As­sange vows US vote leaks

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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

Ju­lian As­sange

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