For what seems like forever, the Julian Assange saga has been everywhere. On TV, in the papers, on Facebook and Twitter, it's been impossible to avoid it and all the horrific misogyny and rape apologism that comes with it. Underlying all of which is a cliché - at that a fallacious one - which defines pretty much all of the worst in leftist politics: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
This blog is not about the finer points of the Assange case itself. If you're interested in that, there's a pretty decent round up of posts about it over at The F Word. However, since everyone and their mate has blogged about that, I won't be going there. Rather, I'll be using Assange as a jumping off point.
Notable in the arguments surrounding the events - aforementioned misogyny and rape apologism aside - is the assertion by many that Assange is in the right because he is an opponent of the United States. Some supporters have tried to be more nuanced about it, careful to talk about evidence and motives, distancing themselves from the lunatic fringes whilst still claiming that to label their view as a "conspiracy theory" is to dismiss them too lightly. Others wear their tinfoil hats with pride, even going so far as to label anyone who disagrees with them as a state asset.
In all cases, we're brought back to a simple binary - Assange versus US imperialism. The implication being that we have to choose a side. The idea that he might still have to answer serious allegations, regardless of American motives towards him being unthinkable. And, of course, when you remove those pesky grey areas it becomes so much easier to label those who disagree with you as agents of the CIA/whoever pushing a global conspiracy.
But this kind of "us and them" politics isn't limited to the case of Julian Assange. It's long been a staple of the left1 , and even as the Assange case has taken up most of our airtime lately there have been other recent examples.
George Galloway - who continues to put himself out as the most vile commentator on Assange - has often been an example of such two dimensional politics. Earlier this month, he rehashed his views that Tibet was not a country and he endorsed its repression by China, accusing those who disagreed of "Dalai Lama obscurantism." Alongside which, he has defended Iran's practice of executing homosexuals, supported the Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas and condemned Syrian revolutionaries as “serving the Crusaders” by fighting against the authoritarian regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
Nor is Galloway alone in these views. They echo across a spectrum from Stalinists and orthodox Trotskyists to the oddballs who witter about fluoride in the water and 9/11 being an inside job. All things are defined in relation to America or to imperialism (or the New World Order), and nobody has agency except to be for or against such.
I even remember seeing people on Twitter demanding to know, "If Pussy Riot protesters were men and the venue was a Mosque, your views would be?" The implication (mirrored on the right) being that since we jail racists for vandalising a mosque it was just fine for Putin to lock up a band for playing music inside a church. Or, if you want to take it to even more absurd lengths, solidarity with the band is "fueled by inter-imperialist rivalry and residual anti-communist ideology." Really.
The problem with all of this - beyond that the politics involved are utterly batshit - is that the people spouting these views have far more influence than they should in left circles. Not to mention that this simplistic black-and-white version of left wing politics is not confined to the odd moronic outburst in the media or on the internet.
As well as undermining solidarity with those who deserve it - the global working class, whoever they're in struggle against - such views can also lead to behaviour which threatens us all. After all, if those who are not with you are against you, how easy is it to reach the view that dissent must be suppressed? Nor am I talking about specifically revolutionary situations such as Krondstadt. In the here and now, we see examples of this - from Greek Stalinists stading with the police against anarchists to innumerable instances of Unite Against Fascism collaborating with the police to unmask and foil militant anti-fascists.
That's why this kind of politics galls me, and why I think those of us with genuine class politics should always be on guard against it. If it was just the occasional moron on Twitter, I could ignore it. But these people are in our trade unions, on the stalls in the town centres and stewarding our marches, as well as being far beyond the fringes of rational thought. In history, they shot us against walls, now they pull our masks down on demos whilst Nazis are taking photos or call us CIA moles for not supporting rapists.
The enemy of your enemy isn't always your friend. The person who thinks that this saying is true never is.
- 1With a mirror on the right, of course, but that's not what I'm here to discuss.
What's so bad about
What's so bad about Hamas?
Anyway, spot on article.
Diggin this. Needs to be said
Diggin this. Needs to be said more often than should be neccesary...
Great article. This is the
Great article. This is the thing that annoys me the most about general 'left-wing' politics. It seems to me that it's a remnant from Cold War politics, where everything must be boiled down to a simplistic binary, good on one side, bad on the other.
Pro tip: If your politics lead you to support one group of thieves and murderers against another group of thieves and murderers, you should probably reconsider your position.
Perhaps now I understand
Perhaps now I understand better why I hadn't really made up my mind about the Assange case and Wikileaks (besides the fact that I hadn't really paid much attention to either). Useful as wikileaks may appear, I never thought I needed leaked internal Pentagon e-mails to make my case against capitalism or imperialism or to support my views for socialism.
