It has been another odd week for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Internet rumors have been running for weeks. Assange followers have been asking "is Julian Assange dead?" or "where is Julian Assange?" As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Assange hasn't been seen in public since WikiLeaks released the Clinton and Podesta emails during the run-up to the election. The Ecuadorian embassy cut off Assange's internet connection after U.S. officials complained that Assange and WikiLeaks were attempting to influence the result of the presidential election. People began to fear that Assange had been assassinated or renditioned to the U.S. by the CIA.
The intense speculation regarding Assange's whereabouts even prompted WikiLeaks to use social media to ask that people stop demanding proof that Assange is alive. The first clue that Assange is alive and still within the Ecuadorian embassy in London came last week. Assange released a statement demanding to be freed from "arbitrary detention" after the latest UN ruling on his case. Assange's plea came on the sixth anniversary of his detention by London's metropolitan police.
Assange's hopes appear to be dashed, at least in the short term, because the UK and Swedish governments have indicated that they will defy the ruling. Those demanding proof that Assange is alive would have been cheered this week when Sean Hannity interviewed Assange on his nationally syndicated radio show. In the Hannity interview, Assange appears to shoot down the claims that state-sponsored Russian hackers were responsible for the DNC, Clinton, and Podesta email leaks.
So, What Does Julian Assange Say About Russian Hackers?
It can't have escaped anyone's notice that everyone from president Obama to the CIA have claimed that Russia was behind the cyber-attack. Today NPR reports that Obama has promised that the U.S. will take "retaliatory action" against Russia.
"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections... we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be."
Obama went on to claim that Donald Trump benefited from the email scandals, which showed Clinton and her advisors in a poor light.
"There's no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary's emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC."
As might be expected, Donald Trump refutes the claims that he benefited from the leak, but the Independent claims that Trump condones Russian hacking "if the information is valuable."In the interview with Hannity, Julian Assange made the point that the Obama administration and the CIA are blaming the Russians for interfering in the election, while the FBI and the director of National Intelligence say there is no proof of that.
Assange was unusually direct when discussing sources. Normally, WikiLeaks does not discuss their sources, largely to protect whistleblowers. The Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden cases show what happens when that sort of information is disclosed. That said, Assange emphatically denies, that WikiLeaks got their information from the Russian government. In fact, Assange says that the information came largely from "someone legally entitled to access the files."
"We're unhappy that we felt that we needed to even say that it wasn't a state party. Normally, we say nothing at all. We have... a strong interest in protecting our sources, and so we never say anything about them, never ruling anyone in or anyone out."
Assange went on to launch a scathing attack on the U.S. media, and he claims that their bias towards Clinton was a huge factor in Trump's victory.
"There was intense pressure in the United States from the mainstream media to make people feel ashamed for wanting to vote for Donald Trump, and to make them feel that they had to vote for Hillary Clinton, even though they didn't want to.
'The degree of bias they've been showing during this election…this is the other reason why Trump won."
It seems that Assange is alive and well, and still inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange's detention has been declared unlawful, and his supporters are asking why members of the UN are refusing to abide by its ruling.
[Featured Image by Markus Schreiber/AP Images]