To say that Julian Assange has had a voice regarding the 2016 U.S. presidential election is an understatement. He has promised to, and followed through with, exposing vital leaks that question everything we’ve been told to believe about the morality of U.S. politics. He has delivered information that threatens the livelihood of politicians in a way that is impossible to ignore; emails that cannot be unseen, that cannot be justified, and that cannot be taken lightly.
Yet here we are rushing to polling locations, throwing out our last words of encouragement or disdain on social media outlets and in person over the candidates, or writing out our frustrations. But one must ask, what does one of the most current powerful political figures in the world think as just a few hours stand between all the leaks, all the opinions, and the final outcome of who will be the U.S. president for the next four years?
We don’t have to guess, because Assange posted his thoughts in a statement on WikiLeaks.
“In recent months, WikiLeaks and I personally have come under enormous pressure to stop publishing what the Clinton campaign says about itself to itself. That pressure has come from the campaign’s allies, including the Obama administration, and from liberals who are anxious about who will be elected US President,” he began.
It’s the eve of the election, and Assange finds it pertinent to restate why WikiLeaks released such damaging information with urgency: because the organization must follow through with their mission to defend the public’s right to be informed.
“This is why, irrespective of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election, the real victor is the US public which is better informed as a result of our work,” Assange says.
He points out the uncomfortable revelation of the more than one hundred thousand documents released in regards to U.S. politics, but says that it’s “an open model of journalism that gatekeepers are uncomfortable with, but which is perfectly harmonious with the First Amendment.”
He continues on to say:
“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.
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.”
Furthermore, Assange makes it very clear that such leaks have nothing to do with a desire to influence the outcome of the election. “Publishing is what we do. To withhold the publication of such information until after the election would have been to favour one of the candidates above the public’s right to know.”
Assange also points out that, no matter the criticism, no matter the powerful figures trying to bury the work WikiLeaks has done in the past four months, it is impossible for anyone to claim their publications are inaccurate.
“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 wraps up his statement with a swift reminder that there is no stopping the truth from coming out, and WikiLeaks will continue, even after this election, to make sure of that.
“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.”
Read the full statement here.
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