US’ efforts to prosecute me ‘a warning`: Assange

Australia-born WikiLeaks founder urged US media persons to stick together.

Washington: Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks that recently released hundreds of secret US diplomatic cables, has said that efforts made by America to prosecute him on espionage charges should serve as a warning to journalists in that country. quoted Assange as saying that there has been a "quite deliberate attempt to split off our organisation from the First Amendment protections that are afforded to all publishers".

The Australian-born journalist urged US media persons stick together “to resist this sort of reinterpretation of the First Amendment", which guarantees the right to free speech.

"We have seen these statements, that The New York Times is, you know, also being looked at in terms of whether they have engaged in what they call `conspiracy to commit espionage`," the paper quoted him, as saying.

"If they want to push the line that when a newspaperman talks to someone in the government about looking for things relating to potential abuses, that is a conspiracy to commit espionage, then that`s going to take out all the good government journalism that occurs in the United States," the WikiLeaks founder added.

Assange added that if the "Washington authorities target us and destroy us" other journalists should be worried because "they`re going to be next”.

He further rejected US Vice President Joe Biden`s description of him as a "high-tech terrorist" and condemned calls for his assassination.


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