Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange


2:35 pm - December 4th 2010

by Cath Elliott    


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I’m happy to be among the first to admit on this site that I have no idea whether Julian Assange is or is not guilty of committing a sex crime during his recent visit to Sweden.

In fact I’ll go one further, and state for the record that I don’t know enough about Swedish law, and in particular Swedish sex crimes law, to even begin to speculate on the rights and wrongs, he said she saids, in this case.

No, my issue with John Band’s piece on this site the other day is not that I think Assange is a man and all men are rapists therefore Julian Assange must a rapist, or whatever other radical feminist straw-woman-thinking readers here might want to accuse me of.

My issue is with the fact that once again it’s the same old same old story: the left finds itself a new poster boy, and suddenly leftie so-called feminist men are falling all over each other in their haste to defend him.

According to Band, Assange must be considered an innocent man purely on the basis that Swedish sex crimes laws are ‘deranged’ and beyond the comprehension of anyone outside of Sweden. It’s also all seemingly part of some big conspiracy, a right wing plot to discredit and bring down the founder of Wikileaks, the torch bearer for leftie libertarians and free speechers right across the globe.

Never once in all this does Band consider the possibility that actually maybe Assange isn’t the perfect hero we’d all wish him to be. That maybe, just maybe, he might actually have committed the crimes for which he stands accused. Like I said, I honestly don’t know, but for that matter neither does John Band, so why even speculate in the first place?

I said in my comment under Band’s post, and I reiterated it in a heated Twitter exchange with Sunny on Friday, that I was disappointed to see Band’s piece go up on a site like Liberal Conspiracy, and I stand by that.

I’m not saying these discussions should never be aired, but to be honest, if I wanted to read a piece in which an entire nation is written off as barking mad and in which their laws are judged not even worthy of our consideration, or if I wanted to read about how a man accused of sex crimes is nothing more than a victim of a hateful conspiracy against him, there are other places I could go to do that: the Daily Mail for instance, or any one of a number of other tabloid hysteria mongers.

But Liberal Conspiracy is a broadly left site with quite a strong feminist leaning. And that’s where my main objection lies. Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent, especially when there’s no more basis for making that assumption than the fact that actually we’d really really like it to be true.

When an article suggesting that a man accused of sex crimes is himself an innocent victim, it feeds into the prevailing misogynistic anti-woman narrative that says that all women who accuse men of rape are lying, and that there’s no such thing as rape, there is instead just bad sex, or as John Band put it “poor bedroom etiquette”.

And we join in with that ‘lying women/bad laws’ shtick, we’re just adding our name to a whole host of sites and other media organisations keen to deny women’s experiences, and that basically tell women that the men are sticking together again therefore this is a site where we really don’t belong.

That’s why I felt it important to speak out about this issue. Not because I believe Assange to be guilty, but because as a feminist I think it discredits us to just blithely assume that he’s not.

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About the author
Cath Elliott is a regular contributor. She is a feminist, a trade union activist, and a freelance writer and blogger. Also at: Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


“I’m happy to be among the first to admit on this site that I have no idea whether Julian Assange is or is not guilty of committing a sex crime during his recent visit to Sweden.”

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

“…there’s no more basis for making that assumption than the fact that actually we’d really really like it to be true.”

… aside from, you know, the law: http://bit.ly/16dihw

You’ve missed the point of John Band’s article, Cath.

Band has pointed out that Assange has NOT been accused of rape, but of…

“…having sex without a condom, with someone who didn’t mind the lack of condom at the time, but who subsequently was cross about the fact that he didn’t use a condom.”

How on earth is it wrong of Liberal Conspiracy to publicise this?In fact, iIt seems of utmost importance that they do.

All the accusations you make are incorrect because seemingly you haven’t read what Band said.

Also, Band didn’t say the women had lied, he just repeated the accusation they have made against Assange, ‘having consensual sex without a condom’.

Thanks for writing this Cath. Spot on.

The actual details of the prosecution’s case were gratefully received, since they weren’t widely publicised beforehand.

Going from that to whether Assange is guilty of any crime or not is what lawyers do. And IANAL.

Fortunately, Wikileaks is also not Assange. I couldn’t care less about the man himself, since I’d hope wikileaks would keep working even if he were convicted of rape.

If assange is being framed as a rapist, then he is indeed an innocent victim. If he did rape someone, then he’s not.

Can we focus on something more important now?

I agree with Cath Elliott on this one. John has decided that Swedish law is “deranged” and “totalitarian” (the latter in his comment #147 on his piece). His basis for thinking so seems to be an article or two by Assange’s lawyers, coupled perhaps with having swallowed some of the traditional rightwing bile against a country that has had more social democratic governments than perhaps any other (pace the conservative-liberal-centre-Christian-Democrat alliance’s election victories of recent years). The conspiracy theories put forward by some, and their dismissing of the allegations out of hand, are not sufficiently respectful to the women who put forward the complaints.

Leon – quite. When John band writes about Assange:

someone who is very clearly not a rapist

What does that mean?

Thank you for writing this piece.

I hate it when people, especially liberals, forget that the other half of the fair-sounding argument that the accused should be treated as innocent until proven guilty, is that that argument’s unspoken corollorary is an assumption that the victim must be at best mistaken, or outright lying.

The ‘bad sex’ argument isn’t any better: it privileges the viewpoint of the accused “it was just bad sex” over the viewpoint && experience of the victim: “it was a sex crime”.

False accusations are low, and nobody goes to the police to report a sex crime lightly. Publishing the original piece supported the rape culture that flourishes in the UK and other countries, and it disgusted me to see that sort of rape apology in a so-called liberal blog.

There are several very iffy aspects of this accusation, though. I’m not saying everything in the following articles is true, because I can’t ascertain that. But they certainly undermine threats against Assange if so.

http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/02/when-it-comes-to-assange-r-pe-case-the-swedes-are-making-it-up-as-they-go-along/

http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/sex-by-surprise-at-heart-of-julian-assange-criminal-probe/19741444

Cath, I often disagree with you – but not in this case!

You’ve hit the nail on the head. There are many people who have done very worthy and admirable things in one sphere yet who have behaved quite despicably in another.

Sweden has a pretty open and transparent justice system – indeed, many on the left frequently hold Sweden up as a shining example that we in Britain should follow – let’s see these allegations play out in their investigation and court processes before crying foul.

Innocent until proven guilty.
An allegation does not justify reprobation.

“My issue is that once again, a man is accused of a sex crime and leftie so-called feminist women are falling all over each other in their haste to castigate him”.

Sounds a bit harsh when you turn that statement round doesn’t it? But there is a movement now that calls for men – only men – to be guilty until proved innocent. Only when it comes to an allegation involving sexual crimes. Some of our sisters on the left seem to be as hung up on sexuality as our opponents on the right.

Assange might be guilty or not. I have no idea.

Completely agree we have heard various stories from different sources I doubt anyone except maybe Assange and the alleged victims know what really happened. I think the important thing to bear in mind though is that he has been accused of some sort of sex crime it doesnt matter if you dont agree with the law in that country but it needs to be investigated if indeed the allegation doesnt merit a charge fair enough but until the prosecutors in this case have decided that he should be treated like any other suspect. If needs be and he is deported to Sweden its not like we are talking about sending him to somewhere where he wouldn’t get a fair trial or would be tortured or something.

In the long run its best that this is moved on for everyone involved.

“My issue is with the fact that once again it’s the same old same old story: the left finds itself a new poster boy, and suddenly leftie so-called feminist men are falling all over each other in their haste to defend him.”

Not sure what this has to do with left or right.

Many very powerful people have openly called for the assassination of Assange, The rape allegation and the timing of the arrest warrant is just a bit too convenient for me.

Plus I’ve never really been a big fan of the guilty until proven innocent philosophy to which you are obviously a fan.

Quote Rusell:-

Plus I’ve never really been a big fan of the guilty until proven innocent philosophy to which you are obviously a fan.

I find this to be an unfair comment. Nothing in the article in my mind pushed the idea that he should be considered guilty unless found innocent. Calling for someone to be properly investigated before dismissing the case as politically motivated is far from saying guilty until proven innocent.

“Band has pointed out that Assange has NOT been accused of rape”

But Assange has been accused of rape.

17. MartynInEurope

@LibCon I agree with Cath Elliott on this. Assumption of innocence is one thing, but this was not central -or in the message IMHO- of the original piece. Characterising the Swedish legal system as deranged, before the fact, is not making a reasonable case for the presumption of innocence, which I assume most of us will already agree with anyway, but is part of a reactionary and OTT leap to the defence of Julian Assange, a defence that I’m not sure I would welcome, if I was ever put in the same situation as Mr Assange.

@Cathy Elliot (OP)

Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent, especially when there’s no more basis for making that assumption than the fact that actually we’d really really like it to be true.

I agreed with much of what you said up until the above passage. The presumption of innocence is an essential tenant of any civilised legal system (the Swedish legal system included) and if this is antithetical to feminism (which I do not believe it is) it suggests an underlying misandry in the form of a presumption of guilt for all accused rapists; that is a very dangerous state of affairs!

I think that what John B. was attempting to communicate, albeit with rather loaded language, was that the accusations/charges being reported in the mainstream media are far from clear, and are certainly ill timed. The Swedish prosecutors office is reported to have informed Julian Assange’s attorney that the charge is “sex by surprise”, whilst a rather brief statement from the prosecutors own website lists the charges as rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. They have provided no further details and until they do, either through official channels or publicly, I can’t see grounds for extradition. Surely the extraditing authority needs more information than the headline charge; more details?

Having now read Chapter 6 of The Swedish Penal Code (1999) and some supplementary information relating to more recent (2005) amendments to Chapter 6, I cannot locate any reference to “sex by surprise”. That being said, everything else in the penal code appears entirely reasonable to me, at least with respect to sex crimes (discounting of course any amendments made after 2005). Thus John’s pronouncements on the lunacy of Swedish law would seem unfounded, or at least the result of a fundamental miscommunication or misrepresentation at some point.

In any event, given the history of these accusations/charges and the political sensitivities involved the Swedish prosecutors ought to have expected charges of political manipulation and impropriety in this case. The best approach would thus have been to make the charges clear from the outset and (ironically given the nature of Julian Assange’s day job) to do so in a transparent fashion. They most certainly should have clarified these allegations/charges (in the accused’s mother tongue) before seeking the issuance of an Interpol arrest warrant (or is it still just a “red notice”?); such heavy handed tactics at this time are bound to raise suspicion and in doing so amplify support for the accused.

Also, to be clear here, I would being saying precisely the same things if the accused with Nick Griffin or Glenn Beck. The presumption of innocence is not something to be taken likely and to forgo it so easily (i.e. when even the charges are at question) would be horrendous; hence I’ll give Julian Assange the benefit of the doubt until I hear compelling evidence to the contrary.

Regards,

Lee.

@Mark Koszler

From the article:

“Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent”

20. Derek Wells

worth a listen

“The BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones explains why the website in inaccessible. And UK lawyer for Wikileaks, Mark Stephens, analyses what might have caused this action.”

://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9253000/9253721.stm

@Russell I read that differently to you assuming someone is not innocent is not the same as assuming they are guilty. There is more than yay or nay there is the middle ground of I don’t know enough to be sure I will save my assumptions for when I actually know more. The facts in this case are extremely muddled at best. Suffice to say so far the Swedish authorities dealing with it seem to have made a complete balls up of it.

(Mildly off-topic.)

Does one have to assume that everyone’s innocent until they’re convicted? I’ll assume that everyone believes that all or some of Osama bin Laden, George Bush, Lee Harvey Oswald and Guy Fawkes are guilty but none of them have been or were judged in a valid Court of Law.

@BenSix Assumptions are dangerous. If you have enough information to know someone is guilty then thats not an assumption. On a personal level I might know someone is guilty without them having been convicted to my mind it comes down to what you know.

But assuming innocence is – well – an assumption. If there’s no good reason to believe in guilt or innocence one might as well avoid having an opinion.

@Mark Koszler

Accusations can be very dangerous, that’s why I do not accept the middle ground argument either. Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental to justice.

Also feminism is about justice and not prejudice. Using feminism in the context of this argument is wrong in my opinion.

@BenSix (23)

But assuming innocence is – well – an assumption. If there’s no good reason to believe in guilt or innocence one might as well avoid having an opinion.

It’s a presumption based on the absence of any evidence or knowledge to the contrary. It would be ludicrous to assume a pick-pocket innocent of picking pockets, even if you have personally witnessed him/her picking a pocket or two. It would be equally ludicrous to assume that any and every stranger you pass on the street is guilty of picking pockets.

The essential dichotomy here is do you give a complete stranger, of whom you have personal knowledge, the benefit of the doubt or do you spend your life suspicious of everyone or everything without cause to. The presumption of innocence (outside of its usual legal context) merely requires that you treat that person with common courtesy, the presumption of guild requires that you treat them with suspicion and revile them for their alleged criminality, and the presumption of neither (the so called neutral stance) requires that you treat them with… common courtesy. Hence the presumption of innocence and the neutral stance are, on the face of it identical.

In presuming innocence you are NOT being asked to crown the accused as your new King/Queen! Simply to extend the same courtesy you would to a stranger you know nothing of, which is essentially what (s)he is unless your prescient of the case (i.e. the victim, the accused, the judge(s), the prosecuting and defence attorneys and the jury).

