Assange accuses Obama of “exploiting” Arab Spring

Friday, September 28, 2012
Julian Assange [File Photo]
London: In an unprecedented move WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday accused the U.S. President Barack Obama of “exploiting” the Arab Spring for political his mileage and condemned him defending free speech in the Muslim world.

This has comes close on the heels of America’s attempt to “persecuting” Assange’s website for leaking American diplomatic cables.

In a video address made on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Assange said that judging from his own experience Mr. Obama had “done more to criminalise free speech than any other U.S. president”.

“I speak to you today as a free man, because despite having been detained for 659 days without charge, I am free in the most basic and important sense. I am free to speak my mind,” Assange said in his address to United Nations.

“This freedom exists because the nation of Ecuador has granted me political asylum and other nations have rallied to support its decision,” he further said.

“It must have come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes [during the Arab Spring] to hear that the U.S. supported change in the Middle East….It’s time for President Obama to keep his word ... and for the U.S. to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks,” he said.

Mr. Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy since June after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault made by two women.

Assange said it was because of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that WikiLeaks was able to "receive and impart information... through any media, and any medium and regardless of frontiers".

Assange praised his effort to explore hidden facts through his organisation’s investigative stories.

In his speech the WikiLeaks founder thanked United Nations to provide right to exercise inalienable right to seek protection from the arbitrary and excessive actions taken by governments against him and the staff and supporters of his organisation.

In a argumentative speech from inside the embassy, Mr. Assange claimed that WikiLeaks played a big role in triggering the uprisings in the Arab world by leaking American diplomatic cables.

The American Government would be “audacious” to take credit for the “Arab Spring”, he said adding that it was “disrespect to the dead to claim that the United States supported the forces of change”.

Notably, Assange remarks came amid reports that the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino was due to meet the British Foreign Secretary William Hague in New York to press him to grant Mr. Assange safe passage to Ecuador which has granted him asylum.
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