Assange Makes Statement At Web Summit, Defends Publishing Clinton Emails

Julian Assange’s legal advisor Juan Branco appeared today at the world’s leading technology event Web Summit in Lisbon, and released a statement in which the WikiLeaks editor addresses the pressure put on the organisation to stop publishing details that could be potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“On the eve of the election, it is important to restate why we have published what we have.” Says Assange. He goes on to reiterate that, “The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks” and that “the organization defends the public’s right to be informed.”

Despite increasing pressure in recent weeks, WikiLeaks has continued to publish Clinton’s emails, stating that,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.”

“This is not due to a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election. The Democratic and Republican candidates have both expressed hostility towards whistleblowers. I spoke at the launch of the campaign for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, because her platform addresses the need to protect them.”

However Assange partially admits that the actions of WikiLeaks may very well have an influence over the way in which the public votes, referencing the circumstances surrounding George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. “the New York Times withheld evidence of illegal mass surveillance of the US population for a year [. . .] denying the public a critical understanding of the incumbent president George W Bush, which probably secured his reelection. The current editor of the New York Times has distanced himself from that decision.”

He then goes on to argue that, “To withhold such information until after the election would have been to favour one of the candidates above the public’s right to know.”

“The US public defends free speech more passionately, but the First Amendment only truly lives through its repeated exercise. The First Amendment explicitly prevents the executive from attempting to restrict anyone’s ability to speak and publish freely.”

Assange accuses “those who have attempted to malign our groundbreaking work” of attempting to “inhibit public understanding perhaps because it is embarrassing to them – a reason for censorship the First Amendment cannot tolerate.”

He ends his statement by simply saying that “WikiLeaks must publish.  It must publish and be damned.”