Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wikileaks: The Cable Guys

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    In the absence of more facts and with the assumption of innocence this is a silly point to judge him on.

    In context, I think this was merely mocking the claim that Assange's sexual escapades make him fascinating, rather than a judgment of obvious guilt.

    So far as I can see he's a fairly normal guy in the sleeping around stakes - he's traded on his notoriety to pick up some easy no-strings attached shags. This is how he sees it, I expect. And, like a colossal number of people, he doesn't like condoms. I sure don't. We'll find out soon enough whether a court finds that his refusal to wear one, or continuing sex when one broke was accompanied by anything remotely resembling rape.

    Well, maybe not THAT seriously, since the charges were instantly thrown out, and then reopened only after Assange embarrassed some of the most powerful people on the planet.

    Quite, although I suspect the throwing out had less to do with "not taking rape seriously" and more to do with "recognizing a hopeless case", considering he had skipped the country, and the evidence was the usual problematic testimony of word-vs-word, and it doesn't sound like shocking crimes of violence. His sudden leap into the public spotlight made it much less hopeless - obviously so since he's now turned himself in. It's quite possible the Swedes still only want him on the rape and other charges, to get his side of the story as a statement, and are simply being opportunist. It could still be vexatious, but you can't really show that until you at least front up to tell your story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    I think the fact that both women were sympathetic to his cause suggests that fucking the cause up isn't their highest priority. It's actually about getting back at him personally. Whether vexatiously or not is still not public knowledge, but if I were in the lawyer's shoes and realized my target had launched himself into the public spotlight, that could only be good for my case. No conspiracy is really needed to explain why now would seem like the best time to catch Assange.

    Edit: Oh, and also to catch public limelight, good free advertising for lawyers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • FletcherB, in reply to BenWilson,

    Oh, and also to catch public limelight, good free advertising for lawyers.

    I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, to believe lawyers could think or behave in such a manner...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report

  • Danielle,

    In context, I think this was merely mocking the claim that Assange’s sexual escapades make him fascinating, rather than a judgment of obvious guilt.

    THANK YOU, Ben. That rather obnoxious cherry-picking does your argument no favours, Danyl.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Yeah yeah, the Swedish judiciary are all a pack of CIA stooges. I got the memo.

    Indeed. To the extent that they were spying on CIA’s secret rendition programme.

    On Säpo’s orders, Swedish military intelligence agents dressed up as airport service personnel and boarded the plane. The agents reported back that the plane was carrying prisoners.

    Interesting #cablegate stuff.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to FletcherB,

    The fact that the lawyer's interest in causing Assange embarrassment aligns with just about everyone who has an embarrassing revelation in Wikileaks, is probably coincidental. They're under no obligation whatsoever to treat him in a friendly way, indeed they'd be remiss if they squandered such a golden opportunity.

    If the justice system in Europe as a whole allows the case to carry on ad nauseum if it is actually clearly vexatious, could hint at more sinister hubris. But this is the flip-side of rape cases. Just as they are hard to prosecute even if the accused is guilty, they're also hard to avoid the taint of, even if innocent. The cases still get to be heard because the accusation is still very serious.

    This, if anywhere, is where the lawyer could be acting against the interests of their clients. The court of public opinion could end up weighing very heavily against these women. Are their names likely to remain secret, when they're up against the very King of Leaks? I hope this is not the case, that they are aware of what they have signed up for, and are OK about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Don Christie, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, your comments to others in this forum are abusive, bullying and insulting. I don't think they would be tolerated in other fora with similar goals for inclusive discussion. It's one thing to vigorously disagree it is quite another to take the line and tone you are taking.

    Seriously, would Russell tolerate this shit from anyone else?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Elsewhere, Reason senior editor Michael C. Moynihan fisks the idea that Anna Ardin is a CIA ho-mole.

