Craig Murray, Newsnight and what’s really annoying me about Assange allegations


8:40 pm - August 21st 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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There was a lot of anger on Twitter last night after the former British diplomat Craig Murray found it fit to name one of the women who says she was raped by Julian Assange.

UK law of course offers anonymity to rape victims. Craig Murray says he is justified because broadcasters in other countries have named the victim, but there is an excellent take-down of that argument here by Joshua Foust.

But watching the video again, a thought strikes me: naming the victim isn’t the worst thing Craig Murray did last night.

Here is the clip after he names her

What Craig Murray does then is try and justify his actions by casting aspersions on the veracity of the claims by the women. His implication is that their claim has no merit.

This is the same tack taken by George Galloway on Twitter repeatedly

The astounding thing about Craig Murray’s outburst last night wasn’t that he named the woman, but that he appointed himself judge and jury, and decided himself that the case had no merit.

This is more astounding given Craig Murray background: he was removed from his position as Ambassador for uncomfortable questions he raised, and complained he wasn’t given an adequate opportunity to make his case.

So Craig Murray wanted legal due process in his own case, but wants to deny that in Assange’s case by appointing himself judge and jury on television. This is extremely irresponsible behaviour.

It just boggles the mind he can’t see the irony, and is now trying to fashion himself as the victim of the ‘politically correct media elite’.

UPDATE
I find it astonishing that some people are whining that I’m “smearing” Craig Murray while happily smearing the alleged victims in this case. I really have no sympathy for or desire to engage with such brain-dead people.

But there are two points to make. First: any sensible and right-thinking person should agree that smearing the accused or the alleged victims in such a case before it has gone to trial is wrong. If you were accused of something, would you want an internet mob to decide where you were guilty or not, or a proper trial? People who smear the women involved as having no merit – even though there has been no trial – put themselves beyond the pale.

Second: My aim here was to highlight Craig Murray’s own hypocrisy. He wanted transparency and due process when it came to his affairs as an Ambassador, but now he’s happy to go on TV and smear the women involved, and they can’t even answer back. That is hypocrisy of the highest order.

At the very least – whatever you think about the merits of the case or the likelihood of the US trying to extradite him from Sweden – not smearing the women involved should be a basic requirement of any debate. When you don’t do that (like George Galloway) you lose all respect.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. the a&e charge nurse

‘UK law of course offers anonymity to rape victims’ – does UK law offer anonymity to somebody who is accused, but not actually charged?

What a mish-mash of cheepnis this is.

“UK law of course offers anonymity to rape victims.”

Relevance? Whatever case may be conducted against Assange, it is not being conducted under UK law, so your alleged ‘point’ misses by a mile.

“Craig Murray says he is justified because broadcasters in other countries have named the victim”

The victim (if she was one) ‘outed’ herself two years ago to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. Her version of events has since been propagated around the world without, it seems, her minding in the slightest.

“but there is an excellent take-down of that argument here by Joshua Foust.”

A blogger for a neo-con group which wacks on about ‘restoring America’s leadership of the world’? Yes, a fine impartial commentator, fer shure.

“What Craig Murray does then is try and justify his actions by casting aspersions on the veracity of the claims by the women.”

As opposed to swallowing wholesale the women’s claims, because no woman has ever falsely cried “Rape!”?

All in all, Sunny, this a pretty mean and spiteful spasm of ad hom, and nothing more than that.

Joshua Foust’s post stank of biais. Stop linking to that guy.

Galloway’s opinions are rarely worth listening to, so why give him tabloid airtime?

But the point Murray was “trying” to make (because they wouldn’t even let him speak) is the link between the reality of political persecution of whistleblowers and false allegations. He mentioned a few cases as examples of such links. And I don’t think it is a link to be ignored as it is a valid one. We have seen it done all over the world and by interests of many persuasions. I am convinced the US will make Assange pay for the humiliation Wikileaks inflicted on it. And when a country is capable of rendition, of torture, of violating international law and dismissing human rights the way we know (not “suspect”, but “know”) the US has done and keeps doing, I don’t think it is stupid to examine closely any allegations against him. Of whatever nature.

Can any of the Assange groupies explain why the US needs him to be in Sweden in order to make an extradition request? This appears to be something of a plot hole in the conspiracy theory.

Re: #1 –

UK law offers protection (media anonymity) to those who allege a rape has taken place.

There are lot of UK laws that work like this – that protect people who might not ultimately need protection (e.g. if the rape allegations turn out to be false), because it’s MORE important that a real victim is protected – and we can’t know for certain until AFTER the trial (when of course it would be too late to retroactively apply anonymity).

UK law doesn’t offer protection to the accused in cases where the accused is an adult – but the media are ‘encouraged’ not to publish personal information about persons accused of serious crimes such as rape and murder.

That’s not really possible in this case – Assange is a public figure; when he gets detained by the police, the public notice. When he has a court hearing, the public want to know the reasons why. When we plan to extradite him, the public demand to know why.

If the authorities had responded to that with a “We can’t tell you why to protect his privacy”, would that have been credible? Or would we demand further details?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Also – if we all behave like adults around the word ‘alleged’, and actually acknowledge what it means, then it shouldn’t matter than Assange has been named.

We know he’s been accused of two very serious crimes. We don’t yet know whether he is guilty or not.

7. cynicalHighlander

20 mins in will save time but these womens names have been public for months if not a year or two.

Sex, Lies and Julian Assange

All in all, Sunny, this a pretty mean and spiteful spasm of ad hom, and nothing more than that.

Pretty rich after just writing:

A blogger for a neo-con group which wacks on about ‘restoring America’s leadership of the world’? Yes, a fine impartial commentator, fer shure.

and

As opposed to swallowing wholesale the women’s claims, because no woman has ever falsely cried “Rape!”?

Actually Sunny has been pretty good on the Assange story of late – and I don’t compliment him lightly.

9. Frances_coppola

The Judge

There is, of course, considerable difference between a victim of alleged rape choosing to tell her story personally and publicly, and a victim of alleged rape being named on national TV without her knowledge or consent.

