Like many, I have read most of Orwell’s work, discussed and debated what he was trying to get at and even questioned some of his later decisions. Not unsurprisingly there is a lot to get to grips with. He was a multifaceted character living in turbulent times and profoundly affected by it.
David Aaronovitch does an excellent job in presenting the views of various scholars, friends and associates of Orwell. Nicely balanced. Over at the BBC Iplayer, The Road to Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Readers will remember how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) outsourced to Atos, eligibility assessments of the disabled. Atos, in return, have been roundly criticised for declaring people to be “fit for work” only to have them die a few weeks later. Charities and other organisations connected with disabilities have pointed out the flaws in Atos’s methodology.
But now, in a bizarre twist, Atos are outsourcing many of those assessments to the NHS.
So the Public sector outsources to the private sector, a nasty task, who in turn outsource it back to parts of, the once, Public sector.
From Lebanon, Hezbollah has been attacking Syrians with rockets.
In other news, a UN official wonders about food banks in Britain. I am just waiting for some idiot Tory to trumpet them, saying “…at least we are world leaders in food banks!”
The privatisation of education continues a pace as Gove brings in help to sack people.
Polly Toynbee on the bedroom tax and housing.
Not above shelf stacking.
Finally, NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests, well worth a read. I can’t even imagine how scathing George Orwell would have been, of a society which attacks the poorest and weakest whilst selling off the family silver, and for once a Tory was right about something.
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.
History Guide on Mary Wollstonecraft.
Virginia Tech’s electronic version of A vindication of the rights of woman.
Spartacus on Mary Wollstonecraft.
Some quotes from Mary Wollstonecraft.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry.
If you know of any other informative links, please leave a comment.
Julian Assange is exceedingly annoyed at the Guardian, as can be seen from @Wikileaks timeline on Twitter:
I am not terribly interested in Assange.
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:
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.
“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.”
“Your facts relating to this case are plain wrong. Julian Assange is facing four serious allegations. One of rape, two of sexual molestation and one of coercion relating to two Swedish women.
The allegations of sexual molestation and coercion relate to Miss A. The entire sexual experience she described to police appears altogether unpleasant and she details what exactly went wrong in her police statement. She does NOT claim she was raped.
The case involving Miss W is the one that constitutes rape. Judge Riddle in the UK said after reviewing the evidence that this would also be classified as rape in the UK.
Miss W is consistently misrepresented in what has become entirely inappropriate trial by twitter. Her police statement is consistent with a victim statement and she makes no indication in interview that she wants to retract her claim. This is entirely myth.
Miss W told police: “She cycled home, showered, and washed the bed sheets. Because she had not gone to work on time, she called in sick and stayed home all day. She wanted to clean up and wash everything. There was semen on the bed sheets; she thought it was disgusting. She also went to the chemist’s and bought a morning-after pill.
When she talked with her friends afterwards, she understood that she was the victim of a crime. She went to Danderyd Hospital, and from there to Söder Hospital where she was examined and where samples with a so-called rape kit were also taken.”
That does not sound like a women who has been tricked into reporting rape to the police.
Police reports states:
“They dozed off and she awoke and felt him penetrating her. She immediately asked, “Are you wearing anything?”, to which he replied, “You”. She said to him: “You better don’t have HIV”, and he replied, “Of course not”. “She felt that it was too late. He was already inside her and she let him continue. She didn’t have the energy to tell him one more time. She had gone on and on about condoms all night long. She has never had unprotected sex before.”
Police report includes this comment from the interviewer:
“In the course of the interview, Sofia and I were informed that Julian Assange had been arrested in absentia. After that, Sofia had difficulty concentrating, as a result of which I made the judgement that it was best to terminate the interview. But Sofia did mention that Assange was angry at her. There was not enough time to obtain any further information about why he was angry at her or how this was expressed. Nor did we have time to discuss what had happened afterwards. The interview was neither read back to Sofia nor read by her for approval; but Sofia was informed that she could do so at a later date.”
