The Voice of (Male) Privilege

August 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm (Beyond parody, misogyny, Rosie B, women)

Read John Pilger’s latest piece of polemic about his mate Julian Assange then the comment below by “Phil Howe”.

JP: ‘The British government’s threat to invade the Ecuadorean [sic] embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance.’

PH: The British government has never threatened to ‘invade’ the Embassy. What it said was the following: “Under British law we can give them a week’s notice before entering the premises and the embassy will no longer have diplomatic protection”. This is not ‘invading the embassy’, it is an entirely legal and above board process of severing diplomatic relations. The Ecuadorian diplomats would retain their diplomatic immunity and be allowed to leave the country unscathed but their embassy would lose its protected status. Nothing about this is unusual or unprecedented, and has been done hundreds of times before over the few hundred years modern diplomacy has existed. The Ecuadorian government’s claim that Britain has threatened to ‘storm’ the embassy is utterly unfounded and it surprises me that a journalist of your standing accepted at face value these wild and implausible claims and failed to research this further.

‘David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonour international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorism in London on 7 July 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.’

This is an ad hominem attack which adds absolutely nothing to your argument. What you say here about Cameron is entirely true but given the UK is not flouting or abusing diplomatic convention, it is entirely irrelevant. If anything, giving credence to blatantly false claims that they are is going to ‘compromise the safety of British representatives across the world’, making this article – by your own definition – irresponsible journalism.

‘Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an “alleged criminal”, Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain.’

Assange is an ‘alleged criminal’. He is an ‘alleged rapist’. What arrogance it takes to blithely declare that he is ‘an innocent man’! On what grounds do you make this reckless claim? Has he stood trial and been exonerated? No. Has he presented a shred of evidence in favour of his innocence? No. The only reason you feel comfortable declaring that he is categorically innocent is because you value his word absolutely when weighed against the testimony of the two women who have accused him. This betrays two possible flaws in your character, both highly dangerous. Perhaps you are a misogynist who automatically discounts the testimony of women when weighed against that of men; alternatively perhaps you have developed an attachment to Assange which has reached the level of religious zealotry – I use this phrase deliberately, since only religious zealots claim absolute knowledge in the absence of evidence. Then again there is the third possibility, that both these flaws are in evidence here. I will cease to speculate since to go further would be vulgar.

‘The same brave newspapers and broadcasters that have supported Britain’s part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the “human rights record” of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington.’

The first part of this sentence is shoehorned in apropos absolutely nothing. Stay on topic. As for the second part, it is factually true that Eduador does have a poor human rights record. Freedom House ranks it as only ‘partly free’ and the Ecuadorian government is presently considering extraditing a Belarussian democratic activist who is almost certain to be tortured and executed upon his arrival in his home country. Ecuador’s ‘real crime’ is not to ‘stand up to the bullies in London and Washington’, it is to prevent the nasty bullies from London from extraditing the poor alleged rapist Julian Assange to face trial in the world’s most unimpeachable legal system. As for the ‘bullies in Washington’, they have yet to say anything. They have not demanded the extradition of Assange and in any case it is hard to see what law they would do this under. He is not a US citizen so treason laws do not apply to him. (Oh, and since you mentioned it, Britain never recognised the Indonesian conquest of Timor Leste – you may be confused since Australia did).

‘It is as if the Olympics happy-clappery has been subverted overnight by an illuminating display of colonial thuggery.’

Oh yes, what thuggery! How dare the UK demand Ecuador end their abuse of the asylum system and return a man legitimately accused of rape!

‘Witness the British army officer-cum-BBC reporter Mark Urban “interviewing” a braying Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair’s former apologist in Washington, outside the Ecuadorean embassy, the pair of them erupting with Blimpish indignation…’

‘Braying’. ‘erupting with Blimpish indignation’. Stay classy, Pilger.

‘…that the unclubbable Assange and the uncowed Rafael Correa should expose the western system of rapacious power.’

I’m sorry, but this sentence is so disgusting it is almost beyond belief. In what possible way is the extradition of Assange a demonstration of ‘rapacious power’? Unless of course you believe that criminalising rape is an example of undue government intrusion into citizens’ private lives. Come to think of it, given the tone of the rest of this article, perhaps you do.

‘Similar affront is vivid in the pages of the Guardian, which has counselled Hague to be “patient” and that storming the embassy would be “more trouble than it is worth”.’

For the last time, Britain is not going to ‘storm the embassy’! Hague is considering severing diplomatic relations. This is not even a tiny bit the same thing and conflating the two demonstrates an extraordinary ignorance of international law and diplomatic conventions.

‘Assange was not a political refugee, the Guardian declared, because “neither Sweden nor the UK would in any case deport someone who might face torture or the death penalty”.’

Well yes.

The irresponsibility of this statement matches the Guardian’s perfidious role in the whole Assange affair. The paper knows full well that documents released by WikiLeaks indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters of civil rights. In December 2001, the Swedish government abruptly revoked the political refugee status of two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed el-Zari, who were handed to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport and “rendered” to Egypt, where they were tortured. An investigation by the Swedish ombudsman for justice found that the government had “seriously violated” the two men’s human rights.

In a 2009 US embassy cable obtained by Wiki¬Leaks, entitled “WikiLeaks puts neutrality in the Dustbin of History”, the Swedish elite’s vaunted reputation for neutrality is exposed as a sham. Another US cable reveals that “the extent of [Sweden’s military and intelligence] co-operation [with Nato] is not widely known” and unless kept secret “would open the government to domestic criticism”. The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, played a notorious leading role in George W Bush’s Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and retains close ties to the Republican Party’s extreme right.’

This is undoubtedly true, although it seems highly unlikely that Sweden’s involvement in the United States and NATO is any greater than that of any of NATO’s actual members, such as the United Kingdom. Which is also the US’s closest ally and has an extremely US-friendly extradition treaty. If Assange genuinely feared the long arm of the States, his stupidity in choosing to flee Sweden for the UK is astounding. Either Assange is a complete moron or his fears of US intervention are a fabrication in order to allow him to escape legitimate rape charges.

‘According to the former Swedish director of public prosecutions Sven-Erik Alhem, Sweden’s decision to seek the extradition of Assange on allegations of sexual misconduct is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate”.’

It interests me that you (and presumably Alhem) use the term ‘sexual misconduct’ rather than the more accurate ‘rape’. Perhaps because the following sentence is manifestly absurd: ‘Sweden’s decision to seek the extradition of Assange on allegations of rape is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate”.’ If, as I suspect, Alhem is using the Galloway defence (i.e. that what Assange did does not count as rape), I advise you please to look into the legal definition of rape, as well as to read some survivors’ accounts. The vast majority of rape is not by a stranger in a back alley, it is a man who you’ve already had consensual sex with penetrating you again in your sleep. It is your boyfriend deciding that since you’ve agreed to sleep with him before, you have implicitly agreed to do it now. It is your date lying to you about wearing a condom and then penetrating you without one.

‘Having offered himself for questioning, Assange was given permission to leave Sweden for London where, again, he offered to be questioned. In May, in a final appeal judgment on the extradition, Britain’s Supreme Court introduced more farce by referring to non-existent “charges”.’

Once again, this sentence betrays a complete failure to do any research. This is how the Swedish legal system works. You cannot be charged until you have been arrested, and you cannot be arrested until you have been extradited. The filing of a formal indictment takes place relatively late in Swedish legal proceedings. Assange’s offer to be questioned in London is highly disingenuous in that he knows it is not one that can be fulfilled. This is because (once again) Assange is being extradited in order to be arrested so that an indictment may be made. He is not wanted for questioning, as that part of the process is long over.