Thanks for that, Cath.

Whilst disagreeing with John Band’s OP, I found the essay and debate that followed quite stimulating. John Band is normally a bloke who seeks rational argument, but in the OP he adopts the position that Assange is innocent of the accusations and tries to present a rational defence. In the absence of full knowledge of the accusations or Swedish law, this is an irrational stance; when ignorant of facts, the rational position is “don’t know”.

The ability to forgive the (alleged) human failings of heroes is where we all need to catch ourselves. Oscar Wilde was a fine writer and dramatist in my opinion, but he liked to bugger young boys. To me, his sensitivity as an author is diminished by this.

Wilde was imprisoned for consensual homosexual acts with an adult. It is rational to argue that the sentence was unfair. However, it is rational to argue that he should have been banged up for screwing kids. A literary hero: yes; a gay role model hero: no.

Cath, well said. If only the should-be-obvious didn’t need stating, eh.

BenSix/21: “Does one have to assume that everyone’s innocent until they’re convicted?”

Well, exactly. If you really assume innocence until conviction, what are you doing arresting people on suspicion of crimes? They are, by definition, innocent. And bringing charges? Against innocent people? What sort of corrupt legal system is this?

I agree with Cath that the article she criticises jumped to some ridiculous conclusions about Sweden and Swedish law, and relied on damaging stereotypes about women who go through the process of making rape allegations.

But Cath won’t want to hear my views as I am someone who writes ‘rape fantasy porn’. So I obviously can’t have an opinion about real cases of rape, rape allegations and rape laws.

Good answer, Lee.

@cim (27)

Well, exactly. If you really assume innocence until conviction, what are you doing arresting people on suspicion of crimes? They are, by definition, innocent. And bringing charges? Against innocent people? What sort of corrupt legal system is this?

That is a rather specious remark. A person is still considered innocent when arrested and even when charges; hence the media’s near religious use of caveats such as “suspect” and “alleged”.

In any case, the police are in a rather unique position in that their role in society necessitates to some extent that they play devil’s advocate to the traditional ‘presumption of innocence’ espoused by the courts. Thankfully the police are in possession of the full girth of evidence in such cases and are this better position than members of the general public to make educated assumptions, and of course the law/courts hold the police in check as well.

In terms of the general public’s general lack of insider knowledge the best solution is to presume innocence; someone ignorant of the facts presuming guilt is just ugly!

Actually QRG I am interested. Or intrigued. I can’t decide which.

And Lee @25. Totally agree with your comment.

@Lee great answer couldn’t have put it better myself. The presumption of innocence puts the onus on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt you are guilty. At this present time an allegation has been made against Julian Assange what you assume is upto you, legally he is innocent, but the allegation has to be investigated. It is very possible that this is part of a smear campaign but that doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that the allegations should be casually written off as such.

If all they want to do is question him it does seem extremely over the top that they would issue an arrest warrant when he has volunteered to meet with detectives and been rebuffed. It seems even more over the top to apply for a European arrest warrant without first asking him to voluntarily attend an interview.

Please excuse my many, many typos! I’m ashamed of myself and ashamed on behalf of my keyboard. ;-)

And thanks @BenSix

I think there seems to be a confusion between the accusations levelled at Assange and the supicions arising from their timing. It seems awfully convenient that two women who seemed happy enough after their encounter with Assange changed their stories after Wikileaks started to publish material embarassing to the USA and its allies.

@Jonkarra (32)

It is very possible that this is part of a smear campaign but that doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that the allegations should be casually written off as such.

I quite agree!

If all they want to do is question him it does seem extremely over the top that they would issue an arrest warrant when he has volunteered to meet with detectives and been rebuffed. It seems even more over the top to apply for a European arrest warrant without first asking him to voluntarily attend an interview.

Again I quite agree, and furthermore I think that the bar should be set fairly high in extradition cases. The state, any state, has a duty of protection over those within its borders (and particularly its own citizens) and to extradite someone against their will, simply for questioning (although I’ve read reports he’s actually be charged) is overkill when the option exists to question them on home soil (in this case the UK) or in an embassy.

All in all the whole thing is a mess, which may well be the reason that Mr. Assange has not yet been detained (in spite of the fact that his whereabouts are known to the police).

Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent

Let’s delve a little into what you are actually saying her, Kate

The allegation that a man has committed a heterosexual sex crime will normally be made by a woman. You are saying that feminists should not assume that a man accused of such a crime is innocent, even though this has not been proved in a court of law.

You are actually saying that that a man accused of sex crimes is not innocent because the allegation that he is guilty will have been made by a woman and feminists are in the business of supporting women.

Of course this is a perfectly coherent argument.

But if it is made as a prelude to attempting to overturn the “presumption of innocence” enshrined in our criminal justice system, it is entirely pernicious and is unlikely to attract support beyond the bunkers of the most virulent of your supporters.

Lee/30: Well, it was intended sarcastically. My point is that it’s hardly a breach of the presumption of innocence to suggest that someone against whom allegations have been made should be questioned and should if necessary be arrested to allow this questioning to occur, but at least some of the comments on the previous thread seemed to think this equivalent to saying that he was guilty and should be imprisoned immediately.

pagar/36: There’s a rather big difference between “presumption of innocence” and “presumption that innocence is so self-evident we don’t even need to question him”. I’m all in favour of the former.

@34 Cherub: “I think there seems to be a confusion between the accusations levelled at Assange and the supicions arising from their timing.”

I don’t follow your argument so I will not comment directly.

Assange is alleged in one case to have committed an offence on 14 August 2010 which was revealed by Swedish police/prosecution on 20 August 2010. That sounds like the normal timing for an investigation. Six days to question a complainant and shuffle paper work.

Bill Clinton anyone?

There’s a rather big difference between “presumption of innocence” and “presumption that innocence is so self-evident we don’t even need to question him”. I’m all in favour of the former.

Me too.

But my point is that, where rape is concerned, some feminists are not.

Cath,

I think you’re treating the accusations against Assange only as rape accusations, without looking at the context. If the context was different, if Assange wasn’t associated with wikileaks, then I would completely agree with you. But the context in this case is just way too important to ignore. Assange’s organisation has just published a series of documents that has uncovered government secrets of many countries. In such a situation, even without being a conspiracy theorist, it would seem very likely that there would be reprisals of some sort, smears at the very least. You don’t even need to imagine that it was any particular government, he has enraged so many of them that surely at least one of them would react. In fact, you don’t even need to assume any government was involved: Assange was suddenly so newsworthy, and there were such enormous vested interests arrayed against him, that there would have been more than enough incentive for many parties to do something like this. Given that, once an accusation like this arises, so extraordinarily precisely timed with respect to the release of the documents, the most reasonable assessment appears to be that it’s a smear attempt.

Unfortunately, because the political stakes are so enormous, there is no neutral ground here. It’s not possible to say that you’re not taking a stance on the political aspects of it. Doing so IS to take a political position, and it’s a position that is aligned with the interests of that part of the government that wants to act undemocratically and in secret. It is a well understood and universally exploited public relations strategy that it suffices that some doubts exist about your opponents to neutralise the force of their criticisms. This was the strategy that Bernays devised for the cigarette companies when the evidence of the link with cancer was being uncovered (detailed in his book “Propaganda”), and it’s the strategy that is being used today against climate change campaigners. By treating this case outside of its context, you play into the hands of those who would like to destroy wikileaks.

In fact, thinking of it in terms of a smear strategy, the question arises: could it be that he is accused of rape precisely because lefties would feel more uncomfortable defending someone accused of this? Maybe, maybe not.

I don’t believe it’s inconsistent to make the case that the accusations against Assange should be assumed to be part of a smear campaign whilst also making the feminist case about the significance of rape. Defending him, given the context, doesn’t undermine that case. Of course, I agree that we shouldn’t try to defend Assange by attacking the law concerning rape (Swedish or otherwise), or by undermining the seriousness of rape accusations. But we don’t need to do that to defend him – it’s enough to point out that it’s most likely a smear campaign.

The key to understanding this case is, as in much else, the difference between legal language and everyday speech. Not so much the obscure latin words, but the basic assumptions of logic.

For example, Assange’s lawyer is on record (e.g. here as saying ‘There is no arrest warrant against him.’. Most people reading that would be surprised to find out that at that time there was an arrest warrant sent out and received, but it didn’t have all the details of the possible sentences for the charges filled out correctly.

So the statement was non-false, once you start from the presumption that that which is not legally valid doesn’t exist. An arrest warrant with a mistake in it is not an arrest warrant, a criminal who has not yet gone through the legal process is not a criminal.

This is fine, and is exactly how lawyers should be thinking in order do to their job properly.

The problem comes when you translate the legalese of ‘he is innocent’ back to normal speech, and then start applying normal language to it. This is why the police (or, with restrictions, can) can arrest an innocent man, knowing he is innocent, and not themselves be guilty of anything. Which presumably they would be, individually or institutionally, if they arrested an innocent man knowing he was innocent…

This is a truly disgusting article and the writer should be very very ashamed of herself. Assange upset the people who run this world and all of a sudden a trumped up sex charge appears. Anyone with an ounce of brain realises instantly that there can not be any truth in it. It is just a very bad example of very bad lying on the part of government officials.

Except Cath Elliott. Stay away from politics.

45. the a&e charge nurse

“My issue is with the fact that once again it’s the same old same old story: the left finds itself a new poster boy, and suddenly leftie so-called feminist men are falling all over each other in their haste to defend him” – eh? – if you can find a case even remotely comparable to this one I think you should tell us about it?

My take is that many are inclined to defend Assange because of the vagueness of the accusations, accusations that took MONTHs before being finally formulated (as I understand it).
This man has many enemies and I do not think it is beyond the bounds of possibility that some would be very happy for his reputation to be trashed, or better still for a bit of Swedish porridge to be served up?

The account given by the two women is not helped (in my opinion) by the fact that they met up after their separate encounters with Assange before jointly approaching the police.
I understand there was at least a 3 day interval between these two liaisons – so why did the first victim wait for over 72hrs if she had been raped instead of going straight to the police?
It seems she sought out the 2nd women in order to compare notes about what happened (I mean how did she even know about this second episode).

None of us can properly judge the veracity of the various protagonists but at the very least this is a very unusual set of circumstances, surely?

Arguing that “leftie so-called feminist men are falling all over each other in their haste to defend him” makes it sound that you have an axe to grind rather than fully appreciating the political backdrop that is causing one or two to raise their eyebrows over the claims that are being made?

@41 Dan | thesamovar: “But the context in this case is just way too important to ignore. Assange’s organisation has just published a series of documents that has uncovered government secrets of many countries.”

There were no secrets. If you share information with 2.5+ million people, it is not secret.

There were embarrassments. Like when a “mate” posts on FaceBook that photo when you vomited into your mother-in-law’s vase. Awkward, but manageable.

Assange is a stage artist. He is allegedly forced to travel the world staying in safe houses to avoid prosecution and the arm of extradition. Today, he resides somewhere in the home counties or London, a location acknowledged with his lawyers and known to UK police.

This is theatre. Assange is not an outlaw. He is within-law, a citizen like you and me. In the jurisdictions where he claims that arrest warrants exist, Assange would not face immediate imprisonment.

dan: “I don’t believe it’s inconsistent to make the case that the accusations against Assange should be assumed to be part of a smear campaign whilst also making the feminist case about the significance of rape.”

Indeed. And I don’t think it’s inconsistent to believe that the allegations against him are motivated by political purposes – in your words, that they are a smear campaign – and that they could very well be true. Of course Assange is the target of some very powerful vested interests at the moment, and they’re going to use everything they’ve got to attack him – that’s obviously the case. But that doesn’t mean these allegations have no substance to them, or shouldn’t be investigated. There are plenty of instances of politically-motivated ‘persecutions’ where the allegation in question nonetheless ultimately turned out to be true; I think someone mentioned Bill Clinton higher up this thread…

I’m not saying we should assume Assange is guilty, but we shouldn’t automatically assume he’s innocent and the target of completely fabricated allegations either. It would be a mistake to assume anything. *Legally*, yes, of course he should be presumed innocent until proven guilty; that’s how a fair legal system works. But that’s because (except in Scotland) the legal system is necessarily binary: a person can only be guilty or not guilty, and until they have been proved to be the former they default to the latter. That doesn’t mean we have to think the same way; OJ Simpson may be legally innocent of murder, but does anyone believe he was actually innocent? Or Roman Polanski?

When it comes to these allegations against Assange, the only sensible position is ‘we don’t know’. Saying anything else would be to prejudge the legal system. Personally, I think Assange is an impressive individual who has done great things; but I am not prepared to accept he is perfect in every way. I think if he is a truly responsible person, he will turn himself in and let these allegations be resolved one way or another. Only then will the truth be found.

48. the a&e charge nurse

[46] “But that doesn’t mean these allegations have no substance to them, or shouldn’t be investigated” – true, but neither should the views of those concerned about the political backdrop be held up as rape apologists, as the OP suggests.

@44 the a&e charge nurse: “My take is that many are inclined to defend Assange because of the vagueness of the accusations, accusations that took MONTHs before being finally formulated (as I understand it).”

Note my previous post. Six days between a police report and prosecution. That duration is normal.

