‘No evidence Assange needed Russia to access Clinton emails’

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange © Peter Nicholls
It would be very helpful if Julian Assange could perhaps give some indication, without revealing his sources, how he got hold of the Clinton email information, human rights activist Peter Tatchell told RT.

Julian Assange responded to claims Russia is behind the WikiLeaks revelations about Hillary Clinton, adding that he feels "sorry" for the Democratic presidential candidate.

RT: Assange says he has no links to the Russian government - what does the Clinton camp hope to achieve by accusing him of clandestinely cooperating with Moscow?

Peter Tatchell: What we do know is that for the last decade, WikiLeaks has been involved in releasing information to expose government deceptions, cover ups and human right abuses. It’s done that with the aid of a number of whistleblowers, best known being, of course, Chelsea Manning. There is no evidence that WikiLeaks needed or did use Russia in any way to release that information. With regard to the emails with the Clinton campaign, the accusation is made but the evidence has not been produced. Julian Assange says he didn’t get his information from Russia. I think we have to treat his claim with a fair degree of recognition. But of course most of us simply don’t know. It would be very helpful if Julian Assange could perhaps give some indications - without revealing his sources - how we did get this information. That might help scotch these rumors.

RT: We often hear from the Clinton camp that it’s been Russia who helped to leak the information, that Assange is a Putin puppet, etc. What good does it do to Clinton’s camp of trying to bring in some sort of ‘Russian bogeyman’ into this?

PT: Well, I guess it is scare tactics, and also an attempt to deflect attention away from some other issues. America is a very patriotic country – the idea of Russian interference would not go down well with many in the American electorate. So that is maybe part of that. But again I want to emphasize that we simply don’t know. I am not in the position to say, whether Russia is involved or not. What I do know is that all states - Russia, the US, Britain - engage in espionage, in hacking, in all kinds of cyber warfare. That is a fact of life.

Obviously, Julian Assange is a bit of a complex character in the West: people either love him, or really despise him. I think what they are trying to achieve is to discredit him, to make him essentially hated and seen as a puppet of Russia. Because that will completely discredit him, his organization, Wikileaks, and essentially discredit his work. Matteo Bergamini, Founder and Director, Shoutout UK, told RT.

Whether Russia is involved in this case I can’t say, but of course it is very convenient for the Clinton campaign to make that counter accusation as a way of deflecting attention away from the substance of what the emails have revealed. That is the real story. The real story is what’s in the emails, not the means by which they came to light (…) It is a very damaging insinuation against Clinton, and I think the world needs to know the facts. We need to know what does the FBI director know, and what is the basis of that information. And then, perhaps, we can make an assessment about whether that is of any relevance at all to the Clinton campaign.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.