Defend Assange and WikiLeaks on Human Rights Day in Melbourne

…and elsewhere.

Defend Assange and WikiLeaks on Human Rights Day in Melbourne
WHEN : 4:30pm, Friday, December 10
WHERE: State Library Lawns

Julian Assange has been arrested in London. Join the protest to defend Assange and WikiLeaks on Human Rights Day in Melbourne, this Friday, December 10 @ 4.30pm @ the State Library.

Spread the word…

The demonstration will go till about 6 or so – so people should come after work.

For more information call Vashti: 0423 407 910.

BONUS REVENGE!

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2014 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in !nataS, Anarchism, Media, State / Politics, That's Capitalism!, War on Terror and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Defend Assange and WikiLeaks on Human Rights Day in Melbourne

  1. Andrew says:

    Check out this analysis of the rape charges on Assange. Pretty spot on for my liking.

    http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/sandracuffe/5363

  2. Sophia says:

    Funnily enough, I came here to post the exact link above by Andrew. It is pretty much the only balanced article on the entire affair I’ve seen so far.

  3. @ndy says:

    It makes various points: some obvious, some less so. If there’s anything in particular you agree with, feel free to elaborate.

    Leaving aside Sandra’s response to Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett’s article on Counterpunch (the second half of her article):

    …the subject of this rant is the discussion surrounding the sexual assault charges. In August 2010, an investigation was opened in Sweden regarding allegations that Assange had raped one wom[a]n and sexually harassed another woman that same month while in Sweden. The investigation went full steam ahead and charges were filed by a Swedish prosecutor for rape, sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion, according to press reports, although translations of legal charges do not always do the original charges justice. In November, after a Stockholm court approved a detention request to question Assange, an Interpol red notice and a European Arrest Warrant were both issued.

    Somewhat confusingly, a few days ago on ABC radio (‘John Pilger on Wikileaks’, Late Night Live, December 6, 2010), John Pilger claimed that, on the basis of his conversations with Assange’s defence lawyers, both women “deny, in effect, that they’ve been raped in terms as it’s known in the law in Australia and Britain and most countries”(?); further, that the laying of charges was overturned by the senior prosecutor (in Stockholm?) following a junior prosecutor’s initial decision to charge him. Then a second prosecutor in another city, Gothenburg, under the apparent influence of a right-wing politician, “went full steam ahead”. In other words, the account given by Cuffe seems possibly incomplete; and in summary, Pilger is of the opinion that “there isn’t a case to answer here, that’s the truth of it, and it will be thrown out of any court, if it ever got to a court, that practiced the law in a just manner, there’s no question about that”.

    Assuming this to be the case–and it may not be, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore the issue further at this stage–it seems one good reason why so many have seemingly reacted with such little regard for Assange’s alleged victims.

  4. @ndy says:

    Also this:

    Some thoughts on “sex by surprise”
    Jill
    Feministe
    December 6, 2010

  5. @ndy says:

    via Feministe:

    WikiLeaks’ [A]ssange refused bail
    UKPA

    …Gemma Lindfield, for the Swedish authorities, told the court Assange was wanted in connection with four allegations. She said the first complainant, Miss A, said she was victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of August 14 in Stockholm.

    The court heard Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

    The second charge alleged Assange “sexually molested” Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her “express wish” one should be used.

    The third charge claimed Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on August 18 “in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity”. The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on August 17 without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

    Also:

    The rush to smear Assange’s rape accuser
    Kate Harding
    Salon.com
    December 7, 2010

    Interestingly, Harding makes ref to something Pilger said in his interview w Phillip Adams: “And one woman who claims he assaulted her has serious credibility issues anyway. She threw a party in his honor after the fact and tried to pull down the incriminating tweets. Isn’t that proof enough?”

    Yadda yadda yadda. Obviously, there’s massive torrents of disco on the issue; keeping up with it is absolutely impossible. But feel free to add moar.

  6. Andrew says:

    I quite like the conclusion to the Harding article you posted Andy.

