Skip to comments.Defiant Julian Assange asks US to end its 'witch-hunt'
Posted on 08/19/2012 10:25:11 AM PDT by Jyotishi
London - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Sunday asked US President Barck Obama to end the "witch-hunt" against his whistleblower website as he emerged in public for the first time in two months since he took refuge in the Ecuador embassy in London to escape extradition to Sweden on alleged sex offences.
"I ask President Obama to do the right thing, the United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks," Assange said.
"The US war on whistleblowers must end. There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organisation, be it Wikileaks or the New York Times," the 41-year-old hacker- turned activist said.
Citing examples of alleged action in various countries against freedom of expression, Assange drew loud applause from over 200 supporters as he said: "There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response".
Clad in a crisp blue shirt and red tie, Assange appeared in the balcony of the embassy's ground floor flat with nearly 100 police officers and a police helicopter above closely watching every movement.
Technically, he remained within Ecuador territory, which prevented police officers from arresting him.
Assange, an Australian national, began by thanking the people and government of Ecuador, and those in the government in the US and UK who "are still fighting for justice".
He has been granted diplomatic asylum by Ecuador while Britain insists it is committed to extradite him to Sweden to face allegations of sex offences, and will not give him safe passage.
Assange stood beside Ecuador's flag as several of his supporters and journalists from across the globe assembled outside the embassy, including the left-wing writer Tariq Ali.
Assange was greeted by supporters at almost every sentence. He told his supporters, many of whom had been camping overnight for days outside the embassy: "I am here today because I cannot be there with you today. But thank you for your resolve, for your generosity of spirit.
"On Wednesday night after a threat was made on this embassy and police descended on this embassy, you came out to watch over it."
"The US must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters," he said.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest yesterday said the Obama administration considers Assange a matter for the governments of Britain, Sweden and Ecuador to resolve.
Assange also asked the US to release Bradley Manning, charged with leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. "If Bradley Manning really did as he is accused, he is a hero, an example to us all, and one of the world's foremost political prisoners," he said.
Assange angered the US in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website began publishing a huge trove of American diplomatic and military secrets, including 250,000 US embassy documents that highlight the sensitive, candid and often embarrassing backroom dealings of American diplomats.
Assange said that he could hear police "storming" up through the internal fire escapes of the embassy.
He added: "If the UK did not throw away the terms of the Vienna convention it was because the world was watching and the world was watching because you were watching."
Assange, who went into the embassy on June 19, today completed two months amidst a growing diplomatic impasse between Britain and Ecuador over his extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual offences.
He faces rape and sexual assault charges, which if convicted....you’d figure he does around two to three years in a Swedish prison (figure a South Carolina Motel-6 environment). He does have to worry because he probably won’t have around-the-clock availability of the internet, and he will be forced into rape counseling classes.
Added to this whole mess...at least a quarter of the people within the Wiki-circle....would prefer that he not stay as the boss of Wiki-Leaks. They see this prison episode as a chance to push him out of the organization and retake it with a neutral source. Assange has built an empire and prefers for it to stay within his hands.
I think as each month goes by with Julian in this Ecuadorian embassy deal....he gets deeper into some mental issues. Even if the UK eventually agrees....Julian can never travel to any European country ever again. Even half of the South American countries will admit that they will honor the Swedish request to export him back to face charges. If you ask me....he’s pretty much screwed up his future no matter what happens now.
Do you have to be an American national to be charged with espionage? He received information which he knew to be state secrets and publicized it. To me what is the difference between that handing it clandestinely to one of our enemies? I just offer the question and welcome the debate on this.
“Do you have to be an American national to be charged with espionage? He received information which he knew to be state secrets and publicized it. To me what is the difference between that handing it clandestinely to one of our enemies?”
Sure anyone can be charged with espionage so long as they are doing it within the boundaries of the US charging you with that or you are a US citizen. But Assange did none of that and he is not a US citizen so he has no obligation to protect our “Secrets”. Somebody else (Manning) did the espionage and has been arrested for it. Really everyone is upset because he made the US State Dept look like a bunch of idiots, which they are and communists to boot. But legally he has done nothing wrong and the US can’t touch him “legally”.
Secrets, eh? More like embarrassing tidbits. Can’t wait for the industrial-military-media complex to collapse.
Thanks for your explanation.
“In addition, the federal government retains the death penalty for such non-murder offenses as treason, espionage and crimes under military jurisdiction;”
How’s the END of a short trial and a long rope work for ya, WIKI-Weasels?
Right after obama bows to him?
Ahhhh, just let him go ... to Ecuador ... forever.
Bradley Manning on the other hand should be released to St. Helena for the same amount of time ... forever. Napoleon Bonaparte would highly recommend it.
It seems that he thinks that he’s in Ecuador already:
Assange berates United States from Ecuador embassy balcony
Because Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution kind of requires it.
The U.S. was effectively at war with Germany long before Germany formally declared war in 1941. The U.S. was supplying arms and munitions to Great Britain long before that, and they were being transported to Britain under escort by U.S. naval vessels in the North Atlantic.
Assange "waged war on us"? LOL. You must be kidding me. We can't even figure out what the hell our military is doing in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and you're going to put that on him?
Article 1 section 8 does not impose a requirement to declare war if someone declares war on us. It assigns a power to Congress. That power does not mean that we are devoid of the power to defend ourselves pending any necessary or unnecessary formal declaration of war by us.
Yes, Assange waged war on us. There is no other description for what he did. You sure you’re on the right website?
Indeed he does seem to think he is in Ecuador already. And the Ecuadorians, at least those who staff their London Embassy, seem to be quite cooperative in allowing him to indulge publicly in his moral superiority. Therefore I think the proper resolution to the situation is for Assange to become an Ecuadorian citizen. I dare say few other countries want to have anything to do with him.
After 20 years or so, we’ll see how happy he is in his adopted country ... and how happy Ecuadorians are with him. Can you imagine how insufferable he will be in his dotage, telling the same self-aggrandizing stories over and over and over and over ... well, you get the idea. But America haters will continue to listen to buy him drinks and listen. Let them have each other.
For one thing, a number of reports on the incident have indicated that as many as three million people (including both military and civilian personnel) had access to the leaked documents, which included more than 250,000 diplomatic cables sent by U.S. officials over the years. You'd have a hard time convincing me that anything of the information released by Assange/Wikileaks was particularly sensitive if that many people had access to it. And it turns out most of that information was more embarrassing to the U.S. than "sensitive" in any military sense.
There's also the inconvenient matter of Assange's apparent offer to the U.S. State Department to allow them to review all of the documents and redact any sensitive information from them before he posted them. I found THAT a bit curious ... as if the U.S. government was complicit in their release.
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