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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be named TIME ‘Person of the Year'

Posted by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 2:16 AM
  • 17 Replies

Report: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be named TIME ‘Person of the Year'

(WIREUPDATE) - TIME magazine will name WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the 2010 ‘Person of the Year' according to the Drudge Report, citing unnamed sources. Assange ,who was arrested Tuesday morning  in England for sex crimes, was leading TIME's online poll.

A spokesperson from TIME magazine tells WireUpdate,"Trying to guess TIME's Person of the Year is an annual tradition and one of the great parlor games in journalism; we certainly welcome people guessing, but we never confirm or deny rumors until we reveal TIME's choice."

The final decision by TIME magazine editors will be announced next Wednesday.

Assange was taken into custody at around 9.30 a.m. UK time after he appeared at a London police station by appointment. He was wanted in Sweden on accusations of sexual molestation and rape, unrelated to his work for the controversial whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks which brought diplomatic hurricanes to the United States this year when it began releasing classified documents it had obtained.

The organization's first big scoop was on April 5 when it released a classified video which showed a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq which left several civilians killed, including two unarmed Reuters journalists.

Later, in July, WikiLeaks released the so-called ‘Afghan War Diary', more than 92,000 documents with sensitive details about the ongoing war in Afghanistan. It was one of the largest leaks in the history of the U.S. military, but also exposed the names of Afghans who have provided information to NATO. The Taliban pledged to kill those informants, although no such violence was ever reported.

Then, in late October, WikiLeaks released nearly 400,000 U.S. Army field reports of the Iraq War between 2004 and 2009. It led to several revelations, including new reports of civilian deaths. It was the biggest leak in U.S. military history.

But especially its latest release has been sending shock waves around the globe since WikiLeaks began releasing some of the 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables it claims to have. As of Tuesday, however, only 960 cables were released.

But in recent days, Assange's personal life has begun to overshadow the release of the documents amid increasing calls to arrest him over the allegations in Sweden. Last Wednesday, Interpol issued a ‘Red Notice' which helped spread the arrest warrant globally.

But others have questioned the motives of Swedish authorities to issue the arrest warrant, saying it is an attempt to destroy Assange's image and to put him behind bars. Assange himself has also denied the accusations on multiple occasions, although he admitted to having consensual sex with two women within several days of each other. "The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing," he said on August 21.

Assange questioned the timing of the charges when speaking with media organizations and said he had been told to expect ‘dirty tricks' from the Pentagon, including ‘sex traps' to ruin his reputation.

And while few details about the cases have been released by officials, the British newspaper the Daily Mail in late August obtained a copy of the women's police statements.

The statements showed that the women had met with Assange and both had unprotected sex with him during the course of several days. They later met each other and discovered that they had both slept with him while not using a condom.

After this discovery, the women walked into a police station together to report the events. According to the documents, the women feared that they had received a sexually transmitted disease (STD) from Assange. And especially one of the women was anxious about the possibility of HIV and pregnancy.

by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 2:16 AM
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toomanypoodles
by Ruby Member on Dec. 9, 2010 at 2:18 AM

 Along with other notorious criminals like Hitler.

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Dec. 9, 2010 at 2:20 AM

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2035817,00.html

Why WikiLeaks Is Winning Its Info War

There was a time when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's voluntary surrender to the British authorities might have put an end to the crisis created by the Internet provocateur's dissemination of tens of thousands of state secrets. But in the upside-down world of transnational crowdsourcing unleashed by WikiLeaks, in which thousands of activists around the globe can be rallied to defend and extend its work, Assange's arrest is a win, not a loss, for his organization.

The asymmetrical info war initiated by the WikiLeaks dump of diplomatic cables is all about spectacle — the more Assange is set up by world powers, the more powerful his own movement becomes. "The field of battle is WikiLeaks," wrote John Perry Barlow, a former Grateful Dead lyricist and founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the First Amendment advocacy group, in a message to his followers. "You are the troops." WikiLeaks admiringly forwarded the post to 300,000 of its own followers. As the U.S. and other governments attempted to close down WikiLeaks over the past week, those "troops" have fought back. And so far, it doesn't look like much of a contest. (Read TIME's interview with Julian Assange.)

First, the U.S. government pushed WikiLeaks off the servers of Amazon, its U.S. host — thanks in part to an effort by the office of Senator Joe Lieberman, who heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee. After the rogue site was pushed off a smaller, backup host in the U.S., it moved first to a Swiss domain, then to a simple numeric one. WikiLeaks has complained, and some news outlets have reported, about apparent hacker attacks against the website. The effect of all that pressure, however, was very much like cutting the head off the mythical Hydra. By Tuesday evening, WikiLeaks listed 507 Web addresses that it said were hosting the site worldwide.

The U.S. and its allies have taken other steps to curb WikiLeaks' activities. The French Industry Minister Eric Besson called for the site to be banned from French servers. Swiss bank PostFinance announced it had frozen $41,000 in an account set up as a legal-defense fund for Assange. The bank said it took action because Assange had claimed Geneva as his domicile when opening the account, but this had proved incorrect and he could not show that he is a Swiss resident. PayPal, MasterCard and Visa have all blocked donations to WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks' backers are fighting back, though their hacker attacks on some of the sites that shut off WikiLeaks funding may be less effective. (See all of TIME's WikiLeaks coverage.)

Assange's detention is not without its costs to him and WikiLeaks. Swedish prosecutors say he has been accused of having had unprotected sex with a woman, identified only as Miss A, despite her insistence that he use a condom, and that he had unprotected sex with a second woman, Miss W, while she was asleep. Both scenarios would be crimes in Sweden, and the attention to the charges has divided some of his supporters. Assange has not been formally charged with any crime and denies any wrongdoing.

But the principal effect of his arrest has been to rally the troops. Assange, who was in hiding in England, turned himself in to British police on Tuesday morning. That afternoon, he faced a hearing in which his British lawyer pledged to appeal again against extradition to Sweden. Several people present offered tens of thousands of dollars worth of bail, but the judge ordered him held without bail. Supporters cheered Assange as he left the courthouse. (Read "WikiLeaks' War on Secrecy.")

And the David vs. Goliath stagecraft continues. Assange's Swedish attorney, Bjorn Hurtig, told Reuters on Friday that he suspects "somebody has an interest in getting [Assange] to Sweden and maybe asking for him to be extradited to another country [from there]." In fact, extradition from Europe to the U.S. is hard, and even if Assange could be extradited it's not clear what he could be charged with.

There is, of course, a limit to how much Assange can win. In the U.S., officials are finding that while there were certainly structural reasons like expanded technology and overclassification behind the theft of the leaked documents, practical reasons were equally important. Thanks to an imperative from then commander of the U.S. Central Command David Petraeus and others to share information with allies on improvised explosive devices and other threats, the Central Command allowed the downloading of data from its secret in-house network, SIPRNet, to removable storage devices, officials tell TIME. The information was then carried to computers linked to secret networks used by allies and uploaded. The process was derisively called "sneaker net," because it was so inefficient, although it replaced the prior need to manually retype all information into the allied computers. (Comment on this story.)

New restrictions on downloading media have been imposed over the past six months, restoring the restrictions that existed before the leaks. That may be one victory for the U.S. in its attempts to fight WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, Assange's lawyer said Tuesday that a new editor in chief of WikiLeaks would step in during Assange's absence.
With reporting by Eben Harrell / London

cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:32 AM
Time has not always chosen Nobel winners and other "good" people for this designation, so it's hardly shocking if it happens.
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katzmeow726
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:34 AM

 It's not like it's shocking.  TIme has often picked horrible people as it's person of the year.  Merit does not earn you that title...influence however, does.  And he's had a large, and very negative influence on this world.

tinamatt
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Yep.  Time's criteria is the person who, for good or bad, had the most influence on the year's events.  I fear the man does qualify.

resamerie
by Platinum Member on Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:39 AM

 

Quoting toomanypoodles:

 Along with other notorious criminals like Hitler.

 

wulfbourne
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:43 AM

It's not a done deal yet and TIME hasn't picked.  He's leading a poll on their website:

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,2028734,00.html

My guess is various messege boards who support him, such as 4chan and reddit, have organized massive voting rig campaigns.  They've done it in the past, often by automated vote rigging software and such, not even by just sending people to vote. 

I just cast my vote for Jon Stewert and Stephen Colbert :)  They're currently number 4.

Rank Name Avg. Rating Total Votes
1 Julian Assange 92 354076
2 Recep Tayyip Erdogan 81 229272
3 Lady Gaga 71 143150
4 Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert 82 76039
5 Glenn Beck 29 88494
See the Complete List >>
Also note, Time editors don't have to choose whoever number 1 is.  They reserve the right to disagree with the poll, lol.
Raintree
by Ruby Member on Dec. 9, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Aside from government disclosures- what about 'leaks' involving enormous corporations who haven't, uh... done the right things with our tax money? Do ya'll hate him for that as well?

I can see him being person of the year.

wulfbourne
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 10:52 AM

BUMP!

kara_thrace
by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 11:23 AM

LOL Wulf.. that's who they had to pick from.. Lady Gaga and Glen Beck.. Well damn no wonder the douchebag is winning when it's a who's the biggest douchebag contest.

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