Julian Assange: Why we love and hate him


Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange demonstrate outside the UK Supreme Court prior to Mr Assange's extradition appeal on May 30, 2012 in London, England.


Oli Scarff

Depending on who you ask, and perhaps where your politics lie, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is either a modern-day hero or a dangerous pariah. Here are the reasons the world either loves him or hates him.

Why we love Julian Assange:

1. He is a champion of government and corporate transparency.

2. Information in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks helped spark the Arab Spring.

3. WikiLeaks helped cement the importance of social media and citizen journalism in today's world.

4. He restored a skepticism of power, and a willingness to speak truth to those in power, essential to democracy, inspiring groups like Anonymous, Occupy Wall Street and others.

5. He is a great dancer.

Why we hate Julian Assange:

1. He leaked uncensored military and diplomatic documents that endangered the lives of people all over the world, particularly Afghan civilians.

2. He is a hypocrite. He threatened to sue the Guardian newspaper for publishing details of his alleged sexual assault. The Guardian obtained them through a leaked police report.

3. His personal behavior is suspect. While he hasn't been charged with sexual assault (only called in for questioning), there is a long list of former friends and colleagues who really just don’t like the guy.

4. He has sought refuge with governments, like Russia and Ecuador, who have a spectacular track record of curbing media freedom and government transparency.

5. He is a terrible dancer.