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Excerpt: "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 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?"

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks makes a statement from a balcony of Ecuador's London Embassy. (photo: Kirsty Wiggleswort/AP)
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks makes a statement from a balcony of Ecuador's London Embassy. (photo: Kirsty Wiggleswort/AP)



The US Must End Its War on Whistleblowers

By Julian Assange, WikiLeaks

20 August 12

 

Julian Assange spoke on Sunday from a low balcony of Ecuador's London Embassy to cheering crowds and the media, his first public appearance since seeking refuge there two months ago. The embassy is heavily surrounded by police. After threatening to storm the embassy to seize Assange, a breach of the 1961 Vienna convention, Britain now says it has no intention of doing so. Britain is, however, refusing to allow Assange safe passage out of the country. -- CW/RSN.
Read his full statement below.

 

 

am here because I cannot be closer to you.

Thank you for being here.

Thank you for your resolve and your generosity of spirit.

On Wednesday night after a threat was sent to this embassy and the police descended on the building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it and you brought the world’s eyes with you.

Inside the embassy, after dark, I could hear teams of police swarming into the building through the internal fire escape.

But I knew that there would be witnesses.

And that is because of you.

If the UK did not throw away the Vienna Conventions the other night, it is because the world was watching.

And the world was watching because you were watching.

The next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend the rights we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark outside the Embassy of Ecuador, and how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world, and a courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.

And so, to those brave people:

I thank President Correa for the courage he has shown in considering and granting me political asylum.

And so I thank the government and the Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño, who have upheld the Ecuadorian constitution and its notion of universal rights in their consideration of my case.

And to the Ecuadorian people for supporting and defending their constitution.

And I have a debt of gratitude to the staff of this embassy whose families live in London and who have shown me hospitality and kindness despite the threats that they have received.

This Friday there will be an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of Latin America in Washington D.C. to address this situation.

And so I am grateful to the people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and to all other Latin American countries who have come to the defence of the right to asylum.

To the people of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength while their governments have not. And to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice. Your day will come.

To the staff, supporters and sources of WikiLeaks whose courage, commitment and loyalty have seen no equal.

To my family and to my children who have been denied their father: forgive me. We will be reunited soon.

As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of our societies.

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 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 that it must turn back.

I ask President Obama to do the right thing.

The United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks.

The United States must dissolve its 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 crimes of the powerful.

There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organization, be it WikiLeaks or the New York Times.

The US administration’s war on whistle-blowers must end.

Thomas Drake, William Binney, John Kirakou and the other heroic US whistle-blowers must - they must - be pardoned and compensated for the hardships they have endured as servants of the public record.

And the Army Private who remains in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth Kansas, who was found by the UN to have endured months of torturous detention in Quantico Virginia and who has yet - after two years in prison - to see a trial, must be released.

And 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.

Bradley Manning must be released.

On Wednesday, Bradley Manning spent his 815th day in detention without trial. The legal maximum is 120 days.

On Thursday, my friend, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to 3 years for a tweet.

On Friday, a Russian band was sentenced to 2 years in jail for a political performance.

There is unity in the oppression.

There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.

See Also: UK Embassy Threat Angers South American Leaders

 

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+35 # Edwina 2012-08-20 10:06
It is interesting that other sites carrying articles about WikiLeaks or Assange do not seem available for comment (error on page) -- except by people in support of the U.S. government's position. They mostly vent a la FOX News. We should all hope Assange wins this fight for freedom of information. Not just freedom of opinion.
 
 
+18 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-08-20 14:35
What a brave beyond belief and determined truthteller Julian Assange is, and Brad Manning, the plaintiffs in Hedges, et. al. v. Obama, et. al. (Google same on Justia).

Our Occupy Wall Streeters have it right:

WHAT'S THE SOLUTION? GLOBAL REVOLUTION!

And, here's a suggestion for another solution: no more Nobel Peace Prizes to (sorry to say) failures in peacekeeping and justice demanding like Pres. Oh Bomb Ah. True Peace and Justice advocates such as Assange and Manning are the ones who have earned, and then some, such prizes.
 
 
+30 # Gizmo 2012-08-20 10:16
I'm thinking that there is something lurking behind this Assange situation that has the Brits and the Americans scared shitless-- the possibility that if they took Assange, the people of South and Latin America would go batshit and our embassies down there would be in trouble. They don't mess around in those countries, they are not the obedient sheep that we have become.
 