That aside, I thoroughly agree with the article's denunciation of that oft-used principle of alliance with the "enemy of my enemy".
I have a question, though: Is the "enemy of my enemy" principle comparable to my own dilemma regarding the current electoral choices in the U.S.? By that I mean that I have been considering voting for Obama in November because I think that by abstaining (something I done far too often up until the 2008 elections) I might help elect someone else whom I believe to be much worse and possibly a greater threat to the working class.
In your view, am I engaging in the same ideological error as those people on the left that the above essay so aptly describes?
Great article, I've been
Great article, I've been thinking about this for a while and this pretty much sums up what was in my head (but better). Although the false dichotomy seems to be something that's been a staple of human intellectual debate since forever, I think there's a great deal of value in putting out arguments on why it's generally just absurd and tends to lead to a very reactionary response from all parties involved and really does stifle any further dialogue.
Quote: Galloway [...]
Yes, because while the Assange case isn't a simple binary issue, the Syrian uprising is.
And while it is wrong to label people who oppose Assange's case as "US imperialists", labelling people who oppose the Syrian uprising as pro-Assad authoritarians is totally right.
@sten erhmm are you
erhmm are you attributing the position of george galloway to the author of the blog post, it's not clear.
The post author was
The post author was criticizing Galloway because of Galloway's 'shady' opinions on several issues (such as Palestinian nationalism and the Syrian uprising).
However, by doing this, the post author is applying a double standard.
He attacks people for treating complex situations as "binary issues", but then he treats equally-complex situations as binary issues himself.
When one is a an
When one is a an anti-imperialist 'believer', that is one who moves beyond seeing imperialism as a important variable in a complex situation to one where it is the only thing driving political reality, then such blinkered, binary, conspiracy fuelled world view amongst many in the left is its logical outcome.
@sten The post author isn't
The post author isn't treating Palestine or Syria as anything here, merely pointing out that Galloway's (and by extension, much of the left's) position on them is of a piece with their "enemy of my enemy" catch-all approach to politics.
Sten wrote: [[...]labelling
How then would you label people "who oppose the Syrian uprising" if at all?
Book O'Dead wrote: How then
Some are Baath loyalists (and thus authoritarians), but opposing/not supporting the Syrian uprising doesn't mean you're supporting Assad. I can't think of an all-encompassing adjective, but if there is one, it's not authoritarians, given that there's abundance of authoritarians on the anti-Assad side too (nationalists or Islamists backed by Saudi Arabia) and that one may oppose the uprising on 'leftist' grounds too (ie, thinking of it as part of an inter-imperialist conflict).
Well, if he's calling the Syrian opposition "revolutionaries" ... I'm assuming he supports them?
Sten wrote: Book O'Dead
I'm not sure that your logic makes sense to me as your characterizations are somewhat imprecise.
Be that as it may, wherein do you place yourself among the categories of pro\anti-Assad factions you offered above? IOW's, where do YOU stand on the question?
Also, how do you feel about the Assand affair? Is there any merit to the accusations of rape against him? Should he return to Sweden to face his accusers? Should he be allowed to leave England for Ecuador? Should the UK invade Ecuador and make Swedish the official language of that country?
Yes. You won't see radical democracy being estabilished.
If the uprising succeed what you will see is a shift in the balance of power in the Middle East from an Iran-led front to a Saudi Arabia-led front. That's all.
Are proletarians taking part in the uprising because they see it as a genuine struggle against oppression? Yes.
Is the Assad regime authoritarian? Yes.
Is the Syrian opposition a socially radical and socially revolutionary mass movement? No.
Where do I stand on the question?
Well, I would support a radicalization of the opposition movement (or radical elements within the opposition movement - at the moment, those are far from majoritarian, though).
I think that Assange's rape charges aren't politically motivated (as some Assange supporters claim) and thus feel he should be trialled.
However, I fear that once in Sweden he would be extradited to the US and prosecuted for his Wikileaks-related activities. I would be happy if he was trialled in absentia and then extradited to Sweden by the UK/Ecuador only in execution of a sentence.
I'm asking this question with
I'm asking this question with no strings attached. Why do people think Assange is more likely to be extradited from Sweden than the UK? Given Britain's history of extradition and extraordinary extradition [sic] to the U.S.....
You seem to be simplifying
You seem to be simplifying the Syrian (civil war, uprising, revolution, I think I'm going to call it the Syrian "troubles" for the particularly funny euphemism, not to downplay what's going on) into just a proxy battle between two imperial blocs.
