Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tugging on Superman's Cape

It's sometimes quite difficult in practice to distinguish between whether someone has giant cojones or just a giant martyr complex, especially as the two are not mutually exclusive. Such seems to be the case of Wikileaks' professional troll and attention-seeking d**head Julian Assange.

I had always thought his paranoid trend of moving around and playing spy games was just hilarious evidence of his desire to feel like some secret agent fighting crime and/or evil.

Perhaps tiring of the ridicule for being such a nutcase, he's decided keep pissing off first world governments until they respond enough to make his paranoia actually seem fairly justified.

The question is whether he's thought through the end-game of his provocations, which is this. In the long run, it is very difficult to make yourself a high-profile enemy of first world governments while also travelling around on a first-world passport (Australian) and staying in first-world countries ("a secret location outside London"). The dedicated open enemies of America all live in third world hellholes, and when they travel, they're not going through normal immigration procedures.

Assange seems to be currently right up against the limit of how much you can piss off the US without either a) ending up in jail or b) removing yourself from the first world altogether, and live entirely underground. Option a) is what happens when you were an attention-seeking wannabe martyr all along, or just massively miscalculate (and I don't think Assange is that dumb). Option b) is what happens when you actually have cojones in the service of some truly screwed-up ideals, consequences be damned (think Bin Laden). Although Bin Laden doesn't need to have a functioning web server capable of handling high traffic to carry out his plans, so I don't even know how viable it really is.

Since he shows no signs of stopping his escalations, my guess is that we'll have our answer soon enough.

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