1.06.2011

The Secret of Julian Assange Behind WikiLeaks




This is my interview Question that I could not answer zzz... Hope you will enjoy this post it after my research about WikiLeaks  and some legal consequences of his action ;)


Julian Assange Introduction








1. Julian Paul Assange is an Australian publisher, and internet activist. He is best known as the spokesperson and editor-in-chief for WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website. Before working with the website, he was a physics and mathematics student as well as a computer programmer. He has lived in several countries and has told reporters he is constantly on the move. He makes irregular public appearances to speak about freedom of the press, censorship, and investigative reporting; he has also won several journalism awards for his work with WikiLeaks.
2. Assange founded the controversial WikiLeaks website in 2006 and serves on its advisory board. In this capacity, he has received widespread public attention for his role in the release of classified material documenting the involvement of the United States in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and its five media partners began publishing the United States diplomatic cables leak.


3. He was born in 1971 in Townsville, Australia.




4. He had a peripatetic, unconventional childhood. Assange's mother left his theater director father for an abusive singer, from whom mother and son later fled. (Assange believes the singer was a member of a powerful cult.) The "family had moved thirty-seven times by the time Assange was fourteen, making consistent education impossible," Khatchadourian writes.




5. He got married at 18 and had a son, but his family soon fell apart. Assange then spent years fighting for custody of his child, and in 1999 worked out an agreement with his wife. 


His son is Daniel Assange and aged 20 years old (younger than me huh) Assange child, Daniel was born while her mother was aged 17 years, but it seems that the birth of his son, the first was not enough to drag the young hackers away from the screen. One of his former neighbors who do not want to be named, said, “We never saw him (wife Assange) runs down the hill toward the store with her baby were placed in a baby carriage. He was almost always seen himself.”
The right: Daniel Assange, the son of Julian
Julian’s mother, Christine, flew to London from Australia to see it this month. He settled in the city of 37, when he was only 14 years old. At the age is, Assange educated at home. Assange itself, since little is known as a child who likes to be alone.
About who the father Assange origin, it is still a mystery. In the late 80s, when Julian was 16 or 17 years, he, his mother and his half-brother live together in a small bungalow, in the Dandenong foothills, east of Melbourne. The place is very convenient for young boys who were learning how to operate a computer.
Julian, her stepbrother and his mother lived there for about a year. When aged about 18 years, Julian met with a local girl, who was 16 years old. From that meeting, the relationship was continuing. after that, the young couple moved several miles away to the cottage to the east of Melbourne.


6. He discovered computers at an early age and became a skilled hacker. When he was a teenager, police raided Assange's home on allegations that he had stolen money from Citibank. Though they took his computers, he was never charged. As Assange continued to hack, the Australian government spent three years mounting a case against him and his confederates. Though he pleaded guilty to 25 charges, he was penalized with only a fine.

Assange describes his childhood as “pretty Tom Sawyer” and says he had his own horse and liked to fish and explore mine shafts. Despite that, he seems to have had a troubled childhood. He was home-schooled, in part because his family moved 37 times by the time he was 14. He spent part of his teen years on the run with his mother from an abusive boyfriend, who may have been a member of a cult called the Family.
Assange communicates with friends and colleagues with encrypted cellphones. He is known to travel under false names, to wear disguises and to use cash instead of credit or debit cards.

Assange says he practices “scientific journalism” because, just as scientists provide raw data to accompany any analyses, WikiLeaks provides source material that readers can see for themselves.

Some in the U.S., however, see Assange as not a journalist at all but a spy and a terrorist. Politicians, including Rep. Peter King of New York, are calling for Assange to be charged under the Espionage Act and believe WikiLeaks should be designated a terrorist organization.





7. He says he wasn't interested in harming computers systems, only snooping around. 
His ethos, described in the book "Underground," which he co-wrote, was: "Don't damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don't change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information."




8. He came up with the idea for WikiLeaks after spending the next several years traveling, studying physics and working at various computer-related jobs.Khatchadourian explains his thinking:
"He had come to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution. As a student of Kafka, Koestler, and Solzhenitsyn, he believed that truth, creativity, love, and compassion are corrupted by institutional hierarchies, and by 'patronage networks' -- one of his favorite expressions -- that contort the human spirit. He sketched out a manifesto of sorts, titled 'Conspiracy as Governance,' which sought to apply graph theory to politics. Assange wrote that illegitimate governance was by definition conspiratorial -- the product of functionaries in "collaborative secrecy, working to the detriment of a population.' He argued that, when a regime's lines of internal communication are disrupted, the information flow among conspirators must dwindle, and that, as the flow approaches zero, the conspiracy dissolves. Leaks were an instrument of information warfare."
9. He first tested his concept in 2006. WikiLeaks' first post was a document allegedly signed by a Somali rebel leader calling for the assassination of Somali government officials. 










