As­sange a prob­lem­atic prophet of pub­lic’s right to know

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - By Scott Shane and Steven Er­langer N EW YOR K T I MES

The shaky video clips of Ju­lian As­sange’s ar­rest flashed around the world Thurs­day, the white-bearded prophet of the age of leaks be­ing hauled by un­smil­ing se­cu­rity of­fi­cers to a gray van marked Po­lice.

“We must re­sist!” he cried. “You can re­sist!” It was a scene that the very im­age-con­scious As­sange might ap­pre­ci­ate: one man lit­er­ally fight­ing the all-pow­er­ful state.

It was also the lat­est – and surely not the last – dramatic turn in a ca­reer marked by both bril­liant achievement and du­bi­ous judg­ment. As­sange, 47, has long had a knack for celebrity, and as a tech-savvy, global, al­most state­less fig­ure, he cap­tured the new in­flu­ence the in­ter­net could give to in­di­vid­ual cit­i­zens.

His creation of Wik­iLeaks helped em­power a gen­er­a­tion of whistle­blow­ers and dis­grun­tled in­sid­ers who could op­er­ate on an in­dus­trial scale, pro­vid­ing dis­clo­sures by the ter­abyte and en­rag­ing the pow­er­ful in many coun­tries. Wik­iLeaks col­lab­o­rated closely with major world pub­li­ca­tions, in­clud­ing The New York Times, in the re­lease of secret records on the Amer­i­can-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a quar­ter­mil­lion con­fi­den­tial State Depart­ment ca­bles.

But As­sange has al­ways elicited fer­vent re­ac­tions: He has been hailed as a hero of free in­for­ma­tion, or de­spised as a treach­er­ous crimi

As­sange on Page A8

Artist Óla­fur Elias­son is known for sculp­tural fu­sions of art­work and ar­chi­tec­ture that aim to bring “ephe­mera” to life.

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