Now there is admittedly that geopolitical fight taking place with arms from different imperial benefactors going to various different factions, but there is also some level of popular participation and while it may be funnelled for the large part into particular factions, but there is a a mobilisation of people of, strikes etc and a level of discourse within the population as a whole towards questioning the politics/motives of the different players.
So whatever state arises hopefully people have the "cultural memory" (bad term) of struggles past to be able to stand up to it and to not be in a position they were prior the "troubles".
Arbeiten wrote: I'm asking
Assange is just as likely to be extradited to the US from the UK as from Sweden.
Right now he isn't under the jurisdiction of either.
Sten wrote: Arbeiten
I know, that is the background knowledge implied in my question. Why do people think it is like this, even though it doesn't seem to be the case?. *rolls eyes* [sic] .
Perhaps there isn't an answer to it. It seems to me it might be just some sort of odd rationalization mechanism that keeps Assange apologism internally coherent. But I was wondering if anyone else could shed some light on this problem.
Apparently "Any extradition
Apparently "Any extradition from Sweden to the United States would actually be more difficult. This is because it would require the consent of both Sweden and the United Kingdom."
Assange best position is to
Assange best position is to be in a place that wont deport him to US. UK AND Sweden wont guarantee it, the only thing he can rely on, which is imho quite a strong card, is the massive global outcry if this was put in place. The question is is if he is found guilty would that outpouring be as large and vehement, especially by those who matter?
In Sweden there is no Jury
In Sweden there is no Jury system. Your guilt is decided by the judge and a panel of 'lay judges' who are in practice, political bigwigs from the currently governing political parties. In other words, whether guilty or innocent in actuality, once Assange is in front of the Swedish court, the likelihood of him not being judged a convicted rapist in short order is roughly on a par of the likelihood of waking up one morning and finding that David Cameron, on his latest visit to the Queen, has decapitated her, barricaded himself in the palace, eaten the corgis and is now broadcasting on a pirate waveband calling for the people of Britain to rise up, smash the state and implement FULL COMMUNISM now. In other words, not very likely.
Once he's officially a convicted rapist, the powers that be can do what they like with him and who will be able to protest re extradition to Guantanamo or whatever, for fear of being labelled a supporter of a convicted rapist (Galloway excepted, ovs). It's perfectly simple really.
I will never really
I will never really understand why people think telling everyone whos side youre on accounts for support. Its just identity politics, wherin actual activism and class warfare are swapped out for wearing opinions like badges on a jacket.
Quote: Yes. You won't see
I'm sorry but I find this paragraph really confusing, you won't find Assad establishing a radical democracy either so why would that be a factor in your stance?
Err I think you might want to refresh your knowledge of the phrase balance of power, Saudi Arabia has always been the dominant nation in the region arguably more powerful and important then Israel. At its peak the Islamic Republic of Iran could only be called a "rising power" and the trouble with rising powers is they often trip up and fall back down. Without Syria whose Arab Nationalism was always a barrier to really close ties the only nations Iran has close ties with is Iraq and Lebanon and I suppose Gaza (but there quite isolated) in both cases there are large and powerful opposition forces within those nations and large external powers like the West and Israel waiting to swoop in should pro Iranian forces gain the upper hand.
But this is tree gazing if you think the only things at stake here are power balances between Tehran and Riyadh then why oppose or support either side?
Ok and how do you rate the chances of a radical Socially revolutionary mass movement developing in Syria under the oppression of the Assad regime, better,worse about the same? Unless you think there was a better chance of such a movement developing without this challenge to the regime I don't see how this would affect your stance on the issue. It reminds me of a Maoist complaining that the Arab Spring was rubbish because there was no Communist (I assume Maoist) party in a leadership role, I asked him if he thought such a party to grow to be capable of such a task with the security forces breathing down there necks but he never replied.
Ok here's the problem, you haven't actually told us were you stand on this problem at all. You've just outlined your grievances and told us your personal ideal scenario. That isn't the same thing I think we'd like to know where you stand on the situation as it is currently not after you've had your three wishes.
I consider both movements to
I consider both movements to be largely controlled by foreign/authoritarian interests and I think none will benefit the Syrian people. So, I don't want to choose a side. And don't have to.
ocelot wrote: It's perfectly
Is it really 'perfectly simple'? I mean. I am not expert on the respective laws of Sweden, the UK, the US and international law (all are implicated), but this is anything but simple. As I said in my last post, it seems to me to be something more like cognitive dissonance. JK's link makes it seem anything but simple. Similarly this article seems to suggest it would be quite difficult and that,
But, as I say. I am no expert....
