News / USA

WikiLeaks' Assange Is Hero to Some, Villain to Others

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, some wearing masks depicting him and holding placards, participate at a demonstration outside the Swedish Embassy in London, Dec 13, 2010
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, some wearing masks depicting him and holding placards, participate at a demonstration outside the Swedish Embassy in London, Dec 13, 2010

Multimedia

WikiLeaks' release of classified U.S. government cables has angered politicians, emboldened free speech supporters and unleashed hackers onto websites of companies and individuals they believe oppose the site's founder Julian Assange. Assange himself has been shrouded in mystery. He is currently in a London jail in connection with allegations of rape and sexual molestation made by two women in Sweden.

The very public disclosure of classified government information has polarized opinion and sparked a debate over what the public needs to know. WikiLeaks continues to publish online even though Assange is in a British jail on allegations of rape in Sweden.

In public Assange has appeared cold and aloof. George Washington University Psychology professor Jerrold Post said, "In general, that façade of arrogant superiority is under laid by great insecurity. This is a man who moved 37 times before he was 14 years old."

Post said he can not make a diagnosis of Assange because he has never met him. He said that Assange's behavior, however, appears clinically narcissistic.

"There is suggestion that he leads a rather lonely life, even though he has a number of admirers," said Post. "And that he has become more and more imperious, almost like an autocratic dictator in what he decides to do""

Jo Glanville is with the free speech organization "Index on Censorship." She has met Assange. "He's quite a charismatic figure I think. He's somewhat enigmatic," she said.

"I think he's somebody who's clearly hugely dedicated to what he's doing, whose whole life revolves around WikiLeaks," said Glanville. "He wanders from place to place, he's nomadic and he is entirely dedicated to the cause."

For the past few months, Assange has been in Britain, staying at The Frontline Club, a private facility used mainly by journalists. Vaughn Smith owns the club, and said 96 percent of his membership supported having Assange at the club. Smith was with Assange when he turned himself in to British Police.

"I don't think that's he's a man of steel, I think he's a man of resolve, but a man but just like you or I would be very frightened going to jail," said Smith.

Smith said the issues are not black and white, but that WikiLeaks has called into question the conduct of journalists and governments. "I'm not saying that I feel happy necessarily or comfortable with all these releases, I just think it requires a very large perspective to understand what's going on."

Assange has divided world opinion. Australia's prime minister Julia Gillard called the foundation of WikiLeaks illegal. "It would not happen, information would not be on WikiLeaks, if there had not been an illegal act undertaken."

The Australian foreign minister blamed the United States for the leaks because so many people had access to the cables. But American officials have condemned WikiLeaks. They say there's an investigation into whether Assange broke any U.S. laws.

Companies that have abandoned WikiLeaks, such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, are finding themselves under attack by hackers.

The web retailer Amazon kicked WikiLeaks off its servers for violating  its terms of service - but online at Amazon, you can actually buy an analysis of the leaked cables.

Meanwhile the leaks continue, even with Assange in jail. In his native Australia, there has been a demonstration of support.

Proponents and detractors say no matter what happens to Assange, what he has started could be unstoppable.



You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs