Jullian Scott Biography & Facts
Julian Paul Assange (; born 3 July 1971) is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. These leaks included the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and Cablegate (November 2010). After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.In November 2010, Sweden issued an international arrest warrant for Assange over allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange said the allegations were a pretext for his extradition from Sweden to the United States over his role in the publication of secret American documents. After failing in his battle against extradition to Sweden, he breached bail and took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in June 2012. He was granted asylum by Ecuador on the grounds of political persecution, with the presumption that if he were extradited to Sweden, he would be eventually extradited to the US. Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation in 2019, saying their evidence had "weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question."During the 2016 U.S. election campaign, WikiLeaks published confidential Democratic Party emails, showing that the party's national committee favoured Hillary Clinton over her rival Bernie Sanders in the primaries. In 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged twelve Russian intelligence officers with computer hacking and working with WikiLeaks and other organisations to disseminate the material. However, Assange said that the Russian government was not the source of the documents.On 11 April 2019, Assange's asylum was withdrawn following a series of disputes with the Ecuadorian authorities. The police were invited into the embassy, and he was arrested. He was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison. The United States government unsealed an indictment against Assange, related to the leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. On 23 May 2019, the United States government further charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. Editors from newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, as well as press freedom organisations, criticised the government's decision to charge Assange under the Espionage Act, characterising it as an attack on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees freedom of the press. On 4 January 2021, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against the United States' request to extradite him and stated that doing so would be "oppressive" given his mental health. On 6 January 2021, Assange was denied bail, pending an appeal by the United States.
Assange was born Julian Paul Hawkins on 3 July 1971 in Townsville, Queensland, to Christine Ann Hawkins (b. 1951), a visual artist, and John Shipton, an anti-war activist and builder. The couple separated before their son was born.When Julian was a year old, his mother married Brett Assange (also known as Richard Assange), an actor, with whom she ran a small theatre company and whom Julian regards as his father (choosing Assange as his surname). Christine had a house in Nelly Bay on Magnetic Island, where they lived from time to time until it was destroyed by fire.Christine and Brett Assange divorced around 1979. Christine then became involved with Leif Meynell, also known as Leif Hamilton, a member of Australian cult The Family, and they had a son before breaking up in 1982. Julian had a nomadic childhood, living in over 30 Australian towns and cities by the time he reached his mid-teens, when he settled with his mother and half-brother in Melbourne. Assange attended many schools, including Goolmangar Primary School in New South Wales (1979–1983) and Townsville State High School in Queensland as well as being schooled at home.In 1987, aged 16, Assange began hacking under the name Mendax, taken from Horace's splendide mendax — nobly untruthful. He and two others, known as "Trax" and "Prime Suspect", formed a hacking group they called "the International Subversives". According to David Leigh and Luke Harding, Assange may have been involved in the WANK (Worms Against Nuclear Killers) hack at NASA in 1989, but this has never been proven.While in his teens, Assange married a girl named Teresa, and in 1989 they had a son, Daniel. The couple separated and disputed custody of Daniel until 1999. During the time of the custody dispute, Assange's brown hair turned white.In September 1991, Assange was discovered hacking into the Melbourne master terminal of Nortel, a Canadian multinational telecommunications corporation. The Australian Federal Police tapped Assange's phone line (he was using a modem), raided his home at the end of October and eventually charged him in 1994 with 31 counts of hacking and related crimes. In December 1996, he pleaded guilty to 24 charges (the others were dropped) and was ordered to pay reparations of A$2,100 and released on a good behaviour bond. He received a lenient penalty due to the absence of malicious or mercenary intent and his disrupted childhood.Assange studied programming, mathematics and physics at Central Queensland University (1994) and the University of Melbourne (2003–2006), but did not complete a degree.
In 1993, Assange gave technical advice to the Victoria Police Child Exploitation Unit that assisted in prosecutions. In the same year, he was involved in starting one of the first public Internet service providers in Australia, Suburbia Public Access Network. He began programming in 1994, authoring or co-authoring the TCP port scanner Strobe (1995), patches to the open-source database PostgreSQL (1996), the Usenet caching software NNTPCache (1996), the Rubberhose deniable encryption system (1997) (which reflected his growing interest in cryptography), and Surfraw, a command-line interface for web-based search engines (2000). During this period, he also moderated the AUCRYPTO forum, ran Best of Security, a website "giving advice on computer security" that had 5,000 subscribers in 1996, and contributed research to Suelette Dreyfus's Underground (1997), a book about Australian hackers, including the International Subversives. In 1998, he co-founded the company Earthmen Technology.Assange stated that he registered the domain leaks.org in 1999, but "didn't do anything with it". He did publicise a patent granted to the National Security Agency in August 1999, for voice-data harvesting technology: "This patent should worry people. Everyone's overseas phone calls are or may soon be tapped, transcribed and archived in the bowels of an unaccountable foreign spy agency."
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