Obama prosecuted whistleblowers for working with media, not with foreign govts – Assange to RT

“Academic censorship” in journalism and foreign relations is one of the US’ greatest sins according to whistleblower Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Assange spoke to RT about the “US Empire” and mechanisms it uses to expand its powers worldwide.

Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the espionage act than all previous presidents combined – more than twice as many,” Assange told RT’s Afshin Rattansi in a London interview.

Of course he [Obama] says that’s espionage, but there is no allegation that any of these people have given their secrets to a foreign government or are working with a foreign government: allegations are they are working with the media,” he added.

But while “media censorship” doesn’t surprise him these days, what did leave the WikiLeaks founder “surprised” was the degree of “academic censorship” within the US and UK.

It’s not in sciences or medicine, where there are some 30,000 citations to material in WikiLeaks, it’s not even in the courts – European Court of Human Rights, international tribunals, even UK domestic courts use that material,” Assange told RT on the release of his book, The WikiLeaks Files, which he compiled while stuck in Ecuador’s London embassy.

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Where it does exist, according to Assange, is in the realms of diplomacy and academia. He finds a shocking amount of censorship “in foreign relations, in academic journalism published in the US, and perhaps in the UK.” He also claims “there is a policy of not accepting anything derived from WikiLeaks” at some of the largest and most prestigious academic journals.

Assange called America an “empire,” but not in the “classical sense, like the Roman Empire.” Rather, he characterized America as “an empire of trade” and pointed out that it uses its military bases, as well as its embassies and its presence in organizations like the UN and IMF, “in order to secure advantageous deals for the largest American companies.”

There is a continental expansion of the United States, it has grabbed other territories like Hawaii and effectively Puerto Rico, and Alaska, but the predominant form the US empire has is an empire of US bases,” the whistleblower said, adding that there are “more than 1,400 US military bases in over 120 countries dotted around the world.” No other state in the world “is anywhere near” that number, he told RT. (NOTE: Other sources put the number of US bases on foreign territories at 800-900).

Although a big deal is made about protecting “American interests,” it’s not the interests of average Americans that are being defended and promoted, Assange said, asserting that it’s only “companies that are close enough to the government” that “have their interests reflected in what US ambassadors do around the world.”

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To find out more about Assange’s views on the US’ imperial ambitions, as well the special relationship between the US and UK, and the war in Syria, watch the full interview with the WikiLeaks founder on RT’s “Going Underground” show, premiering on Wednesday.