Perhaps the OP or others can
Perhaps the OP or others can remind me of exactly what charges alleging sex crimes have brren brought against Assange in Sweden? Oh, that's right, there aren't any. The reason Assange refused to go to Sweden is that the minute he entered a Swedish police station to be interviewed as a "person of interest", he could be extradited to the US, and the Swedish government refused to give any guarantees that would not happen. As to the absolute red herring being bandied about here, the UK has no basis hold Assange, and therefore to extradite Assange to the US, that's why he's safer in England than in Sweden.
And then we move on into the discussion and the threadwhere the apparent current anarchist line is that any skepticism of the moral superiority of the US empire and its global system of rendition bases,. into which Assange would be disappeared, is only ciriticized by ignorant, naive, shallow phony leftists, quickly beefed up with some sterling anarchist calls for US "shock'n'awe" on Damascus as representing the highest degree of sophistication and nuance. Wherein it reads like Richard Seymour as he follows the same old Trotskyite road previously ventured by Burnham, Kristol, Podhoretz and Hitchens. Now with 47% more anarcho-syndicalism!
And we wonder why the contemporary left is hopeless, why the hegemony of capitalist-imperialism is absolute. Pfft. Look in the frickin' mirrors and watch as you move your mouths and the words of hegemony come out of them.
in reply to Nanner Nanner
in reply to Nanner Nanner Nan...
basically the fact that they seek to become a state but going into more depth, with gaining power they would simply reverse the oppression. they too would create an authoritarian, Islamist state & a racist one too based on the supremacy of some and oppression of others, no different to what we see in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc.
Arbeiten wrote: ocelot
Sorry, I didn't make that clear. What, imo, is perfectly simple, is that the extradition question is not the immediate question. In this sense the reason the Dreyfusards give for resisting Assange's extradition to Sweden - the question of immediate extradition to US - is a bit of a red herring. The real reason Assange doesn't want to end up before a Swedish court is because he knows he has no chance of being found innocent. The Anti-Dreyfusards say this is because he is guilty (to them, not only a jury, but even a trial are surplus to the requirements of justice). I submit that the fact that that decision is effectively in the power of the Swedish government, means that he has no chance - but naturally the Assange camp can't come out and say this directly, because that would be the equivalent of refusing to recognise the court, which is always a suicidal move, judicially speaking.
What seems to me most troubling about this whole mediatised furore (other than how easily people's opinions are manipulated) is the degree to which each camp assumes a non-sequiteur in support of its position. For the Anti-Dreyfusards, the assumption that Assange is a rapist, means that any suggestion that he is being fitted up by the CIA is rape apologism. For the Drefusards, the assumption that Assange is being targetted by a vengeful US state for exposing its murderous activities, means that Assange must be innocent. The possibility of considering that Assange may both be being fitted up by the CIA and also (possibly) guilty of rape, seems to be excluded by both sides - on the grounds of either being a supporter of US imperialism or a apologist for rape.
P.S. Sweden is not unique in this aspect of the legal system. Norway is similar. For example, Anders Breivik was tried without a jury (a fact that may have got overlooked in the wall-to-wall media coverage). In his case the normal judge + 2 lay was expanded to 2 judges + 3 lay (as is provided for in Norwegian law for long or complex cases). Given the social engagement around the Breivik case, legitimacy was provided by the televisation of the whole trial. Naturally Assange's case would not be televised - as is correct for a rape case.
LauritzTheAgitator wrote: the
Do you even know what extradition is? The 'basis' for extradition lies in the county that wants to arrest someone, not in the country in which they are taking them from. :lol: the way you have argued it here is as if the US always has to wait for someone to do a crime on 'home soil' before they can be extradited. That's absurd.
Also, isn't Assange a free market liberal? . Oh boo hoo, the diametric either your X or Y, baddie or goodie seems to have fallen on it's face.
great article, glad there's
great article, glad there's some people making sense over this whole thing.
But it's not really making
But it's not really making consistent sense, taken as a whole. The argument is schizophrenic in that, on the one hand it argues against knee-jerk one-sidedness and on the other is pretty one-sided itself, thus falling into the very trap the author is supposedly railing against. For example:
Is taking a firm position with one side that equally thinks
- in this case dissent must be supressed by labelling the other side as "rape apologists" and maintaining that "guilty until proven innocent" is a progressive legal principle.
