Julian Assange: What You Didn’t Know About The Controversial WikiLeaks Founder

Published December 5, 2016
Updated September 12, 2018

Julian Assange Facts: He Helped Crack Down On Child Abuse And Online Exploitation Early In His Career

Ecuador

Carl Court/Getty ImagesA women holds posters as she demonstrates in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he continues to seek asylum at Ecuadorian embassy following an extradition request from Sweden in 2012.

Starting around 1993, when authorities were still investigating Assange for hacking, he went to work as a consultant with the Victoria (Australia) Police Department in their child exploitation department. There, he helped the police department catch child molesters and trace the sources of publicly available child pornography.

Assange originally conducted this work in secret. In 2011, however, a judge unsealed the records because, as she put it, she feared for his safety after Assange’s first major leaks put him at risk.

He Has Broken Stories About U.S. War Crimes

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Carl Court/Getty Images

Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 to create, as he put it, a “dead-letter office” for whistleblowers. The site quietly gained traction in tech and security circles until 2010, when WikiLeaks published explosive video of an American soldier in Iraq coldly murdering 18 civilians from a helicopter. Within weeks, WikiLeaks followed that video with the two biggest leaks of US military information in history: the Afghan and Iraq Logs.

In more than half a million documents, WikiLeaks broke the news that American troops routinely murdered civilians in war zones, covered up or failed to investigate torture, reprisal killings, and other atrocities, and that the strategy they followed was ineffective. The logs also revealed that “neutral” and “allied” countries such as Iran and Pakistan were actually funding and supporting the Taliban and Iraq insurgency.

He Could Face A Minimum Of 45 Years In Jail

Ingrid Isgren

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty ImagesSweedish chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren leaves the Embassy of Ecuador after questioning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on November 14, 2016 in London, England.

Following the 2010 bombshells, Assange became a wanted man. In the United States alone, he is facing indictments for espionage and theft of government property (the 1s and 0s in the data he published). If convicted, Assange faces a minimum of 45 years in federal prison. In November 2016, a Change.org petition got started asking for President-Elect Trump to consider pardoning him, along with sources Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

author
Richard Stockton
author
Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.
editor
John Kuroski
editor
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Stockton, Richard. "Julian Assange: What You Didn’t Know About The Controversial WikiLeaks Founder." AllThatsInteresting.com, December 5, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/julian-assange-facts. Accessed May 29, 2024.