Today, Ecuador granted political asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Assange has been hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for two months now and looks to remain sheltered there for the time being. Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, stated that the government of Ecuador will wholeheartedly support those who seek refuge from wrongful persecution within their territory.
So who is this Julian Assange, and who is after him? And for what?
On one side of the ring is Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks which was started back in 2010 and has been the source of controversy ever since. They describe themselves as a non-profit organization which publishes classified media from news sources, leaks, and whistleblowers. Sounds like something that could anger just about anyone of importance.
On the other side of the ring are the governments of Britain and the United States, and two ladies with a lawyer in Sweden. Authorities in Britain want him off of their territory. The millions of classified documents leaked by Assange and his site on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have landed him in the hot seat in the United States as well. By hot seat I mean the electric chair since there has been actual discussion of giving him the death penalty. Lastly, two women in Sweden are accusing Assange of sexual abuse. However, many protestors argue that the case was built against him in order to shut him up. “Classic character assassination”, as one supporter of Assange puts it. For those of you keeping score at home that’s two superpowers and two women with a lawyer after Assange, definitely more than simple trouble for the average guy.
The topic of WikiLeaks is a controversial one as evidenced by this international tug-of-war that has erupted for the prosecution of Julian Assange. The ironic (dark irony at that) thing about the whole situation is that he hasn’t been formally charged with any crime in any country yet!
Is WikiLeaks just a crusade for transparency and media freedom? Or does the phrase ‘too much information’ actually have some merit here?
Are their legitimate grounds for shutting down WikiLeaks because of possible security breaches contained in the documents?