That to me reads that Miss W was in fact frightened of Julian Assange and that he had already indicated to her he was angry with her. Hearing that he had been arrested would have made her even more fearful as now he would probably be furious. There is no indication that Miss W wanted to withdraw her claim or was concerned for Assange’s well being.
What is clear is she is frightened of him.
Where does it say anywhere that Miss W wanted to withdraw her statement, refused to sign her statement or felt sorry that Assange was being misrepresented?
I have read enough about this case to see there is a legitimate serious of allegations that Julian Assange must answer and that he appears to be at best a reckless sex creep or at worse a rapist. It remains up to a formal trial to determine his guilt or innocence but to claim Julian Assange has nothing to answer is to indeed, in my books, to be seen as a rape apologist.
There is no real evidence that the US plans to extradite Assange from Sweden and in fact there is a wealth of evidence supporting the notion it would be impossible for them to do so. These incidents occurred a month after Bradley Manning was arrested and when Assange had applied for residency in Sweden. No mention of possible US extradition or rendition back then.
Facts are adding up that Julian Assange is doing everything he can to avoid having to go back to Sweden, as he earlier promised. Should all the legal barriers to him returning be exhausted and he is forced back I suspect he will renew his character assassination of these two women.
How any women, or man for that matter can support active avoidance of a proper Swedish trial here is beyond me.
The old adage, follow the money, is so often right.
Wikileaks has seriously changed its policy towards freedom of information, now you have to pay for it.
Information and data, which were given freely to Wikileaks, is only available behind a paywall, as Wired reports:
“Secret-spilling site WikiLeaks has moved millions of documents behind a paywall, prompting blowback from elements of an underground ally, the hacking group Anonymous, including one well-known member to conclude that it “cannot support anymore what WikiLeaks has become.”
Upon clicking on any of the site’s documents, including “Cablegate: 250,000 US Embassy Diplomatic Cables,” which is said to have came from alleged WikiLeaks-leaker Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks visitors are taken to a page with a video that lambastes Barack Obama and ends with WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange asking for donations. To access documents, one can donate, share the video on Facebook or tweet it. The fullscreen overlay cannot be closed unless a donation is made or something is shared, though the video does not appear over every document dump. “
I have no doubt that Julian Assange will provide a rationalisation along the lines of “we need money to fight for greater transparency/freedom of information/against state organisations”, etc.
All tripe, but his decreasing band of gullible supporters might buy it.
Being stuck in a room in Ecuador’s London embassy is not terribly costly, but I suppose Assange must provide for his retirement and Ecuador could be expensive, evenif he gets there and has to grease any wheels along the way.
As with some many things in life it comes down to grubby money.
As the Drum puts it:
“Wikileaks, the whistleblowing website which prides itself on providing free access to information, has erected a paywall… to the bafflement of its supporters, most prominently Anonymous.
Dubbed a ‘donation’ the mandatory payments are required to be made in order to access several of Wikileaks document files, including its Global Intelligence Files, Spy Files, Guantanamo Files and Iraq War Logs.
It is justified by way of a Youtube video which asks about the expectation that US voters should have over their politicians and what they can expect from whoever wins the election. These questions are each answered by Obama stating ‘Yes we can’ taken from an address he made during the last presidential campaign.
The video claims that Wikileaks can help run America by donating to the whistle blowing website and ends with the voice of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange who states ‘I’m Julian Assange and I approve this message’. “
The Guardian covers Assange’s self-pity:
“What else? Ken Loach has donated a running machine, on which Assange runs three to five miles a day. Every two days, he works out with a former SAS officer.
Quite where he finds the room is unclear. He shares a bathroom, but has his own tiny en-suite kitchen. At one end of the room, he has squeezed a round conference table for meeting journalists and colleagues. In front of the window (and he moans about daylight!) stand four tall shelves – sparsely filled with files, CDs for burning, pens, and a printer. There’s a Spanish dictionary, for conversing with embassy staff, and a book about Guantánamo.