    ‘I’m not particularly interested in debating What Assange Did or Whether Assange Is A Rapist, and I’d appreciate it if we could steer clear of that in the comments section. Rather, I’m interested in pushing back on the primary media narrative about this case, which is that women lie and exaggerate about rape, and will call even the littlest thing — a broken condom! — rape if they’re permitted to under a too-liberal feminist legal system. In fact, there are lots of good reasons to support consent-based sexual assault laws, and to recognize that consent goes far beyond “yes you can put that in here now.” It’s a shame that the shoddy, sensationalist reporting on this case have muddied those waters.’

    I think this is the crux of the (rape) issue that isn’t being debated by many, especially in the dreaded MSM, and by the Marxist left (counterpunch and Pilger). Pilger is especially bad in my opinion of highlighting the grey in some situations and can be particularly, annoyingly (because he can be often very good) Manichean.

    Obviously Assange’s work on Wikileaks is very admirable, and worthy of full support. But the dominant discourse about the sexual assault/rape/women is not.

  7. @ndy says:

    Assange wanted by US for ‘espionage offences’
    Asher Moses
    The Age
    December 8, 2010

    Assange could face espionage trial in US
    Kim Sengupta
    The Independent
    December 8, 2010

    Informal discussions have already taken place between US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources.

    STD fears sparked case against WikiLeaks boss
    The Age (Reuters)
    December 8, 2010

    The two Swedish women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual misconduct were at first not seeking to bring charges against him. They just wanted to track him down and persuade him to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, according to several people in contact with his entourage at the time.

    Inside the legal case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
    The Age (The New York Times)
    December 8, 2010

  8. @ndy says:

    @Andrew:

    It seems to me that commentators such as (Sandra) Cuffe and (Kate) Harding are largely concerned with combating a certain bias in much commentary (and some reporting) on the charges against Assange and, moreover, an unjustified dismissal of the possibility that he is, in fact, guilty as charged (w/o at the same time suggesting that he is/not). At which point, two things. The first is the rather murky nature of the affair, and the fact that it’s a live issue, the status of which changes every hour, and about which it’s difficult to keep up-to-date. The interview with Greenwald on Democracy Now!, for example, regarding the process by which Assange was eventually detained by British authorities is interesting; so too, the apparent laying of four formal charges against him (as opposed to Swedish authorities merely seeking to ask him some questions as in earlier/other accounts). The other matter is I think of a more general nature and concerns the reception of such charges by the media, general public and–as you state–the “Marxist left”. Which I’ve not really had an opportunity to canvass, but which in turn raises other questions regarding law (Australian, British, Swedish, US) but also culture: the nature of consent, and feminist critiques of same.

    “Obviously Assange’s work on Wikileaks is very admirable, and worthy of full support. But the dominant discourse about the sexual assault/rape/women is not.”

    I guess not, but the problem lies in disentangling the issues in a context in which there is a concerted effort to have them remain mixed together. Conceptually, of course, these are distinct: the truth or otherwise of the charges against Assange may be established independently of his other actions, attributes, political significance, and so on. By the same token, if the dominant discourse is faulty, it’s not Assange’s fault (or no more so than any other participant’s–arguably, anyway, and leaving aside a range of other questions regarding gender and political responsibility). At the same time, establishing the veracity of the account which surrounds the charges is very much a public affair, and amounts in some sense to a trial by media (or public opinion). In which case, it also has a strongly political dimension.

    Moar laters.

  9. Andrew says:

    Some better MSM media reporting there. But we are looking at a multitude of issues here, all of which focus on the same man, but are different. But unfortunately they are so intertwined it is difficult to make judgement calls on all of them. They being, Wikileaks itself, the Swedish charges and the US espionage charges.

    We can call bullshit on the US espionage charges quite easily and rationally. One can throw all support behind Wikileaks as an organisation, but I still think the Swedish charges are all too murky. Whether that be because someone is muddying the waters or not, we must be careful not to make too many judgments of the women, nor of Assange without knowing what has happened. Which to be honest is pretty difficult to see.