Both women have been named on the Australian Broadcasting Company’s website. I don’t suppose ABC asked the permission of either, do you?

@ Shatterface

“Actually Sunny has been pretty good on the Assange story of late – and I don’t compliment him lightly.”

Seconded.

@ the a&e nurse

“does UK law offer anonymity to somebody who is accused, but not actually charged?”

It’s not been possible to charge him, because he broke bail and holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy. As you and the other Assange-lickers well know.

Swedish law offers anonymity to BOTH rape victim AND their accused. We should even be hearing about this case and we wouldn’t if a certain over-zealous Swedish Official hadn’t named Assange. The case may even have been heard by now if it had gone to trial.

Bored now

The name was known here. I knew who the woman was. It must have been carried in papers we read. The internet of course makes it quite possible for that to happen across borders

She doesn’t seem to mind her name being attached to the case, as she has made it public inside Sweden, ie the EU.

She seems to have been very happy with his treatment of her. Was it perhaps that he, having had her three nights on the trot, decided to have one of her mates….?

Hell hath no fury, etc, but you know, if people, male or female, insist on getting into bed with people after knowing them less than one day, they really shouldn’t expect fidelity.

Lust doesn’t equate to love. Most men are easy lays. No one denies that. We don’t expect one night stands to fall in love with us. They are here today and gone tomorrow shags.

Women who are easy lays shouldn’t expect the person they lay to fall in love with them. it’s not the way it happens.

@7: these womens names have been public for months if not a year or two

Indeed. The names are all over the internet, anyone who has followed this case in detail will know them, and I am at a loss to see what useful purpose is served by attempting to keep them secret.

Feeble smear of Craig Murray.

Craig Murray didn’t say anything we didn’t already know. If it is such a scandal, then people should be pointing the finger at the Swedish Police who leaked Assange’s and the accusers names to the press from the start. The “outburst” was rather the over the top reaction from Joan Smith who played it up like he’d murdered somebody. If the Swedish police discarded their anonymity from the start, why are we suppose to tip-toe around their names?

Look, I don’t really give a shit about people who whine about how Craig Murray is being smeared because he named the woman and her name was all over the internet… blah blah…

My point was about how people including Craig Murray have appointed themselves as judge and jury in a case without letting legal process take its course.

Put yourself in such a position. You are accused of a crime. But instead of getting the opportunity to prove your innocence in court – you face a mob of people online who have already decided you’re guilty.

Now. there are plenty of fuckwits on the interwebz who will carry on passing judgements anyway.

My point is about Craig Murray’s own hypocrisy – who once criticised exactly this sort of summary justice when it came to his own past. Now he’s on Newsnight playing judge. FUCK THAT.

18. Barney Thomson

There cannot be a judge, nor a jury, until a suspect is interviewed and charged.

As the complainant has made a very public show of her identity, together with details of the alleged offence, it is open to anyone to consider what has become a matter of public record and state their views thereon.

As you apparently have done in this article, Sunny.

And try not to swear at your audience.

“My point is about Craig Murray’s own hypocrisy – who once criticised exactly this sort of summary justice when it came to his own past. Now he’s on Newsnight playing judge. FUCK THAT.”

You’re talking about comments made on a TV discussion show by somebody who has no jurisdiction whatsoever, about a case in a foreign country concerning someone who hasn’t even been charged yet. How is that “playing judge”? How is it “summary justice”?

Isn’t it relevant whether she was asleep or only “half asleep”? Or whether she carried on seeing him after the alleged incident, and only subsequently made an accusation? Isn’t that the kind of information that’s relevant in deciding whether these are genuine allegations or just a pretext for something else. Surely that is the whole question – and if we’re not allowed to consider it, there’s no point discussing the issue at all.

Wow. I’m constantly amazed at how many obtuse people there are in the world who are still able to string a sentence together.

You’re talking about comments made on a TV discussion show by somebody who has no jurisdiction whatsoever,

How does that make it ok?

about a case in a foreign country concerning someone who hasn’t even been charged yet.

There’s a reason why he hasn’t been charged yet – he hasn’t submitted himself to Swedish authorities.

I’m amused at the logic of idiots who think Assange is innocent because he hasn’t been charged, yet also want him to stay away from Swedish authorities so he can avoid being charged. and yes – they do want to charge him.

How is that “playing judge”? How is it “summary justice”?

I’ve already pointed that out above. Not my problem that you brain doesn’t function properly.

21. Peter Stewert

With the recent outing and attacking of a rape victim via Twitter, and the idiocy in the UK and now the US with “categorising” rape in the most gobsmackingly ignorant/offhand way — say like George Gallow — I get why there is a gale of rage and calls for the alleged victims get some justice.

What I don’t understand is why people are going full-blooded at calling for Assange to damn all else and turn himself over. Though I admit that is what I want to happen, Assange has got legitimate reasons to be concerned with bigger games being played.

I’m in no way comfortable with the thought that I am giving even a small excuse for someone to not answer the allegation of rape, but I’m not going to pretend the last 11 years of international diplomacy has been anything other than a massive rendering of human rights across the world, and though I’d like to hope that the notoriety of a Assange would be a step to far for the US… well there is Bradley Manning. (Sad to say, but the only positive atom in this stellar mass of awful is that Manning does get acknowledged).

By all means bang on about bring him to justice, but I’d be happier with some of that anger shared with the Swedish government for not leaving Assange with the invisible and intangible Polanski defence.

Assange and the allegations should both be in Sweden being sorted out. Instead the world’s press and people stay a loop where the substance has to wait until after the trial, and with rape too often coming down to questions of character, what is being said could poison the case as it is tainting the public mood.

I’ll back Sunny too as this site is one of the best places to follow this story… though now I think of it perhaps some wider coverage of how this is impacting Sweden would be a good way to keep the story out there and cover new ground… perhaps google can provide.

Mr Murray had should never have gotten in to the details of the allegation let alone bothering to name anyone. And though (i’d hope) not to blame in this, Newsnight should have should have used Gallow’s remarks as a discussion about the recklessness and danger in commenting on rape cases rather than a continuation.

