When it comes to espionage suspects, I think I prefer sexy Russian spies over crazy Australian fugitives.
On the one hand, you've got Anna Chapman, who's only real crime (well, except for the spying) was that she wanted to start an Internet company in Manhattan.
On the other hand, you've got Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who's now blackmailing Amnesty International and other human rights groups for $700,000 to remove names of Afghan civilians who might get killed by the Taliban if their names get released on Wikileaks.
All Anna wanted was some good LinkedIn connections. Assange wants cash -- and if he doesn't get it, he'll publish documents containing the names of innocent civilians -- civilians who the Taliban won't hesitate to kill.
It's starting to look like Assange has somehow lost his way, becoming more deranged opportunist than activist. While Wikileaks could be a special resource in our fight for light in an ever-darkening world, it looks like the site may become a victim of its founder's inability to tame the geopolitical forces he's so happily setting free.
According to The Daily Beast, the United States Government is in discussions with Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and other nations, asking them to all bring charges against Assange.
Because the documents he's released may put troops for all these countries at risk, officials in the various NATO countries are seriously considering running Assange up the flagpole and hoisting him on his own petard.
Assange has developed an apparently unearned reputation among his misguided fans as a brave peace activist, standing up to the forces of government worldwide, on behalf of the downtrodden. But wait. If that is the case, why has Assange gone out of his way to blackmail the real organizations who have spent decades actually standing up to the forces of government worldwide on behalf of the downtrodden?
Earlier this week, Amnesty International and four other organizations emailed Wikileaks and Assange requesting exactly what I recommended last week, that the Web site take better care in choosing what to disclose.
When Amnesty International asked for better filtering so civilians aren't killed in the most gruesome of ways as a result of his actions, he demanded $700,000 for what he called a "harm minimization review". This is, again, why I think Assange is in it for the chaos, rather than for a better world.
So where does that leave Assange and Wikileaks? Interestingly, although the Wikileaks site claims it was created by activities and scientists, the only name we've been seeing is the name of our one nutball: Assange. Everyone else is distancing themselves from this can of worm feces.
Wikileaks may survive, but only if it gets governance, grows up, and works and plays well with others. Assange, on the other hand, should enjoy his notoriety while he can. Somewhere, in some NATO country, there's a padded cell being readied for his future occupancy.
Update: corrected Assange's country of origin.