Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Julian Assange piece I really didn't want to write.

I haven’t written anything about the current who-harr about Julian Assange because, I suspect like most of the English-speaking world, I’m thoroughly sick of hearing about the pompous twerp.

What I do find disturbing is how large sections of the so-called “left” are currently rampaging up and down this country about how the allegations about Mr Assange are a sinister CIA plot and how the Australian Government has failed “to protect him”.

Given Mr Assange is currently living in the UK I find it difficult to work out how exactly we’re supposed to “protect him”*, other than offering consular assistance at the court proceedings – which we have done.

Still, this hasn’t stopped some insisting that requiring Mr Assange answer questions from Swedish police about sexual assault allegations is somehow a sinister CIA/Swedish Government**/feminist/Social Democrat plot to something, something.

Given the complete absence of said CIA plot, the next step by some now appears to smear the women making the allegation – as this article in Salon magazine notes.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I rather thought several decades of left and feminist thinking was to encourage women to make complaints to the police about sexual assault – unless of course it involves a high profile “anti-imperialist”.

As Salon notes;

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.


*Given Mr Assange has been remanded in custody in the UK and currently has the assistance of 70 billion lawyers, you could make an argument that he’s pretty damn-well protected now.

**And isn’t it remarkable how Sweden has morphed from “social-democrat paradise” to “hellish hell-hole run by the CIA. And feminists. And probably Julia Gillard".


Lewd Bob said...

Probably more likely that the alleged victims have thought "Oh dear, that bloke that raped me is famous and can be tracked down. Let's get the fucker!"

On the leaks themselves, well, so far they're pretty harmless and it seems some amount of censoring is going on, in collaboration with The New York Times and The Guardian. Supposedly he has promised not to release any 'damaging' material, other than embarrassing gaffs and name-calling.

Puss In Boots said...

Lewd, I can't believe you just said that.

The culture of victim blaming in Western societies is nothing new, Ramon. Didn't you know we only cry rape because we're ashamed of ourselves the next morning? All women who report rapes are sluts who had it coming, and are just attacking the man because they're evil. Won't somebody think of the white male?!

As for Assange, if he's broken any laws, then he should be prosecuted, but as far as I can tell, he hasn't. I think it's annoying that so many people are calling the publishing of the documents an "illegal act." As long as the rule of law is upheld in relation to any legal proceedings against him, then I couldn't care less about the situation.

Anonymous said...

Well, governments do occasionally do dodgy shit when people annoy them (Rainbow Warrior springs to mind) and amazingly, some women are capable of making rape allegations that are less than truthful (shocking, I know - but it's generally why you shouldn't immediately jump to a presumption of guilt), so I suspect this was always going to get conspiracy theorist going. I'm not suggesting there's any evidence of that sort of thing here; just that it may not be a complete impossibility. Maybe.

And from what I've seen, most of the finger-pointing in Australia has been over Jules' statement that Wikileaks have behaved in a criminal manner and Robbo suggesting that Assange may not be welcomed back to the country. Care to take a crack at explaining, Ramon?

The other thing I find interesting is the way that people seem to be using the terms "Wikileaks" and "Julian Assange" almost interchangeably, like the whole thing is a one-man-show and the actions and existence of one directly translate to that of the other. On a related note, I just heard an interview with a "spokesman" for the "hacker group" Anonymous, who have been launching denial of service attacks on MasterCard and PayPal. It doesn't take much knowledge of how these things work to know why this is laughable.

Puss In Boots said...

Alex, I can't find the source right now (but I am looking), but only about 2% of reported rapes turn out to be false. Society seems to think the rate is much higher. Yes, there are women out there who falsely accuse people of rape, but it's not a common occurrence.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I think a lot of people, Assange supporters and the Australian Government both, are guilty of spouting a load of shite sometimes.

Mr Assange should be treated according to the rule of law; whether in relation to the Swedish allegations or his possible return to Australia.

