As the online document-leaking site WikiLeaks and its 45-year-old founder Julian Assange continue to post documents stolen from inside the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign — and Clinton’s Republican opponent Donald Trump has repeatedly used information from the WikiLeaks dumps to attack her — questions have been raised about why Assange has tied himself so strongly to Trump’s campaign.
The CEO of Trump’s campaign, Steve Bannon, is also the editor of the alt-right websiteBreitbart News and a leading hero to the alt-right, or white nationalist, movement himself.
On Friday, Assange received a message of thanks and praise on Twitter from one of the best-known white nationalist extremists in the United States, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.
But what many of Assange’s supporters may not realize is that his support for the white nationalist-linked Trump campaign is not the first time the WikiLeaks founder has shown support for a race-based, right-wing movement.
Assange and WikiLeaks have so far leaked no information about the Trump campaign, and as Trump has repeatedly warned that the November election will be “rigged,” Assange on the Wikileaks Twitter feed recently echoed Trump’s language and his theme.
The white nationalists may seem strange company to keep for Assange, who has been hailed as a “hero” by some figures on the left-wing progressive political spectrum, including Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein who invited Assange to speak at the national Green Party convention in August — which the WikiLeaks founder did via a satellite hookup from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been holed up since 2012, fleeing a rape charge in Sweden.
But Assange’s attempts to tip the U.S. election in Trump’s favor have been so evident that the government of Ecuador last week cut off his access to the internet from inside their embassy, issuing a statement declaring, “Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states,” a statement acknowledging that Assange has been doing exactly that, on behalf of Trump.
Assange’s seeming affinity for Trump and the alt-right may seem less surprising in light of his 2013 attempt to win a seat in the Senate in his native Australia — reportedly believing that if could win elective office, he would be shielded from the rape charges against him and could leave the London embassy.
To allow him to run by remote control from London, Assange founded a political party he dubbed, appropriately enough, the WikiLeaks Party.
But as recounted in a report by the Daily Beast news site, while officials actually in Australia running the WikiLeaks Party planned to establish their base of support by linking with Australia’s Green Party and other progressive political groups.
Instead, the party splintered when Assange — who later denied involvement — instead struck alliances with two extreme right-wing organizations, the pro-gun Shooters and Fishers Party, and the openly white nationalist Australia First Party, who lists “abolish multiculturalism” as one of its “core policies” on the party’s website.
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In a radio interview at the time of the controversy, Assange pulled back from the right-wing alliances, offering only a vague explanation and saying “we’re not sure what’s happened.”