Like Dreyfus before him, says Bob Ellis, the imperilled Julian Assange is dividing the nation — and the world.
Like Dreyfus, Assange is dividing his nation. He is said, like Dreyfus, to have helped our enemies and imperilled our friends. Like Dreyfus, he is imprisoned, and innocent of any crime.
Unlike Dreyfus, he has not been charged with any crime, and will have, soon, a widely watched television show in Russia. He will soon be running his own television interview show, probably, and outraging Piers Morgan.
And this is a new thing in the world, and everybody is coping with it very badly. Gillard called what he did ‘illegal’. Hillary Clinton called it ‘treason’, unaware at the time that he was not an American. John McCain called for his execution. Perry, Palin, O’Reilly and Hannity urged that he be hunted down and killed. And even worse are some political female friends of mine who wanted him gaoled for two sex crimes of which he is, by his own victims’ testaments, innocent.
"Swedish woman worked so hard to get these laws passed," one said, "and they have to be affirmed."
"But he is innocent," I said. "He sexually surprised no-one. He had sex without a condom with no-one. They said so. The two women said so."
"It doesn’t matter," she said. "He should go to Sweden, and face the music."
"But if he does he fears he will be killed. And if there were only one chance in ten of that, I wouldn’t, either."
"He should go and face the music."
I argued with this eminent Labor woman for a long time, saying one woman repeatedly had sex with him after the ‘surprise’ and the other woman tried to; but to no avail. I said his crime was to show a US helicopter gunship crew to be unpunished killers and lose the US all respect in the Middle East, and they would kill him for this loss of esteem if they could, as they killed Osama bin Laden. I said he had caused, or helped cause, the Arab Spring and thus liberated, perhaps, half a billion souls. But he endangered some diplomats’ lives, she said. And that outweighed all that. Name one dead diplomat, I said. And she couldn’t.
Murdoch and wowser feminists are killing a hero and I resent it. I am told by these underinformed women that because he is ‘arrogant’ or ‘self-seeking’ or ‘hubristic’ or ‘contemptuous of the lives of others’, he should be killed. This was never said of Bob Dylan. It was never said of George Orwell. It was never said of Dan Ellsberg. Or Norman Mailer. Or Hunter S. Thompson. Apparently being curt, now, or a rat with women, is a capital offence.
No, it’s not. No, it’s not. It’s just the right wing hanging round the neck of a left-wing person (Bill Clinton; John Edwards; Mike Rann; Don Dunstan; Craig Thomson) the rotting albatross of sexual suspicion. It is a technique. It is what they do.
And the wowser-feminists have bought it — hook, line and sinker. They cannot distinguish what is unimportant from what is world-altering. What Assange did with America’s secret cables ended its imperial influence forever. What he did to the two girls barely even distressed them. He is being railroaded by their ignorant righteousness into forty years of torture, or a sudden beating to death in gaol, and they think he deserves it.
They are not fit to wipe his shoes, or to wash his underpants, in my aggravated view. They do not know. They do not know what they are doing.
More and more friendships will be broken over this — as they were over Dreyfus, and Lindy Chamberlain. And then he will be killed, and a moment of clarity, too late, will irradiate the world — as it did after Martin Luther King was killed, in his fortieth year.