Opinion

Assange a modern Christ, crucified to assuage a hostile empire

WikiLeaks founder revealed how the Western great powers spy, kill, torture and intimidate

21 April 2019 - 00:57 By DONOVAN E WILLIAMS

Good Friday is the occasion when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There have been many lynchings, extrajudicial assassinations, etcetera, of freedom fighters. Jesus's crucifixion was different because He was executed within the law.
On Good Friday there is always the retelling of the story of the crucifixion. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, cross-examines Jesus in an effort to find him guilty of something. When he cannot, he famously washes his hands of the matter, allowing the rich and powerful of Judean society to manipulate the law and crucify Jesus under Roman authority.
Apartheid was deemed a crime against humanity because it was implemented within the facade of the rule of law. The law allowed Solomon Mahlangu and others to be executed, as well as permitting Nelson Mandela and other activists to be imprisoned.
Many of us half expected this behaviour from a fascist state like apartheid SA, but not in a democracy. We do not expect it in countries like Sweden, Britain and the US. These countries often pontificate on world stages on the importance of democracy, just and fair processes, a free press, and the importance of certainty and consistency in law.
This Easter we witness a modern crucifixion and the world is asked to pull a Pontius Pilate and turn a blind eye while the rich and powerful crucify Julian Assange. No-one says Assange is a saviour but his treatment smacks of lynch-mob mentality.Assange is the face of WikiLeaks, which has published documents, footage, e-mails, etcetera, fingering the US and its allies in killing, torturing, intimidating, lying and bribing people in the Middle East. It exposed the US's spying on and undermining of even itsfriends. It exposed a high level of hypocrisy, revealing politicians having said things opposite to what they have said in public. WikiLeaks has been a treasure trove of information, exposing the sick underbelly of the Western empire, as led by the US.WikiLeaks (as reported in US publication Truthdig) released footage of US troops in 2007 in Iraq killing civilians, including children and two Reuters journalists. It published 90,000 e-mails that exposed the deceit of Hilary Clinton.It revealed the donations of millions of dollars by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to the Clinton Foundation. Goldman Sachs gave Hillary Clinton $657,000 (about R9.5m) dressed up as speaker's fees. In the e-mails, Clinton told financial bosses she believed Wall Street would be better at managing the economy, contrary to what she said on her campaign trail. WikiLeaks also exposed her as the main sponsor of the war in Libya, just so she could embellish her presidential candidacy.WikiLeaks' network was so sophisticated that the US and its allies have not been able to shut it down. They tried the next best, shutting down Assange.We can discern from the timeline (below) that the justice and executive systems of these countries were technically abused to keep Assange hostage. Some of the coincidences are uncanny. Sweden dropped the accusation of rape in May 2017 when Lenin Moreno took office as president of Ecuador, succeeding Rafael Correa, a supporter of Assange. Moreno claimed not to support Assange.
Another coincidence was when the British police entered the Ecuadorean embassy last week, a month after the International Monetary Fund approved a loan of $4.2bn to Ecuador.
WikiLeaks is not based in the US, UK or Sweden. Chelsea Manning, the US soldier who leaked information to Wikileaks, has refused to implicate Assange. None of the editors of newspapers that published the WikiLeaks information is being charged.
So where are the media doyens? Where are the truth crusaders? The world is in trouble because the so-called good people work on behalf of the powerful, so that change must mean as little change as possible, or preferably none at all.
The task of the ANC has been for the people to govern. However, for the people to govern, they must defeat a power that has never been defeated. Every time an empire faced defeat, it surreptitiously passed the power to another set of elites. The Romans passed it to the British, French and Spanish, who in turn passed it to the Americans.
We are not powerful enough to overcome this Western behemoth. Taking on the empire risks being isolated and punished. We have to box clever and choose battles wisely and retain a measure of independence. We have to be Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, not to reveal all and bide our time until we have weapons they cannot defeat. Now is not that time.
We are Jon Snow at The Wall, without a powerful benefactor, hardly any skills, no special powers, and we can only appeal to the good nature of those with power. But as in Game of Thrones, this time shall pass, and when it passes, we must be ready for action.
- Williams is an ANC staffer. These are his personal views
TIMELINE OF EVENTS

August 20 2010: allegations of rape and molestation against Assange in Sweden.
August 21 2010: allegations withdrawn. One of Stockholm’s chief prosecutors, Eva Finne, says: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”
September 1 2010: Swedish director of prosecution Marianne Ny says she is reopening the rape investigation.
November 18 2010: the Stockholm court approves a request to question Assange, by this time in London. He is willing to be questioned at the Swedish embassy in London, fearing rendition to the US.
November 20 2010: Swedish police issue an international arrest warrant for Assange.
December 8 2010: Assange hands himself over to British police.
December 16 2010: Assange is granted bail by the British high court.
February 24 2011: Court rules that Assange should be extradited to Sweden, which is appealed.
May 30 2012: the supreme court rules that he should be extradited to Sweden.
June 19 2012: Assange enters the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
August 20 2012: UK will not grant Assange permission to travel to Ecuador and is legally obliged to extradite him to Sweden.
August 13 2015: Swedish prosecutors drop charges of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion because of time lapsed, but he still faces charges of rape that expire in 2020.
February 5 2016: the UN’s working group on arbitrary detention rules that Assange should be freed.
November 14 2016: Sweden’s chief prosecutor questions Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
May 19 2017: Sweden announces that the rape investigation of Assange is dropped, contradicting its earlier statement that it can be dropped only in 2020.
December 2017: Assange is given Ecuadorean citizenship.
July 27 2018: President Moreno of Ecuador says he has never supported Assange’s “activities”. The UK and Ecuador confirm they are holding talks on Assange.
October 2018: Assange is given a set of house rules by the Ecuadorean embassy, amid statements that he is a messy guest and does not take care of his cat.
December 6 2018: Assange rejects an agreement between the UK and Ecuador on him leaving the Ecuadorean embassy.
April 11 2019: the British police enter the Ecuadorean embassy and arrest Assange for “failing to surrender to the court" over a warrant issued in 2012.
The US has requested the extradition of Assange to face charges of conspiring tosteal state documents.- Sourced from bbc.com..

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day, Financial Mail or Rand Daily Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.

X