Tag Archives: Julian Assange

Assange antics booked

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is back in news.

The Guardian on Monday released Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, bringing the man in confined to Norfolk country house back among headlines despite the Egypt crisis.

The newspaper has been making the most out of Wikileaks story courtesy reports and streams of tweets by Editor Alan Rusbridger.

Observing the events in the last few days on the Wikileaks front, it’s the not so friendly relationship between the whistleblower and its partners which has been making the news, barring few cables on Tunisia and Egypt.

Is this a case of overdose of leaks by the guardian? Who seems to have caught hold of a golden goose which they are not willing to let go.

Even in the heights of Egyptian protests, they didn’t let Assange fade in public memory. In fact they came out with the book wasting no time way before Assange’s 1.5 million dollar biography could hit the stands.

As the Guardian blows its trumpet, a text from a senior editor in India asking “Is he still hot?” set me thinking if he was or wasn’t?


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Let people filter the Wikileaks

Is information knowledge? Does more data mean greater understanding, even minus context and editorial filters?

This was a tweet from Barkha Dutt for her show We the People debating Will Wikileaks change Diplomacy forever?

The last bit of the question set me thinking. Does Wilkileaks require an editorial filter?

NO. Was my initial and intuitive response.

After a pause I thought, how different will editorial filter make Wikileaks look like? What will form the basis of filtering the information? Finally in the era of information sharing will it be possible to curtail the raw information going out to people?

In my opinion, which could be challenged, it’s alright at times to let the information flow out in raw form and let people make a judgement. For there is no guarantee that people will agree and toe the line editors dish out.

What Julian Assange has done is going to change the way people in power communicate, though it might not have an impact in the way diplomacy is conducted.


As Mukul Kesavan on the NDTV show pointed out that the New York Times went ahead and took the cables to the US government and after a check published them shows where not to go for reading the cables.

I agree, for the fact that one can’t be sure reading NYT in that case if that is the complete information.

Beyond Assange

A blog in the economist suggested WikiLeaks needs an ethical review board? It further observes WikiLeaks is an important organisation that’s doing something the world needs. But like other human-rights and humanitarian organisations, it needs to lay down some clear, public ethical guidelines about how and why it does what it does.

I trust the way they handle it, in part because I know who they are. Who’s WikiLeaks? Besides Mr Assange, I don’t know, and they’re not really telling. Do you know? If so, start a wiki about it.

Wonder how different this would have made the situation, agreed that nobody except Assange is known to the world, but what if that is the organisation policy?

Right now one persons motives are being doubted, if there were more than one then sceptics or critics would have questioned more motives.

This would also have given governments irked by leaks more people to make targets and drift the focus away from the actual issues at hand.

As of now there are five reputed media outlets apart from Wikileaks to make a choice from, it for the readers to pick their choice. There is raw data as well as filtered one available, make your choice and take a call.

In fact the readership of Wikileaks and others post disclosures will give an indication what people want.

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Twitter takes to Live reporting

Twitter changed the way we look at news.

On Tuesday when District Judge Howard Riddle allowed scribes to tweet from the courtroom without disturbing the proceedings in a matter of minutes Twitteratti took over the conventional modes of reportage and for those few hours, Breaking news was like a passé.

The 140 characters did what the 24X7 news channels couldn’t, they broke into the courtrooms and it looked like this might be the beginning of something new.

The micro-blogging site gave a blow-by-blow account of proceedings sans lengthy arguments. Even before the websites and news channels could flash the breaking news the word was already out.

Anticipation was high on Thursday as Julian Assange stepped in the courtroom, steady stream of tweets followed and newspapers, broadcasters and websites set their tweet rolls in place.

The joy was short lived as the Judge barred tweets from courtroom.

Heather Brooke @newsbrooke posted an hour before the proceedings she posted ‘hearing rumours that twitter WONT be allowed #Assange’, it was true.

What a letdown and almost immediately there was boo for this ruling on tweets. Brooke later argued on twitter, when lawyers have laptops and blackberries, why not public? In open court what is difference is typing from pen and paper she questioned.

Well no great difference, just that typing reaches out to the world and in this case possibly to over 190 million Twitter users (source Tech Crunch).

Though barred Tweets for time being changed the way we looked at news and how news reached us.

In days ahead more might be in store.

I stumbled upon a year old article in TIME which described  How Twitter will change the way we live.

Tweets tick

The 140 characters allows one to be precise and be on spot.

It is smaller than 160 character SMS and this precisely makes tweeting easy and convenient to use from simplest of the cell phones. Upgrade to a smartphone and the experience enhances.

User innovation has fuelled tweeters growth.

Many of its features and applications like shortlink, hashtag, search, tweetpic etc were developed by the users and added freshness to the social networking site.

At the time the abovementioned article was published there weren’t many news websites using twitter, but now its first on twitter and then elsewhere.

Though twitter doen’t has the kind of following Facebook enjoys, but it indeed is a very effective and popular mean of communicating news.

If it’s not on Tweet it isn’t news.




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Riding on Support Assange seeks bail

Julian Assange’s extradition case comes up for hearing on Tuesday in London.

Ever since he has been arrested on December 7 though the Wikileaks revelations have been coming out steadily as promised by Assange, but the thump has gone missing.

More than the Leaks it’s the man behind them who has become the news, something which was predictable.

Celebrities supporting Assange, hacker group Anonymous bringing Pay Pal and other websites down, to Julian Assange profiles, backgrounder, his mothers reaction, his son’s statement have all made headlines.
The cables meanwhile, much to the relief of US government have taken backseat and will soon lose out the sheen, until something big is in pipeline even as I write.

Hours before the hearing, leaks have sort of vanished from airwaves, reams of newsprint reporting them have reduced and online the focus is more on Assange.

It’s my opinion that the leaked hero Assange won’t get respite anytime soon and the battle will drag on leading to the slow death of a promising tornado as far as news is considered.

Interestingly this has led to Assange getting some sort of indirect support.

Assange mentioned in his editorial in the Australian, why he was only targeted and no one questioned the newspapers who were also publishing reports on Cables.

On similar lines Jeff Stein in his blog on Washington Post reported how ‘WikiLeaks’s Assange gains influential defenders.’

Stein’s blog raises echoes Assanges opinion but uses views of prominent American voices to back his claims.
Will the celebrity surety and celebrated voices bail Assange out in Long run remains to be seen.
On the face of it come Wednesady through Tuesday Assange will again hog some headlines.


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Still reading Assange

The name Julian Assange evokes extreme reactions. Love him or hate him, but it’s hard to ignore him.

In the last few days this elusive yet omnipresent founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks has managed to take over sizable media space across the globe and some mind space as well for sure.

I have been following the developments around US Cable leaks and developments around Assange.

The second half has really got me glued, for the cables don’t have anything major or direct consequence so far.

The Thread

Reading an opinion piece The Hunt for Julian Assange in The Thread section of New York Times which takes an in-depth look at how major news and controversies are being debated across the online spectrum.

I was amazed by the commentary which for me showed emotions of US journos at large towards this one man.

From a spy, to someone with blood on his hands to being an infoterroist, emotions flew left right and center making me wonder is this how journalists should react.

Some went to extent of assuming how Abhram Lincoln would have reacted to this. Bizzare.

In one of my earlier post I had mentioned how this guy with a computer has managed to irk US authorities and piss them off that some have compared him to Taliban or Osama Bin Laden.

These thoughts were echoed here in this one but with a different treatment.

The investors.com said : “The Bible assures us “there is not anything secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hid that shall not be known and come abroad.” In this vein, former computer hacker and self-styled “journalist” Julian Assange is again playing God, using his WikiLeaks cyberterrorism organization to reveal the military and diplomatic secrets of the Free World as it fights radical Islam and other threats.”

How justified is use of word cyber terrorism I wonder?

Kill bill

Another one Ezra Levant of The Ottawa Sun raises the ante: Why isn’t Julian Assange dead yet?  His obsession is to embarrass the world’s freest countries — the U.S. and U.K.

Well if the countries are really freest than this guy has a right to express himself. There could be other ways of dealing with him other than killing him.

The writer goes on to say…And U.S. President Barack Obama could do what he’s doing to the Taliban throughout the world. He doesn’t sue them or catch them. He kills them. Because it’s war. Obama has even ordered the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. How does Obama see Assange any differently.

What Obama or rather the US led forces are doing is another matter of debate, but in no ways gives Obama or anyone right to kill someone.

Some question him being called editor of Wikileaks, while others say everyone should calm down and give Assange a time out. Well could do that but will a good story be suppressed so easily?

Legally speaking

At last what drew me all the way down through the long page was the question on could the US  prosecute Assange?

Legal scholar Stephen L. Carter at The Daily Beast said: “I think we could. Most of the conversation has centered on the Espionage Act of 1917. Assange’s violation seems fairly clear. The statute bars the ‘unauthorized’ possessor of a document who ‘has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation’ to communicate or transmit the document ‘to any person not entitled to receive it.’ ”

Well that is a legitimate reasoning of all what I read, but in the end commentator Tobin Harshaw concluded. Still unknown: Whether Julian Assange is on the right side of it or not.

I say the fascination continues.

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Curious case of Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is on the wanted list of Interpol.

Couple of days after Assange managed to leak 250,000 state secrets much to the disliking of the US government, the Australian born former computer hacker is at some undisclosed location to escape the Interpol red notice.

What amazes me is the fact that despite offending the world superpower USA not once but thrice Assange has managed to stay away from the gunning claws.

The day Cablegate was released by WikiLeaks I posted a tweet and penned a blog seeking reply to how does this guy manage to do so with an enviable precision and consistency.

No replies were expected to this question for no one but Asange knows this.But the question of how he has managed not to come in hands of the US government stayed with me.

I was thinking about the same on my way to the University today and I read in the Metro, US Republican leader Sarah Palin demanded Assange be hunted like Osama Bin laden.

A testimony that he has managed to do to US politicians I believe with a computer what Laden has over the last decade using his militants.

Though there is no established link to the US involvement in the Interpol hunt of Assange, it will be more than willing to find him behind bars in any part of the world.

Assange is wanted for charges of “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion” in Sweden.

What surprises me is the fact with the kind of technology available with the intelligence agencies around the world Assange has managed to deceive them all and stay connected with the world media.

TIME magazine managing editor Richard Stengel spoke with Assange for 36 minutes over Skype after the leaks were made public. The Guardian, according to New York Times website Assange along with fellow hackers and WikiLeaks enthusiasts was at a secret location outside London.

Confident of Assange’s abilities his aides according to NYT are reported to have fixed an interview with a NY based freelancer in Britain next January.

The curious case of Julian Assange becomes interesting with each passing day as he prepares for the next big leak.


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