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How Julian Assange became a worldwide hero

Last updated on: December 10, 2010 08:54 IST

How Julian Assange became a worldwide hero

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Rohan Jagan

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has become a cult figure whose supporters are spread across the globe.

No one person has polarised opinions so sharply in recent times as Assange has. After his recent arrest by the British police, there were protests outside British embassies. A group of hackers took down the sites of Internet payment service Paypal and Mastercard and Visa after they froze the flow of funds to Assange's accounts.

The release of top secret diplomatic cables  by Wikileaks has embarassed the US government and filled reams of newsprint all around the world.

While most countries have been shrill in their condemnation of Assange's latest work, some countries like Russia have called for him to be given the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Image: A figure of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is placed in a Neapolitan Christmas creche by Gennaro Di Virgilio depicting the Nativity of Jesus in Naples
Photographs: Ciro De Luca/Reuters
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A scientific journalist

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Assange' recent arrest in London has triggered of a wave of protests across the world, by people who believe him to be the last hope of a free and fair press.

Assange, who describes his style as a "scientific journalism", says that the philosophy behind WikiLeaks is "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."

"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."


Image: A protestor holds a banner in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a flash mob demonstration, organised through the internet, in front of the British Embassy in Sofia
Photographs: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters
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'Julian has a strong sense of right and wrong'

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Assange's mother Christine, termed his arrest as 'unfair.'  Conspiracy theories have been floating on the web about the charges against Assange and their validity.

His step-father Brett, said 'Julian was a bright child with a strong sense of right and wrong.'

In this day and age where the world has supposedly come closer after the advent of telephones and Internet, Assanage's maverick ways continue to evoke awe and suspicion among people.

His nomadic ways were cited as a reason for him being denied bail in the UK.


Image: A wanted page for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on a screen shot of the Interpol Internet website
Photographs: Reuters
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Assange's stance has endeared him to the people

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American senators have called for Assange to be tried for espionage. Some people have even called for Assange to be "bumped off."

Assange had previously released a video, which showed American helicopter gun crew in Baghdad shooting and killing two Reuters photographers.

WikiLeaks had selectively in association with top news papers of the globe, released 25,0000 American diplomatic cables. These cables show the candour and blunt assessments made by American diplomats across the globe.

Assange's stance of taking on the world's only superpower and exposing the inner workings of one the most secretive organisations in the world has made him an instant hero among the masses.


Image: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds up a copy of a newspaper during a press conference at the Frontline Club in central London
Photographs: Andrew Winning/Reuters
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