Jemima Khan speaks out against Assange

FP

Socialite Jemima Khan today became the first high-profile supporter of Julian Assange to launch a blistering attack on the WikiLeaks founder, warning that he may lose his "hero" status, expecting his supporters to follow him with "unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion".

The British heiress - the latest defector from the WikiLeaks camp - said the chief of the whistle-blowing website risks becoming Australia's version of L Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology.

"WikiLeaks whose mission statement was 'to produce a more just society based upon truth' has been guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to

expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion," she wrote in

British weekly magazine News Statesman, where she is an associate editor.

The London-based socialite and former wife of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was among a group of people who put up bail money for Assange during a failed legal challenge to extradition proceedings brought by authorities in Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.

They were ordered by a court last year to forfeit around 200,000 pounds in bail money after the embattled WikiLeaks chief broke his bail conditions in June 2012 and took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He has been inside the

building ever since.

While Khan - daughter of the late financier James Goldsmith - has not revealed the exact amount she lost, it is believed that her support for Assange had cost her 20,000 pounds.

"I have seen flashes of Assange's charm, brilliance and insightfulness 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," wrote 39-year-old Khan, also the executive producer of a documentary film about WikiLeaks entitled 'We Steal Secrets', which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the US.

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