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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/10/17

Julian Assange on Roger Stone & Accusations About WikiLeaks and Trump Campaign Ties to Russia

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Microsoft has joined Facebook in saying it is investigating whether Russian operatives paid for "inappropriate" pro-Trump ads on its Bing search engine and other platforms. Social media giant Facebook has said a Russian company placed thousands of ads on their network at a cost of more than $100,000, including some that targeted states crucial to Trump's victory. Last week, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said it reached the conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Mike Pompeo has blasted Wikileaks as a hostile intelligence service that is often abetted by state actors like Russia, and Trump adviser Roger Stone declined to confirm to the House Intelligence Committee that he was directly in contact with WikiLeaks about damaging information on then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. We get response from Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to get your opinion on all of the news that's breaking right now. On Monday, Google said suspected Russian agents paid for tens of thousands of dollars' worth of political advertisements last year aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential election. Managers at Microsoft said Monday they, too, were investigating whether Russian operatives paid for "inappropriate" pro-Trump ads on its Bing search engine and other platforms. Social media giant Facebook has said a Russian company placed thousands of ads on their network, at a cost of more than $100,000. CNN reports a number of ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Trump's victory in November. And Twitter reported last month that it discovered about 200 accounts linked to a Russian campaign to influence the election. This comes as the head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said last week it's reached the conclusion that Russia did interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Republican Senator Richard Burr said his committee is still examining evidence to determine if there's any collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Your response to all of this, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, I think there's a very good article recently published in The Nation which goes through all of that, and it's shown to be nearly all fiction. The parts that you can actually determine, where you can compare with internally contradictory statements or other things, shows that it's nearly all fiction. Whether there's any truth to it, I don't know. We haven't researched that.

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Yeah, I would say that I think it's very concerning to see this neo-McCarthyist hysteria, very, very dangerous in geopolitical terms. And, of course, it's an attempt to, you know, to unite the Democratic Party. CIA structures it together in -- and the media, in their assault against the Trump regime. But I think there's plenty of important things to criticize the Trump administration about -- for example, their promises to help the working class, but, in fact, trying to push forward enormous tax cuts for the rich. And these are the things that should be concentrated on, not leaping into an insane bout of anti-Russian hysteria.

AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, I wanted to ask you about Roger Stone. In March of 2016, he posted on Facebook that he, quote, "never denied that Assange and I had a mutual friend who told me Wikileaks had the goods on HRC" -- that's Hillary Rodham Clinton -- "and would begin disclosures in Oct. He did and they did. I didn't admit it -- I announced it," unquote. In a series of tweets, which he later deleted, Roger Stone also attacked a woman who challenged him on Twitter, writing, quote, "You stupid, stupid [B-word] -- never denied perfectly legal back channel to Assange who indeed had the goods on #CrookedHillary [sic]." I now wanted to talk about the latest, Roger Stone going to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and what came out of that. Your response to that?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Roger Stone has been trolling Democrats all his life, and he's doing exactly the same thing, in order to elevate his profile. That's all. You can look at our statements at the time. He didn't say anything that I hadn't been saying in public at the time.

AMY GOODMAN: So, let me turn to Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff speaking at a hearing of the House --

JULIAN ASSANGE: I would just say that the effectiveness of that trolling just shows you how mad the U.S. political culture has become. Is Roger Stone presented as a credible character in his statements? Is that a credible person? Do Democrats think that he's credible?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I think the issue is his closeness to Trump. And whether or not you think Trump or Roger Stone is credible, the --

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JULIAN ASSANGE: Look, he's -- if he had something to worry about, why would he be deliberately playing it up, constantly? He doesn't have anything to worry about. That's why he's playing it up.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

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