Assange claims he works a 17-hour day – but he still finds a suspicious amount of time for watching films. The West Wing and The Twilight Zone are current favourites, he says, as is a film about Aborigine rights: This is How You’ll Make Your Bed in Prison.
And how does Assange make his own bed, a single mattress lying on the floor? “Clumsily”, says the Mail – though “reports of a lack of self-care seem wide of the mark”.
But it’s not all fun and games. Outside, he moans, “there is an absurdly oppressive police presence”. And we thought Bradley Manning had it tough. “
“Mon Oct 15 04:19:15 UTC 2012
Basic solidarity in WikiLeaks & Anonymous.
By Julian Assange
Freedom isn’t free, justice isn’t free and solidarity isn’t
free. They all require generosity, self-discipline, courage and a sense of perspective.
Groups with unity flourish and those without unity are
destroyed and replaced by those who have it.
Traditional armies gain unity through isolation, ritualized
obedience, and through coercive measures applied to
dissenters up to and including death.
Groups who do not have techniques of unity derived from
solidarity and common cause will be dominated by groups with coercive unity.
In the end it is the techniques of unity that dominate our
civilization. Unified groups grow and multiply. Groups which lack unity imperil themselves and their allies.
It doesn’t matter what principles a group espouses. If it
is not able to demonstrate basic unity it will be dominated
by alliances that do.
When a group grows large the public press becomes a medium through which the group talks to itself. This gives the public press influence over the groups self-awareness. The public press has its agendas. So do insiders who speak to it.
For large groups, group insiders who interface with the public press are able to lever themselves into a position of internal influence via press influence.
Because Anonymous is anonymous, those who obtain this or other forms of leadership influence can be secretly decapitated and replaced by other interests.
This is exactly what happened in the Sabu affair. An
important part of Anonymous ended up being controlled by the FBI. The cooption of its most visible figure, Sabu, was then used to entrap others.
FBI agents or informers have subsequently run entrapment
operations against WikiLeaks presenting as figures from
According to FBI indictments the FBI has at various times
controlled Anonymous servers. We must assume that currently
a substantial number of Anonymous severs and “leadership”
figures are compromised. This doesn’t mean Anonymous
should be paralyzed by paranoia. But it must recognize the
reality of infiltration. The promotion of “anonhosting.biz”
and similar assets which are indistinguishable from an
entrapment operations must not be tolerated.
The strength of Anonymous was not having leadership or
other targetable assets. When each person has little
influence over the whole, and no assets have special
significance, compromise operations are expensive
and ineffective. The cryptography used in Friends of
WikiLeaks is based on this principle while WikiLeaks as
an organization has a well tested public leadership cohort
inorder to prevent covert leadership replacement.
Assets create patronage and conflict around asset
control. This includes virtual assets such as servers,
Twitter accounts and IRC channels.
The question Anonymous must ask is does it want to be
a mere gang (“expect us”) or a movement of solidarity. A
movement of solidaarity obtains its unity through common value and through the symbolic celebration of individuals whose actions strive towards common virtues.
Assessing the statement by “@AnonymousIRC”.
In relation to alleged associates of WikiLeaks. It is
rarely in an alleged associates interest, especially
early in a case, for us to be seen to be helping them
or endorsing them. Such actions can be used as evidence
against them. It raises the prestige stakes for prosecutors
who are likely to use these alleged associates in a public
proxy war against WikiLeaks. We do not publicly campaign
for alleged associates until we know their legal team
approves and our private actions must remain private. This calculous should be obvious.
Several weeks ago, WikiLeaks began a US election related
donations campaign which expires on election day, Nov 6.
The WikiLeaks campaign pop-up, which, was activated weeks
ago, requires tweeting, sharing, waiting or donating once
Torrents, unaffected even by this pop-up remain available
from the front page.
