OVERVIEW FROM WIKIPEDIA:
Julian Paul Assange ( ə-SAHNZH; né Hawkins; born 3 July 1971) is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analystChelsea Manning.[a] These leaks included the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and Cablegate (November 2010). After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.
In November 2010, Sweden issued a European arrest warrant for Assange over allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied and said that the warrant was a pretext for a further extradition to the United States over his role in the publication of secret US military documents. After losing his battle against extradition to Sweden, he breached bail and took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in June 2012. He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 on the grounds of political persecution and fears he might be extradited to the United States. Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation in 2019, saying their evidence had "weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question".
During the 2016 U.S. election campaign, WikiLeaks published confidential Democratic Partyemails, showing that the party's national committee favoured Hillary Clinton over her rival Bernie Sanders in the primaries. In March 2017, WikiLeaks published a series of documentswhich detailed the CIA's electronic surveillance and cyber warfare capabilities.
On 11 April 2019, Assange's asylum was withdrawn following a series of disputes with Ecuadorian authorities. The police were invited into the embassy and he was arrested. He was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison. The United States government unsealed an indictment charging Assange with Conspiracy to Commit Computer Intrusion related to the leaks provided by Manning. In May 2019 and June 2020 the United States government unsealed new indictments against Assange, charging him with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and alleging a history of conspiring with hackers.Editors from newspapers as well as press freedom organisations, criticised the government's decision to charge Assange under the Espionage Act, characterising it as an attack on freedom of the press.
On 4 January 2021, UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against the United States' request to extradite Assange and stated that doing so would be "oppressive" given concerns over Assange's mental health and risk of suicide. On 6 January 2021, Assange was denied bail, pending an appeal by the United States. On 10 December 2021, the High Court in London ruled that Assange could be extradited to the US to face the charges. In March 2022, the UK Supreme Court refused Assange permission to appeal. On 17 June 2022, Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition. On 1 July 2022, it was announced that Assange had formally appealed against the extradition order.
Assange has been confined in Belmarsh, a category A prison, in London since April 2019.
WikiLeaks () is an international non-profit organisation that published news leaksand classified media provided by anonymous sources. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder and director and is currently fighting extradition to the United States over his work with WikiLeaks. Since September 2018, Kristinn Hrafnssonhas served as its editor-in-chief. Its website stated in 2015 that it had released online 10 million documents since beginning in 2006 in Iceland. In 2019, WikiLeaks posted its last collection of original documents. Beginning in November 2022, only around 3,000 documents could be accessed.
The group has released a number of prominent document caches that exposed serious violations of human rights and civil liberties to the US and international public, including the Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi Reutersjournalists were among several civilians killed. WikiLeaks is known for publishing leaks such as diplomatic cables from the United States and Saudi Arabia, emails from the governments of Syria and Turkey, corruption in Kenya and at Samherji, a multinational fishing company based in Iceland. WikiLeaks has also published documents exposing surveillance by the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and private corporations. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, showing that the party's national committee favoured Clinton over her rival Bernie Sanders in the primaries. These releases resulted in the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and caused significant harm to the Clinton campaign. During the campaign, WikiLeaks promoted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party and the murder of Seth Rich.
WikiLeaks has won a number of awards and has been commended for exposing state and corporate secrets, increasing transparency, assisting freedom of the press, and enhancing democratic discourse while challenging powerful institutions. WikiLeaks and some of its supporters say the organisation's publications have a perfect authenticity record. The group has been the target of campaigns to discredit it, including aborted ones by Palantir and HBGary. WikiLeaks has also had its donation systems disrupted by problems with its payment processors. As a result, the Wau Holland Foundation helps process WikiLeaks' donations.
The organisation has been criticised for inadequately curating its content and violating the personal privacy of individuals. WikiLeaks has, for instance, revealed Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers and details of suicide attempts. Various news organisations, activists, journalists and former members have also criticised the organisation over allegations of anti-semitism, an anti-Clinton and pro-Trump bias, various associations with the Russian government, a history of buying and selling leaks, and a lack of internal transparency. Journalists have also criticised the group for promoting false flag conspiracy theories, and its exaggerated and misleading descriptions of the contents of leaks. The CIA defined the group as a "non-state hostile intelligence service" after the release of Vault 7.