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Assange calls for help from … Quakers?

Peers out window, appeals for freedom, lectures world

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Julian Assange has revealed himself to the world from the balcony of London's Ecuadorean embassy and made a statement that lays the blame for his predicament on the hypocrisy of the USA.

In the statement Assange calls on the USA to “... return to and reaffirm the values it was founded on” and stop pursuing him lest we find ourselves in “... a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?”

Assange did not specify just which values he wants the USA to revert to, so it's not clear if he's referring to taxation without representation and a right to trial by jury mentioned in the USA's Declaration of Independence, or the desire for freedom of religious expression that was such an important reason for British Dissenters to establish colonies in North America. And let's not forget the slavery.

We suspect his appeal is for the USA to respect his right to freedom of speech and the principle of freedom of the press … which of course were only floated in 1789, more than a year after the nation's founding. Both were signed off as an American value with the advent of the First Amendment in 1791, three years after the USA summoned itself into existence.

Assange also made numerous calls for justice for whistle-blowers, calling for “absolute unity and determination in the response” to those who would oppose freedom of speech.

In a speech that only mentioned Sweden in passing and thanked Ecuador for justly throwing him a lifeline, Assange called on President Obama to stop the FBI investigation into WikiLeaks and “renounce its witch-hunt” against the organisation. ®

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