Thursday, 28 June 2012

Julian Assange - saint or sinner

Analysing what makes Julian Assange do what he does would possibly make an interesting PhD paper for some aspiring student of human nature. When you read Assange’s biography in Wikipedia his life seems to follow the philosophy of Don Chip who said ‘the Democrat Party’s purpose in Parliament was to keep the bastards honest’. It’s a pity that Don Chip isn’t around today to keep Julia Gillard and the rest of the Gang of Four honest.

It’s an undisputed fact that politicians, military brasshats and espionage spooks make deals behind closed doors that they don’t want the general population to know about, often with dodgy representatives of foreign countries. What countries secretly armed and trained the Taliban and helped prop up Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi?

Most of the leaks by WikiLeaks were already general knowledge amongst those in power around the world, but something must have touched a raw nerve in somebody with enormous clout. I doubt that Assange realises just what. The virtual closing down of WikiLeaks by stopping credit card and cash transfers may be working, as I haven’t seen anything attributed to WikiLeaks for a while. The website is still running but seems to be maintained by volunteers.

Assange has continually modestly insisted that he is not the force behind WikiLeaks but there is no doubt that he is/was in fact the ‘prima donna’ editor in chief. The stated policy is that nothing would be leaked that would endanger life and sensitive names would be edited. What actually gets edited depends on the subjective point of view of the sub-editors.

The controversy has polarised opinion in some very high profile people who see Assange as a saint or a sinner depending on their view, but it does leave some unanswered questions.
  • Is Assange being paranoid about being extradited to Sweden?
  • Is it true that the USA is not interested in extraditing him or is it a case of plausible deniability?
  • Is Assange guilty of technical rape or is it an elaborate set-up?
  • Will Assange be given asylum by Ecuador given that the Labor Australian Government is hostile towards him?
  • Can embarrassed governments allow Assange to become a martyr?
Update @ 16 August: Assange has been given asylum by Ecuador, but the UK Government insist that he be arrested even if it means entering the Ecuador Embassy. This hostility goes beyond reason.

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