Julian Assange slams Barack Obama's speech at UN

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Julian Assange
New York, Sept 27: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has alleged that US President Barack Obama is trying to make political capital out of the Arab Spring.

Assange was speaking to diplomats at the United Nations here via videolink from Ecuador's embassy in London where he has been hiding since Jun 19 in order to avoid being extradited to Sweden.

Slamming Obama's speech at the UN General Assembly on Sept 25, he quipped that Tunisians would have been surprised to hear the US president's statement about American support for the forces of change in their country.

"Mohammed Bouazizi did not set himself on fire so that Barack Obama could get re-elected," Assange said. He was citing the fruit seller whose self-immolation triggered the revolution due to which Tunisia's long-time ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was finally ousted from power.

Claiming that it was actually the Wikileaks disclosures which "went on to help trigger the Arab Spring", Assange referred to US soldier Bradley Manning who had handed over classified US diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.

Ruing that Manning was subsequently mistreated at a prison in the US, Assange recounted how the soldier was stripped and left alone in a cell. "The time for words has run out. It is time to cease the persecution of our people and our alleged sources. It is time to join the force of change not in fine words but in fine deeds," Assange stressed.

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