Washington: Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks website gained notoriety for releasing thousands of secret US cables, said on Wednesday that his group has faced its “greatest struggle” for press freedoms in the United States.
“There is no doubt the US government has tried to terrorise whistleblowers into not revealing important information to the public,” Assange told reporters in a conference call from his house arrest in the United Kingdom, where he`s awaiting trial on sex-crimes.
He made the conference call to mark the one-year anniversary of the detention of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking thousands of classified US documents published by WikiLeaks over the past several months.
The jailed US soldier, held for months at a marine brig in Virginia, is currently detained at a federal facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
“A little over four-and-a-half years ago, we invited others to bring the First Amendment to the world,” Assange said, referring to the free speech rights guaranteed under the US Constitution.
“Within a few months, in 2007, we had been banned by the Chinese government, and by the end of the year, we had been banned by Iran,” Assange told reporters.
“But we realised that our greatest struggle (came) in 2010 as we tried to bring the First Amendment to the United States,” he said.