IT shouldn’t matter if we like or loathe Julian Assange the man. He was always a mercurial oddball with a queer – bordering on autistic – indifference to convention. Legitimate questions can still be asked as to whether the WikiLeaks founder’s motive for publishing secret materials was principled truth-telling or nerd-pirate anarchism for its own sake. That Assange is very bright is not disputed. Though it has never been proven, he is thought to have hacked NASA as a 16 year-old. That was in the 1980s when hardly anyone knew what computer hacking was. To expose the Collateral Murder video he made famous in 2010, Assange broke the US military’s encryption in a week. He admitted that his goal was to politically expose not only the conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars but undermine the very idea that nation states have a moral right to secrecy about all things; even – if not, especially – their own crimes, foreign and domestic. What does matter is that Assange is an Australian citizen, that the nihilistic sociopaths of the CIA drew up plans to kill him and that the country seeking his extradition is a banana republic whose officials rig indictments against even a former President. Unlike, say, Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chinese asset, Assange faces 175 years in prison because he humiliated criminals.
This is not a normal government, and nothing should more graphically illustrate the nature of the Beijing regime than the treatment of Cheng Lei. She has had two years of her life stolen from her and her children two years of her motherhood stolen from them.”
By contrast, Cheng Lei isn’t seen as disloyal or shady and her sad predicament hasn’t been mocked with locker-room smut by Scott Morrison. The Lei case is curious on a few levels, starting with why a well-educated and talented Australian would choose to move back to her family’s native China to pursue a journalistic career in state-controlled broadcasting – to work for the Communist Party, in other words. Granted, she did so in 2002 when contrived, go-go optimism reigned supreme about Beijing’s liberal trajectory. The era’s geopolitical leitmotif was money-grubbing docility or ethical forbearance, depending on your perspective. Suffice to say they wanted greenbacks and we wanted a market. “It is China that has changed, not Australia,” said Anthony Albanese in June – repeating what has become a convenient hot take in the West post-Covid. But China didn’t change. It was the same hellhole in 2020 it was in 2002 and 1972: no democracy, no rule of law, no human rights, no free press, no Japan-style repudiation of colonising intent. It must have occurred to Lei before her detention in 2020 on charges of espionage that the notion of an ever-liberalising CCP was an ignis fatuus for the ages. I wish both Australians well but I’m not going to brush Assange and uncritically fret for a Tokyo Rose who mocked President Trump on enemy airwaves just because Tony Abbott still thinks contemporary Western governments are “normal.”
I don’t have any sympathy for either to be honest. One gave the enemy military secrets during a war, which should be a death penalty offence. This other is a Chicom who went back to China to work for Chicoms. The fact someone like that could have Australian citizenship is an indictment on Australian governments, including Abbott’s.
The fact someone like that could have Australian citizenship is an indictment on Australian governments, including Abbott’s.
Australian citizenship is granted far too easily. A strong commitment to the nation should be demonstrated first, Cheng Lei does not seem to have that.
Australia has not yet enquired of Assange himself nor has the country expressed a care at all as to whether Assange has a commitment, strong or otherwise, to the nation. In any case, his citizenship has counted for nought or less. Therein lies a disgrace falling upon us all.
Come to think of it, ancient Athens and other states of old made a point of exiling their undesirables. Our own statecraft, in contrast, has left Assange at the mercy of foreigners without us having bothered ourselves to enact sanctions of any kind whatsoever against the man. A pretty P awkward silence, if not cowardly.
Assange is responsible for thousands fewer needless US military and international civilian deaths than Bush II, Obama, Trump, or Biden.
Had he done it under a Democrat administration, Milley would have been charged, locked up and facing court martial, if it hadn’t already happened.
Funny (not) how those people who say “nothing to see here” or even approve of Milley’s actions in speaking with the Chinese, are the same people who are outraged and want the book thrown at Trump for extremely vague, alleged security breaches.
With all we’ve come to learn about secret criminality perpetrated by Western nation states over the past few years, Assange looks vindicated to me.
