(Put this together in a hurry so I will edit and add more details/links later, but felt I needed to post this since a lot of people are developing amnesia and forgetting the history of what Assange has done and the evidence as to who is doing it on behalf of… )
The Wikileaks-Assange story really begins in 2010. Assange had tried to publish U.S. battle plans (2007) and information on how to circumvent a system the military used to jam homemade bombs (2008), but those got little attention. At that time Assange had also publicly suggested he had materials exposing corruption in the Kremlin, but he seemingly never published them. The Wikileaks organization truly gained prominence due to their publishing of a cache of diplomatic cables and military reports regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars from (at the time) Pfc. Bradley Manning. Assange is now being charged with trying to help Manning illegally obtain those documents. Aside from providing propaganda material, those documents exposed troop movements and the names of locals that were working with U.S. forces. At the time, human rights groups practically begged Assange to at least redact the names of Afghanis who were cooperating with U.S. forces against the Taliban because it would put their lives in danger. Assange at first demanded money and resources, but ultimately simply refused. His response to Guardian editors who wanted to redact the names: "Well, they're informants. So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it." That not only put the lives of those who cooperated with U.S. forces in danger, but made it far less likely that others would choose to cooperate going forward making things much harder for American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning was sentenced to 21-35 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act, though that sentence was commuted by President Obama. It was at this point that it became apparent that Assange’s main target in his “transparency” efforts was the United States of America. At that time, Sean Hannity recognized Assange was "waging war on the United States," called for his arrest, and complained about the lack of action from the Obama administration.
An early Wikileaks employee and Assange friend was Israel Shamir. Shamir is a consistent anti-semite who has denied the holocaust and referred to Jews as “a virus in human form”. After Wikileaks obtained the cables from Chelsea Manning in 2010, Shamir leaked some of the documents to a pro-Putin newsletter. It is worth noting that Assange himself has a history of anti-Semitic conspiracies. Shamir then shared the unredacted documents with government officials in Belarus, a close ally of Putin. Those documents were used to identify and crackdown on dissidents. According to former Wikileaks staffer James Ball, Assange refused to investigate the incident and remained close to Shamir.
Once Assange published the Manning documents, Putin began publicly defending Assange and calling his prosecution “politically motivated”. Given that Putin clearly has no issues with politically motivated prosecutions, this raised questions as to why Putin seemed to become such a big defender of Assange (something that has continued, even with Russia releasing a statement after today’s arrest). In January 2011, Assange pursued a Visa from Russia as part of his escape plan (Guess who was the go between for this request? Israel Shamir). The U.S. began pressuring for countries to cut his funds, which suddenly led to Assange getting a paid show on Russia state-run propaganda outlet RT. His first guest was Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who he referred to as a “freedom fighter”. Then in 2011, Wikileaks also published the Gitmo files, documenting details about who the U.S. was holding and classified details of the U.S. enhanced interrogation program.
After Edward Snowden stole classified material in 2013, Assange actively helped him get away. It was he who suggested to Snowden that he get on a plane to Russia accompanied by Wikileaks associate Sarah Harrison. It was Wikileaks that helped connect him to the Kremlin and set up his protection there.
When Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, Assange went out of his way to defend them in several interviews by claiming the U.S. had done far worse (classic whataboutism). It also became noticeable that even his leaks against countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey would often coincide with times where they had heightened tensions with Russia. That also included releases meant to derail trade deal negotiations that Russia was opposing.
In April of 2016, there was another leak that had major implications. The Panama papers were documents from a Panamanian law firm that helped rich companies and countries essentially hide and launder money. Only one problem: One of the people whose shady dealings were exposed by this leak of documents was a close ally of Putin, Sergei Roldugin. You would think that a transparency organization known for leaking documents would cheer on these revelations of corruption, right? Except Wikileaks did the exact opposite. They openly attacked the release of these documents and questioned the motives of the group behind the release, suggesting they were being funded by George Soros and the United States. Putin seized on the defense from Wikileaks to parrot the idea that this was a bogus attack from the United States.
Then in the summer of 2016, Assange was offered a treasure trove of documents regarding the Russian government. 68-gigabytes of data from the Russian Interior Ministry. Some of it has been published in 2014, but a lot of the documents had never seen the light of day. This would seem like a huge get for a transparency organization that wanted to target corruption. What did Assange do? He declined making up a bunch of excuses for why he wasn’t interested.
That brings us to the 2016 election. I won’t rehash all of the evidence here about how the GRU was clearly responsible for the DNC hack, but it’s really beyond dispute now. What is telling wasn’t just that Wikileaks would eventually get all of the files that were hacked by the GRU, but also how Assange went out of his way to deny Russia was the source and spread fake conspiracies suggesting other sources to cover for Russia.
New York Times noted back in 2016 that Assange almost never criticizes Russia or demands transparency from them. Russia is one of the most secretive regimes in the world and a consistent human rights violator. That would seem like an ideal target for a transparency group interested in promoting human rights, but Assange has no interest in them now.
Also worth noting that The Guardian reported on Russian Diplomats meeting in London in 2017 to discuss a plan to smuggle Assange to Russia from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he had been staying. The plan was eventually abandoned because it was deemed “too risky”.
Beginning in 2010, Assange established a clear pattern with Wikileaks: He would target America and its allies. He would ignore or defend any abuses by Russia.
At this point, anyone who denies or ignores this pattern is being intentionally obtuse. I don’t care if you like Trump or think it’s a good thing that the DNC emails were released during the 2016 election, that does not justify defending and promoting a guy who has clearly behaved as an enemy to this country for nearly a decade.