Citizen Action Monitor

In UN address, Assange mocks Obama’s “audaciousness”, exposing the duplicity of the president’s “fine words”

“It is time for President Obama do the right thing, and join the forces of change, not in fine words but in fine deeds.”

No 580 Posted by fw September 27, 2012

Below is an abridged version of Julian Assange’s address to a side meeting of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. The abridgement focuses on Assange’s fine, oratorically powerful, repeated phrase “it must come as a surprise” as he draws his address to a close.

To access a transcript of the complete text of Assange’s speech, click on the following title. The 19-minute video of the speech is embedded at the end of this post.

Assange To UN: US Must Replace ‘Fine Words’ With Action, by Julian Assange, Countercurrents, September 27, 2012. (The speech was first broadcast by RussiaToday).

ABRIDGED TRANSCRIPT

For all Barack Obama’s fine words yesterday, and there were many of them, fine words, it is his administration that boasts on his campaign website of criminalizing more speech that all previous US presidents combined.

I am reminded of the phrase: “the audacity of hope.”

Who can say that the President of the United States is not audacious?

Was it not audacity for the United States government to take credit for the last two years’ avalanche of progress?

Was it not audacious to say, on Tuesday, that the “United States supported the forces of change” in the Arab Spring?

Tunisian history did not begin in December 2010.

And Mohammed Bouazizi did not set himself on fire so that Barack Obama could be reelected.

His death was an emblem of the despair he had to endure under the Ben Ali regime.

The world knew, after reading WikiLeaks publications, that the Ben Ali regime and its government had for long years enjoyed the indifference, if not the support, of the United States – in full knowledge of its excesses and its crimes.

So it must come as a surprise to Tunisians that the United States supported the forces of change in their country.

It must come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes that the US administration supported change in Egypt.

It must come as a surprise to those who heard Hillary Clinton insist that Mubarak’s regime was “stable,” and when it was clear to everyone that it was not, that its hated intelligence chief, Sueilman, who we proved the US knew was a torturer, should take the realm.

It must come as a surprise to all those Egyptians who heard Vice President Joseph Biden declare that Hosni Mubarak was a democrat and that Julian Assange was a high tech terrorist.

It is disrespectful to the dead and incarcerated of the Bahrain uprising to claim that the United States “supported the forces of change.”

This is indeed audacity.

Who can say that it is not audacious that the President – concerned to appear leaderly – looks back on this sea change – the people’s change – and calls it his own?

But we can take heart here too, because it means that the White House has seen that this progress is inevitable.

In this “season of progress” the president has seen which way the wind is blowing.

And he must now pretend that it is his administration that made it blow.

Very well. This is better than the alternative – to drift into irrelevance as the world moves on.

We must be clear here.

The United States is not the enemy.

Its government is not uniform. In some cases good people in the United States supported the forces of change. And perhaps Barack Obama personally was one of them.

But in others, and en masse, early on, it actively opposed them.

This is a matter of historical record.

And it is not fair and it is not appropriate for the President to distort that record for political gain, or for the sake of uttering fine words.

Credit should be given where it is due, but it should be withheld where it is not.

And as for the fine words.

They are fine words.

And we commend and agree with these fine words.

We agree when President Obama said yesterday that people can resolve their differences peacefully.

We agree that diplomacy can take the place of war.

And we agree that this is an interdependent world, that all of us have a stake in.

We agree that freedom and self-determination are not merely American or Western values, but universal values.

And we agree with the President when he says that we must speak honestly if we are serious about these ideals.

But fine words languish without commensurate actions.

President Obama spoke out strongly in favour of the freedom of expression.

“Those in power,” he said, “have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissent.”

There are times for words and there are times for action. The time for words has run out.

It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks, to cease its persecution of our people, and to cease its persecution of our alleged sources.

It is time for President Obama do the right thing, and join the forces of change, not in fine words but in fine deeds.

Julian Assange is an Australian editor, activist, journalist, and founder of Wikileaks

SEE ALSO

  • US Designates Wikileaks “Enemy of the State”, published on September 27, 2012 by Common Dreams – “Military documents (pdf) obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and posted online by Wikileaks show that the US government has designated the whistleblower website and its founder Julian Assange as ‘enemies of the state’ — the same legal category as Al Qaeda and other foreign military adversaries.”
Fair Use Notice: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing

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