Clinton proposed killing Assange with drone strike

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton © Brian Snyder / Reuters

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wanted to deploy a military drone to silence Wikileaks founder Julian Assange when she was the country’s secretary of state, a report citing State Department sources has alleged.

According to a report by True Pundit, Clinton allegedly queried whether a drone strike could be used to silence Assange and Wikileaks in 2010, before the controversial group released more than 250,000 sensitive diplomatic documents dated from 1966 up to 2010.

The report, which cited US State Department sources, claimed Clinton was under pressure from US President Barack Obama and other international leaders to silence Assange. It was later tweeted by Wikileaks’ on Twitter.

“Can’t we just drone this guy?” Clinton asked at a 2010 meeting with State Department officials.

The report claimed the statement drew laughter from the room which “quickly died off” when Clinton kept talking “in a terse manner”.

The sources also claimed Clinton was unhappy about the wave of leaked documents which divulged sensitive information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager declined to comment on the reports.

“I’m reticent to comment on anything that the WikiLeaks people have said. They’ve made a lot of accusations in the past,” Robby Mook said during an interview with WTTG.com.

He suggested the story and comments by Donald trump were part of an effort to distract form Trump’s poor performance in the last week.

“You know, Donald Trump and his allies are trying to do everything they can to change the debate here right now. Donald Trump failed at the debate, he became completely unwound, was tweeting at 3 a.m., making wild accusations of his own against the former Miss Universe and against Hillary Clinton,” he said.

“They got to find some way to change this up, and they’re trying to do that by doubling down on conspiracy theories.”

Wikileaks celebrates 10th birthday

WikiLeaks celebrates its 10th birthday on Tuesday defiantly proud as the pioneer of online leaking platforms, while its controversial founder vows to pursue its work despite widespread criticsm.

An anniversary party in Berlin will commemorate the 2006 registration of the domain name wikileaks.org, and founder Julian Assange will address a press conference of his German supporters by video link at 10:00 am (0800 GMT).

But Assange has at the last minute cancelled what would have been a rare public appearance on the balcony of his 18-square-metre room in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, citing security concerns.

But he remains dauntless. “Adversity has hardened us,” Assange told German news weekly Der Spiegel in a weekend interview. “We believe in what we are doing .. If you are pushed you push back.”

Ten years after it was founded, the site has faced growing charges that it is manipulated by politicians — either by recycling documents provided by Moscow, or by allegedly serving the interests of Donald Trump in the US presidential election race.

No self-censorship

“We’re not going to start censoring our publications because there is a US election,” Assange told Der Spiegel in an interview, published in English online.

WikiLeaks launched in January 2007, with Assange saying it would use encryption and a censorship-proof website to protect sources and publicise secret information.

The site has since published more than 10 million leaked documents.

It first caught the world’s attention when it released manuals for prison guards at Guantanamo Bay.

But it really hit its stride in 2010, unveiling logs of US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a video showing a US helicopter crew mowing down a group of unarmed civilians — including two journalists — in Baghdad.

That same year it also published a cache of diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world, deeply embarrassing Washington.

“The most important single collection of material we have published is the US diplomatic cable series,” Assange told Der Spiegel.

‘Power-obsessed’

But 2010 also saw grave blows to the organisation.

Assange was accused of having sex with a woman while she was asleep after the two met at a Stockholm conference.

The white-haired WikiLeaks founder took refuge in the London embassy of Ecuador — which granted him political asylum in 2012 after he lost a legal battle to block his extradition to Sweden.

The 45-year-old has always maintained the allegations are false and has refused to travel to Stockholm for questioning due to concerns that Sweden will hand him over to the US to stand trial for espionage.

But Assange’s abrasive style and insistence on publishing unredacted documents quickly grated on colleagues and journalists who worked with him.

“If an Afghan civilian helps coalition forces, he deserves to die,” Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies later recalled Assange saying in an argument over whether to remove names from the war logs.

Snowden, Panama Papers

In 2013, former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden chose to leak documents exposing intelligence agencies’ mass surveillance programmes to selected journalists instead of offering the trove to WikiLeaks.

And many later whistleblowers have turned to other organisations.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists this year published stories based on data dumps from tax havens Panama and the Bahamas, while environmental group Greenpeace in May released documents from negotiations over a controversial US-EU free trade deal.

WikiLeaks caused a fresh stir in July when it leaked emails showing US Democratic Party officials favouring Hillary Clinton over left-winger Bernie Sanders in presidential primary elections, forcing high-ranking party members to resign.

Assange himself is unmoved by criticisms of his organisation.

“We believe in what we’re doing,” he told Spiegel. “The attacks only make us stronger.”

With SBS/AFP