The Founder of WikiLeaks and His Secret Life

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WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, previously famous for leaking a video of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed several people (with a scene showing one of them carrying a rocket-propelled grenade edited out), is making headlines again — this time for his data dump of classified material about the war in Afghanistan. His supporters like to think of him as “an Internet freedom fighter.” Assange himself has collaborated with this image by making pious assertions about the value of “transparency” — of the sort WikiLeaks has produced — for reducing international corruption and creating better government. But Assange’s own profile, far from that of a conscientious moral critic bent on revealing unethical behavior, shows the evolution of an information vandal sublimely indifferent to those who might be put at risk by his behavior.

Born in Australia in 1971, Assange grew up in an unanchored family which had moved 37 times by the time he was 14. His cheap teenage thrills involved invading the secure worlds that others created. By 1987, Assange had established a reputation as a sophisticated computer programmer who could break into even the most well-protected networks. But he indicated his real intentions by joining with two fellow hackers to form a group that became known as the International Subversives. They broke into computer systems from Europe to North America, including, most notably, networks belonging to the U.S. Defense Department and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. In a book to which he contributed — Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier Assange tried to create an aura of morality around this activity, defining what he called the Golden Rules of the hacker subculture: “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.”

Hacking remained an obsession for Assange throughout his late teens; the excitement he derived from it was only amplified by his knowledge that federal authorities were doggedly trying to catch him and his fellow “Subversives.” This self-dramatization continues today, as Assange constantly moves from place to place, maintaining no real home, because he fears that international governmental agencies, particularly those in the U.S., may have targeted him for reprisal for the leaks he has orchestrated.

In September 1991, Assange hacked into the master terminal that the Canadian telecom company Nortel maintained in Melbourne. Soon thereafter, he was caught by federal investigators and was charged with 31 counts of hacking and related offenses. Facing a potential sentence of a decade behind bars, Assange pled guilty to 25 charges and 6 were dropped. At his final sentencing, the judge went easy on him: “There is just no evidence that there was anything other than sort of intelligent inquisitiveness and the pleasure of being able to—what’s the expression—surf through these various computers.” Thus Assange escaped with the lightest of penalties — the payment of a small fine.

After the hacking trial, Assange lived below the radar in Melbourne for a number of years, working variously as a computer programmer and software developer, among other pursuits. He also studied physics and math at the University of Melbourne. Then, in 2006, he began the process of creating WikiLeaks, a website that would publish confidential government documents and images. His inspiration for this brainstorm was the infamous Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 — the year of Assange’s birth — had published the Pentagon Papers.

Shortly after getting WikiLeaks off the ground, Assange flew to Kenya to attend the World Social Forum — a yearly symposium dedicated to the redistribution of wealth and the eradication of capitalism — where he delivered a presentation about his new website.

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  • Lillith

    He needs a girlfriend……..or a gerbil…..!!!

    • USMCSniper

      You think he plays both sides of the fence? Maybe he should find himself a Suzy Wong who will love him long time. As for the gerbil. you are not allowed pets except fish and parakeets in San Francisco, so I am told – but the law is not enforced against the gay community!

    • Brian B

      –He needs a girlfriend….or a gerbil–

      Probably a gerbil, I'd guess. You did see his picture right?

  • Lillith

    Perhaps a paint By Numbers???

  • AntiOnan

    When do we see the expose of those who follow the Koran, The "New" KGB, the multiple Mafias, or Communist China?

    We wont! As those groups will target him and will kill him.

    Like Ghandhi: the great pacifist, who wouldn' t have lasted 10 seconds in Nazi Germany, Communist USSR or Fascist Japan. his reputation is made up only of attacks on western states . When he challenges some really dangerous groups I might admire him but until then he is just a little kid with a big toy, who takes advantage of the west while too gutless to attack anyone else who will certainly retaliate.

    • VictorErimita

      Well, remember, Gandhi's recommendation for European Jews was for them all to commit suicide as a "nonviolent" protest. His reasoning was that the world would then be "appalled." He didn't mention what else he thought the world should do after being appalled.

      But you're right on about this little twerp. He's playing International Man of Mystery with the U.S. because he knows the U.S. won't kill him. If he went after the real bad guys, he'd have a ricin dart between the eyes in a matter of weeks.

  • Bogdan the Aussie

    The thoughtless, emotionless expression on his prematurely aged and tired snout says it all; A computer geek getting high and masturbating himself almost to death while enjoying harming innocent people.
    He is like a drug addict who is blaming the entire world for the consequences of his own self-indulgence.

  • Yarrb53

    Maybe we should send a Special Forces team to put a bullet in this subversives head. By exposing these documents, he may be comprimising those who fight for us.

  • Tom

    He is a pathetic, arrogant, petty little "man" and need to be brought down in some fashion. He and Osama have the same demeanor. Some one will get him sooner or later. He is extremely dangerous and does not care how much collateral damage he causes.

