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Re: Profile of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Released on 2012-02-29 03:00 GMT

Email-ID 1630947
Date 1970-01-01 01:00:00
yeah. he gave a great demonstration of that in this interview:


From: "scott stewart"
To: "Sean Noonan"
Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2010 1:15:22 PM
Subject: RE: Profile of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

He is a delusional nut.

From: []
On Behalf Of Sean Noonan
Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2010 11:56 AM
To: Analyst List
Subject: Re: Profile of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

his ego will be his downfall

On 10/24/10 9:51 AM, Nate Hughes wrote:

October 23, 2010
WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Trailed by Notoriety
LONDON a** Julian Assange moves like a hunted man. In a noisy Ethiopian
restaurant in Londona**s rundown Paddington district, he pitches his voice
barely above a whisper to foil the Western intelligence agencies he fears.

He demands that his dwindling number of loyalists use expensive encrypted
cellphones and swaps his own as other men change shirts. He checks into
hotels under false names, dyes his hair, sleeps on sofas and floors, and
uses cash instead of credit cards, often borrowed from friends.

a**By being determined to be on this path, and not to compromise, Ia**ve
wound up in an extraordinary situation,a** Mr. Assange said over lunch
last Sunday, when he arrived sporting a woolen beanie and a wispy stubble
and trailing a youthful entourage that included a filmmaker assigned to
document any unpleasant surprises.

In his remarkable journey to notoriety, Mr. Assange, founder of the
WikiLeaks whistle-blowersa** Web site, sees the next few weeks as his most
hazardous. Now he is making his most brazen disclosure yet: 391,832 secret
documents on the Iraqi war. He held a news conference in London on
Saturday, saying that the release a**constituted the most comprehensive
and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record.a**

Twelve weeks ago, he posted on his organizationa**s Web site some 77,000
classified Pentagon documents on the Afghan conflict.

Much has changed since 2006, when Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian,
used years of computer hacking and what friends call a near genius I.Q. to
establish WikiLeaks, redefining whistle-blowing by gathering secrets in
bulk, storing them beyond the reach of governments and others determined
to retrieve them, then releasing them instantly, and globally.

Now it is not just governments that denounce him: some of his own comrades
are abandoning him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior,
and a nearly delusional grandeur unmatched by an awareness that the
digital secrets he reveals can have a price in flesh and blood.

Several WikiLeaks colleagues say he alone decided to release the Afghan
documents without removing the names of Afghan intelligence sources for
NATO troops. a**We were very, very upset with that, and with the way he
spoke about it afterwards,a** said Birgitta Jonsdottir, a core WikiLeaks
volunteer and a member of Icelanda**s Parliament. a**If he could just
focus on the important things he does, it would be better.a**

He is also being investigated in connection with accusations of rape and
molestation involving two Swedish women. Mr. Assange has denied the
allegations, saying the relations were consensual. But prosecutors in
Sweden have yet to formally approve charges or dismiss the case eight
weeks after the complaints against Mr. Assange were filed, damaging his
quest for a secure base for himself and WikiLeaks. Though he characterizes
the claims as a**a smear campaign,a** the scandal has compounded the
pressures of his cloaked life.

a**When it comes to the point where you occasionally look forward to being
in prison on the basis that you might be able to spend a day reading a
book, the realization dawns that perhaps the situation has become a little
more stressful than you would like,a** he said over the London lunch.

Exposing Secrets

Mr. Assange has come a long way from an unsettled childhood in Australia
as a self-acknowledged social misfit who narrowly avoided prison after
being convicted on 25 charges of computer hacking in 1995. History is
punctuated by spies, defectors and others who revealed the most
inflammatory secrets of their age. Mr. Assange has become that figure for
the Internet era, with as yet unreckoned consequences for himself and for
the keepers of the worlda**s secrets.

a**Ia**ve been waiting 40 years for someone to disclose information on a
scale that might really make a difference,a** said Daniel Ellsberg, who
exposed a 1,000-page secret study of the Vietnam War in 1971 that became
known as the Pentagon Papers.

