George Galloway

Hammers, Murder In Woolwich And The Usual Suspects

When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, or so the adage goes.
nails1

One thing was obvious after the terrible murder in Woolwich, how it would bring out the usual suspects and their agendas.

With their predictable hammers they banged on as you would expect, whatever their favourite topic they dragged it in. On the right of the political spectrum, the Tories are using it as an excuse to bringing Draconian surveillance legislation. The Far and the Extreme right want to stir up racism and initiate a race war.

However, some on the fringes of the Left, who should know better, are trying to capitalise on this situation too.

Rather than acknowledge that the accused were probably psychopaths, or at the very least twisted and almost completely alienated from humanity, instead we were treated to George Galloway making an awful comparison with Syria.

Kate Hudson using it as a backdrop to mention drones and seem pious.

Even the ludicrous Lindsey German gave us her tuppence worth.

In each case, agendas were hoisted up and waved around. The far simpler answer that these individuals were troubled or possibly psychotic didn’t even come into it.

But the Woolwich murder was just one chance these political opportunists could not resist exploiting. Their own detachment from humanity means that the usual suspects can’t see anything objectivity, except as a opportunity to misuse, gaining publicity for their own largely irrelevant and sordid ideas.

In many respects, the usual suspects in Britain are similar to the National Rifle Association.

Not that they like guns, but they too have no insight or introspection so they bring out the same answers, no matter the questions.

Remember how NRA officials argued that more guns would have stopped the Sandy Hook shootings? No matter the counterarguments, no matter the irrationality of that line of reasoning, that is what they held to.

Wait until the next atrocity occurs and the usual suspects will do the same, trot out their agendas looking for nails. It is small wonder that, after decades, they are political failures buried in the ramshackled ideologies of the 20th century.

It is time for less hammers looking for nails and a greater grasp of human psychology, even the psychotic side.

Update 1: I am in good company. Jonathan Freedland puts a similar but considerably better argued point:

“Yet when the killer’s cause is the matter of western intervention in Muslim countries, it seems some left voices find their previous fastidiousness has deserted them. Cue a BBC interview with Ken Livingstone, who spoke so powerfully after the 7 July bombings in London. Now, he linked Woolwich to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Enter the Stop the War coalition, whose statement on Woolwich similarly made the connection with “western foreign policy in the Middle East and south Asia”, ending with the declaration that events had proved their position “absolutely right”.

Be in no doubt, Livingstone and the anti-war movement would be appalled if their arguments were played back to them in reverse. Imagine what they would say to the claim that Breivik’s terror vindicated the old rivers-of-blood warnings, predicting that decades of multiculturalism would end in disaster, and now it was time to change course. Consider their reaction if the right had seized on the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in 1999, casting it as the inevitable result of a liberalisation of gay rights that was bound to radicalise a certain young male demographic and that therefore a policy shift was in order.

Of course they’d have rejected such logic utterly. But if it’s wrong for the right to seek vindication in acts of brutal violence, then it’s surely wrong for the left to do the same. Nor is it any good for the latter to say, “we’re not justifying, we’re simply explaining”: the right said the same about Breivik. Nor can they claim theirs is no more than a cold, analytical judgment, merely forecasting rather than endorsing the logical consequences of a current course of action. Their opponents could and did say the same about multiculturalism after Breivik. “

Update 2: Another view, Thinking about death, six miles from Woolwich.

Update 3: Ken Livingstone has his say. Regrettably, he does not appreciate that some ex-politicians are better remaining silent or people might remember why he lost the voters’ confidence in the first place.

Update 4: Talking of opportunists, The Woolwich attack has given the EDL a new lease of life.

Update 5: The Fleet Street Fox echoes my sentiments:

“What has happened is murder, plain and simple. Perhaps if we called it that it would be easier to solve and resolve, whereas if we call it terrorism we give the criminals a glamour and purpose they do not deserve.

Call them killers if they are proven to have killed, and deny them the right to cloak their brutality and lack of reason in a faith, a bad war or the innocents who have died as a result of things their victim had no control over.

I find it more terrifying that anyone thinks we should be scared of these people.

Killings like this don’t win any arguments or converts. If you feel you have to machete someone to death, you’ve already lost whatever point you were trying to make.

What scares me is that some people will exploit the actions of the criminally-deluded for their own ends.

Update 6: Over a week on, Howard Jacobson nails the Culpability Browns of the world and where their thinking takes us:

“I say to listen, not necessarily to trust. In any circumstances it’s unwise to believe what people say about their motives. If Sophocles, Shakespeare and Freud didn’t teach us that, they didn’t teach us anything. And even to talk of “motives” is crude when it comes to the unseen and often unguessed-at impulses that drive us. But the reasons people give for why they act as they do at least paint a picture of what they think is inside their heads, if nowhere else, and that tells us something. It tells us who they’ve been listening to, for example, and what they’ve been reading. It sheds light on the culture of those we call terrorists – see how careful I’m being – if not their psychology. That it cannot be taken to reflect an impersonal or verifiable truth – any more than it is verifiably true that our rivals are monsters and our lovers paragons – needs no protesting.

Cometh the atrocity, cometh Culpability Brown. Does he wait like a spider suspended in the darkness, the opportunity to blame you and me again, reader, the reward for his infinitely banal persistence? Out into the light he crawls, anyway, in the immediate aftermath of every killing, to agree the crime is terrible, unspeakable, yes, but – ah, the callousness of that “but” – we had it coming.

In what other context, these days, do we allow people to tell us we have it coming? This one goes about with her handbag open, that one with his wallet protruding like a free gift from the back pocket of his jeans, complains the poor pickpocket. “I was provoked, your honour.” How the girls in their short summer dresses, flirty, drunken, free with their kisses, arouse the hapless rapist. “Aren’t they, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in every meaning of the phrase, asking for it?”

This is not an argument against precaution. Though no provocation justifies a rape, it’s still sensible, given who we know is out there, to be on our guard. A sad reflection on the times, though one that has no bearing on the heinousness of the crime of rape itself.”

George Galloway “I don’t debate with Israelis”

I had always thought the George Galloway was a skilful, if devious and often nauseating, politician, but a recent video clip suggests he is none too smart, when caught on the spur of the moment.

Galloway can be seen storming out of a students’ debate saying “I don’t debate with Israelis” and more:

I wonder what the reaction would have been if he’d been a fringe UKIPer saying “I don’t debate with the French”? Hmm.

Update 1: Oxford Student covers it too:

“Mahmood Naji, who runs Oxford Debates and selected Galloway to speak, said before the event: “I chose Galloway because he is probably the most vocal and well-known voice on this issue.

