The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

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The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby barracuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:17 pm

Continuing discussion from here. I think the assessment of the charges against Assange warrant a new thread.


The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser

Despite a lack of credible evidence, WikiLeaks supporters -- including Naomi Wolf -- lash out at the alleged victim

By Kate Harding

You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to find the timing of Interpol's warrant for the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who turned himself in to British authorities today, curious. The charges -- "one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape," according to a statement from Scotland Yard -- were brought against him in Sweden last August, yet he suddenly graduated to "most wanted" status just after releasing over a thousand leaked diplomatic cables in late November? It would be irresponsible of journalists, bloggers and average citizens of countries most eager to plug the gushing WikiLeaks not to wonder if those dots connect.

Still, as the New York Times put it, "there is no public evidence to suggest a connection," which some members of the public seem to find unbearably frustrating. With no specific target for their suspicions and no easy way to find one, folks all over the blogosphere have been settling for the next best thing: making light of the sexual assault charges and smearing one of the alleged victims.

By Sunday, when Keith Olbermann retweeted Bianca Jagger's link to a post about the accuser's supposed CIA ties -- complete with scare quotes around the word "rape" -- a narrative had clearly taken hold: Whatever Assange did, it sure wasn't rape-rape. All he did was fail to wear a rubber! And one woman who claims he assaulted her has serious credibility issues anyway. She threw a party in his honor after the fact and tried to pull down the incriminating tweets. Isn't that proof enough? The only reason the charges got traction is that, in the radical feminist utopia of Sweden under Queen Lisbeth Salander, if a woman doesn't have multiple orgasms during hetero sex, the man can be charged with rape. You didn't know?

As of today, even Naomi Wolf -- Naomi Effin' Wolf! -- has taken a public swipe at Assange's accusers, using her status as a "longtime feminist" to underscore the absurdity of "the alleged victims ... using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings."

Wow. Admittedly, I don't have as much experience being a feminist as Wolf has, but when I see a swarm of people with exactly zero direct access to the facts of a rape case loudly insisting that the accusation has no merit, I usually start to wonder about their credibility. And their sources.

Wolf links to exactly one, an article in British tabloid the Daily Mail. "Using a number of sources including leaked police interviews," writes Richard Pendlebury, "we can begin to piece together the sequence of events which led to Assange's liberty being threatened by Stockholm police rather than Washington, where already one U.S. politician has called on him to executed for 'spying'." Well! A reasonable person might be skeptical of information coming from a single anonymous source via a publication known for highly sensationalized reporting, sure, but in this case, there are a number of them.

That Daily Mail article also helped to inspire a Dec. 3 Gizmodo post in which Jesus Diaz boldy asserted, "While you can say Assange is a douchebag for not putting a condom on and continuing after the woman requested he use a condom, there was no rape accusation in both cases." The other source for that claim was an AOL News article that relied on (hey, look!) the same Daily Mail piece, a Swedish tabloid, and statements from Assange's lawyers to cobble together a theory of what happened and why Assange was charged. Rock solid!

To Diaz and Gizmodo's credit, they quickly posted an update upon learning that the Swedish prosecution office had "issued a notice saying that they are charging Assange with rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion." Diaz added, "Obviously, this is now a completely different issue altogether. Rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion are extremely grave accusations. This is not the 'sex by surprise' accusation that was discussed before." (I don't know that I'd go as far as "a completely different issue altogether" -- Feministe's Jill Filipovic wrote a terrific explanation of why "sex by surprise" actually is a pretty big deal -- but good on him for acknowledging that much.) Still, the notion that consensual, unprotected sex equals rape in Sweden (despite millions of Swedish fathers walking around free today) continues zipping around the Internet. One wonders if today's statement from Swedish authorities, which elaborates that Assange is accused of "using his body weight to hold [a woman] down in a sexual manner" and having intercourse with a sleeping woman, among other things, will even slow them down.

OK, so maybe the charges really are for rape-rape, but still -- the woman has CIA ties! I've read that on at least a dozen blogs! Keith Olbermann tweeted it and everything! That's got to be coming from a highly credible source, right?

Actually, as far as I can tell, the only source for that claim is an August Counterpunch article by Assange fanboys (seriously, they recast him as Neo of "The Matrix") Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett. Here's the most damning evidence Shamir and Bennett have compiled against Assange's accuser:

    1) She's published "anti-Castro diatribes" in a Swedish-language publication that, according to an Oslo professor, Michael Seltzer (who?), is "connected with Union Liberal Cubana led by Carlos Alberto Montaner," who reportedly has CIA ties. Let me repeat that: She has been published in a journal that is connected with a group that is led by a guy with CIA ties. Says this one guy.

