Julian Assange: his world in quotes

As Assange faces extradition from the UK to Sweden we take a look at what he and others have had to say about the controversial WikiLeaks editor-in-chief

He’s one of the most controversial nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize in its history. He’s wanted for treason in the US. His short jail term last year was met with protests from hundreds of his supporters including socialite Jemima Khan and U.S. TV host Ellen DeGeneres and his appearance at Occupy London Stock Exchange last month was met with cheers.

Yet today we have seen the white-haired poster boy for freedom of speech being driven away from the High Court in London having lost his appeal against extradition from the UK to Sweden, where he will face charges of rape and sexual assault.

The Australian founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks denies the allegations and says that they are politically motivated.

Conspiracy theory or not there’s no denying the clout of Assange, voted by New Statesman last year as one of the world’s 50 most influential people.

With his leaked documents he’s targeted whole governments, banks, politicians and huge global companies.  Here’s Assange in his own words and in the words of others:

On his impending extradition:

“I have not been charged with any crime in any country.

“Despite this, the European arrest warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts for a case.

“We will be considering our next steps in the days ahead.”

“No doubt there will be many attempts made to try and spin these proceeding as they occurred today but they are merely technical so please go to swedenversusassange.com if you want to know what happened here today.”

Ciaron O’Reilly ardent supporter outside the High Court today:

“Assange is probably the most amazing person in recent history who has upset so many powerful people in such a short space of time so it’s obviously not a level playing field.”

Assange on WikiLeaks:

“WikiLeaks means it’s easier to run a good business and harder to run a bad business, and all CEOs should be encouraged by this. I think about the case in China where milk powder companies started cutting the protein in milk powder with plastics. That happened at a number of separate manufacturers.

“Let’s say you want to run a good company. It’s nice to have an ethical workplace. Your employees are much less likely to screw you over if they’re not screwing other people over.”

Jemima Khan on her support of Assange:

“I am not here to make any kind of judgement on the Julian Assange as an individual as I do not know him and I have never met him.

“I am here because I believe in the principle of the human right to freedom of information and our right to be told the truth.”

Assange on his leaking of war logs from Afghanistan:

“If journalism is good it’s controversial by its nature it is the role of good journalism to take on powerful abuses and when powerful abuses are taken on there is always a back reaction. So we see that controversy and we see it as a good thing. In this case it will show the true nature of this war.”

Admiral Mike Mullen on Assange’s posting of war logs:

“Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

Assange addressing the crowd at Occupy London Stock Exchange:

Having been forced to remove his Anonymous mask he said:

“Under a new section used, people cannot wear masks in London, they cannot wear facial coverings in London, and that basic anonymity is denied to people. I say, that sometimes it may be legitimate to deny anonymity, but we should not accept it until Swiss bank account and offshore bank accounts are also denied of their anonymity.

“I ask that all of you demand that foreign bank accounts be opened up and made transparent, the same way that I today have been forced to be made transparent.”

On his continued banishment from Australia:

“I am an Australian citizen and I miss my country a great deal. However, during the last weeks the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, and the attorney general, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return is impossible but that they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people.

“This brings into question what does it mean to be an Australian citizen - does that mean anything at all? Or are we all to be treated like David Hicks at the first possible opportunity merely so that Australian politicians and diplomats can be invited to the best US embassy cocktail parties.”

On his expose of Swiss bank Julius Baer:

“The bank Julius Baer exposed high net worth individuals hiding assets in the Cayman Islands, and we went on to do a series that exposed bank Julius Baer’s own internal tax structure. It’s interesting that Swiss banks also hide their assets from the Swiss by using offshore bank structuring. We had some quite good stuff in there.

“It set off a chain of regulatory investigations, possibly resulting in some changes. It triggered a lot of interesting scrutiny.

“I’m not a big fan of regulation: anyone who likes freedom of the press can’t be. But there are some abuses that should be regulated, and this is one.”

WikiLeaks’ Top 5 Leaks

1. Afghan war logs:

On 25 July 2010 WikiLeaks published roughly 77,000 secret documents related to the war in Afghanistan. Known as the Afghan War Diary, founder Julian Assange shared the documents with several newspapers — including the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel — in advance of making them public. This is the leak that brought Assange to public attention.

2. Scientologists

In March 2008, WikiLeaks published what they referred to as “the collected secret ‘bibles’ of Scientology,” and three days later received letters threatening to sue them for breach of copyright. WikiLeaks responded with a statement released on Wikinews stating: “in response to the attempted suppression, WikiLeaks will release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week”, and did so.

3. BNP Membership Lists

In 2008 the membership of the British National Party was published on WikiLeaks. Name, address and occupation details of 13,500 people revealed a number of police officers were members. At least one person lost their job as a result of being revealed to be a member despite Nick Griffin calling the list a “malicious forgery”.

4. Guantanamo Bay procedures

The US Army manual for soldiers working at Guantanamo Bay was released in 2007. The “Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta” revealed that some detainees had been denied access from the Red Cross.

5. Climate ‘research’

UK climate researches were put out under the Wiki-spotlight in 2009 after more than 1,000 emails and 2,000 documents were leaked about climate change.

The documents apparently showed that evidence that didn’t correlate the current ideas about climate change were being suppressed.

The following quote got a number of scientists into some hot water: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t”.


 

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