WikiLeaks is widely considered to have played a pivotal role in the recent US presidential elections. The whistle-blowing platform's infamous Podesta email dump, which detailed the internal workings of the Democratic Party, is believed to have dealt a massive blow to the Clinton campaign.
In the aftermath of the elections, Julian Assange weighs in, further clarifying WikiLeaks' role and motives. In his recent interview Assange reasserted that contrary to accusations hurled at WikiLeaks of its data releases having helped Trump win the election, it was the contents of the DNC leaks and not the platform itself that led to Clinton's defeat.
Assange told Repubblica, "We published what the Democratic National Committee, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, and Hillary Clinton herself were saying about their own campaign, which the American people read and were very interested to read, and assessed the elements and characters, and then they made a decision. That decision was based on Hillary Clinton's own words, her campaign manager's own words. That's democracy".
Clinton destroyed herself
When asked if Clinton's loss in the elections translates to a win for WikiLeaks, Assange said, "We were pleased to see how much of the American public interacted with the material we published.
"We have been publishing about Hillary Clinton for many years, because of her position as Secretary of State," he added, explaining why sources approached WikiLeaks.
"We have been publishing her cables since 2010 and her emails also. We are domain experts on Clinton and her post 2008 role in government. This is why it is natural for sources who have information on Hillary Clinton to come to us. They know we will understand its significance".
Commenting on the lessons learnt over the past 10 years, Assange highlighted how WikiLeaks has continued to publish material in the face of fierce opposition from the Pentagon and the US government. Assange himself was imprisoned and later put under house arrest.
He said, "Clinton tried to destroy us and was herself destroyed. Elephants, it seems, can be brought down with string. Perhaps there are no elephants".
Assange has 'mixed' feelings about Trump presidency
"If the question is how I personally feel about the situation, I am mixed," said Assange. "Hillary Clinton's election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States.
"Donald Trump is not a DC insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities. They do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilising the pre-existing central power network within DC.
"It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States: change for the worse and change for the better".
Will WikiLeaks survive if Assange is extradited to the US?
Swedish prosecutors travelled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in November to question Assange over sexual assault allegations in the ongoing case from 2010. Swedish authorities are slated to make a decision in the coming weeks on whether to officially charge or absolve Assange. In light of Ecuador's upcoming elections and Sweden's impending decision, Assange's asylum and possible freedom, hangs in the balance.
However, Assange claims that "contingency plans" have been put into place to ensure the survival of WikiLeaks, in the event that he is charged by Sweden and later possibly extradited to the US.
"Yes, we have contingency plans that you have seen in action when my Internet was cut off and while I was in prison before." He confirmed that his "internet has been returned" adding that, "an organization like WikiLeaks cannot be structured such that a single person can be a point of failure in the organization, it makes him or her a target".