6 reasons why Ecuador should grant asylum to Julian Assange

Just when you thought the saga was over, WikiLeaks' founder regrabs the spotlight. Cringely has a few thoughts about Assange's demands

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2. Journalism
Granting asylum to Assange might warm up Correa's relationships with the journalists in his country, whom he mostly relates to by suing them for libel or shutting them down.

3. Tourism
Now that Lonesome George, the 350-year-old Galapagos Giant Tortoise, has passed on, Ecuador needs a new tourist attraction. Meet Lonesome Julian, the White Wonda From Down Unda.

4. Rebranding
Ecuador could use a new motto. "We give aid and comfort to crusading-if-egomaniacal journalists" isn't great, but it's a lot better than the current one: "We are smack dab on the equator. No, seriously, check it out."

5. Scholarship
Having Assange in the country will surely help improve the Spanish edition of WikiLeaks, which has fewer than 900,000 articles, or roughly one-fifth the number in the English-language version. Oh, sorry, I was confusing it with Wikipedia. My bad.

6. Entertainment
Assange is a shoo-in to win the next South American Idol competition. I hear he does a kickin' rendition of "Girl From Ipanema."

More seriously: I've written about WikiLeaks quite a bit over the last few years. I remember the first time I heard the name Julian Assange: It was attached to an email, which arrived a few days after one of my pieces, alerting me to a new disclosure. I thought, "Hey, look at that, WikiLeaks hired a PR guy."

Not for one minute did I think that WikiLeaks was Assange, because that would mean making himself a target for every government agency and multinational corporation that took a disliking to the things WikiLeaks revealed. That, I thought, would be a really stupid thing to do.

Turns out it wasn't stupid so much as egomaniacal. It seems clear that Julian Assange desperately wanted to be famous. Well, he got his wish. And that is why he's now sleeping on a couch at the embassy and eating food out of the vending machines. Had he simply stuck to WikiLeaks' mission without seeking the spotlight, he might still be a free man (though probably also a hunted one). Had he acted a bit more responsibly with the information he was given, he might have more support among his colleagues.

I would not be at all surprised if the sexual assault charges were a setup designed to snare Assange, a well-known trouser trout. Though I would be a little surprised if the United States plans to request Assange from the Swedish authorities so that he can stand trial here, because trying a journalist for espionage -- even one who's not a U.S. citizen -- would not play well politically over here.

Still, I understand why he's concerned about his future safety. But he has only himself to blame.

What's your take on Assange? Moral crusader, raging egomaniac, or a bit of both? Share your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "6 reasons why Ecuador should grant asylum to Julian Assange," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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