I hadn’t wanted to post on Assange whilst I have things going around in my mind, but I couldn’t resist linking to these first two perceptive articles.
Sofie Buckland’s Strauss-Kahn v. Assange look at the comparison between DSK’s conduct and that of Julian Assange, and how people relate to them. Critically, many on the Left are happy to criticize DSK but won’t venture a word of rebuke when it comes to Assange and rape:
“Counterfire have published an article by Lindsey German, questioning what it says about the French ‘left’ (or rather, Parti Socialiste) that a man with the reputation of Dominic Strauss-Kahn might be considered an acceptable Presidential candidate.
It takes the allegations made against him very seriously: the “truly shocking story”, with details of the accusations that Strauss-Kahn “physically and brutally” attacked a cleaner in his New York hotel room, is fully relayed.
The article doesn’t say he’s definitely guilty. Rightly: we don’t know yet. But it’s perfectly valid to discuss what the emerging picture of Strauss-Kahn’s behaviour tells us about the French political system and the sweeping under the carpet of vile sexist behaviour towards women in case it damages the cause.
Funny, then, that German is unable to apply the same analysis to the Julian Assange case. Of course, Wikileaks is of the left – German talks at great length on this video about the “great service they have done for us”, meaning the anti-war movement – unlike Parti Socialiste. She likes Wikileaks, thinks it needs defending, and so… participated in the exact same behaviour she’s accusing the French social democrats of here.”
Cath Elliott’s Rape is not……
On June 25th this year a letter was handed in to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London urging the Ecuadorian President to grant Assange asylum. Among the many high-profile signatories to the letter were Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Naomi Wolf, Danny Glover, Noam Chomsky and Jemima Khan.
After quite some preamble in which no mention is made of the allegations of rape and sexual molestation, just a brief throway “he is not wanted on criminal charges, but merely for questioning“, the signatories say:
”We also call on you to grant Mr. Assange political asylum because the “crime” that he has committed is that of practicing journalism.”
Rape. Journalism. Easy to confuse the two I know…. “
The Guardian’s Rafael Correa hits back over Ecuador’s press freedom and charge of hypocrisy:
“Quito is no place for the politically half-hearted. Locals are proud of their radicalism and burn effigies of politicians – including the current president – at raucous New Year’s Eve parades. Many feel it is their duty to kick out poorly performing leaders, something they have done with remarkable regularity.
After just five years in power, Correa is the longest-serving president in a century. US embassy cables described him as the most popular president the country had ever had. Without exception, everyone interviewed for this story said Correa had been good for Ecuador. Even the fiercest critics of his media policies praised the president’s work on health and education. As his cavalcade drove up to the interview venue, girls leaned out of the window and screamed as if they had seen a rock star.”
A humorous contribution from Love and garbage’s How do you write about foreign legal systems – The Guardian style guide.
Now for paranoid nonsense from Assange supporters at CounterFire’s Wikileaks: whose debate are we having?
“We should therefore be very suspicious when some campaigners are arguing the same line as the government: it is just about rape. It is certainly not about rape for the British government, but by claiming it is they hope to get Assange out of the way so they can continue to warmonger in peace. We need to expose what they are doing, stop them from dishonestly adopting the cause of the two Swedish women, and demand that the powers who use overwhelming violence across the world get out of the court room. “
Finally, The Assange case: common misconceptions at the @Objectiviser‘s blog is a must read.