‘Accompanying this has been a vituperative personal campaign against Assange.’

Heaven forbid anyone would begin a ‘vituperative personal campaign’ against an alleged rapist whose desperate attempts to avoid standing trial cast major doubt on his innocence!

‘Much of it has emanated from the Guardian, which, like a spurned lover, has turned on its besieged former source, having hugely profited from WikiLeaks disclosures. With not a penny going to Assange or WikiLeaks, a Guardian book has led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The authors, David Leigh and Luke Harding, gratuitously abuse Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous”.’

NO. NO, NO, NO. This is the most insidious, vicious sort of rape apologia there is. This is the form of rape apologia which means that Roman Polanski still gets invited to Cannes and Mike Tyson gets a cameo in The Hangover. This is the form of rape apologia which says ‘how dare you accuse such a wonderful man of rape – look at his achievements!’ as though Wikileaks, or an Oscar or a world title belt mean that one cannot be guilty of rape, or as though they excuse rape once committed. Assange’s achievements are irrelevant. It would not matter now if he had cured cancer and the common cold, brought on world peace and stopped global warming. If he committed rape, he would still be a rapist. Men of all kinds commit rape – successful and unsuccessful, left-wing and right-wing, rich and poor, good and bad (in all other senses), and their goodness, or their success, or their leftism are irrelevant. The fact is, if a man commits rape, he is a rapist, and to accuse the Guardian of disloyalty for acknowledging this fact is the height of misogyny and rape apologia. You, Mr Pilger, are contributing to rape culture, and you seriously need to check your male privilege.

‘They also reveal the secret password he had given the paper which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables.’

This is true, and it is highly negligent of the journalists in question. That said, there is a lot more to the story – for instance, they were told that the password they were given would expire within hours, so ultimately a great deal of the blame must fall on Wikileaks for their own negligence in encrypting these sensitive documents. All this, however, is completely irrelevant to the central issue of Assange’s alleged guilt. It is a complete red herring to go after the Guardian when the issue remains Assange’s Polanski-esque decision to go on the run rather than facing trial.

‘On 20 August, Harding was outside the Ecuadorean embassy, gloating…’

‘gloating’. Stay classy, Pilger.

‘…on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”. It is ironic, if entirely appropriate, that a Guardian editorial putting the paper’s latest boot into Assange bears an uncanny likeness to the Murdoch press’s predictable augmented bigotry on the same subject. How the glory of Leveson, Hackgate and honourable, independent journalism doth fade.’

Ah yes, honourable independent journalists, bravely fighting for the rights of rapists to avoid trial for their alleged crimes. Give me a break. An astonishingly small proportion of rapes ever end in the conviction of the rapist, and part of the reason why this happens is that men like John Pilger make excuses for the rapists. They ask whether she really said no; they declare that it was not rape, merely ‘bad sexual etiquette’; they derail the entire conversation by discussing the rapist’s achievements in the rest of his life, as if that was in any way relevant; they derail it in other ways, such as by turning their ire on the accusers, whether the victim herself or those like the Guardian who have the temerity to take her at her word and demand that the accused hero stand trial like any other human being. It staggers me how someone like John Pilger, who has stood up so strongly against the dehumanisation of Aboriginal Australians, and against the dehumanisation of non-Westerners in general, can participate so enthusiastically in the dehumanisation of women. Misogyny truly is the last acceptable prejudice (along with trans*phobia, but that’s another story entirely). To make an analogy, if Assange was accused of a hate crime against black people, rather than a hate crime against women, I very much doubt that conspiratorial hacks like Pilger would be standing up for the poor oppressed racist, in the way they have been standing up for the poor oppressed rapist. The persistence on the left of unreconstructed misogyny is truly staggering.

‘His tormentors make the point of Assange’s persecution. Charged with no crime, he is not a fugitive from justice.’

My god, did you even think about doing any research when you decided to write this execrable pile of steaming misogyny and misinformation? For the last time, the Swedish legal system does not work that way. The formal indictment does not take place until – I’ve explained this already, you get my drift.

‘Swedish case documents, including the text messages of the women involved, demonstrate to any fair-minded person the absurdity of the sex allegations’

Ah yes, the old ‘she clearly wanted to have sex with him at some point so there’s no way he could have ever raped her’ gambit. I wonder if Mr Pilger supports the legalisation of marital rape? I suspect, in the abstract, that he does not, and yet here he is, blithely declaring that friendly sexual communications between the (alleged) rapist and victim demonstrate the ‘absurdity’ of the charges. If I was not by now thoroughly convinced of Mr Pilger’s arrogance (permit me one moment of ad hominem anger at least – rape apologia surely makes Pilger worthy of this) it would astound me that he has written an article about a rape case while knowing next to nothing about rape as a phenomenon in the real world. I would wager that, like most men (excepting the 10% who are survivors), Pilger’s opinions about rape are gleaned from TV, films and sensationalist headlines. If this is untrue, he is doing a very good job of hiding it.

allegations almost entirely promptly dismissed by the senior prosecutor in Stockholm, Eva Finne, before the intervention of a politician, Claes Borgström.’

The disingenuousness of this statement is astounding. In fact, it would not be going too far to declare that in its egregious misrepresentation of the facts of the matter, it reaches the status of an outright lie. The allegations were not dismissed by Finne. Two allegations were made, one of rape and one of molestation. Only the allegation of rape was dismissed. The arrest warrant was rescinded since in Sweden a warrant cannot be issued on the basis of molestation. At this point, Claes Borgström, the lawyer representing Assange’s alleged victims, lodged an appeal which was upheld. Borgström is indeed also a politician, but this is completely irrelevant to his role in the case. There is absolutely nothing about this process that is not legal, normal and above board, and yet you manage to tease out and cherry-pick odd little facts to make it sound like something out of Putin’s Russia. This sentence puts the final nail in the coffin, for me at least, of your journalistic credibility. Either you completely failed to research the case properly or you knowingly twisted and misrepresented the facts in full knowledge that most people would not bother to spend the five minutes on Google necessary to find out what actually occurred.

‘At the pre-trial of Bradley Manning, a US army investigator confirmed that the FBI was secretly targeting the “founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks” for espionage.’

So what? Of course they were. I’m shocked that you find this shocking. Moreover, there is a hell of a leap from espionage to trumped up rape allegations, and the connection you make between them is utterly dismissive of the fact that there are two very real, flesh and blood women in Sweden whose decision to go to the police (which is a tremendously courageous thing for a survivor to do) is being systematically slandered worldwide on the basis of extremely tenuous evidence.

‘Four years ago, a barely noticed Pentagon document, leaked by WikiLeaks, described how WikiLeaks and Assange would be destroyed with a smear campaign leading to “criminal prosecution”. On 18 August, the Sydney Morning Herald disclosed, in a Freedom of Information release of official files, that the Australian government had repeatedly received confirmation that the US was conducting an “unprecedented” pursuit of Assange and had raised no objections. Among Ecuador’s reasons for granting asylum is Assange’s abandonment “by the state of which he is a citizen”.’

All this may be true, but it seems extremely cobbled together compared to the mountain of evidence indicating that this is nothing more than a normal, albeit high-profile, rape case. Nothing about the prosecution has been anything but above board so far. The Swedish judiciary, to a much greater extent than that of the US or even the UK, is studiously independent. If these charges have indeed been invented by US agents, there is no better group of people in the world to find this out than a group of Swedish lawyers and judges. To respond that they might succumb to corruption is incredibly insulting.

‘In 2010, an investigation by the Australian Federal Police found that Assange and WikiLeaks had committed no crime. His persecution is an assault on us all and on freedom.’

