Ciaron O’Reilly, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and making a choice

*TRIGGER WARNING – rape & rape apology*

On Saturday 2nd November, known vile misogynist and transphobic shitbag Ciaron O’Reilly is due to hold a fundraiser for Chelsea Manning and her family at the Casa in Liverpool.

Submitted by AnarchoDoom on October 25, 2013

To those unfamiliar with O’Reilly, you can read accounts of his behaviour here, here and here.

In short, O’Reilly is a supporter of Julian Assange. He continually misgenders Chelsea Manning and refers to her as Bradley. He intimidates and belittles women who challenge him. He called one trans woman who dared challenge his behaviour a “bloke in a dress”.

To many, his support for Julian Assange may not be controversial. This is why it matters:

Assange’s team is taking a conciliatory line. They will not challenge whether the alleged victims felt he was “disrespectful, discourteous, or disturbing”.

In one case Assange is accused of having sex with a woman without a condom – but Emmerson [Assange’s defence barrister] says deceiving someone on this issue is not illegal under English law.

Emmerson said earlier that he was not challenging the fact that they “found Mr Assange’s sexual behaviour in these encounters disreputable, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing towards the boundaries of what they were comfortable with”. But the sexual activities that occurred had taken place with consent, he argued, and, unlike in Sweden, could not be criminalised in the English jurisdiction.

Assange’s defence team admits his behaviour was “problematic”. They do not deny Assange’s actions. Their argument is based purely on differences in the law between Sweden and England. More to the point, they concede that his behaviour would lead to a charge of rape under Swedish law but not under English law. They argue that Assange should not be charged with and tried for rape because he did it in Sweden and now he’s in England. Further, Assange's defence does not contend that he penetrated one of the women while she was sleeping. This is rape.

If this doesn’t disturb supporters of Assange, then it should. Julian Assange has, through his defence team at his extradition hearing, admitted that he committed rape under Swedish law. So, despite the accounts of the survivors, despite the admissions of Assange’s own defence team at his extradition hearing, why do people continue to support this vile man? Why has a cult been built around him? And why do people on the left continue to give vile bastards like this a platform?

Despite all the accounts, despite the behaviour of these people and their obvious disregard for the opinions and the safety of the women who challenge them, horrible fuckers like this are still allowed into our spaces. And it’s got to stop right now.

It’s time for the left to stand up and stop accepting this pro-Assange bullshit because of its tenuous links to anti-establishment politics. The man is an admitted rapist. It’s time for the left to stop arguing that class alone is the decisive factor in all our oppressions. If class antagonisms disappeared tonight, would women be any freer, any more valued, in the society that resulted? The society we build will reflect the movement that builds it. While working-class women are ignored, belittled and shouted down, while we value the word of a man who called a trans woman a “bloke in a dress” over working-class feminist voices who have been victims of his disgusting behaviour, we accept all of the patriarchal bullshit that makes rape culture possible and keeps women “in their place”.

O’Reilly’s fundraiser in Liverpool will be challenged on the basis of his behaviour towards women and on the basis of his support for Julian Assange. There is no question that his misogyny and his support for Assange are linked. If you support Chelsea Manning, a fundraiser without the input of this horrible bastard might be a good idea. If O’Reilly’s fundraiser goes ahead, there WILL be strong opposition. For anyone who believes women are as important a part of the movement as men, for anyone who has ever called themselves a feminist or believe themselves to be an ally to feminism, you need to make a choice: stand with women against the likes of Assange, and against his supporters, O’Reilly included, or move aside. It is possible to be for Chelsea Manning and against Ciaron O’Reilly. It is possible to be against Julian Assange and the establishment. Your enemy’s enemy is not necessarily your friend.

Sources/further reading:-



10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by larkin on October 26, 2013

Without going into the details of extradition proceedings, You show a wilful blindness to the narrow parameters that the legal team fighting the extradition faced as do defenses against any extradition where the criminal case itself clearly can not be fought only the extradition request itself challenged.