This means, of course, that the Swedish authorities are also fully entitled to investigate serious allegations made about Mr Assange without people jumping up and down crying "conspiracy".

Lewd Bob said...

Not sure what I said wrong Puss, but perhaps I wrote it badly.

What I meant was this: often women will not report rape because they think it's a lost cause/don't know who the guy is/don't want to go through more trauma.

The point I am making is they now recognise him (because he's in the media) and think "Oh, well, all is not lost after all! I can identify him and something can indeed be done!"

I'm not saying they're going after him because he's famous, all I'm saying is it means they have the chance to recognise him and do something about it.

squib said...

Lewd, that's the way I read it too but only cos I know you're not some cave dweller

The best conspiracy theory of late is the one about the killer sharks in Egypt being planted by Mossad

Puss In Boots said...

Ohhhhh! Well, that makes more sense then! I was wondering why you'd suddenly turned into a douche!

Anonymous said...

Bob, as far as I'm aware, Assange was known to the women and the accusations are in the nature of consent being withdrawn part-way through the act and failure to wear a condom when requested. And no, this is not an attempt to defend such behaviour.

Puss, I've heard all kinds of statistics thrown around on the rate of false reporting. Anywhere from almost nothing to over half. Often around 10%. Obviously, not all of these can be accurate. Maybe none of them. Details on how figures are sourced and calculated seem to be tragically rare (aren't they always). But I certainly agree that the blaming-and-shaming of victims that goes on is bloody tragic (this includes the type of cases mentioned above).

Anyway, at this point, I don't see any reason why the rape allegations should be treated as anything other than regular non-celebrity rape allegations. The only part worth debating is if/where/why Assange does/should eventually face charges over his Wikileaks related activity. Which is something that hasn't happened yet.

Melba said...

Isn't it hoo-har?

Also I read it was they had consensual sex with a condom, and then [the next morning] had sex again but he didn't wear a condom?

Something about that. And apparently the same deal with two women on different occasions.

I'm over it, but I don't reckon he'll survive somehow.

Lewd Bob said...

I was wondering why you'd suddenly turned into a douche!

Well I still might be, just not on this issue.

Anonymous said...

And I heard that in one case he tried to forcibly keep going after a condom broke. I suppose we won't know all the details until the cases are heard.

patchouligirl said...

There has to be a connection between the fact that he's pissed off so many people and then being charged with rape in the same week. The US Govt want this guy finished and they'll do it one way or another.

Any thoughts on the upcoming NSW election Ramon? I vaguely heard a report that NSW Labor MP's are like 'rats deserting a sinking ship'. I've never seen a NSW State Government so hated as this one.

Puss In Boots said...

Why, Patch? I'm pretty sure the allegations were made against him before this round of documents came out. I could be wrong, but I do seem to remember there being something in the papers about it before the document dump.

Anonymous said...

On timing, in March 2010 Wikileaks published a document suggesting that the U.S. military had been discussing Wikileaks as a potential security threat since 2008. The incidents in question didn't happen until August 2010.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the infamous "collateral murder" tape was released in April 2010.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

That's some nice detective work, Alex

Anonymous said...

And the Afghan war documents in July 2010, I sould add. No wonder the conspiracy theorists are having a ball, eh Ramon?

patchouligirl said...

Oh well, possibly a coincidence he's having such a busy week.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's possible that the women are being vindictive, without there being a wider conspiracy at hand.

Or maybe he's just a bit of a prick*, and with his new found celebrity as the man "taking on" the most powerful governments in the world, he was feeling big and important and entitled to take a few liberties in the bedroom.

Just saying that it's probably too early for to be jumping to any conclusions just yet.

*From what I've heard over the years, he isn't exactly universally loved at Wikileaks. Though that's rare in any organisation, I suppose.

Dr. Golf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Golf said...

You have to be wary of any cause John Pilger signs up to.

I think JA is far more extreme than his supporters think. He's written essays explaining his belief that all governments, by their nature, conspire against their people by making decisions on their behalf.

