Who is Assange?

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Avatar for rayselp
3 years ago

I came across Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Reading about him and his case made me become curious about what happened to him. Here's what I know so far.

Wikileaks was established by Julian Assange in 2006 to analyze and publish censored and restricted datasets from governments and other organizations with materials relating to war, spying, and corruption, all coming from anonymous sources. According to the website wikileaks.org, WikiLeaks is a multi-national media organization and associated library (Wikileaks, n.d.).

Their logo is in a shape of an hourglass with a globe that looks like it is leaking from top to bottom. If you ask me for my opinion or interpretation of the logo, I can say that its logo speaks about how classified information is needed to be publicized at the soonest possible time for people to become more aware of what is truly happening in the world.

Julian Assange is an Australian national who founded Wikileaks. During his early life, he was able to hack a number of security systems like that of NASA and the Pentagon. He used his hacking name "Mendax" during those times. He was actually charged with 31 counts of cybercrime in 1991, where he pleaded guilty to most, however, he was sentenced to only paying a small fine as the judge ruled that these actions of his are only a result of curiosity and inquisitiveness of the youth. He then pursued a degree in Physics at the University of Melbourne, but later on, withdrew before earning a degree. He worked as a computer security consultant afterward.

His name and his organization became more known in 2010 when WikiLeaks posted several documents obtained from US Army Intelligence Analyst Bradley Manning. These documents were about the US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the information that was posted was already made to the public, then US President Obama condemned this act as they consider the posting of classified information as a threat to US National security. In the same year, WikiLeaks published documents that were mostly dated from 2007-2010, with some documents that were dated as far back as 1966. These documents had a wide array of topics including behind-the-scenes US efforts to isolate Iran politically and economically - in response to fears of Iran's development of nuclear weapons. This publication was criticized and some American politicians pursued Assange as a terrorist.

One of the most disturbing videos that was released by WikiLeaks was the Collateral Murder which showed how some US soldiers fatally attack and shoot a total of 18 people in a helicopter in Iraq. Two named victims were journalists from Reuters in the name of Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant Saeed Chmagh. Other controversial information that was published by WikiLeaks was the Iraq War logs, which contain almost 400,000 US Army field reports from the Iraq War from 2004-2009. Apart from the ones mentioned above are the materials from Manning that were also published in WikiLeaks such as the Afghanistan War logs and the Guantanamo Bay files.

After the release of this classified information, the US authorities began to investigate WikiLeaks and Assange personally. They were prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917. Anyways, you can watch this video below of Assange's story in a nutshell.

What I can say right now is that Assange only becomes an informant to the public - the only problem is that the information that was made public seems to be like some people's dirty little secret. Is it but right for him to be punished for exposing something that is of value to the people around the world? Is it right that by doing this, his freedom has to be taken away, and his reputation be destroyed? Not only that, but also his psychological health is also going down.

Now, how is Assange's case affect us?

The question is will his prosecution establish a dangerous precedent to journalists and news outlets that do what Assange has also done - to receive and publish government "secrets" known as classified information that has been done by many journalists and news outlets for decades?

Hmm, what do you think?

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Avatar for rayselp
3 years ago