More importantly You have decided that all who defend Assange and do not share your opinion (and the line of the british mainstream media from the Guardian to the Daily Mai)l, are 'rape apologists' . You have decided that no-one is allowed to look at the case and decide otherwise and if they do they must be screamed down,

NO platform for Ciaron? i assume then there is to be no platform for others who vociferously question the case against Assange , including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Jello Biafra, Naomi Wolf (feminist author of the Beauty Myth) and the organisation Women Against Rape. Will you be consistent and show its not a personal vendetta against one individual and commit to opposing any platform given to these 'rape apologists' also?

i very much doubt you have read the same literature on the case that i and others have but i would hesitate to abuse you personally for the opinions you have formed.
The broader issue is the witch hunt you and others are seeking to instigate against Ciaron O reilly based on a bunch of middle class students silly blogs. Studiously ignored is the fact that most of the real grief those students got at the anarchist bookfair was from other older activist women who found their antics in shouting down ciaron infantile and cruel and set out to turn the tables on them by winding them up. They were feminists too , ones with a hell of a lot more life experience that the students.

working class …

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by working class … on October 26, 2013

I am no expert on the 'Assange' case so I won't comment. However I am interested in your assessment that the people who confronted Ciaron 'O Reilly were 'middle class; and students. How do you know that they are either, and since when has 'student; become a pejorative term?


10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by madashell on October 26, 2013

i assume then there is to be no platform for others who vociferously question the case against Assange

You assume correctly. Now fuck off.


10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Arbed on October 27, 2013

Here's why people continue to support Julian Assange's battle against extradition for questioning that can easily and legally be done where he is in the Ecuadorian embassy.

A series of tweets sent by the lady who went to the police asking whether police could force Assange to take a HIV test (and, no, they couldn't. In a later statement she also confirmed she was not asleep at the time of the incident the Swedish state is attempting to prosecute as 'rape, less serious offence'). These text messages were all sent while she was still at the police station.

97. While the younger woman was at the police station on 20 August 2010, her phone records show that she wrote that she: did not want to put any charges on JA but that the police were keen on getting a grip on him (sv: få tag på honom) (14:26);
and that she was “chocked [sic: shocked] when they arrested JA because she only wanted him to take a test (17:06)”.
98. The woman concerned told a friend that she felt that she had been “railroaded by police and others around her”, according to the latter’s police statement.
99. According to the younger woman’s phone records, who the ‘rape’ allegation is associated to, she wrote at 07:27 on 21 August 2010 that she “did not want to accuse JA for anything”; and at 22:25 that “it was the police who made up the charges”.
100. Although the police initially opened an investigation into ‘rape’ in relation to woman AA, there was no allegation in her testimony that she had been raped. She expressed in her statement to the police that she consented to sex (“frivilligt gått med på att ha sex med Assange”) and subsequently tweeted on 22 April in 2013 “I have not been raped”.

These now form part of a criminal lawsuit Assange has filed against Sweden and the Swedish police have confirmed they have opened a formal investigation:

As regards to the other lady's complaints, these have been somewhat complicated by the fact that the Swedish National Forensics Laboratory could find no trace whatsoever of DNA on the used-looking, torn condom she handed to police saying she thought Assange had deliberately ripped it during sex - not even her own DNA was on that "used", torn condom.
Assange in Sweden: The Lab Results:

(Note: The *other* condom from the other lady, which does have a man's DNA on it and the complainant's, is only a 'fragment' "torn" in exactly the same way as the no-DNA "used" condom. Note also: Both women went to the police station and made their complaints together.)