Physician, heal thyself.
ocelot wrote: The possibility
I'm not sure that's a fair summary. Plenty of feminists have acknowledged the unusual zeal with which a man is being pursued for rape suggests political motives, e.g...
ocelot wrote: maintaining
Who is claiming this?
I take huge umbrage with your
I take huge umbrage with your use of Dreyfus ocelot. The anti-Dreyfusards (well, a portion of them) were anti-semites. This is the historic specificity of the Dreyfus case. NOT the defamation of character per se, but anti-semitism's role in this. The 'anti-Dreyfusards' here are people concerned with the ease in which rape is swept under the carpet in the name of anti-americanism/imperialism/anti-whatever-ism. It is a bad historical analogy and has quite offensive connotations to those trying to navigate a difficult minefield.
For my part I guess I should make my position a little clearer (as it seems I have been put in an 'Anti-Dreyfusard' camp). I think he should stand trial in Sweden. Yes, sure, America want him, but I just don't see how it would be easier to extradite him if he were found guilty of rape in Sweden.
N.B. Could someone explain more fully what is meant by 'fitted up by the CIA'. Are we talking something to the effect of these women were put into a compromising situation with Assange deliberately, or?
Joseph Kay wrote: ocelot
All those who casually call Assange a rapist prior to any trial. As in the article above, for e.g.
ocelot wrote: All those who
You appear to be equating 'having a personal opinion' with 'prescribing a basis for jurisprudence' :confused:
Arbeiten wrote: I take huge
I agree this is the most problematic aspect of the analogy. There is no parallel to the role of anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus case. Nor, incidentally, am I that concerned about which side is labelled the anti- or pro-Dreyfus side, the point of the analogy is not to try and claim some cheap good guys/bad guys association (which, of course, the Dreyfus case now has, in historical retrospect). The resonance for me is the extent to which the confrontation between an individual legal case, and state interests, has expanded to become a culture war that has, or is in the process of dividing families, friends, groups and networks of every political tendency. In my opinion the magnitude and depth of this cultural/political divide is of a scale that when I look back in recent European history, the Dreyfus case is the one that stands out as having the depth of engagement as this one. I don't think it's a simple here-today-gone-tomorrow FB furore either. This one, imo, will run for years and will leave lasting legacies. People will still be castigating each other with "CIA stooge" and "rape apologist" on the basis of positions taken on this case in many years to come. At least that's my gut instinct.
Thank you for making my point that advancing the position "it is possible that Assange is both guilty of rape and also being fitted up by the CIA" is automatically translated into - you can't say that he is being fitted up by the CIA without claiming that he is innocent. My point entirely.
Joseph Kay wrote: ocelot
"Having a personal opinion" is, in the case of calling someone a rapist, expressing a judgment that they are guilty of rape. In my opinion/judgement. (But I really can't be arsed having a "semantics" debate, tbh)
But then maybe I have an "overly uptight" attitude to justice, given that decades of anarchist and antifa activity have landed me with spending far too much time in court, and more than once in detention. It's my experience that when you're up against the state, you basically have no chance without a jury (and even then you're not guaranteed not to get sent down for something you didn't do - also speaking from experience). But then maybe I'm a dinosaur about such things. :kropotkin:
Ok, I am not going to go into
Ok, I am not going to go into the Dreyfus thing anymore, I see your point, I think it is a bad analogy, but it is not really what we are here for,
No, no, no nooooo. Read again what I wrote. I wrote it in quite a deliberate way to imply the women could have been raped ('compromising situation' thus making Assange GUILTY) and the CIA knew about this ('put into a compromising situation with Assange deliberately'). Thus forwarding a possible argument that he was 'fitted up by the CIA' and he is guilty of the rape. I also left an 'or' at the end of the sentence to imply that I am open to other explanations....
So, again, what would be fitted up by the CIA mean?
ocelot wrote: "Having a
I think Assange is probably a rapist, based mainly on his own defence of trying to redefine rape to exclude his (alleged) actions.* This is in no way in contradiction to the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty', since I am neither a judge, nor a court. Should Assange stand trial, his innocence is presumed before the law and it will be for the prosecution to establish the required burden of proof.
Likewise, one can be of the opinion that Tony Blair is a war criminal, despite no such verdict being returned by a court, and without opposing the presumption of innocence were he ever to stand trial. Indeed, I'm also of the opinion PC Simon Harwood is guilty of manslaughter, despite his clearance in a court of law.
* It is possible this is simply an attempt to avoid extradition, and were he to face trial he'd dispute the allegations on factual grounds. He may well succeed, given the notorious problem of estalishing beyond reasonable doubt the absence of consent for events which transpired without witnesses. But since he seems to have no intention of standing trial, his legal arguments are all I have to form an opinion on.