22. david Blain

There are already enough facts in the case to taint any perceived trial. The biggest would be the name…Julian Assange. It really doesn’t even matter whatever facts be present, Julian Assange. Everybody knows him then and now as some kind of terrorist on America’s hit list. What truly bothers me, and should everyone as well, is that witch hunting has returned from the past, and anyone can cast a stone at someone so easily to have that person’s life revoked by just the hint of impropriety! It just smacks too much about he said, she said, and by the public allowing such demonizing to continue is a continuation of another means to the madness. These days, it’s really worth the casting of the first stone in order to get a book deal. Any one of us can now be simply walking down the street to work one fine mornin, and along comes a wink who calls it a screw. Your whole life gets turned upside down, you probably lose your job, and, of course, it’s all over the internet for all to judge. What a wonderful World and Web.

Though it pains me to say this…. spot on Sunny. This blogpost is pretty much the blogpost I was considering writing if I was actually still bothering to blog.

Damn it….hate agreeing with Sunny, but am forced to.

Assange is a hypocrite, and regardless of the public service he has given through wikilieaks should stand trial for his alleged crimes.

“the a&e charge nurse

‘UK law of course offers anonymity to rape victims’ – does UK law offer anonymity to somebody who is accused, but not actually charged?”

It’s a little hard to charge him when he’s cowering in the Ecuador embassy and refusing to go home and face Swedish justice.

In all of this Assange has shown himself to be a massive self-promoting hypocrite.

Agree with Sunny and can see why he’s swearing. It’s astonishing people saying “but he’s not even been charged yet”. Well, D’oh.

Also, to hear blokes who consider themselves as leftists turning into the likes of Rod Liddle when it comes to consent from women. It’s as if feminism hadn’t happened – you know, getting authorities to take rape charges seriously and not dismissing out of hand that a wife could be raped by her husband; a prostitute could be raped; that if a bloke shags a woman it doesn’t give him total rights over her. That women will “cry rape” if they are scorned. (That post from Tris above is a prime example of this). It’s a time warp.

And one very basic thing – we don’t have all the facts. The reason we don’t have the facts is that the fact-exhibitor extraordinary – the guy who made a huge virtue of dumping every bit of data – has skipped bail and asked for “political asylum”.

27. Keith Reeder

“My point was about how people including Craig Murray have appointed themselves as judge and jury in a case without letting legal process take its course”

Huh. Aren’t we all doing EXACTLY that?

Every post on this subject contains within it a personal perspective, and it’s deply hypocritical to criticise anyone for voicing their opinion while at the same time voicing your own, implicitly or explicitly.

There’s a gross lack of objectivity and balance in your piece, Sunny – you’ve chosen to object to Murray’s actions simply because his opinions don’t square with yours; but that he actually voiced them is no different to you posting. Frankly I think it’s absolutely reasonable to question the action of these women. Before anyone characterised the next comment as supporting rape IT ISN’T, and I know that differnt people react differently in times of personal crisis: but – honestly – does anyone here REALLY think that what they’ve done since the alleged crimes sounds like the reactions of VICTIMS? Having been a victim of violent crime myself (not rape), I’ll tell you now that the last thing I wanted to do was subsequently to socialise with my attackers…

So there you go – I’ve appointed myself judge and jury too. Except I haven’t of course – I’ve just expressed a reasonable doubt about the extent to which the known details of this story add up. But because I don’t have an agenda either way about Assange, this will doubtless rankle the Assange witch-hunters. The fact remains that much about this DOESN’T add up, and regardless of which side of the fence we’re on, we’re ALL passing judgement. Just like Murray.

Or is the issue that Murray’s opinion was given on TV, somehow making things worse than if say, he’d blogged it?

“Mr Murray had should never have gotten in to the details of the allegation let alone bothering to name anyone.”

Though when you do read the details of the case you get a very different picture of what happened than you do when you read “Julian Assange is accused of rape”.

There cannot be a judge, nor a jury, until a suspect is interviewed and charged.

I wonder what impediment there could be that’s preventing that step being taken?

I’m afraid Sunny gets another pat on the back from a potentially unwelcome source. It’s remarkable just how many people are getting this one wrong.

Hohoho. Liberal Conspiracy has finally become entirely a spokesperson for the establishment.

31. margin4error

Are the swedish allowed to charge some one in a foreign country or is there an issue of being outside their jurisdiction?

“I’m amused at the logic of idiots who think Assange is innocent because he hasn’t been charged …”

If you calm down, try to get control of yourself and read my comment again, you’ll see that – of course – I said nothing about Assange being innocent because he hasn’t been charged. What I was addressing was your rather silly claim that Murray’s comments amounted to “summary justice”.

This isn’t a simple issue, and there aren’t any easy snap answers. Whether you like it or not, the issue is whether these charges are genuine or not. Judging from your repeated references to the “victims”, your mind seems to be made up on that question (“summary justice”?), but even so I think you are wrong to launch this kind of hysterical attack on Murray for simply pointing out inconsistencies in the accusers’ stories.

Unfortunately false accusations of rape do happen. One can only hope that when they do jurors are capable of adopting a more measured and objective approach that yours.

33. the a&e charge nurse

[25] ‘It’s a little hard to charge him when he’s cowering in the Ecuador embassy and refusing to go home and face Swedish justice’ – blimey, talk about missing the point

Here’s my comment again.
‘Does UK law offer anonymity to somebody who is accused, but not actually charged?’ – see, I don’t even mention shhssss, you-know-who – that’s because I’m talking about a general principle, you see.

Do you ever get the feeling that some people are now so intent on pushing an anti-assange agenda they can’t even bother to read what has been written.

Soylent Dave @5 says – ‘UK law doesn’t offer protection to the accused in cases where the accused is an adult – but the media are ‘encouraged’ not to publish personal information about persons accused of serious crimes such as rape and murder. That’s not really possible in this case’ – indeed especially since police statements taken by assange were simultaneously being faxed to the swedish MSM.

