Rewiring the System

Thoughts And WikiLeaks I Love Julian Assange

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on October 24, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

“A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don't
appreciate themselves.”

— Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

If you have not heard of WikiLeaks you must be asleep.

Julian Assange

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Julian Assange
Assange in 2010
Born 1971 Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Occupation Currently Editor in chief and spokespersonfor Wikileaks Previously Journalist, programmer, internet activist, and internet hacker
Board member of Wikileaks
Children Daniel Assange[1]
Awards Amnesty International UK Media Awards 2009, Sam Adams Award 2010
Julian Paul Assange (play /əˈsɑːnʒ/ ə-SAHNZH; born 1971) is an Australian internet activistbest known for his involvement withWikileaks, a whistleblower website. Assange was a physics and mathematics student, a hacker, and a computer programmer, before taking on his current role as Wikileaks' spokesperson and editor-in-chief.[2]



Early life

Assange's parents ran a touring theatre company. In 1979, his mother remarried to a musician who belonged to a cult led by Anne Hamilton-Byrne. The new couple had a son, but broke up in 1982 and engaged in a custodystruggle for his half-brother. His mother then took both children into hiding for the next five years. Assange left home in 1987. In all, he had moved several dozen times in his childhood, frequently switching between formal and home schooling and later attending two universities at various times in Australia.[3] He has been described as being largely self-taught and widely read on science and mathematics.[4] From 2003 to 2006, Assange studied physics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne but does not claim a degree.[3] On his personal web page Assange described how he represented his University at the Australian National Physics Competition around 2005.[5] He has also studied philosophy and neuroscience.[6]

Hacking charges

In the late 1980s he was a member of a hacker group named "International Subversives," possibly going by the handle "Mendax" (derived from a phrase of Horace: "splendide mendax," or "nobly untruthful"). He was the subject of a 1991 raid of his Melbourne home by the Australian Federal Police.[7] He was reported to have accessed various computers belonging to an Australian university, Canadian telecommunications company Nortel,[3] and other organisations via modem[8] to test their security flaws. In 1992 he pleaded guilty to 24 charges of hacking and was released on bond for good conduct after being fined AU$2100.[3][4] In 1989, Assange started living with his girlfriend and soon they had a son. She separated from him after the 1991 police raid and took their son.[9] They engaged in a lengthy custody struggle.[3]

Career as computer programmer

Starting in 1994, Assange lived in Melbourne as a programmer and a developer of free software.[4] In 1995, Assange wrote Strobe, the first free and open source port scanner.[10][11] He contributed several patches to the PostgreSQL project in 1996.[12] He helped to write the 1997 book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier which credits him as researcher and reports his history with International Subversives.[13] Starting around 1997 he co-invented the Rubberhose deniable encryption system, a cryptographic concept made into a software package for Linuxdesigned to provide plausible deniability against rubber-hose cryptanalysis,[14] which he originally intended "as a tool for human rights workers who needed to protect sensitive data in the field."[15] Other free software that he has authored or co-authored includes the Usenetcaching software NNTPCache[16] and Surfraw, a command line interface for web-based search engines. In 1999, Assange registered the domain; "but," he says, "then I didn't do anything with it."[17]


Main article: Wikileaks
Wikileaks was founded in 2006.[3][18] Assange now sits on its nine-member advisory board,[19] and is a prominent media spokesman on its behalf. While newspapers have described him as a "director"[20] or "founder"[7] of Wikileaks, Assange has said "I don’t call myself a founder,"[21] but he does describe himself as the editor in chief of Wikileaks,[22] and has stated that he has the final decision in the process of vetting documents submitted to the site.[23] Like all others working for the site, Assange is an unpaid volunteer.[21][24][25][26][27]


