Home News What You Need to Know About Julian Assange and His Plea Deal

What You Need to Know About Julian Assange and His Plea Deal


Julian Assange spent his youth in Australia in the 1980s in a chaotic, never-ending cycle, moving more than two dozen times, bouncing from school to school, and at one point being thrust into what he calls a “New Age cult” before finally settling in Melbourne.

It was there that, at the age of 16, he began his career as a hacker, which would eventually put him on the brink of global unrest during a time of strong opposition to national security and the political system.

Assange, the 52-year-old WikiLeaks founder, boarded a private jet from London this week for the long flight to a U.S. court in Saipan, where he is expected to plead guilty Wednesday morning to one count of illegally obtaining and distributing national security information.

Assange is expected to be released immediately after the U.S. Justice Department agreed to accept a five-year sentence he had served in Britain’s Belmarsh prison. He will then fly back to Australia, his wife said.

There is at least one debt left to repay: $520,000 owed to the Australian government for a charter flight home, which he hopes to raise through crowdfunding.

It is unclear what will happen next for Assange, who has suffered depression and a minor stroke while in prison.

But he will be free to move around again, ending a dozen years of imprisonment, first in self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorean embassy in London and then in prison after being indicted in the United States and detained by British authorities.

If history is any guide, Mr Assange may not sit on the sidelines for too long.

As a teenager, Assange called himself Australia’s best hacker, claiming to have hacked into thousands of systems, from the local telecommunications board to Pentagon servers, using an alter ego called Mendax. (As a teenager, he espoused the credo of “splendide mendax,” Latin for “splendid lies.”)

Assange has said his goal has always been to publicly share important information hidden by big government and big business, while not disrupting the systems he infiltrated. By the early 1990s, Assange and a group of hackers began systematically attacking systems run by what he called the “US military-industrial complex.”

He had his first serious run-in with the law in 1994, facing 31 charges for hacking into the servers of an Australian telecommunications company. Facing 290 years in prison, Assange fell into a deep depression, wandering the wilderness near Melbourne and sleeping rough.

Ultimately, he pleaded guilty and avoided jail time, but the experience was a harrowing ordeal that solidified his political resolve to attack institutions he believed violated individual liberties, including the NSA.

Assange and a group of like-minded activists, hackers, programmers and academics Founded WikiLeaks in 2006whose mission is to lift the veil of secrecy that protects powerful cabals in private and public life. He defines his role as a digital Robin Hood, freeing “persecuted files” from secret computer networks.

In its early days, WikiLeaks worked closely with mainstream news organizations to reveal details of extrajudicial killings in Kenya, China’s crackdown on dissidents, and possible financial corruption in the United States and Peru.

The group’s success has made its founder famous. Assange is tireless, brash and roving, recruiting volunteers, courting potential leakers and extolling the virtues of hyper-transparency.

As the 2000s dawned, Assange set his sights on the United States, which earned him worldwide acclaim as a free-speech fighter and ultimately led to five years in a British prison.

WikiLeaks will continue to publish U.S. military activities in Iraq and Afghanistanalso Confidential cables shared among diplomatsDuring the 2016 campaign, WikiLeaks released Thousands of emails Information stolen from the Democratic National Committee led to Embarrass the other person and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

At the time, he was already on the run, having traveled to London after Swedish authorities accused him of sexual assault. (Assange has denied the charges, calling them a backdoor attempt to extradite him to the United States.) The case was dropped in late 2019.

In 2012, Assange was granted asylum in Ecuador and lived in a 300-square-foot space in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

In 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Assange on 18 counts related to WikiLeaks’ dissemination of a trove of national security documents. They included a trove of material sent to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who handed over information about military planning and operations nearly a decade ago.

By this time, Assange had worn out his welcome. He was detained by British police and transferred to Belmarsh Prison, where he was kept in a cell for 23 hours a day. According to a report Published in The National this yearDuring his time in prison, he ate his meals alone from a tray, surrounded by 232 books, and was allowed only one hour of exercise a day in the prison yard.

Ultimately, this elaborate, cross-national dance culminated in his release at a secret bail hearing in London last Thursday, held behind closed doors. British officials said.

While many of Assange’s supporters have lamented the requirement to plead guilty to any crimes, he appears relieved to be free if photos posted on social media by his wife and friends are any indication.

At least he’s back in action.

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