Published December 14, 2010
WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange is a zealot and a purist who sees the world in simple terms: Great injuries are done to innocents when powerful people or concerns can operate secretly. The highest good comes from bringing the facts about such entities or individuals to light, using any means necessary and despite any negative consequences or loss of life, because a greater good—namely, justice—is served.
Julian Assange wants to force his brand of info-therapy on all of us. He wants to enter the psyches of governments and corporations (and maybe me, if I displease him) as a kind of omnipresent superego—making them “choose” complete transparency and truthfulness and (to his eye) integrity, lest they be exposed as frauds before the entire world, with the blood of their posturing or lies or half-truths spilling wherever it might.
The roots of Mr. Assange’s quest to wrest truth from corners of the world where secrecy reigns—for better or for worse—may well come from his own life story.
According to available sources, Assange was born in Townsville, Queensland to a single woman named Christine. When Assange was a year old, his mother married Brett Assange, giving him his last name.
The couple split up, and Christine Assange’s next marriage (when Julian was 8) was to a musician and devotee of Anne Hamilton-Byrne, a cult leader, who sanctioned the recruiting of psychiatric patients into the group and their coercion into following its precepts by the administration of LSD, electroconvulsive therapy and even brain surgery (conducted by physicians who belonged to the group).
Ann Hamilton-Byrne somehow acquired 14 infants and raised them, while dosing them with multiple psychoactive medications and psychologically torturing them.
The fact that Julian Assange’s stepfather was a member of this cult may or may not mean that the young Assange was subjected to mental and/or physical abuse, but it could certainly mean that he sees any powerful entity as worthy of being exposed and, if necessary, destroyed. Indeed, following the dissolution of Christine Assange’s marriage to her musician husband, she felt it necessary to flee and take Julian and his half-brother into hiding for five years.
Lots of secrets may have marred Julian Assange’s development.
It isn’t clear when he was told that Christine Assange’s husband was not his biological father.
It isn’t clear whether he ever met his true, biological father.
It isn’t clear why he was told he needed to move several dozen times as a child.
It isn’t clear what abuse was perpetrated upon him under cover of his mother’s marriage to a cult member.
It isn’t clear what he was told about the cult and why he needed to go into hiding from them.
It isn’t clear what happened to Julian Assange during those years of hiding. Was he made to use a false name? Was he made to dress as a girl? Was he made to lie again and again and again, until he could barely discern reality from fiction, anymore?
What is clear is that the foundation of Julian Assange’s life includes little safety, much vulnerability, little opportunity to bond with any one town or area or school or father-figure (and, therefore, little opportunity to develop loyalties), and significant suffering because of deep and dark secrets that should have been exposed.
That may just be enough to explain (but not excuse) a man on a quest to shine a bright light on any darkness or duplicity in the world, almost as if doing so could undo whatever injuries were done to him.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. He is a New York Times best-selling author, and co-author, with Glenn Beck, of the upcoming book “The 7: Seven Wonders that Will Change Your Life.” Dr. Ablow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.