Julian Assange is the Australian journalist, computer programmer and the founder and director of WikiLeaks: a site dedicated to information transparency. Because of fears of persecution, he spent a seven-year asylum period in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, until they got tired of their house guest and kicked him out, into the waiting hands of the British authorities.
Based on how the hosts or others have reported him, I think Julian is likely a bit of an asshole. But my standards for convicting someone and taking away their rights to have opinions and speak them, are a lot higher than that.
Chelsea Manning steals government secrets and is the pardoned (commuted) hero of the left. But Assange must be ruined for publishing it. Why? Manning is a transexual that undermined national security and cost lives, while Assange published truths (leaks) that made the Democrats/Hillary look bad. (Actually, their actions and own words made them look bad, but close enough). NPR uses the opportunity to attack Glenn Greenwald (The Intercept) as an ally of Assange. more...
Do I like Wikileaks? Not really. Do I respect them? Yes. Am I happy they exist? Mixed. I think they've done a service by exposing some bad things in the western countries (especially focused on the USA). They've also gotten good people killed, and harmed western (freedom's) interests. So they're a cost and consequence of being an open, diverse and free society. China/Russia/Saudi Arabia/and so on, are more closed, have more tolerance towards oppression of speech, a more cliquish culture, and people know that leaking there means their death (or ruination). Whereas the west it's a gamble towards attention, book deals and possible fortune or at least being provided for (Chelsea Manning, Eric Snowden). This means that Wikileaks and institutions like them will always do more harm to open countries (and their interests) than more closed ones, that behave worse and need this kind of thing the most. So they can be a force for evil and good at the same time. more...