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Assange calls for criminal charges against ‘shock jock’ Fox hosts

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 18:28 EDT
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WikiLeaks founder calls Bradley Manning ‘political prisoner’; says Fox hosts, politicians committing ‘terrorism’

Julian Assange has accused Fox personalities Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, among others, of committing terrorism through their calls to hunt down and kill the WikiLeaks founder.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Cenk Uygur, Assange referred to the politicians-turned-Fox-personalities as “shock jocks” who should be charged for inciting violence against him and his organization.

He also referred to Huckabee as “just another idiot trying to make a name for himself.”

Asked what he thought of the accusation — made by Vice President Joe Biden and others — that he is a “high-tech terrorist,” Assange said his organization’s actions didn’t meet the definition of terrorism — but those of Fox personalities and other TV pundits did.

“We see constant threats from people, the Republican Senate trying to make a name for themselves, people like Sarah Palin to shock jocks on Fox and, unfortunately, some members also of the Democratic Party, calling for my assassination, calling for the illegal kidnapping of my staff,” Assange said.

“What sort of message does that send about the rule of law in the United States? That is conducing violence in order to achieve a political end. The elimination of this organization or the threat of violence to achieve a political end, the elimination of a publisher. And that is the definition of terrorism.”

Of Huckabee’s call to have Assange executed, and Palin’s demand that he be hunted down like al Qaeda, Assange said: “If we are to have a civil society, you cannot have senior people making calls on national TV to go around the judiciary and illegally murder people. That is incitement to commit murder. That is an offense.”

He added: “When people call for illegal, deliberate assassination and kidnapping of others, they should be held to account. They should be charged for incitement to commit murder.”

MANNING A ‘POLITICAL PRISONER’

Assange went on to address the question of Bradley Manning, the Army private held in solitary confinement for the past seven months over allegations he was the source for WikiLeaks’ release of 260,000 State Department cables.

“If we are to believe the allegations, then this man acted for political reasons. He’s a political prisoner in the United States. He has not gone to trial. … Human rights organizations should be investigating the conditions under which he is held and, really, is there due process there?” Assange said.

The United Nations office that deals with torture issues on Wednesday said that it is investigating a complaint over Manning’s detention.

Assange said he believes there was “a bit of shift” in public opinion in his favor when he was jailed last week on an Interpol warrant.

“Once I was put in prison, this really focused the minds of people intently into what was happening. So we have seen a turnaround,” he said.

Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden in relation to allegations of sexual impropriety with two women. He has not been formally charged in the investigation that has been ongoing since August.

The attempt to cast WikiLeaks as being a non-journalistic organization, Assange said, is a “quite deliberate attempt to split us off in the mind of the public from those good traditions of the United States — protecting the rights of the press to publish,” Assange said.

“Some of those journalists have fallen for that, and why? Because they are worried that they are going to be next,” he continued. “But I have a message to them — they are gonna be next. … So us journalists and publishers and writers, we all have to stick together to resist this sort of reinterpretation of the First Amendment.”

This video is from MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show, broadcast Dec. 22, 2010.

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