Just yesterday we noted that Julian Assange and his lawyers were seemingly shying away from an offer they previously made to the Obama administration whereby Assange agreed to U.S. extradition in return for clemency for Chelsea Manning (see "Assange's Lawyer Provides An "Out": Says Conditions Not Met For Extradition Deal"). While initial tweets from WikiLeaks implied that the extradition deal was still on, a follow-up from Assange's U.S. attorney seemed to declare a technical breach of "contract."
“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. Manning's sentence will be reduced and she will be released in May, but this is well short of what he sought,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s United State’s attorney.
“Mr. Assange had called for Chelsea Manning to receive clemency and be released immediately.”
That said, on a live press conference held earlier today on periscope, Assange once again confirmed that he "stands by everything I said including the offer to go to the United States if Chelsea Manning's sentence was commuted."
"We look forward to having a conversation with the DoJ [Department of Justice] about what the correct way forward is."
"I've always been willing to go to the United States provided my rights are respected because this is a case that should never have occurred."
The full press conference can be viewed here:
Meanwhile, irrespective of what happens with his personal extradition agreement, Assange promised a "big publishing year" in 2017 with the popularity of the 'Podesta Emails' encouraging other sources to come forward with new leaks.
Assange promised a “big publishing year ahead” for WikiLeaks, adding “I’m in love with the publications we have coming.”
Following the media coverage the Podesta emails garnered, Assange said “that exposure has, like it always does, encouraged other sources to come forward.”
“We have a lot of material to get through, it takes time,” he said, concluding that WikiLeaks’ decade-long record of accuracy is a valuable reputation to maintain.
Among a litany of other topics, Assange also touched on the "fake news" epidemic saying that Facebook was "more or less in the tank for Clinton" and has become "integrated with the U.S. establishment."
Assange described Facebook’s attempts to stop fake news as “super interesting,” saying that as Facebook “became rich [it] has integrated with the US establishment,” adding the social media site was “more or less in the tank for Clinton” during the election.
“Organizations like Facebook are permitting many people to publish billions at the touch of a button - that’s breaking down the control structure,” he said. ”That is a new circumstance in democracy.”
Finally, touching on a topic we've written about frequently in recent months, Assange discussed the attempts of the establishment to dismiss any hint of legitimate opposition from a pissed off electorate as nothing more than a reflection of Russian propaganda....
“There is that environment now, where you can see the incentives, so whatever propaganda Russia may be putting out, through RT or elsewhere, and it certainly has its angle on things, you can see the incentives for incumbents, like Merkel, just like we could see with Clinton to try and hype up an issue about potential Russian involvement."
“It’s not that they [the incumbents] have a genuine opposition. It’s not that the people are annoyed with misbehavior in government, and of course there is, I’m not saying anything in particular about Merkel's government, but as a government who misbehaves, well, there’s an attempt to go, any criticism of governmental misbehavior, corruption, or incompetence, well it’s not the opposition or the people making a fuss, no it’s secretly the Russians.”
...though we're sure the Russians told Assange to say all of the above so we highly recommend you take it all with a grain of salt.