UK & World News
Assange: Fresh WikiLeaks Files To Be Released
WikiLeaks is preparing to release more than a million new documents next year, affecting every country in the world, the website's founder Julian Assange has said.
Mr Assange gave a rare public address from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he took refuge in June.
"In 2013, we will continue to stand up to bullies," he said to the cheers of supporters gathered in front of the building.
"The power of people standing up and resisting together terrifies corrupt, undemocratic power. So much so that ordinary people here in the West are now the enemy of governments, to be watched, controlled and impoverished."
Predicting a busy year ahead, he said: "WikiLeaks has already over a million documents being prepared to be released, documents that affect every country in the world."
His whistle-blowing website has published the biggest trove ever of sensitive documents including US diplomatic cables and military files from the US and Afghan wars.
Mr Assange has been given political asylum by Ecuador after unsuccessfully attempting to halt extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault charges concerning two women.
The 41-year-old Australian, who denies the allegations, faces arrest if he sets foot outside of the embassy because he broke the terms of his bail.
He fears being sent to the United States, where the Justice Department has launched an investigation into WikiLeaks' disclosures of US secrets.
Mr Assange said he would stay in the embassy while what he called an "immoral investigation" continued and the Australian government failed to defend him, but he added that he "will not be cowed".
"Six months ago I entered this building. It has become my home, my office and my refuge. Thanks to the principled stance of the Ecuadorian government and the support of its people, I am safe in this embassy and safe to speak from this embassy," he said.
"However, the door is open, and the door has always been open, for anyone who wishes to use standard procedures to speak to me or guarantee my safe passage".
Talks between Ecuador and Britain to reach an agreement over Mr Assange's extradition failed in September.
About 250 people - some holding candles and banners - gathered in the cold and rain to watch Mr Assange deliver his second speech from the embassy balcony in six months.
In his last address in August he accused the US of being on a "witch-hunt" against his website.
To his supporters Mr Assange is a champion of the free press and government transparency; to his critics, he is a publicity-hungry man waging an anti-Western campaign and putting the lives of many in danger by releasing sensitive information.
The former hacker has been living in a tiny room inside the embassy, which is itself just an apartment inside a Victorian red-brick building in the posh Knightsbridge district.
Last month, Ecuador's ambassador to the UK said Mr Assange had developed a chronic lung infection and required constant medical attention.