Perhaps as a return favor for posting bail for him, Julian Assange has given veteran British journalist John Pilger an exclusive interview. It will appear in the print edition of New Statesman, but some choice excerpts are on the New Statesman site:
… On Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking 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.”…
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,” Assange says.
And despite the pressure the website has been under, reports of trouble at WikiLeaks are greatly exaggerated, he claims.
“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, “They 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,” he says…