    I/we just want to get away from the ol’ patriarchal discourses and actions which by all appearances the Swedish sexual assault laws are also trying to rid their country of.

    PS. Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy it.

  10. Andrew says:

    I just read your most recent post after posting my previous. And yes, I agree. The general murkiness, extremely public nature, political nature etc. of the events are what makes the whole thing very difficult.

    Either way Guy Rundle tends to think that Wikileaks has shifted the world a little, and I tend to agree with him on that.

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  12. anonymous says:

    How is anyone going to prove or disprove whether a condom broke and he kept going?

  13. Andrew says:

    At risk of flogging a dead horse, here is another one which basically says the same as what we both have been saying.

    http://truth-reason-liberty.blogspot.com/2010/12/assange-case-is-not-black-and-white.html

    Cheers Andy.

  14. anonymous says:

    The Swedish charges aren’t “murky”. They’re bollocks.

    If people are having sex, a condom breaks, the woman wants to stop and the man refuses then yes that’s rape. But in this case how is it going to be proven? There are no medical or physical evidence, no injuries, no witnesses.

    And the accusers themselves *are* dodgy. Anna Ardin has a history of making false accusations of sexual harassment. Once in an embassy where she worked in Latin America against someone who flirted with her and once against a student because they were looking at notes rather than listening to her lecture at uni (because he was using his male power to make her feel invisible), she then reported the student again because he rang her up to apologise. Her blog article “7 steps to legal revenge” also shows her attitudes.

    There is no direct evidence, but there are a lot of ties that link Anna Ardin to the CIA. She’s worked for Swedish embassies in Latin America and Washington which does give her plenty of opportunity.

    She did her PHD on the question of whether the Cuban dissident groups would make a democratic alternative once the current regime is gone (which I find a really bizarre topic for supposed Lefty, not because it’s anti-Cuban, but because it’s so tailored to what the US would like to know about Cuba). She obviously has ties with a number of these groups such as Ladies in White and they do have CIA ties. She was expelled from Cuba because the Cubans believed her to be working for US intelligence.

    After leaving Cuba she worked for USAID which is allegedly run by the CIA. She also worked for Miscelanea de Cuba which is owned by Cuban dissident Alexis Gainza who apparently acted as her mentor and himself has ties to US intelligence.

    Sofia Wilen is a photographer who is the partner of a US designer. There is nothing that links her to any intelligence. What’s weird is just that she seems to have had no involvement in any activist stuff until ringing up to volunteer to help the Assange tour of Sweden. She then seems to have shown up and spent her whole time trying to seduce him.

    The behavior of the women after the supposed rape is also dodgy. Ardin tweeted about how she was with “the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!” the day after the alleged rape. She also threw Assange a party that day. Wilen also continued on friendly terms with Assange after her supposed rape and wanted to see him again. They only decided to press charges after talking to each other.

    People are all different and I understand that they will not react to being raped the same. But still, this behavior isn’t what I’d expect from someone who’s been assaulted. Let alone 2 people who’ve been assaulted. I’ve seen people after they have been sexually assaulted and they aren’t tweeting about how awesome their attacker is.

    Then there is the way the charges were handled. The charges were made then dropped a day later because a higher up prosecutor didn’t believe any crime had been committed. A few weeks later prosecutor Marianne Ny took up the charges on her own initiative. Between then and when Assange was given an extradition order the prosecutor did not question Assange (despite many offers from his lawyers to speak to them) nor were they given any information on what the charges were. Finally this extradition warrant was made and Interpol intervened just as the whole Cablegate thing happened (pretty suspicious timing).

    Also the charges could only be brought in Sweden. One is for “molestation” which is a much broader law than sexual harassment – it can cover almost anything including simply insulting a woman. Rape in Sweden has also been broadened to include acts that would not be considered rape anywhere else. Ny in particular is known for pushing for the definition of rape to be extended.