Secret behind WikiLeaks?

1. What is WikiLeaks' purpose?

WikiLeaks launched in 2006, declaring that its primary interest  is "exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations." Founder Julian Assange says his website is a forum for the Internet Community to generate accuracy, scrutiny and discussion of sensitive information.




2. How is WikiLeaks run?

Volunteers maintain the site. There are only a handful that work for Assange full time. The organization is so covert that certain members go only by initials, and online chats are done in code. It receives funding from private donors to foundations. WikiLeaks operates out of several countries, including Sweden and Iceland, where the privacy protection and digital rights laws are more favorable to its mission. WikiLeaks is funded by donations. It received more than $200,000 (U.S.) after the release of the Apache helicopter video alone.



3. How does WikiLeaks get the inside scoop?

The process is this: The website is set up to allow for completely anonymous submissions from whistleblowers around the world via a supposedly secure online form, although questions have been raised lately about its reliability. Assange and company (nameless and faceless contributors) then leaf through the confidential submissions, repackage them into multimedia presentations and publish them on the Web, still guaranteeing their sources complete anonymity. 

Problematically for the site, the blanket anonymity has proved to be a bit more difficult to maintain in practice. Earlier this year, a 20-year-old college student who hacked into Sarah Palin's e-mail account was arrested and convicted after WikiLeaks published the e-mails. The organization is now also attempting to mount a legal defense


4. Where can WikiLeaks documents be found?
WikiLeaks, Cryptome, Economic Disaster Area


5. What's next for WikiLeaks?

Assange said at the TED Global conference that WikiLeaks was "getting an enormous quantity of whistleblower disclosures of high caliber." With the Afghanistan war documents adding to the site's growing renown, it's not unreasonable to think that other caches of secret info will find their way to the site in the months ahead. 
6. Why WikiLeaks Did It

"There is no perfect information but in the end the truth is all we have," Assange said. "We would like to see this material, the revelations that this material gives, taken seriously, investigated by governments and new policies put in place as a result -- if not prosecutions of those people that committed abuses." 




7. Why WikiLeaks Source(s) Did It

Assange said that there is evidence within the database of war crimes being committed, and that he hoped governments would prosecute enough people to deter others in the future who might have considered acting similarly. The anonymous source or sources who gave the information to WikiLeaks wanted to call attention to some of the incidents described within the documents, on suspicion that there were many more like them. Assange didn't clarify what those incidents were, but said the source appeared to be correct.

8. Documents as a History of the War

The 90,000 documents cover six years of the war in Afghanistan, up through 2009. Assange contended that their breadth addresses U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' comment that WikiLeaks' earlier "Collateral Murder" video was like looking at the war through "a soda straw." 

"This, if you like, is the beginning, the end and the middle," Assange said. "This is the whole context, with some exceptions, of the Afghan war, and if anything can give us some kind of intellectual understanding, surely this is it."

9. Self-Reporting Shades the Truth

Assange said that analysis of the reports shows that the numbers and figures sent up the chain of command are doctored to make those doing the reporting look better, and compared the process to a policeman filing a report on a crime he is suspecting of committing. An American unit reporting on itself, for example, is more likely to classify a civilian death as an "enemy combatant" kill than it would if it were reporting on a unit from another country, according to Assange. 

10. Documents Affect All Sides, Taliban Included

Assange seems to think the information leak could lead the Taliban to reconsider its tactics as well. "This material does not leave anyone smelling like roses," Assange said. "It is an enormous compendium of material that will affect many different people in many different ways." 

11. A Call to Action for Global Media

Though WikiLeaks gave three newspapers -- The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spigel Germany has a preview of the documents before their publication Sunday, Assange says they have only "scratched the surface" of the immense amount of information contained in the 90,000 total documents that will be published. Now he wants the rest of the journalism community to dig into the information, analyze the statistics and present it to the world in a way that is emotionally engaging. Assange also called on soldiers, academics, family members and interested parties -- even the Taliban -- to look at the information and come forward to fill in the blanks.




12. Expect More to Come

"Courage is contagious," Assange said in response to a question about whether or not he thought more whistle-blowers would now step forward. Since its founding in 2006, WikiLeaks has published millions of documents, causing the biggest stir in April when it published "Collateral Murder," a video taken from an Apache helicopter that showed the killing of 18 people, including two Reuters employees, by American forces in Iraq.
13. Internal WikiLeaks Operations

Assange gave a small window into the highly secretive world of the WikiLeaks organization, which has no base and is operated from several different countries. He said it has "a small team of dedicated and overworked people" and also about 800 part-time volunteers and "an extended network of 10,000 people" working on the site. 




