Can Assange turn it around for Trump?
Assange keeps Hillary hanging: WikiLeaks boss says he WON'T publish new documents today - but he promises they'll be out before the election
by DARREN BOYLE
4 October 2016
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will publish US election leaks every week in the run up to November's poll but has denied he is trying to torpedo Hillary Clinton campaign.
Speaking over a video link from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange admitted he was not releasing any new explosive documents today, but had a packed schedule over the next ten weeks. WikiLeaks held a press conference to celebrate the organization's tenth anniversary in Berlin today amid intense speculation that Assange was going to release leaked data which was going to destroy Hillary Clinton's campaign. He said he plans 'to be publishing every week for the next 10 weeks' and the leaks include 'significant material' on war, arms, oil, Google and the US election.
However, following some 90 minutes of appeals for more funding and several
plugs for a new WikiLeaks book, no new information was released into the public
Instead, the organization went through a 'greatest hits' compilation of the most important data dumps of the past decade.
Assange claims to have released 10 million secret documents so far and is preparing to publish a further 10 million.
The first million of those documents will be released later this year.
Assange was evasive when asked the nature of the leaks relating to the US election
campaign, simply insisting 'there are a lot of fascinating angles'.
He said: There's an enormous expectation in the United States - part of that expectation will be answered... but we won't do it at 3am.'
He said 'some of that expectation will be partly answered.'
The briefing was incredibly light on detail. Assange asked himself: 'Do they show interesting features of US power factions? Yes they do.'
Assange used this morning's event to appeal for more assistance from the public.
He said: 'We're going to need... an army to defend us from the pressure that is already starting to arrive.'
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.
Assange said WikiLeaks would scale up 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'.
Asked whether he felt affinity with Clinton's Republican rival Donald Trump, he said: 'I feel personal affinity with all human beings. Through understanding someone, you can feel sorry for them.
'I certainly feel sorry for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. These are two people who are tormented by their ambitions.'
Assange refused to say when the first US election leaks would be published but said his next major release of information would be this week.
He was asked by journalists at the event about his views of the two main presidential candidates. Assange claimed they were both 'tormented by their ambitions'.
However, he stressed he was not going to 'destroy' Hillary Clinton's campaign and claimed he had been misquoted.
Although, he attacked Clinton over her attitude towards the organization.
He said: 'The Hillary Clinton campaign has been going around saying, "Don't read Wikileaks because there's malware."'
He said even if he is forced to resign, WikiLeaks will continue to release top secret information.
He claimed he was going to open up WikiLeaks to membership and wanted to expand the number of media organizations it currently works with.
Journalist Sarah Harrison told a press conference in Berlin that they will continue to publish large archives of information such as the US State Department cables, which she said helped launch the 'Tunisian revolution'.
She accused 'the powers to be' of launching a large spin machine against WikiLeaks in advance of every major release of information.
The organization has denied that it is 'an agent' of Vladimir Putin during today's press conference.
Harrison claimed WikiLeaks has released 650,000 documents relating to Russia with a further 2.3 million emails relating to Bashar al-Assad.
The organization denied playing a partisan role in the US election despite the mass leak of emails from the Democratic National Congress - which WikiLeaks included in their top ten best stories of the past decade.
They said: 'WikiLeaks provides a safe means for whistleblowers to make disclosures to the public on wrongdoing committed by any government or private enterprise. If we have significant confidential information on Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton we will publish it. If we have information on any significant power faction or candidate in a globally significant election campaign, we publish it.'
Harrison told the press conference that Hillary Clinton had even considered 'droning' Assange.
But Assange has at the last minute cancelled what would have been a rare public appearance on the balcony of his 18-square-metre room in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, citing security concerns.
But he remains dauntless. 'Adversity has hardened us,' Assange told German news weekly Der Spiegel in a weekend interview. 'We believe in what we are doing .. If you are pushed you push back.'
Ten years after it was founded, the site has faced growing charges that it is manipulated by politicians - either by recycling documents provided by Moscow, or by allegedly serving the interests of Donald Trump in the US presidential election race.
'We're not going to start censoring our publications because there is a US election,' Assange told Der Spiegel in an interview, published in English online.
WikiLeaks launched in January 2007, with Assange saying it would use encryption and a censorship-proof website to protect sources and publicise 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 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.
That same year it also published a cache of diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world, deeply embarrassing Washington.
'The most important single collection of material we have published is the US diplomatic cable series,' Assange told Der Spiegel.
But 2010 also saw grave blows to the organisation.
Assange was accused of having sex with a woman while she was asleep after the two met at a Stockholm conference.
The white-haired WikiLeaks founder took refuge in the London embassy of Ecuador - which granted him political asylum in 2012 after he lost a legal battle to block his extradition to Sweden.
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.
But Assange's abrasive style and insistence on publishing unredacted documents quickly grated on colleagues and journalists who worked with him.
'If an Afghan civilian helps coalition forces, he deserves to die,' Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies later recalled Assange saying in an argument over whether to remove names from the war logs.
In 2013, former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden chose to leak documents exposing intelligence agencies' mass surveillance programmes to selected journalists instead of offering the trove to WikiLeaks.
And many later whistleblowers have turned to other organisations.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists this year published stories based on data dumps from tax havens Panama and the Bahamas, while environmental group Greenpeace in May released documents from negotiations over a controversial US-EU free trade deal.
WikiLeaks caused a fresh stir in July when it leaked emails showing US Democratic Party officials favouring Hillary Clinton over left-winger Bernie Sanders in presidential primary elections, forcing high-ranking party members to resign.
Assange himself is unmoved by criticisms of his organisation.
'We believe in what we're doing,' he told Spiegel. 'The attacks only make us stronger.'