A new documentary about WikiLeaks has put the transparency organisation up in arms.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the group will publish about one million documents related to the US presidential election and three governments in coming weeks, but denied the release was aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton.
Assange, speaking via a video link on Tuesday, said the documents would be made public before the end of the year, starting with an initial batch in the coming week.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 4, 2016
Assange, 45, who remains at the Ecuadoran embassy in London where he sought refuge in 2012 to avoid possible extradition to Sweden, said the election material was “significant” and would come out before the November 8 vote.
He criticised Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, for demonising WikiLeaks’ work after a spate of releases related to the Democratic National Committee.
“The material that WikiLeaks is going to publish before the end of the year is of … a very significant moment in different directions, affecting three powerful organisations in three different states as well as … the US election process,” he said via a video link at an event in Berlin, marking the group’s 10th anniversary.
He said the material would focus on war, weapons, oil, mass surveillance, the technology giant Google and the US election, but declined to give any details.
“There has been a misquoting of me and WikiLeaks publications … [suggesting] we intend to harm Hillary Clinton or I intend to harm Hillary Clinton or that I don’t like Hillary Clinton. All those are false,” he said.
For weeks Donald Trump supporters had been waiting for WikiLeaks to publish documents they hoped would destroy Clinton’s chances in November.
Long-time Trump supporter Roger Stone even tweeted that after the Assange press conference, the Clinton campaign would be “done”.
Thousands of Trump supporters from around the US stayed up on Monday night to find out about the much-hyped WikiLeaks revelation, and shared their comments under the hashtag “October Surprise” on Twitter.
Assange's #Octobersurprise is kinda like Christmas morning for Trump supporters. We don't know what we're getting but we're sooo excited!!
— DeplorableYalie (@CleanGOPHouse) October 3, 2016
Assange also signalled changes in the way WikiLeaks is organised and funded, saying the group would soon open itself to membership. He said it was looking to expand its media ties beyond the 100 outlets it already works with.
Asked how he felt after four years in the embassy, he said “pale” and joked that he would be a good candidate for a medical study since he was otherwise healthy, but had not seen the sun in more than four years.
Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations in 2010. He denies the charges, and says he fears subsequent extradition to the United States, where a criminal investigation into the activities of WikiLeaks is under way.
In 2010, WikiLeaks released more than 90,000 secret documents on the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan, followed by almost 400,000 US military reports detailing operations in Iraq.
Those disclosures were followed by the release of millions of diplomatic cables dating back to 1973.