“Oxford is an establishment that should prize free speech and open dialogue more than any other. This is the kind of institution that will put extreme or controversial views up to academic scrutiny and then shoot them down accordingly.”

Galloway has been consistently outspoken in his views on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and in 2009 received a Palestinian passport from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas are considered a terrorist organisation by the US and the EU.

This was the second time this academic year that Galloway has visited Oxford. In October the former ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ contestant spoke at the Oxford Union, where he was met with protests by members of Oxford Feminist Network. These came after Galloway described allegations of rape facing Wikileaks leader Julian Assange as constituting “bad sexual etiquette”, but added “not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion”. These comments led to the NUS passing a motion adopting a ‘no platform’ policy towards the MP.”

Update 2: Liberal Conspiracy has a thread on it, which I imagine will soon be overflowing with toxic comments.

Update 3: Galloway’s employer, Press TV, is more than happy to promote neo-Nazi views.

In this instance from 2011, arguing that the racist forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has a point:

“And as for the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and its Protocol Number 7, its statement that, “the press, which with a few exceptions that may be disregarded, is already entirely in our hands,” is only partially true.

Yes, Press TV of Iran is one of the “few exceptions” to The Lobby’s control of global print and electronically transmitted news and analysis.

(more…)

Sexist Of The Year 2012: George Galloway

The End Violence Against Women Coalition poll has finished, there is a winner, George Galloway!

I hope he enjoys his Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, here’s an extract:

” IN the present state of society it appears necessary to go back to first principles in search of the most simple truths, and to dispute with some prevailing prejudice every inch of ground. To clear my way, I must be allowed to ask some plain questions, and the answers will probably appear as unequivocal as the axioms on which reasoning is built; though, when entangled with various motives of action, they are formally contradicted, either by the words or conduct of men.

In what does man’s pre-eminence over the brute creation consist? The answer is as clear as that a half is less than the whole; in Reason.

What acquirement exalts one being above another? Virtue; we spontaneously reply.

For what purpose were the passions implanted? That man by struggling with them might attain a degree of knowledge denied to the brutes; whispers Experience.

Consequently the perfection of our nature and capability of happiness, must be estimated by the degree of reason, virtue, and knowledge, that distinguish the individual, and direct the laws which bind society: and that from the exercise of reason, knowledge and virtue naturally flow, is equally undeniable, if mankind be viewed collectively.

The rights and duties of man thus simplified, it seems almost impertinent to attempt to illustrate truths that appear so incontrovertible; yet such deeply rooted prejudices have clouded reason, and such spurious qualities have assumed the name of virtues, that it is necessary to pursue the course of reason as it has been perplexed and involved in error, by various adventitious circumstances, comparing the simple axiom with casual deviations.

Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices, which they have imbibed, they cannot trace how, rather than to root them out. The mind must be strong that resolutely forms its own principles; for a kind of intellectual cowardice prevails which makes many men shrink from the task, or only do it by halves. Yet the imperfect conclusions thus drawn, are frequently very plausible, because they are built on partial experience, on just, though narrow, views. “

Wollstonecraft is neglected in the media dominated by men. I hope these links will, in part, helped to reverse that trend, her ideas are as relevant today as they were in the 18th century.

Mary Wollstonecraft Legacy.

History Guide on Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Wollstonecraft on education.

Mary Wollstonecraft: A ‘Speculative and Dissenting Spirit’

Virginia Tech’s electronic version of A vindication of the rights of woman.

Spartacus on Mary Wollstonecraft.

Some quotes from Mary Wollstonecraft.

In Our Time discusses Mary Wollstonecraft. As an MP3 file.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry.

If you know of any other informative links, please leave a comment.

Wikileaks, Guardian Personality And Sexist Of The Year

Julian Assange is exceedingly annoyed at the Guardian, as can be seen from @Wikileaks timeline on Twitter:

Julian Assange2

I am not terribly interested in Assange.

He strikes me as a manipulative misanthrope and misogynist, and will probably end up doing a “Mel Gibson” one day.

But the activities of his supporters and how they attacked a female Guardian columnist I do find very disturbing. It reinforces the view that Assange’s supporters have no difficulty attacking women, verbally or otherwise:

Julian Assange3

So I thought it appropriate to have my own Sexist of the Year poll in support of the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

Obviously, any poll is incomplete and it probably could contain many more entries but these are, in my view, a representative sample.

I would welcome reader’s comments and observations. No sexism please, that’s a reminder to Assange’s supporters!

Update 1: A reminder to read Cath Elliot’s excellent, Assange, and feminism’s so-called male allies.

Update 2:
I have been remiss and didn’t explain why Julian Assange was so cheesed off at the Guardian. In short, he and his followers tried to rig the Guardian’s person of the year, but they found out.

His reason for wanting to cheat is clear enough.

The narcissistic Assange could not stand the very idea of a brave and injured 14 year old girl winning.

Had Malala Yousafzai won the Guardian poll then it would have taken attention and admiration away from Wikileaks, which would come with Bradley Mannings’ victory.

Assange wants to bathe in the reflected glory of Mannings’ win. He needs the limelight. So he arranged to fiddle it.

Update 3: I forgot to say, but you can vote for several individuals in this poll, not just one.

Update 4: News just in, George Galloway, world famous expert on bad sexual etiquette, has won the End Violence Against Women Coalition’s Sexist of the Year 2012 award:

“George Galloway MP has been voted ‘Sexist of the Year 2012’ in a poll run by the End Violence Against Women Coalition (1), and will be sent a copy of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman as a prize.

The MP for Bradford West received more than a quarter of all votes cast, and around one and a times as many votes than his nearest runner up, the Prime Minister David Cameron. He received four times as many votes as the ‘bronze medal winner’, Julian Assange. Mr Galloway said, in a broadcast on YouTube in August, of having sex with a sleeping woman, “It might be really bad sexual etiquette but whatever else it is, it is not rape.”(2)

The poll, which was launched at the end of October and was open for a month, saw supporters of the EVAW Coalition and members of the public encouraged to send their nominations by email and on the twitter hashtag #sexist2012.

Voters nominated prominent institutions as well as individuals for their sexist attitudes and behaviour during 2012, including the BBC for its handling of the Savile crisis, The Sun for its ongoing Page 3 ‘feature’ and the Taleban for the attempted murder of schoolgirl campaigner Malala.

Other prominent UK politicians who were nominated included George Osborne, Jeremy Hunt and Ed Miliband (nominated by former MP Louise Mensch for his failure to censure sexist MP Austin Mitchell).