    2) "In Cuba she interacted with the feminist anti-Castro group Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White). This group receives US government funds and the convicted anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is a friend and supporter." That link goes to an English translation of a Spanish article noting that at a march last spring, Posada "wander[ed] unleashed and un-vaccinated along Calle Ocho in Miami, marching alongside" -- wait for it -- "Gloria Estefan in support of the so-called Ladies in White." Apparently, it's "an established fact" that Posada and the Ladies also share a shady benefactor, which means he should clearly be called a "friend" of the organization, and this is totally relevant to the rape charges against Julian Assange, because the accuser once interacted with them in some manner.

    3) The accuser is a known feminist who once wrote a blog post about getting revenge on men, and "was involved in Gender Studies in Uppsala University, in charge of gender equality in the Students' Union, a junior inquisitor of sorts."

Are you kidding me? That's what we're basing the "CIA ties" meme on? An article that reads like a screenplay treatment by a college freshman who's terrified of women? Actual quote: "[T]he Matrix plays dirty and lets loose a sex bomb upon our intrepid Neo. When you can't contest the message, you smear the messenger. Sweden is tailor-made for sending a young man into a honey trap."

Look, for all I know, Assange's primary accuser does have CIA ties. Perhaps it was all a setup from the beginning. Perhaps she is lying through her teeth about the rape. Anything is possible. But in the absence of any real evidence one way or another, we're choosing to believe these guys? Or at least this guy at Firedoglake, who says he's "spent much of [his] professional life as a psychiatrist helping women (and men) who are survivors of sexual violence" -- giving his post a shiny veneer of credibility, even though it's a pure regurgitation of Shamir and Bennett's -- but segues from there into an indictment of the accuser's post-rape behavior. She socialized with her attacker again! An expert like him can tell you that real victims never do that.

The fact is, we just don't know anything right now. Assange may be a rapist, or he may not. His accuser may be a spy or a liar or the heir to Valerie Solanas, or she might be a sexual assault victim who now also gets to enjoy having her name dragged through the mud, or all of the above. The charges against Assange may be retaliation for Cablegate or (cough) they may not.

Public evidence, as the Times noted, is scarce. So, it's heartening to see that in the absence of same, my fellow liberal bloggers are so eager to abandon any pretense of healthy skepticism and rush to discredit an alleged rape victim based on some tabloid articles and a feverish post by someone who is perhaps not the most trustworthy source. Well done, friends! What a fantastic show of research, critical thinking and, as always, respect for women.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby Montag » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:24 pm

BC I don't know if you saw what Elvis posted to Luper's latest Wikithread, we've got all sides covered on RI:
http://cryptome.org/0003/wikileaks-dadt.htm
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby MacCruiskeen » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:27 pm

Well, I'll re-post what I posted there, very slightly revised:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kate Harding of Salon.com, quoted by barracuda wrote:As of today, even Naomi Wolf -- Naomi Effin' Wolf! -- has taken a public swipe at Assange's accusers, using her status as a "longtime feminist" to underscore the absurdity of "the alleged victims ... using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings."


Kate Harding of Salon.com, quoted by barracuda wrote:according to an Oslo professor, Michael Seltzer (who?),


I, in another thread wrote:Naomi Klein twitter on the Assange 'rape' case:

Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that women's freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!

Naomi Klein

http://twitter.com/NaomiAKlein/statuses ... 3723709440


So that's Naomi Effin' Klein and Naomi Effin' Wolf now. According to Kate (not Effin', god forbid) Harding (who?), both of those women are media-dupes and evidence-averse airheads who care little or nothing for women's rights.

And according to Kate "Renowned" Harding, there is a "rush to smear Assange's rape accuser". No hint of a rush to smear Julian Assange, then, nor even of an integrated international Interpol-plus-media rush to imprison him (and maybe, eventually to deport him to Guantanamo Bay) on the basis of wholly unsubstantiated and highly dubious smears.
Last edited by MacCruiskeen on Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby barracuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:29 pm

Regarding the actual charges against Assange, all I can find are these:


Has anyone seen a first hand look at the Swedish charges? My understanding is that in Sweden, if consent is withdrawn at any point during sex, further sexual activity is considered as rape.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby MacCruiskeen » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:33 pm

barracuda wrote:Has anyone seen a first hand look at the Swedish charges?