Mr. Ellsberg said he saw kindred spirits in Mr. Assange and Pfc. Bradley
Manning, the 22-year-old former Army intelligence operative under
detention in Quantico, Va., suspected of leaking the Iraq and Afghan

a**They were willing to go to prison for life, or be executed, to put out
this information,a** Mr. Ellsberg said.

Underlying Mr. Assangea**s anxieties is deep uncertainty about what the
United States and its allies may do next. Pentagon and Justice department
officials have said they are weighing his actions under the 1917 Espionage
Act. They have demanded that Mr. Assange a**returna** all government
documents in his possession, undertake not to publish any new ones and not
a**solicita** further American materials.

Mr. Assange has responded by going on the run, but has found no refuge.
Amid the Afghan documents controversy, he flew to Sweden, seeking a
residence permit and protection under that countrya**s broad press
freedoms. His initial welcome was euphoric.

a**They called me the James Bond of journalism,a** he recalled wryly.
a**It got me a lot of fans, and some of them ended up causing me a bit of

Within days, his liaisons with two Swedish women led to an arrest warrant
on charges of rape and molestation. Karin Rosander, a spokesperson for the
prosecutor, said last week that the police were continuing to investigate.

In late September, he left Stockholm for Berlin. A bag he checked on the
almost empty flight disappeared, with three encrypted laptops. It has not
resurfaced; Mr. Assange suspects it was intercepted. From Germany, he
traveled to London, wary at being detained on arrival. Under British law,
his Australian passport entitles him to remain for six months. Iceland,
another country with generous press freedoms and a strong WikiLeaks
following, has also lost its appeal, with Mr. Assange concluding that its
government, like Britaina**s, is too easily influenced by Washington. In
his native Australia, ministers have signaled their willingness to
cooperate with the United States if it opens a prosecution. Mr. Assange
said a senior Australian official told him, a**You play outside the rules,
and you will be dealt with outside the rules.a**

He faces attack from within, too.

After the Sweden scandal, strains within WikiLeaks reached a breaking
point, with some of Mr. Assangea**s closest collaborators publicly
defecting. The New York Times spoke with dozens of people who have worked
with and supported him in Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Britain and the United
States. What emerged was a picture of the founder of WikiLeaks as its
prime innovator and charismatic force but as someone whose growing
celebrity has been matched by an increasingly dictatorial, eccentric and
capricious style.

Internal Turmoil

Effectively, as Mr. Assange pursues his fugitivea**s life, his leadership
is enforced over the Internet. Even remotely, his style is imperious. In
an online exchange with one volunteer, a transcript of which was obtained
by The Times, he warned that WikiLeaks would disintegrate without him.
a**Wea**ve been in a Unity or Death situation for a few months now,a** he

When Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old political activist in Iceland,
questioned Mr. Assangea**s judgment over a number of issues in an online
exchange last month, Mr. Assange was uncompromising. a**I dona**t like
your tone,a** he said, according to a transcript. a**If it continues,
youa**re out.a**

Mr. Assange cast himself as indispensable. a**I am the heart and soul of
this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder,
organizer, financier, and all the rest,a** he said. a**If you have a
problem with me,a** he told Mr. Snorrason, using an expletive, he should

In an interview about the exchange, Mr. Snorrasona**s conclusion was
stark. a**He is not in his right mind,a** he said. In London, Mr. Assange
was dismissive of all those who have criticized him. a**These are not
consequential people,a** he said.

a**About a dozena** disillusioned volunteers have left recently, said
Smari McCarthy, an Icelandic volunteer who has distanced himself in the
recent turmoil. In late summer, Mr. Assange suspended Daniel
Domscheit-Berg, a German who had been the WikiLeaks spokesman under the
pseudonym Daniel Schmitt, accusing him of unspecified a**bad behavior.a**
Many more activists, Mr. McCarthy said, are likely to follow.

