Julian Assange says 2012 a 'huge' year for WikiLeaks
Founder of whistleblower website makes 'Christmas address' from Ecuador Embassy in U.K.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange emerged Thursday to speak from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he took refuge six months ago while facing possible extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual misconduct.
In what's being labelled as Assange's Christmas address, the 41-year-old spoke publicly for only the second time since June when he entered the foreign embassy to avoid arrest.
"While my freedom is limited, at least I am still able to communicate this Christmas, unlike the 232 journalists who are in jail [worldwide] tonight," Assange said, adding that many of their plights are linked to his.
Reading from a prepared speech, Assange called 2012 a "huge" year for WikiLeaks and said his organization had dumped one million documents on the internet, some related to the civil war in Syria.
"We have exposed the mass surveillance state and hundreds of documents from private intelligence companies," Assange said.
Showing no sign of slowing down, Assange said his organization was preparing another million documents that will be released in 2013.
"True democracy is the resistance of people armed with the truth against lies from Tahrir to right here in London," he said.
The Australian-born Assange has exhausted all legal means in the British courts over the past two years to fight his extradition before eventually reaching an agreement with Ecuador to take refuge indefinitely inside the embassy.
He is wanted for questioning by Swedish authorities for allegations he sexually assaulted two women during a trip to the Scandinavian country in 2010, a claim he denies.
Assange has long claimed his extradition could lead to him being handed over to U.S. authorities, and punished for the quarter million U.S. Embassy cables dumped on his website in 2010 that negatively framed the backroom dealings of American diplomats.