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Julian Assange, Allegations of Rape, and Accountability

Julian Assange, Allegations of Rape, and Accountability

Amid all the holiday talk this past week about last-minute shopping and wrapping gifts and eggnog, a highly charged ‘discussion’ (understatement) has been going on concerning  #mooreandme, the Twitter campaign undertaken by blogger Sady Doyle to support the two Swedish women who have filed rape charges against Julian Assange and to protest Michael Moore’s $20,000 contribution to his bail. As Care2′s Jessica Pieklo wrote:

The purpose behind the campaign was not to shame Moore, Olbermann, or anyone for that matter.  The purpose of the campaign was to issue a call to progressive men to stand with the women in their lives and put an end to rape culture.  Those pushing back against rape culture sent messages to both Moore and Olbermann’s Twitter account with the #MooreandMe hashtag, simply asking them to apologize for the way they dismissed the rape charges and to see how by not doing so they continue a culture that accepts, as normal, violence against women. 

That message was lost on Moore and Olbermann, at least temporarily, as Olbermann “quit” Twitter for three days and Moore just refused to answer. But then something happened.  They got it–at least Moore got it.  And on national television, on the Rachel Maddow show, looked right in the camera and said that allegations of violence against women must always be taken seriously and that any suggestion otherwise is inexcusable.  That’s it.

But it doesn’t mean that Assange or many (most) of his defenders are getting it. 

Over a week ago, the December 17th Guardian‘s reported the full allegations against Assange. Assange’s defenders are claiming that the two women were part of a ‘honeytrap’ in a wider conspiracy against him. The fact that the women were supporters of Wikileaks and of Assange, is being held against them and used to belittle their charges of rape.

But it could also be said that Assange took advantage of the two women’s support (one woman had arranged his trip to Sweden back in August) and even trust in him, in more than one way.   

As Sarah Posner writes in a December 20th Religion Dispatches article, How Julian Assange Is Like A Televangelist:  

Assange’s defenders apparently believe that although his mantra is holding governments accountable, he need not be accountable (nor should Moore or Olbermann). 

Assange, Posner continues is ‘the authoritarian televangelist’  who calls on us to give, give, give him your money to support his (higher, morally superior) cause, with, as she notes, one caveat: 

…..don’t question me. I will bring you salvation — or a trove of embarrassing government documents — but don’t ask any questions.

If we’re talking accountability, and those who are on the one hand accused of criminal acts, and who on the other hand invoke a higher authority and seem to think that a different kind of morality applies to them, a comparison could also be made between Assange and the too many priests accused, (and in some cases convicted) of sexual abuse against children and others. 
Like Assange, many clerics in the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church have acted as if they need not be accountable to the laws and moral standards that the rest of us, and more than a few have been shielded by church authorities (including, here in New Jersey, the Archbishop of Newark).

A column in the December 22nd The Nation sums up the dilemma faced by those who wish to support Assange in the name of free speech and truth, and who seem (like Moore and Olbermann) to be struggling with the rape allegations:

‘WikiLeaks is revealing information citizens need to know—it’s a good thing. Assange may or may not have committed sex crimes according to Swedish law. Why is it so hard to hold those two ideas at once?’

It remains to be seen if Assange might be chosen as 2010′s ‘Person of the Year.’ But one thing’s for sure: the story of Julian Assange—hero of truth and transparency to many, and an ‘unscrupulous megalomanic with a political agenda‘ to others—is reaching mythic proportions that could lead us to forget some basic facts, and truths.

Related stories:
Defending Assange Accusers: Sady Doyle Is Getting It Done

Why the Backlash Against Assange’s Accusers?

Assange Ordered Free on Bail While DOJ Investigates Conspiracy Charges

U.S. Congress: Pass I-VAWA and End Violence Against Women Worldwide

WikiLeaks Sparks Internet War

 

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197 comments

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1:32AM PST on Jan 3, 2011

I can't agree more with Ms Chew. Unlike most legal situations, in a rape case we must always assume that the accused is guilty and the accusers never lie.