    BTW, folks, Reason is an American libertarian magazine and Moynihan makes it perfectly clear he's not sympathetic with what he calls "the overly broad Swedish conception of rape." YMMV, of course - but good on his for owning that he pushed in the misinformation that in Sweden "consensual sex without a condom" is considered rape in Sweden. Perhaps someone could tell John Campbell that the next time he has an Assange mouthpiece on his show.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Russell Brown,

    In the internet/computer age the concept of privacy is evolving. Already, the Gaga kids of the Facebook generation have re-defined privacy (something our salacious steam age media is struggling to catch up with) to be something else than what someone older like yourself might think it is – and it will evolve again in the next ten years, probably in the same direction as it is already going. I can only assume you think history has no relevance here, but it has been less than 200 years since people strenuously opposed the establishment of the first police force on the grounds it would inevitably lead to dictatorship (and given the surveillance state Britain has turned into they may yet eventually be proved right). We’ve already seen what evil can be achieved when efficient paper based bureaucracies are turned to malevolent ends in the USSR, Nazi Germany or even Apartheid South Africa, and now we have ever more efficient data collating, storing and sharing across multiple government agencies – currently benevolent, but who can guarantee that state of affairs will continue forever?

    The sorts of electronic records governments hold on us (and themselves) is unprecedented in all history. The technology to create and store these records in electronic form has only been around for twenty, maybe twenty five years. Who knows what information state agencies can summon at the click of a mouse on any of us? If we did know, it is odds on many of us would be shocked at the pettiness, the inaccuracies, the ease with the state has harassed and judged us. It is truism that knowledge is power. Much of the power that the state and it’s agencies has over us and our freedoms derives from the assumption of an absolute veil of secrecy in its dealings – often a veil of secrecy justified by a fig leaf of privacy.

    Given the rapidly evolving nature of privacy in the electronic age and that these types of records are a new phenomena in history (although we are well informed of what evils they can potentially serve) it seems to me at least worth considering that Wikileaks offers a paradox around our liberties and privacy – that perhaps the best interests of us all are not served by reflexive secrecy of comprehensive records, but are rather better served by exactly what Wikileaks is doing right now in exposing the naked Emperors of our ruling class, and by extension by opening up to general scrutiny all the records the state might have on us.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • Danielle,

    yup. the hysteria surrounding this seems to be masking what is normal behaviour.

    Jesus. You know, I find it deeply fucking annoying to be patronisingly informed around the interwebs that – gasp! – people sometimes initiate sex when one partner is asleep or half-asleep. The undertone of all this discussion being that of course we *hysterical feminists* wouldn’t understand that because we’re so *frigid*, or whatever. If someone hasn’t woken up to acquiesce to your advances, and you have no previous agreement on this matter (no long-term relationship, no earlier discussion), it’s actually NOT AT ALL COOL to continue fucking them.

    (I stress again that I have no opinion on the guilt or innocence of Assange and, additionally, I bet he *is* being more thoroughly hounded than any other potential sex offender because of Wikileaks. But the way this particular issue is being discussed is peeving me hugely.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Don Christie,

    Ask Russell, Don, and I'll accept his ruling. His house, his rules, and the rest of us are just guests.

    But, frankly dear, the idea that I get "favoured nation" status from RB is simply absurd -- and I've got plenty of evidence on and off-line to back it up. If I cross a line I'll get slapped down like everyone else - no more, but certainly no less.

    If you want to bitch me, fine -- if you can't take it, you shouldn't dish it. But I sincerely think you owe Russell an apology for an unfair and inaccurate attack on his integrity.

    FWIW, watching some Assage-defenders go to town on the complainants just increases my respect for abuse victims like Louise Nicholas who won't shut up and go away. On the downside, it sure reminded me why I didn't disclose my own sexual assault for many years -- the consequences, not least an effective outing, would have been catastrophic.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    If I may briefly interject in the Socratic discussion, couple more choice quotes (with links for further reading) on the issue of secrecy in diplomacy from my, well, er, usual source.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    The undertone of all this discussion being

    Most of the flaming on this thread seems to be a reaction to undertones. This is not uncommon when facts are scant on the ground, everyone's speculating, and that shows their particular hobby horses, and straw men are everywhere.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    And one should never mix flaming and straw men. It's basic safety, people.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    On the contrary, they're natural bedfellows. Turning up to a flame war without a straw man is like not chat-fragging people on principle.

