At 40, the WikiLeaks founder comes across more like an embattled rebel commander than a hacker or journalist. He’s become better at handling the media – more willing to answer questions than he used to be, less likely to storm off during interviews — but the protracted legal battle has left him isolated, broke and vulnerable. Assange recently spoke to someone he calls a Western
intelligence source, and he asked the official about his fate. Will he ever be a free man again, allowed to return to his native Australia, to come and go as he pleases?
He told me I was fucked, Assange says.
Are you fucked? I ask.
Assange pauses and looks out the window. The house is surrounded by rolling fields and quiet woods, but they offer him little in the way of escape. The British Supreme Court will hear his extradition appeal on 1 February — but even if he wins, he will likely still remain a wanted man. Interpol has issued a so-called
red notice for his arrest on behalf of Swedish authorities for questioning in
connection with a number of sexual offences — Qaddafi, accused of war crimes, earned only an
orange notice — and the US government has branded him a
high-tech terrorist, unleashing a massive and unprecedented investigation designed to depict Assange’s journalism as a form of international espionage. Ever since November 2010, when WikiLeaks embarrassed and infuriated the world’s governments with the release of what became known as Cablegate, some 250,000 classified diplomatic cables from more than 150 countries, the group’s supporters have found themselves detained at airports, subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, and ordered to turn over their Twitter accounts and emails to authorities — via redwolf.newsvine.com