Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has cancelled a planned announcement about hacked emails from the campaign of U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The announcement was scheduled for Tuesday from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange lives in political asylum.
NBC news reporter Jesse Rodriguez reported Saturday that the announcement was cancelled for “security reasons” but a Spanish journalist says it may be the result of pressure from the Ecuadorian government.
“Assange is a guest of Ecuador and if they kick him out of the embassy he will be arrested by British police,” says Madrid freelance writer Rafael Marcos. “It’s a fact that Ecuador President Rafael Correa wants Clinton to win the election and he doesn’t want leaked documents going out that will hurt her chances,” he adds.
Marcos claims to have spoken to a former embassy employee who says that Ecuadorian officials told Assange that he could release Clinton’s emails but only if he also releases information damaging to her Republican opponent, Donald Trump. Marcos did not offer other details.
In a television interview in late July, Correa said that a Trump U.S. presidency would bolster the fortunes of leftist governments in Latin America. “Because of his bias against Latinos, Trump would help rally progressives in the region,” Correa said.
He added, however, that he believed Clinton’s election was in the best interests of U.S. citizens and the world generally. Despite his political disagreements with the U.S., Correa says he is on good terms with Clinton. For more on the interview, click here.
The second release of Clinton campaign emails by Wikileaks has been eagerly anticipated by the Trump campaign. Trump supporter Roger Stone, who said he has been in touch with Assange, said the new release would be the “October surprise” that could tip the election in Trump’s favor.
Assange appeared on Fox tv news in late August claiming Wikileaks planned to release more hacked documents damaging to the Clinton campaign. He said he would offer a “teaser” of what the documents contained before sending them to the media. Assange also said that Wikileaks hackers were working to obtain documents from the Trump campaign, as well as the candidate’s tax records.
Former Quito newspaper columnist Jorge Ruiz says he doesn’t doubt that Correa is putting pressure on Assange to withhold “bombshells” about Clinton. “We know that the Trump people, like Roger Stone, have talked to Assange and it would be naive to assume the Democrats are not playing their hand too, namely Correa’s relationship with Clinton.”
Update: Julian Assange announced Monday morning that he would participate via video link in the 10th Anniversary celebration in Berlin of Wikileaks’ founding. He did not mention what his message would include.