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Julian Assange Says Obama Is “Criminalizing Free Speech”

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages.

Julian Assange has some harsh words for President Obama.

The infamous Wikileaks founder told a group of diplomats at the U.N. General Assembly via videolink that Obama was “criminalizing free speech” for jailing Pvt. Bradley Manning and exploiting the Arab Spring for his own political gain. Assange spoke from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he remains because he fears extradition to Sweden on suspicion of sex offenses. He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August.

His remarks were in direct response to President Obama’s address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, in which the president passionately defended free speech around the world. Obama didn’t comment directly on Assange’s speech. And though Republican challenger Mitt Romney probably would like to comment, given his gaffe-prone September, it’s probably a good idea to sit this one out.