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The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Julian Assange Claims FBI Tried to Bribe Wikileaks Staff

The Wikileaks founder defended the organization's "enviable record"

Holly Watt

A billboard advertising support for WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange is seen in Hollywood, California. Assange has been awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation's top honor for "exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights", joining the likes of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. (AFP/Gabriel Bouys)

Julian Assange appeared at The Telegraph Hay Festival to defend Wikileaks' “enviable record” and claimed that the FBI had tried to bribe the organisation’s staff.

The founder of the whistle-blowing website disclosed his group would publish more leaked documents in the future. He also threatened to break controversial super-injunctions if the details were leaked to him.

During an hour-long appearance, Mr Assange insisted that “the internet does not give you free speech”.

He said that those revealing secrets online were “hounded from one end of the earth to the other”. His speech was watched by a series of well-known personalities including Vanessa Redgrave and Ralph Fiennes.

Mr Assange added that his group had faced numerous recent challenges, including attempts by the FBI to try and bribe employees.

Mr Assange pointed out that Wikileaks had published details of “five or six” super-injunctions in the past. However, in a bizarre moment, he admitted that Wikileaks might resort to a super-injunction in order to protect its sources.

“There probably is a circumstance where we would [apply for a super-injunction],” said Mr Assange.

Mr Assange also accused the British public of “a rather annoying middle-class squeamishness” over the publication of secret cables and documents.

“It would rather destroy an entire revolution,” said Mr Assange.

He insisted that he had seen no evidence that anyone had lost their lives as a result of Wikileaks disclosures, despite American Government warnings that this would occur.

“We have a perfect record, and an enviable record that I am proud of,” he said.

But he indicated that opening up societies around the world may mean fatalities are a price worth paying.

Mr Assange was heckled by the Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow as he answered a question about Private Bradley Manning, who has been accused of leaking secret documents to Wikileaks.

Private Manning is currently being held in Fort Leavenworth after being arrested just over a year ago.

“He’s your Bradley Manning,” shouted Mr Snow when Mr Assange raised the issue of political prisoners around the world. The Wikileaks founder expressed support for the plight of Mr Manning and thousands of other “political prisoners” who he said are held without good reason.

Mr Assange also described his time in solitary confinement in prison.

Mr Assange is currently fighting extradition to Sweden, where he has faced allegations of sexual assault.

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