Julian Assange: 'I knew my life would never be the same'
Once the decision was made to target governments and institutions, Assange found himself lonely and tired, as his organisation grew into a global movement
Thursday 22 September 2011
In 2006 I decided that I wanted to tackle institutions and governments, wherever they led their dark lives. I'm not an original political thinker, never claimed to be, but I know the technology and I understand the structures of government; and I was ready to throw the latter, where possible, into a bath of acid and boil them down to the bone.
We had the activist experience and the will to disempower. We had the gumption. We had the philosophy. Game on. I registered WikiLeaks.org on 4 October 2006. Our philosophy was, from the beginning, fundamentally anti-bastard, and, coarse as that seems, it's also got a certain honesty. I guess I knew that my ordinary life, if I'd ever had one, would never be the same again.
Before the launch, the finance for registering domain names and so on came from me. Everybody else contributed their time for free. I tried to bring in friends, but friendship, in my experience, will only buy you about nine hours of free labour. And there was an unbelievable amount of work. I had worked through the ideas over many years, but the programming and the logistics had to be done quickly and effectively. I was going from Kenya to Tanzania to Cairo, building the site all the way, and that's when I really began to live out of a small rucksack. I must say I had never been one for belongings. I didn't have many clothes. I spent or gave away whatever money I had almost instantly. I had a bag of socks and underwear, and a bigger bag of laptops and cables. That was it.
In Paris in the spring of 2007, I felt completely crushed, knowing WikiLeaks could be great, but that I was just ailing under the sheer volume of work required to make it happen. I had a girlfriend who would come round. She just brought food and I stayed at the computer. She spoke Russian, and would sometimes lend a hand with that, but it was a lonely time.
I was constantly searching for voluntary labour and holding online meetings that I'd scheduled with supporters. Once or twice, though, quite comically (though not at the time), I turned out to be the only person at those online meetings. And of course the whole thing was right on the border of schizophrenia: I'd be there, tapping away, being the Chair and the Secretary and bringing the next thing on the agenda and calling the vote. Mad.
In the same spirit of self-reinforcement, I would sometimes decide that a particular piece of work would demand that I wore clothing that suited the gravity of the occasion. Imagine me sitting in a hot poky flat in Paris, unshaven, typing away, but wearing exactly the right sort of jacket. I know. But I felt I had to go on as if the whole thing were possible, and that way it would really happen.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Rand...