Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010

Julian Assange

He is a new kind of whistle-blower: one made for the digital age. Those before him (like Daniel Ellsberg) were limited in the ways they could go public with their information. But in founding, Julian Assange gave himself the freedom to publish virtually anything he wants, whether it's the true nature of Iraqi prisoner abuse, the double role Pakistan plays in Afghanistan or the personal e-mails of Sarah Palin. Assange's site, which he started four years ago, has made public a trove of secret and classified documents — close to 500,000 pages on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone. But in the process, governments he has targeted (like the U.S.'s) claim he has put the lives of informants and soldiers in jeopardy. Warranted or not, Assange is convinced that the governments and intelligence agencies he is unmasking are watching his every move, and as a result, he finds himself in virtual exile in Europe.