Whistle-blower Edward Snowden, wanted by the American administration for leaks printed in British publication The Guardian, acts as a reminder of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. On June 19, 2012, Mr. Assange sought sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and there he remains.
Officially a wanted man in Sweden on allegations of sexual abuse, Assange claims the US administration is his real adversary. He insists that if he went to Sweden to answer the sex allegations, he would swiftly be extradited to the US. As the founder of WikiLeaks, Assange revealed details of activity which the US administration, and possibly others, would have preferred kept secret. The big worry for politicians is that he has much more information ready for release.
The 21st century has created a handful of men classed as heroes by some and traitors by others. Bradley Manning, Assange and now Snowden are all deemed traitors and villains by the US administration but heroes by many who yearn for free and open government.
Almost a year after Julian's semi-voluntary incarceration in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Manning's pre-trial hearing has finally begun, Snowden is on the run following his revelations and Assange is still at first-base.
Looking at the way the US has dealt with Manning so far, there is little doubt that some high-ranking officials in the States would like to get their hands on Assange. He has proved a problem for the British government too and a costly embarrassment.
In May, The Telegraph reported that by the time the one-year anniversary rolls around Assange's stay at the embassy will have cost British taxpayers £4 million. The daily cost, which includes policing protests that occur at times is £11,600 a day. If the situation remains unchanged, these costs will continue.
Assange occupies a cramped space in the basement of the embassy whilst eight police officers are on duty outside the building at all times, with vehicle support. A cop with body armor waits close to the entrance, primed to arrest Assange if he steps one toe out of the door. Those who enter and leave the building during daylight hours are often questioned, just to make sure that Julian does not escape in disguise.
Assange has lost some local support, due to the disruption his presence has caused and the cost to British taxpayers during a time of so-called austerity. However, most people hope for a diplomatic resolution and few want to see Julian on a plane to the US.
On the eve of the one-year embassy siege anniversary a senior Ecuadorean, government minister, Ricardo Patino, is to visit London. Perhaps a diplomatic solution is on the cards, as there is no doubt that behind the scenes activity has taken place.
This week, The Guardian reported that the British government has agreed to meet with Patino. The two sides will try to reach a mutual agreement which will decide the fate of Assange. Previously, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has insisted that Julian faces instant arrest if he leaves the embassy.
Assange has kept his story alive via his laptop and cell phone calls to the outside world. Being forgotten could negatively seal his fate.
Those who think that Assange is nothing more than a sex fiend and traitor should look at the facts. Why has the UK government spent so much time, money and effort on making sure Assange stays put? Has it acted in accordance with usual procedures in similar cases? What is the US administration so afraid of in WikiLeaks and is it the truth it fears above all else?
What have the US administration to fear from the release of more WikiLeaks?