Julian Assange: Why he's teasing pre-election Wikileaks document dump

Julian Assange: Over the past decade, Wikileaks has been adversarial to Republican and Democratic administrations alike; during the current election season, that means lots of material for opponents of Hillary Clinton.

Axel Schmidt/Reuters
From the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, takes part in a press conference as Wikileaks journalist Sarah Harrison speaks with reporters in Berlin, celebrating the publication's 10-year anniversary Tuesday.

Wikileaks, a controversial website that has spent the past decade publishing government secrets, unveiled plans Tuesday to release about a million documents more before the end of the year, including material related to the US elections.

The site, which embarrassed the Democratic National Convention earlier this year by publishing hacked emails, will further reveal "interesting features of US power factions and how they operate," Julian Assange, its founder, told reporters in Berlin via live video stream. To celebrate the website's 10th anniversary, Wikileaks plans to publish weekly for the next 10 weeks, he said.

Mr. Assange – who denied reports that his goal is to harm Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – launched Wikileaks during US President George W. Bush's second term, revealing manuals and operating procedures in place at Guantanamo Bay under the Republican administration's leadership the following year.

The website's adversarial approach to American power continued under the current Democratic administration, with the release of graphic war video and private diplomatic cabals during Mrs. Clinton's time as secretary of State. This shift in attention to the party in power has resulted in more damaging material for Clinton's opponents to cite.

Roger Stone, a friend and adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, called Assange his "hero" on Twitter and said Wikileaks would end Clinton's chances at the White House.

During the Tuesday press conference, Assange was at Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has stayed since seeking asylum there in 2012. Wanted for questioning in Sweden, where he has been accused of rape, Assange denied the allegations and said he fears extradition to the United States, where his work is the subject of a criminal investigation.

His attorney, Melinda Taylor, said during the press conference that her client has been inappropriately deprived of his freedom, citing a February decision by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The decision said Sweden and Britain have been legally responsible for Assange's detention, she said.

"But it was clear from the subtext of the decision that there was a larger villain lurking in the background," Ms. Taylor said, adding that "the long arm of the US had reached out to its allies and indicated that it wanted Assange by any means possible."

"They don't see him as the publisher," she added. "They see him as an enemy combatant who must be brought to heel by any means possible."

Cybersecurity expert Chris Rock told The Christian Science Monitor in August that he expected the elections-related Wikileaks disclosure, though the content of the disclosure might be misleading:

I don’t care whether it’s real or fake. Release something that’s fake. By the time is vetted and deemed fake, it’s too late.

You can say Hillary Clinton accepted donations from ISIS. The National Rifle Association. Whatever it is. Dump it to WikiLeaks or media who don’t follow two source rule. We all know you can dump a piece of information to certain media and 100 other media will follow it by using that as single source. So you can manipulate the media into doing what you want.

Material from Reuters was included in this report.

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