WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sat down with Shane Doran at Ellingham Hall, the 18th century manor owned by friend and supporter Vaughan Smith where Assange must stay while he is under house arrest, fighting extradition to Sweden.
Assange talks about the press, the US government, the cat abuse allegations, some of his legal woes and much more.
"They called me a cat abuser. Now I don't like cats as it turns out, but as far as I know I've never 'abused' one," Assange said.
"I have been detained, imprisoned or under house arrest, without being charged for six months on June 6. So almost six months now detained without charge. There are no charges in this case, there is no allegation that there was any lack of consent in these cases -- not even an allegation of that," Assange said about his legal predicament.
Even though the backlash over the publishing of the US embassy cables has "eased off a bit" in recent months, Assange insists that the United States government will stop at nothing to silence him and said:
"The United States has brought out to the public an extremely aggressive response. In private, it is also doing other things."In an earlier interview with the Irish Independent, Assange said about the press:
"That response has been the most aggressive response to an international publisher ever."
"Arguably, if we look at its responses to domestic publishers it has been the most severe response since the McCarthyism era of the early 1950s."
"There has been pressure on many different countries -- individually by the US -- to take action against us."
"That pressure on Australia, for instance, resulted in the Australian government publicly announcing that it would suspend my passport, that it would start a whole new government taskforce into us involving domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Defence Department and the Attorney General's office."
"A prospective asylum application in Switzerland on my behalf had the US Ambassador to Switzerland threaten the Swiss government to not accept such an application."
"The sort of public rhetoric that you saw by the (US) vice president (Joe Biden) at the beginning of the year as saying that I was a 'hi-tech terrorist' -- this is being toned down a little bit."
"I think there is a perception that the public rhetoric went too far. But under the surface these investigations continue."
"It's not the case that the press is never wrong. I never maintain that the press is never wrong, and certainly I have been wronged many times by (some) tabloid media. However, when we erect a system to address that wrong we can produce a much greater wrong, which is to prevent the press from reporting the abuses of the powerful."Assange's bail conditions stipulate that he has to report to the police daily and wear an electronic tag.
"The problem is that that system is used predominantly -- in fact overwhelmingly -- by people who already have a lot of power. They already have a lot of money, they already know how to use the court system. And so you end up in a situation where newspapers become reluctant to report on the abuses of the powerful, but completely willing to report on the abuses of the powerless, or to defame the powerless, and that is not an acceptable situation. So there has to be a level playing field, there has to be equal access to justice."
Assange is looking forward to the two day hearing at the High Court in London on July 12 and 13 where he will continue to fight being extradited to Sweden.
He has been fighting extradition to Sweden, where he has not been charged with anything, but is wanted for questioning by the Swedish police about accusations of rape and sexual molestation made against him by Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin. Assange strongly denies the allegations and says he had consensual sex with the two women.
Assange and his lawyers fear that if he is extradited to Sweden he may then be extradited to the United States, where he could face being tried for espionage, torture, confinement at Guantanamo Bay, all of the above, or even the death penalty.
Assange angered the United States when the leaked embarrassing diplomatic cables, the classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the 'Collateral Murder' video were published.
Click here to read the full interview of Julian Assange by Shane Doran.
Here is video of the interview: