Episode 60

Julian Assange & Wikileaks

Julian Assange is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks. In 1987, aged 16, Assange began hacking under the name Mendax. He and two others, known as “Trax” and “Prime Suspect”, formed a hacking group they called “the International Subversives”. 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. In 1993, Assange gave technical advice to the Victoria Police Child Exploitation Unit that assisted in prosecutions.[55][56] In the same year, he was involved in starting one of the first public Internet service providers in Australia, Suburbia Public Access Network; And in 1994 he commenced his career in programming and became author and co-author on numerous programs. 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.”

WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organisation that publishes news leaks and classified media provided by anonymous sources. Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press, stated in 2015 that it had released online 10 million documents in its first 10 years. Some of the most notable leaks they have ‘split’ are:

US Army manual for Guantanamo prison camp 

Date: November 2007

The Leak: One of Assange and WikiLeaks first big releases was of a 238-page Army manual from 2003 on “standard operating procedures” for the Camp Delta prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Revelations: The manual showed the Army had a policy of keeping some prisoners from Red Cross inspectors and holding new prisoners in isolation for two weeks to make them more compliant for interrogators. 

Assange arrested:Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, faces US hacking conspiracy charge

Read the indictment:Grand jury indicts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

570,000 messages sent on 9/11

Date: November 2009

The Leak: WikiLeaks published more than half a million pager messages sent within a 24-hour period around the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The Revelations: The messages included exchanges from “Pentagon, FBI, FEMA and New York Police Department” officials. “We hope that its entrance into the historical record will lead to a nuanced understanding of how this event led to death, opportunism and war,” WikiLeaks said of the release. 

Video of US helicopter fire killing civilians in Iraq

Date: April 2010

The Leak: WikiLeaks published video footage from a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad, Iraq, that killed at least nine men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. 

The Revelations: Army soldier Bradley Manning, a transgender woman who later became known as Chelsea Manning, was later arrested for the release of the video and other classified material about the conduct of the war and civilian deaths.

Iraq and Afghanistan war documents

Date: July and October 2010

The Leaks: In 2010, WikiLeaks published a trove of classified documents about U.S. military action. It released more than 90,000 documents related to Afghanistan and later published more than 400,000 documents from the war in Iraq. 

The Revelations: The documents included information about civilian deaths, the hunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Iran’s backing of militants in Iraq.

State Department Cables (Cablegate) 

Date: November 2010 to September 2011

The Leaks: More than 250,000 unredacted U.S. diplomatic cables dating from December 1966 to February 2010 were released in what was referred to as “Cablegate.” 

The Revelations: Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the release “an attack on the international community.” The documents included verification that the U.S. had conducted secret drone strikes in Yemen, details of U.S. efforts to get information on United Nations representatives, a push by Saudi Arabia’s royal family to have the U.S. strike Iran and a description of Russia under Vladimir Putin as a “virtual mafia state.”

Stolen 2016 emails

Date: July and October 2016

The Leaks: On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails and on Oct. 7, 2016, it released another 2,000 emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. 

The Revelations: The emails, which U.S. intelligence later determined had been stolen by hackers working for the Russian government, appeared to show that the DNC had favored Clinton over her rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Among the damaging information in Podesta’s emails was the news that then-acting DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile had given the Clinton campaign debate questions in advance.

Swedish Sexual Assault Charges

Juliann was arrested in April 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been staying since 2012.

He sought asylum at the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation that he denied.

After his arrest, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions and is currently being held at Belmarsh prison in London.


August 2010 – The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office first issues an arrest warrant for Mr Assange. It says there are two separate allegations – one of rape and one of molestation. Mr Assange says the claims are “without basis”
December 2010 – Mr Assange is arrested in London and bailed at the second attempt
May 2012 – The UK’s Supreme Court rules he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations
June 2012 – Mr Assange enters the Ecuadorean embassy in London
August 2012 – Ecuador grants asylum to Mr Assange, saying there are fears his human rights might be violated if he is extradited
August 2015 – Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations – one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion – because they have run out of time to question him. But he still faces the more serious accusation of rape
October 2015 – The Metropolitan Police announces that officers will no longer be stationed outside the Ecuadorean embassy
February 2016 – A UN panel rules that Mr Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” by UK and Swedish authorities since 2010
May 2017 – Sweden’s director of public prosecutions announces that the rape investigation into Mr Assange is being dropped

July 2018 – The UK and Ecuador confirm they are holding talks over the fate of Mr Assange
October 2018 – Mr Assange is given a set of house rules by the Ecuadorean embassy
October 2018 – It’s revealed he is to launch legal action against the government of Ecuador – accusing it of violating his “fundamental rights and freedoms”
December 2018 – Mr Assange’s lawyer rejects an agreement announced by Ecuador’s president that would see him leave the Ecuadorean embassy
February 2019 – Australia grants Mr Assange a new passport amid fears Ecuador may bring his asylum to an end
April 2019 – The Metropolitan Police enter the embassy and detain him for “failing to surrender to the court” over a warrant issued in 2012
May 2019 – Mr Assange is sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions
May 2019 – Sweden reopens the sexual assault investigation and the US files 17 new charges against Mr Assange
November 2019 – Swedish prosecutors discontinue an investigation into an allegation of rape against Mr Assange


