By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Today marks two years since Julian Assange took refuge at Ecuador’s embassy in London. The Wikileaks founder hasn’t left the building — he can’t, out of fear he’ll be arrested and shipped out of England. Assange is still leading the charge against state secrecy.
To keep cabin fever at bay, Assange says he’s been watching the World Cup.
“Although the reception in this building is quite difficult, but perhaps it makes it a bit harder for the bugs to transmit through the walls as well.”
British security forces keeping an eye on him around the clock, to the tune of $10-million. American taxpayers footing the bill for a four-year criminal investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks.
Assange is telling President Obama to drop it, along with the case against NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
“You must surely, now, start to reflect on what your legacy will be. It must be at odds with a former professor of constitutional law to have a legacy that not only involves the construction of extrajudicial kill lists of individuals — including American citizens — but also a legacy of being the president who conducted more Espianoge Act investigations against journalists and their sources than all previous presidents combined.”
He says a robust freedom of the press and whistleblower protections are key to checking government power and keeping them honest. But Assange says there are corporate giants siding with the feds over the interests of their customers.
“Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Bank of America, which have been actively involved without any judicial order in blockading WikiLeaks or attempting to censor in one way or another its publications reveal their hand: they are no friend of the public.”
Assange is helping with Chelsea Manning’s appeal of the Army private’s 35-year prison term for releasing reams of classified documents to WikiLeaks. For now, Assange promises the secret-spilling will keep on coming.