Edit: to be clear - it is also likely, to the point of self-evidence, that the sudden concern of the British and Swedish states to prosecute rape to the full extent of the law in this particular case is not out of an honest concern with womens' rights, but the result of political pressures, most likely US hostility to Wikileaks (but probably others too).
Arbeiten wrote: ocelot
Oh, OK I think I see what you mean. I hadn't really considered it that way (incidentally I really dislike speculating on these things in an "amateur detective through the internet" kinda way, but, I guess we're stuck with it).
No, my understanding of what it would mean to say both that Assange was (possibly) guilty and that the CIA had interevened to use the event for it's own purposes, would be to consider that everything up to the 20th August (the first approach by the women to the police, requesting an HIV check) is "kosher" - i.e. pretty much follows their accounts given (as far as it is possible to make out that account through the fog of netwar). In other words that the women were entirely innocent of any implication in some CIA plot, whether wittingly or unwittingly. The intervention then would be after the initial complaint was made and the then Chief Prosecutor declared she didn't see there was a case to answer. The replacement of Finné by Ny, the engagement of Borgström and the re-opening of the case on 1 September, would then be as a result of CIA lobbying. Ditto the issuance of an international extradition request for rape (unusual). So the 'fitting up' part would be the prosecution (and managing of that) not the events prior to August 20th.
But, in any case, the best way to try and establish some degree of truth in this would be a jury trial (even with all the possibilities for injustice to both accusers and accused that still holds) - which is just not going to happen. Which sucks, because both sides of this culture war are going to have their position reinforced, either way. If Assange manages to avoid trial in Sweden, those who firmly hold him to be a rapist regardless, will continue to believe that. If he is tried in Sweden and found guilty (and I'll eat my keyboard if he isn't) then the Assange supporters will believe there's been a monstrous legal injustice. Either way, I can't see any resolution that settles the matter one way or the other in the short term.
Arbeiten wrote: So, again,
While it's possible to dream up lots of possible scenarios, I don't know why the CIA would choose the offence of rape to frame someone in Sweden, which has the among the lowest conviction rates in Europe (and a notoriously low prosecution/conviction rate generally).
Edit: Crossed with Ocelot.
Edit 2: Anyway, the point of this is that deriving your opinion on Assange's guilt or innocence from his relation to the US is stupid, i.e. he could be an enemy of America, and a rapist.
Given that rape cases have
Given that rape cases have low conviction rates, one wonders what the level of conviction is in circumstances as described in the case of Assange and women A and B*.
* The bit that confuses me is why proceedings were originally dropped, was it because it was deemed that likelihood of conviction would be low?... but later then reignited from a nod from somone up top (in Sweden or US) because, all of a sudden, there was political will for a conviction? Or the fact that new evidence came to light which would make conviction more tenable?
ocelot wrote: in this case
Except, not really.
Yes, I do happen to think Assange is a rapist, for the same reasons as JK states earlier. However, I never actually mentioned that in this article because, to repeat, it's not about the specifics of that one case.
I stand by using the term rape apologism because, for every person who's ignored the actual allegations there seem to be three or four who address them directly with what does amount to rape apologism, cf. George Galloway. In fact, even in the imaginary world where Assange is entirely innocent and was fitted up by the CIA, the comments by a lot of his supporters are still disgusting rape apologism.
Phil wrote: In fact, even in
This is the key point. If it was a smear then you wouldn't undermine the degree of consent, you'd simply declare them false.
I think he probably is guilty, although I'm not sure if the prosecution would have been brought in normal circumstances. What I do find odd is that Sween is supposed to be more likely to extradite him to the US, as long as they promise not to execute him I can't see why there'd be any problems sending him over to the US from the UK.
Joseph Kay wrote: Possible
I agree, the conspiracy is far too risky, its too flaky and far too many variables for it to be believable.
I know fuck all about
I know fuck all about swedish, uk and international law. But i recently read in some swedish broadsheet a swedish ("anti Assange") lawyer who claimed that Sweden would never deny an extradition request as it would be against swedish law and international treaties. And hence a total anomaly. I would have guessed that the same laws would apply in the UK but I really know nothing.
This whole saga is interesting as a sort of extreme example of the logic of the forced taking of sides. There are to many of these issues around where discussions seem to get you nowhere and few people actually have a material interest in the issue, or even any real information about it. Despite this the guessing and the taking of for or against positions continues and is demanded all around. It all becomes empty politicking or theorising.
