THE head of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, yesterday afternoon thanked supporters for ‘turning out in the middle of the night’ when ‘police were storming up the internal fire escape’ on Thursday.
‘The world was watching because you were here,’ he said, adding his thanks to ‘A courageous Latin American nation who took a stand for justice.
‘I thank the people of Ecuador and President Correa for the courage he has shown in considering and granting me political asylum.
‘I also thank the government and in particular foreign minister Ricardo Platino, who upheld the Ecuadorian constitution and its notion of universal citizenship in their consideration of my asylum.’
He said he had a debt of gratitude to the Ecuadorian people and the staff at the embassy, ‘despite the threats we all received.’
He added that he was ‘also grateful to the people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and all the other Latin American countries who have come out to defend the right to asylum.’
He continued: ‘And to the people of the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength even when their government does not.
‘And to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice, your day will come.’
He went on to say: ‘As Wikileaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies.
He continued, however, to sow illusions in the US leadership.
‘We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.
‘Will it return to and reaffirm the values, the revolutionary values, it was founded on, or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark.
‘I say it must turn back. I ask President Obama to do the right thing.
‘The United States must renounce its witchhunt against Wikileaks. The United States must dissolve the FBI investigation.
The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters.
‘The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret lives of the powerful.
‘There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organisation, be it Wikileaks or be it the New York Times.
‘The US administration’s war on whistleblowers must end.’
He added that ‘heroic’ whistleblowers ‘must be pardoned or compensated for the hardships they have endured as servants of the public record.
‘A junior Army private remains in military prison in Fort Levanworth in Kansas.
‘He was found by the United Nations to endure tortuous detention. After two years in prison preceding trial he must be released.
‘Bradley Manning must be released. If Bradley Manning hears that he is accused, he is a hero, and an example to all of us, and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners.
‘Bradley Manning must be released.’
Assange concluded: ‘There is unity in our oppressors, there must be in all of us.’