  • ron

    so far, none of this information is shocking or damaging to Asange, outside of the assertion that he does not show discretion in what he publishes.

    In any case, we can bitch and whine about him all we like, but the real question is how the hell does he get this info in the first place? Obviously from authorized people who should know better. Furthermore, if you cannot plug those leaks but you could "stop Asange", what would stop any number of other people from doing exactly what he is currently doing?

    Honestly? He's doing a service, he's pointing out that you have a serious information leakage problem. That's a bigger issue than some misguided attention whore spreading the info. There are no end of attention whores, and you'd best get your damn house in order.

    • welldoneson

      Ron, good point. He didn't just gather all those docs himself.
      It's like the entire contents of an office full of files were dumped on him.

      It seems likely that these documents consist of the ones assembled by the Obama administration in the months between a request being made for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan, and the troops actually being provided.

      To me that spells "collusion with a known illegal hacker". It's believable since the Obama administration is a collection of some of the most single-minded academic "blame America first " heroes-in-their-own-mind the West has spawned.

      It's the easiest explanation and falls nicely within the proven moral capabilities and political beliefs of the Obama crew.

    • old white guy

      hmmmm. he wouldn't have lasted long during ww2. sleazeball.

  • pecopfc

    The creep should be given a fair trial, then SHOT!

    • Guestman

      No, he should be shot 'then' given a fair trial.

    • G. Lobe

      A fair trial for him is to have no trial at all. He is not an American citizen and has not violated the laws of the country he resides in (currently Sweden). His wikileaks site is not based in the US either. He did not hack into Pentagon system to get that information. The person that should go on trial is the individual with security clearance who supplied him with information.

  • john

    If I was a mercenary, I'd "do" him in a second, pro bono.

  • Steve Chavez

    Where's Joseph McCarthy? He was right after all: The Communists are infiltrating all levels of Government. Soviet defectors also reveal that infiltration is the KGB goal and it looks like finally took over the White House!

    Can you imagine the secrets being revealed to fellow "Internationalists" who then use the info against us? I'm positive that most it makes its way to their leader who brainwashed them: THE SOVIET KGB! (If you haven't seen "Salt" with Angelina Jolie, you must so you can understand the massive brainwashing going on. Then there are the Russian spies who were traded for, for, for, who were they traded for? They had a dance party with Putin?)

    I've always wondered what the pillow talk discussions were about between Bill and Hillary and now with the Obama's. Does Barack reveal any info to Michelle? Who does she then pass it on too? Is she the middle-man/woman? I bet she tells him how to handle policy! She gives him a pep talk on how to screw us all due to past "injustices against us so let's screw all these crackers!"

    • JoeOO

      You forgot /S………………..I hope!

    • old white guy

      mcarthy was never wrong. the left did their damndest to ruin him.

  • Dirk Lemmons

    Julian Assange is a silly little computer nerd right up until he puts our sons and daughters in jeopardy on the battlefield; then he becomes an enemy of freedom and as personally responsible for the deaths of our men and women in uniform as the terrorist that pull the trigger. This last act of posting secret military data makes him lower and more evil than the terrorist we fight. They kill our children and he stokes their blood thirst. Julian will reap what he has sown. His love for the limelight at the cost of our soldier's lives makes him a traitor to all that fight for freedom.

  • Steve Chavez

    Wikileaks— Journolists—Al Franken/Netroots Nation with guest speaker Barack Obama—Sherry Charade—Tea Party "racists"—-sympathy for illegals and actions while no tears for their victims— Gulf loss of jobs and moratorium/hurricanes which will raise price of gas which will cause more misery(didn't the Dems promise to lower gas prices in their '06 campaign but they actually went to $4 a gallon which they are now using to go Green)—endless Democrat hearings on Bush policy/Gitmo/NSA/Rove/Attorney Generals that led to nowhere even as candidate Obama slammed those very programs that he now continues—Gitmo trials in NY—Mosque on Ground Zero—(I have to make breakfast but could be here all day) spitting on our troops and their mission—IN AN ATTEMPT TO CREATE THE DOWNFALL OF THE UNITED STATES AS REVENGE FOR OUR AMERICAN COMMUNISTS WHO WERE BITTER OVER THE FALL OF THE WALL, THE IRON CURTAIN, AND THE SOVIET UNION WHICH THEY LOVED MORE THAN THEIR OWN COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Larry

    Turn our GI's on him, especially those who have lost friends. Now that would be real "Social Justice"!!

  • moriyah

    He needs a trip to Dubai…

  • Guest

    I'd like to see him prosecuted for treason and WikiLeaks closed down. This is most definitely NOT like the Pentagon Papers. The releases he's made are likely to put current operators in jeopardy. He's giving aid and comfort to our enemies and he should get several decades in federal prison at hard labor. Along with whoever provided him with the documents.

