Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011

Julian Assange

As long as he was an anonymous cybergeek, Julian Assange was a genius. Once he came in from cyberspace and set about the manipulation of media professionals, he was just another source, to be used and abused, diddled and discarded. Assange, 39, did not choose to be the face of WikiLeaks; it was decided that since he had less to lose than most of his anonymous co-geeks, having neither home nor chick nor child, he would be it.

The media were easily convinced that WikiLeaks was a person, and unaware of how vulnerable he really was, Assange played the part to the hilt. Egregious to the last, he is convinced that his prosecution for rape in the Swedish courts was engineered by vengeful U.S. intelligence, unable to grasp the plain fact that his callous treatment made two women angry enough to seek redress.

There were many scoops but few surprises amid what we learned from WikiLeaks. Regardless of what happens to Assange, which he will almost certainly not deserve, the construction of stateless, secure and indestructible Internet drop boxes cannot be undone. Secrets will never be safe again.

Greer is the author of The Female Eunuch (1970); her latest book is Shakespeare's Wife