Posted: March 18th, 2023
The following will be a critique of the case of Julian Assange. It will look into it to see if he was a hacker or a supporter for human rights and freedom of speech.
Assange talked about a grandiose vocation: “If we get the chance to live only once, then it has to be a very daring adventurous life that draws from every available power… Men at their peak, once they are convicted, get tasked to take action.” He made his potential fans know about his clandestine fresh plans: “This is one very confidential internal growth mailing list for the site w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g. Please ensure you avoid making a direct mention of that word in this whole discussion; instead, you can use the initials, ‘WL.’ On the 9th of December, 2006, Daniel Ellsberg got an email signed with the initials, ‘WL’ from the blues, renown Vietnam War whistleblower (Leigh and Harding, 2011). The underground hacker was just one part of the soil that sustained the growth of WikiLeaks. The anti-capitalist radicals was another — the environmental activists community, political revolutionaries and human rights campaigners who formed what was once known as the counter-culture in the 1960s. The moment Assange made his WikiLeaks plans public for the record first time, he took a trip to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to establish their World Social Forum stall in January 2007. He was equally trilled by what he described as the largest NGO beach party in the World that he remained in a compound in Nairobi with other activists from Medecins Sans Frontieres and some other foreign organizations.
Kenya got its first ever journalistic coup from Kenya. The enormous report concerning former President Daniel Arap Moi’s alleged corruption got commissioned from Kroll — a private investigation outfit. But President Mwai Kibaki who succeeded him, commissioned the report, but later decided not to release it for some alleged political reasons. “This report turned out to be Kenyan journalism’s holy grail,” according to Assange.
“In 2007, I went there and got hold of the report.” The real circumstances surrounding the publication were a lot more complex. The report got leaked to Mwalimu Mati, who was the then head of Kenyan Mars Group, an anti-corruption agency (Leigh and Harding, 2011). “Someone brought it and dumped it on our laps,” he concluded. Prompted by a German contact, Mati had earlier registered as a Wikileaks volunteer. It was considered to publish the indicting report on the website of the anti-corruption outfit due to the fear of the possible consequences: “This made us think: can’t we publish this on the Wikileaks website?” Simultaneously, the story surfaced on the London Guardian’s front page on August 31st.
The full report appeared on WilkiLeaks site with the headline, The Missing Kenyan Billions. Four individuals who were linked to the murders were later murdered, which included the human right crusaders John Paul Oulu and Oscar Kingara. Assange and WikiLeaks had by this time started seeing a flow indicting documents that were deliberately leaked, which included some leaked by members of the UK military. But by now, Assange had discovered much to his disappointment that publishing a long list of undistorted and random documents and reports on WikiLeaks was not enough to change the world. Assange would need to keep shopping for a model for WikiLeaks that could simultaneously draw the attention of the world and at the same time bring in some good working revenue (Leigh and Harding, 2011).
Hacker or Supporter of Free Speech
Today, the debate has come to whether Assange should be seen as a true supporter of freedom of speech or a common hacker. To me, it is hard to say whether he should be termed as any of those two mentioned categories. It only seems like a white and black scenario when it should not be so. If you ask me, I would say he is neither of those two. Power is power despite who wields the power and all Assange tried to do was to expose that fact. It is true he did something that should be considered extreme to an extent: he managed to prove to the entire world that that states are just one, though clumsy, global power sources, and one that has seriously waned in terms of significance. When an ideal such as the one Assange exposed leads to myriad troubles judging by who witnesses such exposure (Writer Thoughts), it can get one thinking how ideals would have changed had this information been exposed to the entire world.
Leigh, D., & Harding, L. (2011). News, sport and opinion from the Guardian’s global edition — The Guardian. Julian Assange: the teen hacker who became insurgent in information war — Media — The Guardian. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/jan/30/julian-assange-wikileaks-profile
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