14. How the Leak Will Affect Bradley Manning

Assange said the organization was concerned that the release of the war documents would affect Bradley Manning , the 22-year-old soldier accused of leaking the "Collateral Murder" video and other documents to the organization. Manning is being held in Kuwait and, though WikiLeaks won't comment on whether he was the source for the new documents, the organization has started a legal defense fund for Manning, who is currently being represented by military lawyers. Adding to the intrigue, Assange also said that WikiLeaks could not find any "relation to Mr. Manning" in the "public record."

15. Information Does Not Put Security of Troops at Risk

Because the documents are now several months old, Assange said, there is no concern about their contents revealing information that could put troops at risk.
16. Technical Part of WikiLeaks



Technical backbone
Since WikiLeaks is in the business of publishing information that governments and multinational corporations want kept secret, the site employs some technical tricks that aim to keep it from crashing or being hacked.
The site keeps servers on multiple continents, and its sensitive information passes through countries -- such as Sweden, Iceland and Belgium -- that have offered WikiLeaks a degree of legal protection.
"We use this state-of-the-art encryption to bounce stuff around the internet to hide trails -- pass it through legal jurisdictions like Sweden and Belgium to enact those legal protections," the site's controversial editor, Julian Assange, said in an onstage interview at the TED Global conference on July 20.
Why Journalist did not support WikiLeaks?



1. Refusal to engage in advocacy
American journalists, unlike many of their foreign counterparts, have a strong commitment to objectivity and nonpartisanship. At many mainstream media organizations, signing petitions is verboten, and many journalists impose such rules on themselves. According to Shapiro, who co-wrote the Columbia letter, when they circulated the document, “Some people said, ‘As a journalist, I make it my practice never to sign a petition.’ ” As an example, Bill Grueskin, the dean of academic affairs at Columbia’s Journalism School, did not sign. Asked why by NEWSWEEK, he said he’s “not much of one for signing group letters.”

2. Opposition to Assange’s purpose
That same notion of objectivity shared by journalists makes many of them suspicious of WikiLeaks’s journalistic bona fides. Assange has an advocacy mission: to disrupt the functioning of governments. Many investigative journalists, like the famous muckrakers at the turn of the last century, have had a similar orientation, says Shapiro, who wrote the book Shaking the Foundations: 200 Years of Investigative Journalism in America. “WikiLeaks springs from the same purpose as investigative journalism: a sense that the system is corrupt and the truth can be told,” says Shapiro. “It’s a reformist rather than radical agenda.” Even so, many mainstream reporters, editors, and producers might see associating with Assange as inappropriately endorsing an advocacy mission.

3. Opposition to Assange’s methods 
Some journalists, while perhaps believing Assange should not be prosecuted, are so disgusted with his approach that they are reluctant to weigh in publicly. Sam Freedman, a journalism professor at Columbia University, did not sign the letter his colleagues circulated because, “I felt the letter did not adequately criticize the recklessness—the disregard for the consequences of human lives—of a massive dump of confidential info.” Freedman says prosecuting Assange would set a dangerous precedent for legitimate journalists. But many think, as Freedman does, that Assange did not exhibit the judiciousness that a journalist must when releasing classified information.

Julian was profiled by Raffi in the New Yorker that


Assange is an international trafficker, of sorts. He and his colleagues collect documents and imagery that governments and other institutions regard as confidential and publish them on a Web site called WikiLeaks.org. Since it went online, three and a half years ago, the site has published an extensive catalogue of secret material, ranging from the Standard Operating Procedures at Camp Delta, in Guantánamo Bay, and the “Climategate” e-mails from the University of East Anglia, in England, to the contents of Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo account. The catalogue is especially remarkable because WikiLeaks is not quite an organization; it is better described as a media insurgency. It has no paid staff, no copiers, no desks, no office. Assange does not even have a home. He travels from country to country, staying with supporters, or friends of friends—as he once put it to me, “I’m living in airports these days.” He is the operation’s prime mover, and it is fair to say that WikiLeaks exists wherever he does. At the same time, hundreds of volunteers from around the world help maintain the Web site’s complicated infrastructure; many participate in small ways, and between three and five people dedicate themselves to it full time. Key members are known only by initials—M, for instance—even deep within WikiLeaks, where communications are conducted by encrypted online chat services. The secretiveness stems from the belief that a populist intelligence operation with virtually no resources, designed to publicize information that powerful institutions do not want public, will have serious adversaries.



