Always controversial, Julian Assange gave an interview in London, where he’s exiled in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he lambasted Hillary Clinton, who he called a “threat” to the resolution of his issues. Beyond delving on Hillary’s relationship with Google, Assange also said the search giant should be broken up by regulators due to its dominant position. Assange also spoke of a secret trove of Bank of America BAC 0% data he threatened to release three years ago, and of course touched on the situations of Edward Snowden, whose pursuit by the U.S. government was larger than Osama Bin Laden’s, and Chelsea Manning.
“It’s imperative that we solve this situation before Hillary Clinton has an opportunity to become President,” Assange told Argentine newspaper Perfil in an interview published Sunday. “She’s been building a financial reserve and an infrastructure to run for the Presidency for the past two years and she’s even reposition the Clinton Global Initiative around this aim. […] Hillary Clinton is a threat for the resolution of this situation,” explained the founder of WikiLeaks, who in the past has said Google will massively support her run for President. Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, during which WikiLeaks released confidential cables showing she had approved the spying on foreign diplomats, United Nations officials, and U.S. allies.
Assange looked notoriously older, with longer, grey hair and a beard, as a consequence of living in exile for two years in a crammed mezzanine in central London, where the embassy is located. Speaking shortly after the publication of his latest book, When Google Met WikiLeaks, Assange called for the dismantling of the search giant. “Google has become the largest lobbying group in Washington, larger than Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing,” he noted, after acknowledging that due to its power, it’s highly unlikely that anti-trust regulation would force the company run by Larry Page to break up.
“Apple is the largest company in terms of market capitalization in the U.S., Google is number two. It’s interesting that the natural conflict between those two, and between Microsoft and Google, hasn’t led to regulatory action in the U.S.,” Assange said. “[Google] is becoming a distributor, taking over networks of fiber optic cables, and also trying to become an editor, diving deeper into content production. That vertical integration, along with economies of scale, is reducing the capacity for people to get the information that audience wants to see.” Extremely distrustful of government, Assange notes that Google was partially funded by the U.S. Defense complex in its early years, and that it is in bed with the National Security Agency (NSA). “The NSA spies on companies that compete with U.S. companies,” he explained mentioning the case of Brazilian energy company Petrobras, “and on regulators,” Assange said, noting that the NSA has hacked Europe’s antitrust regulators, which coincidentally are investigating Google.
A few years ago in an excellent interview with Forbes’ Andy Greenberg, Assange revealed that he was sitting on a trove of data from a major U.S. financial institution that could bring down a bank. The speculation was that it was Bank of America, but the data was never leaked. Assange confirmed it was Bank of America, but indicated the information was ultimately taken by a former German employee who “got scared,” and ultimately left WikiLeaks.
On NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, currently under asylum in Russia, Assange explained that he negotiated on behalf of Snowden with countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, but their intention was to put him in Cuba. Ultimately, though, only Russia had the capacity to “counteract the infiltration of the U.S.’ bounty hunters.” When Snowden escaped to Hong Kong, “we saw the largest intelligence hunt in history, even though Osama Bin Laden’s was longer, for a period of two weeks, the hunt for Edward Snowden was larger.”
Speaking of the former Bradley Manning, who was convicted for espionage and sentenced to 35 years behind bars, Assange explained that he expects his release after about seven years in prison. “This, whether he serves seven or 35 years of his sentence, is a political matter based on political interests.”
“Do you feel responsible for Manning’s situation,” Assange was asked. “Not in a causal way because the accusations against Manning are that he didn’t follow security protocols. He spoke with other people, not just [WikiLeaks], and he was betrayed by someone pretending to be a journalist. Now, in terms of us being in this together, definitely.”