34. the a&e charge nurse

[29] ‘I wonder what impediment there could be that’s preventing that step being taken?’ – I think Obama’s refusal to shut down guitmo, and detaining Bradly Manning in solitary for 2 years without charges must be helping.
It certainly sends a clear message that nobody has anything to fear if they cross uncle sam, no siree.

By the way have they thrown away the key on Gary McKinnon yet?
http://freegary.org.uk/

35. KeNaEstoHuncha

@Chris “Isn’t it relevant whether she was asleep or only “half asleep”?”

Not to us (or Craig Murray, which is Sunny’s point) it’s not. That’s for the judge and jury to decide – if he is charged and it goes to trial.

For now, the issue is not his innocence/guilt, but getting him as far as court. Yet as @Lamia points out “It’s not been possible to charge him, because he broke bail and holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy”.

I just want to make one point – lots of people are poking fun at these crazy conspiracy theorists dreaming that the alleged victims and the Swedish courts are somehow in league with the US, etc..

Fine, knock yourselves out.

But that sort of chatter is hardly discouraged by the foreign office threatening to dump decades of diplomatic protocol in the dustbin and invade a foreign embassy.

Maybe everything is above board here. Maybe the complaints of rape are honestly made, and the Swedish authorities have no interest in anything beyond investigating them and prosecuting the alleged perpetrator. Maybe everything else is just paranoid imaginings. Personally I’d put the odds of that at around 80%.

But if the British government wants to play up the other possibilities and give every impression that there is more at stake than legal due process, then one way it could do that it is by triggering a diplomatic crisis which pitches UK against the entirety of South America.

If we’re criticizing the usual talking heads for their reactions to this situation, then let’s also criticize the government for its cack-handed response – a response with rather larger repercussions than those of George Galloway or Craig Murray.

Hey Sunny.

When you get every Tory commenter on this blog telling you your stance on this is correct does it not concern you that you might be wrong?

Because they’re not agreeing with you because they’re concerned about the women involved or the finer detail of sexual etiquette in Sweden, they’re agreeing with because they like the conservatism of state power and hate the likes of Assange for challenging it.

“For now, the issue is not his innocence/guilt, but getting him as far as court.”

This seems to be a case where each side either cannot or will not even acknowledge the argument that the other side is making.

Obviously _if_ these charges have been trumped up in order to get Assange into custody in Sweden, as his supporters argue, then his innocence/guilt is very much the issue.

“For now, the issue is not his innocence/guilt, but getting him as far as court.”

This seems to be a case where each side either cannot or will not even acknowledge the arguments on the other side.

_If_ these charges have been trumped up in order to get Assange into custody in Sweden, as Assange’s supporters claim, then obviously his innocence/guilt is very much the issue.

“they’re agreeing with because they like the conservatism of state power and hate the likes of Assange for challenging it.”

Wow, “state power” is a conservative thing? Quick someone tell Hugo Chavez and Castro!

Only reason I’m agreeing with Sunny is because he’s right. If this wasn’t Assange and was some low-profile nobody there would be complete outrage on here at someone doing what Murray did… yet throw in Wikileaks and its all about some big conspiracy in some sort of shadowy Illumnati.

margin4error,

Are the swedish allowed to charge some one in a foreign country or is there an issue of being outside their jurisdiction?

I don’t know, but in this particular case:

7. According to Swedish law, a formal decision to indict may not be taken at the stage that the criminal process is currently at. Julian Assange’s case is currently at the stage of “preliminary investigation”. It will only be concluded when Julian Assange is surrendered to Sweden and has been interrogated.

8. The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to investigate the crime, provide underlying material on which to base a decision concerning prosecution and prepare the case so that all evidence can be presented at trial. Once the decision to indict has been made, an indictment is filed with the court. In the case of a person in pre-trial detention, the trial must commence within two weeks. Once started, the trial may not be adjourned. It can therefore be seen that the formal decision to indict is made at an advanced stage of the criminal proceedings. There is no easy analogy to be drawn with the English criminal procedure. I [Marianne Ny, Director of Public Prosecutions] issued the EAW because I was satisfied that there was substantial and probable cause to accuse Julian Assange of the offences.
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2011/5.html

But that sort of chatter is hardly discouraged by the foreign office threatening to dump decades of diplomatic protocol in the dustbin and invade a foreign embassy.

That does seem like a blunder.

But AIUI the UK is obliged to uphold the EAW.

Has there ever been a case in the UK where a person subject to an EAW has sought and been granted asylum in a foreign embassy?

“When you get every Tory commenter on this blog telling you your stance on this is correct does it not concern you that you might be wrong?”

Not to worry. Todd Akin is still on your side.

44. Erica Blair

Just a thought.

Naming the accused in a rape/sexual assault case (or any other case for that matter) allows for the possibility of other or previous victims and witnesses to come forward.

Assange is accused of repeating the same abusive behaviour with the two women in Sweden. If true, this would seem to be something other women would have experienced with him, but so far no other accusers have come forward.

Anonymity for witnesses is a problem for justice and fair trials too. At the ICTY in The Hague dozens of anonymous witnesses have appeared in court safe in the knowledge that no one can say, ‘Hang on a minute I know him, he’s a pathological liar.’ or ‘That can’t be true, she was with me at the time.’

Sunny should acknowledge that some of the published facts – not smears – about at least one of Assange’s accusers (Tweets, videos of meetings etc.) does raise doubts about her honesty. Had she remained anonymous, the case against Assange would have seemed much stronger.

@ 37 i’d rather a tory agreed with me about how an accusation of having sex with someone who is asleep is an accusation of rape, than anyone on the political spectrum turning his back on the human right to bodily autonomy because suddenly Julian Assange not going to Sweden is more important.

46. margin4error

Thanks again UKl

So basically the Swedish need at least the formality of taking him for questioning (as we might call it in England) before being able to charge him and begin court proceedings.

And we don’t know whether that’s possible while he’s abroad?