I really don’t get what the conspiracy theorists are trying to say here? Are you trying to say that if its possible that someone is being falsely accused as part of a smear campaign that an allegation of a serious sex crime should be ignored because it MIGHT be a false allegation? I can’t believe that anyone would think that, as the only rational sane thing to do is to investigate that case like any other and if there is evidence that the accusers are lying then charge them with attempting to pervert the course of justice or the Swedish equivalent.

51. Chiase Guevara

Some people on here seem to think we should literally assume Assange to be innocent just because he hasn’t been proved guilty. Presumption of innocence is a legal right; it means you can’t be jailed (or otherwise punished) without proof. That doesn’t mean people can’t form an opinion of how likely it is that they’re guilty. Of course, if you decide they are guilty then publically state that as a fact rather than an opinion, you could be looking at a lawsuit.

52. Chiase Guevara

@ 49

As far as Wikileaks goes, I believe the issue is the possibility that the Swedes decided a long time ago not to prosecute over the allegations (for whatever reasons, obviously that doesn’t automatically absolve him) but are now using him as an excuse to bring him in for questioning, at which point they can hand him over to a foreign power to be prosecuted for Wikileaks. This would seem to be supported by the claim that they refuse to talk to him over the phone, assuming that this would normally be acceptable.

@44

The account given by the two women is not helped (in my opinion) by the fact that they met up after their separate encounters with Assange before jointly approaching the police.
I understand there was at least a 3 day interval between these two liaisons – so why did the first victim wait for over 72hrs if she had been raped instead of going straight to the police?
It seems she sought out the 2nd women in order to compare notes about what happened (I mean how did she even know about this second episode).

If you really don’t understand this then you need to read more about how rape victims react following rape. Please note – this doesn’t mean that I am saying Assange *is* a rapist.

54. the a&e charge nurse

[48] “Note my previous post. Six days between a police report and prosecution. That duration is normal” – well the situation was sufficiently vague for LC to be rehashing headlines even within the last 48hrs.

How curious – the founder of WikiLeaks alleged to be a serial rapist yet even though these events occurred months ago most of the MSM seemed to be in doubt as to the nature of the crimes he was alleged to have committed.

Either way I think it is unfair to conclude that the questions raised about this case are somehow synonymous with a flaky views about women who have been sexually assaulted?

@51 Chiase Guevara: “As far as Wikileaks goes, I believe the issue is the possibility that the Swedes decided a long time ago not to prosecute over the allegations…”

Assange was prosecuted six days after the allegations occurred. No delay. Just how long it takes to shuffle papers.

56. Chiase Guevara

@ 54,

Well, if so, I retract my point, but people have previously claimed otherwise. Of course, there’s a lot of confusion floating around this story right now.

57. the a&e charge nurse

[52] “If you really don’t understand this then you need to read more about how rape victims react following rape” – on the contrary, I do have insight into how there can be a delayed response (denial/anger/shock, etc) – BUT when we factor this piece of information into the rest of the jigsaw it is possible to interpret it in more than one way – and that is what we must keep in mind in this exceptional case.

If you choose to highlight a single piece of my post without reference to other contextualising factors mentioned, then maybe you have not fully understood the point I am trying to make?

It was my understanding that Assange was first questioned in late August about these allegations, coincidentally just after wikileaks released the Afghanistan war logs. The allegations were then later dropped only to be resurrected now after the most recent wikileaks revelations.

Surely this must raise a red flag to even the most reactionary commentators here.

@Russell

Its been very badly handled admittedly, but the charges were never dropped, changed to a more a less serious charge and then moved back up to a more serious charge from what I have read. They did interview him at the time but have been investigating ever since. I don’t know what they have done in the investigation but have now decided they want to interview him again. I presume they also intend to charge him as they have raised an arrest warrant or are at least considering charging him. Although it seems very heavy handed to issue a warrant before even asking him to return to be questioned.

Ultimately though when Sweden gets the paperwork sorted its not like he will have any choice but to return to Sweden.

60. the a&e charge nurse

[58] I simply do not understand how an individual charged with 2 separate violent crimes can potter about Europe for months on end (without any attempt to avoid the authorities) until the finally bureaucracy catches up – if these women have been raped, doesn’t further delay give the accused a golden opportunity to commit further similar crimes?

@57 Russell:

One case. Alleged sexual event: 14 Aug 2010. Police story: 20 Aug 2010.

First war documents leak: July 2010.

Second war documents leak; November 2010.

That does not add up to a sequence of events to stitch up Assange.

Neither of the women who’ve made accusations against Assange made a legal complaint about his sexual behaviour until several days after when they found out he’d had sex with someone else. This is why the complains against him shouldn’t be taken very seriously.

Obviously the accusations have served their purpose. Instead of discussing what wikileaks has revealed, people – and especially feminists, I regret to see – are discussing Assange and his character. These are irrelevant to the issue, except in so far as assassinating Assange in this way allows The Powers That Be to subvert the message wikileaks is attempting to send. Whatever the truth of the accusations against him, one cannot ignore the coincidence of their timing and the global extent of their coverage and pursuit, which are simply far too convenient for the US and its allies as they twist and turn and attempt to negate the impact of the publication of all that material. I don’t believe in coincidences. I do believe in the dishonesty, hypocrisy, bad faith and ruthless pursuit of self interest on the part of the US and its allies. How they must be chortling smugly among themselves as the left, as usual, fractures and argues amongst itself and so misses its chance to attack them.

@61 Phil Hunt: It might be the obverse. The ability for two women to exchange notes and concur that they may have been misled takes time. Nothing about this story is obvious.

65. J.T. Murphy

From a Yank’s perspective:

I do not know what the state of political discourse is in the United Kingdom. If there is anything resembling civility, however- if there’s any chance that a pundit on your shores can consider anyone who disagrees with his or her views to be anything more than a subhuman monster- then know that now, and in the foreseeable future, you are far more civilized than the United States is now or will be for decades to come.

Putting aside the facts of the actual case- Americans find little need for those- Assange is just the latest battle in a war of ideology, a war that the American left is losing horribly. The outcome is as reliable as the sunrise: every second the American left spends debating the correct, just, and prudent course of action is a second that the American right spends pushing its knee-jerk, politically-convenient opinion upon a nation too jaded and distracted to donate any serious thought to the matter. By the time the left has a coherent solution, the right’s version of events has been repeated so drearily often that it’s gospel in the minds of the disinterested. This is why we fought two wars this last decade. This is why President Clinton nearly got impeached, while President Bush got re-elected. This is why climate change and evolutionary theory are considered open for debate in our schools. This is why Sarah Palin is anything more than a washed-up beauty queen. The conservative PR machine is grimly efficient in its ability to spread convenient untruths from coast to coast, and thus many on our left, like starving dogs, strike wildly and hungrily at whatever scraps of relevance it can find.

Thus, our knee-jerk defense of Assange. The story mirrors the pattern that American liberals have sadly become accustomed to- a problem rises (Assange heads an organization that leaked diplomatic secrets!), and immediately a solution arises that’s horribly useful to the rich and powerful. (He’s a dirty rapist! Get him!) If we even suspect he might be railroaded, our only hope is to immediately take the opposite extreme in the futile hope we might horn in on what passes for “debate” in this country before he’s being hung in effigy nationwide. If we appear insane, it is only because insanity sells so unspeakably well in 21st-century America.

Cath, your points are well-taken. I disagree with your conclusions- but mostly because I can’t afford to do otherwise. To all of you across the pond, know that no controversy involving the United States will come without the taint of this sorry state of affairs. Clearly, I cannot speak at all on British opinions, but I hope I’ve shed some light on why Julian Assange has become a global martyr.

@63

The ability for two women to exchange notes and concur that they may have been misled takes time.

Misled about what exactly, and why would it matter?

@65 Cylux: “Misled about what exactly, and why would it matter?”

Misled about cocks and condoms. Because they are the concerns in this legal case.

68. the a&e charge nurse

[65] “The ability for two women to exchange notes and concur that they may have been misled takes time” – “Misled about what exactly, and why would it matter”.

Yes, and why would it take ‘time’ – doesn’t this raises the possibility of significant self doubt if a period of deliberation as well as joint discussions were required?

I live in Sweden. Our sex crime laws are indeed insane and incomprehensible, not only to people outside of Sweden but to us as well. Sex crime trials are basically a lottery here. Our previous minister for justice read Orwells “1984″ as a manual instead of a warning. Our current minister for justice has no qualifications at all for the job and thinks due process in unnecessary if both the police and the prosecutor think the alleged perpetrator is guilty.
In short: do not expect justice in Sweden. Make sure your case is tried elsewhere.

What bothers me most about the Assange rape case is that I cannot really believe that man to be so _stupid_ that he would commit a crime, while being in the spotlight the way he is. He knows that a lot of people want to put him away in gitmo-or-worse. He knows that he will be scrutinized if something, anything, happens. And he knows damn well that Swedish politicians are so eager to please their american counterparts they fall over themselves to obey any wish from the US. He would be so very very stupid to cause any kind of trouble here, because we would hand him over to the CIA for rendition in a heartbeat. We have done it before, with swedish citizens.

And I do not think that Assange is that stupid.

@66 What, they had to have a discussion with one another to determine if a condom was used in their own sexual act or not?

At December 2006, the legal definition of rape is penetration of a vagina by a penis, by however small an amount. This has to have been ‘by force’ and ‘against her will’ – meaning that at the time the woman had not consented.

We’re not that much different from many other countries,…the moment sex becomes non consensual – whether because of not using a condom, or by someone thinking it’s ok at some point in that sexual encounter to not use a condom despite her telling you it’s the only way she agrees to sex…think about whether this is consensual.

It’s pretty clear isn’t it. Rape is horrific full stop. Wish people stopped justifying grey areas,…there are none, yes is yes and no is no.

I find it interesting that no one one seems to have gone the trouble of taking the time to look up Sweden’s rape statute before holding forth on this issue.

For the record, Swedish law defines rape solely in terms of either the use of force and/or threats of violence and makes no reference whatsoever to the question of consent.

Section 1 of the Swedish Penal Code.

‘A person who, by violence or threat involving or appearing to the threatened person as imminent danger, forces the latter to have sexual intercourse or to engage in a comparable sexual act, shall be sentenced for rape to imprisonment for at least two and at most six years. Rendering the person unconscious or otherwise placing the person in a similarly helpless state shall be regarded as equivalent to violence.

If in view of the nature of the violence or the threat and the circumstances in other respects the offence is considered less serious, a sentence to imprisonment for at most four years shall be imposed.

If the offence is grave, a sentence to imprisonment for at least four and at most ten years shall be imposed for aggravated rape. In judging whether the offence is grave, special consideration shall be given to whether the violence involved a danger to life or whether the person who had committed the act had inflicted serious injury or serious illness or, having regard to the method used or the victim’s youth or otherwise, exhibited particular ruthlessness or brutality.’

Unless Assange can be shown to used force or threats then I’m afraid his alleged ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ attitude towards a condom failure would not fall within the Swedish definition of rape.

As for the not using condoms business, that it not – according to Interpol – categorised as a sex offence but is covered by a ‘molestation’ statute which appears to stem from a ‘molestation’ statute designed to prevent the transmission of STIs.

Calling Swedish law deranged by our standard may be a little stronger, but bizarre and, in the case of the rape statute, archaic would seem to be fair comment.

@United (71)

I find it interesting that no one one seems to have gone the trouble of taking the time to look up Sweden’s rape statute before holding forth on this issue.

Ehum! Actually I did! In fact if you take the time to read comment #17 you’ll find links to the official English translations of The Swedish Penal Code and some supplementary information regarding amendments to Chapter 6 thereof. The latest version of The Swedish Penal Code I could locate dated to 1999, with the aforementioned supplementary information referring to amendments made in or around 2005. I also managed to locate several copies of The Swedish Penal Code dating back to 1976 (if I recall the exact date correctly); which version are you referencing incidentally?

74. the a&e charge nurse

[71] fair enough – but THIS post is not about how classification may vary depending on jurisdiction, but rather the way in which the (negative) experiences of both female protagonists are being represented on LC (and presumably elsewhere).

I might be wrong but irrespective of Sweden’s definition there are still those that would consider Assange to be a rapist, or least guilty of sexual violence even if his actions fall short of rape in the legal sense applied in Sweden?

For example the OP states ‘Assange must be considered an innocent man purely on the basis that Swedish sex crimes laws are ‘deranged’.
Innocence, based purely on deranged law? – but is such a conclusion warranted given the convoluted set of circumstances that have been reported, not to mention the all important political backdrop against which these events are taking place, or more to the point has anybody else actually made such a claim?

CE says “it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent” – now I know we have had rather long threads on this matter but from memory I do not recall any poster arguing that guilt or innocence can be determined on the basis of gender alone, although asking too many questions seems to be construed by some as tantamount to rape apologia?

Sorry about that Lee, missed your comment as I working down the post.

As for which version of the Swedish penal code, I assume the current one as I took my information from Interpol, this being a relevant source for cross-jurisdictional matters.

I might be wrong but irrespective of Sweden’s definition there are still those that would consider Assange to be a rapist, or least guilty of sexual violence even if his actions fall short of rape in the legal sense applied in Sweden?

There are people who see it that was, clearly – this post/thread wouldn’t exist if there weren’t.

But, of course, that’s prejudging the merits of this case on the basis of the very scant amount of evidence available and it ignores the possibility that the rape allegation – which has already been dismissed by one prosecutor only to be reinstated following the intervention of a high-profile lawyer with serious political connections – may amount to nothing more than a prosecutoral device.