Assange was the winner of the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award (New Media),[28]awarded for exposing extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya with the investigation The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances.[29] In accepting the award, he said: "It is a reflection of the courage and strength of Kenyan civil society that this injustice was documented. Through the tremendous work of organizations such as the Oscar foundation, the KNHCR, Mars Group Kenya and others we had the primary support we needed to expose these murders to the world."[30] He also won the 2008 Economist Index on Censorship Award.[31] Assange says that Wikileaks has released more classified documents than the rest of the world press combined: "That's not something I say as a way of saying how successful we are – rather, that shows you the parlous state of the rest of the media. How is it that a team of five people has managed to release to the public more suppressed information, at that level, than the rest of the world press combined? It's disgraceful."[18] In September 2010, Julian Assange was voted as number 23 among the "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010" by the British magazine New Statesman.[32] In their November/December issue, Utne Reader magazine named Assange as one of the "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World."[33]

Public appearances

Assange has said he is constantly on the move, living in airports.[34] He has lived for periods in Australia, Kenya and Tanzania, and began renting a house in Iceland on 30 March 2010, from which he and other activists, including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, worked on the 'Collateral Murder' video.[3] He has appeared at media conferences such as New Media Days '09 in Copenhagen,[35] the 2010 Logan Symposium in Investigative Reporting at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism,[36] and at hacker conferences, notably the 25th and 26thChaos Communication Congress.[37] In the first half of 2010, he appeared on Al Jazeera EnglishMSNBCDemocracy Now!RT, and The Colbert Report to discuss the release of the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike video by Wikileaks. On 3 June He appeared via video conferencing at the Personal Democracy Forumconference with Daniel Ellsberg.[38][39] Daniel Ellsberg told MSNBC "the explanation he [Assange] used" for not appearing in person in the USA was that "it was not safe for him to come to this country."[40] On 11 June he was to appear on a Showcase Panel at theInvestigative Reporters and Editors conference in Las Vegas,[41] but there are reports that he cancelled several days prior.[42] On 10 June 2010, it was reported[43] that Pentagon officials are trying to determine his whereabouts.[44][45][46][47][48][49] Based on this, there have been reports that U.S. officials want to apprehend Assange.[50] Ellsberg said that thearrest of Bradley Manning and subsequent speculation by U.S. officials about what Assange may be about to publish "puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger now."[40] InThe AtlanticMarc Ambinder called Ellsberg's concerns "ridiculous," and said that "Assange's tendency to believe that he is one step away from being thrown into a black hole hinders, and to some extent discredits, his work."[51] In Salon.comGlenn Greenwaldquestioned "screeching media reports" that there was a "manhunt" on Assange underway, arguing that they were only based on comments by "anonymous government officials" and might even serve a campaign by the U.S. government, by intimidating possible whistleblowers.[46] On 21 June 2010 Assange took part in a hearing in Brussels, Belgium, appearing in public for the first time in nearly a month.[52] He was a member on a panel that discussed Internet censorship and expressed his worries over the recent filtering in countries such as Australia. He also talked about secret gag orders preventing newspapers from publishing information about specific subjects and even divulging the fact that they are being gagged. Using an example involving The Guardian, he also explained how newspapers are altering their online archives sometimes by removing entire articles.[53][54] He told The Guardian that he does not fear for his safety but is on permanent alert and will avoid travel to America, saying "[U.S.] public statements have all been reasonable. But some statements made in private are a bit more questionable." He said "politically it would be a great error for them to act. I feel perfectly safe but I have been advised by my lawyers not to travel to the U.S. during this period."[52] On 17 July, Jacob Appelbaum spoke on behalf of WikiLeaks at the 2010 Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference in New York City, replacing Assange due to the presence of federal agents at the conference.[55][56] He announced that the WikiLeaks submission system was again up and running, after it had been temporarily suspended.[55][57] Assange was a surprise speaker at a TED conference on 19 July 2010 in Oxford, and confirmed that WikiLeaks was now accepting submissions again.[58][59][60] On 26 July, after the release of the Afghan War Diary Assange appeared at the Frontline Club for a press conference.[61]

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