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Julian Assange interview: WikiLeaks editor talks to John Pilger about US election and the leaked Hillary Clinton, John Podesta emails

'I actually feel quite sorry for Hillary Clinton as a person'

Published 07/11/2016

Renowned journalist John Pilger has interviewed Julian Assange about accusations of its ties to Russia and the significance of the recently released John Podesta emails.

In response to the recent accusations of a Russian connection between the newly released emails and WikiLeaks, Assange tells Pilger: "The Clinton camp has been able to project a kind of neo-McCarthyism hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything.

"Hillary Clinton stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 US intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That’s false.”

The WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief also commented on the decision to release the emails: “I actually feel quite sorry for Hillary Clinton as a person because I see someone eaten alive by their ambitions, tormented literally to the point where they become sick…”

Assange goes on to explain the significance of the Podesta emails, particularly one sent in early 2014. “[...] That email says that no, that it’s the government of Saudi and the government of Qatar that have been funding ISIS.”

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Pilger adds that “of course, the consequence of that is that this notorious terrorist jihadist group called ISIL or ISIS is created largely with money from the very people who are giving money to the Clinton foundation.”

In one thread of correspondence from August 2014 Ms Clinton sent an eight-point plan to Mr Podesta, at the time a counsellor to President Barack Obama, outlining a strategy on how to defeat terror group Isis which involved supporting Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq with military advisers.

The Obama administration ended up taking similar action to that described as desirable by Ms Clinton.

The exchange also appears to show the presidential candidate identified the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar as “clandestine” “financial and logistic” supporters of the terrorist group, despite surface cooperation between the US and the Sunni states on combating the militants and other actions in Syria’s multi-sided civil war.

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“While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Isis] and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” Ms Clinton reportedly wrote.

“This effort will be enhanced by the stepped up commitment in the [Kurdish Regional Government]. The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious US pressure.”

The governments of both Saudi Arabia and Qatar deny deny arming Isis, although critics point out the terror group and the states share a common enemy in President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite government. The states' respective embassies in London did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the 2010 Wikileaks released cables signed by Hillary Clinton when she was US secretary of state that said that Saudi Arabia is the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money.

"More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups," Clinton wrote in the leaked 2009 memo.

"Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide."

Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Analysts have speculated that the Podesta emails came from a recent leaks from the Democratic National Convention.

The Obama administration appeared to confirm this last week by commenting that the new Wikileaks releases are “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.” Ms Clinton's campaign has not yet issued a response to the second batch of emails, but slammed GOP nominee Donald Trump's office for "cheering on a release engineered by [Russian President] Vladimir Putin."

Also revealed in the emails is correspondence between Mr Podesta and the former lead singer of American rock band Blink 182 about UFOs.

Tom DeLonge emailed the senior advisor at least twice talking in cryptic terms about their shared - and well-documented - interest in the extraterrestrial.

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Clinton Foundation

According to The Intercept, the Saudi regime has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared for her presidential run.

A group called “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” co-founded “by a Saudi Prince,” gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million.

The Clinton Foundation says that between $1 million and $5 million was also donated by “the State of Qatar,” the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Brunei. “The State of Kuwait” has donated between $5 million and $10 million.

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