Julian Assange, the Poster Boy and Founder of WikiLeaks needs no introduction. Born on 3 July 1971, he is an Australian computer programmer, publisher and journalist. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006, and has won numerous accolades for journalism, including the Sam Adams Award and Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.
Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 but came to global prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks, allegedly provided by Chelsea Manning. These leaks included US Government Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and Top Secret Diplomatic Cables.
Following the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and asked allied nations for assistance. In November 2010, a request was made for Assange’s extradition to Sweden, where he had been questioned months earlier over allegations of sexual assault and rape.
Julian Assange continued to deny the allegations after the case was re-opened, and expressed concern that he would be extradited from Sweden to the United States due to his perceived role in publishing secret American documents. Assange surrendered himself to UK police on 7 December 2010 and was held for ten days in solitary confinement before being released on bail.
After exhausting his legal options in the United Kingdom, Assange sought and was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012. Assange has since remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, and is unable to leave without being arrested for breaching his bail conditions.
The United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found, by a majority, that he has been “arbitrarily detained” and that his detention should be brought to an end.
Needless to say, Julian’s disclosures have sparked such a heavy handed response because they have revealed the innermost workings of Western Governments. Some regard Assange as a Traitor or threat to National Security due to the sensitivity of the information disclosed.
On the other hand, he is regarded as a Crusader for Truth.
The Acid test we believe is whether the information disclosed is truthful and in the public interest. The information has for the large part been in the public interest, and what can only be described as retaliation by the United States Security Agencies is motivated more by the fact that the disclosures are embarassing rather than by any adverse practical effect the disclosures have had.
Julian considers to soldier on in London under the protection of the Ecuador Government.
BBC Profile Article