Without the rape allegation, Sweden has no basis for seeking Assange’s extradition from the UK – or most of the rest of Europe – to face the other charges, as the other allegations relate to offences which do not exist in English law.

Cath Elliot,

Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent, especially when there’s no more basis for making that assumption than the fact that actually we’d really really like it to be true.

Really?

What makes you special? Murder victims – y’know dead people – and their relatives, are kind of expected to assume that someone who is accused of killing them is innocent until proven guilty. It’s why we have courts of law and not lynchings.

Many of the immediate relatives want closure and just want the accused convicted. That has sweet nothing to do with a fair trial. And neither is it justice.

Frankly, if you believe what you said, then you are no friend of justice.

Let’s just let due process wend it’s weary way to a conclusion.

78. Daniel Factor

“Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent.”

But is it the very anthithesis of feminism to believe a man accused of rape is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? For some feminists it may very well be.

Yes this is a liberal site but it amazes me there are some “liberals” here that shy away from ideas and talk of men accused of rape being innocent unless proven guilty because they believe to do so is to brand women victims as “liars”.

They wouldn’t apply that to other crimes.

“When an article suggesting that a man accused of sex crimes is himself an innocent victim, it feeds into the prevailing misogynistic anti-woman narrative that says that all women who accuse men of rape are lying.”

Scratching around saying that any article or anyone that suggests a man and men accused of sex crimes is innocent until proven guilty is feeding it the misogynistic anti-woman narrative that says that all women who accuse men of rape are lying.

Why don’t we just lay is straight on the line here! Liberals should fight to uphold the human rights principle of innocent until proven guilty for all crimes…except rape because that’s misogynistic woman hating branded women liars etc etc etc.
I say bollox!

Again I see so much emphasis on the false accusations nobody has an accurate figure but I don’t believe its anymore than 20-30% at absolute maximum, still far more men who get away with it than innocent men who are convicted and this is only of those who actually report the crime. The reporting rate is estimated to be as low as 5 to 10%. yes false accusations are nasty and the people making false complaints should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But the original purpose of the article was to discuss the view that the accusations could be ignored because of a)weird Swedish law kinda debunked its different but not weird from what I can see and b)it might be politically motivated.

Alasdair (47):

When it comes to these allegations against Assange, the only sensible position is ‘we don’t know’. Saying anything else would be to prejudge the legal system.

I disagree, I think this sort of intellectual purism is a way of allowing ourselves to be manipulated by those with power (those in authority, or those who set the news agenda). Yes, maybe God exists so I should do what the priests say. Yes, maybe there are terrorists with nuclear bombs so I should give up my civil liberties. Yes, maybe the climate scientists are all wrong, so we probably shouldn’t do anything about that. As I said before, in politics you’re always taking a stand, there is no neutral position. Refusing to ever take a stand because you might be wrong is just letting those who are willing and able to control you.

Dan | thesamovar

So what you are saying is we should assume he is innocent and shouldnt even be investigated just because we happen to like the information he has put on the web? Thats just another form of blind faith ultimately unless someone knows this guy very well/intimately they would never know if this is something he is capable. As they say assumption is the worst form of stupidity. Nobody should assume anyone is either guilty or innocent they should look at the facts they can objectively or allow someone else to do so on there behalf. Ultimately Sweden is known for being a very liberal country which respects basic human rights. And I have never heard any serious complaints about the Swedish legal system. As for the whole conspiracy theory what motivation would these women have? Granted its possible they are motivated out of revenge for some perceived slight but its not like they are US citizens living/visiting Sweden.

1) There is some kind of Swedish law referenced by the Gizmodo article, under which men are fined up to SKR5000 for misleading women about condoms. While the translation in the Gizmodo piece is doubtless wrong, the offence appears to exist. This is the offence to which I referred as criminalising “poor bedroom etiquette”, and would stand by that.

2) The definition of rape in Swedish law covers acts that *even if the most negative descriptions of the case being published, uncorroboratedly, in the US media are true*, Assange isn’t guilty of – ie, as Unity’s noted, “failing to stop” isn’t classed as rape. I’m quite surprised by this, because failing to stop obviously is rape.

But in short, we can tell from this, pretty clearly, that:
1) Swedish law has a very silly law criminalising poor bedroom etiquette.
2) Swedish prosecutors are *lying* on their press releases and their statements to the UK government, because there is no plausible way he could be guilty of rape under Swedish law.

To me, both of these things seem far more important than the criminal accusations against one guy. Even if he is, in fact, a rapist under the UK definition of the offence, to me it’s far worse for *governments to lie in court to get someone locked up* than for a criminal to go unpunished. And if you disagree with that statement, you might be a feminist, but you’re sure as hell no liberal.

@john b You are of course assuming that there isnt more evidence and no inaccuracies in the press reports. Problem is this case has been a shambles from day one until such time as he is charged and then the evidence is heard in a court you dont know that for sure.

Although I wonder what the government in the UK would do if they extradited him under false pre tenses, I guess they would just be happy to be rid of him and the potential headache if the US applied for extradition for a charge against whatever law the US prosecutors feel they can shoehorn the case under. Depending on what happens with the US however he might be safer in Sweden than the UK with that ridiculously one sided extradition treaty.

Jonkarra,

No, I’m only saying we should assume he is innocent. The relevant authorities should do what they are supposed to, which is to investigate such accusations (and preferably in a way that is free from political interference).

Put it this way: why is this even a story? If a random person were accused of rape, it wouldn’t be in the news. That’s of course not to say that rape accusations aren’t serious, but obviously not everything can be reported. So why is this particular story in the news? It’s not about the particular person: if he had been accused of rape a couple of years ago, it would have been no story at all. It’s only a story because of wikileaks releasing these documents at this particular time: its only function, as a story, is to attempt to cast doubt upon the man’s character and the trustworthiness of wikileaks by association. To dignify this total non-story by even talking about it is to play a passive role and allow ourselves to be manipulated.

Allegations of this nature are not made lightly by any western sovereign state – answers are awaited by all.

“it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent”

Is it? I’m genuinely surprised at that.

I thought everyone, accused of any crime, has the right to be presumed innocent, regardless of their gender or the nature of the crime.

The dangers of presuming a person’s guilt based on their gender are surely horribly clear from some of the world’s less liberal countries, where it is more likely to be women on the end of this sort of thinking.

86 Moog

Hear, hear!

Cath’s statement isn’t just illiberal, it’s uncivilised.

Thanks Cath. I think your points are well-made. Throughout this and the other threads on this topic, amongst the many (and often very good points raised) I have not seen one example (thankfully) of ad hominen arguments that attempts to relate/dissect Assange’s personality/project/politics to the accusations.

On the contrary, there has been quite extensive dissection of the women’s actions (sent texts, spoke to one another, delayed reporting, etc etc) – all directed towards questioning the reliability or motives of their actions. Directly or indirectly, it is claimed that these women are part of a conspiracy. Coupled with trivialising and dismissing Swedish law and processes on sex crimes, it is a very disturbing set of arguments to be found on a site claiming to be sympathetic to feminism.

Presumption of innocence should never entail the automatic assumption that complaints are lies, much less the trashing of complainants.

Cath didn’t ‘miss the point’ – JohnB did not restrict himself to talking about the media treatment or questioning the criteria/ operations of extradition. He dismissed the Swedish laws he quoted as deranged or criminalising ‘bad bedroom etiquette’ and in Comment6 on the other thread– uses innuendo to question the motives/veracity of the women involved.

As Cath indicates, given the common narratives promoted by the DM about rape allegations and victims, much of the earlier OP and comments quite comfortably promote the DM narrative of ‘lying women.’ To keep shouting ‘presumption of innocence’ in response to Cath’s comments about feminists’ perspectives is just silly: does the legal presumption of innocence (ie where the burden of proof is on the prosecution) mean that we must assume at the beginning that plaintiffs in a case are liars? No, it means that the prosecution must make a case ‘beyond reasonable doubt,’ and that the jury must judge the facts of the case as put to them. I am comfortable with Cath’s shorthand – it simply says we don’t assume women are liars.

Like Cath I simply do not know enough to make any informed comment on the case or on the details of Swedish law on sex crimes. Those who want to defend Assange do not need to trash the women involved nor attack/characterise Swedish law as ‘deranged’ on such flimsy (and highly partisan)research and evidence. However, I would emphasise that I think there has also been some very good – and reflective, illuminating – discussion on the threads

I’m not quite sure if I could have spelt it out any more clearly in the original piece that I’m not assuming Assange to be guilty. But just to reiterate, I’m not, and nor indeed am I calling on anyone else to do the same. But the presumption of innocence, which I wholeheartedly support, is an entirely different thing from publicly declaring that it’s obvious that someone is innocent and that they are simply the victim of a conspiracy and of radical feminist women with an axe to grind, which is basically what John B tried to do in his article and what some commenters here are doing.

The presumption of innocence, to quote Lee upthread:

merely requires that you treat that person with common courtesy, the presumption of guild requires that you treat them with suspicion and revile them for their alleged criminality, and the presumption of neither (the so called neutral stance) requires that you treat them with… common courtesy. Hence the presumption of innocence and the neutral stance are, on the face of it identical.

In presuming innocence you are NOT being asked to crown the accused as your new King/Queen!

It may well be that this issue is a part of an International US led conspiracy to get Assange, and if that is the case I agree, it’s completely heinous. But at the moment we don’t know one way or another. All I’m saying is, until we do know for sure, I’m not prepared to pronounce Assange an innocent victim, and I’m not prepared to simply dismiss out of hand the charges against him.

As I said in the OP, I think it discredits LibCon to automatically jump to the defence of a man accused of sex crimes simply on the basis that he’s one of the ‘good guys’. And when we do do that, we feed into the rape liars/stitched up men shtick that ordinarily we would be among the first to criticise when we read it in the Daily Mail.

But what I’ve found really interesting about the response to this post and to John B’s, is the gender split. Obviously it’s not completely split along those lines, there are some men here who agree with what I’ve said and said women who no doubt disagree. But on the whole it’s predominantly women agreeing with me, retweeting the link, contacting me on Twitter etc about it, and it’s men taking an oppositional stance. I think that says something. I haven’t decided exactly what that is yet, but I’m certainly thinking about it.

88 Elaine

“To keep shouting ‘presumption of innocence’ in response to Cath’s comments about feminists’ perspectives is just silly: ….”

Way to miss the point Elaine!

You may be comfortable with Cath’s shorthand, but many more of us will find it deeply disturbing, not to say repugnant. The point at issue is that her lazy shorthand would be roundly condemned if it related to any other group. Trying to make this one particular area uniquely subject to some “get out” clause that men shouldn’t be assumed to be innocent by virtue of their gender is just plain wrong.

I’m trying hard to restrict myself to questions of fact here, as the bits which don’t read like questions of fact tend to consist of unsourced, random smears that I’m fairly sure I don’t deserve (especially as this piece was written by someone I’d previously considered a friend. Oh well, that belief was a mistake).

*NOTHING I’VE SAID IN ANY OF THE PRIOR PIECES INVOLVE DISPUTING ANYTHING THAT THE WOMEN WHO ARE SAID TO BE ASSANGE’S VICTIMS HAVE CLAIMED*.

Is that not clear enough? Because I can hire an aeroplane and write it in the sky, if it’s strictly required.

Should the Swedish government release an official document which says that two women have had sexual relations with Julian Assange, and that in both cases, they asked him to stop, and he refused to do so, I will happily retract on everything that I have ever claimed here, and admit that my work here was wrong.

AT THE MOMENT I AM NOT SAYING THAT ANY OF THE WOMEN WHO HAVE SAID ANYTHING AGAINST JULIAN ASSANGE HAVE LIED.

Which is basically the thing that this post consists of accusing me of.

I would also point out, in that situation, that if you’re dealing with a crime as sensitive as rape against a world-renowned person who’s famous for the fact that everyone else wants to put him in jail, in which you’re looking to have said person extradited, then perhaps *preparing an English translation of said document* and sending it to the UK government, the English courts and the UK press would be a good idea.

But meh. Perhaps there’s no reconciliation between Cath’s view of feminism and anyone sensible’s view of liberalism. In which case, sorry, I’m with the brothers and sisters defending the rule of law, not with the Swedish prosecutor locking chaps up because they had an unwise one-night-stand with a lady who thought, afterwards, that a condom would’ve been less scary.

I’ve just realised my post at 91 was wrong, because the career-focused, puritan-Christian-left prosecutor who’s taking these charges forward is female and has lied. The bold text should be read as “who are claimed to be his victims”.

And fucking hell, the language in this case is difficult; I’m paid for my skills at written English; it’s no wonder the Swedish [ministry of things they, and hence I, am clearly not competent to translate] got it wrong.l

john b

“Because I can hire an aeroplane and write it in the sky”

That would be awesome!