And here, in the final sentence of Mr Pilger’s nauseating article, we find the deep problem lying at the heart of it – the conflation of Assange and Wikileaks. Wikileaks and Julian Assange are not the same thing. By conflating them, Pilger is, once again, engaging in that loathsome form of rape apologia that declares that a man’s accomplishments make him immune to accusations of rape. Whether this takes the form of assuming that a good man (in all other respects) cannot be a rapist, or that his rape must be ‘weighed against’ all his positive achievements, it is an extremely dangerous, brutal and misogynistic argument that all-but declares any woman who is raped by a ‘great’ man to be either a liar (the implicit argument here, of course, is that Assange’s accusers are CIA moles) or irrelevant in the face of his greatness, a sacrifice to be thrown under a bus that the great maverick may live in peace and freedom. Because as everyone knows, Assange’s humanity and freedom are far more important than those of mere women.

What really astounds me, however, is not John Pilger’s misogyny and rape apologia. I have come almost to accept that from privileged, successful men – it no longer shocks me like it once did when someone I admire (like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Penn Jilette, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Louis CK…) turns out to be a bigot. That is not to say that Pilger’s bigotry is acceptable, or anything but awful, but it is not unexpected. What I did not expect was how poorly researched, poorly structured and disingenuous this article is. Many of its allegations turned out to be based on a poor understanding of the Swedish legal system. Others were pure fabrications, easily dismissed on the basis of a single Google search. And then there was that sentence, wherein Claes Borgstrom’s entirely normal legal appeal against the dismissal of the rape allegation was made to sound like the corrupt machinations of an Orwellian politician in the pocket of the NSA. I refuse to believe, Mr Pilger, that you refused to research that properly. The story the way you tell it is so incredibly implausible (politicians in Rechtsstaaten like Sweden do not ‘intervene’ in the legal system) that you must have been compelled to look up the facts to verify this. However, having done this you misrepresented the true situation so completely that I will find it hard to take seriously anything you say in the future.

This is a breathtaking article – breathtaking in its bigotry, breathtaking in the poverty of the research that went into it, breathtaking in its sheer lie-spinning. This is truly one of the worst pieces of ‘real’ journalism I have ever read.

74 Comments

  1. Jim Denham said,

    Thanks for drawing out attention to this despicable piece of “journalism” from the increasingly loathsome Pilger.

    Howe’s reply is indeed brilliant. Readers need to click on the link provided and go to the New Statesman site in order to read it.

  2. pinkagendist said,

    Could you please give a few examples of the “hundreds of times” when this has been done in other embassies?
    I think you make a grave logical mistake by justifying what the government did because you feel Assange is guilty. He can be guilty and the government can also have been wrong to have used the language in question.

  3. Jim Denham said,

    “please give a few examples of the “hundreds of times” when this has been done in other embassies?”

    Every time diplomatic relations have been severed, which happened frequently in the 20th Century, especially but not exclusively during the cold war. Diplomats being expelled or leaving following the breakdown in diplomatic relations used to be a common scene on TV. The creation of “protecting powers” usually followed; here are a few examples: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protecting_power

    Never mind at time of war.

    Shiraz (well, me anyway), has already stated that Hague’s “semi-threat” to withdraw diplomatic immunity, was a stupid mistake that played into Ecuadore’s hands and allowed Assange to further portray himself as a ‘victim.’

    No-one at Shiraz presupposes Assange’s guilt. We just object to those like Galloway and Pilger who presuppose his innocence (and -even worse – suggest that it doesn’t matter whether he’s guilty or innocent).

    He deserves due process, and should go to Sweden to face these most serious charges. Why won’t he?

  4. Juan said,

    sorry, a bit off topic:

    “it no longer shocks me like it once did when someone I admire (like [...] Richard Dawkins, […] turns out to be a bigot”

    How is Dawkins a bigot. He strikes me as too polite, esp. seeing the heaps of smear he receives day in day out, particularly from theocratic liberals like the Grauniad.

  5. Juan said,

    The most depressing thing about the Assange cult is how it has turned into a new truffer movement. A good debate is to be had about secrecy and national security… instead we have all this shrill about the interplanetary conspiracy to bust Assange via Sweden…

  6. sgediting said,

    No surprise to me, but he is trading on old reputations. In July this year, Pilger was part of the line-up the South Bank Centre’s London Literature Festival, and the accompanying pamphlet described him as “one of the world’s greatest living journalists’. Someone should tell them…

  7. Alec said,

    Fisked! (Ugh, I hate that word.)

    Some half-crazed loonie who, like those racist old uncles railing against the refusal of the world to listen to them, we all know and… well… know, wrote:

    With not a penny going to Assange or WikiLeaks, a Guardian book has led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal.

    Wait, wait, wait… profiting from what is in effect stolen material. I thought Assange was doing this for a higher cause!

    ~alec

  8. Paul Evans said,

    “…the increasingly loathsome Pilger.”? I’ve read occasional articles by him for over twenty years and at no point was he more or less of a turd than he is now. His extreme turd-ness remains unchanged.

  9. Jim Denham said,

    No, Paul: the tragedy is that Pilger was once a serious journalist who did good work exposing real wrongs and injustices. Just as Tony Benn was once a respect-worthy left-reformist. Both are now conspiracy-theorists, rape-deniers/apologists and antisemites.

    Tragic, in both cases.

  10. Alec said,

    I have to say that it was his 1992 Death of a Nation which got me plugged into events in foreign places. I cannot remember if he used the the “rapacious power” but he did speak of the “impending genocide” and “tacit support”.

    Recently, however, having gone back over his writings, I have detected a not-so-undercurrent of extreme unpleasantness. From his volte face on disregarding the nasty thing in the Cambodian jungle to lying (I can say this, ‘cos he lost a libel case over his 1992 docu Cambodia – the Betrayal) about Anglo-American support for the Khmer Rouge or more than tacitly supporting the NVC (not, I repeat, not the same as opposing American military policy in Indo-China which I suspect, had I been around at the time, I would have found quite easy to do) then hot-footing it to the nearest Yank helicopter during the Fall of Saigon to accepting the hospitality of inhabitants of Maoz Haim kibbutz in 1970 during a mortar attack shortly before accompanying PFLP guerrillas in an attack on the area (remember, he had insider knowledge of its defences) and trying to help patch-up an injured guerrilla (therefore, arguably, going crashing over the vital line between reporting and assisting in an armed attack on civilians; not to mention that between common decency and moral perversion in turning on people who, previously, had welcomed him).

    Were there really no other journalists reporting on the fine and noble topics he is credited with uncovering? Of course there were, which leads me to ask if his rightness of opinion on named topics outweighs his wretched views on others? Given the title subject – his odious defence of Assange – this seems highly pertinent.

    ~alec

  11. Brian Barder said,

    This seems to be a pretty comprehensive demolition job, except on one point. I don’t think the threat (which it unquestionably was) in the UK aide memoire given to the Ecuadoreans can be read as a threat to enter the Ecuador embassy after breaking off diplomatic relations. It was a threat in the last resort to arrest Assange in the embassy, and it clearly indicated a UK belief in its right to do so under a UK domestic law that has nothing to do with breaking off relations (except just possibly very indirectly). It has to be admitted that this threat by HMG was so ill-judged and so lacking in legal justification that it amounted to a major blunder, putting Britain in the international dock instead of Assange who actually belonged there. But this is a distraction from the central issue as defined in your post: the lack of any conceivable justification for supporting Assange’s shabby action in jumping bail (costing his rich friends considerable sums of money, incidentally) to avoid being further questioned by the Swedish authorities about the serious accusations of rape and sexual assault made against him, probably followed by his arrest and indictment, both of which can take place (I understand) only in Sweden. It has nothing whatever to do with a non-existent American application to extradite him on non-existent charges that, even if they existed, would be irrelevant, as you rightly say, to the Swedish accusations against Assange.