I have no idea whether they're even available online, nor where to find them. If someone can find the Swedish original online, then I can try to struggle through it myself or else I can get a fluent Swedish speaker to take a close look at it and translate it properly.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby barracuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:46 pm

First of all, my abject apologies for beginning another Assange thread. Fuck. But I couldn't think of a better way to avoid further sidelining the KK33 thread and continuing the discussion.

MacCruiskeen wrote:So that's Naomi Effin' Klein and Naomi Effin' Wolf now. According to Kate (not Effin', god forbid) Harding (who?), both of those women are media-dupes and evidence-averse airheads who care little or nothing for women's rights.

And according to Kate "Renowned" Harding, there is a "rush to smear Assange's rape accuser". No hint of a rush to smear Julian Assange, then, nor even of an integrated international Interpol-plus-media rush to imprison him (and maybe, eventually to deport him to Guantanamo Bay) on the basis of wholly unsubstantiated and highly dubious smears.


Maybe you're misreading the use of the interjected "Effin'" here. I think her use of the term has more to do with amazement than disparagement. As much as I feel that the charges may be bogus, her assessment of the sources for the "CIA accuser" idea seems to be tight, and the fact that none of us has seen the charges from Sweden firsthand tells me that any judgement I may make is probably poorly informed at this point.

Montag wrote:BC I don't know if you saw what Elvis posted to Luper's latest Wikithread, we've got all sides covered on RI:
http://cryptome.org/0003/wikileaks-dadt.htm


As far as I can tell, that Cryptome link has no real information in it whatsoever. Pure gossip.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby MacCruiskeen » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:58 pm

barracuda wrote:Maybe you're misreading the use of the interjected "Effin'" here. I think her use of the term has more to do with amazement than disparagement.


I didn't misread it. She is is too "sophisticated" to say "And I'm like WTF??!?" It was typical Salon-style journalistic playing-to-the-gallery pseudo-amazement. (The Guardian is also full of that stuff.)

In any case, the fact is that there is no more effective smear than a charge of sexual misconduct, even unsubstantiated. We've seen this in the cases of Scott Ritter and Craig Murray, to name but two people who have been rash enough to rattle the stinky SM-cage of the Special Relationship.

And if Julian Assange does turn out to have been an inconsiderate bedmate (or even a rapist), it has no bearing whatsoever on whether the Wikileaks are genuine leaks or not.

ON EDIT (for the second time): Apologies to barracuda, who posted his agreement before I had revised the post. But I don't think the revisions are so serious as to have provoked any further serious disagreement.
Last edited by MacCruiskeen on Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby barracuda » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:00 pm

Abject agreement here. :adore:
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby Elvis » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:06 pm

Montag wrote:BC I don't know if you saw what Elvis posted to Luper's latest Wikithread, we've got all sides covered on RI:
http://cryptome.org/0003/wikileaks-dadt.htm

I'm having some second thoughts about having posted that; it's anonymous, probably speculative, and a bit salacious (which is probably why I went for it). But it does jibe with what some former Assange associates have said.

And yeah, nothing to do with the cable leaks themselves.

Carry on, good discussion.

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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby slimmouse » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:07 pm

barracuda wrote:Has anyone seen a first hand look at the Swedish charges?


Heres what we apparently do know ;

He said: "In relation to the state of play in Sweden, it is important for the court to be aware of the background to this. Mr Assange has made repeated requests that the allegations against him be communicated to him in a language he understands. That has been ignored by the Swedish prosecutor. Another Swedish prosecutor dropped this case early on for lack of evidence and it was resurrected in Gothenburg rather than Stockholm."

Another of Mr Assange's lawyers, Mark Stephens, said he believed British authorities would go to extreme lengths to ensure his client was "perfectly comfortable" during his time in jail. While he is confident Mr Assange's time behind bars will be brief, he said he did not want to appear to be "too cocky".

"I think a lot of people, including the police, thought that he would get bail today. They were very surprised he didn't," he said.

Praising District Judge Howard Riddle's assessment of the case, Mr Stephens said: "We are incredibly grateful to the judge for making it clear to the prosecutor that he thinks he wants to have a look at the evidence, to make assessments as to whether there is a real risk of conviction or not, because that will make a difference as to whether or not he wants to put him out on bail, or not, on the next occasion."


