Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Julian Assange Release from Web Summit Lisbon

Image result for web summit lisbon

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.

On the eve of the election, it is important to restate why we have
published what we have.

The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle
of WikiLeaks – an organization that has a staff and organizational mission
far beyond myself. Our organization defends 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.

The US public has thoroughly engaged with WikiLeaks' election related
publications which number more than one hundred thousand documents.
Millions of Americans have poured over the leaks and passed on their
citations to each other and to us. It is an open model of journalism that
gatekeepers are uncomfortable with, but which is perfectly harmonious with
the First Amendment.

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.

We publish as fast as our resources will allow and as fast as the public
can absorb it.

That is our commitment to ourselves, to our sources, and to the public.

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. This is an issue that is close to my heart
because of the Obama administration's inhuman and degrading treatment of
one of our alleged sources, Chelsea Manning. But WikiLeaks publications are
not an attempt to get Jill Stein elected or to take revenge over Ms
Manning's treatment either.

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.

This is after all what happened when the New York Times withheld evidence
of illegal mass surveillance of the US population for a year until after
the 2004 election, 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 and rightly so.

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. The First Amendment
does not privilege old media, with its corporate advertisers and
dependencies on incumbent power factions, over WikiLeaks' model of
scientific journalism or an individual's decision to inform their friends
on social media. The First Amendment unapologetically nurtures the
democratization of knowledge. With the Internet, it has reached its full
potential.

Yet, some weeks ago, in a tactic reminiscent of Senator McCarthy and the
red scare, Wikileaks, Green Party candidate Stein, Glenn Greenwald and
Clinton's main opponent were painted with a broad, red brush. The Clinton
campaign, when they were not spreading obvious untruths, pointed to
unnamed sources or to speculative and vague statements from the
intelligence community to suggest a nefarious allegiance with Russia. The
campaign was unable to invoke evidence about our publications--because none
exists.

In the end, those who have attempted to malign our groundbreaking work
over the past four months seek to inhibit public understanding perhaps
because it is embarrassing to them – a reason for censorship the First
Amendment cannot tolerate. Only unsuccessfully do they try to claim that
our 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.

We have endured intense criticism, primarily from Clinton supporters, for
our publications. Many long-term supporters have been frustrated because
we have not addressed this criticism in a systematic way or responded to a
number of false narratives about Wikileaks’ motivation or sources.
Ultimately, however, if WL reacted to every false claim, we would have to
divert resources from our primary work.

WikiLeaks, like all publishers, is ultimately accountable to its funders.
Those funders are you. Our resources are entirely made up of contributions
from the public and our book sales. This allows us to be principled,
independent and free in a way no other influential media organization is.
But it also means that we do not have the resources of CNN, MSNBC or the
Clinton campaign to constantly rebuff criticism.

Yet if the press obeys considerations above informing the public, we are
no longer talking about a free press, and we are no longer talking about
an informed public.

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.