What do we know about the man behind Wikileaks?

We all know about Wikileaks. It was quite an exciting topic of conversation to bring up at the dinner table last autumn alongside the weather. Now that the Royal Wedding is approaching, so the matter of who’s been invited is far more important and relevant. But carrying on, if I were the sort of guy who liked to place a wager now and then, I think it would be a safe bet that in a matter of years there will be a film made about the exploits of Julian Assange. He is the intriguing side of Wikileaks, the one whose distinct features make you stop and pause at the front of the newspaper. It is his enigmatic Australian drawl, that makes you listen intently to the 10 o’clock news.

But there is something exciting about the Assange situation, a man on the run, wanted by the most powerful country in the world, dominating front pages, and now under house arrest…in Suffolk.

It would be a bit like the Bourne films I suppose, but edgier, darker and with the profound intent of making some valiant cry for freedom of information. There would of course be a bit of sex thrown in, whether it be Swedish and without consent is a matter for the director to decide, but it would be there nonetheless. Why else would people go to watch it? Come to think of it, why else are people interested in Assange now?

The United States can continue conducting illegal war atrocities and Iran remains at cordial peace with the rest of the Middle East, but there is something exciting about the Assange situation, a man on the run, wanted by the most powerful country in the world, dominating front pages, and now under house arrest… in Suffolk.

Back to the point, sex combined with international espionage produces newsprint that sells faster than any dross about Cameron and Clegg, Miliband and Mandy and so as a nation we are still obsessed with the life of Julian Assange.

But to be a true box office hit, that film would need something to counter the intense and complicated political dialogue, and the steamy, equally intense sex scenes. It would need a bit of violence thrown in to really round it off, to make it appeal to the masses, and to make critics write about it. The director wouldn’t have a problem finding details of violence that play a major role in the public fascination with Assange. Within the 400 thousand U.S. cables, leaked in November last year, there are accounts of a reported 109,000 civilian deaths a staggering volume of blood on someone’s hands.

If Julian Assange is a bad man then he will be stopped. If he is a good man then he will also be stopped.

If those producing our film had values, perhaps in the director’s cut the sex scenes would be replaced with a bit more politics and a bit more violence. That is what this issue is about, that is why it matters: the deaths of innocent people and the attempts to cover them up by the powers that be.

So far he has irritated a few people, but what else could he possibly know? Presumably, if he had access to top secret information, wouldn’t the CIA have already taken him out, made him disappear? He would argue that information would be published regardless; such is the complexity of the Wikileaks encryptions.

But are we not to applaud a man who understands that modern government, politics and diplomacy is crooked, to say the least, and is looking to do something about it? Should the world not know about the civilians gunned down as sport by a U.S. Apache helicopter in Afghanistan in 2007? Where is liberty and freedom if the country supposedly endorsing it commits acts like that?

What people don’t know is that Wikileaks has been running since 2006 and has uncovered serious humanitarian issues that have nothing to do with the U.S. For example, uncovering the extent to which extrajudicial killings were occurring in Kenya in 2008.

If Julian Assange is a bad man then he will be stopped. If he is a good man then he will also be stopped. These leaks are out in the open and nothing can be done about that now. Whatever your opinions of his actions are, Julian Assange has shaken the world’s powers for good or bad. Now, the leaks demand investigation. That is our moral obligation.

About The Author

History undergraduate at King's College London. Main interests in diplomacy and international relations but also enjoy writing about home affairs.

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