    Edit: For the record, I didn't chat frag without justification (and getting one's frag count up was not justification).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Don Christie,

    Seriously, would Russell tolerate this shit from anyone else?

    I’ve been back through the last two or three pages and I can’t really see what you’re talking about Don (and please don’t make me review the whole thread). TBH, I thought your unwarranted crack about me enforcing an “editorial policy” on discussion of Wikileaks was more offensive.

    As Craig says, I’m not shy about giving Craig (or anyone else) a rap when he has crossed the line – I’m just not seeing it right now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Danielle,

    no no, that was directed at one of Craig's diatribes, not the victims of sexual assault.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report

  • Manakura, in reply to chris,

    e Chris, i tahae koe i tērā whakatauki mai i te māori dictionary.com pea? SNAP! hei aha, he whakatauki pono hei katakata au! :-) en'ari, he aha te honotan'a mai i te you-tube clip ki n'a whiti whakatūpato? kore e kitea

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report

  • James Butler, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    my, well, er, usual source

    Please continue - I am far from tired of having my attention drawn to this wonderful writer.

    "Blogs that from a long way off look like flies" indeed!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Che Tibby,

    no no, that was directed at one of Craig's diatribes, not the victims of sexual assault.

    Wow. Just wow. I'm going to go away now, otherwise Russell will have to bring out the tear gas and riot gear. I don't really need gas to be choking back tears, right about now. Thanks.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    It might be worth everyone reading The Guardian’s interview with the complainants’ lawyer, Claes Borgström, if only for some balance to the widely-reported statements from Assange’s lawyers:

    Whether Assange will be prosecuted in Sweden on the four charges of rape, sexual molestation, and coercion against him depends on whether or not the Swedish director of prosecutions, Marianne Ny, finds enough evidence to be confident that the case will stand up in court. Before she does that, she needs to question Assange further, and may also need to question the women again.

    The probability of the prosecution going ahead is around 50-50, or perhaps a little more than that, Borgström said.

    In the same story:

    Assange’s reputation is less the focus of scrutiny online, but an acquaintance who met him and both women in Stockholm around the time of the alleged assaults told the Guardian he had warned Assange that his behaviour towards women was going to get him into trouble.

    “I don’t think it was a conspiracy, but this provided a golden opportunity for the enemies of WikiLeaks to use the situation to neutralise him,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous. “A personality like Assange, who is known throughout the world, in the media every day, has a huge attraction to women. A lot of women invited him to their beds and he took that opportunity too much … all the time.

    “I spoke to him about this. I warned him that it was not a good way to behave ethically and also in terms of his security. His weakness was – is – women. I warned him it would cause him trouble.”

    He said women responded to him in the way they might respond to meeting Mick Jagger. “When you attract that many women you have to think about how you behave,” he said.

    I know it’s not quite as exciting to contemplate as a sprawling CIA honeytrap plot, but sometimes more mundane explanations are worth considering.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Deleted by poster

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • HORansome, in reply to Che Tibby,

    no no, that was directed at one of Craig's diatribes, not the victims of sexual assault.

    Perhaps, if you were to carefully read what Craig has written, you might realise just how callous what it is you have just said.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes. Can I make an appeal for people to have a bloody think about what they're saying?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Also, for purposes of clarity, the Wikipedia on the Swedish Social Democratic Party, of which both one of the complainants and their lawyer are members.

    The party is part of the current Red-Green leftist Opposition coalition. I've read so much rubbish implying that Borgstrom is a powerful government politician that this seems to need saying.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

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