Assange has said that he has been publishing factual material since age 25, and that it is not necessary to debate whether or not he is a journalist. He has stated that his role is "primarily that of a publisher and editor-in-chief who organises and directs other journalists".
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Real Hero
In 1993, Assange was involved in starting one of the first public internet service providers in
Australia, Suburbia Public Access Network.[ Starting in 1994, he lived in as a programmer and a developer of free software. In 1995, he wrote Strobe, the first free and open source port scanner. He contributed several patches to the PostgreSQL project in 1996. Melbourne
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, he registered the domain leaks.org; "But", he says, "then I didn't do anything with it."
From 2003 to 2006, Assange attended the University of Melbourne, mainly studying physics and mathematics and briefly studying philosophy and neuroscience. In most of his maths courses, he received the minimum "pass" grade. He did not graduate; the fact that his fellow students were doing research for Pentagon's DARPA was reportedly a factor in motivating him to drop out and start WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks was founded in 2006. That year, Assange wrote two essays setting out the philosophy behind WikiLeaks: "To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not." In his blog he wrote, "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."
Assange is a prominent media spokesman on WikiLeaks' behalf. While newspapers have described him as a "director"[ or "founder" of Wikileaks, Assange has said, "I don't call myself a founder";[ he does describe himself as the editor in chief of WikiLeaks, and has stated that he has the final decision in the process of vetting documents submitted to the site. Assange says that Wikileaks has released more classified documents than the rest of the world press combined: "That's not something I say as a way of saying how successful we are – rather, that shows you the parlous state of the rest of the media. How is it that a team of five people has managed to release to the public more suppressed information, at that level, than the rest of the world press combined? It's disgraceful.".
He advocates a "transparent" and "scientific" approach to journalism, saying that "you can't publish a paper on physics without the full experimental data and results; that should be the standard in journalism."[ In 2006, CounterPunch called him "
's most infamous former computer hacker."[.The Age has called him "one of the most intriguing people in the world" and "internet's freedom fighter." Assange has called himself "extremely cynical". He has been described as being largely self-taught and widely read on science and mathematics, and as thriving on intellectual battle. Australia
Assange received the 2009 Media award from Amnesty International for Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances, and he has been recognized as a journalist by the Centre for Investigative Journalism. Assange has been a member of the Australian journalist union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, for several years, and in 2011 was made an honorary member.
Alex Massie wrote an article in The Spectator called "Yes, Julian Assange is a journalist", but acknowledged that "newsman" might be a better description of Assange.Alan Dershowitz said "Without a doubt. He is a journalist, a new kind of journalist".