next 10 weeks. We have on schedule... all the US election related documents to come out before November 8,” Assange, wearing a black Tshirt bearing the word “Truth”, told journalists via webcast from the Ecuadoran embassy in London where he has been holed up since 2012. He refused to reveal if the US-vote related documents would hurt Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton or target her Republican rival Donald Trump. But the white-haired WikiLeaks founder described the material as “significant” with “a lot of fascinating angles”. “Do they show interesting features on power factions and how they operate? Yes they do,” he said.
Ten years after it was founded, Wikileaks has faced growing charges that it is manipulated by politicians - either by recycling documents provided by
Moscow, or by allegedly serving the interests of Trump in the US presidential election race. And Assange himself took refuge in the Ecuador embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is accused of raping a woman while she was asleep. The 45-year-old has always maintained the allegations are false and has refused to travel to Stockholm for questioning due to concerns that Sweden will hand him over to the US to stand trial for espionage.
He has come under fresh pressure after WikiLeaks published some 20,000 internal emails on the eve of the US Democratic Party convention that forced top party officials to quit. Assange charged that WikiLeaks was now the target of a witch hunt orchestrated in particular by Clinton, likening it to the repression of American communists in the 1950s driven by then senator Joseph McCarthy.
But he said he would not back down. Rather, WikiLeaks will scale up operations to “amplify our publications and to defend us against what is really a quite remarkable McCarthyist push in the United States at the moment, principally by Hillary Clinton and her allies because she happens to be the person being exposed at the moment,” he said.
The domain name wikileaks.org was registered in 2006 and launched in Jan 2007, with Assange saying it would use encryption and a censorship-proof website to protect sources and publicize secret information. The site has since published more than 10 million leaked documents. It first caught the world’s attention when it released manuals for US prison guards at Guantanamo Bay. But it really hit its stride in 2010, unveiling logs of US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a video showing a US helicopter crew mowing down a group of unarmed civilians - including two journalists - in Baghdad. — AFP