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WikiLockdown: Three Questions on the Arrest of Julian Assange

Now that Assange has turned himself in, what does everything mean?

So WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange was arrested today in the United Kingdom on charges of sexually assaulting two women. London has denied bail, citing him as a flight risk. (Shocker.)

In an effort to make sense of the situation, here are three questions to ponder.

1. What's the likelihood that these sexual harassment charges are legitimate? Not to imply that the United States would ever attack the character of someone it sees as a threat, but the timing of this arrest does seem convenient. The case has been opened and closed more than once, and when people consent to one form of sexual interaction but not another, it's notoriously difficult to prosecute, but that doesn't mean justice shouldn't be served.

2. Does WikiLeaks constitute journalism? It depends on your perspective. Assange, predictably, argues that he's performing "scientific journalism" and performing a valuable service by disseminating truth. Not everyone agrees, even more predictably, but the dilemma of whether WikiLeaks is a substitute for traditional journalism is suddenly relevant because:

3. The United States can't successfully use espionage laws against Assange. But might it have to target The New York Times and other media outlets that published the links? Senator Joe Lieberman is calling for just that.

What are the answers to these questions? Only time (and/or more leaks) will tell. Let's just hope the the banking information gets out before Assange mysteriously dies of radiation poisoning of unknown origin. The invisible hand of the market leaves no fingerprints, you know?

Photo (cc) by Flickr user adamfeuer

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