January 12, 2011 / 5:24 PM / 10 years ago

WikiLeaks' Assange: China is our real enemy

* WikiLeaks’ Assange: Fighting “running battle with China”

* Website has “insurance” files on Murdoch and News Corp.

* U.S. using jailed Manning to make criminal case—Assange

By Michael Holden

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - China is the worst state offender in terms of censorship but WikiLeaks is getting past its attempts to restrict access, the website’s founder Julian Assange said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Assange, whose website has angered and embarrassed Washington by releasing confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, said China was the main technological enemy of WikiLeaks, not the United States.

“China has aggressive and sophisticated interception technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China,” Assange told Britain’s New Statesman magazine.

“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,” he said in extracts of the interview published on the magazine’s website.

U.S. officials have been examining whether criminal charges can be brought against Assange since WikiLeaks began publishing the cables. He again denied working with Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the files.

On Tuesday, a U.S. court ordered microblogging site Twitter to hand over account information on Assange and Manning as well as other WikiLeaks supporters. [IDnN08244942] Assange accused U.S. authorities of using Manning, who was arrested in the first half of last year, to build a case against him.

“Cracking Manning is the first step,” he said. “The aim is clearly to break him and force a confession that he somehow conspired with me to harm the national security of the United States.”

So far WikiLeaks has issued just a small proportion of the 250,000 cables it has obtained. Assange denied that the website was in trouble and repeated previous statements that files would still be released whatever happened to him or WikiLeaks.

He also told the New Statesman that as-yet unreleased “insurance” files included cables about Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp media empire (NWSA.O).

“There are 504 U.S. embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,” he said. WikiLeaks has previously said it would release documents relating to a major U.S. bank, believed to be Bank of America.

Assange is now staying at a country mansion in Britain while on bail awaiting possible extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

His lawyers warned on Tuesday that, if extradited, he could eventually end up in the United States facing the death penalty. [ID:nLDE70A0VV]

“They don’t want the public to know these things and scapegoats must be found,” Assange told the New Statesman.

Editing by Mark Heinrich

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