  15. nadine says:

    “always on the run” with entourage?!
    anonymous it sounds more like a couple of swedish women want to say “thanks for the warts” face to face. (possibly without entourage)
    Wikileaks please just release everything whistleblowers have entrusted to you whether Julian ‘Lightning Rod’ Assange is free or not.

  16. anonymous says:

    Also what is with referring to Pilger and Counterpunch as “the Marxist media”?

  17. @ndy says:

    Marxist left. Dunno: that’s Andrew’s bag. I think Pilger may once have described himself as a Marxist(? he has called himself an ‘anarchist’ at least once), while I think Counterpunch editor Alexander Cockburn is guilty of same (his old man was a Stalinist, but that’s another story).

    Maybe.

    Or maybe ‘Marxist’ is just a synonym for ‘leftist’. Beyond that… I guess maybe it’s a general criticism of left/liberal opinion, generally dismissive of the accusations of sexual assault v Assange.

  18. @ndy says:

    @anonymous:

    You cover a lotta territory. A few initial thoughts:

    As I understand it, proving sexual assault in the absence of (independent) witnesses, injury or other physical evidence is difficult in any case; I’ve no idea how Swedish law/custom deals with these matters.

    On Ardin: is there a source or sources for this infos? I haven’t looked real hard, but skimmed over Counterpunch, and a piece today in the Miami Times Miami Herald. Further, even if all the allegations against her are true, it would not mean her accusations are false. I dunno how Swedish law works in this context, but I assume (and admit I could be completely wrong) credibility is an issue, and it’s at this point that things like character, history and motivation would come into play. In which case, this kinda stuff might be used to discredit her testimony (assuming a whole bunch of other stuff including a likely progression of the case and more besides).

    More laters. In the meantime…

    7 Steps to Legal Revenge by Anna Ardin, January 19, 2010: “Jag har funderat en del över hämnd de senaste dagarna och kom över en sida som fritt översatt består av denna sju punkters hämndinstruktion. / I’ve been thinking about some revenge over the last few days and came across a page which loosely translated is composed of the seven-point revenge instruction.”

    *shrugs*

    How the rape claims against Julian Assange sparked an information war
    Esther Addley
    guardian.co.uk
    December 7, 2010

    Conspiracies, slander and misogyny have become every bit as central to debate as principles of justice

  19. I do not know and did not study Swedish law, having been qualified in England and in the Caribbean, but let’s use reasonable sense:-
    The Swedish law reads: “He who lays hands on or by means of shooting from a firearm, throwing of stones, noise or in any other way harasses another person will be sentenced for harassment to fines or imprisonment for up to one year.”
    Q. Mr. Assange – you are accused of harassment – what do you have to say in response to the charge?
    A. I had no weapon and did not harass anyone.
    Q. I put it to you that you are being less than frank with this honourable court.
    A. I reject your suggestion Sir.
    Q. You did have a dangerous weapon in use at the material time Mr. Assange.
    A. No Sir!
    Q. But there is no dispute that you had sex with these two women – how could you in all honesty deny that there was an attack. Mr. Assange I urge you at this point to take responsibility for the misuse of your harassing rod – what do you say to that?
    A. It was not a harassing one Sir – it was very friendly and fully accommodated one by both ladies Sir – and that is the truth! Actually, by reference to the law – I laid a hand on it, they both did too – I worked them both over without any harassment – and all in all relative to the charge – I did shoot my “firearm” at the end in the most pleasurable way Sir. BUT, IN ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES – NOT GUILTY AS CHARGED!
    THE SYSTEM SHOULD BE TOLD TO GO FUCK ITSELF ON THIS ONE!
    CB http://www.globaljusticeonline.com
    P.S. Did the people elect the officials – or – are we all blindly subservient to them wot hold the power? You decide for yourself. You decide – many lie, steal trillions, fabricate reasons to start wars – and you think that the Wikileaks information is dangerous and that it is not your right to know? Consider yourself a freethinker? – maybe not.

