Dec 2, 2010

Julian Paul Assange: the publisher of untold truth

The most courageous and brave publisher of the world JulianPaul Assange was born in July 3, 1971. He is an Australian publisher and internet activist. He is best known as the spokesperson and editor-in-chief for WikiLeaks, a whistle-blower website. 

Before working with the website, Mr. Assange was a physics and mathematics student as well as a computer programmer. He has lived in several countries and has told reporters he is constantly on the move. 

He makes irregular public appearances to speak about freedom of the press, censorship, and investigative reporting; he has also won several journalism awards for his work with WikiLeaks.

Assange founded the ever strongest publisher WikiLeaks website in 2006 and serves on its advisory board. In this capacity, he has received widespread public attention for his role in releasing classified material documenting the involvement of the United States in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and its five media partners began publishing the United States diplomatic cables leak.

On 30 November 2010, Interpol placed Assange on its red notice list of wanted persons, for "sex crimes".

Assange was born in Townsville, Queensland, and spent much of his youth living on Magnetic Island in Australia. 

Assange's parents ran a touring theatre company. In 1979, his mother, Christine, remarried; her new husband was a musician who belonged to a controversial New Age group led by Anne Hamilton-Byrne. The couple had a son, but broke up in 1982 and engaged in a custody struggle for Assange's half-brother. His mother then took both children into hiding for the next five years. Assange moved several dozen times during his childhood, attending many schools, sometimes being home schooled, and later attending several universities at various times in Australia.

In 1987, after turning 16, Assange began hacking under then name "Mendax". He and two other hackers joined to form a group which they named the International Subversives. Assange wrote down the early rules of the subculture: "Don’t damage computer systems you break into; don’t change the information in those systems; and share information".

In response to the hacking, the Australian Federal Police raided his Melbourne home in 1991; he was reported to have accessed computers belonging to an Australian university, the Canadian telecommunications company Nortel, and other organisations, via modem.

 In 1992, he pled guilty to 24 charges of hacking and was released on bond for good conduct after being fined AU$2100. The prosecutor said "there is just no evidence that there was anything other than sort of intelligent inquisitiveness and the pleasure of being able to surf through these various computers".

Assange later commented, "It's a bit annoying, actually. Because I cowrote a book about “being a hacker”, there are documentaries about that, people talk about that a lot. They can cut and paste. But that was 20 years ago. It's very annoying to see modern day articles calling me a computer hacker. I'm not ashamed of it, I'm quite proud of it. But I understand the reason they suggest I'm a computer hacker now. There's a very specific reason."

In 1989, Assange started living with his girlfriend and soon they had a son. She separated from him after the 1991 police raid and took their son. They engaged in a lengthy custody struggle, and did not agree on a custody arrangement until 1999. The entire process prompted Assange and his mother to form Parent Inquiry Into Child Protection, an activist group centered on creating a "central databank" for otherwise inaccessible legal records related to child custody issues in Australia.

In 1993, Assange started one of the first ISPs in Australia, known as "Suburbia". Starting in 1994, Assange lived in Melbourne as a programmer and a developer of free software.

 In 1995, Assange wrote Strobe, the first free and open source port scanner. He contributed several patches to the PostgreSQL project in 1996. He helped to write the book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier (1997), which credits him as a researcher and reports his history with International Subversives.

Starting around 1997, he co-invented the Rubberhose deniable encryption system, a cryptographic concept made into a software package for Linux designed to provide plausible deniability against rubber-hose cryptanalysis; he originally intended the system to be used "as a tool for human rights workers who needed to protect sensitive data in the field." 

Other free software that he has authored or co-authored includes the Usenet caching software NNTPCache and Surfraw, a command-line interface for web-based search engines.
In 1999, Assange registered the domain; "But", he says, "then I did not do anything with it."

Assange has reportedly attended six universities. From 2003 to 2006, he studied physics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne. On his personal web page, he described having represented his university at the Australian National Physics Competition around 2005. He has also studied philosophy and neuroscience.

Assange was the winner of the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award (New Media), awarded for exposing extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya with the investigation The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances.

In accepting the award, he said: "It is a reflection of the courage and strength of Kenyan civil society that this injustice was documented. Through the tremendous work of organisations such as the Oscar foundation, the KNHCR, Mars Group Kenya and others we had the primary support we needed to expose these murders to the world."  He also won the 2008 Economist Index on Censorship Award.

Assange was awarded the 2010 Sam Adams Award by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

In September 2010, Assange was voted as number 23rd among the "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010" by the British magazine New Statesman. 

In their November-December issue, Utne Reader magazine named Assange as one of the "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World".

On 12 November he was leading in the poll for Time magazine's "Person of theYear, 2010".

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