 
+24 # indian weaver 2012-08-20 10:46
I agree. Consider Hugo Chavez et. al. who are the serious people governing many south american nations. At present, this is a humiliating situation for amerika, england and sweden. but this country may well have something up its sleeve to ameliorate the international growing awareness of the Assange case. Very important is that Assange now has a world stage for speaking which is more impact than having news organizations speak for him, and amerika, england and sweden have put him there and created this international discussion - a classic case of "blowback", or unforeseen consequences. I'm in discussion with a Swedish national living in Sweden. His comments to me are revealing re: Sweden's agenda - that their leader is a former member of RAND corporation. That alone says a lot about Sweden's political orientation, and its plans for Assange if Assange ever gets there. It seems doubtful Assange will make it to Sweden now - we hope. The OAS having a meeting Friday to discuss the situation is heartening and significant.
 
 
-22 # JackB 2012-08-20 14:24
Is America with a "K" your childish way of suggesting this country is like Nazi Germany? if so, why do you torture yourself? If, as you suggest, Chavez et al are governing Gardens of Eden in South America why don't you vote with your feet & go to one? You would undoubtedly be leading a happier life & you could still be in conversation with your Swedish national who lives in Sweden.

Tony Blair once observed that the best way to judge a country was to compare the number of people trying to get in with the number of people trying to get out. If America is the pits as you & many others on this blog suggest then perhaps you could provide a list of the Paradises with a greater illegal alien problem.
 
 
+12 # reiverpacific 2012-08-20 16:56
Quoting JackB:
Is America with a "K" your childish way of suggesting this country is like Nazi Germany? if so, why do you torture yourself? If, as you suggest, Chavez et al are governing Gardens of Eden in South America why don't you vote with your feet & go to one? You would undoubtedly be leading a happier life & you could still be in conversation with your Swedish national who lives in Sweden.
Tony Blair once observed that the best way to judge a country was to compare the number of people trying to get in with the number of people trying to get out. If America is the pits as you & many others on this blog suggest then perhaps you could provide a list of the Paradises with a greater illegal alien problem.

Tony Blair is a materialistic, greedy, ambitious and self-aggrandizi ng patsy for Dimwits Bush and Cheney. And many Mexicans and others are now leaving due to the almost doubling of immigration application fees, mean-spiritedne ss and diminishing opportunities as the job market, even at slave wages, offers little incentive to pay Coyotes, dodge the Border Patrols and even more zealous minute men and other "Guardian militias" or thugs on the border to make it safe for white supremacists.
"Ameri(k)ca, love it or leave it" is the totally predictable and as you yourself put it "childish" fallback of every Redneck ignoramus I ever met. My own response? "I'll go when and where it's MY idea Bubba"!
 
 
-47 # df312 2012-08-20 10:26
Assange is not a whistle-blower. A whistle-blower is concerned with very specific circumstances or cases. Assange's "leaks" are no less than vandalism and possibly espionage. I'm all for a true whistle-blower, but this case doesn't fit.
 
 
+8 # noitall 2012-08-20 22:47
Quoting df312:
Assange is not a whistle-blower. A whistle-blower is concerned with very specific circumstances or cases. Assange's "leaks" are no less than vandalism and possibly espionage. I'm all for a true whistle-blower, but this case doesn't fit.


What are you saying? to be a "true whistleblower" one must only divulge one crime at a time? Where did you get this definition from the Fox dictionary? Assange has blown the whistle on a specific circumstance, if it makes you feel better, the covert distruction of our democracy!
 
 
+21 # reiverpacific 2012-08-20 11:11
Assange and others are simply affirming the old saw that "All governments lie", especially the current crowd in the UK and the US with their huge propaganda machines and in the case of the US, a hugely opiated and ignorant populace, which is why they are so bent on their own denial and hatred of anybody that exposes their raw nerved-lying and power-seeking rogue-state collaborations!
Thank goodness that most of the now-progressive Latin American nations that have managed to extirpate the overwhelmingly right-wing domineering of the US are circling the wagons in support of liberty and justice for Assange.
Bradly Manning has the bad luck to be on trial IN the USA and subject to the vengeful and ruthless non-justice system here.
I hope that the UK's Cameron-patsy see some illumination in this respect but ain't holding my breath.
 