Margin4Error: They could, but they have to have the person in the country to go through the formalities of the actual trial within 2 weeks of bringing the charges. This is why extradition is important, and why they most certainly won’t be charging him while he’s in an embassy for a country that is granting him political asylum.

Forget all the mumbo jumbo about what can and can’t be done legally, look at the practical. Constitutionally the case would go nowhere if they charged him where he is right now without the ability to then bring him to Sweden within those 2 weeks.

Arguably he could be trailed via video link, but that just delays the same issue…if he’s found guilty then how do they actually get him to jail?

This isn’t a problem of laws and principles, it’s one of logistics.

Well take the case of DSK, he was found innocent, but the character assassination that followed was deliberate and focused on ‘potential guilt’ rather than vindication.

Compare this also to Roman Polanski was accused of molestation and wanted for extradition, he unlike Assange was allowed a videolink to be questioned. John Yates? He too was allowed videolink at Leveson. Stuart Hazell? He too was allowed videolink.

What Craig Murray said about the persecution of whistleblowers was interuppted by BBC’s Gavin Estler, who wanted to do exactly what the media did to DSK.

If the focus of debate is only to be confined to the allegations one could argue this is part of the smear campaign which the BBC cleverly focuses on those who want to discuss Wikileaks in its wider context. Today’s Guardian explains it quite well.

49. AlextotheG

In paragraph seven you claim Murray was ‘appointing himself judge and jury’ and that it was ‘extremely irresponsible behaviour’. I’d agree that any dismissiveness towards these claims, no matter how many questions surround them, is irresponsible.

However, when referring to Assange’s accusers in paragraphs two and three, you talk about ‘naming the victim’. Victim implies guilt on Assange’s part. Considering no charge, much less an arrest or trial, have been made, I think it’s a touch hypocritical of you to act like a judge or a jury yourself.

There has been a lot of talk about what legally constitutes ‘rape’. That’s perfectly reasonable, but to be guilty of rape or to be a victim of that legal definition of rape, a court needs to pass judgement. Whilst I think Assange should travel to Sweden at the first opportunity, as long as both sides are assured of a fair trial, that hasn’t happened.

d.boyle: DSK wasn’t found innocent, the prosecution dropped the charges as they knew that their only chance of conviction, the credibility of the victim, had been compromised. It is still “in the air” as to his guilt, but because it was behind closed doors, with no witnesses, and it being one person’s word against another…the character assassination of the victim meant it wasn’t a safe trial any longer.

Roman Polanski got a video link because HE was the victim in a libel case, and the courts decided that he shouldn’t be denied justice on his case because he was denying others justice (courts are all grown up and shit like that). He wasn’t being sought for charges on the case he wanted a videolink for.

John Yates was being questioned in an inquiry proceedings, not a legal proceedings

Stuart Hazell was processed via video link because of fears for his safety (and no doubt an effort to save costs for such a relative set of formal proceedings, in terms of security, transport, etc)

None of these examples of use of video-link have ANY bearing on the Assange case and the rather more unique logisitical/constitutional circumstances that have to be considered.

“Victim implies guilt on Assange’s part. ” Bugger off…

From the CPS:

‘A victim is defined as “a person who has complained of the commission of an offence against themselves or their property”‘

@ Sian

i’d rather a tory agreed with me about how an accusation of having sex with someone who is asleep is an accusation of rape

They don’t agree with you, even if such a thing were possible.

They go along with what’s happening because they want to preserve the political status quo and Assange was a challenge to it.

They’re playing the man, not the ball.

Pretty much wot Lee Griffin says @50.

And d.boyle, why have you ignored my response and Charlieman’s resposne to your similar post in the other thread? You have simply repeated the same nonsense.

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/08/17/why-the-uks-actions-against-julian-assange-now-make-me-uncomfortable/#comment-405639

Lee Griffin

Obviously that definition is appropriate only where there’s no dispute that an offence has taken place.

If a woman was shown to have made a false accusation of rape, you’d hardly carry on referring to her as a “victim”, would you, just because that phrase you copied and pasted from the CPS website still applied?

55. AlextotheG

@Lee

“Bugger off…

From the CPS:”

How sly and underhand. Firstly, the CPS do not supply legal definitions. Secondly, you got that from a page where it talks about what the word ‘victim’ means in the title of a specific form. Thirdly, you clearly don’t know what it actually means! What are you trying to do here?

Surely you have a legal dictionary (I recommend Black’s if you’re in the US or Stroud’s if you’re in the UK, as they’re using in Supr) you can look at?

@ 52

“They don’t agree with you, even if such a thing were possible.

They go along with what’s happening because they want to preserve the political status quo and Assange was a challenge to it.

They’re playing the man, not the ball.”

You forgot to add, “It’s all about oil!”, didn’t you, you pseudo-omniscient arrogant twerp.

But Mr. Sunny – you were on this lots side a few days ago?

Like rats deserting a sinking ship.

The good ship ‘anti-American’ is in all kinds of trouble.

“Because they’re not agreeing with you because they’re concerned about the women involved or the finer detail of sexual etiquette in Sweden, they’re agreeing with because they like the conservatism of state power and hate the likes of Assange for challenging it.”

@37

How is Assange challenging/or threatening the ‘state power’ of this country or the United States?

He has turned extradition in the cases of sex crimes into an international joke – but that is not the same thing, surely?

State power? Lets see, who we think ranks better on press freedom and human rights? Britain, Sweden and the US, or any of the South American nations supporting Assange?

I will give a clue, apart form Cuba, Amnesty says Ecaudor is the worst of the lot.

‘State power’ my arse – lefties love state power. How many of you get animated when King Hugo Chavez is throwing journalists in jail? What a lot of hypocritical BS.

44/Erica Blair: If true, this would seem to be something other women would have experienced with him, but so far no other accusers have come forward.

How convenient then that shortly after those initial accusations, the mighty internet machine swung into action to remove the anonymity of the accusers, forensically smear their lives and actions and integrity across the world, and send them hate mail and death threats. For a period of several years while Assange (as is his right, of course) hires expensive lawyers to challenge what for an anonymous Joe Bloggs would be a routine and unavoidable extradition request, and then skips bail to hide in an embassy.

