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Julian Assange - The Ex-Communicator

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July 31st, 2010


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08:02 am - Julian Assange
This is like an SF thriller. Julian Assange, the Australian who edits Wikileaks and recently published evidence of Afghan war atrocities, may consider himself at danger of being killed or abducted by security services. He has published an encrypted file - a large file - entitled 'Insurance'. One assumes that in the event of his disappearance his friends have been told to release the password. Who knows what is in that file.

Some interesting background. In the 1990s Assange invented a kind of encryption called deniable encryption. This is encryption with two passwords: if you are captured and coerced to reveal the password (so-called rubber-hose cryptanalysis) you reveal a false one, which unlocks dummy content. The real content is still hidden. This may be why the Insurance file is so large. It may have layers of dummy content.

Another interesting rumour is that Assange was on the run as a child from an Australian cult called The Family or the White Brotherhood, which held children incommunicado, dyed their hair white, and dosed them with LSD. This group seems to have really existed. I don't think there's any indication he was caught by them though, just hiding from them.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

(16 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:splodgenoodles
Date:July 31st, 2010 07:12 am (UTC)
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Yes, The Family did exist. They were in the news as events unfolded in having the children removed, the leader was Anne Hamilton Byrne. IIRC, they were living around Melbourne somewhere.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2010 07:16 am (UTC)
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Thanks. I don't think the story got much publicity in this country, or I may have tried not to hear too much about it. It sounds appalling.

Of course this doesn't prove he was at risk from them, but I wonder whether being on the run as a youngster made him interested in secrecy, sceptical of authority etc.
[User Picture]
From:splodgenoodles
Date:July 31st, 2010 07:20 am (UTC)
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I think there might have been a major controversy about their removal. Whether it was done properly - although that might have been another mob.

right - according to Wikipedia, they were up in the Dandenongs (hippy/new age enclave back then).

But I'm sure I've seen photos of this man with obviously dyed white/blond hair. This would suggest he is still part of the cult.

It was definitely creepy stuff.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2010 07:25 am (UTC)
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I don't think there is any suggestion he is part of the cult. The story is that his stepfather was a member, and tried to abduct him from his mother, and he and his mum ran away. No guilt on him at all. I didn't mean to imply there was. The hair thing is strange I know, it may be a coincidence or a point he is making. There are arguments pro and con Assange, but I didn't mean to imply he was a cult member.
[User Picture]
From:sugoll
Date:July 31st, 2010 07:58 am (UTC)
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Interesting crypt links, ta. I'd come across the deniable encryption approach before, mainly in the context of having to login to your laptop when passing into the US, to either prove it's a working computer, or submit to a data search.

(The page is confused, though: it says that the purpose is to convince the enemy you can't decrypt the ciphertext; being able to unlock a false ciphertext is to convince the enemy that you can, and have co-operated, while bogus layers of random data will convince the enemy that there's still more to decrypt, even though there isn't.)

> It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Paul Greengrass directing Matt Damon as Assange, probably.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2010 08:36 am (UTC)
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I expect the page has been poorly re-edited in typical wikipedia fashion. I suppose a good encryption system would allow both tricks.
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From:sjkasabi
Date:July 31st, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
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Yes, the Family is real. It was all over the news here; my brother went through Uni with someone who was brought up in it.
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From:sjkasabi
Date:July 31st, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
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Oops, sorry, I see Splozza was onto it!
[User Picture]
From:splodgenoodles
Date:July 31st, 2010 09:16 am (UTC)
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Do you remember a controversy about their removal? It happenned while I was studying social work (so that puts it at ?92-93, the issue being that the removal might have been a trauma in itself because it was conducted during pre-dawn with a lot of police backup. I'm just not sure if it was this lot or someone else.
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From:sjkasabi
Date:August 1st, 2010 04:49 am (UTC)
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I'm thinking of the Anne Hamilton-Byrne cult - that was the one where my brother knew one of the escaped children at uni, and we all had seen the news/current affairs stuff so we knew who they were. And yes I think there was a Four Corners about it, and I *think* it was about the process of removing the children and so forth. But as the commenter below says, there is another cult called the Family that I'm pretty sure I've seen ABC docos about too.

[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:July 31st, 2010 09:31 am (UTC)
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It's desperately sad for the poor kids
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From:sjkasabi
Date:August 1st, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
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Yes. The blog by Sarah Hamilton-Byrne that your Wikipedia page linked to shows just horrible it was and has obviously continued to be :(

To complete the life imitating art circle, there was a popular Australian children's book by RObin Klein about escaping from a cult (here it is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_Might_Hear_You) that I think was published before all this hit the news in a big way; it conditioned the imaginative responses of a lot of people I knew to the news.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 31st, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)

The Family cults

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I think some of the comments here are confusing cults, since several of them are referred to as The Family. For example, even Manson's cult back in the 1960s was called The Family, and there is currently a Washington based cult of evangelical politicians also referred to as The Family.

The two most likely cults that Assange may have been fleeing from are the Anne Hamilton Byrne led cult; see this page for several news articles about it: http://www.perrybulwer.com/religion-and-child-abuse-news/2009/8/16/notorious-australian-cult-the-family-still-flourishing-despi.html

and the cult originally called the Children of God, and now The Family International, often just referred to as The Family; see: http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Main_Page

When I first saw a picture of Assange and read about the alleged cult connection, I immediately thought of the Anne Byrne cult because of his hair (see the photos of the cult children at that first link above). It is possible, however, that he was referring to the COG/TFI. Someone here mentioned child protection raids, and that definitely occurred in Australia with the COG/TFI. It was quite a big scandal at the time. There are a series of news articles about it archived on this page: http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Australia


Perry Bulwer
http://www.perrybulwer.com
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:August 1st, 2010 06:21 am (UTC)

Re: The Family cults

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I admire the work which people like you are doing to open up awareness of these closed systems, for example in the xfamily site. It's a powerful way to not only address one particular cult but to raise awareness throughout the world of what the dangers are. People will never be so naive again.

FWIW, I see that wikipedia also identifies the Anne Hamilton Byrne 'Family' as the one Assange was threatened by. I think this is the most likely.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 2nd, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)

Re: The Family cults

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Yes, I think you're right. I reread some of the articles about Byrne's "Family" and realized there were also child protection raids related to that cult. They occurred a few years before the COG/TFI raids and involved far fewer children, but that what was probably what the previous commenter was referring to.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 17th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)

Re: The Family cults

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Re Mr Assanges' hair color; that would have nothing to do with either "family" group. The Hamilton Byrne group had adopted kids, who were thought even by most of the group members to actually be Annes' biological kids; some with sandy blond hair had their hair dyed to make them look more like siblings ( and to hide the black tightly curled hair of one of the adopted children, who therefore looked more caucasian..). a quick check of any photo on the net of Anne and her adopted children would show some brunettes and red heads as well as quite a few dyed-blond kids. Mr Assange was not one of the Up Top kids.And his hair color would therefore be completely unrelated to the group. None of Annes' adopted sons could have been his step father, since the boys were/are all about the same age as Mr Assange.
Hope this clears things up a little.

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