redsage: (towersage)
[personal profile] redsage
I posted this to Facebook, and it bears repeating here.

I am really disgusted by people who would normally find it unacceptable to dismiss rape charges without trial but who suddenly think that's ok because it's their hero who stands accused. This article says it better than I can:

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/12/07/julian_assange_rape_accuser_smeared/index.html

One thing that gets me is that people seem to see this as either exactly true OR politically motivated. It's entirely possible that it's both.

Here's a possible scenario: girl has a fucked up sexual encounter with Assange where she asks him to stop and he doesn't. She believes in his mission, fundraises for him. Even after this encounter, she still believes in what he's doing - but feels conflicted, violated. She stays quiet. Things heat up, and she is approached by others who ask her about the situation. Maybe they tell her they have ties to those who hate WL, maybe they don't. They show her the endless praise for Assange from certain segments, and it makes her sick. They convince her that her violation is more important than staying quiet.

Did it happen like that? No idea. I don't know either of them. But I have seen that situation happen before on a less international scale, and it's totally plausible. It really bothers me that people are so ready to dismiss this out of hand because the timing is convenient for certain world powers.

Whether or not the accusation is politically motivated has NO bearing on whether or not it's true. Anita Hill didn't say anything about having been harassed by Justice Thomas until his confirmation hearings, and I don't think that makes her testimony any less credible either.

The real question here is whether Assange and his accuser can get a fair trial at this point, and if so, where. It would deeply upset me if a politically-motivated false accusation were the means by which Assange was removed from the world stage, just as it would upset me if a true accusation were dismissed without fair trial either because of perceived heroism or because of suspicion of a setup.

Date: 2010-12-08 08:07 pm (UTC)
kmusser: (Confusion)
From: [personal profile] kmusser
Very true, a friend pointed me to http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B669H20101207?ca=rdt which gives a much clearer picture of the charges against him than most reports.

Date: 2010-12-08 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drjon.livejournal.com
Bloody good points you make.

Date: 2010-12-08 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tenacious-snail.livejournal.com
Thank you.

I have a strongly frustrated response to the media and political situations here...You've helped me nail down some of the what and the why.

Date: 2010-12-09 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] purveyorofchaos.livejournal.com
Thank you for this.

Date: 2010-12-09 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] longobord.livejournal.com
After reading what the allegations and charges were, I think discussion of "rape" in this context is kind of inappropriate. Although the charge is technically rape, the only reason either of the women in question appear to regret their encounter with him is fear of STDs. It was my understanding that these charges were filed in an attempt to get him to get tested.

I think the fact that he wouldn't get tested makes Assange a huge prick for ignoring the women's requests, but that's neither here nor there. It's easy to see how this has escalated into a highly political thing as a result, though. Rape isn't the same thing at all, and I think it's really unfortunate that the two issues are being conflated in this discussion.

Date: 2010-12-09 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyrsalvia.livejournal.com
Yes, I don't disagree with you from my understanding of the situation. My comments were less about the situation itself and much more about the idiotic and antifeminist way many people have been talking about the situation (many of whom know far less about it than you or I do).

Date: 2010-12-09 02:13 am (UTC)
michiexile: (Default)
From: [personal profile] michiexile
Notice that «rape» is in part a question of translation. The charge is for «våldtäkt», the legal definition of which involves sexual interactions equivalent with penetrative sex in situations that include one of:
1. violence
2. threat of violence
3. threat of criminal acts
4. inappropriate utilization of unconsciousness, sleep, intoxication, illness, bodily injury, mental disorders or other circumstances leading to a state of helplessness

As one of the Reuters reports states that one of the charges was that JA had had sex with one of the women, initiated while she was sleeping, and with disregard for her assent conditional on condom use, it actually falls under definition clause 4.

Whether that Reuters report is accurate or not is a different question, and one I _REALLY_ would want to see a court settle instead of Random Internet Opinions and press releases from Assange's attorneys. That the charges that are rumored to have been brought fall within the defining scope of «våldtäkt» is however pretty clear.

