Julian Assange, the founder of whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks, has claimed that the west has a “fiscalised” power base.
During a live online question and answer session with The Guardian (opens in new tab), Assange was asked by Tim Burgi of Vancouver in Canada whether western governments were weakening their moral authority on freedom of speech by attacking WikiLeaks. Assange claimed that the west has free-speech due to a financial anchoring, which is unaffected by political ideals alone.
The WikiLeaks founder stated: “The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be ‘free’ because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments.”
Assange added: “In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it.”
Criticisms of the financial preoccupations of western governments are nothing new, although Assange also crucially claimed that the “attacks against us by the US”, such as the recent DDoS attacks against WikiLeaks, rumoured to originate from the CIA, “point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade”.