20 Interesting Facts about WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been the center of a worldwide global debate that has now and time again focused the spotlight on his impressive yet very controversial life. Although the website has been up and running since 2006, it attracted much popularity after the release of many highly confidential and sensitive State and Defense Department documents which also warranted Chelsea Manning a 35-year-old prison sentence.
Only recently the site has again come back in the spotlight after releasing a bunch of hacked emails from Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign during the U.S 2016 Presidential Election. While WikiLeaks completed a decade of existence in October 2016, there are some interesting facts about the Founder himself that very fewer people are aware. Here are 20 interesting facts about Julian Assange that you might not have known before.
20 interesting facts about Julian Assange:
In an interview with Mr. Assange, we found out that he has had to move over 50 times and change over 37 different schools and six different universities throughout his childhood. It is believed that this was partly because of an abusive boyfriend of his mother’s which led to such frequent relocations all throughout his prime growing years. While he would sometimes go to a school for a month, he was mostly homeschooled by his mother.
2.There is a direct relationship between the number of his friends and the number of his enemies:
By uncovering the truth, Julian Assange has not only managed to develop some great friendships but also managed to procure some enemies along the way as well. It is said that the USA government happens to be one of his most vocal opponents after having released more than 90,000 classified documents connected to the Afghanistan War. There are also some videos published on the website including the famous video in April 2010 where a US military helicopter is seen opening fire on two journalists and some Iraqi civilians. Other notable enemies include the Church of Scientology, Russian stem cell centers and even the president of Kenya.
3.Hacking since 16:
Julian Assange has been known to have been hacking since the age of 16. He formed an organization called the Worms against Nuclear Killers which is said to live by a strict rule of not damaging computer systems they hack into and only procuring unedited information used for further distribution to the masses. Among his most notable hacks is the one done in 1991 where he hacked into a Canadian multinational telecommunications corporation called Nortel. Although he was convicted of this act, he never ended up in jail for it.
4.Seeking sanctuary at the Ecuadorian embassy in London:
Following the granting of asylum by Ecuador in 2012, Mr. Assange has stayed at the Ecuadorian embassy ever since. It is also said that the for the first two months of his sanctuary, his counsel, Fidel Narvaez stayed and slept at the embassy as well to protect him from any political hostilities.
5.41st birthday celebrations:
For his 41st birthday, Julian Assange sent cakes to every demonstrator protesting for his confinement outside of the embassy walls. It was a birthday that is well remembered by many of his supporters.
In 2012, Julian Assage guest starred in the 500th Simpsons episode for which he is said to have recorded his lines over the phone from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
7.Spending most time in Sweden:
Mr. Assange is said to have spent most of his time in Sweden before his arrest for the very fact that Sweden’s media laws are some of the most protective laws, in particular for journalists.
Mr. Assange accredits himself for practicing Scientific Journalism where according to him he provides raw sources for people to make up their mind and decision the same way scientists provide raw data with their analysis.
Although is famously known as a terrible house guest with controversial hygiene issues, he is superb around children and has even been a single parent to his son for 14 years. He got married at the age of 18, he and his wife have been separated for quite some time and share joint custody of their son after a long court battle.
10.“The Fifth Estate”:
A movie known as the “Fifth Estate” released in 2013 is about WikiLeaks which Julian Assange is not a fan of and is said to have directly contacted Benedict Cumber batch urging him not to do the film as it is a “Massive Propaganda Attack.”
Assange has been credited for having co-written a book known as Underground: Tales of Hacking Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.
12.Anarchy Vs. Anti-Stalinism:
Julian Assange is said to be inspired by Anti-Stalinism rather than anarchy.
Mr. Assange has been hacking under the name of Mendax since the age of 16 which stands for “nobly truthful.”
14.Donations and Funding:
WikiLeaks is said to be famously funded by donations that it receives from all over the world. It received over $200,000 only after the release of the helicopter video featuring the shooting of journalists and civilians.
Mr. Assange is also said to have hosted a bunch of very important people while staying at the Embassy to raise money for WikiLeaks since the website is supposed to run purely on donations coming in from all over the world.
16.No internet connection:
On October 18th, 2016, Ecuador confirmed that they purposefully cut off Julian Assange’s internet connection from within the embassy only as a “temporary restriction” and not a means of kicking him out. It is merely a preventive measure as Ecuador doesn’t want to become a part of Assange’s political slips. Despite the restriction, it doesn’t prevent WikiLeaks from carrying out its regular journalistic activities. However, this internet restriction has been interpreted by some as being the first sign of Ecuador is wondering if Assange has overstayed his welcome or not.
17.“Proof of Life”:
Ever since the internet connection was shut down, Julian Assange’s supporters are demanding proof of life since he has not since been heard of nor seen. There have been some fake photographs that leaked the internet but have long since been debunked. Moreover, there is also a possible conspiracy theory being brewed which connects a UK aircraft landing in West Virginia around the same time as the internet connection was restricted.
18.Why stay in the Ecuadorian embassy?
Julian Assange chooses to reside at the Ecuadorian embassy I London because of his possible extradition following the Manning leaks of US state and defense documents. If left, he could be extradited off to Sweden where he faces charges of assault and from there shipped to the USA to face charges of espionage. However, as of October 18th, 2016, the Ecuadorian embassy’s website has reconfirmed the validity of the asylum granted to Mr. Assange 4 years ago. Moreover, in September 2016, WikiLeaks released a tweet on Twitter stating that “if Obama gives Manning clemency, Assange will willingly agree to a US prison exchange despite its unlawfulness.”
There are, some broad speculations being made regarding a possible connection between Assange, WikiLeaks, and Trump. It is said that WikiLeaks and Assange are aiding Trump by uprooting thousands of Clinton campaign emails. The 18 tweet series by Clinton’s national spokesperson is proof where Assange was attacked for these allegations.
20.Sexual assault and rape charges in Sweden:
Although Assange is facing possible rape and assault charges in Sweden, the Statue of Limitations is fast approaching. The charges on sexual molestation and coercion have been long dropped since 2012 as the Statue of Limitations approached. However, the rape charges remain standing till 2020. It is said that these charges are one of the reasons Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy as he feared being extradited off to the USA where he would face a possible death penalty.
Becoming the Guardians 58th most influential person in the UK in 2010 has allowed Julian Assange to become a leading figure in basic human rights violation campaigns. As of 2016, the BBC reported the UN ruling whereby allowing Assange to walk free and also compensated for “deprivation of liberty.” However, regardless of the ruling, the UK Foreign Office believes it changes nothing and is prepared to contest it when the time comes.
Aline Carrara is social media experimentalist and working as blogger on TheOneSpy Cell Phone Spy Software Blog. She is a strong member of stop cyberbullying campaign and provide tips to the non-tech savvy peoples to protect social media privacies. To know more about her follow her on Twitter @AlineCarrara7