Assange a problematic prophet of public’s right to know
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.