 
+21 # Doubter 2012-08-20 12:08
Thank you RSN for this wonderful video of one of my favorite heroes.(the other is Bradley Manning) I actually shed a couple of tears; mostly from feeling the loss of freedom and decency highlighted by the blind persecution of these two by the unleashed reactionary forces of this martyred planet.
 
 
-19 # RightForAReason 2012-08-20 13:27
I see you didn't print my earlier comment. Cowards.
 
 
+13 # MidwestTom 2012-08-20 13:39
You are forgetting that with the NDAA we are no longer a nation run by laws. In fact a Federal judge ruled against Section 1021 of the act which allows for unlimited detention of uncharged American Citizens, and the Obama Administration immediately filed an appeal. Under MDAA they can simply make whistleblowers disappear.
 
 
-20 # RightForAReason 2012-08-20 13:46
Any point of view respected, as long as it is your party line. Cowards.
 
 
+7 # pbbrodie 2012-08-20 19:36
Since they are printing these comments of yours, you evidently used some offensive language, worse than cowards, and it was deemed inappropriate for posting. Try rewriting your comment, sans nasty language, and I feel sure they will post it for you. I have read many comments on this site that run contrary to the vast majority and seriously doubt anything you wrote was withheld for any reason other than inappropriate language and certainly not because it is in disagreement with anything else posted here.
 
 
-21 # RightForAReason 2012-08-20 14:37
Manning is a traitor. There is a death penalty for Treason. I hope Assange sleeps well, knowing his actions resulted in people being killed. Eventually Ecuador will get tired of him. In the mean time he has a self-imposed prison sentence. Enjoy the air mattress tool bag.
 
 
+6 # noitall 2012-08-20 22:51
Ignorance may be bliss to you but to a democracy, it is death. Do you think the German people supported Hitler up to the point where they had no choice? Shit happens when you're out of the loop and before you know it, you're knee deep in it and can't walk out of it.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-08-21 09:14
Quoting RightForAReason:
Manning is a traitor. There is a death penalty for Treason. I hope Assange sleeps well, knowing his actions resulted in people being killed. Eventually Ecuador will get tired of him. In the mean time he has a self-imposed prison sentence. Enjoy the air mattress tool bag.

So go along like a predictable cypher for the lying power class status quo. Coward!
 
 
+9 # Majikman 2012-08-20 15:21
Were I living in London I would have found it absolutely necessary to walk my dog at 1am until dawn by the Ecuadorian embassy. You go Julian!
 
 
+20 # xflowers 2012-08-20 15:23
Assange is not a whistle-blower. He is a journalist publishing what whistle-blowers give him that Wikileaks thinks the public has a right to know. Apparently, The New York Times did too along with other media outlets when they made the decision to publish a lot of this material. These were not state secrets in any true sense of the word. They were not the formulas for chemical weapons or the location of the secret bomb installations. No, they were comments diplomats would have rather kept quite or shootings of civilians the military would have preferred no one knew about. How much else goes on that we don't know about? And what kind of a world can we expect if the First Amendment no longer means anything and investigative journalists fear they will be hunted down and jailed for printing the truth?
 
 
+14 # pamitty 2012-08-20 16:47
OK, some times I hate what Obama has done, but he is way better than the alternative, R&R who will cut taxes on the rich by 12% and raise taxes on the middle class to $2,000. a family each year to pay for it.
America is not like Nazi Germany yet, but we are heading that way more and more.
We are considered guilty until proven innocent, we don't give speedy trials. Half of us demonize the gays, we are forcing women to carry a bay to full term even if it risks her life.
We don't dare disagree with a GOP speaker or we might be hauled to the ground, arrested , taken from the site like that 71 YO man that dared argue about that he PAID into social security and medicare all his working life.
We have become a nation ruled by a very few 1%or .1% of the people who are buying our government, a president, congress, and then the rest of us a big chunk who believe if fox said it, then it must be true.
And these same folks will not listen to reason or the truth.
 
 
+8 # pernsey 2012-08-20 21:36
The US Must End Its War on Whistleblowers. ..Absolutely they should. There is no accountability, the media, reporters, and whistleblowers are what used to keep them honest.
 
 
+6 # noitall 2012-08-20 22:57
Without oversight by the People, there is no democracy. Benevolent dictator? Not so far as I can see; I can see a lot of effort to support a dictatorial reign by the super rich but without citizens with conviction and balls, we and America will be lost. Demand that Manning be freed and support justice for ALL whistleblowers.
 

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