Julian Assange was born in 1971 in Australia. He had a nomadic childhood due to his family’s traveling theater. Father at 18, then faced custody. In 1993, Assange provided technical advice to the Victoria Police Child Abuse Unit and assisted with prosecutions. In the same year, he started working on The Suburbia Public Access Network, one of the first public internet service providers in Australia. He started programming in 1994, authored the TCP port scanner “strobe.c”, patches to the open source database PostgreSQL (1996), Usenet made the caching software NNTPCache (1996), the deniable encryption system for Rubberhose (1997), and the command-line tool Surfraw for web-based search engines (2000). During this period, he chaired the AUCRYPTO forum, ran Best of Security, a “advice on computer security” website in 1996 with 5,000 subscribers; he contributed to the research of Suelette Dreyfus’ Underground (1997) book on Australian hackers.
For a patent filed with the National Security Agency for voice-data collection technology in August 1999: “This patent should worry people. People’s overseas phone calls are copied, archived and tapped in the bowels of an incomprehensible foreign spy agency.” Systematic exploitation of technology by governments has remained a constant concern for the fundamental freedoms of the world’s citizens — more than a decade later, Assange summed it up in the introduction to Cypherpunks (2012): “Our greatest means of salvation has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.”
In 1995, he and a group of friends were accused of hacking. Assange was eventually caught and admitted his guilt. Thousands of Australian dollars were fined and sentenced not to repeat the crime.
He worked with Suelette Dreyfus, an academic researching the hidden side of the internet, for 3 years and wrote the bestseller “Underground” with him. He then took physics and mathematics classes at the University of Melbourne. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006 with like-minded people.
He continued to rule WikiLeaks from temporary and changing places, adopting a nomadic lifestyle. According to Raffi Khatchadourian of the New Yorker magazine, who traveled with him for weeks, he could focus on work without long hours of food and little sleep. Raffi Khatchadourian stated: “ It creates a feeling in the people around him that he wants to take care of him so that he can last longer. This is probably about his charisma.” Although WikiLeaks site was founded in 2006, its international boom took place in 2010.
The website shared with media outlets about 92,000 documents containing videos, diplomatic correspondence and other materials about the US airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The New York Times was the first to publish the secret government documents leaked by WikiLeaks. Later, organizations such as Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, and Guardian published the documents.
The White House and the Defense Ministry Pentagon strongly condemned WikiLeaks, declaring that it could upset delicate balances between countries and even endanger people’s lives. The US administration announced that “internet control will be strictly carried out”. In 2010, he found himself in financial difficulties when a number of US financial institutions cut their donations. In WikiLeaks documents, some Saudi Arabian financial resources are shown as the source that feeds terrorist organizations. In the documents containing the secret information of many leaders, it is noted that the Chinese government targeted the USA with computer sabotage.
WikiLeaks also includes:
- Programs developed by nuclear weapon owners.
- Washington and London’s concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program,
- Alleged links between the Russian government and organized crime,
- Criticism of military operations in Afghanistan against Britain,
- Inappropriate behavior of a member of the British royal family,
- Iran’s attempt to use North Korean missiles,
- Allegations of corruption in the Afghan government,
- Various information on issues such as US attempts to prevent Syria from providing arms aid to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Sweden wanted to question J. Assange with allegations of sexual assault. However, Assange said these charges were political and were part of a smear campaign against him and his site. Assange spent eight months in prison before being put under house arrest. Swedish prosecutors abandoned their investigation of sexual assault charges on 13 August 2015 due to the statute of limitations, as they were unable to question Assange. Swedish prosecutors announced that they closed the seven-year rape investigation against Assange. In the statement made, it was stated that Public Prosecution Director Marianne Ny decided not to continue the investigation. Marianne Ny said that they closed the investigation out of concern that they could not proceed with further evidence. She stated that they did not reach a verdict on whether Assange was guilty or not. The case could be reopened if Assange went to Sweden; because she stated that the charge will expire in 2020. Thus, Assange was never charged with rape. Assange sought refuge in Ecuador’s London Embassy in June 2012, following the extradition order, because of the risk of being sent to the United States in case of extradition to Sweden. Ecuador accepted Assange’s application for political asylum and granted citizenship. According to the incident, which Reuters surfaced through Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry correspondence, South American country made attempts to give Julian Assange the special diplomat status to assign him to his embassy in Russia, but after Britain would not be granted his diplomat immunity, he left the embassy. Upon receiving the reply that he would be arrested, the plan was shelved. Although Ecuador’s attempt to get Assange out of its Embassy in London by granting diplomatic status emerged in 2018, Reuter’s document revealed that Assange wanted to be sent to Russia with this status. According to the document, on December 19, 2017, in a letter from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was stated that he approved “Mr. Julian Assange to be granted diplomatic status so that he can perform his duties at the Ecuadorian Embassy in Russia”. While the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wikileaks officials and Julian Assange’s lawyers did not comment on the issue, Russia denied it. In the written statement made by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was stated that “Our diplomats did not discuss with Ecuador’s London Embassy staff or the representatives of Mr. Assange about helping him leave the British soil.” According to Ecuadorian law, the head of state can appoint a limited number of people without diplomatic careers as diplomats. The documents also include the response of the British Foreign Office that by not approving the initiative, Assange’s diplomatic status will not be recognized and therefore he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy in London. In a statement made by the Ecuadorian government in March 2018, it was announced that Assange’s internet access was cut off because the messages he sent on social media endangered the country’s international relations.
Meanwhile, concerns about his health arose. In October 2012, the Ecuador embassy asked for assurances that Assange had lung infection, he would not be arrested if he was taken to the hospital. However, in August 2014, Assange denied allegations that he would leave the embassy to seek medical treatment at the embassy with the Foreign Minister of Ecuador. Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno stated that his country withdrew Assange’s asylum status on the grounds that “it violated international conventions and protocols of daily life repeatedly.” Stating that, according to international law, granting or taking back the right of a sovereign country is the right of a sovereign country, Moreno said that the right to asylum given to Assange could not be maintained due to “unclaimed and aggressive attitudes and hostile and threatening discourses towards the country from the institution to which it is affiliated”.
Stating that, according to international law, granting or taking back the right of a sovereign country is the right of a sovereign country, Moreno said that the right to asylum given to Assange could not be maintained due to “his rude and aggressive attitudes and hostile and threatening discourses against the country from the institution he is affiliated with”. On the other hand, Moreno stated that Assange “asked the UK to give a guarantee that he would not be sent to a country where he could face torture or death penalty”, and that Britain “approved this in accordance with its own rules”.
On May 19, British police announced that they had detained WikiLeaks founder Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. The London Police Department reported that Assange did not appear in court in June 2012 as soon as he left the Embassy building, so the Westminster Magistrates Court would fulfill the arrest warrant. The spokesperson of the prosecution office, which deals with crimes involving Assange, said that if Assange is arrested, he will receive a maximum sentence of one year in prison. Assange, who was detained at the embassy of the country in London after Ecuador’s withdrawal of his right to asylum, was brought to the Criminal Court in Westminster under heavy security at 13:29 local time. The Westminster Criminal Court ordered the arrest of Assange for violating the terms of his release on bail. Following the arrest, the US Justice Department filed a criminal complaint against Julian Assange, co-founder of Wikileaks, of conspiring to infiltrate a secret US government computer. In the press release from the Ministry of Justice, it was stated that the criminal complaint was related to Assange’s role in the biggest secret document leakage scandal in US history.
The US Justice Department has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to collusion with Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage in the US for leaking documents to WikiLeaks. However, Assange’s lawyers fear that he may face espionage charges and warn that he may face the death penalty. In a written statement made by the US Department of Justice, it is stated that Assange took part in “the biggest confidential information theft in US history”. In the statement, it is stated that Assange’s extradition process to the USA will be carried out by the International Relations Office of the Ministry of Justice. Emphasizing that no one is above the law, British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech she gave to the British Parliament before the court’s arrest warrant, “(Assange) was detained at the Ecuadorian Embassy for violating the conditions of bail after 7 years. This is a legal issue before the court now. “.
“Julian Assange is not a hero. No one is above the law. He has fled the truth for years. I thank Ecuador and President Lenin Moreno for their cooperation in keeping Assange accountable to justice” British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said on his Twitter account. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition party in Britain, said, “The British government must oppose the request of the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States for uncovering evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan”. The British judiciary will decide on the extradition of Assange to the USA. The Council of Europe, of which Britain is a member, prohibits the extradition of a person to a country where he or she will face death penalty. However, Assange is not being tried for a crime that requires the death penalty, and there are many states in the USA where the death penalty has been abolished. The previous US President Donald Trump was criticized during his presidential election campaign for his comment “I am in love with WikiLeaks”. On the day Assange was arrested, a journalist asked Trump, “Do you still love WikiLeaks?” Trump replied, “I don’t know anything about WikiLeaks. This is not my job. The Ministry of Justice will take care of it.”
Assange’s supporters, journalism organizations and human rights groups call for refusing the request for extradition to England, which is stated to be sentenced to 175 years in prison if extradited. The first round of the extradition case was seen in February, and the second round, scheduled for May, was postponed to September due to the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Wikileaks founder and former editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who was detained in Belmarsh Prison, appeared before the judge on September 7 in the case regarding his extradition to the United States. The trial lasted for 4 weeks. The court heard the US Justice Department’s allegations that Assange was trying to keep hackers to steal state secrets. In the US, the grand jury accepted 18 charges against Assange. It was stated that 17 articles where Assange was found guilty fell under the scope of the US Espionage Laws. These include accessing and publishing confidential military and diplomatic documents. Assange’s lawyers stated that they were not given enough time to examine the new US indictment.
The Wikileaks founder’s defense team argued that the case was politically motivated and that Assange was on trial for uncovering war crimes. “This is a war for Julian’s life. It’s a war for press freedom” Assange’s partner Stella Moris told reporters after the hearings. Noting that the US is trying to make normal journalistic activities, which are completely legal, a crime, Moris said, “If the US does not like what they publish, it can prosecute any journalist anywhere in the world in the United States. This case is already causing a chill about press freedom. It’s an attack on journalism, the public’s right to know, and our ability to hold the powerful to account.” Assange’s supporters demonstrated in front of the Old Bailey Court. Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who looked at the case after hearing the last witnesses, announced that she will make her decision on January 4.
Before talking about the risks that Assange will face, it would be useful to take a look at the psychological judgments made by some authorities about Assange.
UN Torture Rapporteur Nils Melzer stated that Assange had all the symptoms seen in those who had been subjected to long-term psychological torture, and therefore argued that he should not be returned to the United States. Defending that “Assange has been harassed intentionally and regularly”, Melzer said, “He has physical ailments, but these are handled in the health service of the prison and in this sense, they are not urgent or dangerous.” The worrying thing is the psychological dimension of the work and Assange’s constant anxiety. It is noticed that he feels threatened by everyone. “He is extremely shaken and preoccupied with his own thoughts.” Describing Belmarsh as Britain’s Guantánamo, Melzer stated that there was a high-security section of the prison, but Assange was not held here. The UN rapporteur said, “In the past nine years, Assange has been subjected to constant, increasingly serious abuse. These range from systematic trials to severe isolation, surveillance, and harassment at the Ecuadorian embassy; it goes up to deliberate collective humiliation, insult and humiliation, and the threat of an investigation”.
Professor Michael Kopelman, head of the department of neuropsychiatry at Kings College London, announced his findings of Assange’s mental state after an examination conducted by defense attorney Ed Fitzgerald QC.
Professor Kopelman stated that he would convey his statements “as far as a psychiatrist can tell”, and drew attention to the “very high” risk of suicide if Assange is extradited. In addition, high suicide rates were reported for patients who were isolated in US prisons. Speaking about Assange’s situation, the professor evaluated it as “recurrent depressive disorder with pronounced suicidal thoughts” that became “more severe during quarantine” and stated that “a genetic predisposition to clinical depression is added to this”.
“It is true that we cannot predict suicide risk mathematically, all we can do is note that there are many risk factors in Assange’s situation,” Professor Kopelman said.
James Lewis QC, who conducted a cross-examination for the prosecution, focused on whether Assange mimicked or exaggerated the symptoms and whether the professor had the ability to detect exaggeration. Lewis sought to refute the professor’s findings by citing parts of his medical notes, which he claimed were “inconsistent” with suicide risk and clinical depression. “I did my best,” said Professor Kopelman, emphasizing that “the summary of the notes is more comprehensive than any psychiatric report available.”
Assange ceased to be an individual over time and became a symbol of free journalism. Assange has been more of a thriving idea than a living organism. It is not easy for the states and those who stand against Assange to destroy this symbol created by Assange in the world public opinion. For this reason, they have continued their smear campaigns for years. While conducting this smear campaign, they used Assange’s family, intimate images, the press, lies and black propagandas. Assange is faced some demonizations as the demonization of the Catholics to the Gnostics. This method has been used by authoritarian regimes for years. Human consciousness is more conducive to visual thinking, and a symbolized idea is not easily destroyed. The commodification of a strong idea is the key to mass engagement. The totems, tribal signs, the symbol of the cross and temples seen in primitive tribes are a good example of the embodiment of ideas. Since symbols have archaic traces, they also make an excuse for impulsivity and create the right covers for each action.
In order to destroy this global image created by Assange, the psychological problems of Assange will be underlined in the coming days. Possibility of suicide will be highlighted through the media. In this way, the public will be subjected to intense manipulation by the press. In time, the possibility that Assange might commit suicide will be engraved in people’s minds. Thus, the grounds for a possible assassination against Assange will be prepared. After the assassination, of course, it will be easier to pretend to be suicide because of the manipulations that were applied before. As seen during the court process in England, recent news focus on Assange’s suicide possibility. Many psychologists, mentioned or not, have repeatedly highlighted this possibility. In the light of the prison conditions in which Assange is located and research conducted by some universities, it is almost impossible to prove that Assange has a manic-depressive mood and bipolar disorder in real terms. Nevertheless, such judgments are served by press organizations without extensive analysis. It is known that the deep structure of the USA used such methods to cover up such murders. What happened to Stanley Kubrick and Aaron Swartz is an example of how disgusting such deep structures can get.
When we look at all these data, we see the fact that Assange is a political prisoner.
Assange must be released before it’s too late.