On 2 April 2019, Ecuador’s president Moreno said that Assange had violated the terms of his asylum, after photos surfaced on the internet linking Moreno to a corruption scandal. WikiLeaks said it had acquired none of the published material, and that it merely reported on a corruption investigation against Moreno by Ecuador’s legislature. WikiLeaks reported a source within the Ecuadorian government saying that, due to the controversy, an agreement had been reached to expel Assange from the embassy and place him in the custody of UK police. According to Assange’s father, the revoking of Assange’s asylum was connected to an upcoming decision by the International Monetary Fund to grant Ecuador a loan. On 11 April 2019 the Ecuadorian government invited the Metropolitan Police into the embassy, and they arrested Assange on the basis of a US extradition warrant.[360] Moreno stated that Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum after he interfered in Ecuador’s domestic affairs, calling Assange a “miserable hacker”. British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt and prime minister Theresa May applauded Moreno’s actions, while Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the arrest “has got nothing to do with [Australia], it is a matter for the US”.

On 4 January 2021, Judge Baraitser ruled that Assange could not be extradited to the United States, citing concerns about his mental health and the risk of suicide in a US prison. She sided with the US on every other point, including whether the charges constituted political offences and whether he was entitled to freedom of speech protections. On the same day, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador said that Mexico was ready to offer political asylum to Assange. On 6 January, Assange was denied bail on the grounds that he was a flight risk, pending an appeal by the United States. The US prosecutors lodged an appeal on 15 January.[461] A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in mid-February 2021 that it would continue the appeal under the new Biden administration.

On 26 June 2021, Stundin, an Icelandic newspaper, reported a key witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Assange had admitted to making up accusations in the U.S. indictment. The witness, Sigurdur Thordarson, told the paper he fabricated accusations that Assange had instructed him to hack into the computers of members of Iceland’s parliament and other accusations. Thordarson confessed to working with the Department of Justice and FBI in return for a promise the U.S. agencies would not share with Icelandic authorities information that could lead to Iceland prosecuting him for threatening the “security interests” of Iceland. According to his own admission, Thordarson continued his crime spree while working with the FBI and having the promise of immunity from prosecution. 

On July 8, the High Court granted the Justice Department permission to appeal. This was partly based on a commitment from the prosecutors that Assange would not be held in a supermax prison and that he would be allowed to serve time in Australia if convicted.

However, Julian’s fiancee believes that there is already a plan for him to be stuck in the US prison for the rest of his life.


Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment


A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history with sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.

Julian Assange is still in the custody of the United Kingdom authorities. 

Julian was arrested on April 11, 2019, from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. 

After his asylum was withdrawn, Assange was arrested from inside the Ecuador embassy, he was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison.

Furthermore, Assange was accused of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 by the United States. And, he was charged for the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010-2011. 

However, after a year, the UK judge denied Julian’s extradition to the US on account of his mental health and suicide risk in the US.

As of now Assange is in Belmarsh Prison. 

Interesting Points

Pamela Anderson


“My Julian is the most intelligent, interesting, and informed man in existence,” she wrote in a social-media post. “Yes, I think he’s quite sexy.”

She gushed that he intellectually stimulates her more than all her “ex-husbands and lovers combined.”

In November 2018, Pamela Anderson, a close friend and regular visitor of Assange, gave an interview in which she asked the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, to defend Assange. Morrison rejected the request with a response Anderson considered “smutty”. Anderson responded that “rather than making lewd suggestions about me, perhaps you should instead think about what you are going to say to millions of Australians when one of their own is marched in an orange jumpsuit to Guantanamo Bay – for publishing the truth. You can prevent this.”

WikiLeaks Party

Assange stood for the Australian Senate in the 2013 Australian federal election for the newly formed WikiLeaks Party but failed to win a seat. The party was wracked by internal dissent over its governance and electoral tactics and was deregistered due to low membership numbers in 2015.

Australian Documents Leak


In 2010, the website leaked some diplomatic cables that were heavily involved in the Rudd administration in Australia. Information such as, Australia’s involvement in the Afghan War, and Relations in China; In fact, during a meeting in March 2009, Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, advised US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be in a position to use force against China “if everything goes wrong”. Also, during that same meeting, Rudd described to Clinton that China was “paranoid” about Taiwan and Tibet, characterised Chinese leaders as “sub-rational and deeply emotional” in their reactions to Taiwan, and stated that the goal of his plan for an “Asia-Pacific Community” was envisaged to weaken China’s authority in the region and curb its dominance in regional diplomatic institutions.

Operation Speargun

Documents provided by Edward Snowden showed that in 2012 and 2013 the NZ government worked to establish a secret mass surveillance program which it called “Operation Speargun”. On 15 September 2014, Assange appeared via remote video link on Kim Dotcom’s Moment of Truth town hall meeting held in Auckland, which discussed the program. Assange said the Snowden documents showed that he had been a target of the program and that “Operation Speargun” represented “an extreme, bizarre, Orwellian future that is being constructed secretly in New Zealand”.