Link ; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/cr ... 54107.html

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but its also probably worth keeping ones eyes on the cast of Judges charged with viewing the evidence.

barracuda wrote:As far as I can tell, that Cryptome link has no real information in it whatsoever. Pure gossip.


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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby Plutonia » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:11 pm

Assange's lawyer says no formal charges from Sweden yet, just wanted for questioning:

Attorney: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Endangered by Bail Denial in London; Still No Charges Filed in Sweden
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby nathan28 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:17 pm

I'm wary of participating in this one until details come out, and feel bad even having mentioned it earlier. My personal speculation is that

1. It is a smear job on Assange.
2. Misogynists across the internet are going to be on the prowl.


I disagree with the sentiment of the OP, however. Underlying the post is a clear hierarchy of respectability of claims and imperatives that I find troubling. Most particularly, the OP author seems reluctant to admit that someone whose blood has been called for might, possibly, be charged with sexual assault in an effort to neutralize that individual. Essentially, Harding is suggesting that, categorically, it's impossible that someone, be it the accuser or the prosecutors or an outside party like the CIA-Mossad-Disney complex, would ever use rape charges to neutralize an individual; she's suggesting that no one should consider that, because it's more important to take seriously the fact that so many women's claims go ignored. Like I said: she is making a categorical prescription.

It may be that her case is polemical and that she means she wants the charges to be taken seriously. That's fair. But it's also something I find problematic, and enfolded with a similar justification that does not consider the possibility that (although I admit that I am speculating) efforts to get Assange to Sweden are in fact efforts to get him to the US to face a 2.5 million year sentence.

The only thing I could ask is, under what conditions would you consider it possible that an effort might be made to use sexual assault charges to smear a known enemy? I don't want to speculate too much about Harding's commitments, but I suspect she might very well say "none." You can't argue with a categorical prescription.

I do, however, agree with her assessment of the Counterpunch "CIA" argument. It's not very compelling. Also, that 150-word blog post in question is, um, not exactly a dirty-tricks manual.

It may be that I do not understand Swedish law, but in the US, you hit someone with a greater charge and work down from there, rather than build up. What I find most confusing is that charges went from a consensual sex vice-level offense to outright assault.

I also do find it believable that Assange is the type of dude who'd try to screw someone who was asleep, basing that solely on the fact that he just looks like that sort of person, I'm just throwing that out there, just throwing that out there. I heard on Alex Jones that it's a time-tested Je--er, Bohemian Grove tactic.


That cryptome post is pure, unfettered bullshit.

in part anal in which condom breakage is common, condom failure would have terrified the other parties suddenly confronted with the threat of bi-sexual misogyny characterized by female seduction as prelude to conflicted male homophilic aggression -- residue of witnessed father-and-mother coupling parental incest desire


Now *that* is a smear. It's like Google Translate on crack. I don't even know what it means--well, I do, but I had to spend a long time decoding it (secret message: "Assange is secretly gay and takes it his homophobia on women")--how could anyone defend against that claim?


Anyway, I was taking those "John Young says..." stories seriously until I read that one.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby nathan28 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:19 pm

Plutonia wrote:Assange's lawyer says no formal charges from Sweden yet, just wanted for questioning:

Attorney: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Endangered by Bail Denial in London; Still No Charges Filed in Sweden



BWAAAHHH!!!!

This is exactly why I think that Harding's post is ridiculous. There is nothing but pure confusionism going on with these not-rape/rape charges.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby MacCruiskeen » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:58 pm

nathan28 wrote:That cryptome post is pure, unfettered bullshit.

in part anal in which condom breakage is common, condom failure would have terrified the other parties suddenly confronted with the threat of bi-sexual misogyny characterized by female seduction as prelude to conflicted male homophilic aggression -- residue of witnessed father-and-mother coupling parental incest desire


Now *that* is a smear. It's like Google Translate on crack. I don't even know what it means--well, I do, but I had to spend a long time decoding it (secret message: "Assange is secretly gay and takes it his homophobia on women")--how could anyone defend against that claim?


Exactly. It's a nervous breakdown pretending to be a PhD thesis.
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Re: The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser.

Postby Nordic » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:04 pm

Seems this is all part of somebody's script. The timing is so "perfect" as to make the whole case completely suspect. And of course now everyone's talking about Assange instead of the leaks themselves. This whole story, all of it, seems a little too perfectly scripted to be for real. "Real life" is far more messy and boring than this whole soap opera.

Then again I'm not sure when I was ever so entertained.

Although the woman who wrote the OP article is trying just a LITTLE too hard....
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