  12. Watching the Untrusted Implode « Bitethehand – the real Untrusted? said,

    [...] An interesting response to John Pilger’s New Statesman piece on Assange here: The Voice of (Male) Privilege [...]

  13. Nick Vasey said,

    Breathtaking! Mr. Howe is guilty of exactly the sort of disingenuousness and selective fact-picking and interpretation of which he (wrongfully) accuses Mr. Pilger. It is my opinion that anyone who truly reads through and carefully dissects facts from fiction in the Assange case – could not possibly come up with a conclusion of anything other than that the case (almost from the outset, but even more purposefully later on) has been exaggerated, twisted and perverted by political factions loyal to US interests – with the intention of pursuing a politically motivated witch-hunt against US Public Enemy No. 1, Mr. Assange.

    The thing which disturbs me MOST however about Mr. Howe’s “rebuttal,” is how easily misdirection and smear takes root (and apparently precedence) in such circumstances, where a sexual element is concerned. If one looks objectively at the situation, the issue at this minute is NOT whatever allegations exist in Sweden – they will be decided eventually AT TRIAL – and until such a time, the presumption of innocence is paramount.

    Given the peculiar circumstances of the case, what is important right now is somehow managing to simultaneously protect TWO sets of human rights – those of the plaintiffs as well as those of Mr. Assange. In the meantime (and for the record), a good article to consider would be this one, from representatives of Britain’s oldest feminist anti-rape campaigning organisation, Women Against Rape, and in whose view the Assange extradition is politically based.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/women-against-rape-julian-assange?cat=commentisfree&type=article

    In light of the Swedish track-record with the management of Assange’s case (rail-roaded plaintiffs, leaks of confidential information directly to tabloid journalists for smear purposes, dropping charges, reinstating charges, allowed to leave country – then having EAW issued immediately thereafter, and other irregular procedures detailed here by Naomi Wolf: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/women-against-rape-julian-assange?cat=commentisfree&type=article) – not to mention Sweden’s established practice of renditioning people to US custody for torture (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/11/09/sweden-violated-torture-ban-cia-rendition) – it is hardly surprising Mr. Assange has little faith in Sweden’s much vaunted political neutrality or judicial independence.

    His unease can only have been heightened upon learning that the infamous war criminal and disgraced political manipulator Karl Rove had been “appointed” to mastermind Sweden’s response to what is apparently only supposed be a domestic legal matter. Hmmm … righto!

    So it is all very well to sling arrows from the sidelines about what is “fair” or what “should be” right now, but if any pro-extraditioners were truly in Assange’s shoes at the moment, I doubt they would be quite as keen as they profess Assange should be, to test their luck against what Mr. Howe absurdly describes as “the world’s most unimpeachable legal system” (cough). I would strongly recommend readers view the ABC’s “Four Corners” program and then re-assess their feeling about the case in light of the evidence presented therein: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5VNw3cwt08 (if this link goes down, just Google “Assange Four Corners Sex Lies” and you should find the latest available link).

    So in closing, I will use “the reasonable man” legal assumption. Given the facts, what would a reasonable man assume? Well, this reasonable man believes there is more than credible evidence that Assange’s human rights would be jeopardised by an extradition to Sweden without guarantees of no extradition to a third country. Given this impasse, it would seem the only reasonable solution would be for Sweden to question Assange in London, which, given where the case has reached, would currently mean inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. The Ecuadorians and Mr. Assange have already indicated they would be more than happy for such an interview/s to take place. But it seems the Swedes are not interested (despite there being ample legal precedent historically for them to do so). Oddly, it would seem that Ms. Ny feels in this case that it would somehow be “inappropriate.” Hmmm. Truly, I don’t know if it would be possible to ever find a case where it would be MORE appropriate.

    But anyway, in the absence of Sweden deciding to take the most logical action to expeditiously resolve matters, one can only wonder WHY they would continue to be so intransigent. Pondering this leads to only one rational conclusion; that is, that testing Assange’s guilt or innocence (to validate an arrest or release) by way of interrogation is NOT the issue … but getting him to Sweden, is.

    Once in Sweden’s standard four days of mandatory incommunicado solitary confinement, it would be an easy matter for the US to unseal the (currently sealed) Secret Grand Jury Indictment for Mr. Assange and prevail upon their Swedish underlings to rendition him forthwith. And given the evidence already presented here as well as circumstances in this case to date, does anyone in their right mind seriously believe the Swedes would refuse such a “request?”

    I can say with some certainty that if I were in Mr. Assange’s shoes right now, I personally would be very grateful for the Ecuadorians’ hospitality and their principled and brave stance under such incredibly high-pressure circumstances.

  14. Nick Vasey said,

    Sorry – re my last post, there was one incorrect link in there (where I referred to Naomi Wolf). Here is the link I was referring to, for those who are interested: http://markcrispinmiller.com/2011/02/eight-big-problems-with-the-case-against-assange-must-read-by-naomi-wolf/

  15. K Crosby said,

    Who are you working for Shiraz?

  16. Alec said,

    What’s your point, K Crosby?

    Mr. Howe is guilty of exactly the sort of disingenuousness and selective fact-picking and interpretation of which he (wrongfully) accuses Mr. Pilger.

    Yeah, right. He only quoted Pilger’s piece in more or less in its entirity! I’d check “selective” because it doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means. Then you go onto the say something about Karl Rove, despite his having precisely nothing to do with rape charges in Sweden.

    You couldn’t make it up. But you did. For free!

    Here’s Marko Atilla Hoare’s account of a ‘discussion’ with Pilger. MAH may or may not be this blog’s most preferred author, but he shows the same repellence and polemical thuggery explored here. At one point he [Pilger] tells MAH that he “has an agenda”… yeah! Disagreeing with Pilger! How dare he!

    At another that he “shouldn’t be teaching here” [Kingston University]. In addition to not being a good debater, there is something quite vile about Pilger.

    Note also the people who approached MAH, people who had had no dealings with Pilger beforehand or may even have thought they aggreed with him, people who now were repelled by the lizardine totalitarian lout.

    ~alec

  17. Jim Denham said,

    K Crosby: whoever it is, they’re not paying very much.

    Nick V: I think the term “reasonable man” (with the emphasis on “man”) is most apposite.

    None of what you (or Ms Wolf) have written changes the fact that rape-apologists like Pilger and Galloway have declared him innocent in advance, and Galloway and Benn have stated that even if the allegations are true, they’re not rape!

    On a further point: since when did persons accused of serious offenses have the right to dictate when, where, by whom and under what circumstances they are charged?

    • K Crosby said,

      Indulge me, who are you working for?

      PS Everyone’s innocent in advance! The onus is on the plaintiff not a (putative) defendant (unless you’re a fascist, that is).

      • Alec said,

        Once again, what’s your point?

        PS Everyone’s innocent in advance!

        Previously I would have said such question begging indicated very strange ideas as to how Police investigators and prosecution lawyers worked, but here we see the answer. Namely, the presumption that it’s innocence with no possibility of guilt.

        There is no virtue to continually ‘asking’ questions to which plausible answers have been provided, and then moving onto another carefully modified question. It is patently dishonest.

        ~alec

        PS How many acquitted suspects can you name who’ve been found innocent? I’d wager, over the past few decades, it’s barely into triple figures.