Here’s a discussion of the case in Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/shamir08272010.html

Swedish bloggers uncovered the full story in a few hours. The complaint was lodged by a radical feminist Anna Ardin, 30, a one-time intern in the Swedish Foreign Service. She’s spokeswoman for Broderskapsrörelsen, the liberation theology-like Christian organization affiliated with Sweden’s Social Democratic Party. She had invited Julian Assange to a crayfish party, and they had enjoyed some quality time together. When Ardin discovered that Julian shared a similar experience with a 20-year-old woman a day or two later, she obtained the younger woman’s cooperation in declaring before the police that changing partners in so rapid a manner constituted a sort of deceit. And deceit is a sort of rape. The prosecutor immediately issued an arrest warrant, and the press was duly notified. Once the facts were examined in the cold light of day, the charge of rape seemed ludicrous and was immediately dropped. In the meantime the younger woman, perhaps realizing how she had been used, withdrew her report, leaving the vengeful Anna Ardin standing alone.

That’s not a grey area. That’s not rape at all.

Cath

jk /lolz. Happy to do so, and I know a gentleman who’ll do it for only $10k.

But if you’re gonna accuse me of being a rape-enabler, a bit of funny banter in the comments isn’t gonna cut it. I’m not at all impressed by this post, especially the deeply personal tone you’ve taken on an issue that isn’t at all personal

I haven’t mentioned the names of the women in this case, even though they’re readily available, because it’s completely irrelevant.

As I’ve repeatedly said, and as my original post, my comments on that post, and my comments on this post make clear my beef is with the Swedish authorities, not with the women who reported the case.

I’m pissed off with people who’ll take governments for their word, not under any circumstances, but as soon as “rape” is mentioned, despite the lack of evidence. “Rape” here fulfills the same role as “terrorism” – it’s one that silences debate.

And fuck, whilst not literally gagged and sent to Cuba on this one, I feel more “debate silenced” here than on any other discussion I’ve tried to had with the people I view as “on the same side”.

If, when the CIA were deciding what to fit Assange up with, they didn’t say “we’re gonna go for rape in a non-Anglophone country with really ambiguous rape laws, because that way half the people who’d otherwise defend him will be so right-on they’ll tie themselves up in knots whilst we sit around laughing”, then they would’t be doing their job.

Dave – but it is Counterpunch, which is a non-credible news source. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but LC – including my original piece – holds itself to a higher standard. That’s why I’m so fucking livid about Sunny allowing Cath to post her piece above without prior approval.

I’m frankly perplexed as to what the guy’s being charged with. Perhaps they’re trying to confuse us to death?

A couple of points

john b“But if you’re gonna accuse me of being a rape-enabler”

I’m not and I haven’t. I have an issue with the way your piece was framed, that doesn’t mean to say I think you’ve got some alternative pro-rape agenda or whatever other bullshit you want to accuse me of, it just means I disagree with your article.

I’m pissed off with people who’ll take governments for their word, not under any circumstances, but as soon as “rape” is mentioned, despite the lack of evidence. “Rape” here fulfills the same role as “terrorism” – it’s one that silences debate

I’m not taking any government at their word. But neither am I prepared to take Assange at his word just because he’s the new left poster boy. That’s the difference. And if you want to talk about silencing, how about the way victims of sexual violence are constantly silenced by a culture and a dominant narrative that paints them as liars and connivers out to stitch innocent men up; how about the silencing that goes on for them when men club together and laugh sexual crimes off as poor bedroom etiquette or “an unwise one-night-stand with a lady who thought, afterwards, that a condom would’ve been less scary”,/i>

This post has been supported and retweeted by Rape Crisis organisations and by women who work with the victims of sex crimes. Does that not tell you anything?

“That’s why I’m so fucking livid about Sunny allowing Cath to post her piece above without prior approval.”

Without whose prior approval? Yours? Sorry, I’m confused now, ‘cos I wasn’t aware I needed your approval before I wrote for this site.

But if you’re talking about Sunny’s approval, I got it. In fact, unusually for me, I didn’t post this one up myself, I emailed it to him and let him take the decision whether to go ahead and publish it or not.

99. the a&e charge nurse

[98] “I didn’t post this one up myself, I emailed it to him and let him take the decision whether to go ahead and publish it or not” – and I for one, am glad you did.
The post reveals if nothing else some of the fault lines, especially gender differences, when it comes to this emotive area, and even if we cannot attain resolution or some form of agreement it is still helpful to air the various points of view?

But inevitably the law will always end up on the back foot once the standard of evidence boils down to “he said, she said” sort of stuff (when there is little in the way of corroboration, or forensics).
Unfortunately NO amount of data on previous rape cases alters this fundamental dynamic – so how can we resolve the quest for justice without degrading a founding principle that most credible legal systems are based on, i.e. ‘innocent until proven guilty’?

I would raise one further question related to this case – while it is a violation to force sex on a women (even if she was consenting just 2 minutes earlier) surely the sensible thing to do when there is such an over riding sense of ambivalence is to simply avoid going to bed with somebody in the first place – or am I just being old fashioned?

I actually can but can’t believe that Cath E has decided to make this weak and very convenient case against this man into some feminist bullsh*t.

Please not all women are like this and some of us like to look at evidence before making sweeping statements that are filled with holes and I’m shocked has been given a platform on here.

As someone who has worked with girls to women who have genuinely encountered rape, I’m appalled that once again because a woman does not agree with what a man is doing, then this has to happen.

Furthermore as someone who is very left, I wonder if somehow the writer is more likely very authoratarian and state like in thought, therefore actually disapproves of a liberal man like Julian?

Ironially, I have found more women then men-before the rape case-have been against what Assange has does.

john b/95: my beef is with the Swedish authorities, not with the women who reported the case. I’m pissed off with people who’ll take governments for their word, not under any circumstances, but as soon as “rape” is mentioned, despite the lack of evidence.

Are you claiming that the women who reported Assange to the police are telling the truth about what happened [1] but that the Swedish authorities are wrong to bring charges based on that? I’m not sure how you get from one to the other, if so.

[1] Or, at least, that you have no more reason to doubt their report than you would to have any other report of crime.

Yeah, good to post because it shows how soooo many women have only ONE agenda-theirs!

@100

can’t believe that Cath E has decided to make this weak and very convenient case against this man into some feminist bullsh*t

In fairness to Cath, it seems likely that feminist bullshit is pretty central to this.

The following is Anna Bernardin abusing a fellow feminist for allowing herself to be pictured with a middle aged man.

Harold looks like a dirty old mucus in the picture, and it is composed so that it looks like he owns you. It’s sad that men who look drunk out and holding the women, especially young women completely regardless appearance, perceived that way, but it does, and the need for economic and social equality to change. Until we have that will need to think about when choosing a picture if you do not want it to look like a photo montage. If Harold had seen more serious out, and it had looked like you were sitting in his lap so I had not reacted as strongly. The picture emphasizes the stereotype that Ullman will not recruit middle-aged or older women for a reason, the picture does not emphasize your professionalism

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:KqxoRlB3Ub0J:annaardin.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/sjustegsmodell-for-laglig-hamnd/+sjustegsmodell+f%C3%B6r+laglig+h%C3%A4mnd&cd=1&hl=sv&ct=clnk&client=safari

I’d also like to point out, somewhat off-topic, that lefties tend to point to the successes of Finland, not Sweden, when it comes to matters of improving the state of our nation. Tories like Mr Gove on the other hand…

@Cylux,
Not sure about that. Sweden is the more traditional left model, but I am sure we have a lot to learn from both countries. I think Finland’s education system is more to the left’s taste than Sweden’s, because of course Sweden introduced “free schools”. Both countries have centre-right governments at the moment, but Sweden in particular has a long history of social democratic government (uninterrupted from the mid-30s until the late 70s, iirc). I know that Sweden has a much smaller gap between rich and poor (measured by the Gini coefficient and other popular measures) than the UK has. I think Finland does well too. Both countries are meant to be neutral (neither is in NATO), although we know that this official neutrality is largely a myth and that Sweden was already leaning towards the US side even before joining the EU. Still, there is no reason to demonise Sweden in the way that some here have.

Daniel (78)

“Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent.”

But is it the very anthithesis of feminism to believe a man accused of rape is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? For some feminists it may very well be.

For some people who call themselves feminists… Something that I think that various people on the left, feminists, liberals and others need to realise is that just because someone labels themselves the same or similarly as you do yourself doesn’t mean they are the same. There are a lot of people who will misappropriate names and labels either to improve their own popularity or to reduce that of the other groups who have correctly adopted that name or label (e.g. right wing fronts that call themselves socialist to disrupt the left wing and act as agent provocateurs and cause a negative public media image for the left).

Stephen

@pagar,
It sounds as though you have already made up your mind and are trying to discredit one of the women in advance of the case being decided. How can that be right?

Great article! It was pretty sickening to see a defence of a hypothetical case of rape on Liberal Conspiracy.

As I understand it, Assange was accused of continuing sex after a condom had broken, even though consent was conditional on the use of a condom. The original article suggested that even if he had done that, he would not be guilty of rape, and also distorted what he was accused of by attacking the relevant laws. But it’s not just a case of “bad bedroom etiquette” to continue having sex without a condom – everyone has a right to control how safe the sex that they have with a partner is.

Let’s not judge whether or not Assange is guilty of what he’s been accused of. But let’s not pretend that what he has been accused of is somehow not rape.

@pagar,
It sounds as though you have already made up your mind and are trying to discredit one of the women in advance of the case being decided. How can that be right?

Not at all, I only linked to her blogpost.

She wrote it.

108

Nobody (as far as I could follow above) is disputing that if consensual sex was predicated on use of a condom, and he knowingly continued after the condom broke then there may be a case to answer; although how easy it would be to prove is a different matter.

It seems odd to me that you are so heartfelt in your congratulations about the OP, and yet gloss over the chilling statement that:

“it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent,….”

Cath – I meant my prior approval, in that if I were to write a piece that personally attacked another LC blogger and publish it on LC, I’d seek their prior approval before doing so. But meh, I’ve calmed down since then, whatever.

The original article suggested that even if he had done that [not stopping when told to stop], he would not be guilty of rape

No it fucking didn’t.

and also distorted what he was accused of by attacking the relevant laws.

It attacked the laws in Sweden that make poor bedroom etiquette into a sexual offence, not the laws in every sane country that make *not stopping when you’re told to stop* rape.

Re: “innocent until proven guilty”, etc.

I just re-read this Lib Con thread on the news that the police officer being investigated in relation to the death of Ian Tomlinson would not face charges.

On that thread, there were tens of people calling for him to face prosecution (for crimes up to murder), saying that it was an absolute travesty that the CPS had declined to bring charges, and so on.

Only one person (who was accused of being a right-wing troll as a result) suggested that “‘trial by Youtube’ was not a substitute for due process”. They were as far as I can tell the only person – and I read through the comments multiple times to be sure – who was suggesting anything even vaguely approaching a statement that the police officer’s rights to be considered “innocent until proven guilty” were being ignored, or that criticising the CPS decision not to charge was an affront to “due process”, or that “as liberals”, “we” should be up in arms at the way the police officer was being treated.

And yet all Cath Elliott has to do is suggest that we shouldn’t automatically assume that allegations of rape are unfounded and the thread is full of people complaining that this is a complete denial of the legal rights of the accused.

Why, I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you. Fetch me my fainting couch immediately!

@cim (112)

Except of course that those commentators were, as you say, calling for the accused police officer to be prosecuted on the basis of a widely publicised video showing him attack an innocent bystander (Ian Tomlinson) who latter died of conditions which may well have resulted from his run in with the accused. This does not constitute “trial by youtube” as you imply, but rather “prosecution on the grounds of evidence”. If the commentators were instead calling for the accused to be summarily hung drawn and quartered that would indeed belie due process and would be altogether disgusting!

It doesn’t seem very odd to me that, having viewed the aforementioned video (which, as you alluded to, is available on youtube), members of the general public might come to form an opinion that the accused is guilty of something. Precisely what the accused is guilty of (assault, manslaughter, murder, etc…) is for the courts to decide. Conversely, it does seem rather odd to me that, having viewed no video, audio or documentary evidence and having heard nothing from any eye witnesses or the alleged victims themselves, a member of the general public would form an opinion that Julian Assange is guilty of the rather vague charges brought forward.

Since all I know about Julian Assange is that a Swedish prosecute across the north sea has filed charges of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. Based on this, and to a lesser extend the suspicious circumstances that surround the history of this case, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, what I know of the accused police officer is that he did lash out a bystander with no provocation what so ever. So, yes, on that basis I am not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt; he is guilty of something.

The two cases are demonstrably not comparable and I hope for your sake that your comments were pure sarcasm! Because if not, I have serious doubts of you ability to critically assess news media!

114. the a&e charge nurse

[112] the claims made by CE have already been challenged by at least one poster [see 111] – so lets start by accepting that her words might mean different things to different readers?

Even so, it is disappointing to hear comments like “we shouldn’t automatically assume that allegations of rape are unfounded” since nobody has been daft enough to advance any such automatic presumption.

You say “the thread is FULL OF PEOPLE complaining that this is a complete denial of the legal rights of the accused” – when in fact the overwhelming majority have merely drawn attention to a perceived mismanagement of the case by the Swedish authorities, not to mention a backdrop of both political intrigue as well as personal threats that are being made against Assange by senior political figures.

If you are interested in these emerging details you can read an interesting report here;
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/05/julian-assange-lawyers-being-watched
A report which suggests that even Assange’s lawyer is now being targeted?

My problem with the OP is that it portrays the issues surrounding the x2 women who say Assange raped them as somehow emblematic of a general attitude toward sexual violence (perpetrated by men against women) rather than placing this very unusual set of circumstances within a wider political context.
It is still possible to say this while recognising the lousy deal that too many rape victims have suffered at the hands of the authorities, the media and amongst many men as well.