Rather than stop the media frenzy and social media buzz the lack of substance and information fuels it.
Mr. Jolly wrote: Joseph Kay
I also agree. But it is something I have seen floated around quite a bit (Gorgeous George insinuates it, but this 'conspiracy' has been around for months). I was just making sure ocelot wasn't a complete crack-pot. It turns out he isn't as bad as I had suspected ;-). The counter-example of 'fitting up' you have offered is more believable, although I would argue that is just diplomatic pressure rather than the CIA. In any case.
Cooked - Just close your eyes and it will go away, yeah? Just close your ears and you can pretend people who you know (personally I might add) have just said having sex with a woman while she is asleep is consent, yeah? For my part this is less about engaging with the Assange case per se and more about looking at the interpretations it has been given.
Rather disappointed in the
Rather disappointed in the distinct lack of anti-semetism in these theses.
Good article. FWIW here is
FWIW here is Chomsky's pro-Assange stance...
...and here are my utterly moot opinions.
From what I've heard of the alleged rapes, makes me think he probably does have a case to answer (since it sounds like he did not get consent, and now his camp are trying to argue consent wasn't necessary- which is sickening). Indeed, from the limited information I've had, my view is that he is a rapist and misogynist and he should not get away with it, and efforts should be made to prevent him re-offending. Of course any rape accusation should be taken seriously and the (alleged) rape survivors should have the opportunity to get justice- something which much of the pro-Assange stuff seems to ignore.
However, I am inclined to believe that that the main reason Assange is facing extradition is because of his political activities, and that diplomatic pressure from the US has probably encouraged Sweden to pursue him. (I wish more (alleged) rapists were pursued with this much vigor.)
At this stage, since he's officially only wanted for questioning by Sweden about rape, I don't really care if he gets extradited there or if the Swedish authorities agree to question him in UK. Either way, he should answer these accusations and face the consequences if he's proven guilty.
I don't think he should be extradited to US on political/security charges but I'm not sure if that is actually more of a risk in Sweden or UK but since Sweden is pursuing the extradition, I'm inclined to believe he is at more risk (from the US) there than in the UK.
I think he is illegitimately hiding from facing 'justice' for his (alleged) rapes as well as legitimately protecting himself from the threat of retribution for his political activities. I agree that the whole episode is depressing in the way it highlights such shitty politics in people who should know better...
I wish we (people who broadly support wikileaks but despise rapists) could broadly agree he should face the rape accusations (as anyone should) and it should go to trial. This does not prevent us from defending him from extradition to US on political grounds which can, and should, be seen as a distinct issue from the rape accusations.
On the conspiracy tip. I think it's unlikely that the allegations are fabricated or that he was set up- I think he probably is a rapist. However I do think that the rape allegations are being used as a political tool. I think the US are going to try and get him convicted of rape (or widely seen as a rapist) and then hope this'll dampen down his support so they can extradite him without so much fuss and then persecute him on 'national security' grounds.
Arbeiten wrote: Cooked - Just
I can't judge if someone you know have actually said the above or if you are being sarcastic in an unusually complicated way.
If a friend says to your face that "sleeping is consenting" it's all pretty straightforward*, give them a bollocking. That situation has the potential of a reasonable discussion, or at least a clear point can be made.
The problem with Assange is the vortex of political issues. I'm in favor of what wikileaks did but I recognize that it's really a liberal agenda and have very little interest in Assange as a person. I can easily believe that Assange is a sleazebag. My opinion on this is meaningless speculation though and it's based on a dearth of information with only mediated second hand rumors available.
But yes I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that not having an opinion on various current events is the responsible thing to do. Particularly when the "not a horse in this race" rule apply. I haven't got the theory to back it but it seems the whole debate is framed in a certain way and the discussions happen on a territory set out by the media where nothing fruitful can come out of it.
Yes it's interesting. But as seen in the discussions the logic of the case forces people into false dead ends where they become rape apologist or CIA apologist without actually holding those views. But they fall into the traps while making various "arguments". To avoid it you have to have a extremely well through out pre-formulated statement. With your friend there isn't any ambiguity though.
*Warning anecdote that features typical rape apologist narrative. These things are problematic to talk about and in some ways shouldn't be brought up in this kind of context. But after saying above that it's simple when it really isn't I though i should tell it.
Before the Assange event I was talking to some female friends who all are active feminists who write lefty, radical feminist stuff though not communists. One of them had mistakenly had sex (not intercourse) with their sleeping partner. The other one had woken up and during conversation with their partner found out that they just had sex. The partner was mortified when he found out that he had just had sex with a sleeping person without noticing. These were both very long term relationships and it wasn't a big deal. I personally cant imagine this happening but it clearly does.
