Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The more you know

Chris Hedges recently interviewed Julian Assange. Predictably, because it complicates his preferred narrative, he did not ask any tough questions about the sexual assault charges the Wikileaks founder and documented creeper is facing in Sweden ("the Saudi Arabia of feminism."). He did, however, address those very serious charges in a single paragraph that suggested there was nothing to them, Assange's supporters having already carried out the trial that their self-styled freedom fighter is doing his best to avoid.
"[T]here is a well-orchestrated campaign of character assassination against Assange, including mischaracterizations of the sexual misconduct case brought against him by Swedish police. Assange has not formally been charged with a crime. The two women involved have not accused him of rape."
Let's go through this sentence-by-sentence, because there's a lot of bullshit in there.
"[T]here is a well-orchestrated campaign of character assassination against Assange, including mischaracterizations of the sexual misconduct case brought against him by Swedish police."
This is the only time Hedges mentions the allegations against Assange, in the context of discussing a "well-orchestrated campaign of character assassination" against his main man. In the interest of not mischaracterizing the case against Assange, what are the specific allegations against him? Two different women say he sexually abused them; that he engaged in non-consensual sex with them; that he was explicitly told to wear a condom but refused; that, in one case, he had unprotected sex with one of the woman who had insisted he wear a condom while she slept.

Though Hedges is concerned about mischaracterizations of the case, he doesn't note those details himself. Too messy.
"Assange has not formally been charged with a crime."
Hedges, like most Americans, is ignorant of the Swedish legal system. He doesn't know how it works. Assange and his team at Wikileaks are aware of this and have thus included this line -- he hasn't even been charged with anything! -- in their core set of talking points. But it is actually pretty dumb. Why? Because in the Swedish legal system, one is not formally charged with a crime until one is arrested and about to go to trial. Sweden issued an international arrest warrant for "the purpose of conducting criminal proceedings" because Assange skipped out on the final interview that comes before that arrest. The prosecutor in the case says he will be immediately indicted and tried following this next interview, unless he says anything "which [undermines] my present view."

As The Guardian reported in 2010, "Assange himself told friends in London that he was supposed to return to Stockholm for a police interview . . . and that he had decided to stay away." Dude knew what he was doing.
"The two women involved have not accused him of rape."
This is meaningless. What matters is that both of Assange's accusers say that their sexual encounters with him "started out as consensual but turned nonconsensual." There is a word for that, whether the two accusers -- who went to the police for a reason -- used that word themselves. Legally speaking, Assange is wanted on "two counts of sexual molestation, one count of unlawful coercion, and one count of rape."

I too once believed, reflexively, that there was something fishy about the charges against Assange; that they were part of an international campaign to defame him and ruin his organization, perhaps. But then I actually started looking at the case. And then I started wondering why Wikileaks was always going on about how sex-hating Swedish feminists had "redefined rape" to mean something crazy like "non-consensual sex." And then I came to the conclusion that it's actually Assange and the remnants of Wikileaks that are engaged in a serious disinformation campaign.

Chelsea Manning is the real hero. Let's talk about Chelsea Manning.


  1. notimetobebanned2:20 PM

    So because the Swedish system proposes to arrest people without providing specific cause until after the arrest, it's nothing to fear?
    Sounds like a great justice system. Pigs should really get over themselves and have confidence.

    Why is it necessary to say he's not a hero? Oh, right, because he's mean to girls. So he must be PURE shit. It is nice to avoid complicating one's preferred narrative.

    And anyway this is beside the point about defenders of Jules A. Although, for the myopically twitter-war-obsessed, I'm sure there is much evidence of defenders saying outright, "leave julian alone!", the more convincing (and I thought worthwhile) question was, why won't the swedish government at least promise, through some official method, to not extradite him to the US for any reason?
    I guess, for the feminist rape-derangement syndrome, you never want to close the door to the possibility that, through some web of international treaties, some rapey crime in sweden might be grounds for an infringement on some heretofore ignored human rights subclause of WTO that could be tried stateside.
    And if that's a bunch of nonsense then anyway he should be tortured at Quantico by the heroic feminist president (since feminist = democrat, yknow).

    The one thing you can at least say about bush and obama is he DOESN'T RAPE !

    Never heard a feminist/rape obsessive make credible argument. Never will, either. I'm always open but I've given up hoping.

    Actually it was on this question that they came closest. Something like, before there were any facts clear, mind you, 'don't you just love it when the only time the government attacks a rapist is when they threaten their interests'.