The EVAW Coalition has more than 60 members around the UK who are working to end sexual and domestic violence, forced marriage, FGM, trafficking, stalking and other forms of abuse. They include service providers, lawyers and academics who are on the frontline of tackling abuse and campaigning for government to take a more strategic approach to ending violence by aiming to prevent it in the first place.”

Women And George Galloway

This piece in the Guardian reveals that all is not well in Bradford concerning George Galloway:

“”I want an appointment to see George Galloway,” announced the blonde, smartly dressed woman. “I want to talk to him about his comments on rape and consent,” she told Bilal, one of Galloway’s two case workers at his constituency office in Bradford town centre.

“Oh,” said Bilal, glancing over to see who had overheard, before offering her an appointment two weeks hence – when Galloway was due to return from a holiday campaigning for Hugo Chávez’s re-election in Venezuela and then from a speaking engagement in Kazakhstan.

Five months on, Yaqoob has resigned as leader in protest at Galloway’s refusal to apologise for his rape comments. And what Galloway bombastically described as the Bradford spring, when he overturned a chunky Labour majority to romp home with a 10,000 lead of his own in the March byelection in Bradford West, has turned into a decidedly murky autumn. A number of longstanding members of Respect’s national executive have followed Yaqoob out of the door, imperilling the party’s future and seemingly dashing any hopes that it could grow into a serious left-of-Labour outfit comparable with Germany’s Die Linke or the Front de Gauche in France.

Kate Hudson, the well-respected chair of CND, who had been due to contest the Manchester Central byelection in November, withdrew her candidacy. In Bradford, while Respect’s five councillors are largely thought to be doing their best in difficult circumstances, a number of the women who played a key role in Galloway’s win want nothing to do with the party, amid claims of misogyny and bullying.

Galloway may be a skilled and gifted politician. He’s quite an orator, but character will out, and political groupings led by singular, egotistical leaders have a way of failing. It’s just a matter of time with Respect.

But, he won’t starve.

George Galloway will always float to the top with his income from Press TV, al-Mayadeen and other media sources.

Still, it is just a matter of time before he makes another sexist and offensive comment towards women.

That’s his nature, character will out, as the people of Bradford have found now know.

A Damp Round Up Of World News

Lighter blogging than expected, so it’s a good time for a roundup.

Tom points to David Cameron’s greed, Cameron is the first PM to pocket private rent while living at number 10.

Bob from Brockley argues that the slaughter in Syria is not really covered in the Western media with any vigour. The old adage of, if it bleeds it leads, doesn’t always applied to certain parts of the Middle East.

Sexism down under, as Julia Gillard rips into her conservative opponent.

Owen Jones on Hugo.

To quote Carl Packman: “Why are @GeorgeGalloway and Ken Livingstone silent about their employer giving so many anti-Semites a platform? …”

Elsewhere, Ruskin College is accused of academic vandalism and destroying its own historical records.

Battle of the ads in NYC, the campaign to counter Pam Geller’s bigoted nonsense.

Fit for work? Don’t believe it.

The statistics are frightening: I missed it but the Mirror pointed it out in April 2012. Chris Tattershall’s treatment was atrocious.

“Panorama also revealed that between January and August last year, on average 32 people died every week who the government had declared could be helped back into work in the medium term. “

Malala Yousafzai and the Taliban. As CNN reports:

“The Taliban controlled Malala’s valley for years until 2009, when the military cleared it in an operation that also evacuated thousands of families. Last year, Malala told CNN she feared “being beheaded by the Taliban because of my passion for education. During their rule, the Taliban used to march into our houses to check whether we were studying or watching television.” She described how she used to hide her books under her bed, fearing a house search by the Taliban.”

Norm on the Guardian’s pandering. The Beeb’s Malala Yousafzai: Portrait of the girl blogger. Related, the Safe World for Women campaign has a message. Alex Andreou is sharp on the Tories:

“Last year, he framed his speech with “Britannia didn’t rule the waves with her armbands on”. This year he says “it is time to sink or swim”. An elegant, if unwitting, indication of how his thinking has moved on; from foolhardy champion swimmer to panicked doggy-paddler. The UK economy is fast becoming a small makeshift raft, cobbled together from antiquated dogma, U-turns and fiascos, adrift in a sea of global uncertainty. Selling off the planks to passing sharks is not a solution. When the water is ankle-deep, crew and passengers look to the captain for action, not regurgitated rhetoric, however deftly delivered. All he can do is stand there and shout passionately “The Free Market will save us! Enterprise will save us! Aspiration will save us!” Abstract, deified, neoliberal concepts without a smidgeon of policy, detail or budget to back them up. I recognised his speech for what it was: A drowning man’s gurgling prayer. “

Immigration detention centres in Britain. Bradley Burston’s appeal:

“Send a message. The asylum seekers want nothing more than to live productive lives and contribute to this society. It makes much better economic sense to integrate asylum seekers into work places and schools, than it does to waste millions on building, maintaining, and operating centers for endless detention of non-criminals and their children. “

Nikolas Kozloff’s Chomsky, Ali, and the failure to challenge the authoritarian left is damning.

Some say Keynes was right? The IMF?

Trending swastikas? Twitter shows that antisemitism is not dead, not even by half.

Atos and Scotland, I must start reading the Daily Record.

When next you meet a Press TV admirer remind them of how it openly pushes the Far and Extreme Right, plus a whole host of nasty racists.

Julian Assange and leaving Sweden.

Topically, sexual harassment and the 21st century.

Didn’t  anyone see this coming? Jean-Marie Le Pen backs Marine on kippah ban.

The UK Human Rights Blog is always worth reading, in particular, their post on Back in the spotlight: the detention of mentally ill asylum seekers.

In cult news, Scientology and the Nation of Islam. Even the free-wheeling Economist thinks Mitt Romney’s foreign policy is weak:

“In truth, his speech, though grave and stern in its delivery, was pretty short on policies that differ greatly from Mr Obama’s.”

B’Tselem’s camera project.

How a society treats minorities, women and rape victims is emblematic of its priorities.

Nick Lowles on football and how not to tackle racism.

Finally, lest we forget buttons, and why history is important, Kublai Khan.

Galloway Refuses To Apologise To Muslim Women

George Galloway is a slick politician and often knows what buttons to press to galvanise his supporters, but his weakness, as with many men, is ego.