There are also several commentators, myself included who have already noted as a first principle that we are in no position to judge what did or did not take place in the room (since none of us were there on either occasion) – obviously, it is very important to understand this distinction as opposed to the subsequent speculation which accounts for most of the comments on recent threads.

If you are saying it is one rule for the cops and another for women who have been subjected to sexual violence, then I think picking on the Tomlinson case is a poor example?
As I recall most LC commentators believed the cop was guilty of bringing about IT death based on their interpretation of the Youtube footage alone – without rehashing the case again my own view was/is that the cop was entitled to due process even in the light of incriminating evidence.

I also say that the x2 women in the Assange case should also be entitled to due process just that we cannot ignore the possibility that some people will go to almost any lengths to damage Assange because of his role in WikiLeaks and this may (or may not) have a bearing on how he is treated by the authorities?

Lee/113: does not constitute “trial by youtube” as you imply

That was a direct quote of a poster on the previous thread selected because it was the closest that thread had to a concern for due process. I included it, despite not really thinking it counted, because I wanted to forestall saying “and no-one” and getting the response “what about X saying ‘due process’ here”. I don’t personally endorse it and I’m not sure how you got the impression I did. (And, indeed, if you look at it in its context, it’s part of a statement that a prosecution would have better than this, from a poster who believes the police officer to be guilty of assault)

That thread also had people calling the police officer a murderer outright, no “alleged” or “murder or assault or something” or anything about it. Still no-one said “but of course we have to consider him innocent in the absence of a conviction” or anything similar.

Whereas here no-one has called Assange a rapist (alleged rapist, yes, but that’s an undeniable fact). People have stated that he would be (colloquially if not legally) were some of the reported allegations true, and also that we shouldn’t automatically assume that the allegations are false, but that’s not the same thing.

Yes, they were calling for the police officer to be prosecuted when the authorities had decided he shouldn’t be. Here, people are calling for Assange to be prosecuted when the authorities have decided he should be.

a member of the general public would form an opinion that Julian Assange is guilty of the rather vague charges brought forward.

But no-one is stating that opinion. People are stating entirely different opinions that are being persistently – maybe even deliberately – misinterpreted to be identical to that opinion. (And my point, which you seem to have missed, is that this level of misinterpretation of clear statements seems only to apply to rape cases)

Cath Elliott explicitly stated that she wasn’t stating that in the first paragraph of her post. The opinion being stated is that we should not assume on the basis of what we’ve heard that he is so self-evidently innocent that there is no need for an investigation and trial (and that we certainly shouldn’t have the initial assumption that all allegations against Assange are part of a conspiracy). Not that he’s guilty, but that there’s reasonable cause to investigate further. What is so unreasonable about that?

As regards the quality of the evidence, given that, unlike in the Tomlinson case we’ve not seen any of the evidence directly, I’m willing to also give the Swedish prosecution the benefit of the doubt by assuming that they have access to more evidence than the bits that have leaked, in mistranslated and second-hand fashion, to the press. That doesn’t mean I think Assange is guilty – I don’t know and don’t have the information to tell – but it does mean that I assume until things suggest otherwise there’s some credible allegations and a case to answer. Doesn’t mean he’s guilty. Doesn’t mean he’s so self-evidently innocent the investigation (and now, charges) should be dropped.

I agree, we cannot simply say Assange is innocent, I think it’s also fair to say we cannot also take the allegations as existing in a vacuum without geopolitical pressures,but the automatic assumption they are unfounded smears is not ok.

@cim (115)

I apologise if I have misconstrued any part of you response, but that doesn’t change the fact that your choice when seeking an analogue of this case was a very poor one.

I think what lays at the root of your confusion here, with regards to any calls for clemency towards Julian Assange, is the distinction between the legal concept of presumption of innocence and the equivalent personal philosophy. The latter is in play until the observer (you, me and the rest of the world) is in possession of sufficient knowledge to form a valid opinion; the prior is in play until the judiciary has arrived at a verdict based upon all of the available evidence.

Since the observer is very rarely in possession of anything other than hearsay and conjecture (s)he cannot usually form a valid opinion until the trial is over, because only then are the details of the case made public. In the extraordinary case of Ian Tomlinson, the publication of clear video evidence on youtube made it possible for the general public to draw their conclusions, even before charges were brought. In this case however, the lack of any elaboration on the charges brought foward, the apparent lack of communication between the prosecutors office and the defence attorney and the lack of any action (i.e. an arrest) by authorities here in the UK all suggest that this is either

A total none-event.
A flimsy pretext to for extradition; either in response to cablegate or in order to secure an extradition for a (lesser) crime other than rape.
An incomplete and incompetently handled case.

If it is either of the first two, then it isn’t worthy of our or the mainstream media’s attention. If it is the latter, then the prosecutors office owes it to both the accused and the complainant(s) to get its house in order and file formal charges.

In essence, the Swedish authorities have done little beyond should “Rape!” in a rather loud voice across the north sea. If that were a person shouting “Rape!”, I don’t think I’d be remiss in asking for them to elaborate and if they failed to do so, I wouldn’t feel comfortable simply taking their word for it. So until the prosecutors office either elaborates upon the charges or issues a valid warrant which compels police here in the UK to arrest Mr. Assange, I don’t think I’m being remiss in presuming him innocent. As the mere accusation of something (including rape), especially which such a protracted period without elaboration and/or action, is not enough for me to form an opinion and so not enough for me to change my attitude towards someone.

I read with interest in the guardian and the BBC today that the original prosecutor in the area where the incident allegedly took place decided there was no case to answer and the case was closed. It was resurrected by a prosecutor in another area following political pressure. I am unsure what the original motivations of the victims ware but this would certainly seem(please note the use of the word seem as we only have information to this effect from Julian Assange’s solicitor) to be a case of the incident in question being used for political purposes. Of course this is just the statement by Julian Assange’s English Solicitor so ultimately whilst it looks dodgy in some ways you only have one side of the story.

Ultimately this is too much of a farce to be some sort of state sponsored smear campaign although maybe I am wrong I mean just think back to Castro and the exploding cigars. But whatever this case is dragging itself out into a complete and utter farce. I did find it funny that Julian Assange’s solicitor claimed this might be part of some ploy to eventually extradite Julian Assange to the US. I mean come on look at that stupid one way extradition treaty we still have in place with the US. The UK government cant protect one guy harmless guy who hacked a few insecure US defence computers looking for information on aliens whilst he was sitting at home in the UK do they seriously think the UK government will stand upto the US government ever? Especially for Julian Assange who isnt even a UK national? Whose site has broadcast thousands of documents that embarrass the UK government? He would probably be safer in Sweden
.

When an article suggesting that a man accused of sex crimes is himself an innocent victim, it feeds into the prevailing misogynistic anti-woman narrative that says that all women who accuse men of rape are lying, and that there’s no such thing as rape, there is instead just bad sex, or as John Band put it “poor bedroom etiquette”.

What an amazing paragraph.

Firstly, ‘feeding into the narrative’ is a great device to attach someone to opinions that they don’t hold. Too difficult to tackle someone’s arguments head on? Never mind, just accuse them of feeding a narrative which you find easier to rebut. It cuts both ways though. I’m sure Cath doesn’t believe that all men are rapists, or anything so insane, but she sure as a hell is feeding that narrative.

Secondly, it’s a ridiculous suggestion that the prevailing narrative in the UK says that ‘there is no such no such thing as rape’. I think you’d struggle to find anyone who believes it at all. Even the Daily Mail publishes real stories about rape occasionally.

Thirdly, just read the paragraph again. It says that no man accused of sex-crimes, even one who is the genuinely the victim of a miscarriage of justice, should ever be defended on any feminist-friendly website. Because doing so feeds into the wrong narrative. Lovely.

Obviously the ‘narrative’ card trumps all others considerations. But there’s another narrative going on too, in which someone causes US government plentiful embarrassment, and then suddenly finds themself being prosecuted for unrelated serious crimes by a US-friendly state. How to decide between these two competing narratives? Well maybe we could look at the details of the case… about which Cath has nothing at all to say.

120. Flowerpower

John B

You shouted:

NOTHING I’VE SAID IN ANY OF THE PRIOR PIECES INVOLVE DISPUTING ANYTHING THAT THE WOMEN WHO ARE SAID TO BE ASSANGE’S VICTIMS HAVE CLAIMED

and you then said you “can hire an aeroplane and write it in the sky, if it’s strictly required.”

I hope it doesn’t do to you what it did to Nigel Farage, but I think you’d better get that aircraft out of its hanger.

Much of what you’ve written so seriously mischaracterizes the complaints as to effectively contradict them. And you seem set on continuing to do so.

For example, you have written:

Assange is being prosecuted for having sex without a condom, with someone who didn’t mind the lack of condom at the time, but who subsequently was cross about the fact that he didn’t use a condom.

and later

they had an unwise one-night-stand with a lady who thought, afterwards, that a condom would’ve been less scary.

Both of these suggest that one of the complainants, Ms W, only got upset after the fact.

However, if the allegation is as it has been reported extensively elsewhere, that Ms W insisted before sex on the Monday night that her partner wore a condom…. That consensual sex followed…. But that upon blearily waking on the Tuesday morning, she found herself having sex once again…. But was horrified to discover – too late – that this time her partner was NOT wearing a condom, and cut up rough about it at the time, then your characterization of her complaint is grossly misleading.

What is complained of may be something short of rape in Swedish law; and may indeed not be a recognized offence at all. But I fancy Ms Salander would regard it as pretty reprehensible behaviour of a sort not to be trivialized as “poor bedroom etiquette”.

Don’t you guys see? This is exactly how they want you to think. They want you to ask yourself “hmm… maybe he really did rape them”. Whoever is responsible for framing Julian Assange, it’s obvious they want to feed on the ignorance of the masses who don’t read up on all the facts.

I’m swedish myself, and let me tell you that the swedish justice system isn’t quite as wonderful as people think it is. They have their priorities all wrong and murderers can sometimes spend a ridiculously short time in prison before they’re back on the streets again.

This is starting to look like a witch-hunt. Really, it’s quite laughable how someone can just scream “he raped me!” and suddenly Assange has become a crook.

Lee/117: I have a suspicion that we’re mostly agreeing and talking past each other here, on at least some things, because the difference between the legal principle and the personal principle is what I’ve been trying to get at. Ah well, viestintä yleensä epäonnistuu, paitsi sattumalta [1].

[1] Finnish original of Wiio’s first law, translated in English as “Communication usually fails, except by accident.”. I hate trying to have complex discussions where nuances of meaning matter by writing for just this reason…

In the thread on the Tomlinson case, personal opinions expressed varied between “guilty” and “guilty as hell” for the police officer. The lack of people even willing to suggest a personal opinion of “innocent” was not taken as a lack of support for the judicial principle on any of their parts, and no-one felt the need to pre-emptively defend it either.

In the Assange case, personal opinions expressed, based on what little details of the allegations have varied between “not even a crime”, “innocent”, and “case worth investigating further”. The existence of personal opinions beyond “innocent” was taken as an affront to the judicial principle by some.

cannot usually form a valid opinion until the trial is over, because only then are the details of the case made public.

However, one can reasonably adjust your opinions of likelihood of guilt based on the existence of the trial. That, in itself, is evidence. The chance of anyone I meet on the street being a criminal is relatively low; I will naturally assume innocence. The chance of someone who is wanted for questioning related to a crime being a criminal is somewhat higher; I will not automatically – and the word “automatically” is crucial – assume their innocence, but wait for the legal process to play out and for additional information to become available. (Naturally, in the judicial sense, I will continue to defend their right not to be punished before the trial)

If it is either of the first two, then it isn’t worthy of our or the mainstream media’s attention. If it is the latter, then the prosecutors office owes it to both the accused and the complainant(s) to get its house in order and file formal charges.

As regards the latter, they have charged him (I think that’s what they’re saying, anyway: phrases like “detained in his absence” suggest that Swedish legal idiom doesn’t always have an exact English translation)

Actually, given how clunky some of that translation reads, that gives a fourth option: it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that a lot of the apparent vagueness of the evidence/charges/process is due to errors introduced in translation and then reported without sufficient analysis by the English-speaking press, rather than incompetence – at least outside their translators – by the Swedes. For instance, the infamous “sex by surprise” could be a very bad translation of “sex without previously obtaining consent”, which wouldn’t – if no physical force was used – be rape under Swedish law, but would under English law [2], and would fit some of the descriptions of the allegations being circulated.

[2] Any international law experts know if, where the boundaries between offences differ between two countries, know whether the “to” or “from” country’s legal definitions should be cited in the extradition request? Or both? That’s the sort of thing that could make extradition requests look confusing without throwing in a language barrier too, even in an otherwise perfectly clear case.

Most of the hundred or so comments on this article seem to be engaged in a pseudo-debate about “innocent until proven guilty”.

What does this principle even mean? It means that guilt shall not be assumed unless and until a guilty verdict is reached, and a person accused of a crime shall not be treated deterimentally in virtue of a mere accusation of guilt.

It’s also important to remember that courts in the UK do not find people “innocent”, but “not guilty”. There is a very important distinction between refraining from judgement as to someone’s guilt but giving them the benefit of the doubt in terms of the way on treats them, and actively assuming that they must be innocent and that their accusers are liars.

