Democracy’s Own Woes: Why can’t Britain tackle Wikileaks’ Julian Assange?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Folks, any keen follower of developments surrounding the operations of Wikileaks and its founder (Julian Assange), accused of rape in Sweden and holed in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for years now, will continue to wonder why Britain hasn’t been able to get hold of him for various reasons, especially, to “extradite” him to Switzerland for trial on the rape charges or to simply “liquidate” him as a public nuisance.

Such a keen follower will also wonder why a small and considerably insignificant country like Ecuador will have so much sway on British soil and the international community as to prevail in its quest to harbour and secure Assange against all the odds stacked up against him.

Diplomatic niceties aside, the presence of the Ecuadorean Embassy on British soil could itself be invalidated if Britain so decides to do. How many countries haven’t broken diplomatic ties with others in pursuit of interests? If Britain opposes what Assange has done and detests his being harboured by Ecuador and its spending of the tax-payer’s’ money in monitoring happenings, why is it so lethargic in tackling the problem?

The records show that Britain has done everything in its power to undercut him and have its way; but all that effort has ground to a shocking halt, whether because of legal constraints or because of the limitations of whatever strategies that Britain has put in place to nail Assange. He has remained holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London from where he still calls the shots as far as the operations of his Wikileaks organization is concerned. And nothing has been done so far to neutralize Wikileaks!!

Of course, by virtue of Wikileaks’ operations, the world has come to know the hideous behind-the-scene happenings in and across countries, people, economic domains, and secret security and national intelligence systems worldwide. Thanks to Wikileaks, much is known about what really happens to the blind side of the vast majority of deprived segments of the world’s population, be it vile politics, atrocious and pernicious economic manouevres, or the private lives of those seeking to win political power to serve diverse purposes or to institutionalize their kind of hegemony to the detriment of the wider community not toeing their line.

Wikileaks is a saviour to many needing insider information, even if condemned by its adversaries.

For us in Ghana, a lot of releases from Wikileaks regarding the cables passed on by the United States Embassy in Ghana helped us know what we hadn’t imagined or known about politicians such as Akufo-Addo, doing their utmost best to become Ghana’s leader(s) for whatever purposes they might want to pursue. Much of what Wikileaks revealed about the Ghanaian situation hurt Akufo-Addo, especially, even if it created doubts about others in authority.

But that’s not what I’m interested in here. After all, whatever Wikileaks has about Ghana is no secret to some of us who have already been on the ground all these years.

Our main interest now is in what Wikileaks means to Britain and the United States, especially now that it claims to have access to secrets about Mrs. Hillary Clinton that it will release in October to “wow” her and dim her light in her quest for the Presidency in the November elections.

Already, much is going on in cyberspace with the hacking of cyber facilities being used by the Democratic Party, which the United States system has accused Russia of masterminding and which the Democratic National Convention has seen as a means to favour the Republican Party’s nominee (Donald Trump). Interestingly, it has just emerged that the Russian Establishment itself has been hacked by forces aligned to Wikileaks. (See http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36933239).

So, who is hacking whom for what purpose or benefit? This is where the scale turns for us to wonder whether the defunct “Cold War” is now resurrecting into a “Cyberspace War” in our time!!

Those behind all the hacking could be insiders to be traced and dealt with. Or it could also be that although the US boasts of being the brain behind the Internet, it hasn’t been resolute and alert enough to ensure that others elsewhere don’t overtake it in maximizing the benefits of such technology. Or in developing new angles from which to exploit the potentialities of the Internet to its blind side. That is the main worry.

Turning that worry into something else, we can see why the Edward Snowden blow to the US is devastating. He is still being harboured by Russia and doing all he can to put that system where it needs to be to prove to the US what it lacks. Is Snowden collaborating with Assange on that score?

Collaborating with Julian Assange’s Wikileaks will really endanger the technological substance of the US and its allies, especially given the fact that Snowden is a treasure trove and Assange an agent of “exterminator” as far as the troves of secret documents and the ability to gather information on secret happenings are concerned.

There is a lot to worry the US and its allies here. The nagging question that pops up is: Why is Britain unable to squash Assange on its territory despite all the harm that he is causing the system? And why isn’t the US able to offer any support in this case? Both Assange and Snowden constitute serious threats to the US, Britain, and their allies. Russia venerates them and will do all it can to secure Snowden!!

I bet you, if Assange were to be holed up anywhere in the US, he would have been snuffed out long ago. Why isn’t Britain able to neutralize him despite all the threat that he has posed and continues to pose to it and its allies as far as the operations of his Wikileaks are concerned? Is Britain so much of a toothless bulldog? Why should it be so? Because of its kind of democracy? And what is that democracy, anyway?

As Julian Assange prepares to release whatever intelligence reports his Wikileaks has about Mrs. Clinton, what will Britain do to salvage its relations with the US in a post-Obama era, having already been shocked by Brexit and the emergence of a female leader to follow the trail set by Margaret Thatcher? And the possibility of a female President in the US?

More importantly, what sort of democracy is Britain practising that will allow it to harbour its own enemies on its soil to its disadvantage? Certainly, the United States won’t do that! Why should Britain?

I shall return…

  • E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com
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