Friday, February 25, 2011

George W. Bush Cancels Appearance Because Julian Assange Was Invited

By Jerry Smith Feb 25 2011

Former US president George W. Bush accepted an invitation six months ago to deliver the closing keynote speech to the Young Presidents' Association's Global Leadership Summit this Saturday in Denver, but cancelled his appearance when he found out that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was asked to speak at the same event.

Bush spokesman David Sherzer said in a statement:
"The former president has no desire to share a forum with a man who has willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States."

"This week, upon learning that Julian Assange had recently been invited to address the same summit, President Bush decided to cancel his appearance."

Even though Assange's name did not appear on the summit's schedule, it was reported this week that he would be speaking to the attendees via satellite.

Assange is currently at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk,UK under house arrest fighting extradition to Sweden. The Swedish police have not charged Assange with anything, but want him extradited to face questions about accusations of rape and sexual molestation made against him by Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin, which he denies.

YPO (Young Presidents' Association) International Chairman Jill Belconis said in a statement:
"We regret that our members will not be able to hear from President Bush. We hope to have him participate in another YPO event in the future."

"YPO's only mission is to enable members to become better leaders through education and idea exchange."
YPO said the goal of the summit was to encourage discussion of "the latest developments in globalization, the role of visionary leadership, and global political and social conflicts".

Bush had also planned to meet with education leaders Saturday in Denver to discuss the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, an initiative of his Bush Institute, but will not be attending that event either.

Executive director of Get Smart Schools, a Denver organization that is working with the education alliance said:
"We're disappointed that he had to reschedule but we're looking forward to meeting with him in the future when he decides to return."
Assange and WikiLeaks have angered The United Stated government by publishing leaked diplomatic cables and military files on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, something the US claims threatens its national security.

The U.S. Justice Department has also subpoenaed the Twitter accounts of people associated with WikiLeaks who include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, US computer researcher Jacob Appelbaum, and Dutch volunteer for WikiLeaks Rop Gonggrijp, as part of an investigation that could lead to espionage charges against Assange.

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