    • Nick Vasey said,

      Jim, you are apparently unaware that diplomatic law (political asylum) trumps domestic matters. It follows that anyone has the legal right to request political asylum under such circumstances. Mr. Assange has only exercised his legal rights (as he should be able to). Because he was forced into this position by Sweden’s intransigence, they are now obliged to lie in the untidy bed THEY MADE. And for the record, it is Britain which is currently in serious breach of international diplomatic protocol, by not respecting Ecuadorian sovereignty and allowing Mr. Assange safe passage to that country. Checkmate my friend.

      • Alec said,

        Jim, you are apparently unaware that diplomatic law (political asylum) trumps domestic matters.

        Says who? Seriously, who? I mean, I think you’ve been watching too much of Lethal Weapon II if you think diplomats can participate in any and all flouting of domestic criminal law without A SINGLE NAFFING THING HAPPENING.

        diplomatic law (political asylum)

        Um, no. Those are two distinct and separable concepts.

        Assange is not and never will be covered by diplomatic immunity. That requires the recipient to be afforded diplomatic accreditation, and that requires to acquiescence of the host country.

        Ecuador can stick as many feathers in her hat and call whatever she likes macaroni, but it’s up to the UK – as the host country – as to who passes through her territory unmolested and who is invited to select what smorgasbord they’d like for breakfast the next day.

        A tip. If you’re going to try to completely demolish your opponent, find more certain ground to stand on that the assertion that diplomatic law (sic) allows the post hoc granting of immunity to any Tom or Harry who’s accused of shoving his dick into unsuspecting women. Or allows existing diplomatic missions to remain when their members are going a’ rapin’.

        ~alec

  18. Alec said,

    Jim, given all the mollah the HuffPo got, I would have thought your paymasters at least could give you enough for a BigMac.

    ~alec

  19. Andrew Coates said,

    I did have some respect for Pilger (and still to some degree when he talks about what he knows, not in this case.But I should point out that Death of Nation followed the exposure by Ponchaud, He has been in the news this year, I deny the United Nations the right to judge the Khmer Rouge,” said 73-year-old Francois Ponchaud, who was forced to leave Phnom Penh when the hardline communists took power in 1975.

    “The UN backed the Khmer Rouge for 14 years for geo-political reasons during the Cold War. I don’t see why the UN would now give itself the right to judge those it supported,” he said in an interview with AFP.

  20. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Pity that Auberon Waugh’s campaign to have ‘To Pilger’ and variants thereof become a common verb never caught on.

    (although thanks to scribd.com the 1991 Oxford Dictionary of New Words where it made a brief appearance before Pilger threatened to invoke the bourgeois courts can still be seen http://www.scribd.com/doc/75294939/29-EnglishGrammar2CTheOxfordDictionaryofNewWords)

    And yes Auberon Waugh was an odious Tory shit – but at least he had the excuse of being a) amusing and b) brought up by the monstrous Evelyn – never worked out what Pilger’s excuse for being Pilger is.

  21. Jim Denham said,

  22. Alec said,

    And, at least, Evelyn had the excuse of being a good writer. Pilger’s (yes, I do use his name as a verb just as I do Fisk’s) writing recently has been more-than incoherent. Not to mention a good fighter, as opposed to someone who exhorts others to fight the Yanks then, as I said, shows considerable lack of rectitude in approaching the very people he previously had cheered on.

    Whenever I think of this piccie, I think of Pilger. Heck, I have more sympathy for Malcolm Caldwell who, by all accounts, was a highly charming man.

    Auberon was, it goes without saying, very funny and displayed a sense of self-depreciation which is light years beyond Pilger; be it when he did a Dick Cheney on himself (and correctsed anyone who tried to sweeten it by claiming his own men had done the deed) or otherwise.

    Point taken, Andrew, about DoaN (1994, not 1992 as I said above). I was a young thing then, and mightily impressed by it. I still am, and thank it for introducing me to the sheer creepiness of Alan Clark.

    I would say it was a shame that Pilger has become so unhinged by stuff like Kosova and Iraq that he’s swung against the UN mission to Timor-Leste if I didn’t know precisely why. I remember Philip Dodd, of all people, showing him up on Nightwaves.

    I like Philip Dodd.

    You as cheap as Raymond Mawby, Jim.

    ~alec

  23. Nick Vasey said,

    Alec,
    _________________________
    “Says who? Seriously, who? I mean, I think you’ve been watching too much of Lethal Weapon II if you think diplomats can participate in any and all flouting of domestic criminal law without A SINGLE NAFFING THING HAPPENING.
    diplomatic law (political asylum)
    Um, no. Those are two distinct and separable concepts.
    __________________________

    You really aren’t so clever Alec are you?
    Look at your disjointed and illogical little rant!
    It doesn’t even make sense.
    But – once again – I will run through it for you.
    Political Asylum is an aspect of diplomatic law – which was the point I made.
    I never said anything about “diplomatic immunity equalling political asylum” – that was your fucked up brain-melt of a creation and nothing more.
    So, pay attention this time.
    If diplomatic law (as it pertains to political asylum in this case) DIDN’T trump domestic law, I’m sure you’ll be able to explain to me why it is that Julian Assange is in Ecuadorian, rather than British hands.
    It’s really that simple. QED and Checkmate.
    Perhaps YOU should pay a little more attention to what is ACTUALLY written – focus on that – and try to resist the lure of those angry and irrelevant tangents which apparently tempt you so.
    And for the record, get your own facts straight – especially before you attempt to take someone like me to task – as you last effort was frankly embarrassing!
    Better luck next time pal.

  24. Jim Denham said,

    Nick V: calm down and try answering my point: ie that people like Galloway and Pilger have declared Assange innocent in advance of any hearing, and Galloway (at least: I suspect the others of the pro-Assange misogynist groupies agree) has said it doesn’t matter anyway. They are, by any standards, rape-apologists.

    To be frank, all your “points” about bourgeois legality /”diplomatic law” are of no consequence whatsover unless you can address my point about the misogyny of Assange’s supporters and his own refusal to face legitimately-brought charge(s) in a bourgeois-democratic state, not noted for its subservience to the US.

    As I stated earlier, “my friend”:

    “[S]ince when did persons accused of serious offenses have the right to dictate when, where, by whom and under what circumstances they are charged?”

    • Alec said,

      Jim, surely anyone who holds the status of “diplomatic law” – as determined by the wielders of State power – above all other codes (including the intrusion into private lives which prohibits the right of the randy man to have sex with whomsoever he pleases) is advocating a “bourgeois legality”.

      ~alec

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      “in a bourgeois-democratic state, not noted for its subservience to the US.”

      Not quite true. Swedish neutrality is somewhat of a myth. It tends to (and it’s not exactly alone in this respect), align itself to the powerful states. During WW2 it was receptive to German interests and during the Cold War, it secretly allied itself to the US. Post Cold War it pretty much dropped it’s neutral stance and got involved with NATO in some conflicts such as with ISAF in Afghanistan and the recent Libyan war.

  25. Alec said,

    Look at your disjointed and illogical little rant!
    It doesn’t even make sense.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you are, but what am I?

    <blockquotePolitical Asylum is an aspect of diplomatic law – which was the point I made. I never said anything about “diplomatic immunity equalling political asylum” – that was your fucked up brain-melt of a creation and nothing more.

    Indeed you did. You said exactly that.

    If diplomatic law (as it pertains to political asylum in this case) DIDN’T trump domestic law, I’m sure you’ll be able to explain to me why it is that Julian Assange is in Ecuadorian, rather than British hands.
    It’s really that simple. QED and Checkmate.