  20. Andrew says:

    Just to clarify my comment on the Marxist left. Counterpunch (and I realise this doesn’t apply to all authors in the publication) is often home of ‘crude’ Marxists. Pilger himself also at time falls for crude Marxist analysis and has shown strong support for left wing governments with authoritarian tendencies, i.e. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. I use this term in contrast to a more anarchist perspective.

    One point that highlights this in the Counterpunch article is the emphasis of her being anti-Castro as a hugely negative point. One, that shouldn’t affect the bringing of charges in any way. Two, it shows some of the fetishism for Castro by the author. Castro obviously is another topic, however his Marxist-Leninist authoritarian streak is at best worrysome. As you well know not only has this been detrimental to the right, but libertarian left including anarchists. Anonymous you also make a strange comment on this one:

    She did her PHD on the question of whether the Cuban dissident groups would make a democratic alternative once the current regime is gone (which I find a really bizarre topic for supposed Lefty, not because it’s anti-Cuban, but because it’s so tailored to what the US would like to know about Cuba).

    I know plenty of Latin Americans and others, from anarchists to those with general concern, who would like to know this, and definitely not because it is tailored towards what the US would want, just because they would like to see more freedom in Cuba.

    So, I am not anti-Pilger, nor anti-Counterpunch but just wary of their opinions at times. Neither am I against Wikileaks, quite the opposite. Nor am I saying that the charges are under some murky and strange and coincidental situations. I am just against the automatic presumption of innocence of Assange (and yes there are some strange events, but we can’t know everything), and more importantly an implicit assumption of guilt on the women, which is a common rape/patriarchal discourse, from those who really should know better.

  21. Andrew says:

    Just want to add there is nothing inherently bad about what could be broadly called Marxist analysis. But just because they often make great insights and enlighten us, doesn’t mean they are a critique free zone. Same goes for Assange. If the ‘left’ is to make ground it needs to be, at times painfully, aware of its problems and be able to debate ideas openly. Some may call it infighting.

  22. Andrew says:

    And anonymous you state that

    The Swedish charges aren’t “murky”. They’re bollocks.

    If people are having sex, a condom breaks, the woman wants to stop and the man refuses then yes that’s rape. But in this case how is it going to be proven? There are no medical or physical evidence, no injuries, no witnesses.

    Is this if the tree falls in the woods with no one to hear there is no sound? Just because it is difficult, or as you say impossible to prove, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    And

    “Rape in Sweden has also been broadened to include acts that would not be considered rape anywhere else.”

    Yes, but why is this a negative thing?

    Assange is innocent until proven guilty, but the women involved are also. They should not be seen as guilty either.

  23. anonymous says:

    “As I understand it, proving sexual assault in the absence of (independent) witnesses, injury or other physical evidence is difficult in any case”

    But that’s the main point! Going to trial on any crime without any evidence what so ever is a miscarriage of justice. Yes it’s possible that he did it – but trials are supposed to be called on a basis of “probable cause” and guilt found “beyond reasonable doubt” – not because it’s “possible”.

    But that’s the beauty of a rape allegation. Even if it’s unprovable the shit will always stick. And it especially appeals to people (like lefties) who would naturally support Assange otherwise but are hyper-aware of gender issues and tend to support the underdog. Then if people actually look at the case and realize it hasn’t got legs, if they try to defend Assange they get accused of being misogynist and not aware of gender issues or whatever (even if they are female and a feminist).

    It’s not misogynist to expect people to have to be proven guilty. This whole case trivializes rape and makes feminism look vindictive and petty.

    The other stuff does not prove she wasn’t raped but given that the only “evidence” is their word (which they have collaborated on) against his then their characters and motivations are an issue.

    Anyway I’ll list a few sources below (there are actually a lot more out there but I can’t be fucked finding them all):

    Anna Ardin’s blog was the main one. Annoyingly I can’t find it now – maybe it’s been taken down. But her PHD is on their along with “quotes” section with references from many of her previous employers.

    http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=244986&Itemid=1

    http://20minutosamerica.com/noticias-/1225-alexis-gainza-desmiente-vinculos-con-la-cia-y-habla-sobre-su-relacion-con-anna-ardin

    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/12/07/julian-assange-in-the-honey-trap/

    http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2010/12/assange-in-the-entrails-of-empire/

  24. anonymous says:
      “Rape in Sweden has also been broadened to include acts that would not be considered rape anywhere else.”

