One of the big pre-Democratic convention political news stories was the Wikileaks release of DNC emails that purportedly showed party officials working to ensure that Hillary Clinton won the nomination over Bernie Sanders. There was a brief but powerful firestorm over the release that was largely put to rest when Sanders indicated his support for Clinton and urged his followers to get behind her as well.
But discussion of the emails has continued, with some referring to evidence that Russian hackers may have been involved, and speculating that the intent was to help Donald Trump by harming Clinton. Trump is even adding fuel to the fire by telling the Russians that the American press will “reward” them for finding and releasing Clinton’s email. And now the man behind Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is admitting that the timing of the email dump was intended to hurt Clinton as much as possible during the Democratic National Convention.
On June 12, Assange told British network ITV that his organization was in possession of “emails related to Hillary Clinton.” He was asked point-blank by interviewer Robert Peston whether his intentions were to hurt Clinton and help Trump. Assange called Trump unpredictable but said he thought he knew exactly what Clinton would do as president. And he made it clear that part of his concern is what a Clinton presidency would mean for Julian Assange. He told Peston that Clinton was among those who wanted to indict him over the Wikileaks release of American defense documents provided by Chelsea Manning.
Time notes that little attention was paid to what Assange told Peston last month because everyone assumed that he was talking about email from Clinton’s private server. But on July 25, Assange told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez that getting the data out to the public just before the Democratic convention was of paramount importance to him.
Often it’s the case that we have to do a lot of exploration and marketing of the material we publish ourselves to get a big political impact for it. But in this case, we knew, because of the pending DNC, because of the degree of interest in the U.S. election, we didn’t need to establish partnerships with The New York Times or The Washington Post. In fact, that might be counterproductive, because they are partisans of one group or another. Rather, we took the data set, analyzed it, verified it, made it in a presentable, searchable form, presented it for all journalists and the public to mine.
If the American left has any illusions remaining about Julian Assange being some sort of great hero for democracy, this should put an end to that belief. Assange is conducting a personal vendetta against Hillary Clinton, who he suggests would be more of a danger to the world than the lunatic she is running against. He gives not one damn if Trump gets elected, as long as Clinton doesn’t.
If Wikileaks wanted to do Americans a favor, they should find and release Trump’s tax returns, which his campaign is now saying he will never release.
For the short-term at least Assange’s plan seems to have failed. Democrats have come together in a show of unity in Philadelphia. Sanders has asked his followers to support Clinton, and some 90 percent of them are doing so, according to recent reports.
Here is what Assange had to say about the email dump on Democracy Now!:
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