WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says US gave 'tacit approval' to embassy attacks

Julian Assange

Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks declared that the United States had effectively given groups an opening to attack its embassies by supporting the siege of its founder Julian Assange.

Assange, an Australian activist who founded WikiLeaks to fight official secrecy by distributing leaked documents, is holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of sex crimes.

On Tuesday, the US embassy compound in Cairo was invaded by protesters angered by an online film they saw as offensive to Islam, while the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by armed militants.

Four US officials, including the ambassador to Libya, were killed, but WikiLeaks accused US authorities of undermining the safety of all diplomatic missions by not opposing Britain's police cordon around the London embassy.

"By the US accepting the UK siege on the Ecuadoran embassy in London it gave tacit approval for attacks on embassies around the world," the group said, in a message posted on its main Twitter account yesterday.

In June, Assange took shelter in the embassy after exhausting legal appeals against extradition to Sweden.

He fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he has said he could face prosecution for treason, over his website's release of a trove of secret embassy cables and war reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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