Julian Assange: Homeschooled Hacker, Founder of WikiLeaks

Julian Assange circa 2006

Julian Assange, circa 2006

“Here’s to the men who did what was considered wrong, in order to do what they knew was right.” ~Ben Gates, National Treasure

Julian Assange was born on July 3, 1971, in the city of Townsville, on Australia’s northeastern coast. His parents were rugged nonconformists and Julian had a nomadic childhood, living in over 30 different places by the time he reached his mid-teens, which made consistent education impossible.

One of the places where they lived was on Magnetic Island, a mountainous island that Captain Cook believed had magnetic properties that distorted his compass readings.

“Most of this period of my childhood was pretty Tom Sawyer,” Assange told Wired magazine. “I had my own horse. I built my own raft. I went fishing. I was going down mine shafts and tunnels.”

Assange’s mother Claire, who at age 17 had burned her schoolbooks and left home on a motorcycle, believed that formal education would inculcate an unhealthy respect for authority in her children and dampen their will to learn. “I didn’t want their spirits broken,” she said.

Julian was homeschooled, he took correspondence classes, and he studied informally with university professors. But mostly he read voraciously on his own. “I spent a lot of time in libraries going from one thing to another, looking closely at the books I found in citations, and followed that trail,” he recalled.

According to experts, Assange is on the high-functioning end of the Autism Spectrum. At first glance you might think he’s albino, which he is not. His hair may be white, but his eyes are dark. Supposedly a failed experiment turned his previously blond hair white when he was about 15.

“It went white as a result of a childhood experiment with a cathode ray tube that went wrong,” Assange told British journalist Heather Brooke. It is believed the incident happened when he was 15, up to which time he was blond. “I used to have it down my back,” he said.

Assange was drawn to science and computers from an early age. In fact, the self-proclaimed “famous teenage hacker” demonstrated an uncanny aptitude with computers, which soon got him into trouble. In 1991 he pleaded guilty to a host of cybercrime charges, but because of his youth at the time he received only minimal punishment.

Over the next decade he traveled, studied physics at the University of Melbourne, and worked at various computer-related jobs such as computer security consultant. Even as an adult Assange didn’t have a home; he often moved from place to place.

Assange created WikiLeaks 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.”

WikiLeaks calls itself an open source intelligence agency because of its work on bringing state and corporate secrets into the public domain. It is essentially a whistleblowing platform that was established to obtain and disseminate classified documents and data from anonymous sources and leakers.

The process is this: The WikiLeaks website is set up to allow for completely anonymous submissions from whistleblowers around the world via a supposedly secure online form. Assange and company (nameless and faceless contributors) then leaf through the confidential submissions, repackage them into multimedia presentations, and publish them on the Web. 

WikiLeaks.org describes itself 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.”

As far as rating the bias of WikiLeaks, it seems most of their leaks are opportunistic, rather than politically motivated. And keep in mind, this is not a Republican vs. a Democrat issue or Left vs. Right issue. It’s Individual versus Institution, and Deep State vs. The People. Assange exposed both Obama and George W. Bush, so both sides hate him.

In 2009, the growing international “consensus” on climate change was derailed by one of the biggest scandals in modern science – the manipulation of climate data. WikiLeaks was instrumental in the release of the “Climategate” e-mails from the University of East Anglia, England. This was followed by the publication of sensitive military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

A video released by Project Veritas shows that Julian Assange tried to warn the US state department in 2011 that unredacted diplomatic cables had been obtained by third parties, presenting a potential danger to US personnel. James O’Keefe remarked, “There is an integrity to Assange’s conduct that cannot be denied, whether you welcomed his releases or not.”

Albeit reluctantly, the media initially supported Assange’s right to freedom of the press – after all, WikiLeaks had hacked into the Yahoo e-mail account of Sarah Palin, one of their favorite people to ridicule. But boy did they turn against him in 2016 after WikiLeaks published material that damaged Hillary Clinton and the DNC!

After Assange was accused of breaching the Espionage Act and conspiring to hack US government computers, he absconded and requested political asylum in the Ecuador embassy in London. He lived there until his arrest in 2019 when Ecuadorian officials withdrew Assange’s asylum status. Assange now sits in prison in Britain, while they decide what to do with him. The US wants him extradited to face prosecution.

However, many are urging President Donald Trump to issue a pardon to Julian Assange. Among the people supporting a pardon are the usual array of Hollywood celebrities and liberal activists—Oliver Stone, Pamela Anderson, Michael Moore, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, among others.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked highly classified material from the National Security Agency documenting the full extent of the NSA’s domestic spying on Americans, also said that Assange deserved a pardon.

“Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange. You alone can save his life,” Snowden tweeted from exile in Russia.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson weighed in, defending the work of WikiLeaks as legitimate journalism. Political figures from both sides also called for Assange to be pardoned.

Tulsi Gabbard, a House representative for the state of Hawaii, asked Trump to pardon both Assange and Snowden. After all, you could say they actually performed a public service by exposing the Deep State. Sarah Palin also issued an urgent plea to President Donald Trump, asking him to pardon Assange.

“I made a mistake some years ago, not supporting Julian Assange — thinking that he was a bad guy… I’ve learned a lot since then,” the former Alaska Governor Palin stated in a video.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays the Wikileaks founder in The Fifth Estate, said, “No matter how you cut it, he’s done us a massive service, to wake us up to the zombie-like way we absorb our news”.

In conclusion, consider this Julian Assange quote: “The greater the power, the more need there is for transparency, because if the power is abused, the result can be so enormous.”

Do you think Julian Assange is a good guy or a bad guy? Should be pardoned or not? Leave a comment!

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