Assange: U.S. 'witch hunt' against Wikileaks must end

Assange: U.S. 'witch hunt' against Wikileaks must end

Summary: Two months after Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London, he said today the U.S. government must end its "witch hunt" against Wikileaks.


LONDON -- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange addressed his supporters and the media at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, exactly two months after first entering the embassy and days after receiving asylum from Quito.

Assange said the U.S.-led "witch hunt" against Wikileaks must stop, and the U.S. government must not "persecute its staff and its supporters."

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Credit: Charlie Osborne/ZDNet.

Assange's short statement described Ecuador's move to grant him asylum as "courageous," and outlined a number of points he wished to see in the future. 

But one of the stipulations of his asylum would be that he is not allowed to give political statements or face his status rescinded -- a balance he was surely careful to manage.

He said the U.S. must "dissolve its FBI investigation," and pledge not to pursue journalists against "shining the light on the secret crimes of the powerful."

"There is unity in the oppression; there must be absolute unity and determination in the response," he added.

He also thanked the people of the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, and Australia for their support, "even when their governments have not."

"And to those wider heads in government, who are still fighting for justice. Your day will come."

Two months on

Today's press conference marks two months since the Wikileaks founder entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, breaking U.K. bail conditions ahead of his planned extradition to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sexual crimes.

Around 100 U.K. police officers remain stationed outside the embassy, surrounding the building should the Wikileaks founder attempt an escape.

Fewer protesters turned up than expected, in the region of around 150--200 protesters, many native Ecuadorians. Many donned the Anonymous masks associated with the whistleblowing and anonymity movement.

Ecuadorian embassy, London. Credit: Charlie Osborne/ZDNet.

Last week, Ecuador granted the Australian national asylum citing reasons that the Swedish or U.K. government could not guarantee he would not be transferred to a third-country, such as the United States, where he may face the death penalty under the Espionage Act.

Assange spoke today from within the walls of the embassy close to the ground floor balcony -- around six feet from the ground -- as to remain on Ecuadorian soil.

Ecuador to the 'World Court'?

Ecuadorian officials said they may appeal to the International Court of Justice, the so-called 'World Court,' to prevent Assange from being arrested by U.K. authorities if he steps out of the embassy where he remains.

The "threat" by the U.K. government to revoke the diplomatic status of the embassy and storm the building resulted in an emergency meeting of American states to discuss Britain's escalation in rhetoric.

The move to suggest the building could have its embassy status revoked by U.K. authorities -- in which it says it has the right to do -- puts the very nature of embassies abroad in jeopardy.

The U.K.'s Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 would allow the U.K. government to revoke the diplomatic immunity of an embassy in the country, but Ecuador claimed this would be a breach of the Vienna Convention that first set out the rules and rights of embassies in host nations.

William Hague said on Thursday: "There is no threat here to storm an embassy. We are talking about an Act of Parliament in this country which stresses that it must be used in full conformity with international law."

The leaks must flow

Documents and leaked information continues to flow out of Wikileaks, two years since more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables were released by the whistleblowing organization. 

Wikileaks' latest release, The Global Intelligence Files, saw 5 million emails by private intelligence firm Stratfor leaked onto the Web. Anonymous was thought to have been behind the attack in which the emails were stolen, and were handed to Wikileaks for publication. 

The latest controversy stirred as TrapWire, a 'global' private surveillance service, was discovered in the latest cache of emails. Links were found between the TrapWire company and Anonymizer, a service used for anonymous Web browsing by activists and at-risk populations.

It follows similar releases, such as the "Spy Files" and the "Syria Files" in recent months. 

In the last few weeks, denial-of-service attacks against various websites -- including Russia Today, and Wikileaks itself -- resulted in targeted sites crumbling under the sheer weight of the attacks.

Topics: Security, Government US, Government UK, Legal, Privacy, Australia

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  • So, which would do more damage...

    waiting for more leaks or lobbing a predator drone into the embassy...
    Tony Burzio
    • Be careful as Julian Assange is not, exactly, tech illiterate

      He might just hack and commandeer the Predator drone and use it for his (and the Ecuadorian government's) own purposes.

      P.S. Did you really mean to suggest that the U.S. government use the Predator drone itself as a missile when these monsters are "fitted" with their own hellfire missiles?
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • lol

        Delusions of grandeur cannot stop a Predator drone.
        • Who's delusions of granduer do you speak of?

          @T1Oracle, here 'ya go (this article's dated June 29, 2012):

          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • GPS != inertial guidance

            The predator has both, you cannot spoof intertia. Julian Assange is not Iran.
    • What would do more damage

      allowing more leaks, or allowing someone accused of sexual assult against a women the opportunity to hide behind leaked documents as a 'get to rape freely' card?
      John Zern
      • there ae no charges

        Since julian assange hasnt been charged with anything, and the swedish courts won't put any complaints in writing (this is highly abnormal), its pretty clear whats really going on. The releases didn't cause any security problem, nut they did prove that the us lied and lied again. Solution; stop lying. If you kill civilians, man up to it instead of lying.
        • It is clear what is going on

          That Julian asange will continue to hide behind wikileaks in an effort to stop him from being questioned, which could lead to charges.

          Please understand that many people are not imediately charged, that happening after questioning when their stories do not hold up to that questioning.

          Make no mistake, because he has not been charged 'yet' does not mean he is not guilty, and will not be charged later in the future.
          John Zern
          • He's been questioned once already...

            while he was in Sweden and all allegations were dropped; he was given permission to leave the country.
            The authorities then had the case reopened and insisted he be extradited for further questioning.
            They refused to accept remote questioning; that would have allowed them to actually charge him with something and then extradite him.
            To paraphrase Kurt, "Just because he's paranoid doesn't mean they're not after him".
          • Why did you shoot the Pope?

            You have not been charged yet, but I am sure you are guilty!
      • He won't be doing any of that any time soon

        If he did, I don't think the Ecuadorians would have any qualms about handing him over to the police and he could be tried right there in London without the bother of sending him to Sweden for interrogation.

        Abuse of hospitality on Mr. Assange's part would be extremely unwise.
        John L. Ries
  • Julian Assange is one of my heroes!

    Wish my Canadian government had the gumption to give him asylum. The Brits have no balls at all and pander to the American big business moguls who attempt to rule the world. Kudos to Ecuador for standing up for what is right. And as for predator drones, American business has no morals at all, and may end up selling the drones to your enemies - who would like nothing better than to send them back at you!
    • Funny....

      I know several people who have immigrated (as in became US Citizens) from Canada to the US solely because of the economic opportunities. Just thought I'd mention that since I'm not sure why you feel you must bring business into the conversation. It isn't business that has a beef with him as much as the US Government for the disclosure of classified documents.

      You can certainly dispute the content of such documents once revealed, I certainly have serious concerns about some of them. However, there is no escaping the fact that these documents belonged to the government of a sovereign nation, as such they are the property of all citizens in the USA, and he did not have the right to disclose them.

      Do you really think Assange is altruistic, are you that dumb?
    • You have an odd sense of hero worship

      Someone accused of rape is someone you consider a hero? Then by all means allow him access to your yonger sisters, perhaps?

      Would you still consider him a hero had he done to one of them what he is accused of doing to a women in Sweden?
      John Zern
      • no charges, no written complaint

        Lawyers wouldnt go to london. Its pretty clear whats going on. The info showed the usa was lyingoover civilian deaths. Solution .. don't lie. If you kill civilians , man up and admit it. Big big moral problem in usa. Soldiers who murdered civilians get away with a month in jail. Bankers who stole billiona - none go to jail. It's like living in ayn rand's head.
        • So you are implying that all convicted rapists

          were charged immediatelly apon the complaint?

          Because there are no charges levied against him at the moment does not mean there will be none in the future.

          Only his answers to the questions will determine that, something he does not wish to do.

          Could he be afraid that his excuses will not hold up, that his stories will not nake sense, thus having charges formaly filed against him.

          He is a 'person of interst', meaning that he may have well done the crime, they need to question him to know if he did.
          John Zern
      • Innocent until proven guilty?

        Apparently John heads up the town lynch mob. As to someone ACCUSED of rape, believe it or not they have the same rights as everyone else unless they are CONVICTED of rape. As has already been made clear JA was questioned, allowed to leave Sweden and has not been charged.

        The main thing JA is guilty of is telling the truth and getting away with it.
        • Julian was guilty

          Julian Assange was found guilty of hacking into US government computers in Australia. But he escaped with out a jail term. He is not a hero.

          He belongs to hippy culture where anything is OK as long as you scream at USA.
          Van Der
        • Julian was guilty

          Julian Assange was found guilty of hacking into US government computers in Australia. But he escaped with out a jail term. He is not a hero.

          He belongs to hippy culture where anything is OK as long as you scream at USA.
          Van Der
    • I'm Canadian

      and he's no hero of mine.