October 8, 2012 - 10:38 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he has hired lawyers to investigate how to sue Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for defamation, according to ABC News.
He says comments made by Ms Gillard in 2010 have affected the viability of his organization.
"We are considering suing for defamation so I have hired lawyers in Sydney and they are investigating the different ways in which we can sue Gillard over this statement," he said.
The statement in question was made on radio almost two years ago, when Ms Gillard condemned WikiLeaks's publication of classified information as "grossly irresponsible" and "illegal".
Assange's supporters say that is wrong, as Australian Federal Police cleared the organization of breaking any laws. But Assange says it has led to credit card companies barring customers from donating to WikiLeaks.
"Mastercard Australia in justifying why it has made a blockade that prevents any Australian Mastercard holder from donating to WikiLeaks, used that statement by Julia Gillard this year as justification," he said. "So the effects of this statement are ongoing and they directly affect the financial viability of WikiLeaks."
Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, made the comments to a member of activist group GetUp!, which has launched a campaign on his behalf.
GetUp! says the Federal Government needs to guarantee that Assange will not be extradited to the United States if he is arrested.
Assange says he has had little help from the Australian Government. "I haven't seen any member of the Australian embassy or consulate since I was in prison in 2010, and even then all they did was bring some notepads, pens, etc," he said.
He told GetUp! that Australia needed to tell the United States to stop investigating WikiLeaks. “Stop persecuting the WikiLeaks organisation, which is an Australian non-for-profit organization, and stop doing the same to me," he said.
The WikiLeaks founder says his situation is interfering "severely" with his family life.
"My family have to change their name, their location, go into hiding," he said. "I can't go and visit my family, I can't do things that are important to many people. I can't see the skyline, I can't visit my homeland."
In response to the GetUp! campaign, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Bob Carr says the Government does not seek assurances on hypothetical situations, and it could not interfere with another country's legal process.