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Assange: Snowden “a hero to all humanity”

SYDNEY, June 13 (Xinhua) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called whistleblower Edward Snowden “a hero to all humanity”in a live video address to the University of Sydney on Thursday.

“Men like Snowden have shown extreme degrees of civic courage,” he told a packed auditorium of delegates on the closing night of the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art.

“Edward Snowden revealed something that I have been speaking about for a long time. .. That as the internet has penetrated every aspect of society, riding on with it is mass surveillance.

“He provided a clear direction so that we can understand where we are now, and for that he is .. a hero to all in fact of humanity. Because this phenomena is something that affects all of humanity,” said Assange.

Snowden is understood to be hiding out in Hong Kong after coming forward on Sunday as the source of leaked classified material exposing U.S. spy agency data collection program PRISM. Assange has previously expressed support for the ex-CIA contractor, calling on the international community to offer him protection.

Assange’s address to Australia also comes during the ongoing trial of U.S. Army private Bradley Manning, accused of leaking military intelligence to WikiLeaks.

Assange called on international citizens to show the same courage displayed by Snowden and Manning to achieve a more free and transparent society.

“We feel and live keenly because of the risks we take. Every day that we do not live up to our principles is a wasted day,” he said.

Assange also spoke about his plans for an Australian WikiLeaks party, backing his campaign to be elected to the Australian Senate- – which he hopes will allow him to escape extradition to Sweden from Britain.

Assange has now been closeted away in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly a year, but the Australian hacker said his self- imposed imprisonment has only helped his cause.

“The way the situation is going is actually helpful for our cause for me to be in prison. For a while, not forever, but for a small while.

“The situation is very useful for projecting the principles that I believe in. And every day that we are able to project our principles into the world, every day that we are able to operate in such a way that we follow our beliefs .. is a day that has been truly lived,” he said.

 

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