Julian Assange called for the United States to end its "witch hunt" against whistleblowers in a ten minute speech given from his balcony at the Ecuadorian embassy earlier today. "The U.S. war on whistleblowers must end," Assange said. "As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies." Assange ended his speech by giving two thumbs up, although he declined to strike a Saturday Night Fever pose.
Assange's attorney, Baltasar Garzón, is attempting to negotiate a safe passage for his client to Ecuador through the UK. "Mr. Assange is going to continue fighting for his rights," Garzón, a former Spanish judge told CNN.
Assange has been granted asylum in Ecuador but British authorities have insisted they will detain Assange if he attempts to leave and extradite him to Sweden, where he has faced allegations of rape and sexual assault for two years. Assange is understandably concerned that Sweden will extradite him to the United States, where he could face the death penalty for leaking hundred of thousands of classified documents concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sweden's foreign ministry denied those concerns in a statement: "Sweden does not extradite individuals who risk facing the death penalty."
British authorities have threatened to raid the Ecuadorian embassy to retrieve Assange, which spurred a rebuke from a council of South American nations that includes Ecuador and Venezuela: "We warn the government of the United Kingdom that it will face grave consequences around the world if it directly breaches the territorial integrity of the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London." It's worth noting that Assange has not formally been charged with any crimes in Sweden.