News / Europe

    WikiLeaks Founder Remains Cause Celebre

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London, February 7, 2011
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London, February 7, 2011

    Multimedia

    Jennifer Glasse

    The internet site WikiLeaks  is credited with helping topple the regime in Tunisia, and exposing a variety of U.S. government secrets. Its founder, Julian Assange is in London fighting extradition to Sweden in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct.  Assange’s troubles have complicated his quest for making classified information public.

    He has become the story. His lawyer calls it "The Julian Assange factor." The Wikileaks founder is embroiled in a court case with Sweden, which wants him extradited for questioning about sex crimes.

    The media seems to follow his every move, hang on his every word. His high profile supporters believe the trial is a meant to silence him.

    "I suspect that what  is on trial here, is not his alleged sexual misconduct, but freedom of information itself. This is about censorship and intimidation," said Jemima Khan, a supporter of Assange.

    They say because WikiLeaks  exposed corruption, war crimes and torture, WikiLeaks  is a threat, and not only to governments.

    "It Is doing the job which mainstream journalists refuse to do," said Tariq Ali, a writer and Assange supporter.   

    They hold him up as a hero, for exposing the truth. "And for that alone we should be grateful to WikiLeaksand Julian Assange," said Ali.

    Journalist David Leigh is with the British newspaper The Guardian, and has worked alongside Assange.  He says Assange came to them."WikiLeaks  had to partner with the mainstream media with The Guardian, with The New York Times, with [Der] Spiegel in Germany because we are the only ones who could make sense of the material and handle it in a responsible fashion," he said.

    Assange is no longer working with those papers.  He has accused journalists of manipulating or distorting his story and what WikiLeaksis about.  So he is going directly to the people himself, online.

    "Throughout these series of roundtables, we will be responding to your questions from around the world, this is not just a press conference, this is a people’s conference," he said.

    Leigh says Assange has never really been good with people, and that his troubles are of his own making. "I think he does bring it all upon himself, he picks fights with people, and he is difficult to deal with, and in a way he has got the personality like the classic computer hacker, they are not very good with people," he said.

    Assange has been controversial since he appeared as the face of WikiLeaks   He claims the site has thousands of supporters, but many say he is the linchpin of the organization.  In court, his lawyers have argued he would not get a fair trial in Sweden, and that the investigation was flawed.  

    Assange was frustrated by the proceedings, saying, "We have not been able to present my side of the story. I have never been able to present my side of the story."

    Extradition hearings in Britain do not traditionally address the merits of the case against the accused.  Extradition lawyer Julian Knowles says Assange’s lawyers always faced an uphill battle. "The defense has limited room for maneuver, the trial judge is not concerned about the truth of the allegation, that is for trial, so for those reasons I think it is likely Assange will be extradited," he said.

    No matter how the judge rules, an appeal is expected and the extradition process could take up to a year. The Julian Assange factor will likely ensure he remains in the public eye.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora