Julian Paul Assange (born Julian Paul Hawkins; 3 July 1971) is an Australian computer programmer, a grantee of political asylum. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006, and came to international attention in 2010, when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. These leaks included the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and CableGate (November 2010). He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 and remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London until his arrest by British police on 11 April 2019.
- You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere. Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can't lead to a good conclusion.
- "Julian Assange, monk of the online age who thrives on intellectual battle". The Guardian. 2010-08-01. Retrieved on 2010-08-01.
- Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love. In a modern economy it is impossible to seal oneself off from injustice.
If we have brains or courage, then we are blessed and called on not to frit these qualities away, standing agape at the ideas of others, winning pissing contests, improving the efficiencies of the neocorporate state, or immersing ourselves in obscuranta, but rather to prove the vigor of our talents against the strongest opponents of love we can find.
If we can only live once, then let it be a daring adventure that draws on all our powers. Let it be with similar types whos hearts and heads we may be proud of. Let our grandchildren delight to find the start of our stories in their ears but the endings all around in their wandering eyes.
The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering. Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them.
- "Witnessing". 2007-01-03. Retrieved on 2012-08-16.
- We all only live once. So we are obligated to make good use of the time that we have and to do something that is meaningful and satisfying. This is something that I find meaningful and satisfying. That is my temperament. I enjoy creating systems on a grand scale, and I enjoy helping people who are vulnerable. And I enjoy crushing bastards.
- "‘WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange on the 'War Logs'". Spiegel.de. 2010-07-26. Retrieved on 2010-08-03.
- You can’t publish a paper on physics without the full experimental data and results; that should be the standard in journalism".
- "‘A real free press for the first time in history’: Wikileaks editor speaks out in London". Journalism.co.uk. 2007-08-12. Retrieved on 2010-08-01.
- Capable, generous men do not create victims, they nurture them.
- "Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks". TED: Ideas Worth Spreading (www.ted.com). July 2010. Retrieved on 2010-07-22.
- WikiLeaks will not comply with legally abusive requests from Scientology any more than WikiLeaks has complied with similar demands from Swiss banks, Russian offshore stem-cell centers, former African kleptocrats, or the Pentagon.
- The sense of perspective that interaction with multiple cultures gives you I find to be extremely valuable, because it allows you to see the structure of a country with greater clarity, and gives you a sense of mental independence. You're not swept up in the trivialities of a nation. You can concentrate on the serious matters.
- "The secret life of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange". The Sydney Morning Herald. May 22, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
- It is the media that controls the boundaries of what is politically permissible, so better to change the media. Profit motives work against it, but if we can have the audience understand that most other forms of journalism are not credible, then it may be a forced move.
- Farquhar, Peter (May 19, 2010). "Wikileaks founder Julian Assange adamant his site broke Collateral Murder encryption". News.com.au. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
- That’s arguably what spy agencies do — high-tech investigative journalism. It’s time that the media upgraded its capabilities along those lines.
- It is impossible to correct abuses unless we know that they’re going on.
- Seeing ongoing political reforms that have a real impact on people all over the world is extremely satisfying. But we want every person who's having a dispute with their kindergarten to feel confident about sending us material.
- Large newspapers are routinely censored by legal costs. It is time this stopped. It is time a country said, enough is enough, justice must be seen, history must be preserved, and we will give shelter from the storm.
- Tran, Mark (February 12, 2010). "Iceland plans future as global haven for freedom of speech". The Guardian. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
- The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be "free" because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free.
- Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism.
- All memoir is prostitution.
- After reading the first draft of a biography about himself, March 2011, as quoted in Taibbi, Matt (November 23, 2018). "Why You Should Care About the Julian Assange Case". Rolling Stone.
- I would be happy to accept asylum, political asylum, in India — a nation I love. In return, I will bring Mayawati a range of the finest British footwear.
- "Mayawati controversy: Text of Julian Assange's statement". The Hindu. September 6, 2011. Retrieved on September 9, 2011.
- A great number of those working for liberal causes are not only shy but borderline collusive. They want change to happen nicely, and it won't. They want decency to come about without anybody suffering or being embarrassed, and it won't. And most of all they want to give many of the enemies of open government the benefit of the doubt, and I don't. It's not just a difference of approach, it's a complete schism in our respective philosophy. You can't go about disclosure in the hope that it won't spoil anybody's dinner.
- The goal is justice, the method is transparency. It's important not to confuse the goal and the method.
- There is a view that one should never be permitted to be criticized for being even possibly in the future engaged in a contributory act that might be immoral, and that that type of arse-covering is more important than actually saving people's lives. That it is better to let a thousand people die than risk going to save them and possibly running over someone on the way. And that is something that I find to be philosophically repugnant.
- . (2012-06-30). Wikileaks:Secrets and Lies
- The final nail in the coffin was that I went to the hundredth anniversary of physics at the ANU. There were some 1500 visitors there - four Nobel prize winners - and every goddamn one of them was carting around, on their backs, a backpack given to them by the Defence Science Technology Organisation. At least it was an Australian defence science organisation. And there was just something about their attire, and the way they moved their bodies, and of course the bags on their backs didn't help much either. I couldn't respect them as men.
- This is not justice; never could this be justice, the verdict was ordained long ago. Its function is not to determine questions such as guilt or innocence, or truth or falsehood. It is a public relations exercise, designed to provide the government with an alibi for posterity. It is a show of wasteful vengeance; a theatrical warning to people of conscience.
- "Prosecutor: Manning let secrets into enemy hands= The Oaklahoman". 2013-06-03. Retrieved on 2013-06-04. Regarding the [Bradley Manning] trial.
- Our No. 1 enemy is ignorance. And I believe that is the No. 1 enemy for everyone — it's not understanding what actually is going on in the world.
- Lee, Newton (2014). Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness (2nd Edition). Springer Science+Business Media.
- Censorship represents Fear by Big Information. 'Stopping leaks' is a new form of censorship.
- What are you frightened of in relation to me meeting with a journalist? What is the embassy afraid of?...Is this a prison?.. why are you surveilling me speaking to a US journalist? Do you think it’s unreasonable for me to expect privacy when I meet with a journalist? Why are you silent?...Why can’t you say anything? Don’t you have an excuse? What is the basis? Why are you surveilling an American journalist? What reason should we tell her?... Is this a prison? This is how you treat a prisoner, not a political refugee!... I am trying to have a private conversation with a journalist. I am also a journalist — and you’re stopping me from doing my work. How can I safely relay my mistreatment and the illegality going on here to this journalist while under surveillance?...You are preventing this journalist from meeting with me in any other room...You have been illegally surveilling me... I know you want me to shut up — the Ecuadorian president has already gagged me... I am banned from producing journalism... You are acting as an agent of the United States government and preventing me from speaking with a US journalist about these violations... What kind of sovereign state allows its ambassadors to be interrogated by another nation? No self respecting state does that!...
- Assange in January 2019, quoted in Exclusive: Ecuador Imprisons US Journalist In Room As Ambassador Tells Assange to ‘Shut up’ and Accept Spying, The Gateway Pundit, by Cassandra Fairbanks (26 March 2019)
The Economist, 1st October 2011, p. 89
- I may be a chauvinist pig of some sort, but I'm no rapist.
- Of allegations of sexual assault
- Vanity in a newspaper man is like perfume on a whore; they use it to fend off a dark whiff of themselves.
- I never had a mentor. I was forced to make myself up as I went along.
Repubblica.it interview, 23 Dec 2016
- Power is mostly the illusion of power. The Pentagon demanded we destroy our publications. We kept publishing. Clinton denounced us and said we were an attack on the entire "international community". We kept publishing. I was put in prison and under house arrest. We kept publishing. We went head to head with the NSA getting Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, we won and got him asylum. Clinton tried to destroy us and was herself destroyed. Elephants, it seems, can be brought down with string. Perhaps there are no elephants.
- most power structures are deeply incompetent, staffed by people who don't really believe in their institutions and that most power is the projection of the perception of power. And the more secretively it works, the more incompetent it is, because secrecy breeds incompetence, while openness breeds competence, because one can see and can compare actions and see which one is more competent. To keep up these appearances, institutional heads or political heads such as presidents spend most of the time trying to walk in front of the train and pretending that it is following them, but the direction is set by the tracks and by the engine of the train. Understanding that means that small and committed organisations can outmanoeuvre these institutional dinosaurs, like the State Department, the NSA or the CIA.
Quotes about Assange
(most recent first)
- The real purpose of state secrecy is to enable governments to establish their own self-interested and often mendacious version of the truth by the careful selection of “facts” to be passed on to the public. They feel enraged by any revelation of what they really know, or by any alternative source of information. Such threats to their control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible and, where not, those responsible must be pursued and punished.
Revealing important information about the Yemen war – in which at least 70,000 people have been killed – is the reason why the US government is persecuting both Assange and Zikry.
- I want to visit Julian to see he is receiving medical care and to let him know that there are many people around the world who admire him and are grateful for his courage in trying to stop the wars and end the suffering of others... Thursday 11th April, will go down in history as a dark day for the Rights of humanity, when Julian Assange, a brave and good man, was arrested, by British Metropolitan Police, forcibly removed without prior warning, in a style befitting of a war criminal, from the Ecuadorian Embassy, and bundled into a Police Van...
I visited Julian on two occasions in the Ecuadorian Embassy and was very impressed with this courageous and highly intelligent man. The first visit was on my return from Kabul, where young Afghan teenage boys, insisted on writing a letter with the request I carry it to Julian Assange, to thank him, for publishing on Wikileaks, the truth about the war in Afghanistan and to help stop their homeland being bombed by planes and drones. All had a story of brothers or friends killed by drones while collecting wood in winter on the mountains.
- I nominated Julian Assange on the 8th January 2019 for the Nobel Peace Prize. I issued a press release hoping to bring attention to his nomination, which seemed to have been widely ignored, by Western media. By Julian’s courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. The release of the files brought to our doors the atrocities our governments carried out through media. It is my strong belief that this is the true essence of an activist and it is my great shame I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be hunted like an animal by governments, punished and silenced.
Therefore, I believe that the British government should oppose the extradition of Assange as it sets a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers and other sources of truth the US may wish to pressure in the future. This man is paying a high price to end war and for peace and nonviolence and we should all remember that.”
- The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange. Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget.
- Ecuador has signed a $4.2bn programme with the IMF, signalling a final break by President Lenín Moreno with the policies of his leftist predecessor [Rafael Correa] in a deal that he said saved the country from becoming like Venezuela. The loan to the Opec country forms part of a larger $10bn package with other multilateral lenders to support Ecuador’s struggling economy, which is burdened by external debt that grew under former president Rafael Correa, in part due to oil-backed loans from China. Over the past two years, Mr Moreno has sought to reform the economy, while also distancing himself from the more controversial political positions of Mr Correa, who ruled Ecuador for a decade. The leftist firebrand, who faces multiple corruption charges in Ecuador and now lives in Belgium, was a close ally of socialist regimes such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia. Notoriously, he gave political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The IMF deal comes on the seventh anniversary of Mr Assange’s asylum at the embassy. Ecuador’s extended fund facility with the IMF, which must still be approved by the Washington-based lender’s board...” said... the IMF mission chief to Ecuador.
- IMF agrees to $4.2bn fund for Ecuador, The Financial Times ( 21 February 2019)
- The former NSA analyst [Edward Snowden] mentioned the fact that Ecuador got $4.2 billion in funds from the International Monetary Fund in early March as a sign the country was getting closer to the West, and in turn more inclined to give up Assange. “Journalists who have been covering the story haven’t really been looking at that, because Julian as an individual is such a tragically flawed figure,” Snowden said. Snowden also criticized people who changed their minds about Assange after the 2016 election.“A lot of Americans now hate Julian,” he said. “Even though the sort of people who are on the center to the left part of the spectrum had been singing his praises during the Bush administration, now they’re on the other side because of his unfortunate political choices in the 2016 elections.”
- Edward Snowden in Edward Snowden: Assange’s Arrest and the Mueller Report Show a ‘Two-Tiered System of Justice’ (22 April 2019)
- It was meant to be a routine visit by a journalist to another journalist. Instead, I found myself locked in a cold, surveilled room for over an hour by Ecuadorian officials, as a furious argument raged between the country’s ambassador and Julian Assange on Monday. The room was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Julian Assange currently lives under the ostensible protection of political asylum. Yet the WikiLeaks publisher was barred from entering the room, where he was supposed to join me for a pre-approved meeting, because he refused to submit to a full-body search and continuous surveillance.
The visit to the publisher had, in fact, become eerily similar to visits I have made to inmates at federal penitentiaries in the US. It seemed our government was getting what they wanted from Ecuador, as a former senior State Department official told Buzzfeed in January, “as far as we’re concerned, he’s in jail.”