Galloway hates apologising, admitting that he could have been wrong, so it was when he attended the Bradford Muslim Women’s forum, the Telegraph and Argus reports:

“Mr Galloway said his remarks about consent were made in the context of Mr Assange, who he said was being set up by the US, in league with the Swedish and British governments to punish him for the revelations made through Wikileaks.

He said: “That is the context of my remarks. I cannot and will not apologise for what I said, for what I said – not for what The Sun said I said – because it’s my belief. Now, I may well forfeit your political support as a result, but I do not do things to win political support.”

Mr Galloway refused to comment about the resignation of Respect Party national leader Salma Yaqoob. He also faced criticism about his use of the term “window-licker” in a heated Twitter exchange.

He told the audience he should have used the word “moron” instead to describe the “bigot” who had taunted him on Twitter.”

Update 1: Irna Qureshi, who attended the meeting, has a piece in the Guardian:

“George Galloway was the man who, just months earlier, was being championed for his ability to galvanize Muslim women in a campaign which gave them a voice for change. Now he seems to have lost his way. The MP appears to have forgotten that it was Muslim women who were credited with being a key component of his stunning victory in Bradford West. Galloway went from making us feel important to making us feel totally ignored. He didn’t appear to be promoting our local agenda, so whose was it? Moreover, his religious tone was alienating, giving the meeting the air of a sermon rather than a Q&A session.

The political maverick didn’t even appear bothered about retaining our support. If we didn’t agree with his views, then he was happy, he told us, “to forfeit” our political support as a result. Asked why he had chosen Bradford, he replied: “I didn’t choose Bradford. Bradford elected me… with a 10,000 vote majority…. So I don’t have to explain to you why I chose Bradford. You have to try and work out why Bradford chose me.”

This feels like one step forward and two steps back for Bradford politics. Surely one of the adverse legacies of Pakistani male politics is precisely this complacency to sidestep women, and that’s the one thing that Galloway’s campaign appeared to have surmounted.

Bradford and its sizeable Muslim population have always been a great combination for attention grabbing headlines. Throw George Galloway into the mix and you have something far more explosive. I’m now left wondering if Galloway’s stunning victory in Bradford West will scar Bradford’s memory like the 2001 riots and the 1988 Rushdie book burning. Is George Galloway alienating himself from his own constituents? An accomplished orator he might be, but last night, George Galloway failed to speak to the Muslim women that voted him in.

Salma Yaqoob, George Galloway And Misogyny

Although I do not normally follow the activities of smaller fringe groupings in Britain the resignation of Salma Yaqoob from Respect is intriguing.

Ms. Yaqoob, as leader of Respect, was placed in an incredibly difficult position recently by George Galloway’s comments.

Additionally, there were many deprecating comments to be found on a one-time, Respect supportive, blog,
Time For The Left To Stand Up For Galloway

“12.

As for Salma, hers was an act of betrayal against someone who’s always stood by her. She absolutely should have articulated her issues with George’s comments in private.

Posted by John 5 September, 2012 at 9:04 am

17. Just to clarify, Salma Yaqoob engaged in an act of rank betrayal by sticking the boot in along with the rest of this liberal chorus of faux moral outrage. There is simply no other way to describe it.

Posted by John 5 September, 2012 at 9:38 am

21.

Salma Yaqoob is leader of the Respect Party, and its second most high profile figure. Kate Hudson was the prominent candidate in a forth-coming parliamentary by-election. That is the context in which they are being criticised, not becasue they are women, nor do I think it is colluding with sexism to express disappointment with them.

Posted by Andy Newman 5 September, 2012 at 9:49 am

60.

Shame about Kate Hudson. Good riddance to Salma Yaqoob.

Posted by jock mctrousers 5 September, 2012 at 2:26 pm”

A few posters tried to caution restraint, but as the subsequent thread showed many male contributors couldn’t resist attacking their one time leader, In Defence Of George Galloway:

“15. Brave post Andy, in this atmosphere of liberal hysteria it is a revolutionary act to speak the truth. Salma Yaqoob’s stab in the back was not entirely unexpected and neither should her sometime soon ascension to New Labour be. Remember, you read it here. Kate Hudson’s is a stranger case. Politically promiscuous as her recent party-hopping has been one would’ve thought she would have been made of sterner stuff.

Posted by Molotov 5 September, 2012 at 6:19 pm

43. Tony, what’s happened here is that characters like Salma Yaqoob and Owen Jones have immediately capitulated to the US government’s agenda on this.

They’ve both taken the easy way of accepting the ruling class’s narrative here – “it’s about catching a rapist.”

This is because they’re both, in essence, the ruling class’s “pet left wingers” and this is where their instincts lead them.

Posted by Marko 5 September, 2012 at 9:04 pm”

There is a lot more, all exceedingly unpleasant.

I think what this tells us is, that women when they stand out, or go against a male dominated culture, will be denigrated and attacked. With Respect supporters like that, who needs enemies?

Across the blogosphere, there’s much speculation concerning Ms. Yaqoob’s future.

I do not see her joining the Labour Party, there is too much bad blood over Iraq, etc. Rather she might open an avenue for the Greens outside of their traditionally middle-class base.

For the Greens this would be a real coup, another MP and a broadening of their party. She and the Greens could fudge the politics to find some accord. In turn, the Greens would gain greater national publicity, new members and she would have the position of MP (or MEP).

Whatever happens, it has shown that last century’s Left are unwilling and incapable of dealing with the sexism, misogynistic thinking and vulgar geopolitics which epitomises much of their politics nowadays.

We should not forget, they are a product of a bygone age’s thinking and it shows in their attitudes towards women and reality.

Update 1: Liberal Conspiracy provides some intelligent and informative points on the dispute with Galloway:

“I’ve heard from multiple sources that the disagreement over George Galloway’s comments on rape was the final straw – not an abrupt decision based solely on that incident.

There have long been skirmishes and disagreements, including the persistent rumours that Salma was never really kept in the loop about the Bradford by-election.

Nevertheless, Salma Yaqoob held the Respect party together. She was a strong voice in the media and a popular local figure that rallied people to support the party.

With two women now the victim of Galloway’s refusal to admit he was wrong, this incident reinforces the obvious: George Galloway is only interested in promoting and supporting George Galloway.

He didn’t even bother to apologise or retract his comments to keep his party leader on side. That is how much of a team-player he is. He did nothing for the constituents of Tower Hamlets while he was an MP, and he will do nothing for the people of Bradford West. “

Update 2: George Galloway’s comments at the Bradford’s Muslim Women’s Forum, as reported by Liberal Conspiracy demonstrated that Salma Yaqoob must have had a great deal of patience with Galloway:

“‘Every word I said in my podcast I stand by.‘ #GeorgeGalloway talking to #Muslim women in #Bradford on his comments about #rape. ”

Update 3: A weak defence is put by Left Futures with talks of “witch hunt” rather than acknowledge Galloway’s many faults (supporting dictators, poor attitude towards women, taking £80,000 from Syrian TV channel, fronting very dodgy material on Press TV and his recent insults about disability, etc, etc):

“It is true that George has had much to answer for, of late. Not only what he said about rape but his failure to to acknowledge any error afterwards, in spite of the difficulties he had clearly caused his party. His intervention has made it harder for Julian Assange to have a fair hearing — for the British public, rape has now become the paramount issue. Of course, Assange must answer the rape charges but, even if he is guilty of those charges, he is entitled to protection from the wrath of the United States. “

Craig Murray, Naomi Wolf And Rape Anonymity

A cynic should never be surprised, but I was, once.

When I first read Craig Murray’s awful blog I was astonished at the vitriol within the comment boxes aimed at Julian Assange’s victims.

I suppose I expected an ex-diplomat to have more decency, commonsense and empathy, but it’s fairly apparent that it is no holds barred when it comes to Murray’s support of Assange. Murray goes into gruesome details (and no, I am not linking to his misogynist filth). The whole shooting match, questioning the victims statements, giving their names out, all of the grim details.

Murray takes sneering almost to Olympic levels, as only the English upper-class and Oxbridge types can do.

Louise McCudden in the Indy looks at some of the issues:

“Of course you have a right to legal retribution if your anonymity is violated but when a search for your name in Google brings up results like ‘Slut of the Year’, then what consolation is it?

Wolf’s reasoning for removing the right to anonymity, as she explained in a live chat with Mumsnet, is that granting anonymity to the victim implies it is he or she who has something to feel shame over, not the rapist. That’s fair. Indeed, being able to stand up say ‘stop’ with your own voice can be a powerful thing. Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser waived her right to anonymity so she could do just that.

But Wolf’s solution seems to assume you can create the world you’d like to see by acting as if you already live in it. Nafissatou Diallo didn’t waive her right to anonymity in the Strauss-Khan case because anonymity itself was making the case difficult for her. Diallo had already been named in the French press. She says she had to give up her anonymity in order to adequately defend herself against counter-accusations and gossip. It’s that process of putting the alleged victim on trial, often for things which are irrelevant to the incident in question, which need fixing to end the shaming of victims, not the right to anonymity. “

Julian Assange, Rape And The Decline Of The Left

I thank Owen Jones for pointing me towards a hotbed of sexism, misogyny and rape apologists, the Socialist Unity blog.

Owen, characteristically, doesn’t want to criticise his fellow socialists so merely comments that it is, Socialism with heart cut out.

It leads to a thread, Time For The Left To Stand Up For Galloway.

Within it there are an appalling number of attacks on women who rejected George Galloway’s offensive remarks, that Assange’s conduct was not rape but “bad sexual etiquette”.

Both Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson, once allies of Galloway, have distanced themselves from his detestable comments. Yet for their principled stance they are attacked by their one-time comrades in nasty, sexist and demeaning language.

Still, amongst the mess on another thread, In Defence Of George Galloway, there is one thoughtful and non-sexist comment, which pulls the rug from under the paranoid and crazed at Socialist Unity blog:

“21. Who needs to attempt demonise Galloway, it’s not like anyone except for a few misogynistic men cannot see that he shoved his foot so far down his mouth that he can scratch his arse.

Galloway is a rape apologist and denier, he was the minute he tried to claim the allegations did not constitute rape in English courts, they do. The statements which I have read, describe acts that are considered rape, not “bad sexual etiquette”.

Also his attempts to “dissect” the behaviour of the women to “prove” they weren’t raped, also rape apology. Comments like that are why women don’t come forward, because people like Galloway will try to dissect and will HARM victims in an attempt to explain how no man could ever be a rapist.

Addressing the whole “But I’ve had sex like that with someone”, I am presuming whoever you did it with was someone you were in a long term relationship with and someone you could reasonably believe wouldn’t mind, which is quite different to the described situation in the statements.

Seriously, if Galloway and co believe that there is a US witch hunt against, they should be able to muster a better argument than rape apology and claiming that the alleged actions aren’t actually rape when in fact what is described in the statements is rape.

Bradley Manning’s treatment for being a traitor does not prove that the US is in any shape or form after Assange, Assange is not the only person in charge of Wikileaks, yet nobody seems to think they’ll chase anyone else.

In my personal opinion, all claims of persecution made by Assange have issues.

1. For starters prior to this issue, Assange was trying to gain Swedish Citizenship, if the US have been after him since 2010, why wasn’t it a concern then? All Sweden would have had to do was to give him citizenship and then hand him over. A simpler and easier plan.

2. What does Sweden get out of it, that they would spend their money and time pursing a man on the behalf of another nation? and get badmouthed to boot?

3. Why on earth would the US if it wanted someone that badly put together a plan that would involve a double extradition? Not only is it ridiculously complicated, but it means twice as much chance of failure.

Fact: The US could have just applied to the UK who would have handed him over quite readily.

4. If the US was so gungho to get him, the simplest option would be to “disappear” him, via kidnapping. Not a press circus, they’d be suspected by conspiracy theorists either way but they’d definitely have the guy and nobody would ever be able to prove that it was them.

The whole point of conspiracies is that nobody can prove shit, for this to be a conspiracy would make it a fucking stupid one.

5. For such a large and convoluted double extradition scheme to work? The US would have to suborn an awful lot of people, that alone could and probably would blow it in a second.

6. Since Sweden have gone to such efforts to chase him presumably because they do believe he did commit rape. Sweden are damn well going to charge him, after this, they cannot drop the charges, so the US would have to sit and twiddle their fingers while waiting on his jail sentence to finish if he’s convicted.

7. Lastly if we for arguments sake accept that the US felt that a very silly and unnecessarily convoluted scheme was the right way to grab him and they were willing to go that far? It is still perfectly possible that Assange is a rapist and the two women coming forward was a useful coincidence that is being taken advantage of.

Also “hysteria” has a sexist origin.

The problem isn’t believe Assange to be innocent, the problem is people arguing that X actions are not rape, when they are. The two women who have come forward have had their privacy violated, received threats and been publicly attacked, that is rape culture in action.

You want to believe that there’s a global conspiracy against Assange? Go right ahead, but come up with a plausible conspiracy angle that isn’t just another rape apology argument.

