All Things Assyrian
The Royal Assyrian Advisor and Julian Assange
By Leon Hill
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Within the magnificent stone halls of the Neo-Assyrian Empire's court in the 7th century BC, the name of the scribe Ahikar was synonymous with integrity.

A royal advisor and chronicler who served under kings such as Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, Ahikar was mandated to record important matters of the state, and provide his lords with wise counsel they could use to better serve the ends of the Empire.

Yet his proximity to power didn't come without risk. As advisor, Ahikar was sometimes required to critique the actions and decisions of leaders in the Assyrian capital Nineveh and beyond. In this role, Ahikar always maintained absolute honesty and a steadfast commitment to truth and justice--a fact that would eventually see him buried in an avalanche of ruin.

The one who would ruin him? None other than his adopted son and nephew Nadin.

Jealous of his foster father's respect at court, Nadin hatched a plan to use Ahikar's respected qualities against him. He concocted a series of false accusations, painting Ahikar as a traitor who believed the king wasn't honourable enough to hold his position, and was subsequently plotting to oust him from power.

Nadin falsified evidence, which quickly turned the king against his once-favoured servant. In the end, the king issued a swift and severe decree: Ahikar was to be executed for his supposed crimes.

But fate had other plans.

Ahikar's would-be executioner was a long-time admirer of the scribe's work, praising his lifetime of service to wisdom and virtue. In a daring act of compassion that risked his own life, the executioner spared Ahikar and hid him away. Ahikar's supposed death was mourned by many, yet he lived on in the shadows.

With Ahikar out of the picture, Nadin assumed his father's former position of power.

In time, however, Nadin's mismanagement and corruption became increasingly evident, causing unrest amongst the court and the Assyrian people. Despite believing Ahikar was dead, the populace continued to cherish his wisdom and stories. Doubts about Nadin grew, and loyalists to Ahikar quietly gathered evidence of his deceit.

The truth, like a seedling pushing slowly through soil, began to surface.

Eventually, undeniable proof of Nadin's treachery and failure to lead came to light, compelling the king to re-examine the case. Realising the grave injustice, and discovering that his former scribe still lived, the king ordered Ahikar to be brought forth from hiding.

Ahikar's return was met with joy, and he was reinstated to his rightful position. Truth and integrity ultimately prevailed, mirroring the enduring power of honesty and justice, just as Ahikar's teachings had persisted through his supposed demise.


In case you missed it, Julian Assange has been set free.

After 1401 days in London's Belmarsh prison, and 2,487 days prior in the embassy of Ecuador, he stepped on a plane at London's Stanstead prison bound for Australia late on Monday night.

On the way, Assange was required to make a stop on Saipan in the middle of the Pacific to face a US judge who would officially sentence him. His punishment was to serve five years in prison, which took into consideration the time he had already languished in Belmarsh.

As I write this, a mere five hours ago, Assange stepped out of the courthouse on Saipan a free man. Thus ending a 14-year saga that saw him branded as one of the United States' most pursued enemies.

His crimes? Revealing footage to the public via WikiLeaks that showed the United States government committing war crimes in Iraq. This included the now infamous "Collateral Murder" video depicting a US Army Apache helicopter gunship that gunned down more than a dozen unarmed people--including two Reuters journalists--without provocation.

Because of that, for nearly fourteen years his life has been robbed from him as those in power sought to hide their inadequacies from the world by killing a good man who dedicated his life to the truth.

And remember, they did try to kill Assange.

In 2021, Yahoo! News confirmed that former CIA director Mike Pompeo instructed the agency to make plans for kidnapping and murdering Assange.

And as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton allegedly asked if they could just "drone" him.

Mirroring the story of Ahikar, Assange's truth could not be suppressed. And much like the Assyrian scribe, much of it is due to the public's increasing support of him over time.

When WikiLeaks gained prominence between 2010 and 2012, less than a quarter of Americans opposed prosecuting Julian Assange or WikiLeaks. However, as the US government's prosecution of Assange increasingly appeared corrupt and unjust, public support for him had almost doubled by 2023.

Assange's win this week was only possible thanks to over a decade of unwavering public support and advocacy.

If you're reading this, you're among the growing number of people globally who can see the trend of our governments becoming more authoritarian. If it doesn't concern you, it should.

Many of us are afraid of the powers-that-be who have seemingly unlimited power to surveil us, intercept our communications, and gradually strip away our rights. Or like Assange, potentially imprison us for over a decade for revealing crimes of the powerful.

But we shouldn't be afraid. Assange's case proves that with enough support and pressure, we can win.

It's hackneyed, but true: People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of the people. They exist to serve us, not the other way around.

Assange's victory is one we all share.

It's a win for journalism, personal sovereignty, and the right to know when our governments are up to no good.

We should use this event as a reminder of how important personal liberty is for all of us. This won't be the last time we see a case like Assange, especially as we remember the likes of Edward Snowden who are still considered enemies of their own country for being allies of the people.

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