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January 12 2011

02mydafsoup-01

New Statesman - Exclusive Interview: Julian Assange on Murdoch, Manning and the threat from China | 20110112

In this week's New Statesman, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to John Pilger about Bradley Manning, his "insurance" files on Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp - and which country is the real enemy of WikiLeaks.

To read the entire feature, pick up a copy of this week's New Statesman available on newsstands from tomorrow. Some highlights of the piece are below:

The "technological enemy" of WikiLeaks is not the US - but China, according to Assange.

"China is the worst offender," when it comes to censorship, says the controversial whistleblower. "China has aggressive and sophisticated interception technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China. We've been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers can get on to our site."

On Bradley Manning - the US soldier accused of leaking the diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks - Assange says: "I'd never heard his name before it was published in the press." He argues that the US is trying to use Manning - currently stuck in solitary confinement in the US - to build a case against the WikiLeaks founder:

"Cracking Bradley Manning is the first step," says the Australian hacker. "The aim clearly is to break him and force a confession that he somehow conspired with me to harm the national security of the United States."

Such conspiracy would be impossible, according to Assange. "WikiLeaks technology was designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never knew the identities or names of people sub¬mitting material. We are as untraceable as we are uncensorable. That's the only way to assure sources they are protected."

Yesterday, Assange's lawyers warned that if he is extradited to America, he could face the death penalty - for embarrassing the leaders of the US government. "They don't want the public to know these things and scapegoats must be found," says Assange.

And despite the pressure the website has been under, reports of trouble at WikiLeaks are greatly exaggerated, claims Assange.

"There is no 'fall'. We have never published as much as we are now. WikiLeaks is now mirrored on more than 2,000 websites. I can't keep track of the spin-off sites - those who are doing their own WikiLeaks... If something happens to me or to WikiLeaks, 'insurance' files will be released."

The contents of these files are unknown, but, according to Assange, "[t]hey speak more of the same truth to power." It is not just government that should be worried about the content of these files, however. "There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp," says Assange.

The attempts by the US to indict Assange should worrying the mainstream press, he adds.

"I think what's emerging in the mainstream media is the awareness that if I can be indicted, other journalists can, too," says Assange. "Even the New York Times is worried. This used not to be the case. If a whistleblower was prosecuted, publishers and reporters were protected by the First Amendment, which journalists took for granted. That's being lost."

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