Mr. Assange denied that any important volunteers had quit, apart from Mr.
Domscheit-Berg. But further defections could paralyze an organization that
Mr. Assange says has 40 core volunteers and about 800 mostly unpaid
followers to maintain a diffuse web of computer servers and to secure the
system against attack a** to guard against the kind of infiltration that
WikiLeaks itself has used to generate its revelations.

Mr. Assangea**s detractors also accuse him of pursuing a vendetta against
the United States. In London, Mr. Assange said America was an increasingly
militarized society and a threat to democracy. Moreover, he said, a**we
have been attacked by the United States, so we are forced into a position
where we must defend ourselves.a**

Even among those challenging Mr. Assangea**s leadership style, there is
recognition that the intricate computer and financial architecture
WikiLeaks uses to shield it against its enemies has depended on its
founder. a**Hea**s very unique and extremely capable,a** said Ms.
Jonsdottir, the Icelandic lawmaker.

A Rash of Scoops

Before posting the documents on Afghanistan and Iraq, WikiLeaks enjoyed a
string of coups.

Supporters were thrilled when the organization posted documents on the
GuantA!namo Bay detention operation, the contents of Sarah Palina**s
personal Yahoo email account, reports of extrajudicial killings in Kenya
and East Timor, the membership rolls of the neo-Nazi British National
Party and a combat video showing American Apache helicopters in Baghdad in
2007 gunning down at least 12 people, including two Reuters journalists.

But now, WikiLeaks has been met with new doubts. Amnesty International and
Reporters Without Borders have joined the Pentagon in criticizing the
organization for risking peoplea**s lives by publishing war logs
identifying Afghans working for the Americans or acting as informers.

A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan using the pseudonym Zabiullah Mujahid
said in a telephone interview that the Taliban had formed a nine-member
a**commissiona** after the Afghan documents were posted a**to find about
people who are spying.a** He said the Taliban had a a**wanteda** list of
1,800 Afghans and was comparing that with names WikiLeaks provided.

a**After the process is completed, our Taliban court will decide about
such people,a** he said.

Mr. Assange defended posting unredacted documents, saying he balanced his
decision a**with the knowledge of the tremendous good and prevention of
harm that is causeda** by putting the information into the public domain.
a**There are no easy choices on the table for this organization,a** he

But if Mr. Assange is sustained by his sense of mission, faith is fading
among his fellow conspirators. His mood was caught vividly in an exchange
on Sept. 20 with another senior WikiLeaks figure. In an encrypted online
chat, a transcript of which was passed to The Times, Mr. Assange was
dismissive of his colleagues. He described them as a**a confederacy of
fools,a** and asked his interlocutor, a**Am I dealing with a complete

In London, Mr. Assange was angered when asked about the rifts. He
responded testily to questions about WikiLeaksa**s opaque finances,
Private Manninga**s fate and WikiLeaksa**s apparent lack of accountability
to anybody but himself, calling the questions a**cretinous,a**
a**facilea** and reminiscent of a**kindergarten.a**

Mr. Assange has been equivocal about Private Manning, talking in late
summer as though the soldier was unavoidable collateral damage, much like
the Afghans named as informers in the secret Pentagon documents.

But in London, he took a more sympathetic view, describing Private Manning
as a a**political prisonera** facing a jail term of up to 52 years,
without confirming that he was the source of the disclosed war logs. a**We
have a duty to assist Mr. Manning and other people who are facing legal
and other consequences,a** he said.

Mr. Assangea**s own fate seems as imperiled as Private Manninga**s. Last
Monday, the Swedish Migration Board said Mr. Assangea**s bid for a
residence permit had been rejected. His British visa will expire early
next year. When he left the London restaurant at twilight, heading into
the shadows, he declined to say where he was going. The man who has put
some of the worlda**s most powerful institutions on his watch list was,
once more, on the move.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington, and Dexter Filkins
from Kabul, Afghanistan.


Nathan Hughes
Military Analysis


Sean Noonan

Tactical Analyst

Office: +1 512-279-9479

Mobile: +1 512-758-5967

Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

Sean Noonan
Tactical Analyst
Office: +1 512-279-9479
Mobile: +1 512-758-5967
Strategic Forecasting, Inc.