Julian Assange Answers Questions About Russia, Sources in Reddit AMA

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Julian Assange took part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Tuesday, answering questions about a range of topics including allegations of WikiLeaks colluding with the Russian government.

User Gddboygb asked:

As someone who’s followed WikiLeaks for a long time, what’s most remarkable to me about the US election publications is that this is the only time (with the possible exception of Aaron Swartz) that you’ve ever confirmed or denied a source. You’d been asked previously on multiple occasions to deny a state party was the source for these releases but refused, saying it would be “dangerous” and “irresponsible” to do so.

I found it very suspicious that, just weeks later, the first time you ever denied a source was in a heavily-edited interview aired on RT, an organization that obviously benefits from you denying they’re the source, regardless of whether they are. You’ve reaffirmed the other day that you’re uncomfortable having so.

Your denial, in particular, seems to be spliced together from three separate responses (masked by cuts to reaction shots), in response to a question removed in the cutting room (though the cut happens a few frames after he starts to open his mouth to ask it). With zero follow-up from you or Pilger.

My question is twofold. Do you think the edited interview accurately reflects the answers you gave? If so, did your previous business arrangement with RT in any waeny influence your decision to break WikiLeaks’s most sacred rule in an interview exclusivley aired on their network?

Assange replied:

We have never confirmed or denied a source. We have occasionally stated broad properties about who a source is or is not where we felt it was crucial to do so (to prevent the risk of war or the undermining of the publication). The interview was not with RT it was for Dartmouth and a UK broadcaster. It was then sold, somewhat irritatingly, to RT.

Asking about a source of contention for many WikiLeaks followers, user lookatmeimwhite asked about strange encrypted keys tweeted from the WikiLeaks Twitter account shortly after Assange’s internet connection was severed:

Hi Julian, my question would be what happened on October 16, 2016, when a series of strange encrypted keys were sent via twitter? Why did it seem like you were silenced in October (where’d you go) and why did the encryption used to verify Wikileaks fail?

Assange replied:

It didn’t. The hashes are pre-commits of plain text archives that validate the decryption. Since keys have not yet been released there can be no validation at this point.

User LameMeme asked Assange quite a loaded question,

Please address the allegations that WikiLeaks has a friendly relationship with Russia and cannot be considered objective with their leaks and their agenda. The timeline that makes these allegations seem plausible:

Since you are so adamant that Russia was not involved in the recent leaks that played a major role in the US presidential election, it would be helpful if you can make a compelling case for why Americans should trust you over their own intelligence agencies whose reason for existence is to defend the US against foreign threats and who are saying the opposite about Russian involvement.

Assange replied:

I have seen this rubbish again and again and again. Let’s pull back and understand what’s going on. WikiLeaks has published more than ten million documents over ten years. We have a 100% accuracy rate on authenticating our publications. Everyone in the media knows that we have a 100% accuracy rate. Despite our publications affecting powerful groups, which are by definition are connected to the establishment media, this media is in a difficult position. Due to the perfect credibility of our content, ad hominem attacks are used to color perception or create displacement because no direct attack is possible. So, we get all sorts of ad hominem attacks about WikiLeaks, about our sources and about me – i’ve been called a cat torturer, A Mossad agent, CIA agent, a Russian agent now, and a pedophile twice recently on CNN (by the former CIA 2IC).

WikiLeaks has published more than 800,000 documents that relate to Russia or Vladimir Putin. Most of those are critical. More than 2 million are from Syria. We have material from China, we’ve been banned in China, etc. Each country’s establishment tends to perceive WikiLeaks as something that is difficult for them and that erodes the authority of state institutions and that’s true in the United States.

WikiLeaks said it was ready to drop a bombshell on Russia? Not quite, we said we had important document pertaining to Russian corruption and yes, the FSB was apparently quoted as saying that they can electronically attack WikiLeaks. We published regardless. Those were the Russian-related documents in the our diplomatic cables series and they are extremely strong on Chechnya and Russian crime. A number of books were written from that, some calling Russia a mafia state. A number of successful lawsuits against the Russian State have made use of those documents and other documents.

Another common untruth is the claim that I worked for RT, the Russian State TV. It’s absolutely false. In 2012, we setup a production company and our production company worked with Dartmouth Films, a UK production company and a distributor, Journeyman Pitches, and twelve episodes were filmed of me interviewing people. It was called The World Tomorrow. It was my first TV production. We licensed that to a dozen different outfits and RT was one of them. RT aggressively promoted it internationally and then people tried to twist this story into having a “job” at RT because they have no arguments about content.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com



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