In yesterday’s The Age opinion pages, Nick Dyrenfurth wrote that “the real issues go begging in the quest to ‘save’ Julian Assange”. One has to ask, however, is it not equally true that the real issues go begging in the quest to condemn him as well?
Lost beneath the quest to demonise Assange specifically, and the Left generally, is the reality of what this is actually all about – the exposure of war crimes committed by governments and lies told by their officials – war crimes and lies exposed by Julian Assange and his Wikileaks organisation. Dyrenfurth’s tirade against Assange and the Left is no more than a serious effort to make as much noise as possible about the messenger so as to drown out the message.
Dyrenfurth was eager enough to point out that Assange’s leaks had shown a “callous disregard for the safety of real freedom fighters, by virtue of publishing un-redacted US cables”, yet Dyrenfurth fails to understand that Assange might not necessarily regard those particular ‘freedom fighters’ as being ‘freedom fighters’ but rather as ‘terrorists’ who would readily kill innocent people in their efforts to get at those who they regard as ‘terrorists’. Remember, one mans freedom fighter can just as easily be another mans terrorist. Beside, it might well be that Assange has actually saved many innocent lives by exposing those that are targeting innocent Afghans and Pakistanis to drone attacks.
This brings us to the next point. Dyrenfurth argues that the Left are somehow in cahoots with radical Islam. He writes:
…today some [of the Western Left] adopt an uncritical stance towards another budding form of totalitarianism, radical Islam, which they depict as a form of anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist politics. Thus, in 2006, anti-war protesters in London chanted, ''We are all Hezbollah now.'' Likewise, in one of his zany Russia Today interviews Assange dubbed Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah a ''freedom fighter''.
Inasmuch that Nasrallah led Hezbollah in resisting Israel’s attempt to overrun south Lebanon in 2006, so Nasrallah can indeed be called a “freedom fighter” but that doesn’t mean that the Left supports Hezbollah and its ideology; it simply means that the Left does not support Israel’s expansionist agenda which involves occupying the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Shebaa Farms, south Lebanon up to the Litani River and the Gaza Strip, all of which Israel has or has attempted to occupy in the past only to be driven back in some of these places by… well, “Palestinian and Arab freedom fighters” or, as Dyrenfurth would probably prefer, “Palestinian and Arab terrorists”. For the Right the argument about whether or not a fighter is a ‘freedom fighter’ or a ‘terrorist’ is a Left/Right thing, while for the Left it’s more of a Right/Wrong thing.
And to argue that the Western Left ‘depict radical Islam as anti-Imperialist and anti-capitalist’ is plain nonsense. Radical Islam embraces its own potential for imperialism and Osama bin Laden came from one of the richest Muslim families on the planet.
But, that’s enough of rebutting Dyrenfurth’s distractive noise-making about Assange; lets get back to what this is really all about - war crimes and lies perpetrated by the US, Israel and their allies and exposed by Assange and Wikileaks.
As an historian, Dyrenfurth knows well enough that eventually the Assange story will pass into history simply as ‘the Assange story’ while the discoveries made by Wikileaks will eventually bubble to the surface of history and paint its own picture; a picture that the likes of Dyrenfurth would prefer people not see for as long as possible.
And that’s what this is really all about as far as Dyrenfurth is concerned; it’s just bells and whistles covering up the myriad of crimes and wrongdoings of the West perpetrated in the first decade of the twenty-first century.