Assange, clearly agitated, demands to know “why are you surveilling me speaking to a US journalist? Do you think it’s unreasonable for me to expect privacy when I meet with a journalist? Why are you silent?”
- Julian [Assange] is a distinguished Australian, who has changed the way many people think about duplicitous governments. For this, he is a political refugee subjected to what the United Nations calls “arbitrary detention”. The UN says he has the right of free passage to freedom, but this is denied. He has the right to medical treatment without fear of arrest, but this is denied. He has the right to compensation, but this is denied. As founder and editor of WikiLeaks, his crime has been to make sense of dark times. WikiLeaks has an impeccable record of accuracy and authenticity which no newspaper, no TV channel, no radio station, no BBC, no New York Times, no Washington Post, no Guardian can equal. Indeed, it shames them. That explains why he is being punished.
- John Pilger in The Prisoner Says No to Big Brother, CounterPunch, (4 March 2019)
- The persecution of Julian Assange is the conquest of us all: of our independence, our self respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture. So stop scrolling. Organise. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police. War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up, so can you: so can all of us.
- John Pilger in The Prisoner Says No to Big Brother, CounterPunch, (4 March 2019)
- WikiLeaks is possibly the most exciting development in journalism in my lifetime. As an investigative journalist, I have often had to rely on the courageous, principled acts of whistle-blowers. The truth about the Vietnam War was told when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers. The truth about Iraq and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia and many other flashpoints was told when WikiLeaks published the revelations of whistle-blowers.
- When you consider that 100 percent of WikiLeaks leaks are authentic and accurate, you can understand the impact, as well as the fury generated among secretive powerful forces. Julian Assange is a political refugee in London for one reason only: WikiLeaks told the truth about the greatest crimes of the 21st century. He is not forgiven for that, and he should be supported by journalists and by people everywhere.
- John Pilger in Real journalists act as agents of people, not power, Daily Star (Bangladesh) (16 January 2019)
- WikiLeaks has achieved far more than what The New York Times and The Washington Post in their celebrated incarnations did. No newspaper has come close to matching the secrets and lies of power that Assange and Snowden have disclosed. That both men are fugitives is indicative of the retreat of liberal democracies from principles of freedom and justice. Why is WikiLeaks a landmark in journalism? Because its revelations have told us, with 100 per cent accuracy, how and why much of the world is divided and run.
- Some 300 newspapers, large and small, joined today in publishing... editorials defending the First Amendment’s freedom of the press... their own efforts to combat current threats to that freedom posed by President Trump’s attacks on journalists and the entire Fourth Estate, which Trump routinely denounces in tweets and at rallies as “enemies of the people.”
- However, missing from most of these full-throated editorials is any real defense of those who are in the trenches doing the hardest job of a free press, which is exposing the worst offenses of government: the war crimes, the craven systemic corruption of the political system, and the purveying of propaganda and disinformation in the furtherance of anti-democratic policies.
- Nowhere does one read.. a condemnation of the five-year torture and pursuit of [alternative media] journalist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the London embassy of Ecuador... His real crime, and the thing the US wants... him...for, is publishing leaked Pentagon documents and videotapes proving a policy in the Iraq war of massive and deliberate war crimes...Because a press freedom is under serious attack these days, certainly by President Trump, but also by a corporate media itself that supports a censored internet and a two-tiered access to high-speed internet — both of which measures threaten alternative news media — and that fail to firmly support and defend the whistleblowers who often are critically important in bringing urgent stories of government and corporate wrongdoing to light.
- Dave Lindorff in Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display, Counterpunch (17 August 2018)
- If there is a threat to national and global security today, and a threat to free speech and independent media, it is not coming from Putin or the Kremlin – but rather from the United States. And until the American left gathers itself and stops listening to the warmongering pundits and establishment journalists parroting the Washington narrative, we have nothing but a bleak future in front of us with regards to the relation between the two old nemesis nuclear superpowers.
- Jonathan Sigrist in Russiagate and the Neo McCarthyite War on Alternative Media and Political Dissent, Global Research, (28 February 2018)
- He not only is one of the few authentic heroes of our time, he also has shown to all of us how to be a hero today and that it is possible to be a hero today.
