Ex-backer denounces WikiLeaks founder

2013-02-06 21:18
Jemima Khan (Picture: AFP)

Jemima Khan (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

London - Jemima Khan, a celebrity backer of Julian Assange who put up bail money for him, has gone public with her frustrations about the WikiLeaks founder, saying he demands "blinkered, cultish devotion" and should face justice in Sweden.

An article by Khan published on Wednesday on the website of British magazine The New Statesman gives an insight into how Assange, whose whistle-blowing website angered Washington by releasing thousands of US diplomatic cables in 2010, has alienated some of his staunchest allies.

Assange was arrested in Britain in December 2010 on an extradition warrant from Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual abuse made by two women.

After losing a protracted legal battle to avoid extradition, which went all the way to Britain's Supreme Court, Assange jumped bail and sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London last June.

He has been inside the building ever since.

Khan, who first rose to prominence as an heiress but is now a campaigner and an associate editor of The New Statesman, described in her article how she had gone from "admiration to demoralisation" on the subject of WikiLeaks.

"The problem is that WikiLeaks - whose mission statement was 'to produce ... a more just society ... based upon truth' - has been guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion," she wrote.

Khan was executive producer of a documentary film about WikiLeaks entitled We Steal Secrets, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the US.

Khan said the film, directed by Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney, sought to present a balanced view of the WikiLeaks story but Assange had denounced it before seeing it.

"When I told Assange I was part of the We Steal Secrets team, I suggested that he view it not in terms of being pro- or anti-him, but rather as a film that would be fair and would represent the truth," she wrote.

"He replied: 'If it's a fair film, it will be pro-Julian Assange.'"

Khan's article praised WikiLeaks for exposing corruption, torture, war crimes and cover-ups but criticised it for a "with us or against us" mentality that was detrimental to its cause.

‘Women have rights too’

She wrote that she was among those who had found the timing of the sexual abuse allegations against Assange suspicious, as they came at the height of the furore over the revelations on WikiLeaks, but had come to the conclusion that the allegations had to be dealt with through Swedish due process.

"The women in question have human rights, too, and need resolution. Assange's noble cause and his wish to avoid a US court does not trump their right to be heard in a Swedish court," she wrote, referring to Assange's fears that Sweden could be a first stop on the way to an espionage trial in the US.

"I don't regret putting up bail money for Assange but I did it so that he would be released while awaiting trial, not so that he could avoid answering to the allegations," Khan wrote.

Khan has not disclosed how much money she put up and whether she has had to surrender it since Assange skipped bail.

Khan wrote that it was hardly surprising that a man who had spent his life "committed to this type of work, wedded to a laptop, undercover, always on the move", would have an unusual personality.

"I have seen flashes of Assange's charm, brilliance and insightfulness - but I have also seen how instantaneous rock star status has the power to make even the most clear-headed idealist feel that they are above the law and exempt from criticism."

Read more on:    julian assange  |  us  |  sweden  |  uk  |  espionage  |  wikileaks
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

SA sliding into crony capitalism - Naidoo

Twenty years after the first democratic elections, South Africa is sliding into a system of crony capitalism former Cabinet minister and Cosatu leader Jay Naidoo says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Cape Town - 17:18 PM
    Road name: De Waal Drive Outbound
    DELAYS between Roeland Street and Hospital Bend
  • Thursday Brackenfell - 17:00 PM
    Road name: Frans Conradie Drive Eastbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between the R300 Highway and Okavango Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.