Wikilieaks is dead(ish) – now to count the cost…

A couple of weeks ago I wrote my own commentary on the extradition proceedings against Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

Ecuador’s Embassy in London

Here I predicted four possible outcomes, one being that Assange would be released by the UK courts to seek asylum in Ecuador. I didn’t  consider the possibility that he would seek protection from the country’s embassy in London before the final appeal against May 30th’s Supreme Court ruling.

Part of me perhaps still believed the messages from his social media that he potentially was a fugitive of free speech, and not a man wanted for investigation into serious sex crimes.

In his attempt to evade justice, I have now decided to ‘call time of death’ on Wikileaks which I think we will find is actually a very good thing.

Assange and his team (if indeed he had one) has been using social media and Twitter in particular to garner support (financial and at the grassroots), raise the profile of his plight and generally support his reputational narrative.

Julian Assange claims he is at risk of being extradited to the US for espionage charges.

He has successfully collected £240,000 in bail assurances including large tranches from societistas including Jemima Khan. This article from London’s Evening Standard describes their own justified shock at Assange’s actions.

Vaughan Smith, {who runs the Frontline Club of journalists}, and who housed Assange at 10-bedroom Ellingham Hall for more than a year, said he was “worried” about losing money he had put up, “had no idea” Assange was planning to claimasylum, and would have advised him not to if he had known.

Mr Smith,  said: “I was surprised. I haven’t spoken to him for two weeks. If somebody in Britain feels the need to walk into an embassy and claim asylum, I think we as a society have to ask ourselves some questions.”

From the London Evening Standard, June 20, 2012 (Justin Davenport Peter Dominiczak Mark Blunden)

Jemimah Khan responds to Tweets regarding Assange’s appeal to Ecuadorian Government

Assange and Wikileaks have gone far beyond the line of what has been done before and they show how the ‘digital (dark?) arts’ may be employed to fight for a cause or campaign. This is their/his Twitter account which currently has 1.5 million followers. He has used this extensively to promote articles that support his case and to call for donations. They/he also have around 1 million followers on Facebook.

He has also employed online TV to broadcast a show named The World Tomorrow, providing him a controlled outlet from which to promote a ‘positive’ image as a freedom campaigner. He also created his own Facebook service which is allegedly more secure as it doesn’t share information with the US authorities.

It’s blog promotes various stakeholders who have similar objectives/ideals and inspires digital activities with a variety of guides to help them to protest without interference.

Now, the organisation Wikileaks, all of its volunteers and also Mr Assange’s supporters face a back-lash which has only just begun. Certainly there may be some red faces, but also other vindictive restrictions may be implemented as well.

It is conceivable that new legislation may come about to restrict our social media usage as well, meaning all may suffer.

I am not at all sure of the benefit that Wikileaks has provided to the world. The promise is well understood, to keep governments under the control of those who elect them and to whom they should be accountable. But has it achieved this? I don’t think so.

Given Wikileaks’ unquestioning support of Assange its future is now totally tied up with him, which is a very bleak place to be. It is therefore very likely the company will shortly be wound up and it will become one of those historical footnotes that will be discussed at length with our grandchildren.

 

 

About stephenking2012

In 2012 I volunteered to hold the position of Chair - Standards & Ethics Committee for the Middle East PR Association (@MEPRA_org). I have set up this account to assist in this effort. You may also like to follow my Blog or connect with me on LinkedIn. In any case, please do visit www.mepra.org, and if you are not yet a member, please do sign up!
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