Posted by Dawn 5 September, 2012 at 7:32 pm “

Amid the detritus and sediment of male posturing that gem stood out as it dealt with the issues, logically, and showed the fatuous reasoning so often employed by Julian Assange’s supporters.

But when you read those threads it’s not surprising that people are turned off by politics given all of the idiocy, rank sexism and defamatory language found amongst these so-called socialists.

Finally, I can’t help thinking reading those terrible comments, with allies like that Assange and socialism don’t need any enemies. Women’s rights are denigrated when male socialists seek to shift blame from perpetrators to the victims of rape. Women can’t rely on male socialists willing to drop every conceivable principle because of political expediency or the supposed need to defend another faulty male leader.

This shallow approach to politics and principles is part of the reason that the Left has declined, where ends are constantly dragged out to justify means. Who wants to be around such calculating and manipulative politics? No one, and certainly not women.

Update 1: I should have pointed out earlier, but both of those threads at Socialist Unity blog were closed for comments after a comparatively short period of time.

Update 2: One blogger persisted and was eventually banned:

“So when I pointed out that the reasons that these things happened over, and over AND OVER again – because women who raised sexual assaults, and the narratives that sustained them were silenced, I was banned from the site. I was banned from the site because I stated that someone who thought that rape was acceptable behaviour was a potential rapist. I was shut off from the site because it “shut him down”. I wasn’t allowed to contribute because it made a potential rapist feel like he “couldn’t contribute”.

I don’t know how I feel about getting banned from the cesspit of the left. There is a bit of me that is quite happy to let them roll around in their own stinking shite, but on the other hand, I’m well aware of the pollution that it generates well beyond its boundaries. Pollution that generally ends up infecting the bodies of female comrades. “

Assange Apologists Don’t Like The Debate

Aside from old men, Galloway, Pilger and Benn there are some Julian Assange supporters that don’t like the type of debate, which his conduct has brought about.

One such is at the Loud mouth collective’s Don’t Call Me A Rape Apologist.

The arguments put forward are fairly feeble, involve special pleading and an almost Brendan O’Neill grasp of rape law.

I thought the comment by Rev Magdalen particularly good:

“Assange is the subject of a legal prosecution for allegations of rape. People judging the merits of the accusations based on what they’ve read on the internet are called “rape apologists” because making that judgement call means accepting the idea that public opinion, not a court, should determine the facts of the matter. That minimizes rape as a crime, as if it doesn’t need a court proceeding to assess.

Taking rape seriously means supporting the idea that every rape accusation should be heard in a court of law, not just have its details pored over by the public, as if it’s something anyone could judge from home by reading blogs and witness statements, without actually talking to the alleged victims or having forensic training. It means respecting that these allegations about Assange are being examined by a court and due process should go forward the same as for any such accusation, regardless of who is accused or what their defense team claims is the truth.

Assange may well be innocent. If you’re correct that the woman who’s allegedly his victim denies she was raped, he could call her to the stand and have her say so. What better way to prove the prosecution was biased and politically motivated? If he’d done that immediately, this whole matter would be nothing more than a tiny footnote by now, not the major issue causing speculation that the entire WikiLeaks organization will fail because its head refuses to step down to take care of his personal legal trouble.

As for asking for an advance guarantee against extradition to the USA for any and all possible future charges, Swedish law professors don’t agree it’s possible. Sweden’s government could veto any extradition to America after its courts have weighed in about it, but the government can’t say in advance that no matter what the courts decide, it is going to ignore them and make a predetermined decision, based on the identity of the accused. The central point of the rule of law (rather than rule by whim of a dictator) is that each case is judged on its merits, not on who the accused is.

Assange should take comfort that even if he’s charged with assisting Bradley Manning in hacking Army computers, Sweden would likely consider that a “political offense,” which its treaty explicitly exempts from extradition.

Assange And Sleeping People Cannot Consent

Vera Baird deals with the idiocy of men pronouncing on what they think is and isn’t rape, particularly in defence of Julian Assange:

“Sleeping people cannot consent and what reasonable person could think that they can?

What has been discussed is some presumption of ongoing consent from earlier consensual sex but that is untenable since nobody can tell from a sleeping person whether they do or do not want to repeat the experience.

None of this affects the consensual nature of the earlier sex. “

Wonderful reasoning, but I doubt that will convince the army of apologists and misogynists that excuse Assange’s conduct.

Not forgetting Ellie Cumbo On Brendan O’Neill’s Gallowayism contribution.

Julian Assange, Conspiracy Theories And Noam Chomsky

Colette Browne in the Irish Examiner looks at some of the tortuous arguments advanced by Julian Assange supporters, including Noam Chomsky:

“AS A HUGE fan of the immensely important work that Wikileaks has done in recent years, it has been depressing to watch the deranged cult that surrounds its founder sully its brand.

There is little doubt that Julian Assange, having exposed some of the barbarities perpetuated by the American military in its ill-fated war in Iraq, has reason to fear the wrath of an enraged US government — particularly given the appalling treatment meted out to whistleblower Bradley Manning, the army private accused of orchestrating the biggest leak of state secrets in US history.

However, outlandish claims that a sovereign Western state, Sweden, has morphed into a deferential colonial stooge, desperate to arrest the journalist on the flimsiest of pretexts in a nefarious plot that would ultimately see him incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, are laughable.

Assange supporters paint his plight as one of a trail-blazing political prisoner, who has been stitched up in an elaborate plot hatched between the US and Swedish governments.

They spin a convoluted tale the details of which, it has to be said, would make an excellent summer blockbuster. Hang onto your tin-foil hats, the story goes something like this.

Assange, in Sweden in 2010 to deliver a lecture, had the misfortune to sleep with two vindictive harpies who later filed complaints against him with the police, alleging a number of serious offences, including sexual molestation and rape.

Absolutely no credence should be given to these fanciful claims as the women are clearly nothing more than scorned groupies and the allegations, even if true, amount to, in the words of noted feminist George Galloway, “bad sexual etiquette” on the part of suave ladykiller Assange.

Enter stage right, in incontrovertible evidence of a high-level conspiracy, none other than Karl Rove, George Bush’s former chief of staff and evil empire spin doctor, who is now acting as an advisor to Sweden’s governing Moderate Party and demanding that country deliver Assange’s head on a plate to the Obama administration. “

Meanwhile, his misogynistic supporters, like the odious Galloway, who have apparently developed psychic abilities which allow them to preempt due process and definitively state that the alleged offences are works of fiction, seem to think that, in Assange’s sole case, trial by their gut feeling, that he is an honourable and innocent patsy, is reason enough to dispense with the remainder of the investigation.

