MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - Journalist, Programmer and WikiLeaks website co-founder Julian Paul Assange was born July 3, 1971 in the city of Townsville in Queensland, Australia.
Assange studied in several Australian universities, including Central Queensland University and Melbourne University, where he learned mathematics and physics, but never graduated. While studying, Assange protested the involvement of students in computer projects for the military.
Early on in Assange’s adult life, he showed an interest in hacking, forming a group called the “International Subversives.” The young hackers adopted the principle “Do not damage the systems you hack, do not change the data they contain, but share it.”
In 1991, Assange and his colleagues infiltrated the Nortel telecommunications corporation computer system, but were detected and brought to trial. As the attack inflicted relatively little damage, Assange was only sentenced to a small fine in 1994. It was during this time in Assagne’s life that his wife and the mother of his 2-year-old son left him.
In the years to come, Assange held several occupations connected with information technology, and was even a computer security adviser.
In 2006, Assange co-founded the WikiLeaks website, designed to publish various classified and restricted data, exposing corruption and abuse of office. At first, Assange hope the website would disclose facts about corruption in Central Asia, China and Russia, but the activities of Western governments and corporations have also fallen under the scrutiny of the site.
Assange was in command of a group of nine people, coordinating the project and acting as its public representative. Assange took the title of WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief, admitting that he reserved the right to decide whether to release documents or not.
A 2008 US Army Counterintelligence report called WikiLeaks a threat to the US military. The same year Assange also won Amnesty International’s 2009 New Media Award for exposing extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya.
In July 2010, WikiLeaks.org released 77,000 classified field reports about the US-led war in Afghanistan. On November 28, 2010 the website published confidential US diplomatic correspondence.
Julian Assange had been spending most of his time in Sweden, where he was declared wanted for sexually assaulting two women in August 2010. Assange denied his guilt, and the arrest warrant was soon recalled due to groundless suspicion.
In November of 2010, after repeated attempts by the prosecutor’s office, the court issued an arrest warrant for suspicion of rape and harassment. On November 20, Interpol issued a wanted notice for Assange as well.
On December 7, 2010 Assange was arrested by London Metropolitan Police after voluntarily appearing in a police station.
On December 16, the High Court of London released Assange on $401,000 bail while it examined Sweden’s request to extradite him.
In February of 2011, the court ruled to extradite Assange to Sweden, which was followed by a number of unsuccessful appeals from the whistleblower.
Since June 2012, Assange has been hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and has been granted political asylum in the Latin American country.
In 2012, Julian Assange also hosted a talk show on the RT (Russia Today) television channel.
Sweden demands the UK extradite Assange, while British police have been keeping watch over the embassy round-the-clock since 2012, ready to arrest the whistleblower as soon as he leaves the building.