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WikiLeaks' Julian Assange is merely 'fighting baddies,' says his mom

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's mother Christine is defending her son as fighting a good fight, saying she gave him a strong grounding in ethics.

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He also came from a nomadic family, moving 37 times before he turned 14, according to The New Yorker’s June 2010 profile. As a teenager he embraced high technology, turning himself into a skilled computer hacker who “broke into computer systems in Europe and North America, including networks belonging to the US Department of Defense and to the Los Alamos National Laboratory,” according to the magazine. The thought that authorities were interested in his activities only amplified “the thrill of digital exploration.”

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'Increasingly dictatorial, eccentric, and capricious style'

Assange is unmarried but has one son, aged 21. His mother's sympathetic portrait contrasts with a number of descriptions from Assange’s former friends and colleagues.

The New York Times, in a critical and much-criticized Oct. 23 profile, reported that dozens of interviews with Assange's current and former supporters in numerous countries revealed him to be "someone whose growing celebrity has been matched by an increasingly dictatorial, eccentric, and capricious style.”

“It is not just governments that denounce him: some of his own comrades are abandoning him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior, and a nearly delusional grandeur unmatched by an awareness that the digital secrets he reveals can have a price in flesh and blood,” according to the Times. He has reportedly described his colleagues as “a confederacy of fools.”

The Times detailed how Assange lives on the run, referring to himself as “the James Bond of journalism.” The New Yorker, as well, noted “a low-grade fever of paranoia runs through the WikiLeaks community.” According to The Guardian’s profile, Assange “reckons he is genetically predisposed to rebel.”

Rebelling against the rebel

Now, some are rebelling against the rebel.

A group of former WikiLeaks members are planning to launch their own website in mid-December, according to the English-language affiliate of Der Spiegel. The leader of the new site, which will have a less US-centric focus, will be the former Germany spokesman for WikiLeaks, Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

"Julian Assange reacted to any criticism with the allegation that I was disobedient to him and disloyal to the project," said Mr. Domscheit-Berg, who split with Assange in September and stopped going by the name Daniel Schmitt.


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