PGPBoard has obtained a media copy of the court transcript (PDF) of Julian Assange’s sentencing in December, 1996. As an early case of computer related crime in Australia there is a certain amount of almost painful confusion from the officers of the court, but it is clear that the result could have been a lot worse for Mr. Assange.
Pages 13 to 15 of the transcript (14 to 16 of the PDF) are of particular interest as they demonstrate Assange’s eagerness to work with the police. My discussions with people who knew him both before, during and after those events indicate that this was not isolated.
One of my sources has stated that Assange’s belief in his own intellectual superiority has led Assange to think that he is able to make the “police dance to his tune.” Whereas the reality is that professional interrogators actually turned Assange into an informant against himself and others. In some cases the information Assange provided to both the Australian Federal Police and the Victorian Police was based in fact, while in others it was wholely fabricated for Assange’s own purposes.
Another of my sources found himself on the unfortunate end of this in around 1989 (or 1990 at the latest). He had written a document about how to obtain telecom equipment from telecom techs in exchange for alcohol. This source had not provided the document to anyone, but had hinted at the existence of it. Assange, then using the moniker of The Mad Proffessor (aka Proff), spent a great deal of time using social engineering techniques on my source, manipulating his teenage insecurities, and obtained a copy of the document. At that point only two people in the world had the file, to my source’s knowledge, the author himself and Proff.
One week later my source was arrested by the Australian Federal Police and charged with various computer crimes. One of the primary pieces of evidence used against him was the document which had only been provided to Julian Assange.
Since then my source has endeavoured to move on with life and dropped out of the hacker scene after his arrest. It is interesting to note from this incident that Assange’s role as a police informant predated his own charges for computer related crime in 1991.
Assange’s motives for becoming a police informant in this case is unclear.