Assange like 'cult leader' says demoralised Jemima Khan
WikiLeaks founder believes he is above the law, says former supporter who posted bail
JEMIMA KHAN, one of the most high-profile supporters of Julian Assange, has become the latest former ally to turn on the WikiLeaks founder, who has spent the last eight months holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Khan, who is rumoured to have lost as much as £20,000 when Assange skipped bail, attacked him in an article for the New Statesman magazine, saying her attitude towards the Australian journalist had changed from "admiration to demoralisation".
She said that Assange had fostered a "cultish devotion" among his supporters and was more like an "Australian L Ron Hubbard", the founder of Scientology, than the fictional fugitive Jason Bourne, to whom she once compared him.
Khan, who is executive producer of a documentary about WikiLeaks made by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, said Assange now believed that people were either for him or against him.
"I have seen flashes of Assange's charm, brilliance and insightfulness," said Khan. "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."
The former socialite turned journalist said she was also concerned about the fate of the two women Assange is accused of sexually assaulting in Sweden. It has been claimed that the allegations are just a ruse to have Assange sent to Swedwen, from where the US will try and extradite him, but Khan said the claims needed to be addressed.
"Assange is undermining both himself and his own transparency agenda – as well as doing the US Department of Justice a favour – by making his refusal to answer questions in Sweden into a human rights issue.
"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."
Khan, who is associate editor of the New Statesman, concluded: "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 the allegations."