Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
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All journeys start and end with a single step.
Yes, along the way there are many more steps but the entire journey often consists of small increments, each one of which appears to make little difference but each one of which brings us ever-closer to our destination.
Right now (in my humble opinion) we are quite a way down a road we ought never have ventured onto. At one end, the end from whence we have come, is a world with freedoms, rights and a culture where individuals take responsibility for their actions and and their duties as a member of society. At the other end, in the direction we're headed, is a much darker world. A world of totalitarian state control, constant surveillance, a complete lack of trust and massive paranoia on the part of authority.
Governments around the world have been looking out for, and taking advantage of, any opportunity to lift the pace of our journey. Back near the turn of the century the Twin Towers attack on 9/11 allowed the US government to kick things into a higher gear, to the cost of many freedoms, both inside and outside the USA and most recently we've seen the Christchurch mosque shootings providing additional justification for our own journey to be hastened.
And today in London we passed another milestone on our journey.
After being holed-up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost seven years, Assange was arrested by British police and appeared in court today.
Assange has a "Porsche 911" personality: you either love him or you hate him -- but that is irrelevant in this situation.
The USA and other groups against which Assange and his supporters rally have worked very hard to vilify him and assassinate his character, since they realise that the power of public support is their greatest hurdle to annexing the power he holds.
Personally, based on what I have read (which must always be treated with a huge degree of suspicion these days, given the loss of Fourth Estate principles), I don't think I would have much time for Mr Assange as a human being. However, what he has done and what he stands for are very, very important and must not be confused with "who" he is.
WikiLeaks has regularly thrown up roadblocks on the path to totalitarianism and governments around the world hate him for that. The journey which has been going so well keeps being regularly interrupted by doses of "unfortunate realities" that Assange and his peers keep revealing. Were it not for WikiLeaks, we would be totally unaware of the very, very bad things that the US and other governments have been doing (and continue to do) in the alleged name of safety and security.
They want Assange silenced and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. No authority, hell bent on absolute power, wants their nefarious and illegal activities exposed to the public, as WikiLeaks has been doing. Silencing the man who inconifies freedom of such information is clearly a priority.
Where to from here for Assange?
Well obviously he has been remanded in custody, pending charges of breaching bail and an extradition request from the USA.
What happens next will be the proof or disproof of all those theories that the USA is out to silence Assange so it is absolutely critical that the world watches, listens and learns from the events that are about to take place.
Under its own laws, the UK can not extradite anyone to a country where they risk the torture or the death penalty.
Given that the USA has, on many occasions (and sometimes thanks to WikiLeaks) been proven to have tortured captives, that should immediately rule out any extradition to the USA.
Also, given that the USA still has the death penalty in place for charges of treason, something Mr Assange could well be charged with if extradited, that should also rule out the validity of such an action.
However, my money is on the UK government making exception to its own laws (which actually means "breaking the laws with impunity") and extraditing Assange within a year or two.
If this does happen then I think we have irrefutable proof as to exactly where this road is leading and why.
At that stage, it will be up to individuals in every affected country to decide whether they wish to continue on their journey to Orwell's 1984, or whether it might be time to turn around and head back to where it is we have come from. This is a decision that can only be made by individuals in a free society.
Unfortunately, the road we're treading is also on a hill and the closer we get to our destination, the steeper the downhill grade. There will come a point when, no matter how hard we try to turn around and retrace our steps, we will fail. Eventually (once the authorities have wrested sufficient freedoms and rights from the populace), we will slide headlong to our destination, despite all efforts to stop or reverse our direction.
And there endeth today's sermon.
Okay, that little rant paints a deliberately dystopian picture doesn't it? However, not all of the above is rampant speculation or conspiracy theory. If you stop for a moment and review events of the past 20 years or so you will have to agree that there are strong elements of truth in the theory that we're headed down such a road.
Do you agree? Disagree? Do you have an alternative take on the events of recent times and the ongoing annexing of our freedoms and rights?
Please share those views and opinions in the forums.
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