(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
The arrest of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London will be seen by many as a dark day in the ongoing fight for truth but perhaps it merely marks the end of our innocence around that particular battle.
The primary problem is that we are still not entirely sure what Julian Assange represents, either as a cultural force or as the alleged instigator of numerous crimes. Was he ever (and does he remain) an advocate of freedom or has he always been an actor or “useful idiot” in a grander drama? Was he the perpetrator of sexual assaults or the victim of a honey trap? Is he a journalist or a crazy libertarian? Is he naïve or worldly, benign or hostile? Is he the villain who inspired the character of Raoul Silva in Skyfall or the liberal activist who counts Brian Eno and P.J. Harvey as friends?
A trial of some kind might at least go some way towards solving this riddle but it might not entirely explain why this strange white-haired Australian has been at the centre (or thereabouts) of much that has happened over the past decade: from the election of Donald Trump and the hacking of Democratic emails to the wider gaslighting of Western nations.