WikiLeaks founder Assange to deliver speech

Updated: 2013-06-13 14:41


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SYDNEY - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to address by video link the International Symposium on Electronic Art held at the University of Sydney at 5:30 pm local time (0730 GMT) Thursday.  

The recent flight of ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden to Hong Kong, after exposing American spy agency data collection program PRISM; and the ongoing trial of US Army private Bradley Manning, accused of leaking military intelligence, underway since June 3; have thrust WikiLeaks into the global spotlight once again.

Assange, who has now been closeted away in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly a year, has apparently been in indirect contact with Snowden since the expose, and has urged the international community to offer him protection.

In Thursday's address Assange is expected to mention the Snowden and Manning affairs, and possibly his plans to escape Britain without extradition by being elected to the Australian Senate.

Many Australians feel a particular connection to Assange, who grew up in a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.

Lobby groups around the country have been calling for the Australian government to "bring Julian Assange home" since the British Supreme Court called for his extradition to Sweden last year.

In Australia, nearly 800 people attended a sold-out session of a documentary about Assange, the world's most famous whistleblower will, and WikiLeaks in Sydney on Wednesday night; an Australian premier as part of the annual Sydney Film Festival.

"We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," directed by hard- hitting documentarian Alex Gibney, covers the inner workings of the organisation and its global impact, featuring interviews with WikiLeaks insiders, whistleblowers and American intelligence officers.

Viewers were offered an insight into the personality and origins of Assange, Australia's home-grown hacker, as well as the emotional turmoil faced by Manning and Adrian Lamo, the man who reported him to US authorities.

Right on the pulse of public debate about internet privacy and information security, the film tells a story that feels bigger than any individual, and affects us all in the Information Age.