This belies the inconvenient truth that if the case against Assange is as weak as is being claimed it will never see the light of a Swedish court and, in the event that it does, Assange will be vigorously defended and his legal team will have ample opportunity to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.

Of course, the only way he can do any of that, clear his name and save Wikileaks from the ignominy of being imminently reduced to a grotesque parody of itself, is to get on a plane and go to Sweden — a scenario that remains, for now, as incredulous as the hyperbolic conspiracy theories swirling around the case. “

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Ellie Cumbo On Brendan O’Neill’s Gallowayism

This is a lovely put down of the stupid contribution by Brendan O’Neill:

“Is the law a matter of fact or opinion? Today, Brendan O’ Neill followed George Galloway, John Pilger, and Tony Benn to become the latest non-lawyer to offer up his understanding of the law on rape. He’s also the latest to get it wrong, and he probably won’t be the last.

In absolute truth, the law on a particular issue at any given time can be fuzzy. Our legal system regularly relies on the higher courts to bring clarity where what exists is anything but: badly-written Acts of Parliament, a glut of past rulings recent and ancient, and a nebulous sense of how certain words and phrases would now be commonly understood. This is why controversial cases often appear to result in judges changing the law, when what they are seeking to do is just to tidy up an incomprehensible mess.

But O’Neill has fatally misunderstood what is meant by the word “intent” in context – despite the fact it is set out in the very Act of Parliament he quotes, the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Rape is made out where the accused “does not reasonable believe” the other person consents. In other words, if the accused truly believed that there was consent, but the court held that belief to be unreasonable (for example because it was based on what the complainant was wearing), the accused would still be found guilty. O’Neill’s statement that “the man must know that there is no consent… must not believe that consent is present, and therefore must know that it is absent” is, then, straightforwardly untrue.

As the CPS indicates in the publicly-available legal guidance that O’Neill appears not to have bothered reading, this was a major and quite deliberate Parliamentary change to the law that existed before 2003, under which an honest belief in consent, however unreasonable, negated the offence. But frankly, we don’t need to go all the way to the CPS for this: it is so settled a legal principle that a first-year law student could probably reel it off in an instant. “

World Wide Snippets: Women’s Rights, Galloway And Attacking The Disabled.

A slightly delayed round up from a few weeks back.

Lest we forget, Exhibit focuses on scientists’ role in Holocaust.

How did this come about? As HOPE Note Hate comments.

Individual tragedy from the Middle East, the Oasis of Peace’s sad news.

Still no freedom for poorer rural women in South Africa.

The Women of Afghanistan:

“A recent study by Human Rights Watch, which interviewed 58 women and girls in prison, found that half were jailed for acts that any reasonable person would not consider a crime, like running away from abusive situations. People who force women into marriage, often at very young ages, or subject them to violence, are rarely prosecuted, the group said. Female victims get little support from police and judges, and they face the added injustice of being punished for committing “moral crimes,” like “zina” — sexual intercourse between two people not married to each other. Criminalizing zina is contrary to Afghanistan’s international obligations, the group says. “

No means no, lest George Galloway and his supporters forget that.

ADL’s Snapshot of Al Quds Day 2012:

“While the largest Al Quds Day events gen­er­ally take place in the Mid­dle East, protests are also held in cities across the United States. The protests, which took place last Fri­day in a dozen U.S. cities, were rife with extreme lan­guage, includ­ing signs that com­pared Israel’s treat­ment of the Pales­tini­ans to the Holocaust.

In New York, L.A. and Hous­ton, large ban­ners read­ing “Stop Pales­tin­ian Geno­cide” were on dis­play, as well as other signs that read, “Israel is a Can­cer,” “Down with Zion­ism,” Holo­caust in Pales­tine” and “Gaza=Auschwitz.” A woman in New York held a sign that said, “Free Pales­tine! End ZioN­azi Apartheid! No $$ to ‘Israel!’ Boy­cott ‘Israel’.” “

WNN is a superb source of underreported news. Recommended.
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The GOP Convention And More Racism Round Up.

[Trigger warning, Assange related material.]

When the GOP Convention comes around there is almost the feeling that America has stepped back in time, not by the technology employed or the showmanship, but the underlying ideas.

Issues that many might think are uncontroversial provoke alarm and worry amongst the GOP, the Pew Research Quiz is just one indicator.

But a deeper whiff of bigotry and reaction clings to GOP events, as TPM reported:

“An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to TPM. “

And more, Nativism 101:

“There were energetic shouts of “Aye!” and “Nay!” as a Puerto Rican party functionary—Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization—took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

The chanting carried on for nearly a minute while most of the other delegates and the media stood by in stunned silence. The Puerto Rican correspondent turned to me and asked, “Is this happening?” I said I honestly didn’t know what was happening—it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes. None of us could quite believe what we were seeing: A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina. RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism.”

Meanwhile, for would-be GOPers, Ayn Rand and a discussion of her “philosophy”, which seems to have all of the depth and consistency of L.Ron. Hubbard’s Scientology, albeit without the UFOs.
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Could Julian Assange be extradited from Sweden?

A Swedish legal expert answers:

“The conclusion is: the possibility of extradition exists, but a number of conditions must be met (including that the crime is not political), and it is far from certain that a U.S. extradition request would meet such requirements. In addition, the UK – which hands over Assange to Sweden – has a veto, under Sec 28 of the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant. “

Later on, Associate Professor of Public International Law, Pål Wrange argues:

“On the site http://www.justice4assange.com it is alleged that in the Swedish extradition agreement with the U.S. there is a special summary procedure that so to speak bypasses the usual requirement that the crime may not be political, that the death penalty may not be imposed, etc. On the same site is also stated that there is no such procedure in the US agreement with the UK (see here). Both of these claims are completely wrong. (The other arguments are hardly worthy of comment.) “

Update 1: Mark Klamberg, Doctor in Public International Law, has covered these issues before on his blog, Extradition of Assange to the US via Sweden for espionage.

Assange’s Non-Extradition, Galloway And Julie Bindel

Julie Bindel’s evisceration of Galloway and the broader implications of his offensive comments is a must read:

“But some liberal-lefty men have been bending over backwards to rewrite definitions of rape to suit their blanket adoration of Assange. They seem to be too stupid to work out that you can admire and defend WikiLeaks without canonising its founder. In the world of Assange-lovers, women who allege rape and sexual assault are either lying vixens or silly unsuspecting pawns in the fight between freedom fighters and the US.