    Boring! Once again, this has utterly nothing to do with the host country’s being required to allow free passage to a third party which a diplomatic mission has decided to grant political asylum: to paraphrase Phil Howe, absolutely diddily squat to do with diplomatic convention just as the lippy 12 year old who’s announced her intention to stay in her room until daddy buys her a pony has to do with expectations of parental care.

    You think the UK is obligated to respect Raffael “presume unended rights to sexual congress based on a one-nighter you-know like you in Britain freely allow marital rape oh, sorry, she doesn’t. Wait, I just have made a fool of myself on account of my being a misogynistic pig” Correa in granting asylum to Assange? Very well, why not ‘splain why Jozsef Mindszenty or Viktor de la Torre or the thousands of East Germans who took sanctuary in the West German Embassy in Prague during 1989 were not allowed free passage across the host countries.

    The answer is, they weren’t. And they were not fleeing the mundane laws – such as those who prohibit the presumption that men can stick their willies into whomsoever they please – unlike Assange.

    Sorry, where were we? Yes. The idea that someone should be exempt from sexual offences legislation in an advanced liberal democracy such as Sweden ‘cos of something Karl Rove did.

    ~aled

    • Nick Vasey said,

      Sorry Alec, I gave you a second chance, but you have now comprehensively failed. You need a baseline IQ to have this conversation and despite a warning, you have again failed to persuade me you satisfy that condition. Your (once again!) tangential and spurious rant makes no sense – and is so full of holes and fallacies, it borders on the ludicrous. FAIL – not worth my time.

      • Alec said,

        Nick, where is diplomatic convention is a host country required to accept the peccadilloes of the guest country in offering asylum to any named third party individual?

        Why does Karl Rove have to do with rapes in Sweden?

        ~alec

        PS “A warning”? Who died and put you in charge of civilization? Why are you sounding more and more like John PIlger bottling out of the talk at Kingston University in 2007 with MAH and forensic experts on FYR?

  26. Jim Denham said,

    Nick: I await your reply to my points (#25, above). Unless you’re about to admit just how wrong you are?

    Or you simply cannot answer…due to inadequate “IQ”, perhaps?

    But you wouldn’t want to be lining up with the rape-deniers, now would you, Nick?

    You need to think through your arguments before you take on someone like me, “pal”/”my friend”…

    • Nick Vasey said,

      @Jim –

      Jim really, you do make me laugh.

      Did you even properly read my main piece at 13 above? If you did, you wouldn’t be re-hashing old ground which I’ve already covered.
      The fact is that even to get into the subject of rape or sexual misconduct or sexual impropriety or whatever the hell it turns out to be – is stupid and pointless. At this point it is effectively irrelevant.

      Why? None of us have all the evidence. None of us are going to be the Swedish judge (or jury) that might eventually decide whose “story” has more merit.

      In the meantime, ALL talk on the matter is supposition, heresay, and speculation. And therefore, pointless.

      That is why I am surprised you (and anyone else) who professes to be looking for truth, are even bothering to go down that road. It is fruitless and a waste of writing and thinking time. Only those who are NOT interested in truth, and are instead only interested in ad-hominem attacks, misdirection and smear would complicitly allow themselves to follow that path.

      Let’s review some facts shall we?

      Fact 1. Assange had a fundamental human right to ask for political asylum.
      Fact 2. He exercised it.
      Fact 3. Ecuador accepted it, and outlined a comprehensive and compelling case as to WHY it had accepted it.
      Fact 4. The UK is impeding Ecuador’s sovereign protection and intent, by blocking his safe passage to Ecuador.
      Fact 5. Until the diplomatic stand-off is resolved, it is fairly obvious the sexual allegations have to take a back seat.

      How difficult is this to understand? These are facts. Accept them. If there is anything good about the situation, it is that this hiatus gives any right-minded person an opportunity to look at the big picture, and try to discover how and why we reached this point, and have a think about how it is currently being represented by government, media and the like.

      You and many others are effectively allowing yourself to fall for a massive and unrelenting smear campaign of MISDIRECTION, which is diverting the topic (very successfully I might add) from the real story – Wikileaks and the profoundly important work it has done – to Julian Assange instead, and some (in my opinion – dubious at best) allegations of sexual misconduct. This is the oldest of techniques – when you don’t like the message – attack the messenger. That so many people still happily fall for it, is something I find startling and depressing.

      That is my opinion based on the evidence I have reviewed so far. Does it make me a rape apologist? Absolutely not. But, according to some of the zombie media outlets who (because it suits their current smear interest) have recently discovered a newfound enthusiasm for women’s rights, apparently it does. I call bullshit. As does the venerable institution, Women Against Rape. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/women-against-rape-julian-assange?cat=commentisfree&type=article

      Given the hysteria that is being (deliberately) whipped up, it may not be wise to … but the idea one can’t express an opinion, based on the evidence to date, without having that opinion twisted into something altogether different and then have the resulting (rape apologist!) accusations divert attention completely from hard criminal facts, to spurious as-hominem attacks – is utterly ludicrous, not to mention appalling.

      How is it possible that the war (and other) criminals who have been exposed by Wikileaks are not the main story at the moment? How is it these people and institutions are going unchallenged, unprosecuted, unpunished? Do you ever ask yourself these questions?

      The smear and spin masters of the US-led Assange/Wikileaks damage control unit must simply be revelling in their success! As are their complicit media-whores. It is an unspeakable and shameful result that the man, Julian Assange, rather than their (immensely more serious and far-reaching) crimes, is the Page One issue at the moment. How is it possible that some (in the grand scheme of things) minor allegations of sexual “transgressions” can be headlining mainstream media day after day … instead of the categorical and indisputable evidence of murder, obfuscation of evidence, misdirection, conspiracy, and flat-out lying by corporations and governments, (most notably by the US)?

      How is it possible – in an era of supposedly free press – that none of those press are asking these questions – let alone challenging the hypocrisy, vindictiveness and complicit-ness of their press brethren in furthering the US-led agenda here? Well, there has been the occasional opinion piece – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/22/julian-assange-media-contempt – but it is not enough! Not by a long shot.

      People are led by what they see in the media. And the media’s coverage of the REAL ISSUES at stake here, has been laughable at best and shameful at worst. To hijack the public dialogue into a (jump-the-gun) discussion of rape and rape-apology is the most heinous form of misdirection.

      In closing – your inane comment “you wouldn’t want to be lining up with the rape deniers” – yet again displays how completely you have happily gone along with this “debate-hijacking.” Notwithstanding ill-advised rape-related comments by some high-profile people which DO amount to rape apology, how, while the presumption of innocence stands, can anyone be termed a “rape-apologist” on behalf of Assange, when at this point he must still be considered innocent?

      Jim, frankly, given the level of reasoning in your (vague) “accusation/s” (and keeping in mind the points which covered off on these matters in my previous comment at 13) I have to say you are currently as disappointing as Alec in your grasp of these matters (especially in terms of the big picture), of what is REALLY going on here.

      For the benefit of the readers here, I really hope you put more effort and intelligence into your next post. Currently, and sadly, it seems I am almost alone in making such an effort.

  27. Alec said,

    Fact 1. Assange had a fundamental human right to ask for political asylum.
    Fact 2. He exercised it.
    Fact 3. Ecuador accepted it, and outlined a comprehensive and compelling case as to WHY it had accepted it.
    Fact 4. The UK is impeding Ecuador’s sovereign protection and intent, by blocking his safe passage to Ecuador.
    Fact 5. Until the diplomatic stand-off is resolved, it is fairly obvious the sexual allegations have to take a back seat.

    Nope. Try again. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

    I’ll give you Facts 1 and 2. The other three are immediately refutable.