What we need in the world is more politicians who have the courage to convict for rape...even in the face of overwheming evidence of innocence,

These poor rape victims who were tricked into inviting the rapist to sleep with them and after being viciously raped were so confused they bragged about spending the evening with the rapist on twitter to friends and threw a party for him. Another rape victim was raped on 2 different days and was so hurt by the experience that in between assaults, she went out and cooked breakfast and made him promise he would call her later.

(p.s. the above is in the timeline...see here for some more info about one of the "rape victims"
http://www.countercurrents.org/rudling081210.htm

No...Ms Chew is correct to ignore the fact that powerful politicians have called for the military to assassinate Julian.
After all, since when is this wrong?...it surely doesn't even merit a single sentence on why people would rush to his defense.

No, Ms Chew sees that what is truly important is that NO accused rapist should ever be defended, and the rights of any woman to convict any man for any crime she wants (even with overwhelming evidence to the contrary)

Ms Chew undoubtedly would like us to return to those magical years when lynch mobs could intimidate people and force defenders to cower in

5:28PM PST on Dec 31, 2010

This has "fit up" written all over it; it doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to see this, or the agenda behind it. Stand back objectively, and you will piece together the whole "jigsaw" Rosi Caswell Animal Whisperer, Animal/Human Therapist, Metaphysical Counsellor

9:09PM PST on Dec 30, 2010

If he did the crime he should do the time! Let's hear the facts before we judge.

6:51AM PST on Dec 30, 2010

I added a coment on the 27/12, never been published... probably such a kind of 'selection' or censorship, while my comment was not respectless in any way...The Chew one is, I could explain why... The last sentences were : ' the most important thing is that to discover how there's no political opponents or asylum in West for Western people defending a noble cause such as freedom of speech and more gvts transparency'.
I subscribed that same day and notice now that I always receive the newsletter...what is this Care2 site ??. A far-right wing one ?. Let's see if this comment will be published...

10:59PM PST on Dec 28, 2010

finally...someone who calls a snake oil salesman a snake oil salesman....one cannot proclaim to be the legal savior of the world while at the same time believe that they are above all laws...doesn't work that way...

5:46PM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Remember when Monica Lewinski was referred to as a source of release, an outlet if you will, to slick Willie as he tried to manage a stressful position.

It all depends on how they instruct the elitist bum sniffers on the 'view' to play it...or would play the sheeple be more accurate ?

Regards...

9:30AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

I am so happy corruption is exposed thats why I believe he was framed to get him to stop exposing where all the taxpayers money is going!

3:58AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Women want it all, yes I am a woman! They seem to be resonsible of their own bodies and then start yelling rape?
This BLOG seems to demean women and those who have genuinely been raped.
Picking up blokes and having immediate sex, come on?
Behaving like animals and not showing respect getting to know one's sexual partner?
WHAT KIND OF A WORLD ARE WE LIVING IN.
This is of course a set up, but I sincerely hope that Mr A starts to question his part in all this, sounds like he is pretty naive and
irresponsible in a world of aids/std's etc.
Just thank the Lord no poor child was made in all this, imagine how that one would run.
For God's sake start growing up world.
This is about getting him back to USA, where he would NOT see the light of day.
In case any of you slappers who think it is alright to sleep with someone on the same day you meet him, take heed...he might not be wearing a condom!!!!??????!!!
Oh yes, they are out there....

10:36PM PST on Dec 27, 2010

Julian Assange is a hero, because he risked his life broadcasting critical information which the whole world needs to know. Good for Michael Moore and Keith Olberman to fully support Julian Assange. We need more transparency in our society, we need people to contribute their caring and commitment by asking questions and not just passively accepting any type of abuse the governments conduct.

7:24PM PST on Dec 27, 2010

Noted and still confused with this whole issue :-0

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