Following Clinton email leaks, ‘Assange feels threatened by both Republicans & Democrats’
RT: Assange says people are openly calling for his assassination in the media. Is he right to call this out as extremism in the media, or is he perhaps deliberately mistaking their intent here?
Annie Machon: American politicians have been calling for his assassination, his extrajudicial killing, his life imprisonment, the death penalty, whatever ever since 2010 when WikiLeaks started publishing videos like ‘Collateral Murder,’ which showed war crimes on the part of the American army. They also published the Iraq dossiers, the diplomatic cables, and all the rest of it in 2010 – that’s what made him a global threat. That is why Julian Assange started to be hunted seriously by the American administration, the American intelligence agencies.
What Assange is doing at the moment is pulling together the record of who precisely has been calling for this … What he is highlighting at the moment, I think, is that rather than the Republicans in America, who’ve always been calling for this, now it is also what he calls the ‘tolerant liberals’ – the Democratic Party-type people in America, saying exactly the same things. They feel that he damaged the electoral chances of Hillary Clinton in the election last year. Despite what he says, despite the fact he’s gone on record many times saying it wasn’t a state actor that hacked this information they published - the Democratic National Congress [DNC] and the Podesta e-mails, which came out before the presidential election last year - despite other evidence coming out that it was, in fact, a leak, not a hack, the Democratic movement in America seems to be pursuing him much more vigorously than they have in the past. He’s probably feeling under threat from both the Republican establishment and the Democratic establishment. If in fact nowadays we can say that there is actually a difference.
RT: Assange has been at the receiving end of criticism both from the left and the right ends of the media. Why is he so vilified across the board?
AM: Absolutely. There is a fundamental hypocrisy about how the mainstream, the old media has always dealt with WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is a high-tech conduit, a high-tech publisher for whistleblowers that offers them some protection in a way that old mainstream media doesn’t do to intelligence whistleblowers, and they have done it very successfully. We have a situation where over the last few years we’ve had even the New York Times, for example, which is one of the main beneficiaries of the WikiLeaks publications, has claimed they are a source, not a publisher. This actually throws into stark relief the vulnerability of all our media now. Because if WikiLeaks is not a publisher and the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange can be prosecuted, as the Americans are trying to do - they’ve got a grand jury in Virginia sitting for the last six years trying to find any case they can get him on under the Espionage Act. So if WikiLeaks can be prosecuted for publishing leaked documents, why is the rest of the mainstream media in America not fighting in its corner, because it leaves them very vulnerable, as well. They have been reporting leaks left, right and center ever since Donald Trump has been elected as president from the intelligence agencies in America. So they should all be equally vulnerable under the law. So you would think they would all gather together and try to protect themselves under the law. Rather, they turn on WikiLeaks, because it threatens their business model.
RT: If similar comments directed at Hillary Clinton were published by some newspaper, what do you think the reaction would likely be?
AM: The Hillary Clinton case is interesting because there does appear to be a prima facie case that she did break the law by using a private server to send state confidential and secret e-mails. That was being investigated. That investigation was dropped ahead of the election last year. But yes, there should have been a further investigation into that, because it does seem she may well have broken the law with that. If people started attacking a former secretary of state in America, presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, saying they should call for her execution, for her assassination, for drone bombing, or whatever. And some people are saying: ‘Well, we’re doing that in Libya because she has destabilized and the country has become a basket case and a cradle for ISIS.’ Yes, there would be an outcry. That outcry would probably be from the very same liberal, tolerant people that are calling for the assassination of Julian Assange at the moment. The irony is huge.
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