Not working this out behind the scenes with the Americans is just cowardly. It seems Australia will do anything to purchase US assistance in a future war – anything. What’s irksome is that – like an old volcano god – Washington always requires us to throw fresh sacrifices into its bubbling maw to win favour.
It now seems incongruous that, via the vengeful offices of erstwhile CIA Director Mike Pompeo, it should have been Donald Trump who decided to drop the hammer on Assange, despite the Obama administration having decided he was a journalist doing journalism. His version of it embarrassed governments and Old Media dullards but, hitherto, that has been a protected feature, not a treasonous bug, of American law.
Given all Trump has learned about the fascist ‘intelligence community,’ you have to wonder if he’d now be inclined to give the 51 year-old Australian a pass. If he does make it back to the Oval Office, we’ll find out.
I think there’s an undercurrent of commonality in these various cases. The Left is the natural party of government, they are the ones with no humility who say “you must do this”. But they’re not consistent, since they also message that revolt against The Man is a good thing. So long as they aren’t The Man, then revolt is racism/sexism/treason etc.
Assange made the mistake, as a lefty, to think exactly this – that by going up against the Man he was adhering to the perfect idea of leftyness. Unfortunately he did not understand that leftyness is about hypocrisy and totalitarian control which brooks no opposition. Which he became, once he uncovered secrets the Left didn’t want aired.
Same goes with Ms Cheng. The opening under Deng was about power, which economic strength produces, and anyone who thought it was a political opening was naive. The Party may say nice things from time to time but they must never be trusted. Sadly she seems to’ve forgotten that lesson. Again this is a symptom of the Left.
The Left will use people then, when they become inconvenient, eat them. Every time.
China’s leadership changed … Deng Xiaoping was a lot more willing to compromise, be pragmatic, shake a lot of hands in the USA and Western Europe. His focus was entirely internal development of China, and although the PLA was large, it had no capability to project power.
Xi Jinping has a more bombast style, consolidated power to the centre, upgraded the PLA significantly, upgraded their navy, started pursuing his “Belt and Trousers” link that will eventually give them connection across half the world that they can use for both economic and military advancement. There’s been a big change of strategy, even if not a change of political structure.
Assange had his opportunity to be a martyr, he should have faced the Swedish rape charges and dared them to extradite him. Now he’s kind of irrelevant, all the great martyrs at least go to jail, self imposed exile in a foreign embassy is just a nothing and allowed him to become kind of passe. Then he made the unforgivable crime of releasing information about Clinton. All other than the hardest of left dropped him like a stone.
He should be telling the world I told you so.
As for the China problem GWB has a lot to answer for.
I thought Assange’s description of Sweden as “the Saudi Arabia of feminism” was pretty funny.
That is funny, but the point remains, there is no point in trying to be half a martyr.
Except, from memory, they were not rape charges, after all.
In both cases I understand the sex was consensual until he did it without the condom.
I have not seen any evidence that Assange put any Americans or Australians at risk by his release of information, secret or otherwise. I once believed it but I have changed my mind. His release of data about Hillary’s emails and other embarrassments probably helped Trump win in 2016.
Assange may have once been a Leftist, so what, most people are, and people learn about life. I reckon he will have grown a lot by now. His objective was to make information available. What about free speech? He is a victim of the same deep state forces that are currently harassing Trump and trying to fix the next US election. What about some form of natural justice for the poor bastard who has been in particularly cruel imprisonment for how many years already. Even if he was guilty, he has paid over the odds already. Enough, Bring him home.
Free Julian Assange.
Assange won’t be free until the deep state are defeated. He could have made himself a martyr to that cause more explicitly and made the issues the central theme of his incarceration but instead, he became the central theme. It means that the current potential martyr to the cause is Trump. Who may actually end up being a martyr and avoiding incarceration, but maybe not too. Trump is clearer about who is the enemy and what they are trying to do. That is the thing that makes him dangerous.
This government is doing the same thing as the previous government. No-one allowed at the trial is very suspicious. Like the two Canadians this is undoubtedly political.