A Brief History
On June 19, 2012, Julian Assange, founder of the Internet sensation Wikileaks, sought political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England. Assange was the target of a criminal espionage investigation by the United States in conjunction with his publishing a massive quantity of US intelligence gathering secrets that he received from a disaffected US Army soldier (Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning).
Meanwhile, Assange was also the target of a sexual assault investigation by Sweeden and was being sought for extradition, which is the reason he pursued political asylum. Assange claims the sex charge is frivolous and motivated by politics due to various governments being unhappy about the nature of Wikileaks revealing state secrets to the world.
Assange, an Australian hacker and computer programmer, created Wikileaks with others in 2006, and have been the bane of governments ever since. Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, referred to Assange as a “terrorist,” but predictably Vladimir Putin of Russia lends his support. Other media types approve of the anonymous leaking of secret information in the interest of open government, while some feel he is a menace to Western society.
Is Assange naïve to think revealing US military and spy agency (CIA, NSA) secrets serves the cause of peace, or is he purposely out to hurt the security of the US and Western nations? Or is he just plain correct to do what he has been doing? After all, he has been the Le Monde Readers’ Choice Man of the Year, a Sam Adams Person of the Year, a Time Magazine Readers’ Choice Person of the Year, been given a Walkley Award, an Amnesty International Award and a Martha Gellhorn Prize. He was even awarded a Gold Medal by the Sydney Peace Foundation. The Italian branch of Rolling Stone Magazine named him Rockstar of the Year.
Meanwhile, Assange is stuck in place at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, having failed to convince Swedish courts to throw out the charges against him. The US still has an open investigation into the Manning case and the involvement of Wikileaks, but has no public indictment.
We leave it up to your own opinion whether Assange is an angel or a devil, a hero or heel, a terrorist spy or a freedom martyr. Or is he just naïve? Or perhaps something else altogether…
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Assange, Julian. Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography. Canongate Books Ltd, 2011.
Assange, Julian. When Google Met Wikileaks. O, 2014.
Assange, Julian and WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire. Verso, 2015.