Assange: upwards of one million documents set to be leaked in 2013
MOSCOW, December 21 - RAPSI, Ingrid Burke. Wikileaks has prepared upwards of a million documents to be released in the new year, founder and chief editor Julian Assange announced to a crowd of supporters in London Thursday evening.
Speaking from the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy where he has holed up for the past six months, Assange boasted with his usual flare for drama, “WikiLeaks has already over a million documents being prepared to be released, documents that affect every country in the world. Every country in this world.”
Assange has gained international notoriety in recent years for having exposed scores of sensitive and secret documents via his website Wikileaks.
On Thursday evening, Assange explained the driving force behind the work of Wikileaks in terms of metaphorical skyscrapers and shanty towns: “Our buildings can only be as tall as their bricks are strong. And our civilization is only as strong as its ideas are true. When our buildings are erected by the corrupt. When their cement is cut with dirt. When pristine steel is replaced by scrap—our buildings are not safe to live in. And when our media is corrupt. When our academics are timid. When our history is filled with half truths and lies. Our civilization will never be just. It will never reach the sky. Our societies are intellectual shanty towns. Our beliefs about the world and each other have been created by same system that has lied us into repeated wars that have killed millions. You can’t build a sky scraper out of plasticine. And you can’t build a just civilization out of ignorance and lies.”
His present embassy saga began after the British Supreme Court upheld in May an order to extradite Assange to Sweden, where he is sought for questioning in connection with alleged sexual offenses.
After having lost his final shot at the UK shielding him from Swedish justice, Assange applied for asylum in Ecuador. Ecuador in turn agreed to the asylum grant based on concerns that Assange might ultimately face the death penalty if extradited to the US.
Speaking with RIA Novosti shortly after the asylum grant was issued, Ecuador’s Ambassador to Russia Patricio Alberto Chavez Zavala explained, “We cannot anticipate the US expectations but we do not rule out even the death penalty… Assange has been persecuted for a crime that has yet to be proven… In appealing to our state, he provided the information as to why he needs political asylum.”
A key concern is that if convicted in the US under the 1917 Espionage Act on the basis of his Wikileaks work, Assange could face capital punishment. Notably, he has not yet been charged with any crimes, in the US or elsewhere. Assange confirmed this point Thursday night, telling the crowd: “I have not been charged with a crime. If [you] ever see spin that suggests otherwise, note this corruption of journalism.”
Still, the Assange camp maintains that this fear amounts to more than merely a hypothetical exercise. Speaking with RAPSI in late August, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson explained, “The only thing we know is that the FBI investigation [into Wikileaks] is very large in scope—it was revealed recently that the documents gathered in that investigation now number more than 40,000. It has also been revealed that in the subpoenas people have been issued for the grand jury in Alexandria, VA—there are references to the Espionage Act of 1917.”
Thursday evening, Assange declared that the investigation remains underway, stating, “The US investigation is referred to in testimony under oath in US courts, is admitted by Department of Justice and by the District Attorney of Virginia as a fact. It’s subpoenas are being litigated in the courts. The Pentagon reissued its threats against me in September and claimed the very existence of Wikileaks is an ongoing crime. “
Still, he proclaimed his determination to never let down, even if only from within the confines of the embassy: “My work will not be cowed. But while this immoral investigation continues, and while the Australian government will not defend the journalism and publishing of Wikileaks, I must remain here.”