    • aspacia

      No, too much publicity. He will vanish.

  • Felix

    the first thought that came to mind when I saw the picture: this is sexual pervert. and then I read the comments – seems everybody got this impression.

  • Robin

    A symposium on redistribution of wealth? Erradication of capitalism? Sounds like he has sat in the classroom of Obama. We became the country of opportunity and wealth thanks to capitalism. And how much of Obama's 6 million that he made last year got re-distributed??

  • Papa Whiskey

    How about obtaining and publishing all the personal records Barack Obama has striven so hard to conceal — college records, Harvard Law School papers, passport records, travel records, et al.?

    I'm not holding my breath.

    • Morrisminor

      Because they are not important like this is? But am I expecting some reasoning power from someone who has none?

  • Morrisminor

    You don't like the message, attack the messenger. The favorite tactics of bullies who don't like the truth. glad to see Perrazzo is the true Horowitz disciple.

    • aspacia


      ASSange (sp) is putting our troops lives in danger. This is treason, and he will probably simply vanish.

    • aspacia

      I dislike an individual who puts our troops lives in danger. He moves around quite a bit in Europe, and a U.S. citizen, probably soldier, will covertly take him out.

    • RatKiller

      This pervert rat Assange will meet his maker soon enough…and DA Morrisminor would not know the truth if it tore his head off…there will come a time when we will be hanging these traitors and a lot more of these perverted Leftist!

      Just hide and watch.

    • old white guy

      the message is dangerous.

  • Dean from Ohio

    What to do, what to do? I wonder if the CIA has thought of these:

    1. Hack into Wikileaks and post Russian or Chinese classified information.
    2. Arrange for him to go to the U.S. for trial.
    3. Arrange for him to go to Afghanistan to meet the families of the informants he just outed.
    4. Publish his location in real time.
    5. Declare him an enemy combatant.

  • Ian

    This is quite the hatchet job of a piece. Whoever wrote it should…I don't know…maybe try writing a story about something or someone who actually matters, though I doubt they'd be able to do that with any sort of journalistic neutrality.

    • Radegunda

      Where exactly is the story wrong?
      You have no facts, do you? You've got nothing but a bratty attitude.

  • Gail

    think he could "leak" the transcripts, applications, details of BHO's time at Occidental, Columbia, Harvard & even the Illinois legislature? nope, all selective leaking. needs Depends!

    • JoeOO

      There secrets that protect a nation's fighting personnel and general citizens and there are "secrets" which cover politicals and protective classes. The MSMedre will disclose the former and bury the latter.
      For example, my local newspaper, in Albany NY has yet to REPORT the former, e.g , " JournoList" details, Van Jones, full backgroud on Bill Ayers, AND THAT THE ObamAD had suggestions to the BRitish re disposition of Lockerbie bomber contrary to his comments.

  • bosco staffelson

    Minus the usual frightened and alarmist editorializing in Mr. Perazzo's piece, pretty much all the information in this "Secret Life" profile of Julian Assange appeared a couple of months ago in an extensive New Yorker article about Assange.

    Unlike Frontpage contributors, of course, the New Yorker reporter actually got up from his computer and did some fieldwork and interviews for the piece, including talking to Assange and his colleagues in Iceland and elsewhere. Since then, of course, much has appeared online about Mr. Assange and the organization he represents and anyone with a modicum of curiousity has been aware of his (not so) "secret" life for some time.

    As a periodic reader of Frontpage, I realize that its writers are not in the business of actually digging up new information and reporting it (which requires respect for one's readers and the importance and integrity of information, not to mention getting off one's arse and doing some journalistic fieldwork) but as a matter of simple courtesy the actual work done by the New Yorker reporter and others since might have been referenced. No doubt, though, extending such a courtesy would have sucked some of the air out of Mr. Perazzo's agitprop "expose'" regarding Mr. Assange's "secret life".

  • Slingblade

    Usually i am not this flippant over such an important issue but it is appears the first three letters of his last name say it all. he's fortunate he will not faced treason charges. he'd be right at home in big house. i do not support every measure or action by the political or military leadership but neither would i intentionally do something to dis-courage the troops, put them in further harms way or harm the efoort to get out of the area of conflict as soon as possible.

  • hermitbiker

    I'll throw a couple bucks in for a gerbil…. I hope he gets charges filed against him as a matter of negating the security of the USA and it's Allies !! How about "Traitor" charges on the punk too !!

  • Dan

    I like the idea of turning him over to the soldiers whose lives he is putting in jeopardy. I wonder how fast he would start crying for his alcoholic mother when a real soldier starts squeezing the pathetic life out of his pencil neck?

  • proto

    kind'a ironic that the music industry can get piratebay shut down for copyright infringement in sweden but wikileaks is legal

  • Americanu

    Your place is valueble for me. Many thanks!…