Julian Assange has called on US President Barack Obama to stop the country’s “war on whistleblowers” in a theatrical performance from within the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Speaking from a balcony attached to the embassy, the WikiLeaks founder used his short speech to launch a savage attack on the US in his first address since entering the embassy seeking asylum two months ago.
“I ask President Obama to do the right thing,” he said in front of a huge gathering of the world’s media and WikiLeaks supporters in central London.
“The United States must renounce the witch-hunt against WikiLeaks. The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The FBI must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff and supporters.”
He added, “The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the crimes of the powerful.”
Dressed in a blue shirt with a red tie and sporting a short haircut, Assange looked more presidential than the mastermind behind the secret-spilling website that has upset US authorities by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
In a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions on sexual offences, Assange took up residency inside the South American country’s embassy in mid-June. He was granted asylum by Ecuador last week and thanked the country and its leaders for their support.
Assange is currently holed up within the embassy with British authorities intending to send him to Sweden as soon as he steps back onto British soil or airspace.
Assange also thanked his supporters, telling them of a terrifying night in the embassy on Wednesday when he could hear British police “storming” the embassy through its internal fire escape.
He said his supporters had helped attract the world’s attention to the raid, and prevented the raid’ success. He also thanked his family. “To my family and to my children who have been denied their father: forgive me, we will be reunited soon,” he said.
Assange’s mom subjected to Nazi taunts
Julian Assange’s mother hung up the phone on a Melbourne radio host after he taunted her with a Nazi slogan on her refusal to give an interview on her son. Christine Assange was due to speak to radio station 3AW on its Sunday morning show about her son, and his success to gain asylum in Ecuador. “I won't be doing an interview with you because you're acting like a pig,” Assange’s mother said. Howson began screaming on air: “Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!”, after which Christine hung up the phone.