Saturday, December 04, 2010

Julian Assange: Upholder of Freedom of Speech

Julian Assange is somewhat an enigmatic character and, especially with secretive governments embarrassed over the latest round of Wikileaks, every attempt is being made to assassinate his character, including allegations of unconsensual sex which I think are in all likelihood entirely made up.

Reading about Assange on Wikipedia (no relation to Wikileaks), he comes off as a very sincere and idealistic person. He wants protection of journalists and free speech as well as governments to be more open. To that end, he's put himself at great personal risk. From Wikipedia, Assange is quoted as saying, "the more secretive or unjust an organisation is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie… Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance."

His aim is to expose injustices, expose the hypocrisy of those in the highest echelons of power. He is equal opportunity in this regard, the latest round of Wikileaks documents expose leaders of Islamic countries (including Saudi Arabia) who claim to uphold Islamic values in their countries, but once outside engage in behaviour such as drinking alcohol and patronizing escort services that are forbidden in Islam. He has exposed an American government that hides realpolitik tactics such as spying on the UN leadership.

Assange and Wikileaks have made it harder for governments to pull the wool over the eyes of their citizens, which is no doubt the reason for the backlash on the part of these governments.

Before the current controversy over the leaked diplomatic cabals, Assange's site Wikileaks was the recipient of three journalistic awards including one from Amnesty International. He has been called the "internet's freedom fighter", something that I think is very fitting. In July 2010 Assange made a surprise appearance for a TED Q&A session, the video below is a bit a long, but worth watching to learn the truth about the much-maligned Julian Assange.

Update: A great story on Mr. Assange in The Huffington Post.

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  1. I think that it is scandalous that prominent American politicians are publicly calling for this man to be murdered.

  2. PJ, my friend you're quite right. The excuse being used is that WikiLeaks is endangering the lives of soldiers. Only life it may be endangering is that of these, poor excuse for human-beings, politicians.

    You want to see my latest post on this here: