It is seldom possible to fight back against those who hold power
Recently, an assassination plot by the CIA had been uncovered by Yahoo news.
The target in question was Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, someone who stands for how journalists - - and by extension, the world - - is supposed to function.
The plot went through multiple revisions, and this mainly happened because both the US and British intelligence services couldn’t find common ground as to how they wanted to approach this problem. To quote an official who confessed to the operation, “After all, this isn’t Afghanistan.”
When Assange first came to prominence, I was still in high school. I had to deal with simple problems, so the world still seemed to be a simple place. The government did something wrong, so there was an expose. So, the government was going to get what was coming to them, and the people would be better off.
Fast forward a couple of years, and government spying has become a part of our lives, to the point where even joking about government spying has become a dead meme, and people who wanted to tackle this problem live as fugitives.
Over the years, exposes like this have increased in numbers, but diminished in impact. We had the Panama papers, and the guilty got away with a slap on their wrist. We had papers exposing Bush, but he is still remembered fondly for his tenure. We had the Pegasus spying program, and we still have it. And we had another scandal, which I can’t talk about.
I would have talked about it, once, if I were still in high school.
But as stated, those were simpler times.
Over the years, as the importance of exposes diminished, the world has either lost its beauty or revealed how dark it has always been. And if I were a betting man, I would bet on the latter.
I first started to keep this column because it meant something. Only a year had passed, and I started keeping it for extra income. Now that the extra income isn’t feasible anymore, I generally don’t fret about writing it.
Everything I have wanted to say I have already said. And everything I want to say now cannot be said.
Time is a flat circle. This is a world where nothing gets solved.
Coming to the plot in question, as stated, it has gone through various revisions. One version would see CIA agents go into the Ecuadorian embassy in plain clothes, and extract Assange from foreign protection that way. The security team of the Ecuadorian embassy even began to work with the CIA, and at one point, the plot dictated that Assange be poisoned.
If this sounds like the plot of a Bond film, that’s because it is. There is a reason that people fawn over brutes in intelligence and the military. Socrates is rolling in his grave.
Later, Russian intelligence got involved as well, and they were planning a break out. Things got so bad that almost all people in close proximity to the Ecuadorian embassy were related to various intelligence outfits, or they were helping the intelligence outfits in some way.
The plan was for the Russians to break Assange out, escort him in a diplomatic vehicle, and fly him out of the country. The US planned on crashing into the said car, or shooting down the aircraft. This fell through as well.
But not because it is dangerous. Not because it is immoral, and things like this shouldn’t be done to someone who tried to help the people -- something the government themselves should be doing.
No. This fell through because of bureaucratic hassles, and it wasn’t easy to get the British to acquiesce to such an operation.
Again, it was Britain, not Afghanistan.
Well, turns out that the US didn’t need to do this, as Assange was recently denied the diplomatic immunity he enjoyed at the embassy, and he is currently in British custody.
During the beginning of this year, a British judge did rule against extraditing Assange to the US, as he was a potential “suicide” risk. But the US has appealed against the decision, and as of writing this article, their request has been granted, and their appeal has moved on for further consideration.
The news about the assassination plot broke just a couple of days ago, but no one is talking about it. In fact, the people who are talking about it are frustrated about exactly this. But I suspect that nothing will come out of it. Just like nothing came out of that Guardian piece exposing the relationship between British American Tobacco and African warlords. After all, if you have no government, you have nobody annoying you about health warnings and nicotine content.
The Yahoo expose is just another talking point, the rich and powerful never have to answer for their crimes, and I’m writing this piece in hopes of some kind of a personal benefit, without a tinge of frustration at the utter futility of it all.
The gears of the universe keep turning, and people continue to work from paycheck to paycheck.
All is right with the world.
Nafis Shahriar is a student of business and Apprentice Sub Editor at Dhaka Tribune.