This actually strikes me as an extreme right wing view. But he's sticking it up the yanks, so Bob Ellis wants to make him Australian of the year.

wari lasi said...

Rundle seems to have the facts fairly straight on Crikey. It seems to be a mixture of him being a wanker and the girls not being happy about him bed hopping. A couple of sycophants who shagged an arsehole.

I think you have to apply the "jilted test". If he had stayed in contact with one of the girls, or continued to see her, would she have made the complaint? If the answer is no then she wasn't raped. Duped perhaps, but not raped.

So far we only know one thing that Assange is most certainly guilty of. Being a complete fuckwit.

Anonymous said...

Wari, I don't know whether your "jilted test" is supposed to apply specifically to the Assange case or is a general rule of thumb; but if I'm interpreting it correctly, I suspect it's probably full of shit.

Consider this hypothetical: Bloke forces himself on his girlfriend (rape). Sheila decides that, despite everything, he really does love her and forgives the prick (not as rare as you might think). At some point down the road, he leaves her for another woman and she decides to get revenge by reporting the incident.

Okay, so you can decide that the sheila is in the wrong because her motives are impure or because she "missed the window" by forgiving him in the first place or whatever; but, in my opinion, it doesn't make the initial rape any less a rape. It would, however, fail your "jilted test", I presume.

wari lasi said...

Wow Alex. I hadn't even considered the potential for that. A woman staying with a bloke who raped her! I guess that rolls that one then, but I'm guessing that is far rarer than the scenario I was suggesting.

I really don't want to come across as an apologist for rapists. Because I'm most certainly not one. I'm merely putting forward my opinion as to where 90% (not a real statistic) of the false rape claims originate.

Anonymous said...

Wari, you're familiar with women who stay with men who hit them, right? Same deal. There can be a lot of shame and doubt and self-blame going on when these things happen.

And no, I don't think you're any sort of rape apologist or one of those "bitch was probably asking for it" type fellas (and yeah, I suspect that a few false reports happen under those exact circumstances). Just thought I saw a few glaring holes in your theory.

Puss In Boots said...

You do realise that rape exists within marriage too, right Wari? Just because you're married to someone doesn't mean it's impossible to rape them. If your wife says no, and you continue, then you're raping her. She might forgive you and stay, but the fact still stands that it was rape. And from the studies I've read, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

Your "jilted test" is a load of bollocks.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

He's got John Pilger and Bob Ellis in his corner!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

wari lasi said...

Yes Puss I'm aware that rape can occur in marriage and no reasonable person would ever suggest that it isn't always a woman's right to say no, at any time.

Once again I'll point out that I was simply referring to where most of the false claims come from. Or are you suggesting there's no such thing?

This began with a discussion as to whether the claims against Assange (who I think is a complete tosser, by the way) were trumped up.

That's all I meant.

Puss In Boots said...

I'm not suggesting there's no such thing as a false claim. I just don't believe they are as prolific as much of society believes them to be. And all of the stats I've read back up my views on that. The studies I've seen place the figure around the 2% mark, but Alex has seen some around the 10% mark. That's still not nearly as high as society seems to think it is (ie, the majority of rape claims are false).

I've also read a study on false rape claims (I think it was from the UN, but I can't find it now), which basically said that a lot of false claims come about from a snowball effect. The woman is feeling crappy about a one night stand, or literally cannot remember what happened from alcohol intake, and then tells a friend/family member they might have been raped. The friend convinces them to go to the police, and it just snowballs from there. Most false claims will fall through once the woman realises what she is doing can potentially fuck someone's life up.

But there are also those vindictive bitches who will do it purely *because* it will fuck someone's life up. I'm not saying that doesn't happen. I'm just saying I don't believe it's the majority of false rape claims.

patchouligirl said...

Nowhere else to mention this but NSW Labor is selling off our electricity three months before the election. It's a disgrace.