Episode 154: Julian Assange: WikiLeaks Hero or Info Criminal?

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

This episode of the Sofa King Podcast focuses on the controversial career of the hacker, activist, journalist, and criminal, Julian Assange. In 2006, Assange co-founded the controversial WikiLeaks organization, and ever since he has been its editor-in-chief and public face. Australian by birth, Assange grew up in nomadic household that toured cities as part of a theater troupe. He attended a total of 36 schools by the time he graduated and went on to study computer science at various colleges.

He was a natural with computers, getting his first console at the age of 16, and eventually studying it at the university (that is, until he dropped out because too many of the students in graduate school were working for computer systems that were funded by government backing). Assange was a notorious hacker known as Mendax, and along with Trax and Prime Suspect, he created a group called the International Subversives. Between 1987 and 1991, they hacked into the Pentagon, MILNET, the US Navy, NASA, Australia’s Overseas Telecommunications Commission, Citibank, Lockheed Martin, Motorola, Panasonic, Xerox; Stanford University’s SRI International, and others, including the NASA WANK (which Brent knew a little too much about…).

He founded WikiLeaks with the simple premise that secrecy causes corruption, and his philosophy is that if secure documents start to get hacked, stolen, and released to the world, then governments will act more responsibly since they can’t hide their dirty truths. Whether this is true or not, he has forced many militaries and government agencies around the world to change their behavior after the infamous leaks that came from US soldier Chelsea Manning in 2010. These leaks included Reykjavik13, “Collateral Murder” (a horrible video of a Baghdad airstrike–here is the URL, but you might not want to watch it https://collateralmurder.wikileaks.org/), and the Afghan War Logs and Iraqi War Logs.

From there, WikiLeaks was on the map, and as it gained in popularity, and governments started to hate Assange for his organization, he was accused of sexual assault in Sweden. What were the charges? How did he end up living in Ecuador’s Embassy in the UK for the past several years? What will happen if he leaves? What did the Ecuadorian Embassy do to punish him for interfering in the 2016 US election? Listen, Laugh, Learn.


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