Assange Mocks Obama on ‘Free Speech’
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange strongly criticized United States President Barack Obama in a speech given by video feed to a United Nations event, Reuters reports.
Assange mocked Obama for his stated support for free speech in a UN address Tuesday. Obama has “done more to criminalize free speech than any other US president,” he accused.
Specifically, he slammed the US administration for what he termed “persecution” of WikiLeaks.
Assange also criticized Obama over his statements on free speech in the Middle East. “It must have come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes [during ‘Arab spring’ protests] to hear that the US supported change in the Middle East,” he said, referring to US military aid to Egypt.
Assange spoke from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been holed up since June in an attempt to avoid extradition for alleged sex crimes.
Ecuador has defended its decision to give Assange asylum, saying the lack of criminal charges against him indicates that he is being persecuted for his activity with WikiLeaks rather than for criminal activity. Assange’s WikiLeaks has leaked tens of thousands of classified documents, many pertaining to the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.