    ‘Fact’ 3… political asylum never was intended to allow claimants escape the mundane laws of their host countries. The only reasonable fear Assange has is of being arrested and tried for sexual offences.

    ‘Fact’ 4… host countries are under no obligation whatsoever to allow those granted asylum status unmolested passage through their territory. The only way that would happen is if the asylum status were the same as diplomatic immunity, as you said above no matter how much you’ve tried to shift the goalposts.

    ‘Fact’ 5… that aint a fact. It’s your opinion. And a disgusting one at that. Namely, that Assange should be allowed unmolested passage to Ecuador after which we’re expected to believe he’ll offer himself to the Swedish authorities he’s spent the past two years evading.

    Who – other than those of us who knew of the anti-democratric, anti-modern and unprincipled inhumanity at the core of the anti-imperialist left – would have thought that, in 2012, we’d get a clear admission that rape comes a distant second fiddle to your personal feelings towards a powerful and supposedly admirable middle-class man.

    The sound you just have heard is a million anti-fascists turning in their graves.

    ~alec

    • sackcloth and ashes said,

      Nick also can’t explain why Ecuador – which is supposedly offering Assange asylum because his life and liberty are endangered – is prepared to extradite the Belarussian dissident Alexander Barankov back to his own country.

      But then that might be because – for all his bluster – he’s as much of a two-faced, hypocritical wanker as his hero Pilger.

  28. Nick Vasey said,

    Alec,

    You have already twice proved yourself incapable of reasoned and rational debate. Now you outdo yourself by making yourself look even more stupid – (which I hadn’t actually thought possible) – by denying hard facts.

    If you look at my post,you will note it is addressed to Jim. The reason for that is because I have already dismissed you (fairly unambiguously) from the dialogue. Your latest idiocy only confirms the wisdome of that decision.

    Only an utter cretin could write what you’ve written and have the faintest inkling they might be taken seriously by any reasonably-minded person.

    Standing by for your response Jim.

    • Alec said,

      If you look at my post,you will note it is addressed to Jim.

      So what? This is an open blog. If you wish to engage in a uninterrupted discussion with any one individual, take it to private e-mail. No-one is forcing you to comment here.

      This effort to run your opponent into the ground whilst trying to retain an air of intellectual aloofness is so old it has a book in the Bible named after it.

      ~alec

  29. Nick Vasey said,

    *wisdom*

    • Alec said,

      As if any serious observer cares about minor spelling/grammar/syntax mistakes on quick-moving commentary which is BTL blogs.

      My guess is that you judge others by your own standards, and expect them to be as preoccupied with running you into the ground for piddling errors. Not all of us are passive aggressive narcissists, you know.

      ~alec

  30. Alec said,

    You have already twice proved yourself incapable of reasoned and rational debate.

    For someone with such a highly developed sense of his intellectual superiority, you are piss-poor at answering direct questions. Then again, the two probably are related.

    Stuff about Karl Rove or unfiled US extradition requests have sweet Felicity Arkwright to do with rape charges, in an advanced liberal democracy such as Sweden or otherwise.

    Efforts to muddy the waters with them no longer will be indulged.

    And, yes, yes you did say that opposing [the expectation of sex by to powerful men who supposedly are noble in other aspects] is negotiable. It’s there in easily retrievable ASCII format, and you aint even adding a weasily caveat like “if he did do what he’s accused of, he should be investigated” or “he’ll be willing to go to Sweden if assurances were made”. As insufficient they may be, at least they’d indicate an awareness like this bloke trapped behind a glass screen of the morally putrid swamp you’ve waded into.

    You’re saying what you think outright. Rolling about in the cesspit, and proudly wafting the stink which you call perfume.

    This is an attitude which no-one claiming to be a democrat in any shape or form should hold. The reason this diplomatic stramash has developed is ‘cos Ecuador has subverted the Vienna Convention by conferring political refugee status on a sought-after rapist based on a speculative, unverifiable counter-factual, and then demanded acquiescence beyond even their disingenuous reading of the Vienna Convention.

    And your response is that we should indulge them, rather than the preferred response of the non-reactionary admirers of powerful men over-and-above allegations of rape: contempt. Utter, unalloyed contempt.

    You, Nick Vasey had better hope that no female relative of yours is subjected to a sexual assault, ‘cos the climate you are endorsing and perpetuating has set back the prosecution of such offences DECADES.

    Of course, I wouldn’t want any blameless third party to suffer misfortune to show you the true disgrace of your attitude. Richard Beck’s experiences strike as far more karmicly appropriate.

    ~alec

  31. Brian Barder said,

    Are these ghastly exchanges typical of this blog?

    • Alec said,

      Brian, given the content of Pilger’s execrable piece as discussed ATL, I’d say the BTL content has been fair game.

      ~alec

    • Nick Vasey said,

      I’m starting to agree. You can lead a wo/man to knowledge, but you can’t make him think! Pretty much “over” the moron quotient here.

      • Alec said,

        You have a brass neck accusing other of ad hominem when each and every of your comments here have been riddled with dismissive references to your opponents’ intelligence and presumed state of mental handicap (based on their disagreeing with you).

        ~alec

  32. Jimmy Glesga said,

    I thought the general idea of an embassy was diplomacy, trade and avoiding conflict. Letting an alleged rapist make statements from a balcony to the world to have a go at the USA is hardly diplomacy especially when it is the embassy of a criminal regime. If the British are legally entitled to close the embassy then they should and send Assange for trial in Sweden.

    • Nick Vasey said,

      Jimmy,
      What planet do you come from?
      I am an Aussie/Brit who moved to Ecuador by choice over 4 years ago.
      I live here in Ecuador.
      If you want to talk about criminal regimes, and if the USA is a 10, then Ecuador would be a 1 on the same scale.
      Your post defies belief (not to mention ALL the evidence).
      Even the mainstream media (let alone Wikileaks!) exposes criminal actions of the USA daily (indiscriminate drone mass-murders by remote-controlled robots in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, etc), but NO … you’re telling us that it’s ECUADOR that’s the criminal regime.
      You are a JOKE.
      Clearly, you need to get out more, travel a bit, and broaden your international perspective somewhat.
      I’m really looking forward to your explanation of how a twice-elected in free and fair elections President, running on a social-justice platform, is the administrator of a “criminal regime.”
      And remember, I live here, so do your research, choose your words carefully, and try to back up your outlandish falsehood as best you can.
      Waiting, with considerable amusement.

      • sackcloth and ashes said,

        Yeah, Correa’s regime are such a bunch of good guys, aren’t they? That’s why it censors the regime, and is planning to send a dissident back to a country where he is likely to be tortured and executed.

        Wanker.

  33. Nick Vasey said,

    For anyone who’s interested, here’s another voice of sanity in amongst the fevered and hysterical shitstorm of misinformation and misdirection which is still ongoing re Julian Assange. Shameful, just shameful. And the sheeple just lap it up! Baaaa!

    http://www.vancourier.com/Assange+smear+campaign+drowns+secrecy+story/7163914/story.html

    • sackcloth and ashes said,

      As a general observation, anyone who uses the word ‘sheeple’ without irony tends to be a twat.

      Just like you.

  34. Jim Denham said,

    Nick Vasey has not only exposed himself as a misogynistic rape-apologist but also as a rather thick (if self-important) individual not worth engaging with.

    Some people one disgarees with are at least worth having a discussion with. Not the seriously creepy Mr Vasey.