Date: 2010-12-09 02:08 am (UTC)
michiexile: (Default)
From: [personal profile] michiexile
Yes! Yes! Thank you! Yes! I've gotten so frustrated by the discourse that I've been dropping people from my twitter feed, and withdrawn from several fora, just so I can avoid reading the rape apologists and the “let's jump up and down on Sweden's judicial system” crowd.

Instead, I've been spending some time reading up on primary and right-language sources and translating and explaining for [livejournal.com profile] maradydd, hoping she can distill it into something people can read and actually digest some of the contributing factors that have helped make the current situation.

Such as, for instance, the investigation obligation. Once Swedish police has a reasonable suspicion, a victim cannot withdraw the charge any longer. Or the differentiated grades of arrest; the warrant for Assange is fundamentally different from a US arrest warrant. Or the role of rape in Swedish law, where absence of consent, not violence is a fundamental tenet. As an example, one of the Reuters articles describe how one of the charges was that JA had sex with one of the women while she was sleeping, and disregarding her stated wishes conditioning her original consent. This is pretty clearcut the milder grade of rape in Swedish law, and backed up as such by some of the historical cases: non-consensual sex while the non-consenting partner is more or less unconscious _is_ by the text of our law rape: there's nothing subtle about that.

Rambling over. As for a fair trial, this is probably a part of why all we hear is from the defense attorneys (who, obviously, have their angle and spin talking to the press). When Sweden's prime minister, Olof Palme, was murdered 1986, the resulting criminal case got polluted by massive press coverage before a witness confrontation with one of the main suspects had been performed. Thus, the evidence from that confrontation was considered not enough to prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt, and the main suspect could not be convicted. The original press interaction back in august was a HUGE mistake, and is a big deal within the prosecutorial office, but with this background I am in no way surprised that the prosecutors are clamming up the way they are.

Date: 2010-12-09 08:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] twopiearr.livejournal.com
The real question here is whether Assange and his accuser can get a fair trial at this point, and if so, where.

Short answer, I believe, is "no." Without a "but..." even.

Fact of life - if you are a person of political interest who makes life difficult for major governments, they will make you go away - they have the entire resources of their respective states. Some need to keep up more appearances than others, but all have ways and means.

I agree with your scenario as entirely likely, and frankly it proves that Assange is stupid, regardless of his culpability to the allegations. If I was Assange, I would not have gone public. If going public was inevitable, I would never leave the house. If never leaving the house was impossible, I would never interact with anyone except in necessary, above-the-board transactions.

It's at best incredibly unlikely that we'll ever know what happened, and it's equally unlikely that this situation will not result in Assange going to prison for a very long time, whether he's guilty or not. And that is a terrible thing, because those two likelihoods together make a mockery of the word "justice" for all parties involved.

Date: 2010-12-09 08:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iki-maska.livejournal.com
I've seen both responses. Presumed innocence and presumed guilt. Both approaches are inappropriate. Any speculation about what did or did not happen is entirely that. Speculation.

Ordinarily, people get picked up quickly and answer to such charges. In this case, the accused has some very real concerns which IMHO may justify some delays in facing justice. Assange is also entitled to the whole "presumed innocent" thing (although that seems to have gone out the window in recent days).

Nor am I going to be an armchair expert about how one should deal with some quite exceptional circumstances.

He'll face the music, unless he turns up dead first.

Date: 2010-12-09 05:21 pm (UTC)
treecat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] treecat
yes Autumn, exactly.

with the horrendously bad job most or all new outlets are doing with all stories of potential interest these days it's a relief to hear real people say sensible things.

Date: 2010-12-15 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agnoster.livejournal.com
I've been thinking a lot of the same stuff. The way people feel it's okay to talk about the women involved ranges from disappointing to disgusting. One of the tragedies here is that it's almost certain that the *manner* in which the accusations are being pursued is entirely politically motivated (an Interpol red alert and being held without bail for this level of accusation is pretty much unheard of), thus meaning basically *both* a) rapists can get away with whatever unless they make powerful enemies and b) whistleblowers can have their lives ruined on trumped-up charges.

Whether or not he's guilty (not being omniscient, kind of hard to say), the whole way the process is going down means bad things either way.
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