Lets Ponder
Let’s imagine that you have learned a secret, and this secret is so important, or so damaging, that you need to tell someone. But let’s also imagine that you need to remain anonymous. For example, you might fear that you would face retaliation, jail or perhaps murder if people found out how the secret got out.
What would you do?
You might go to the government, perhaps to a watchdog agency, to disclose your secret. But what if the secret involves the government? Or what if the government needs to protect someone who played a role in your secret, perhaps because of campaign contributions or insider connections? The government might not help, or might bury your secret, and you with it. You might go to the police, but the police force is usually part of the government. So the police may be out as well. You might go to a well-known reporter at a major news organization, but there is some risk that the reporter might consciously or accidentally reveal your identity. Or the reporter might bury your story as well.
In other words, if you have a big, dirty secret – especially one that involves the government – it may be hard to get the word out anonymously. In that case you might want to try Wikileaks, at Wikileaks.org. Wikileaks describes itself in this way: “Wikileaks is a not-for-profit media organisation. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists.”
That anonymity is important to maintaining Wikileaks’ incoming flow of information. Wikileaks claims that it has never blown the cover of any informant. And Wikileaks provides a number of ways to submit material, as well as instructions for ensuring anonymous Internet submissions.
Based on its promise and track record of anonymity, Wikileaks has been able to break several important releases of secret material. And this really gets to the heart of the Wikileaks process. First, someone has to gain possession of secret material in some way, and then that someone has to trust Wikileaks enough to send it in.
Where might the leaked material come from? In the case of the Sarah Palin Yahoo email account and the Climate Research Unit email account, a hacker had to break into the accounts and steal the emails. In the case of the British National Party membership list, the web site for the organization accidentally posted its membership list on its web site for a short period of time, and someone snagged a copy before it disappeared.
But by far the most common, and most damaging, source of leaks is insiders who secretly collect the information and then send it to Wikileaks. Insiders might do this out of a sense of justice or as a form of retaliation against an employer. Whatever the motive, several of the resulting leaks have been spectacular.
For example, an insider managed to leak an audio and video stream recorded during an Apache helicopter attack that killed civilians in Iraq. The leaked video that put Wikileaks on the map, because Wikileaks was the sole outlet for the video. And the video was so incendiary that most major media outlets around the world picked it up. It was incendiary because two Reuters reporters were killed, because the U.S. Military tried to cover up the incident and because the military personnel involved used rather amazing language during the attack that did not reflect well on U.S. forces.
Since that watershed moment, Wikileaks has benefited from several more major insider releases. For example, Wikileaks released hundreds of thousands of pages of information known as the Iraq War Logs, and has also come into possession of hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables. These cables reveal behind-the-scenes comments and actions by U.S. diplomats that have proven quite embarrassing to the United States and its allies. Many commentators have stated that, because of the release, both allies and enemies of the United States have lost face, and it may be possible to uncover the identities of people working secretly behind the scenes.
If you think about it, Wikileaks should not be necessary, at least in the United States. The U.S. government is supposed to be government by the people and for the people. Such a government should be completely transparent to the entire population in every action it takes. Unfortunately, the U.S. government appears to be far from transparent, and Wikileaks is helping to remove that opacity one leak at a time.





17 comments:

  1. http://www.evisaasia.com/

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  2. He is not married to Jemima Khan. that´s a weird piece of info there. :)

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    Replies
    1. he was married and had a son "Daniel Assange" in 1990. The couple had a divorce and a custody battle in 1999 and the custody went to Daniel's mother

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340057/WikiLeaks-boss-Assange-fathered-son-girl-17--learned-dark-arts-hacking-rundown-cottage.html

      his son opinion on wikileaks: http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/17/daniel-assange-i-never-thought-wikileaks-would-succeed/

      Delete
  3. Ok! I have to check it out and make some correction then! Thanks for pointing out my mistakes!

    Sorry!

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  4. When are you going to make that correction? How weird to say he was married to Jemima Khan.

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  5. CORRECTED. Thanks again for reminding me.

    Do you mind introduce yourself? =D

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  6. Great article! I enjoyed the whole thing immensely. I can tell that English is not your primary language, but you write it very well.

    Julian Assange is a great hero of mine. Thank you for writing such a beautiful piece.

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  7. Good article. Worth the read

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  8. I love your work juian I hope you will find peace someday and the world really understands the good you are contributing to the world. angelika

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  9. who is daniels mum?

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  10. assanges wife? who is that

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  13. If nothing to hide, nothing to worry. WikiLeaks is an advocate for the truth.
    Nice article.

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