The above has pretty much no bearing on the Assange case as I see it but pretending the sleep sex issue it's all straight forward when it isn't is a bad idea.
Excellent piece. This kind of
Excellent piece. This kind of black-or-white thinking has been a problem in the "left" for a long time. It's where we get the "anti-imperialism of fools" and the Galloway type of kneejerk "solidarity". This could definitely be expanded to cover a lot of examples, but it's good as an overview of the methodological problem.
Cooked wrote: Before the
There is a recognised condition called sexsomnia - which is basically like sleepwalking except for sexual activity. Though it is a genuine condition, perhaps not surprisingly, some rapists try to use it to be cleared of sexual assault.
no1 wrote: There is a
In both examples above the active person was awake, but clearly not very attentive.
I'd just like to add that I agree with the article but I'm not sure it's just a lefty phenomena.
Just re read my post with the
Just re read my post with the anectote above and I realise it's totally confusing.
The other one refers to the other woman i was discussing ie it describes two separate incidents in the first one a woman wakes up and starts having sex with her partner who turns out to be sleeping but wakes up during late stage foreplay. In the second incident a woman wakes up, lies in bed for a while and her partner starts talking about the sex they had earlier that morning, only then do they realise what just happened.
From the US point of view,
From the US point of view, what metters is not the chance of conviction, but the chance of extradition. And he can be exadited as soon as he is in Swedish prison, wether he is found guilty or not. That is why the US would love him to go to Swedish jail. And that is one of the reasons why Assnge has something to fear by going there - something MORE than facing the allegations itself (which he definitely should do).
I think the rape allegations should be taken very seriously, i.e. it should be established wether he is indeed guilty of rape, as seems likely. At the same time, I think it is obvious that the Swedish, UK and US states show a remarkable, and suspicious, enthousiasm for prosecuting all this. That enthousiasm has nothing to do with defending women against rape, but everything to do with getting rid of a person they perceive as an enemy. So yes we can BOTH oppose Assange for raping women and trying to get away with it AND defending him against pressures of, above all, the US state which is persecuting him for entirely different reasons. Liking Assange, or having any illusions in Wikileaks as a project and a strategy, has not really got much to do with it all.
rooieravotr wrote: From the
except that is a complete lie and it would be more difficult to extradite him form Sweden
There's a basic reference guide to the case here http://amiobjective.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/assange-case-quick-reference-of-legal.html
its quite useful
yeah, exactly. Rooieravotr, that's simply not correct.
In general, I think this article by Women against Rape has a lot of stuff I agree with in it:
particularly their comparison between Assange (who is accused of sexually assaulting two women, and I reckon is probably guilty) and Pinochet (who was accused of being responsible for the murders and rapes of thousands) is illuminating. In both of these cases European governments tried to extradite them, but of course in the latter case the UK government refused and instead let him escape to Latin America. Which they are not doing in this case - because Assange is an enemy, not an ally of Western governments.
I heard a news report where they said the opposite. Ie. no one has a scooby. Neither does that reference guide apparently. "Red notices are unusual for this type of crime. Interpol state that in 2007 sex crimes were frequently given red notices. Former Interpol employee summarises Red notices. Red Notice for suspect wanted for making voyeur videos of college girls" Oh in 2007. So that'll be a yes then. By the by, what the law states and what actually happens are two different things, as that report mentions with the illegal extradition of two Egyptians. Like everything else about this case, who can say what'll happen? Idle hands and all that.
It's pretty obvious that the
It's pretty obvious that the enemy of your enemy could be your enemy as well. :)
"...or call us CIA moles for not supporting rapists."
So I guess he's already been charged and convicted then?
here we go again. I am
:roll: here we go again.
I am surprised this hasn't become like the hakim bey thread....
I don't really understand why
I don't really understand why anyone claiming to be an Anarchist would seek justice in a capitalist court, you simply won't find any.
With the exception of Assange saying "I raped these people" or him agreeing to the description of events as given by accuser(s) and then the judges then deciding that the description given was legally rape or sexual assault(which seems unlikely) there is simply no way to prove he did anything wrong and so, progressing on the assumption he will completely deny any accusations he will almost certainly get away with it (you know, if he did it) - the prosecution has no case other than the hope he just confesses to wrongdoing.
Its bullshit but there it is. I dont get all this posturing about 'he should go face justice' - its like anarchist feminists just drop all their principles to take a broad (liberal) feminist line. Since when was justice on the cards and why is it living in Sweden.