The condom-fragment lady mentions absolutely nothing about any incident about the deliberate ripping of condoms in her formal deposition to the police, or to any of her friends according to *their* depositions. You will see, however, that a policeman has recorded in his notes on the forensic file that at some point this lady told police of hearing "sounds like someone pulling on a balloon" but that she didn't see "in the dark". But it gives no further information about exactly WHEN she has made these remarks to the police. They are certainly nowhere in her formal statement, which is very curious indeed. How can she have failed to mention such a singularly peculiar action on the part of the person she accuses, and the one thing that apparently convinced the other woman (the one who handed in the "torn" "used" condom she says Assange deliberately ripped which has no sign of DNA on it) to come along to the police station to 'support' her? The fragment, the policeman's notes of the lady's story says, was found under the bed, but there's no clue as to who found it or and no custody-chain given as to when or how this fragment came into police hands. (If they'd collected it themselves, surely they'd record time and place?) However, this lady's formal statement talks only about an incident at 9am when she wasn't quite awake when sex was initiated by Assange without a condom (15 minutes approximately after their last session WITH a condom, according to the timeline given in her official account).

So, as you can see, the underlying evidence in the case points in a very different direction from how you see it. By the way, I agree with the other commenter who points out that you have misunderstood the nature of the defence barrister's argument in court. They were arguing hypotheticals in relation to the allegations as described on the warrant, not the actual underlying evidence, which the EAW system prevents the UK courts taking into account.


10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by larkin on October 30, 2013

An elaboration.

On the Assange issue, plenty of people support Assange based on their reading of the evidence, many feminists included , If you disagree then discuss, don’t scream ‘rape apologist’; chances are, much of the time you’ll be screaming it at someone who has experienced sexual abuse themselves. if as the eloquent poster above said 'i assume correctly' regarding there being no tolerance of any individual or group who do not condemn Assange Why was there no screaming and picketing of 'Global Womens Strike ' who had a prominent stall at the Bookfair? Basically because, like all would be bullies, you are cowards. you went for a solitary individual who happens to be openly Catholic at an Anarchist event, an outsider in your narrow view.

Regarding the 'spoilt middle class student' line…on reflection that was wrong of me and thanks for pointing it out. By way of explanation, I’ve worked over 20 years in manual work, in factories, building sites, warehouses etc. I also did 3 years at University. I’ve had to deal with plenty of tossers in that time but Never in my work related encounters with hundreds and hundreds of individuals in different countries, regardless of colour, gender or sexuality, have I encountered people who have behaved with the assumptions of privilege adopted by those attacking Ciaron at the bookfair. The only time I have heard such embarrassing , shrill denunciations of perceived thought crimes was in a couple of uni courses a long time ago where students with little or no life experience tried to outdo one another in outrage over the ignorance of the lumpen proletariat. On reflection it was wrong of me to use the term in a derogatory fashion as the ‘no platformers’ last week were far, far worse ,in their assumption of privilege than the worst elements of students or indeed middle class people in general.

Specifically (and this goes for wider society outside of the workplace also) if you want to go and shout someone down, abuse them, scream ‘rape apologist’ at them and engage in attempts at physical intimidation (such as the girl who jumped up on the bench and kicked Ciaron’s bag, such as the girl who grabbed hold of the Anonymous woman’s bag and refused to let go until it became very clear that things would escalate , such as the brat who leaned over others to grab and rip up a woman’s petition), then, regardless of whether you are transgender, male or female, regardless of whether you are black , white or asian , if you do these things then you had better expect to get a pretty strong response. That’s just common sense for the vast majority of people.

However , following their initial abuse of Ciaron early in the day, the next move of the ‘no platform’ ‘feminists’ demonstrates such extraordinary narcissism that in my view it can only come from having had a very sheltered life .

To clarify: Those who set out to abuse, insult and try and intimidate Ciaron at the bookfair not only expected to get away with it but, in the most extraordinary display of assumed privilege, expected they could do this and then retreat to a room which they had designated a ‘Safe Space’ where they could say what they liked without any interference from others (and according to the Anonymous people who went there , what they were chanting was more than a little dodgy!).

They were swiftly disillusioned when several who had witnessed their earlier behaviour decided to turn the tables on them, enter their meeting and give them a taste of their own medicine, cue shrill denunciations of who?? Not the women who , disgusted at the ‘no platform’ers earlier bullying, confronted them, but Ciaron who had not gone there but had had the gall to refer to a woman who abused him as ‘a silly girl’. Why has there not been a denunciation of the women who confronted the ‘no platformers’? Because this is a petty minded vendetta against an individual and they don’t fit the narrative, they serve no purpose in this vendetta therefore they can be overlooked.