Galloway and those who spout rubbish about what “real rape” really is (ie nothing other than that committed by a stranger wielding a knife who attacks a virgin) are not rape apologists, but rape deniers. Most rape falls into the category that Galloway has decided is simply “bad sexual etiquette”, ergo most women are lying, and most men are the victims of spurious accusations from women who should read up on rape legislation. “

Everyday Sexism: What’s the big deal? should get you thinking, unless you are an Assange supporter or suffer from Galloways offensive mentality.

Whirled Peas argues:

“Despite their disagreements on a variety of other issues, Galloway, Assange, Akin, are all of a kind: they seem to think that there is ambiguity around the subject of rape. There is not: without consent, it’s rape. This is the beginning, the middle and the end of the matter; there is no post-modern analysis to be made, no fiddling about with subjective criteria, no softening of the edges or blurring of the lines. If the women in question did not agree to sexual activity, they were violated. This is a crime, not just in reference to British, Swedish, American and even Ecuadorian law, but rather it is a transgression which violates the sanctity of the person. Our fundamental freedoms rest upon an assumption: you may not own another person, but you own yourself. You may give of yourself, but no one is entitled to take. To suggest that under certain circumstances that such “taking” is acceptable or less than a gross violation is to undermine this concept; it threatens liberty itself. It is no wonder that President Obama rushed to condemn Akin by stating clearly, “Rape is rape”; it is puzzling that British politicians have not responded similarly to Galloway’s comments nor been as forceful in dismissing Assange’s claims. Labour’s reticence is particularly inexplicable: they stand a good chance of reclaiming Bradford West if they go in for the kill. “

The Swedes have cleared up the issue of extradition to the US and the death penalty:

“In an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, the deputy director of the Service for Criminal Cases and International Cooperation of Sweden’s Justice Ministry Cecilia Riddselius has specifically said Sweden “will never surrender a person to the death penalty”.

Sweden is currently at the center of the WikiLeaks scandal as it seeks to extradite Julian Assange from the UK to face a rape investigation. Assange’s supporters suggest that the scandal is politically motivated and argue he would later be extradited from Sweden to the US to face the death penalty for espionage.

Riddselius also says that they would demand strict assurances from the US that “the prisoner will not be executed in any case” and added that Sweden has not received an extradition request at present. She admitted that it was impossible to tell without the request whether Assange would be extradited without the request. “

The LRB blog reminds us of stools:

“Galloway’s law that not everybody needs to be asked at each point of insertion suggests that Galloway and Assange, at least, naturally possess a special skill in distinguishing those who do need to be asked from those who don’t. How can those not so blessed tell which is which? Galloway considers Assange to have shown poor manners in having sex with two women who did not know about each other (he doesn’t mention Assange’s wife). It might have been ‘really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and asked do you mind if I do it again’ but it is, he booms with evangelical rhetoric, ‘not rape, or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning’. You see, he is much more serious about the vileness of rape than the rest of us. In any case, Galloway asks finally in an epic non-sequitur, granted that Assange is a rat, are not the US and British empires rats too? ‘Imperialism is a bigger rat than Julian Assange, no?’ he demands, with all the satisfaction of Martin Luther successfully passing a stool. Actually, the biggest rat may well not be any of his three options, but a photo-finish between Galloway and Akin. “

Final word, goes to F Word’s “We are not Julian” round-up which is amusing, disheartening and informative in equal measures.

Myths About Rape For George Galloway, Todd Akin And Assange Supporters

By sad necessity this information from the CPS needs publishing a wider audience, including George Galloway, Julian Assange, Todd Akin, Craig Murray and many of Assange’s supporters

  • What is a “Myth”?

    A “Myth” a commonly held belief, idea or explanation that is not true.  Myths arise from people’s need to make sense of acts that are senseless, violent or disturbing.  They attempt to explain events, like rape and abuse, in ways that fit with our preconceived ideas about the world – they arise from and reinforce our prejudices and stereotypes.

    It is an unfortunate fact that myths about rape and sexual violence are brought into the jury room, and form an obstacle to obtaining convictions.  It is therefore imperative that we recognise these myths and challenge them at every opportunity.

    Top of page

    Myth 1: Rape Occurs Between Strangers in Dark Alleys

    Implications:

    • implies that home is safe;
    • implies that rape can be prevented by avoiding certain places and therefore blames the victim;
    • assumes a particular victim profile and therefore stigmatises him or her; and
    • entrenches racial and class prejudices.

    Facts:

    • the majority of rapes are committed by persons known to the victim;
    • date or acquaintance rape is very common; and
    • victims are often raped in their homes.

      Top of page

    Myth 2: Women Provoke Rape By The Way They Dress or Act

    Implications:

    • attempts to excuse rape and “blame the victim”;
    • assumes that a woman who draws attention is looking for sex or “deserves what she gets” ; and
    • re-victimises and stigmatises the victim.

    Facts:

    • dressing attractively and flirting is an invitation for attention and/or admiration, not for rape; and
    • only the rapist is responsible for the rape!

      Top of page

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    Rounding Up Racism, Misogyny And Craig Murray

    In Australia, there is no shortage of Far Right headbangers:

    “The Australian Protectionist Party firebrand joins a growing number of controversial far-right candidates chasing the xenophobic vote at next month’s council elections.

    Australia First, the anti-immigration party hoping to fill the political void left by One Nation, is running 23 candidates across western and south Sydney and the Blue Mountains, up from 15 at the last council poll.

    The party’s website takes aim at the Channel Ten program The Shire and its sprinkling of ethnic characters, labelling it ”media contrived assimilation”. Several candidates attempt to link urban sprawl and rate increases to immigration.

    The artist Sergio Redegalli, who painted the controversial ”Say no to burqas” sign outside his Newtown workshop, is making a first-time bid for Marrickville Council as an independent.

    Mr Folkes, 42, an industrial painter from Rozelle, wants Leichhardt council declared a ”sharia-free zone” and would scrap council grants to multicultural groups.
    ”There is a vacuum in politics at the moment. We believe that a lot of people, in time, will definitely vote for us,” he said.

    History indicates that day is a long way off. Mr Folkes attracted 289 votes, or 0.6 per cent of the vote, when he ran as an independent for the seat of Balmain last year.

    A University of Western Sydney immigration expert, Kevin Dunn, said only 12 per cent of Australians held negative views towards cultural diversity and that anti-immigration candidates typically polled badly.

    But their agendas could influence council decisions on issues such as building mosques or religious schools, especially during times of national unrest over boat arrivals.”

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