WAN takes a look inside the WikiLeaks HQ...
Raw cave walls, German submarine engines and dry ice - all in a day’s work for Julian Assange, or so the New York Post would have us believe. For those currently unaware of the legal cataclysm that is the story of Assange, it reads thus: In 2006, a website for exposing news links was set up under the name WikiLeaks. Seeking ‘to radically shift regime behavior’ by exposing ‘unjust’ organisations, WikiLeaks has left the Western world in turmoil over the last few weeks as Editor in Chief Assange began to release chunks of highly sensitive political information via the website (namely some of the ‘confidential’ and ‘secret’ American diplomatic cables in his possession).
The New York Post soon began to publish images of ‘The WikiLeaks Lair’, easily recognisable as Pionen White Mountains Data Centre in Stockholm, first featured on WAN in 2008. The underground bunker hails from the Cold War, with state of the art technology safely hidden 30m below ground. Despite much modernisation over the years, Jon Karlung, CEO of internet service provider Bahnnof (who have utilised the facility in the past), explains: “More than 4,000 cb m of solid rock were blasted away to make even more space for technical hardware. Not much of the original facility is left – it now looks more like a space ship or James Bond base.”
The comparisons may sound somewhat far-fetched, however the images shown here suggest that Pionen White Mountains is possibly more suited to the role of film set than a practical commercial environment, with atmospheric mist and ‘floating’ conference rooms. With 1,110 sq m of underground granite cave previously at his disposal, reports imply that Assange has been forced to downgrade to a residence of ‘Georgian elegance, a relic of the pre-industrial age’, willingly donated by a generous benefactor as a temporary base. An online journalist from newswire Online News has allegedly been afforded entry to this refined abode. The unnamed reporter declares: “On the walls of the drawing room, in effect WikiLeaks operations room, paintings of long-dead defenders of the empire, most in the scarlet uniforms, looked down on a tangle of laptops, printers, wires and power cables and other equipment.”
From one extreme to another, the technological maverick clearly takes pride in ambitious surroundings, be they mysterious underground bunkers or traditional Georgian townhouses. A bold home for bold ambitions.