I mean, I can’t possibly think why further potential accusers, if there are any, might not be coming forward.

Note also that because of the nature of extradition agreements, unless the alleged crimes took place in Sweden or Britain, instead of any of the other countries Assange has visited, there would be little point in the local police doing anything public with such a report since they won’t be able to get their hands on Assange until the current case is concluded anyway.

For that matter, studies of convicted rapists – interviewed confidentially and anonymously in prison – show that on average they admit to around ten times as many rapes as they were convicted of. None of their other victims have generally come forward either, even without the internet waiting to punish them for doing so.

Now, that’s not to say that there are any others – there may very well not be, and I don’t think speculating is particularly useful – but if there are, I imagine they’ll be sitting very quietly in the knowledge that their original decision not to report was the best choice for them.

It’s not indicative either way.

60. the a&e charge nurse

[59] ‘How convenient then that shortly after those initial accusations, the mighty internet machine swung into action to remove the anonymity of the accusers’ – that is certainly regrettable but maybe, just maybe anonymity might have been preserved had the first prosecutor not been so busy spilling her guts to the swedish MSM that assange was a suspect in a sex crime – curiously no action seems to have been taken despite this catastrophic professional gaffe.

Also, at the risk of stating the obvious lets not forget that assange is not responsible for sex crimes committed by other men, while using population data to smear an individual says more about prejudices/preconceptions rather than the specifics of an individual case.

If you want to criticise the effect of sensitive information getting into the public domain then a good place to start would be with the bungling swedish authorities
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48396086/Assange-Case-Opionion-Sven-Erik-Alhem

If you want to criticise the effect of sensitive information getting into the public domain then a good place to start would be with the bungling swedish authorities
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48396086/Assange-Case-Opionion-Sven-Erik-Alhem

It’s a shame you didn’t wait for my response to your posting of this in the other thread.
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/08/21/salma-yaqoob-condemns-galloways-rape-comments/#comment-406627

I wrote, “As you have read the decision from Westminster Magistrates’ Court you are undoubtedly aware it heard Alhem give live evidence.”
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2011/5.html

From that decision, “[Alhem’s] expert opinion is based on facts that in the event were wrongly stated. [by Assange’s lawyer iiuc] “.

62. Frances_coppola

I would suggest you all have a good read of the CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Rape. I know the Assange case will be tried in Sweden, but as the extradition order was granted on the basis of dual criminality the CPS’s Policy applies.

AlextotheG, on p.5 of the CPS Policy you will find the legal definition of rape under UK law. And the Policy uses the term “victim” throughout.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/prosecuting_rape.pdf

I’d also suggest you read the High Court judgement granting the extradition order. I think someone’s already linked to it above, but here it is again anyway:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/2849.html

You will note that it considers the allegations in considerable detail, along with relevant case law, and concludes that if these allegations were made in the UK there would be a case to answer under UK law.

Finally, I’m disturbed to note how many people don’t seem to appreciate that other countries’ legal systems work differently from ours – especially countries like Sweden that have (astonishingly) never been invaded or occupied by the British. Really guys, how parochial can you be?

Chris and Alex, both in legal circles and in the real world, the term victim is one brought about because someone feels they are one. It’s pathetic that you and those like you have to devolve to arguing semantics to try and salvage a point that you never had a basis for in the first place.

However a person who believes thenself a victim is a victim. The court may prove orfind the accused innocent, but that doesn’t change the state if mind of the individual, the effects of their experiences. It is entirely proper to use the term victim.

A victim, or victimhood is not tied to a formal proceeding for legitimacy

64. AlextotheG

Lee,

I’m sorry, but that’s just incorrect. In ‘legal circles’, whatever that means, people are not called victims just because they decide they’re a victim. That’s utterly bizarre.

It is not entirely proper at all, it’s hypocritical to call them victims because you’re implying guilt. Neither of us knows if he’s guilty or not. Stop pretending you do. People aren’t victims because they say they are, they’re victims because something has happened to them.

Whether they refer to themselves as victims is besides the point, when you refer to them as such it shows your bias. It’s disgusting that you think somebody is guilty, regardless of whether you know it to be true or not.

“However a person who believes thenself a victim is a victim.”

No. Not any more than a person who believes himself to be Napoleon is Napoleon.

66. Charlieman

@59. cim: “How convenient then that shortly after those initial accusations, the mighty internet machine swung into action to remove the anonymity of the accusers, forensically smear their lives and actions and integrity across the world, and send them hate mail and death threats.”

We have to assume, cim, that the identities of the two complainants were revealed by somebody involved in the case. Unless the identities were leaked by the two complainants, the leaker committed a moral wrong. Internet commenters or TV programme guests who lightly spread their names compound that wrong*.

People who send hate mail or try to undermine the reputations of these two via the internet are not just horrible people; their actions stifle liberty and the judicial process; currently, two Swedish women are victims of bullies and in six months time those bullies will have found a new target for their abuse.

* The names of the two are mentioned in some interview/investigation documents available on the internet. Anyone following the case closely is familiar with the documents and will have read them. That does not justify naming the two women.

67. Charlieman

@61. Lee Griffin: “However a person who believes thenself a victim is a victim.”

I disagree with Lee’s terminology but think there is a bigger argument than semantics.

There is a general principle in the UK that when a person reports any sort of crime, the complaint must be investigated. The complainant must be taken seriously unless or until evidence indicates otherwise. If a complainant reports a hate crime or a sex crime, that facet must be part of the investigation. My assessment is that Sweden follows similar practice to the UK.

68. Erica Blair

59. cim

You must have missed the amount of vitriol poured over Assange’s head too.

69. Charlieman

@13. Tris: “The name was known here. I knew who the woman was. It must have been carried in papers we read. The internet of course makes it quite possible for that to happen across borders

She doesn’t seem to mind her name being attached to the case, as she has made it public inside Sweden, ie the EU.”