    Although by now we're back to the 'he's a rapist so that's all that matters'.
    And indeed, taking up this line of argument makes me a rape apologist. Defending one case means I defend the practice.
    You're all looking for a god, you bro's. And this one just fell. So now it's on to his son. Without Assange, there would be no heroic manning. With obama, there would be a tortured heroic manning, but not necessarily a heroic manning.
    manning didn't set out to remake the democrats or elect libertarian greens to the presidency. He just told on people in the only way he knew how.

    what's so cute at this point is that this is actually standard politics. When someone from your party gets caught with their pants down, you throw them under the bus so the opposition can't campaign on it. So that's what you bros are, with all your contemptuous writing. Politicians in practice.

    It's funny to see the contortions of a male feminist talk about moving on to manning. I don't think it's too hard to imagine that manning will never, ever, be part of contemporary feminist discourse. He's too gay. Too trans. Too male. Even a degree in feminism won't save a man like that, if he gets in trouble. They simply, are. not. interested.

    1. Get a lot of ladies, do ya?

    2. notimetobebanned4:59 PM

      You seem to have misplaced your "real men don't rape" meme. But that one is more extravagant in its confused chauvinism.
      Honestly don't see why you bother replying.
      Like a good idea would be to defend anti-feminism with some "binders full of bitches every saturday night" schtick? Right, I'll jump right on it.
      No feminist will care either way.

      Anyway, just dropped by because this tweet seemed amusingly toolish/servant-to-power even though it was directed against power, regarding the AP news.

      Quick, fabricate a sex scandal! A faint hint of brain waves has been detected in the media. Distraction tactics needed ASAP! cc FearDept

      feminist liberals: who would throw kinsey on the rack if he had sexually harrassed an assistant.

    3. Anonymous8:35 PM

      Davis probably just doesn't have time for you, don't flatter yourself. On the other hand..

      "Oh, right, because he's mean to girls."

      Mean? Rape and forcing sex without requested protection (from birth and STDs, to remind you) is "being mean"? I guess drone bombings is kinda bullyish too and Obama should be a little nicer to those Arabic people..

      Girls? You mean, women? Or do know of some child abuse/molestation activities of Assange that we don't?

      "Never heard a feminist/rape obsessive make credible argument. Never will, either. I'm always open but I've given up hoping."

      Maybe because you hang out on Twitter and most arguments you read (and are used to writing, considering the above comments) are under 180 characters? Have you been to a university? Lovely people, at universities. They read books, sometimes they're written on the many different kinds of feminism, maybe they'll introduce you to one.

      I mean, if you think the sure fact that someone (of any sex and gender) has committed rape doesn't necessarily disqualify them from any sort of respect of their character, there isn't much we can do for you here.

    4. notimetobebanned9:26 AM

      I'd have a response but my mama always told me to leave animals alone. They act out of wildness not reason.

    5. notimetobebanned9:31 AM

      \But "those Arabic people". Holy shit even when western feminists are trying hard to fake like they care they just come off as racist cunts. Those *Persian/perso-afghan, btw* "Arabic" people, indeed.

  2. I'm sorry Charles but the "case" against Assange sounds just as fishy to me today as it did after the Swedes allowed him to leave the country without charges nearly two years ago. Furthermore, if you really believe that the Swedes won't wrap him in bow and hand him over to the US following his "trial" (should he live that long) then you're far more naive than I feared.

    1. As Assange himself admitted, he left Sweden knowing that the authorities wanted him for another interrogation -- the one that comes before arrest and trial. I see no reason to believe the Swedes would be any more likely to extradite him to the US than the lapdog Brits; remember, prior to the criminal investigation of Assange and its newfound status as a "hornet's nest of revolutionary feminism," Wikileaks was looking to set up shop in Sweden.

    2. Anonymous2:54 AM

      "I see no reason to believe the Swedes would be any more likely to extradite him to the US than the lapdog Brits"

      ...which is precisely the reason he's holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

  3. You don't have to believe in any international conspiracy to believe the allegations are false. What the US govt wants me to believe and what wikileaks wants me to believe are immaterial.


    1. "In fact, governments across the globe seem deeply ashamed and don’t really want to talk about it.

      It’s sort of how rape victims used to act."

      Cool guy, that Jim Goad. Of some note: he beats women: http://web.archive.org/web/20120302220233/http://www.portlandtribune.com/features/story.php?story_id=12327

    2. I don't think he's a cool guy actually, but he's right in that column and my point was related to the events not the column.