      Yes, but why is this a negative thing?”

    Because it diminishes actual real rape. It also sends people who are not rapists to jail for rape.

    Is this if the tree falls in the woods with no one to hear there is no sound? Just because it is difficult, or as you say impossible to prove, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    Anything is possible. In fact I think you raped someone. And you know what? Just because there is no evidence doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Rapist.

  25. @ndy says:

    Anna Ardin’s blog.

    *The Intifada-Palestine article is a re-publication of the original on the Counterpunch site. (According to some accounts, Shamir–aka Jöran Jermas–has a v colorful history himself: see Manfred Ropschitz / Searchlight et al.)

  26. Andrew says:

    “it diminishes actual real rape”? Not sure what you mean by this. It looks like a pretty ridiculous statement to me. So assault is not assault because it diminishes real murder by the same token?

    But I suppose as a actual real rapist I have no say on this matter.

    I’ve flogged my dead horse, and I am done.

    Thanks for the forum for this discussion Andy.

  27. anonymous says:

    One point that highlights this in the Counterpunch article is the emphasis of her being anti-Castro as a hugely negative point. One, that shouldn’t affect the bringing of charges in any way. Two, it shows some of the fetishism for Castro by the author.

    Whether you like Castro or not the fact is that there are a lot of links between anti-Castro groups and the CIA and individuals in these groups have been involved in espionage against other countries in the past.

    Personally I don’t think whether or not she supports Cuba is the issue. I think Counterpunch over-emphasized that. I think it’s the whole picture that makes her sus. For example on her blog there is a “quote” talking about her doing a “fact-finding” mission for the embassy in another Latin American country. There were also rumors of her being close to the CIA when she worked in Washington.

  28. anonymous says:

    “So assault is not assault because it diminishes real murder by the same token?”

    It would diminish the charge of murder if you sent people to jail for “murder” when what they actually did was assault someone and nobody died.

  29. @ndy says:

    Thanks for the forum for this discussion Andy.

    Cheers.

    My blog is blocked by some filtering software, including WebSense, on the basis of its content:

    Militancy and Extremist – Sites that offer information about or promote or are sponsored by groups advocating antigovernment beliefs or action.

    Please feel free to contact WebSense to complain if you care:

    suggest@websense.com

    I wrote them but they never replied.

  30. Paul Justo says:

    So you’re banned in your own country but I have it on good authority that the slack bastard can be viewed in the stalinist tomb that is China.

    Strange that, aren’t we the ones who are free and the chicoms who are enslaved?

  31. @ndy says:

    It’s the magic of the marketplace and the wonderful world of work that is to blame. As for China, the few hundred visits I gots from there come via some other site. But yeah: access to Andrew Landeryou’s Slackbastard’s Blog of Freedom™ is indeed the early 21st century index for cultural, political and social liberty.

  32. @ndy says:

    Julian Assange’s problem for feminists
    Ruby Hamad
    Eureka Street
    December 9, 2010

    For feminists, the case of Julian Assange has produced a headache that threatens to create a permanent division…

    Lawyers demand protection for Assange
    Nick McKenzie and Paul Millar
    The Age
    December 10, 2010

    THE Australian lawyer for WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has written to Attorney-General Robert McClelland asking him to take formal action against prominent North American figures calling for Mr Assange to be harmed.

    Melbourne criminal lawyer Robert Stary has described as ”woefully inadequate” Mr McClelland’s efforts to protect Mr Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen.

    Mr Stary has requested the Attorney-General order the investigation of those who may have broken a law that prohibits a person, here or overseas, to deliberately or recklessly cause physical or mental harm…

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  34. Piltdown says:

    Today’s letter is C for Franga.

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