No feminist assumes that every man accused of rape is guilty of rape, but many mysoginists do instantly leap to the assumption that any man (especially their heroes) who are accused of rape are absolutely, certainly being maligned by a lying woman. This bias simply does not exist in cases not related to sexual assault – or certainly not in such an extreme form. All the OP has claimed is that one should not assume that Assange *must* be innocent.

I am only putting this up because I think it would be discourteous to fail to respond to the points raised by Galen90 and JohnB91 in response to my earlier post89 and I don’t want to act like a troll. I think the discussion has progressed significantly since that posting, so I apologise for rehearsing arguments that others have already made and made better than I do here.
Galen and JohnB
I agree that presumption of innocence is a foundation of our judicial system, and one to which I am deeply committed. I unequivocally support the requirement that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to ‘prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt,’ as well as the principle that jurors judge cases on the evidence put before them without ‘prejudice. (and that includes things like right to remain silent and not testify – all designed to put the burden of proof on the prosecution), I don’t see what more I am required to agree with in order to be ‘liberal and civilised’ or Cath for that matter – given her response.

Others have elaborated/ untangled the issues involved in trying to clarify what the presumption of innocence means– the legal and ‘everyday or personal’ – here much more eloquently than I have – especially Lee and Cim in their discussions. My accusation of screaming – while OTT – was intended to provoke more untangling of what this call for the “presumption of innocence” means in practice. Given those discussions, I have cut down my points.
The legal principle does not mean we assume the accused’s version of events is the truth and the complainant’s is a lie- whether the complainant is an alleged victim of rape, physical assault, hate crimes or a robbery. It is not a judgement that the accused is innocent; it requires us – before legal proceedings- to call the person ‘accused’ and afterwards, if acquited, to call them not quilty. As said above, it puts the burden of proof on the prosecution.
In everyday life, it is saying I won’t make a judgement call on one side or the other until I see all the (or sufficient) evidence and arguments.
I don’t see where anything I have said is in conflict with either of these versions of the ‘presumption of innocence.’
JohnB I recognise that you have not directly called the women who made the allegations liars(but Flower120 makes important points). I also noted that you did not name them or talk about their “agendas,” and thought that appropriate. However, your only linked source in the OP – Assange’s barristerr – does name them, and then sets forth not only a series of legal comments about the progress of the case, his view on Swedish definitions of sex crimes, but also makes a number of statements about the women’s actions/politics that clearly aim to undermine their credibility.
While it is perfectly legitimate to pose questions about what the “charges” are, the relevant laws , how they have been progressed, and the media and the political context, it is also legitimate to say that the way the barrister’s account and your OP frame and elaborate on the issues fits in with a persisting narrative about ‘bad laws /lying women’ that retains its power in discussion of rape. Saying that does not mean that I – or anyone here that I can see – thinks that was your intention or reflects your ‘genuine or default’ view.

Article: “Because it is the very antithesis of feminism to automatically assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent, especially when there’s no more basis for making that assumption than the fact that actually we’d really really like it to be true.”

But there is a very obvious basis for believing this specific accusation highly unlikely to be true: the alleged perpetrator just embarrassed/enraged nearly all of the most powerful people in the world. The arrest warrant was first issued when there was a release of documents, dropped, and then ostentatiously re-issued almost instantly after another release of documents.

Being sceptical of this highly suspicious coincidence doesn’t make me a misogynist. It doesn’t mean I don’t take rape seriously. I just recognise that no such thing is likely to have occurred, especially given that it’s the most obvious choice of serious offence for framing someone.

If he has been framed here, there are two things the framers want us to do:
A) As this article does, insist the allegation is taken seriously because all rape allegations must be taken seriously as a matter of principle, even when it stretches the bounds of credulity to breaking point to imagine it isn’t a set-up.
B) Or alternatively to drag as many Wikileaks supporters as possible into brushing with justificationism for rape, causing outrage and splits between would-be allies on the issue.

i think that assange bloke should be shot on sight, then hanged, then told to say sorry..who does he think he is going round telling us what our higher ups are doing.its none of our beeswax…if a rich banker who does notalot gets paid a wad of cash…then its got nothing to do with us, we should mind our own..same with this phonavode stuff..good luck to them avoiding paying all that money to the tax people, they’re only going to spend it on illegal immigrants who come over here taking our jobs which thankfully wont exist soon anyway. we are 2nd class citizens in our own country wasting our money..on people who deliberatly get ill just sos the free health pc wallers can can turn our kids into queer muslims…and as for them students they should get off their arses and do a proper job instead of giving our police a hard time bashing up old ladies who just moan about their pensions cos they were in some war with hitler who was really a decent bloke who had all the right ideas.

there you go…eat that you lefty faggot kiddy fiddling sucm.!!!

(its funny when you stitch all the idiot speak you get from very rightwing nutjobs how it makes for a surreal if not contradictory diatribe of utter cods)
this bit i put together from real statements ive been reading in past few months

the subtext of it i think is: anyone woman who wont have sex with me is a lesbian…

best ones i read of late were: that assangy bloke should be banged up for what he done. that red queer should have his nuts cut off doing what he did to them women, who were asking for it anyway.

another was : just cos you know more words than me dont make you better than me. I KNOW MORE THAN YUO LOT !!

AG1985: “All the OP has claimed is that one should not assume that Assange *must* be innocent.”
As a general principle, yes, I absolutely agree rape allegations should be taken much more seriously than they are, and that the narrative of lying women is pernicious. This however, is not a normal situation. It is probably unlike any situation in the last 20 years.

In this case taking the allegation seriously (i.e. calling for him to give himself up to the Swedish authorities, and for people to stop pointing out he’s unlikely to be guilty) is a problem in itself, because the intention is quite obviously to smear Assange and take him off the streets until such time as a more permanent solution can be found.

The idea that I believe he’s likely to be innocent because I’m male and he’s “my hero” is vaguely insulting. I believe he’s likely to be innocent because his being somehow framed and/or assassinated in the near future was obviously overwhelmingly likely from the moment he started leaking documents so seriously damaging to very powerful corrupt people.

@127 Fuck me, that one is absolutely fantastic lol

i some of my faves are the holocaust deniers..they produce real collector items of drivel..one was ”them dirty jews got what they deserved in that holocaust (of which he previously denied happened) then went on to say the holocaust wasnt that bad and anyway most them enjoyed it ( a fun holocaust?)

another after i suggested the cruelty dished out by the nazis claimed that the nazis were jolly nice to the jews and even took care of their health by delousing them using special stuff ( wasnt xyklon b was it?)

Oh dear, Cath. Useful idiot comes to mind. If Assange is a rapist then I’m the King of Atlantis.

If he has done it lock him up.

I don’t see how this is debatable at this at this time.

Debates on this subject should be done after he is found guilty or innocent.

The law should be the same for every one regardless who or what they have done.

I.E..
if a MP fiddles tax of 5000 pounds.
He should be treated the same as some guy or gal on the dole fiddling for a extra £10 a week.

I think I might give this reactionary Website a miss from now on. Cath, may I suggest dropping your stone for the moment and try to work with the facts as and when they are made available. Maybe it’s you that should be writing for the daily mail and you could attack “leftie poster boys” as much as you like.

132 but that wont happen will it ? as the £5000 tax dodger knows people in high places and will get off with it, but the £5 scrounger will be publicly villified in the press , lets face it the paper press today isnt exactly impartial are they?

As someone who considers herself something of a ‘lefty’, the race to drink the ‘Assange-is-a-victim’ Kool-aid frightens and disappoints me. Surely a progressive political philosophy enshrines the right to accuse as much as the presumption of innocence?

It’s one thing to speculate about a possible fabrication. It’s another to use a woman’s old blog posts to ‘prove’ she is lying. That’s no different to bringing in her previous sexual history – it’s abhorrent, and utterly irrelevant to the case at hand.

@Everybody

The news agency Reuters has recently published a rather illuminating account of the events leading to the charges made against Julian Assange.

Special Report: STD fears sparked case against WikiLeaks boss

Based on this account, the charges do not appear to be politically motivated. Although only time will tell whether a) this account is accurate and b) there is any truth to these charges being politically motivated. I’m also a little confused as to how the prosecutors office managed to arrange the issue of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) when, according to the article, formal charges have yet to be made.

i think given the context of this case draws attention to the possibilty of it all being fabricated-especially as the swedish judge dropped it last time, so it now suddenly being resurrected makes it all the more suspect re timing..

Hmm interesting what sounds like finally a full account. Hmm Miss A from what is in the article I don’t see a problem unless the condom in question was deliberately broken. Sorry but someone pressuring someone not to use a condom in my eyes is crappy behaviour but not criminal. Second woman well the problem is its all very murky what happened on this occasion when the woman in question had unprotected sex with him. It says she is a young woman who had become obsessed with him and was fine when they parted company. It all sounds so vague, there is no suggestion of force, or inability to provide consent which would be grounds to suggest rape. It all hinges on what happened on that occasion where Miss W had unprotected sex with him what exactly happened there.

Problem I can see here is its going to come down to his word against hers and I dunno how would you convict beyond reasonable doubt given lack of physical evidence of force and no other witnesses. I dunno sounds enough in my mind at least to charge someone but unless there is something more compelling I doubt that a charge would stick in a court. Also defence lawyers as always will try their best to pull apart these two women. I could be wrong here but does it sound to anyone else that there is anything conclusive enough to convict him? All in all I see a messy extradition battle followed by an even messier court case in Sweden if they decide to try the case.

I still do not understand if this is for questioning only, arrest and extradition seem to be overkill why do they not just send someone over here to question him? Save a lot of time and money for all concerned. Also I don’t agree with keeping somebody locked up before they have even been charged. Assurities were available and he is high profile enough that I can’t see he would get away with absconding.

FYI, everyone: Crikey’s Guy Rundle, who was in court yesterday, is the first journalist to ctually explain what was meant by count 1 of the four accusations levied against Assange: it is unequivocally an accusation of rape against Miss A, alleged to have taken place on an occasion that hadn’t previously been mentioned by either side.

I’ve updated my post from yesterday to include Rundle’s reporting.

I’m impressed that it’s taken an Australian (London-based) reporter for their equivalent of Private Eye to explain what accusations the charges laid yesterday *actually involve*, with the entire UK and US press failing to do so.

But I unequivocally retract everything I’ve said in the last ten hours about the Assange case – the English court had no choice but to uphold the charges, because what he is accused of *does* correspond to what is described as rape under English law. And, unless the Swedish prosecutors are doing something *unspeakably* dodgy, we have an accusation from an actual person that Assange raped her, which we all have to take seriously. Not to presume guilt, but not to presume innocence based on the stupid laws and global powerpolitics surrounding the case either.

(I don’t retract what I said before the hearing: the other three counts, which were the only things either side of the case had mentioned before the hearing, are still just poor bedroom etiquette, not rape, and would not be criminalised anywhere sensible.)

140. rachel mizzy

“Dear Cath…and all ye Naysayers…”
unaccustomed as I am to supporting persons whom may, or may not, be rapists… and unaccustomed as I am to dishing out insults, if you or any of your spook cohorts had a sensible brain cell amongst your brain cells… I mean who have you been writing for Cath, the Hoobs, the Telletubbies or the twinkles in my father’s eye? …who is it that you purport to represent, feminists? So, in the light of context, Assange, clearly a very dangerous man to some, has sex with two call-girls in Sweden, the condom breaks inside one of them and Assange refuses an STD test, the girls are pressed to make accusations under two of Swedens Statutes that don’t hold water anywhere else in the world, ie “sex by suprise” (see:sleep-rape) and refusal to submit to a sexually transmitted disease test…sex by suprise doesn’t hold up because the act was consensual, and a refusal to submit to an STD test that appears to be a crime only in Sweden, in a similar way to,say,refusing to wear a Bhurka or Niquab outside is a crime for women in Saudi Arabia or “wearing a loud jumper in a built-up area” appears to be a crime only in the Land of Twaddle…I mean come on Cath, you are honestly sat there wasting your time and intelligence decrying Assanges outright supporters because (quote:)”My issue is with the fact that once again it’s the same old same old story: the left finds itself a new poster boy, and suddenly leftie so-called feminist men are falling all over each other in their haste to defend him.” Since when-the-fuck is the story of Julian Assange and Wikileaks the same old story propounded by feminist leftie men, you duck-billed waste of neurons? Since when is the story of Wikileaks, the context of America and the Corporate west, crimes of the century-nay milennia-committed by sovereign states LEFT RIGHT and CENTRE, outrageous lies and the blood of hundreds of children, women…and men…since when has this been a Feminist story?…I’ll tell you when Cath, since never, you quarter witted harpie; I mean John Band may well be a misogynist bag of goats foot-shavings, but you appear to be taking on the diametric opposite, ie “if he’s going to behave like a cock then I’m gonna turn into a prick” -: because Assange and the function and scale of Wikileaks just aren’t summed up by “leftie poster-boy” – Assange is the most dangerous man on the planet, and if he was a woman She’d be the most dangerous man on the planet to: he had legitimate sex with two prostitutes, the condom broke, he refused a test, in Sweden this counts for litigation, the Swedish Foreign office gets a call from the Washington State Department and a match is applied to the gas ring under the pan, culminating in a European Warrant and a Press field day that turns “refusal to take an STD test” into “sex-crime” into “Rape” within 48 hrs of initial story leak, from a man who has disgraced many Western Nations by confronting them with their own hypocrisy, and spilled the beans about the murderous, malicious and hegemonic insanity that is the ruling class of Corporate America, its allies and the war for oil and christian teachings this last decade…I rest my case Cath; if you and your sychopantic numpties want to waste whats left of your ugly little lives carving up reality into anti-leftie, gender-stereotyped, feminist-versus-masculinist pseudo-middle-class urban-dystopian slices of bite-sized convenience then be my guest and have a great day gorging yourselves on the cake of liberty: as far as I can see, speaking as a Female, the kind of asshole we should be wiping permanently clean occupies both the left and the right and comes in male or female form…and it ain’t Julian Assange. Have a Tasty day now!

apologies for rubbish spelling at 01:52 am

ok part two:

another theory doing the rounds is that wikileaks is also part of some CIA operation
????????? yeah i know….
this comes from somoene noticing that wiki contact info lines up with us security contact info..and that earlier wiki info posting suporting the idea that irag had wmd stuff….there shots of us govt security buildings located in connection to same shit as wikileaks…now i dont know the truth of all this..maybe its water muddying and whos who in all this who s who on which side..but one things is this.why is there a big stink about all this? a golden rule to me is ..if theres a fuss pointing at something..the look to see whats happening somewhere else..that old distraction process…

Rachell Mizzy seems like Sally on speed.

