WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday accused “the American liberal press” of “erecting a demon” by shielding Hillary Clinton from criticism.
Mr. Assange took part in an hourlong interview with The New York Times on Facebook Live to discuss his role in influencing the 2016 presidential election.
He told journalist Jo Becker from the Ecuadorean embassy in London — where he has evaded extradition to Sweden for five years over sexual assault charges he calls political retribution — that reporters were doing the nation a disservice by not properly covering Mrs. Clinton’s record.
“The American liberal press, in falling over themselves to defend Hillary Clinton, are erecting a demon that is going to put nooses around everyone’s necks as soon as she wins the election, which is almost certainly what she’s going to do,” Mr. Assange said.
The newspaper pushed Mr. Assange on his own potential biases, to which he replied that WikiLeaks’ “enormous range” is not highlighted in the news. He said that his organization has exposed high-level corruption in numerous countries via the release of 10 million documents, including money-laundering schemes and the “oil-money mill” in Russia.
WikiLeaks released almost 20,000 emails from seven accounts belonging to DNC staffers in July. Critics of the group and its 154 staffers say it works to undermine the presidential aspirations of the former secretary of state.
“We don’t target the West. We are an investigative publisher,” Mr. Assange said. “We also represent whistleblowers who want to speak to the public like a lawyer to the greatest court in the world, the court of public opinion. We don’t target anyone.”
Mr. Assange, who claimed Ms. Clinton was creating “a neo-McCarthyist hysteria” over his links to Russia, told Fox News on Aug. 26 that the most explosive material on her will be released before the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Wikileaks was launched in 2007 and bills itself as the world’s preeminent defender of freedom of speech and media publishing. Its volunteers ensure continued funding and the facilitation of leaked documents through anonymous electronic drop boxes and a network of lawyers around the globe.
“WikiLeaks has released more classified intelligence documents than the rest of the world press combined,” the organization boasts on its website. The organization has never revealed the identity of its sources.
Among its highest-profile leaks have been documents and videos on civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan at American hands, some of which, according to the U.S. military, came from Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning (Bradley Manning at the time). Other leaks included a trove of U.S. diplomatic cables and documents on the handling of terrorism detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Though the group has targeted other governments and private banks, these cases generally had disposed conservatives poorly toward the group (and disposed liberals well) until the Hillary Clinton / DNC leaks.
• Douglas Ernst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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