  4. The Assange shouldn't go to trial camp's talking points were debunked thoroughly last year. They haven't come up with anything new that hasn't been debunked:

    1. notimetobebanned9:05 PM

      It's always sickeningly amusing to listen to leftists and feminists speak of knowledge and debunking and myths. Because they seem to never know how to do anything or learn anything. Science, Art, Philosophy, Technical knowledge.These are all both beyond them and totally boooowhring to them. All they have are trite little opinions and cultural mythologies to blame and explain everything.
      You are quoting and linking to a list of "debunkings" which were themselves debunked or were straw men. you are one debunking behind in your debunk defense of very talented writer who clearly is uninterested in dealing with his own cultural/psychosexual/americanupbringingwillfuckyouup issues.

      Fact is I'm starting to wonder if this whole thing isn't another low budget, jackass CIA/FBI operation to net readers. I mean 'radicals'. Such as they are.

      I think I've read the word 'smeary' lately. This is smeary and sad. Checked out all the links out of humor/respect. Jesus. I thought Assange was a BIGGER creep before this set of reminders. He comes off as a nervous, sexually and romantically inept if still interested dope, whose disadvantage is that he got fixated on nice girls who suggest some interest but because they have no real sexual impulses, don't know what 'leading on' is and don't think they're doing it and don't deserve any blame either. I'm not ironic, they're just too 'nice' and don't know what the hell they're doing. It's just the awfulness of modern romance among people who are pretty clueless about each other. Of course there may be more to it.
      FWIW, from the descriptions (which are not 'reliable' under any reasonable measure), it doesn't sound like it even started out consensually. It sounds like it started out stupid, with a stupid horny jerk coming on to an unwilling but passive boob and the passive boob not being sure and then the whole thing getting shitty.

      But this is smeary. For reasons that are none of my business from a talented prosaicist.

      Stalking used to mean men (stranger or partner) who were violently threatening and menacing to the lives of women. Usually men who had some patriarchal claim or stake in "their lady" who didn't want to be with them anymore due to abuse. So anti stalking laws came up as an attempt to prevent potential brutal assault and murder in deranged relationships where, before, people said it was 'just messy love'.
      Now it's used to reinforce the hi-skool popularity of the pseudo-suave and demonize dweeby nerds.

      Stalking = unsolicited suggestive emails and phone number mining. Holy fucking god. I have at least 5 telemarketing co.'s "stalking" me right now. They also criticise me for saying 'no' and want to know why I'm 'saying no' to their wonderful offers. And they ask if there's anyway they could interest me, after I've said 'no' 5 times.

      In order to protect women who really truly needed protection, the culture has invited a further trivialization of women's safety by equating the pervy email annoyer with the bat- (and gun-) wielding disgruntled boyfriend/husband. Is there no depth to which modern feminism won't sink, is there no danger to women it won't trivialize in its quest to find a legitimate expression for its deranged neurotic misandry? I. Think. Not.

      An anarchist who subscribes to police-state totalitarian feminism should probably take a look inside, instead of playing it out in embarrassingly misguided essays. One never knows how interesting will be the stuff one finds. Which is usually why people never look inside.

      PS I'm a wife-beater. I've had five wives and I bet' em all!!! And I wear one of those undershirts. And I voted against Obama ONLY because he doesn't tell women their place. But after his birthcontrol restrictions and 'pretty lawyer' comments, I wish i had. my kinda pig, hehe.

  5. notimetobebanned9:24 AM

    I'd have a response but my mama always told me to leave animals alone. They act out of wildness not reason.

  6. I don't get the purpose of this post. Every reasonable person has said that the accusations made against Assange are serious, and that he should address them, with the caveat that Sweden offer some kind of assurance, possibly in a third-party setting, that extradition is off the table. These kind of assurances are perfectly possible within the Swedish legal system , as Glenn Greenwald (among others) has amply demonstrated. But Sweden refuses to offer them, for reasons that probably have everything to do with US State department pressure for Assange to be extradited - (pressure, remember, that it has openly admitted to.) Sweden has a long, sorry history of collaboration with whoever the biggest gangster in the neighborhood happens to be; I'd suggest you check out their history during WWII. Assange isn't crazy to think that they'd happily turn him over to the tender mercies of the US government.

    And even still: your simplistic dichotomy of "Bradley Manning is the hero, not Julian Assange!" sounds like the substance-free sloganeering of corporate news. Assange may well turn out to be a rapist, but that has nothing to do with the merits of his work at the head of Wikileaks. Many, many other people seem to have no trouble making this distinction between one set of actions and another (alleged) set of actions. I don't see why you seem to be having trouble with that. As for your implying that lovelorn emails constitutes evidence about ANYTHING, well, that's just pathetic.

    1. Zach,

      The point of this post was laid out at the beginning: a lot of "reasonable people," like Hedges, have reflexively dismissed the charges against Assange. Go ahead and read Hedges' interview: the only time he even addresses them is in the paragraph I excerpted. Others, like George Galloway and Michael Moore, have dismissed Assange's alleged actions as bad bedroom behavior and nothing more. So there's been a lot of downplaying and excuse-making and not a lot of concern about the fact a guy who has been elevated to the status of hero may in fact be a serial abuser.