Unless the women themselves leaked their names to the press and explicitly declaimed it, we cannot determine whether that was their wish. Jill Saward, the Ealing Vicarage survivor (infamous UK rape case), has been very open about her experiences and campaigns on behalf of rape victims and survivors. Openness was her brave choice.

Note the word choice. If a name is leaked without being asked, the individual has two options:
1. The piss off choice: perhaps deliver a quiet statement and ask journalists/commenters to go away.
2. The blow off choice: identity revelation has happened, cannot be put back into the box, so defend integrity hard and fast until weariness sets in.

Both options are no win situations. She doesn’t seem to mind being bullied.

70. Chaise Guevara

@ 61 Lee Griffin

“Chris and Alex, both in legal circles and in the real world, the term victim is one brought about because someone feels they are one.”

It’s never a good idea to define “the real world” as “my personal opinion”, which is what you’re doing here. No comment on the legal standard, if there is one, but I don’t think I know a single person who would call someone a victim if they knew that person hadn’t been victimised.

“It’s pathetic that you and those like you have to devolve to arguing semantics to try and salvage a point that you never had a basis for in the first place.”

Well, you’re all arguing semantics (and now I am too! Look at that!). But the point Chris and Alex are making is valid: referring to someone as “the victim” could well be interpreted as meaning that they are telling the truth about what was allegedly done to them. Semantics *matter* when it comes to things like this, because they shape thought. And I think by common usage, someone who has been falsely accused is the victim, rather than the false accuser. So we don’t actually know who the victim here is yet.

71. Charlieman

@68. Chaise Guevara: “It’s never a good idea to define “the real world” as “my personal opinion”, which is what you’re doing here. No comment on the legal standard, if there is one…”

My guess is that Lee obtained his definition from this description about Victim Personal Statements (http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/v_to_z/victim_personal_statements/). It contains a definition about how courts handle complainants or relatives when they deliver a personal statement.

Victims are dead people; survivors are people trying to get on with their lives; complainants are people (or their representatives) talking to lawyers and investigators. That’s how I manage it in my mind.

72. Robin Levett

@a&ecn #83:

indeed especially since police statements taken by assange were simultaneously being faxed to the swedish MSM.

…apparently by someone in Assange’s legal team.

73. Robin Levett

@a&ecn:

…and who told Svensson at the Expressen about the story?

60/a&ecn: Also, at the risk of stating the obvious lets not forget that assange is not responsible for sex crimes committed by other men, while using population data to smear an individual says more about prejudices/preconceptions rather than the specifics of an individual case.

Is that still in reply to me? Because if you consider pointing out that an argument that “Assange is probably innocent because of X” is false because X is a common property of rapists to be smear-by-population data, you’ve misunderstood.

Now, certainly, if I was to try to extend the argument beyond that to “Assange is probably guilty because of X”, that would be smear-by-population data … but I explicitly did not do that: I said that X was not indicative of anything in this situation.

64/Charlieman: We have to assume, cim, that the identities of the two complainants were revealed by somebody involved in the case

That’s possibly true. It could have been the Swedish authorities, or it could have been the man who has built a career out of anonymously leaking confidential information. Hard to tell, really.

That said, there are probably a large number of Swedish Wikileaks volunteers who could have made accurate guesses at the identities of the complainants without anyone having to actually leak their names, perhaps just on the knowledge that Assange had been accused at all, and certainly with tiny amounts of additional information. Given the short delay between the accusations hitting the news and the complainants names hitting the internet, I think that’s actually more likely than a leak.

We have the anonymity laws to stop that exact thing happening every single time. As the aftermath of the Ched Evans case showed, they only really work if they’re a believable and enforceable deterrent, which in an international case like this one was never going to happen.

66/Erica Blair: I haven’t missed it. I considered it completely irrelevant to the question. Why do you think it would affect a hypothetical victim’s decision to report?

@34. the a&e charge nurse: “By the way have they thrown away the key on Gary McKinnon yet?
http://freegary.org.uk/

Gary McKinnon committed a small crime which resulted in costs for the victims. Do not doubt that a crime occurred. Gary McKinnon committed a crime in the UK, from the UK, which deserved to be judged by a UK court. That is where the case should have ended.

76. Chaise Guevara

@ 69 Charlieman

“My guess is that Lee obtained his definition from this description about Victim Personal Statements ”

He’s playing silly buggers, in other words. I confess I’ve used “victim” to mean “alleged victim” in speech, out of habit, and normally wince a second or so after I do that. Lee would have some point about usage, if only he were actually talking about that, because the journalistic prohibition about calling an alleged killer a “killer” does not seem to prevent them from calling an alleged victim a “victim”. This is a problem.

But I’m not getting a linguistical vibe off the guy. I’m getting something more like “I’ve picked one side, and now I’m going to pick semantic arguments with people, while accusing those who disagree of arguing semantics”. Chris and Alex are right: calling someone whose claims of victimhood are in dispute a “victim” is leading the witness.

77. the a&e charge nurse

[71] who told Svensson at the Expressen about the story?
‘The prosecutor on duty, Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand, decided on Friday to issue a warrant to arrest Assange on suspicion of rape. She later confirmed to Expressen that there was a case and that Assange was charged in absentia. The warrant was withdrawn one day later.

Due process organisation Rättssäkerhetsorganisationen (RO), which had previously notified the prosecutor through the Ombudsmen of Justice (Justitieombudsmännen, JO) for her conduct in connection with the decision to issue the warrant, has now supplemented its notification, the report said.

According to the organisation, the prosecutor violated the confidentiality of preliminary investigations by giving the media information about this case, DJ reported.

“We believe that the matter has been handled extremely badly for all parties involved and we are highly critical of how quickly one has taken the decision to detain a person,” RO Chairman Johan Binninge told DJ.

“From an investigative standpoint, it is a disaster to go out in public this way, which can only harm the investigation. A prosecutor must also take into consideration all parties involved, including the suspect, and consider the consequences of a particular intervention for the suspect, in this case, an internationally known person,” he added.

The supplement submitted to Swedish Prosecution Service Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) information director Karin Rosander confirmed that the warrant decision includes the confidentiality of preliminary investigations. Rosander added that all decisions taken in the matter now be analysed, DJ reported.