These details should have been clearer but were available
to anyone who cared to read. The exact logic and number of
seconds are in the page source. We are time and resource
constrained. We have many battles to deal with. Other than
adding a line of clarification, we have not changed the
campaign and nor do we intend to.
We know it is annoying. It is meant to be annoying. It is
there to remind you that the prospective destruction of
WikiLeaks by an unlawful financial blockade and an array
of military, intelligence, DoJ and FBI investigations,
and associated court cases is a serious business.
WikiLeaks faces unprecedented costs due to involvement
in over 12 concurrent legal matters around the world,
including our litigation of the US military in the Bradley
Manning case. Our FBI file as of the start of the year
had grown to 42,135 pages.
US officials stated to Australian diplomats the the
investigation into WikiLeaks is of “unprecedented scale
and nature”. Our people are routinely detained. Our editor
was imprisoned, placed under house arrest for 18 months,
and is now encircled in an embassy in London where he has
been formally granted political asylum. Our people and
associates are routinely pressured by the FBI to become
informers against our leadership.
Since late 2010 we have been under an unlawful financial
blockade. The blockade was found to be unlawful in the
Icelandic courts, but the credit companies have appealed
to the Supreme Court. Actions in other jurisdictions are
in progress, including a European Commission investigation
which has been going for over a year.
Despite this we have won every publishing battle and
prevailed over every threat. Last month the Pentagon
reissued its demands for us to cease publication of
military materials and to cease “soliciting” US military
sources. We will prevail there also, not because we are
adept, although we are, but because to do so is a virtue
that creates common cause.
Embassy of Ecuador
To some Julian Assange can do no wrong, but he’s increasingly losing friends.
“A statement posted on the Anonymous Twitter account, AnonymousIRC, described WikiLeaks as “the one man Julian Assange show” after the website began asking users to pay for access to millions of leaked documents.
“The idea behind WikiLeaks was to provide the public with information that would otherwise be kept secret by industries and governments. Information we strongly believe the public has a right to know,” said the statement on behalf of Anonymous.
“But this has been pushed more and more into the background, instead we only hear about Julian Assange, like he had dinner last night with Lady Gaga. That’s great for him but not much of our interest. We are more interested in transparent governments and bringing out documents and information they want to hide from the public.”
Anonymous has long been one of WikiLeaks’s most loyal and vocal allies. Supporters bearing Anonymous posters regularly turned out at Assange’s public announcements, and members of the group have waged an online campaign against critics of the whistleblowers’ site.
WikiLeaks said it is funded entirely by donations from members of the public. The site angered some users on Thursday after it made a donation page automatically appear before it allowed access to leaked documents. Some users are unable to view WikiLeaks material unless they choose to donate money to the site. WikiLeaks said on Twitter that the move was an attempt to counter what it called “high costs in military courts”.
In the statement, Anonymous told its 285,000 followers that WikiLeaks was an “awesome idea ruined by egos” and claimed the site had abandoned the ideals of freedom of expression. “
Julian Assange’s escape into the Ecuadorian embassy has had financial ramifications for some of his supporters, they will have to cough up the money they put up a sureties:
“Backers who stood as sureties for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before he took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds.
Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said the nine had to pay £93,500 by November 6.
Vaughan Smith, a friend who put Assange up at his country mansion for more than a year, addressed Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week on behalf of the nine, who put up £140,000 between them.
He said all those who offered sureties, of varying amounts, are “convinced that they have done and are doing the right thing”.
In his ruling, the Chief Magistrate said he accepted that the nine had all acted in good faith, saying: “I accept that they trusted Mr Assange to surrender himself as required. I accept that they followed the proceedings and made necessary arrangements to remain in contact with him.
“However, they failed in their basic duty, to ensure his surrender. They must have understood the risk and the concerns of the courts.
“Both this court and the High Court assessed that there were substantial grounds to believe the defendant would abscond, and that the risk could only be met by stringent conditions including the sureties,” he said.
Sky News details the amount involved:
“Vaughan Smith has been told to pay £12,000, while another three – Caroline Evans, Phillip Knightley and John Sulston – must each pay £15,000.
