High drama on Downing Street

You must be familiar with this typical Hollywood flick scenario: A wanted man is cornered helplessly in a building, with scores of security officials outside waiting to pounce on him as soon as he exits. The tense impasse must have made you wait with bated breath for the climax.

This exact scene is, in fact, playing out at London’s Downing Street right now. The security officials are the Metropolitan Police, the building is the Ecuadorian embassy and the most wanted man is none other than Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. And who are the spectators enjoying this thrilling deadlock? Well, the entire world. And it’s not only Britain’s refusal to allow extradition of Assange to Ecuador that everyone is concerned about. In fact, it’s the gossipy titbits— completely peripheral to the drama of the diplomatic row— that are attracting attention. Everyone’s talking about how Assange works out on a treadmill and uses the internet inside the embassy.

But as the world remains captivated by the nitty gritties of the high drama embroiling Ecuador, Britain and a man hell-bent on exposing the US government, it’s refusing to see the matter in more critical light. To many Assange appears to be crusading for freedom of information. But it’s difficult to say that Assange’s whistle-blowing endeavours have been unbiased. They have, after all, mostly targeted the US.

And let’s not forget that countries, which have voiced their support from him – most of Latin America and Russia – are ‘coincidentally’ unmarred by any leak of information by Assange’s team. It’s difficult to think that these countries are benevolence actors, supporting the Australian national in his just cause. Would Ecuador have agreed to give the beleaguered whistleblower asylum, had the latter revealed embarrassing news about the country? Putin called Assange’s arrest in Britain in 2010 as “undemocratic”, would he have supported Assange’s cause had he divulged Kremlin’s own secrets. One really can’t help thinking that ulterior motives pin the international backing that has come Assange’s way. So one thing is for sure: the Wiki faucet is definitely leaky, but it has holes in convenient places.

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