By: Lauren Klaus 5th
The Robin Hood of Hacking
Julian Assange is the creator if Wikileaks, a site which posts secret documents, information and plans, into the public domain. The Australian hacker and internet activist created Wikileaks in 2006 and is still active today. The site has released millions of secret documents and continues to do so through their database. Much of the sources and documents regarding the Afghan and Iraqi war were supplied by Chelsea Manning, an ex US army member. Assange has been questioned and interrogated by governments all across the world, but has not bee found guilty for committing any foreign crimes. However, it was debated that he committed actions against the 1917 Espionage act. Chelsea Manning was in fact arrested and other WikiLeaks hackers have been imprisoned. Assange still remains as a civil disobedient activist who continues to open the eyes of the world to the corruption of the government.
What is WikiLeaks?
Civil Disobedience to Civil Disobedience
Thoreau and Assange share similarities in relation to the subject of civil disobedience. Thoreau wrote books to spread his message concerning government rule, societal reality, corruption and uses a call to action in order to inflict feelings of individualism and revolution. Assange is considered a journalist, sharing a similar medium of expression to that of Thoreau. Assange's goal was not a call to action, but rather to expose government secrets and hope the information would result in questioning of the government, society, and reality perception. Assange's own opinion on how the government does not honor it's concept of freedom and education on affairs is parallel to that of Thoreau's own. Thoreau states that "this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it" (Thoreau). Moreover, Thoreau spoke as a common man rather than as a revolutionary to support his case for a better government. He expresses "to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it" (Thoreau). Releasing restricted information on Wikileaks would have a high chance of creating respect for the abilities of the common man, through scare tactics, thus closing the separation of rule and the people. Assange shared the goal to create respect for the common man and to open the eyes of the public to the reality of the world around them through writing about issues regarding government. Assange and Thoreau are both considered revolutionaries which are significant to the modern mindset regarding government and reality perception.