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Assange is the founder of the WikiLeaks organization. He was accused of rape in Sweden shortly after releasing documents provided to him by Bradley Manning. He is avoiding answering to these allegations by taking refuge in the Ecuador embassy in London.
Assange has repeatedly said that his source for the leaked documents in the 2016 presidential election was not the Russian government even though there is evidence of it coming from the Russians. According to the CIA, the documents were passed through a third-party to Assange from the Russian government.
Under Assange, WikiLeaks publishes few, if any, leaks about the Russian government. Assange says that the reason for this is because there are many more appropriate avenues in Russia than WikiLeaks and that WikiLeaks is mainly for a Western audience. However, when the Panama Papers exposed corruption among Russia’s political and business leaders in April 2017, Assange denounced them as an attempt by then president Obama and George Soros to destabilize Russia (no evidence was given to support this claim). This criticism contradicts the stated purpose of WikiLeaks in leaking sensitive information from corrupt governments.
When Edward Snowden leaked documents to him, Assange arranged for Snowden to be able to take refuge in Russia (rather than in Latin America as planned). There have been incidents where Putin, a secretive and authoritarian ruler, has defended either Assange or WikiLeaks. The consensus is that Assange is not an agent of Russia but does have an “enemy of my enemy” type of relationship.
When funding through credit card networks dried up due to the banks refusing to process donations to WikiLeaks, Assange was featured on Russia Today, a Russian owned propaganda network, in a show where he was the host. While he was never officially an employee of RT, he was paid for his services. The terms were never disclosed but the funding had come directly from the Kremlin.
Nadya Tolokno, a member of Pussy Riot, was quoted as saying that Assange considers himself at war with the United States and that he will use any means to destroy it. When WikiLeaks gained international attention in 2010, it established itself as primarily an outlet of leaked documents from the United States and its allies.
Assange is a long-time friend of a WikiLeaks staff member, Israel Shamir. Shamir is an anti-semitic Russian who distributed WikiLeaks documents in Russia. He was privy to the diplomatic cables months before they were publicly released. He attempted to sell them to the highest bidder and gave them to Alexander Lukashenko, a dictator and pro-Putin ally who ruled Belarus. Lukashenko used the information in the cables to make dissidents disappear. Assange refused to investigate this incident.
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