WikiLeaks: Asylum for Julian Assange, not the best way to deal with exposes

Mayawati was clearly under the illusion that Julian Assange was an inventor of scurrilous gossip rather than merely a purveyor of it, and therefore erroneously deemed him fit to be an inmate of the asylum in Agra.

She will undoubtedly be brought up to speed soon on how WikiLeaks operates and may then realise that the flurry of gossipy cables has actually revealed the US diplomats’ alarming lack of a sense of balance instead.

Indeed, the inmates of Roosevelt House in New Delhi’s Shantipath do betray a propensity to soak up all sorts of tittle-tattle and relay everything gleefully to Washington DC without much verification.

There could be enormous logistical problems, however, if Mayawati then decides that all writers of leaked US cables over the years have lost their marbles and therefore deserve sabbaticals in the same city where Shahjehan and Mumtaz Mahal lie entombed in pristine Makrana.

Those smarting from the WikiLeaks revelations would probably welcome the idea of Assange being put away permanently, but his offer to act as a personal shopper for Mayawati in return for asylum (albeit of a different kind) should also set off alarmbells in our corridors of power.

If a planeload of shoes can get him a toehold in India, there is no telling what Assange could do in this market rich in scams and secrets.

With sting operations stung by court restrictions and whistleblowers intimidated by official inaction on their individual revelations, the presence of Assange could instil a new enthusiasm among the disaffected to dig out what the government deems secret.
After all, WikiLeaks has put a chaotic spin on the whole issue of Right to Information, flaunting a healthy catholicism when it comes to exposes – everyone is fair game, and wholesale is better than retail.

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