    I don’t think we want to hear from him again

    • Nick Vasey said,

      Hahahahahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
      THAT’S your comeback, Jim? Seriously?
      Then you have been skewered, hung out to dry and exposed for the pissweak little pseudo-intellectual you are.
      You are gutless (and lazy to boot). And if you’re apparently one of the stalwarts of this blog, then it’s no wonder the overall quality of the contibutions are as poor as they are. You feel right at home here don’t you … “in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king” or some such thing.
      The truly funny (and tragic) thing is that you halfwits don’t even realise Assange is fighting YOUR FIGHT for you.
      Why don’t you try turning things around with a series of very public apologies, and then just start saying THANK-YOU – to him and to Wikileaks?
      That would be about the only path to redemption for you sheeple.
      Ciao.

  35. Jimmy Glesga said,

    Vasey. ‘Chose my words carefully’. That sounds like a threat! I think the Aussie part of you has emerged. You should take out Ecuadorian citizenship and stay there permanently.

    • Nick Vasey said,

      @Jimmy. I hadn’t thought I’d live to see the day when I would look upon my Ecuadorian ID with far more pride than either my Aussie or British passports, but that day came when Ecuador bravely and sensibly granted Assange asylum.

      The conduct of the governments of Sweden, Australia, the UK and their bitch-master the US, has been beyond shameful and scary. And the complicit-ness of their corporate media propaganda-whores has been equally demented and awful. Keep drinking the Korporate-Kool-Aid Jimmy – it’s good for you – your government says so!

      I can see there was no point in advising you to choose your words carefully, as clearly you have none to contribute. Where’s your evidence for Ecuador being a criminal regime? As I suspected, there’s nothing substantial behind your misinformed bluster. But I guess that’s hardly a surprise.

      You are surely in good company on this blog of mindlessly spiteful Assange haters.

  36. Nick Vasey said,

    Ahhh – so now the censorship emerges! My last two comments just “disappeared” along with the =intellignece of most contributors here and any credibility this blog may previously have had. So funny to see you showing your true colours here (in line with how the MSM treats Assange, for example). As Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men” put it – “You can’t handle the truth!”

    Jim Denham obviously has some pull with whoever runs this sad show.

    Anyway, for those still interested in valid and insightful commentary, here is another great article telling it like it is: http://www.thenation.com/article/169632/julian-assange-justice-foreclosed#

    I think this will be my last post then – as anything I write will clearly just be “disappeared.” I’ll leave you sad folks to stew in your own vile juices. BTW, it was such fun kicking your asses! :)

  37. Rosie said,

    Vasey – I’ve just returned from hols so and have now released your comments from moderation. My ass feels totally unkicked. There are a some terms which mark out a commenter as a self-satisfied idiot and “sheeple” is one. You haven’t got the muscle to kick the skin off macaroni cheese.

    As for being an “Assange hater” – well you do have to admire his chutzpah, claiming political asylum so he won’t have to face criminal charges – and how many of the “anti-imperialist” herd have swallowed this. Actually my big beef against him is not so much his weaselling on this as his crappy (and creepy) politics, flirting with some dodgy stuff – as we’re in the links providing business, here’s one:-

    http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/julian-assange-and-israel-shamir-anti-semite/

    .

  38. Faster Pussycat Miaow! Miaow! Miaow! said,

    As far as I understand it, one is innocent until proven guilty, not innocent until *apprehended*.

    ‘sheeple’ – that’s pure Coulter that is. ‘MSM’ – citizen journalists in their PJs, yadda yadda yadda. ‘Bitch-master’, quotations from the award winning documentary ‘A Few Good Men’. It all has the whiff of rightwing conspiracy theorising scumbaggery about it, and kerchinggggg! Vasey’s twitter feed, website and so on reveal this to be right on the mark.

    People who are worried about government surveillance shouldn’t live their lives on the internet.

  39. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Vasey has very successfully kicked one ass: his own.
    If ever someone was condemned out of their own foul, sexist, paranoid, drooling mouth…

    • Alec said,

      Yep, Jim. Someone in dire need of the Richard Beck treatment.

      ~alec

  40. Faster Pussycat Miaow! Miaow! Miaow! said,

    Damn, forgot ‘Korporate Kool-Aid’ – which unfortunately misses out on a triple K score in conspiracy theory scrabble.

    ‘Assange is fighting YOUR FIGHT for you’. Well 90% of Wikileaks material was rather low-grade stuff that we knew already or was obvious to anyone with even half a brain. The US ambassador thinks the French Foreign minister is a bit of a dick … and? The other thing is that Wikileaks is *not* Assange, something which the great-man-of-history fan boys don’t grok. If anyone is fighting a fight (or dumping raw data or whatever) is Wikileaks and not one individual. And if it hadn’t been Wikileaks it would have been some other group. White boys and slightly above average technical ability is a recipe for narcissism, the sort of thing you get when your thinking is based on an idealist, sub-Nietzschean world view.

    • Alec said,

      The other thing is that Wikileaks is *not* Assange,

      On this, I disagree. Or, at least, the parts of Wikileaks which aint Assange are only marginally less repellent.

      Two words… Dutroux transcripts.

      Cockweasels.

      ~alec

      • Faster Pussycat Miaow! Miaow! Miaow! said,

        Nothing to do in Wick eh? Push off back to HP Saas, there’s a good lad.

      • Alec said,

        Your attempts to pinpoint me geographically are as amusingly wrong as always, Hak.

        ~alec

  41. Rosie said,

    Faster P’s summing up of Vasey’s comments is spot-on.

    When it comes to “Alec” she doesn’t know her Wick from her Thurso.

    • Alec said,

      Apart from the seeming reflexive need to add a caveat “yes, Assange has behaved disgracefully, but we need to look at the bigger picture”, I agree. (And, she was half way there when she said ridiculed the overall worth of the data-dump and that Manning would have found another conduit for his act of rank insubordination and spiteful revenge against people who’d dissed him.)

      ~alec

    • Faster Pussycat Miaow! Miaow! Miaow! said,

      I know Thurso quite well thank you (never been to Wick).

      • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable and Olympian In Almost Supreme Wiggins Stylee said,

        he is likely a Morningside Matron type. Aaall fur coat and nee knickers.

  42. Rosie said,

    As to “Wikileaks, c’est Assange”, I think this is interesting:-

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/2012/08/24/why-doesnt-julian-assange-leave-wikileaks/

    “If the Swedish legal pursuit of Julian Assange is, as he seems to suggest, part of an assault on WikiLeaks, why doesn’t he simply separate himself from the organisation for a while?

    WikiLeaks has millions of supporters around the world, a team of journalists/technicians, and collaborators in both global mainstream media and in alternative networks such as Anonymous. Surely they can keep up the good work while Assange deals with his personal legal difficulties?

    That way it can get back to revealing secrets instead of demanding that international legal systems be changed to suit one individual making speeches from the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy.

    It’s a stupid question of course. But the answers to it tell us a lot about the current Problem With WikiLeaks.”

    • Alec said,

      Yes, Rosie, heaven forfend that they may be a bunch of petit bourgeois, quasi-fascist Anglos who’ve appointed themselves as arbiters and gatekeepers of what information the public receives (not, for instance, their bank account details or Police records of any child they’re related to and who has been held in a Belgian rape pit) and will not open themselves to scrutiny.

      As I said, cockweasels.

      ~alec

  43. Alec said,

    Nick, in K Crosby’s words, who are you working for? Is it someone in the same country your website is based?

    ~alec

  44. Rennard shows it is never inconvenient to dismiss women | cromulentjosh said,

    […] Misogyny is not limited to the mainstream centre-left, but is pervasive throughout the whole left. Rape apologism has joined antisemitism as the ‘socialism of fools’ in the case of Julian Assange. The endemic misogyny of Russell Brand was (and still is) ignored at […]

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