Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where Julian Assange is coming from, maybe

If you're interested in the guy in charge of Wikileaks, I'd recommend these three things: an analysis by zunguzungu of some of Assange's earlier writing, a long interview of Assange conducted on 11 Nov 2010 by Forbes's Andy Greenberg, and the accompanying Forbes cover story, also by Greenberg.

I've excerpted and commented a bit on these and my sense of Assange more generally in the Bloggingheads forums. If that notion doesn't send you fleeing or induce narcolepsy, start here, here, and here. The short version is: I find zunguzungu's analysis interesting though not conclusive, since I think Assange has evolved since then. I also find myself in strong agreement with quite a bit of what Assange had to say to Greenberg.

(h/t: @mattyglesias for retweeting @willwilkinson's link to zunguzungu, and h/t to zz for the link to the interview)


Anonymous said...

Yeah I read the Forbes cover pieces and thought it a bit heavy-handed on the criticism towards the end. Assange is a bit of a strange cat but nonetheless I find myself admiring his work more and more.

bjkeefe said...

Agreed. He does not seem perfectly heroic, does he? I could imagine he is in danger of letting the notion of being a celebrity, or a power broker, get to him. Seems a little overly dramatic at times, seems from some stuff I've read on Threat Level (e.g.) that he could be kind of controlling/domineering, compared to how he used to be.

But the work he is doing, though itself probably not perfect either, is on balance a good thing, I think. We have too many powerful people and organizations keeping too many things secret, purely because they think they'd be embarrassed if these things came out, and so layers of secrecy, and inevitably lies, get built upon them. And bad choices get made, because people get too far down the rabbit hole, instead of having others deliver sanity checks from time to time.

Assange is from your part of the world, isn't he? And given that you also pound keyboards for fun and profit, I wonder if you knew anything about him before he recently became world-famous.