Julian Assange was perhaps the most instrumental individual not named Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton during the U.S. presidential election of 2016. The organization he leads, WikiLeaks, released thousands of unredacted, unaltered emails belonging to Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and the greater Democratic National Committee near the end of the campaign cycle. Verified by DKIM, or DomainKeys Indentified Mail, the emails are indisputably legitimate, as far as the IETF or Internet Engineering Task Force, an international body responsible for certifying what technologies and protocols can be considered internet standard, is concerned. The emails were extremely embarrassing and damaged the Clinton campaign, at least to some extent, according to Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.
Whether one believes that Assange and WikiLeaks were in collusion with Russian agents is immaterial; he is sought after by U.S. officials for publishing the sensitive information and for many other subversive activities.
Julian Assange is now making the news again, as CNN reports that sources near to the man are saying that his situation is "unusually bad" and that he may have to depart the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been hiding, at any time on little or no notice. Though no direct quotes emanate from Assange's social media outlet, CNN alleges that sources close to the publisher are concerned about his safety.
"The concern from day one until the present is that if Julian Assange walks out of the Embassy, he will be extradited to face what the executive director of the ACLU described as an 'unprecedented and unconstitutional' prosecution under the US Espionage Act," his lawyer, Melinda Taylor, told CNN.
This news comes a day after RT published a story saying that Julian Assange was willing to testify on the matter surrounding the alleged Russian hacking scandal. It is unlikely that his testimony would aid top democrats, and indeed The Hill reports that Assange was willing to sit down with Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff in order to prove that there was no such Russian interference whatsoever. Schiff's team's reply was terse.
"Our committee would be willing to interview Julian Assange when he is in U.S. custody, not before."
Hailed by the left as a hero when he was the face of the WikiLeaks campaign that saw the release of the Iraq War Logs, the notes revealing a great deal of misdeeds and propaganda offered up by the American military excursion lead by then-president George W. Bush, Assange finds himself assailed by those who lauded him a mere six years prior. The Sydney Morning Herald offers up an analysis of this ironic duality, offering up a more humane and nuanced view of the Australian political prisoner.
"But for those who know him best, Assange is neither hero nor villain, left nor right," the paper writes.
"Instead, says Greg Barns, an adviser to both WikiLeaks and the man himself, Assange has been held up as a blank screen, on which passionate advocates from both sides of politics have projected their own ideals."
"The idea that WikiLeaks and Assange is on the left or right in the partisan sense was always a fiction," Barns said, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
"The role of WikiLeaks, and Assange, is as a publisher and as an entity and person committed to exposing the rottenness that is modern democracy."