If you look at the vile cowardly abuse that has been directed at Ciaron through these blogs and online comments and were to direct even a fraction of it back at the ‘no platformers’ they would instantly be screaming ‘misogynist’. .. Just to be clear, if you want to abuse someone you had better expect the abuse to be returned, if you want to escalate to physical confrontation then you had better expect that to be reciprocated, that’s common sense to ordinary people but seems to have shocked the brats at the Bookfair. In short , there’s a lesson those who do not lead sheltered lives learn very quickly, Don’t give it if you cant take it .

Finally ‘transphobic’ ?, have you had an irony bypass?? You are trying to organise a boycott of the only Manning family support benefit gig there has been in this country. You are trying to STOP people turning out to show their solidarity with Manning and more importantly to offer the very real support of raising money for the Manning family to visit Chelsea. And you are doing this in the name of ‘opposing transphobia’. Genius!

Jason Cortez

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Jason Cortez on November 5, 2013

the argument that what happened to these women isn't 'rape-rape'. People were running these lines, before they even knew what the charges are. The charges are actually really clear cut: he had sex with one woman while she was asleep, and he didn't stop when another woman said stop. It doesn't require a very in depth and complex understanding of consent to understand that that is rape. But there is a constant narrative that anything other than stranger rape where force is used is somehow a lesser form of rape. That narrative is really damaging to rape survivors.

But I think that defenders of Julian Assange do the most damage when they construct a way that rape victims behave and imply that the woman involved isn't acting like a rape victim: she tweeted about him, or she seemed happy, or she saw him again

Being the victim of abuse is not always something that you can mentally process logically and immediately. People don't always respond rationally to the experience of being sexually assaulted. A person's first thoughts after being raped aren't necessarily "hmm, that was totally not on, I should consider reporting them to the police". Someone can react to abuse by trying to appease their abuser; or can be bullied or scared or cajoled into acting normally in spite of how much the experience messed them up at the time; or can just suck it because they've been dealing with shit like this their whole lives. Or a million other things.

and this article

sum up my problems with Assange defenders on here. And of course the British state's response is political, but that doesn't somehow magically made him innocent and the whole Sweden will extradite him to the USA, please stop it, with that nonsense.


10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by KaterinaValente on November 27, 2013

I don't know if anyone lately has noticed, but the whole thing of anyone trying to say something publicly seems to be under attack. Young people in general are not even interested in marching for peace as they use to be when I was an undergraduate. I think the Julian Assange story is really a very interesting one. They call him a maverick, and I guess that will stick. But, no one has tried harder to get the reason for not warring across than Assange. He almost could be called obsessive, if it weren't for the pictures of children caught in the conflicts that actually do make there way into the public arena, it's almost the case, that we in our freedom have forgotten what it feels like to have our lives and freedom threatened. The evidences of war, and the effect of bombings, are now so rarely in the the march against drones recently in London was poorly attended by the 'Westerners', and only members of the Pakistani community making up the crowd...I managed to support a bit with some journalism, and my pressence with a small placard, saying 'No to the drones, No to the bombing of civilian homes', but, can't you see...American policy is so bad at this time, they tell us they go after terrorists, but kill half a dozen civilians in the process..We all need to get behind the STOP THE WAR whatever capacity.


10 years 7 months ago

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Submitted by Tyrion on November 27, 2013

Julian Assange may be a narcissist, rapist, and all-around asshole, but could he also be a heroic rebel?



9 years 7 months ago

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Submitted by sophiebextor on November 26, 2014

You write that Julian Assange ‘has, through his defence team at his extradition hearing, admitted that he committed rape under Swedish law.’

That is false.

Also, Miss AA, one of the women involved in the Assange case, tweeted the following on 22 April 2013: ‘I have not been raped.’

And the other woman involved in the case, SW, ‘did not want to accuse JA for anything’, according to her phone records, seen by Assange’s legal team.

‘It was the police who made up the charges’, her phone records reportedly show.