This is one of those stories that captures the imagination, much like the Standard Chartered debacle, or the Knight Capital comedy. It captures my particular imagination because the story swings between a good international espionnage flick and bad daytime TV.
No matter your opinion of Julian Assange, no matter whether you think Wikileaks serves the greater good or is a serious risk to international security, you have to admit, this drama holds up a mirror to contemporary culture. At best it’s a David vs Goliath story, where b-rated actors nurtured through mass media and social networks start out as underdogs, fighting The System. At a certain point The System can’t ignore the underdog.
I’m reminded of the cult film Point Break, where the good bad-guy Keanu Reeves, is eventually discredited by his own ego. He gets away, but leaves a fair amount of shattered faith, death and distruction in his wake.
Here’s the abridged version of the wikileaks storyboard:
- Wikileaks releases 77,000 documents on the Afghan conflict
- Wikileaks releases 391,832 Pentagon documents
- Wikileaks shoots itself in the foot collaborating major media on document release.
- Wikileaks funding blocked with US pressure
- Pixie dust is scattered and rape charges materialize in Sweden
- Request for extradition from the UK by Sweden
- House arrest in the UK and a supreme court battle rages.
- Julian Assanges seaks asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy
- The UK threatens to take Julian Assange by force from the Ecuadorian embassy.
- Ecuador grants asylum.
- Shit Hits The Fan, Media Circus
* update 8/19/12 Assange Speaks (reuters)
* update 8/22/12
Assange impact on British-Latin American ties seen limited
* Assange row hits Britain’s reputation in Latin America
* But damage seen limited, unless UK enters Ecuador embassy
* Brazil seen as key to whether row escalates
By Mohammed Abbas
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) -Latin America has condemned Britain’s threat to lift diplomatic protection from Ecuador’s embassy to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, yet the damage to London’s reputation is unlikely to endure, with Brazil key to where the row goes next.
My personal feeling is that like Keanu Reeves, Julian Assange will leave a fair amount of death and destruction in his wake.