- The world we live in is ruled by insiders...insiders do not tell outsiders the truth, and they do not turn against other insiders... Julian... created the technology that allowed the outsiders to get a glimpse within... and this is why he's being persecuted... He's been accused of a crime for which he's never been charged, that turns progressives against feminists and feminists against progressives. This attempt by the establishment to turn progressives against themselves... to prosecute someone who has... revealed their crimes is a heinous crime in itself..."
- A legitimate, registered, multi award-winning media organisation and its editor have legally published the truth about the biggest superpower in the world and embarrassed them and exposed them for wrongdoing - war crimes, corruption and fraud...The whole exercise has been set up to smear and silence the truth and those countries with their snouts in the trough with America have fallen into line. Ecuador, whose snout isn't in the trough, has not fallen into line.
- Christine Assange quoted in Wikileaks founder Julian Assange 'buoyed by support', Chris Summers BBC News, (25 June 2012)
- Wikileaks' Julian Assange is providing ammunition to those who believe that the fragile new world of cybersecurity demands a more flexible approach to the rules of engagement.
- Butterworth, Trevor (June 15, 2010). "New Rules Of Engagement". Forbes. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
- A dead man can't leak stuff. This guy's a traitor, a treasonist, and he has broken every law of the United States. The guy ought to be — And I'm not for the death penalty, so if I'm not for the death penalty, there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.
- Beckel, Bob (7 December 2010), Follow the Money, Fox News Business , quoted in "Fox News' Bob Beckel Calls For 'Ilegally' Killing Assange: 'A Dead Man Can't Leak Stuff' (Video)". Huffington Post. 2010-12-07. Retrieved on 2012-09-21.
- I knew years before the Pentagon Papers came out that the Americans were being lied in to an essentially hopeless war. I’m not proud of the fact that it didn’t occur to me that my oath of office, which was to support the Constitution, called on me to put that information out and say, ‘64, when the war might have been avoided. But I certainly am glad that I finally came aware of what my real responsibilities were there. And I did put it out years later. At times, at that time, which published it, the “Times,” and the 18 other newspapers, which defied President Nixon’s injunctions and did put it out, were in the position of Julian Assange is in now.
- Julian Assange is perhaps the most noteworthy investigative journalist in the world today, and he has made a career out of dragging into the sunlight information that powerful people want to keep hidden.
- Adomanis, Mark (May 22, 2010). "Quick, look over there, the Russians repress investigative journalists!". True/Slant. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
- The cunning of Julian Assange's strategy is that he has made everyone complicit in his own private decision to try to sabotage U.S. foreign policy. Unless you consider yourself bound by the hysterically stupid decision of the Obama administration to forbid all federal employees from downloading or viewing the WikiLeaks papers, you will at the very least have indulged in a certain amount of guilty pleasure.
- Assange’s attorney has promised that if anything happens to his client, WikiLeaks will release a “nuclear bomb” of even more damaging information … If Assange sincerely believes that he needs to blackmail the U.S. government into refraining from assassinating him, he is delusional as well as conceited. Assange’s supporters ought to be upset by the revelation that the supposed champion of transparency has deliberately been holding the good stuff back. After all, authentic whistle-blowers would release the most damaging information at the beginning — not withhold it as a bargaining chip to intimidate prosecutors.
- Assange's thoughts often have this tone of cerebral sangfroid, even when the subject is violence and death. Politically, he appears to be an ultra-libertarian, but with a mathematician's analytical bent.
- Guilliatt, Richard (May 30, 2009). "Searching for Assange". The Australian Magazine (Nationwide News Pty Limited): p. 15.
Chris Hedges: Crucifying Julian Assange, TruthDig, (12 November 2018)
- Nov 12, 2018 Online at truthdig.com
- Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes, much of it provided by Chelsea Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside and demonized. A leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch dated March 8, 2008, exposed a black propaganda campaign to discredit WikiLeaks and Assange... to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and blacken Assange’s reputation. It largely has worked...
- The Democratic Party—seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian “interference” rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate—attacks Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government secrets. He has not committed a crime....
- WikiLeaks and Assange have done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their interference in foreign elections...And WikiLeaks worked swiftly to save Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale surveillance of the American public by the government, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow...
- What is happening to Assange should terrify the press...The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.... Assange is on his own. Each day is more difficult for him. This is by design. It is up to us to protest. We are his last hope, and the last hope, I fear, for a free press.