Several newspapers, including Svenska Dagbladet, have indicated that the confirmation from the prosecutor had a decisive influence on the editorial decisions that were made’.
http://www.thelocal.se/28556/20100824/

Why would Rättssäkerhetsorganisationen be investigating Kjellstrand if assange’s team were responsible for the first and decisive leak?

[72] cim – if I misunderstood you then I apologise.

[73] Charlieman, what should have happened to GM, and what has happened, or is happening, are two different things.

78. Robin Levett

@a&ecn:

“Confirmed” does not mean the same as “provided”. Who provided the informnation to the Expressen reporters?

79. the a&e charge nurse

[78] maybe it was a mate of one of the women, you know the female police officer who was woman A’s friend, and who conducted the first interview while the the tape was switched off and the two women were present in the room?

Like you, UKL believes it was assange, or assanges mates – still keep avoiding the known failures of the investigation if it makes you happy.

UKL believes it was assange, or assanges mates

I realise you’re frustrated, but please resort to misrepresenting my position. thanks.

I realise you’re frustrated, but please don’t resort to misrepresenting my position. thanks.

obv.

82. KJ Pritchard

Boy, you really don’t get it, do you? Do you have any idea what’s happening in the US right now with Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers? This isn’t about sexual assault. Assange hasn’t even been charged with sexual assault. This whole case is about the United States going after a journalist who blew the whistle on their illegal activities. They want him in prison and tortured — just as they’re doing with Bradley Manning. Obama has aggressively pursued whistleblowers in a manner that even Bush never did. Good God.

KJ Pritchard,

Boy, you really don’t get it, do you? Do you have any idea what’s happening in the US right now with Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers? This isn’t about sexual assault. Assange hasn’t even been charged with sexual assault.

He hasn’t been charged, because (iiuc) they must interview him again before they charge him and they can’t / won’t interview him until he returns to Sweden. If you mean sexual offences aren’t alleged, then that is false; see the beginning of the High Court decision where the allegations can be easily read:
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/2849.html

This whole case is about the United States going after a journalist who blew the whistle on their illegal activities. They want him in prison and tortured — just as they’re doing with Bradley Manning. Obama has aggressively pursued whistleblowers in a manner that even Bush never did. Good God.

The central allegation is that the USA is using these proceedings to extradite him and subject him to a trial for treason, where he is at risk of being subjected to the death penalty.

Looking solely at what is the incontrovertible legal situation, this is what you have to be alleging if you want to make this story stick:

The United States, in order to prosecute an Australian national with a view to subjecting him to the death penalty, has persuaded two individuals to accuse him of a crime that is notoriously difficult to prove, in order to get him extradited from a country with a very US-friendly extradition treaty, to another country with much stronger protections against extraditions to the USA. This extraditing country is legally unable to extradite him to the USA if he faces the death penalty. This is done using a legal mechanism that then requires both countries to approve his extradition to the USA. This is to be done using a legal framework that has already taken the best part of two years with no end in sight, with multiple legal obstacles along the way in both the past and future.

Alternatively, they have done this to engage in extraordinary rendition of a man with a gargantuan media profile, and without regard to the major diplomatic outcry this would cause from the UK, Sweden, Australia, the EU and the rest of the world.

This is to be done in preference to:

Extraditing him directly from the UK;
Waiting for a man with a reputation for being itinerant to walk into a friendlier jurisdiction; or
Waiting for him to settle in Sweden before commencing proceedings.

http://garrulouslaw.com/2012/08/assange-case-theories.html

Or they could have deliberately conspired to make the conspiracy look that unlikely, I suppose.

What a disingenuous article!

Naming the two women in Assange case on Newsnight makes little difference to their anonymity, since their names are already widely known. There is no legal impediment to naming them, and, moreover, one of them has already spoken to the media about the incident in her own name.

It is relevant to probe the facts of this case and come to a judgment. And if you do look at all the publicly available circumstantial evidence, it becomes clear that the accusations of rape and sexual assault are highly unlikely, and are certainly not capable of being proved.

The reason, therefore, this case is pursued has nothing to do with obtaining justice for two alleged sexual assault victims, but to besmirch Assange and to get him into the Swedish jurisdiction.

85. Granny Graham

Sunny Hundal, your pathetic faux outrage is as unconvincing as Joan Smith’s, who is not a good actor either.

The BBC named the woman on their website last year.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mundo/cartas_desde_cuba/2011/02/no_es_para_menos.html

We now look forward to you shouting FUCK THAT! at the BBC for their outrageous behaviour in naming a woman who has already made her own name public. I’ll help you make a placard if you like: FUCK THAT BBC!

Murray wasn’t “casting aspersions”. He was attempting to add necessary context, context you appear either uninterested in or ignorant of. You can read it here, courtesy of leakers and rape-victim namers, the Swedish police (Suggested placard: SWEDISH POLICE FUCK THAT!):

http://rixstep.com/1/20110201,00.shtml

Neither is it accurate to describe his comments as an “outburst”. It’s sad to see you reduced to such tabloid-style smearing – I used to enjoy your contributions on CIF. Appealing to emotions isn’t clever. It’s dangerous. I thought Murray remained remarkably composed in the face of those two rude, thuggish, not very well-informed “journalists” refusing to let him speak.

Less froth, more content please, Sunny. Do some proper research!

I think you need to be very careful jumping to the defence of alleged rape victims who claimed on their facebook page that they were a ‘CIA agent’.

Either a fantasist or a real agent – either way this case has no merit. This is why the Swedes won’t bring charges – because a judge will throw it out for lack of evidence.

I’m very concerned about the treatment of rape victims – but this case has NOTHING to do with that cause. I would be concerned if the alleged victims and accused were ‘nobodys’ – but surely the women considered the implications of getting into bed with someone who is ‘world famous’ before they got in?

…or are we saying that women have the privilege of not thinking prior to the event – but don’t forgoe the privilege of accusation after the event?

comment @86 another blaming the (alleged) victim.


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