But what Assange has done is not to blow the whistle on wrong-doing. He isn’t a vulnerable insider speaking out on the wrongs of his masters (like Bradley Manning, the man who is accused of leaking tens of thousands of pages of classified material to Wikileaks). What Assange has done — is doing — is to act as a witness, to be the seeing eyes from a safe distance. Assange understands the need to protect his independence from both the sources who supply material to Wikileaks and from the power abusers whose abuses the material reveals. He is the one whose eyes form a barrier between the abuser and his victim and consequently break the abuser’s hold and undo his power.
Assange’s critics fail to understand what Assange is doing. They mistakenly believe Assange is “just” an anarchist who wants to undermine and topple governments. That is incorrect; Assange wants to throw light on things that lurk in the shadows, so that democratic participation is actually possible. He is deeply pro-democratic.
What do our readers think? Hero? Martyr? Manipulator? Something in between or something else entirely?