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    4. Charles by all means feel free to continue and drink Ms. Crayfish Party’s kool-aid if it comforts you but I choose to decline:

    5. My god. The alleged victims went on with their lives after the alleged incidents? They left their homes? They didn't commit suicide? Well, I'm convinced.

    6. Really Charles? One went on sleeping with her attacker and even threw him a party. The other refused to sign off on the charges. The original prosecutor rescinded the charges. No, you're right now that I revisit the facts. There's nothing fishy at all about this matter.

    7. I would suggest that there is not one acceptable way for a victim of sexual violence to deal wit that violence. Speak to someone who has suffered it and you will find that reactions vary; when the perpetrator is a partner or someone one looks up to, it can take time to stop excusing what they did and accept it for the act of violence that it was.

      Also, not that it matters: the one who "went on sleeping with her attacker" went on sleeping at her own flat, on the couch, after she claims Assange refused to leave. Assange's own attorneys have characterized the allegations against him as "disturbing" -- http://studentactivism.net/2011/11/02/british-judges-reject-assanges-rape-defense/ -- while multiple courts now have said they may in fact be criminal.

  7. Kant Anchorous8:17 AM

    Carlos the Jackal is so strong! He even creates sock puppets through which he thinks he's "lampooning" a rapist-reactionary-rethuglican-misogynist thug.

    Maybe Carlos should try lampooning himself. Though I expect he lacks the cojones for such comedy, since he's all serious about womyns' rites, and quite sternly interested in whether someone is getting "a lot of ladies," since Carlos obviously blogs and writes only to "get a lot of men".

    Ain't it sad, watching Carlos be so strong, and yet so incredibly weak-minded?

    1. How do I know that you're not me?

    2. Kant Anchorous10:06 AM

      One of us is actually intelligent, the other thinks his gay male feminism and big words make him half-clever.

      Do you ever tire of masturbating gleefully at the idea that you're a brilliant feminist butt-pirate?

  8. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Forest for the fucking trees. Were you hyperventilating about Monica's dress back in the day too?

    And by the by, who's going to prosecute actual rapists when the world embraces anarchism?

  9. LorenzoStDuBois10:44 AM

    Boy Charles, you've decided to swim upstream at this one. 3 critiques:

    - "We shouldn't care about Assange because Manning is more deserving" (paraphrase). I know this was more of a rhetorical than a substantive point, but I really, really don't like ranking heroes (or people have committed very heroic acts).

    - You seem a bit overly occupied by the ugly chauvinism that surfaces among many of Assange's defenders. Can't one hold both thoughts in their head at the same time that 1) any dismissal or belittlement of crime against women is appalling and 2) there is a lot to be doubtful about both from an evidentiary and historical perspective about where these charges are coming from. I think you're making a.... FALSE DICHOTOMY!!

    - Finally, I think there's an overly simplistic inclination, even among thoughtful writers like yourself, that we have to be all-in with or enemies against public figures. Like, Team Edward or Team Other Vampire Guy. Historical figures are very complicated, and often commit horrible acts. We don't have to love them or support them to support against government witch-hunts. It's possible that FDR improved more lives in this country than any other person in history. He also was abominably cruel towards his wife and family, minorities, and a warmonger. I don't love Julian Assange, but I love what he's done against oppressive governments, that he's probably sacrificed his liberty in doing so (the guy can't go outside, but keeps pissing off the US), and I think we need to defend him.
    The only way the left can make changes is through solidarity, by recognizing and respecting our differences but not letting us be destroyed by them.

    ... Of course, if you just meant to slam asshole Assange fanboy chauvinists, such as some that appear in these comments, than of course it's a no-brainer that they are terrible.

    1. I don't love Julian Assange, but I love what he's done against oppressive governments, that he's probably sacrificed his liberty in doing so (the guy can't go outside, but keeps pissing off the US), and I think we need to defend him.

      As I've noted here, Julian Assange sacrificed his liberty to avoid returning to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault. The point is not to cast him as a devil, but to push back against the portrayal of him as an unqualified hero. Forget the legality of it all for a second: two women have leveled serious charges against the man -- charges he responded to by leaving the country and going off about radical feminism. Strange.

      Assange deserves credit for his role in getting Manning's information out, but I don't think it serves anyone any good to gloss over his faults or downplay the seriousness of the allegations against him.

    2. LorenzoStDuBois9:08 AM

      Fantastic writer for the LRB weighs in

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