Who is Julian Assange? Three Profiles of the WikiLeaks Founder

Trying to make heads or tails of WikiLeaks, which just released 250,000 US diplomatic cables this week? Then you may want to spend some time with one article and one video. First, The New Yorker published this summer an extensive profile of Julian Assange, the driving force behind WikiLeaks. A key passage explaining Assange’s world view appears below, and you can get the full profile right here. Next up, we have Chris Anderson, the head of TED, in conversation Assange. The interview, running 20 minutes, tells you essentially “Why the World Needs WikiLeaks.” And then why not add to the list Forbes’ lengthy interview with Assange, published earlier this week. (Thanks Avi for that.)

He had come to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution. As a student of Kafka, Koestler, and Solzhenitsyn, he believed that truth, creativity, love, and compassion are corrupted by institutional hierarchies, and by “patronage networks”—one of his favorite expressions—that contort the human spirit. He sketched out a manifesto of sorts, titled “Conspiracy as Governance,” which sought to apply graph theory to politics. Assange wrote that illegitimate governance was by definition conspiratorial—the product of functionaries in “collaborative secrecy, working to the detriment of a population.” He argued that, when a regime’s lines of internal communication are disrupted, the information flow among conspirators must dwindle, and that, as the flow approaches zero, the conspiracy dissolves. Leaks were an instrument of information warfare.

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Comments (9)
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  • Mike says:

    It shouldn’t be too difficult to predict who will be Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2010.

  • Avi Burstein says:

    Forbes just had a great feature article on Assange, complete with the unedited transcript of an interview with him.

  • Usman says:

    its just a game started by some big players and motives are “a Lie hiding betwen the truth” and that lie is the real target to be spread as a truth just keep watching what they are going to do in comming leaks automaticlay story will be infront of you those who got the real eyes

  • lizette talbot says:

    I have not always followed the leeks but I am very proud that there is always an individual that will stand true to what they believe. Make people question.

  • Nick Risley says:

    What does he believe?

    That “governments are bad”.
    He didn’t even stand by that. He went into hiding rather than take a STD test.

    He’s an egotistical, cowardly, and chauvinistic jackass who’s pining for attention.

  • Fred says:

    What ever happened to this our First Amendment rights? The U.S. has always been a police state. Julian Assange has the balls to stand up to our militant government.

  • Cris Markos says:

    The reality is that Julian Assange is a sociopath who has already put American lives at risk – including civilians. He has implicitly encouraged terrorism by publishing a list of sites that are critical to US security. He’s also accused of rape. Again: sociopath. He is DEFINITLEY not anyone to admire.

  • J.I. says:

    “He’s also accused of rape. Again: sociopath.”


    No, I mean, seriously? Wow. That’s like… the most illogical thing I’ve ever read.

  • UK Guy says:

    People are starting to talk about storming the police station and releasing this inocent man and whilst we are about it we should also drag the MP’s out of bed and hold them to account.

    The person who leaked the information made a pledge to server the american people against, both foriegn and domestic enermies and he did his duty and yet is also behind bars.

    Do you think MP’s stelling money and giving our money to the banks is the way to go or do you think it’s time we sorted this mess out once and for all.

    Justice in the UK is a joke the world over.

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