On the day of the US presidential election, Julian Assange has made a statement on the intent of Wikileaks and their guiding principles. He explains that far from trying to influence the election, WikiLeaks are providing people with information that will allow them to make an educated and informed decision when they vote.
“We publish material given to us if it is of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical importance and which has not been published elsewhere. When we have material that fulfills this criteria, we publish. We had information that fit our editorial criteria which related to the Sanders and Clinton campaign (DNC Leaks) and the Clinton political campaign and Foundation (Podesta Emails). No one disputes the public importance of these publications. It would be unconscionable for WikiLeaks to withhold such an archive from the public during an election.”
Assange has rejected the claim in his statement that he is out for revenge because U.S. Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning was jailed for 35 years or because Hillary Clinton publicly proclaimed of Julian, “Can’t we just drone this guy?” He also adamantly denied that WikiLeaks have been trying to sway the election in support of Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
In fact, he goes on to say that publishing is the lifeblood of the organization and what they do; withholding information until the election has concluded would have actually been to show favor to one particular candidate over the importance of the “public’s right to know.”
Some political pundits, journalists, and liberals have been questioning why there have been no leaked revelations about Donald Trump or Clinton’s opponents if WikiLeaks is really an impartial informant and publisher, but Julian Assange answers this question succinctly in his statement by explaining that they have received no credible information on other candidates that fulfills their “stated editorial criteria.”
“At the same time, we cannot publish what we do not have. To date, we have not received information on Donald Trump’s campaign, or Jill Stein’s campaign, or Gary Johnson’s campaign or any of the other candidates that fufills our stated editorial criteria. As a result of publishing Clinton’s cables and indexing her emails we are seen as domain experts on Clinton archives. So it is natural that Clinton sources come to us.”
Julian goes on to explain in his statement that when you decide to withhold important information at such a critical juncture as right before an election, you are actually putting the public at a great disadvantage and may even be seriously harming them. He continues with the illustration of how the New York Times decided to keep a story out of the spotlight before the 2004 US presidential election that involved evidence of illegal mass surveillance of the US population, and this decision on the part of that editor may have helped to secure George W. Bush’s reelection.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 8, 2016
When Clinton’s leaked emails first appeared on the scene, those who were involved with her campaign had insinuated that this was due to some alliance on the part of WikiLeaks with Russia. These statements were proven false and shown to be a way to distract the public from the contents of the messages. And Julian Assange makes it patently clear that WikiLeaks goes out of their way to authenticate each and every publication that goes through them before it is released.
“WikiLeaks’ decade-long pristine record for authentication remains. Our key publications this round have even been proven through the cryptographic signatures of the companies they passed through, such as Google. It is not every day you can mathematically prove that your publications are perfect, but this day is one of them.”
Assange also states that, unlike corporate publishers, WikiLeaks are accountable to those funding them and rely solely on public donations and support, which therefore enables them to be completely independent and publish the truth as they see fit. However, because they don’t have the large resources that other media organizations and publishers have, they are unable to answer every criticism directed at them as this would take away from valuable time spent analyzing and publishing documents.
“Wikileaks remains committed to publishing information that informs the public, even if many, especially those in power, would prefer not to see it. WikiLeaks must publish. It must publish and be damned.”
Now that Julian Assange has given a statement on the day of the election, do you agree that the public has a right to demand the truth out of its media organizations?
[Featured Image by Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Images]