Friday, June 22, 2012

Julian Assange deserves exemplary punishment….

Had Julian Assange been an Indian, the media here would have gone into overdrive accusing the Indian state of victimizing a good man. It would have said that we don't have freedom of speech – forgetting how much rubbish it is allowed to get away with on the same grounds. That our democracy is a farce. That we threaten and legally blackmail those who dare to expose the dirty corruption in our government. Blah blah blah. All such people must be really disappointed that the mecca of democratic values and freedom of speech – the West – is behaving in this manner against a person who was one of the finalists for the Time Magazine of the Year for 2010 and a nominee for the Noble Peace Prize for 2011. They must surely believe that the fact that he didn't win either is another evidence of how illiberal the West has become….

I have always held that Assange was a dangerous element and that he should be arrested and jailed for good. What is his core business? To steal and publish confidential stuff. If the information is not confidential, it is of no interest to him. If it didn't embarrass different governments and countries and cause a sensation around the world, it was not of any use. It mattered little to him that delicate diplomatic relations between countries could be jeopardized by his irresponsible exposes. He would find ways to get access to confidential government documents – perhaps even by illegal inducements. His excuse would be that someone or the other gave the information to him; that he wasn't involved directly in acquiring anything. This is the most standard trick anyone has when running a business of this sort. Media in India does this all the time. They run proxy campaigns on issues of interest to them. They prop up “informed sources” without naming them to put out stories that they may have themselves created. It’s good that this farce is being brought to an end for Assange. Hopefully, this farce will be brought to an end for the Indian media as well.

Julian Assange is now running like a coward. The London courts have all ordered his extradition to Sweden to face trial in what must look like very minor crimes – rape and sexual assault of two women in that country. Like a coward, he has sought refuge in Ecuador. Ecuador? A country that suffered military dictatorship till the late 1970s? Why would the champion of free speech go to a country that is not particularly well known for freedom of speech and democracy itself?

Julian Assange should be taken to America and tried for treason like he fears. What he has done by revealing American defense secrets is nothing short of treason. It’s the same with all the other diplomatic stuff that he routinely finds and publishes. The fact that he was considered a super here by the public is no reason for him not to pay for his crimes. No one should be allowed to steal state secrets. State secrets are part of the requirement of governance. India has many such state secrets. It may say one thing in public on a sensitive subject, but may practice a totally different thing in reality – all for the good of the Indian public. What if documents related to nuclear codes were put out in public and that compromised our entire security regime? Would that be an example of free speech or treason?

Assange was rightfully denied the Time Magazine of the year award in 2010. He didn’t deserve it at all. There was nothing creative or useful in what he did. There are moles in all government departments. Laying hands on confidential stuff is hardly creative stuff. All that you have to do is to provide a platform to publish the stuff. It’s the same with our news TV channels. They claim they have done “scoops”, but in reality the material itself lands up on their desks. Those who have the scoop decide who they want to give it to. Julian Assange should have been smarter; he should have gone about his business covertly. The way smugglers and traitors go about theirs. But then psychotic people like Assange think that by publishing openly, they are being “brave”. I think Assange was plain stupid. Such bravery is misplaced…..and even if the public applauds such people, the law eventually gets them.

Assange should be sentenced to the maximum punishment that the US law provides for treason. Rather than thinking of him as a crusader or an activist, he must be considered as one endangering world peace. It is not difficult to imagine how revelations of confidential documents can reduce friends to enemies, convert peaceful neighborhoods into war zones. Assange and people like him are a threat to society. They encourage ordinary people to reveal confidential information. It is they who get caught, not people like Assange. It is Bradley Manning – the American military soldier who gave confidential American defense info to Assange – who got arrested on charges of treason. He may even be hanged for this. And yet, people like Assange have been enjoying their lives without fear….in fact with much public adulation. Its time this farce is brought to an end.

The real truth is that a stable and peaceful world needs a few curbs on freedom of speech. Assange’s business was inherently illegal. Freedom of speech was just a façade. Assange was a criminal himself in his earlier life – a hacker. He was let off lightly by the Australians when he was caught. Rather than reform himself, he became even more sinister. Wikileaks should have been stopped much before it went this far. But it’s better to be late than never. Assange should now be put behind bars and Wikileaks shut down.….

1 comment:

  1. Anybody who understands anything about power respects Machiavelli. But it is not a good idea to show that so openly as you seem to be doing.
    Assange has falsified Ministry of Truth and needs to be cured at 101.