Five others – Tricia David, Joseph Farrell, Sarah Harrison, Sarah Saunders and Tracy Worcester – were ordered to pay amounts of between £3,500 and £12,000.”
It makes you wonder why his supporters were arguing that they should be immune from penalty when Assange broke his bail conditions. L’exception Assange?
Still, I doubt Assange’s wealthy supporters will suffer from penury. I imagine that someone such as Vaughan Smith could easily afford £12,000, as long as he laid off the fine wines!
They shouldn’t grumble, their hero has done what he thought best for him.
His rich supporters are paying for their principles, which surely is the best way to prove they have any? But I can’t see him getting any more money from them in future. Once bitten?
Update 1: The Torygraph has more:
“The judge took into account the fact that losing all of their money would have a “significant” impact on some of the sureties, including Prof Tricia David, a retired academic; Sarah Saunders, a friend whose house in East Sussex was a bail address for Mr Assange; and Vaughan Smith, a journalist who owns the Norfolk manor house where he originally stayed after his arrest in 2010.
He added that he “cannot avoid taking some account of their integrity”, and ruled that he would not forfeit “more than is necessary” to protect the system.
The judge ruled that all nine must pay the money demanded in full by November 6th or appear in front of him to say why they should “not be committed to custody for non-payment”.
Under section 120 (3) of the 1980 Magistrates Court Act, he ruled that Prof David must pay £10,000; Lady Evans, the wife of a former Labour minister, £15,000; Joseph Farrell and Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks aides, £3,500 each; Phillip Knightley, a journalist, £15,000; Ms Saunders, £12,000; Mr Smith, £12,000; Sir John Sulston, a biologist, £15,000; and Tracy Worcester, the Marchioness of Worcester, £7,500.
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.”
“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. “
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
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
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
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. “
Below is the summary from page 80 of Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 213, 10 September 2012 detailing Julian Assange’s complaint.
Complaint by Mr Julian Assange
True Stories: WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies, More 4, 29 November 2011
Summary: Ofcom’s decision is that this complaint made by Mr Julian Assange of unjust or unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy in the broadcast of the programme should not be upheld.
The programme charted the history of WikiLeaks1 and featured contributions from Mr Assange, a number of employees from The Guardian and other newspapers. Other contributors, such as a former employee of WikiLeaks and others who came into contact with Mr Assange or who were affected by the impact of the material that was published by WikiLeaks, also featured and gave their opinions on WikiLeaks, Mr Assange and related matters.
Mr Assange complained to Ofcom that he was treated unjustly or unfairly in the
programme as broadcast and that his privacy was unwarrantably infringed in the
Ofcom found as follows:
- Mr Assange did provide his informed consent to appear in the programme;
- Material facts were presented in a way that was not unfair to Mr Assange and omitting certain facts or points raised by Mr Assange did not create unfairness in the programme as broadcast;
- Mr Assange was provided with a timely and appropriate opportunity to respond to the points in the programme; and
- Mr Assange did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in relation to the footage of him dancing in a nightclub in Iceland, which was included in the programme. “
The PDF and full details can be found here.
Update 1:The programme which was first broadcast on 29 November 2011 is accessible on Channel 4′s site.
Update 2: A YouTube copy is available too.
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. “
Keeping track of the Julian Assange saga is frequently troublesome and tiring, but to make life easier this is a round up. If I have missed anything, please leave a comment and I will update the post.
Peter’s always on the ball, More WikiWeirdness.
Göran Rudling on The Assange case: Naomi Wolf errs on facts and basic geography.
WikiWatch details how ABC Australia’s 4 Corners program contained inaccuracies and omissions.
Louisa Loveluck’s Julian Assange extradition: six myths debunked is a few weeks old, but very relevant.
Carl Packman’s Conspiracies and Insensitivity – Everything the Left Should Avoid is good.
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.
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. “
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.
“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. “
“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.
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. “
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.