Frankly I think that is a great post.

again apologies to shoddy spelling i just woke up at 01:15am i dont sleep well..
and saw the toing and froing on here…sorry everyone this debate is going nowhere..just muddying the waters..serious shit is going dowm atm…and we should be focussing our attention there..oh btw the other woman in the case has CIA conections -some anti castro stuff it seems,,aslo some info regrading to complaint about assange nade to police suggests collusion between the womeb..one was pissed off with him cos he was shagging the other..whatever..what im asking is why would bloggy go offline for several hours after being told that one of the women in this case left twitter copies with them? ie the twitter stuff, after she panicked and deleted them. overlooked or didnt know im not sue but it seems extreme for that to happen.a company site go offline for bloody hours? over the excited ramblings from a woman?

anyone care to comment so far? or is this thread still going to bang on..about left poster boy rape/feminist twaddle stuff jeez…

deal with facts as they stand

1 bloke who had site which is or claims to be chief whistle blower
2 a bunch of info by the tin load comes from there,some mundane
some startling
3 owner of site apparently has been up to as few naugties with a couple of
ladies – it seems–he gets accused-it gets dropped
4 the charge gets resurrected for some reason
5 doubts about the charge cause a fuss
6 info on the two women come to light
7 info suggest that one of the (the 2nd one had CIA connections)
odd ..did assange know this? if it were me i’d stear clear of that
8 the two women had spoken to each other
9 first woman goes on twitter saying she mixing with the ‘coolest
people…a bit far from that assange bloke is a nutter..
10 after realising this gaff she deletes these ‘tweets’
11 overlooking or not aware that dupes of these tweets are held at bloggy
of which she is also registerd to
12 a journo checks this out and tells bloggy this
13 bloggy goes offline for several hours
14 when it comes back on all traces of ‘anna’s stuff has magically
disappeared
15 now stuff about wikileaks being a part of a CIA operation are circulating.,

Rob: very simply, the fact that someone has published weird and angry man-hating works on the Internet, or that they have previously worked with dodgy CIA front groups, does not mean that when that person says they have been sexually assaulted, they are lying.

If it is true that Miss A tweeted about how cool Assange was *after* the occasion on which she alleges that Assange forcibly raped her, that will seriously dent the credibility of her testimony. But that needs to be *investigated*, not to be *blanketly asserted as proof that Assange is innocent and being fitted up*.

@ John B lets just leave out the rape stuff, sure its wrong to assault anyone..look ive been violently done over so i know

but this bloggy stuff
why would bloggy go offline for several hours?
then when come back online- all traces of her tweets have gone

if wikileaks as part of a cia front job..so stuff about irag having wmd which its supposed to ‘reveal’ when most ppl knew that already as its been accepted that us sold that shit to iraq anyway…

Actually, the jaundiced view that many of us take vis a vis the charges against Assange have less to do with the idea that a “do-gooder” like him is not capable of rape, as with long-standing disgust at the manifestly out-to-lunch nature of Sweden’s current infatuation with radical feminism, as manifested in that countries much-ballyhooed prostitution laws, and the creepy themes of Stieg Larsson popular novels.

Note that quick look at Anna Ardin’s blog reveal her to be an exponent of the same kind of radical feminism advocated by Cath Elliot. And it is precisely this factor that makes me have doubts about the veracity of these charges, since these types are notoriously quick to make baseless charges of sex crimes, even against people they know nothing about (if I had a dime for every time I’ve seen somebody called a “rapist” or “pedophile” in an online debate with a radical feminist, I could keep myself in meals on that alone), and more generally given to character assassination.

My assessment of radical feminists as given to character assassination is in no small part aided by some of Ms. Elliot’s earlier campaigns against Douglas Fox and several other people, I might add.

This is not to say that Assagne is automatically innocent – otherwise “good” men can most certainly be rapists, and even outright liars tell the truth some of the time. But in this case, I think presumption of innocence is not only a legal nicety, but a presumption I share until I hear much better evidence to the contrary.

@Rob (146)

If you know where to look there’s a heck of a lot of places that scrape and store what you post on the net for all sorts of reasons. If you post something to any remotely popular site and its there for more than a few minutes you can be certain it’s been scraped and stored somewhere, probably many places as these sites tend to pick up material from each other.

Had a very quick look and turned up:

Julian Assange, wikileaks, sem 11 lör LO-borgen! Anmäl till Jan@broderskap.se, prio för press @kristenvanster #fb

Posted to twitter 11th August (or at least that what i assume “onsdag 11 augusti” means). No idea what it means as I don’t know Swedish.

Stephen

@Stephen,

I think “sem” may be short for seminar. 11 lör means 11 Monday – so 11 o’clock on Monday 16th August, I presume. LO-borgen means something like “TUC fortress”. The remainder of the message tells you who to email if you want to go. “Prio för press” may mean that the press have priority. @kristenvanster means “Christian Left”.

@Rob, I don’t know if bloggy went down or what it signified. I am automatically sceptical of your interpretation, as I’ve heard so much from the Assange-can-do-no-wrong camp that has turned out to be plain incorrect, and so much else that is (towards the women) defamatory and baseless.

@Rob, there is something creepy about your attempts to dig up dirt. The defence lawyers are no doubt capable of doing that and don’t need your help.

I don’t think we can read anything into the fact that the women didn’t (afaik) give any indication on twitter that they’d been raped. It isn’t something that people are always all that eager to tell the world about – and no wonder, when they get treated with the smears and worse that have been dished out to these two women.

So what, Rob? Most rapes aren’t by strangers. Whether she was interested in him is not the point. As the women’s lawyer pointed out: “If a woman says ‘no, stop now, I was interested in the beginning but not any longer’, many men say: ‘I don’t care’.” That is rape. ( http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=4229104 )

There is no prevailing misogynistic anti-woman narrative that says that all women who accuse men of rape are lying, and that there’s no such thing as rape. some women who accuse some men of rape may be telling the truth and need to be heard. Others may well be false, as a growing body of evidence shows.

There are ‘lying women/bad laws’ just as there`are truthful women and good laws. Denying women’s experiences does not help, neither does accepting these as universal reality, or necessarily true to what actually happened.

I am no feminist, not by a mile and I don’t think I have to be a feminist to refuse to blithely assume that Assange is guilty or otherwise.

Thats a crazy post! Im always searching for writeups such as this, and I am super grateful I discovered your blog!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why it's wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange http://bit.ly/idKO8u

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    RT @libcon: Why it's wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange http://bit.ly/idKO8u

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    RT @libcon: Why it's wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange http://bit.ly/idKO8u

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  15. Hannah M

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    RT @Labour_Partisan: Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange http://t.co/cp1Q81C via @libcon.

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    RT @libcon: Why it's wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange http://bit.ly/idKO8u

  19. Palmer 1984

    http://bit.ly/i7yKIZ I agree with this. Assange may well be innocent but WE CAN'T KNOW;
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  20. Gareth Winchester

    RT @boudledidge @libcon: Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against #Assange @cathelliott http://t.co/P3MZJsE <- Comment 17

  21. Soho Politico

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    "It is the very antithesis of feminism to assume that a man accused of sex crimes is innocent." Read that twice. Boggle http://bit.ly/fS2738

  54. Neil Denny

    THIS… RT @dawnhfoster 2 great posts on issues with Assange coverage by Feministing http://is.gd/ilxFP and @CathElliott http://is.gd/ilxUq

  55. Wayne Myers

    Why feminists should support Secret Service honeytraps: http://bit.ly/huLaF1 <- allegations might be true, writes @CathElliot #wikileaks

  56. Jake Anders

    @whatkatie_did @mental_nigella Two articles from Liberal Conspiracy on why it's rather complex… http://bit.ly/dZFByW http://bit.ly/eOtGlz

  57. EK McAlpine

    Very interesting article which sums up my entire argument far more eloquently that I could ever hope to: http://bit.ly/fS2738 :)

  58. Julian Assange, the arrest and why we should not protest. Yet. | The River Fed

    [...] Red Pill Survival Guide: Rape is not a punchline Liberal Conspiracy: Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange Feministe: Some thoughts on “sex by surprise” [...]

  59. Time for Wikileaks to sack Julian Assange « Max Dunbar

    [...] up on the left between Julian Assange the Wikileaks hero and Julian Assange the potential rapist. Cath Elliott makes some good points in response to John Band’s nasty, dismissive piece about the Assange [...]

  60. Time for Wikileaks to sack Julian Assange « Shiraz Socialist

    [...] up on the left between Julian Assange the Wikileaks hero and Julian Assange the potential rapist. Cath Elliott makes some good points in response to John Band’s nasty, dismissive piece about the Assange [...]

  61. Wayne Myers

    Why feminists should support Secret Service honeytraps: http://bit.ly/huLaF1 <- allegations might be true, writes @CathElliott #wikileaks

  62. Wayne Myers

    Why feminists should support Secret Service honeytraps: http://bit.ly/huLaF1 <- allegations might be true, writes @CathElliott #wikileaks

  63. Sonya Thomas

    Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange. http://ow.ly/3lqoR

  64. Sonya Thomas

    Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange. http://ow.ly/3lqoR

  65. Wikileaks is More Than Assange | Liberal Conspiracy

    [...] is More Than Assange by Robert Sharp     December 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm As was debated a few days ago at Liberal Conspiracy, it is very difficult to know what to think about the Swedish [...]

  66. Suzanne Munshower

    This–why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange by @CathElliott –gets it ALL wrong. http://bit.ly/fS2738

  67. Amanda Peet

    Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange | Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/eFs2Ub

  68. Assange debate has nothing to do with feminist men selling out – it’s a different compulsion « Raincoat Optimism

    [...] the mean time another debate has taken place between Cath Elliot and Sunny Hundal relating to a rubbish article written by John Band (Cath actually has a [...]

  69. #Wikileaks is More Than Assange (x-post from @LibCon) #Cablegate | Robert Sharp

    [...] was debated a few days ago at Liberal Conspiracy, it is very difficult to know what to think about the Swedish [...]

  70. Innocent until proven guilty: Assange deserves our (conditional) support | Left Futures

    [...] ‘sex by surprise’, which he said involves a fine of 5,000 kronor or about $715″. Cath Elliott was right to urge greater caution. And it was never right to mock Sweden’s rape laws which [...]

  71. Assange debate has nothing to do with feminist men selling out – it’s a different compulsion « Though Cowards Flinch

    [...] the mean time another debate has taken place between Cath Elliot and Sunny Hundal relating to a rubbish article written by John Band (Cath actually has a [...]

  72. Iraq snapshot (C.I.) | thecommonillsbackup

    [...] value.”  Marina S. (It’s Not A Zero Sum Game) observes: No, what this is about, as Cath Elliott wrote on Lib Con a few days back, is how quickly all pretensions to feminist sympathies give way to [...]

  73. Answering the question (Cedric) | thecommonillsbackup

    [...] face value.” Marina S. (It’s Not A Zero Sum Game) observes: No, what this is about, as Cath Elliott wrote on Lib Con a few days back, is how quickly all pretensions to feminist sympathies give way to [...]

  74. full of hot air (Rebecca) | thecommonillsbackup

    [...] face value.” Marina S. (It’s Not A Zero Sum Game) observes: No, what this is about, as Cath Elliott wrote on Lib Con a few days back, is how quickly all pretensions to feminist sympathies give way to [...]

  75. Martha Mackenzie

    @sowadally so much hypocrisy surrounding this, pretty astonishing. Good article http://bit.ly/eLgZlZ (via @libcon)

  76. On not taking a stand « The Samovar

    [...] arguing we should ignore these rape allegations have been of a decidedly misogynist character. The response of some (not all) feminists against such articles is then quite reasonable, but unfortunately I feel misses [...]

  77. Assange loses appeal against extradition | Too Much To Say For Myself

    [...] once again I reiterate that I don’t know whether Assange is guilty or innocent of the sex crimes he’s alleged to have committed, and neither does the High Court. What is [...]





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