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Assange to be extradited
February 24, 2011 4:24 AM   Subscribe

Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden, with fairly immediate effect.

The full judgement is availible, and the judge has dismissed any claims of Swedish abuse of process with the courtroom statement that "If there have been any irregularities in swedish system, the best place to examine them in a Swedish trial".

As noted in Wired, Geoffrey Robertson QC (representing Assange) told the hearing that rape trials in Sweden were "tried in secret behind closed doors in a flagrant denial of justice". In addition to this, he fears that the Swedish extradition is a stalking horse for an eventual US extradition for Wikileaks-related charges as yet unspecified.
posted by jaduncan (247 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, a fellow Townsvillean (apparently he grew up on Magnetic Island, which is like Lord Of The Flies, basically, except with a nudist beach). Into the breach, dear friend!

It would be interesting to know what actual real literal concrete effect the "Wikileaks scandal" has had on geopolitics apart from everybody I ever speak to now has an opinion on Wikileaks. Nobody has declared special war on anybody thanks to the leaks, as far as I know. Milk is still quite expensive. But maybe it's leading up a big thing. I mean, if Britain - Britain! - is drinking 30% less booze, then perhaps they're sobering up for something pretty major?
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:29 AM on February 24, 2011


Although I haven't noted this in the summary, since the findings of fact by the initial court are that the extradition to Sweden is bona fide, and the facts alleged are found to be chargable under UK law as another matter of fact, the matters of law are unlikely to change at High Court level. The appeal is likely to be rapid, and it is likely that he will be off within weeks.
posted by jaduncan at 4:30 AM on February 24, 2011


It would be interesting to know what actual real literal concrete effect the "Wikileaks scandal" has had on geopolitics apart from everybody I ever speak to now has an opinion on Wikileaks

The Tunisia memos are sometimes cited as having helped galvanise people there. The fact that Yemen's government lied about allowing US drone strikes has also been a considerable bone of domestic contention.
posted by jaduncan at 4:32 AM on February 24, 2011


And Egypt-related memos had an impact, as well. If you are a fan of democracy in the Middle East, Wikileaks deserve at least a little credit.

The hilarious thing is that the USA has still failed to bring any charges against Assange in a court of law. Not that that will stop them from renditioning him before he even makes it to Sweden and then detaining him until he dies of old age, of course.
posted by mek at 4:35 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ahh. So mainly good stuff.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:36 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


In case you missed it: "Inside Wikileaks" Exposes Assange
posted by shii at 4:36 AM on February 24, 2011


Any bets on how quick he will be extradited to the US from Sweden ? days ? weeks ?
posted by Pendragon at 4:36 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tunisia=>Egypt=>Yemen=>Libya?=>???

No doubt it has had effects, though not the ones apparently imagined by Assange. It's also important to not that the majority of the diplomatic cables are still not available except to news organizations.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:39 AM on February 24, 2011


Important to NOTE
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:40 AM on February 24, 2011


Pendragon: Extradition to the US from Sweden is by no means a done deal. The ECHR Article 3 defence I envisage will form a key plank to delay/negate this.
posted by numberstation at 4:42 AM on February 24, 2011


I feel sorry for Assange; couldn't he find more competent lawyers? They have - both in Sweden and UK - been pulling incredibly amateurish stunts that no sane judge would fall for.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:46 AM on February 24, 2011


Shortly after Clinton's "Remarks on Internet Freedom" speech, I brushed up against the republican response which basically sounded like Anonymous' Christmas wish list coupled with demands that the government spend more money faster.

If I were Obama I'd complete the "when did Mr. Spock grow a beard?" triumvirate by having Assange brought to the US and given a cushy job in the state department.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:51 AM on February 24, 2011


I feel sorry for Assange; couldn't he find more competent lawyers? They have - both in Sweden and UK - been pulling incredibly amateurish stunts that no sane judge would fall for.

Geoffrey Robertson (QC) is nobody's idea of a terrible lawyer. He has an incredibly good reputation and track record, and IMO has done about as well as anyone might have. This should be a fairly open and shut case, especially since the court has taken the view that Swedish abuse of process is for the Swedish court to consider.

His job is to try everything, to always ask for more. I don't think there is much of a case to be argued for Assange here once the abuse of process claim is dealt with.
posted by jaduncan at 4:53 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Grr. First para is a quote, obviously.
posted by jaduncan at 4:54 AM on February 24, 2011


Foci for Analysis - What amateurish stunts are you referring to? Mark Stephens seems like he has a solid level of experience.
posted by numberstation at 4:55 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The hilarious thing is that the USA has still failed to bring any charges against Assange in a court of law.

Have Swedish authorities even charged him with anything?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:58 AM on February 24, 2011


I feel sorry for Assange; couldn't he find more competent lawyers?
No amount of lawyering can defend against backroom power-deals between nations.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:04 AM on February 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Have Swedish authorities even charged him with anything?

Quick guide to the issues at hand: They don't need to, under the tests that are required to be met. The court is satisfied that Assange is wanted for prosecution in Sweden under suspicion of rape, and the alleged facts indicate that under English law there would be a prima facie case to answer. That is enough for the legal tests required.

Any appeal must remove one of these findings or take the view that Sweden is likely to breach his right to a fair trial or treat him inhumanely. I am quite sure that the latter two claims are extremely unlikely to be justified in law, especially given that Sweden has proceedures for any potential seperate US extradition that must be met before that would be granted and has a reputation for respecting the human rights of prisoners.
posted by jaduncan at 5:06 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I shall shut up for a bit now; I'm not attempting to run the thread so I apologise for my excessive loquatiousness. :)
posted by jaduncan at 5:09 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Loquacity.
posted by Wolof at 5:13 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have Swedish authorities even charged him with anything?

No. Two Swedish women have individually filed a "polisanmälan" accusing him of rape and the next step in the process would have been to issue an arrest warrant and interview Mr. Assange.

Would have been. Somewhat undermining his claims of innocence, Mr. Assange felt it unnecessary to answer these charges before fleeing to the U.K. and fighting extradition. Now he will have his chance to explain his side of the story against the technical evidence.

My fervent hope is that the prosecutor will ignore the fanfare and vigorously pursue the rape charges against him on their own merits resulting in a fair trial and a long sentence.
posted by three blind mice at 5:15 AM on February 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wonder if this will delay the release of the bank documents. I kinda hope that Assange publishes them before he's ushered onto the plane.
posted by Ritchie at 5:17 AM on February 24, 2011


My fervent hope is that the prosecutor will ignore the fanfare and vigorously pursue the rape charges against him on their own merits resulting in a fair trial and a long sentence.

Ah yes, I always forget. The fair trial with a presumption of innocence first, right? But then the long sentence.
posted by Hosni Mubarak at 5:24 AM on February 24, 2011 [40 favorites]


My fervent hope is that the prosecutor will ignore the fanfare and vigorously pursue the rape charges against him on their own merits resulting in a fair trial and a long sentence.

I don't have any vested interest in the results of any trial, provided it is properly conducted, but it feels a little like you have already made up your mind?
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:24 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


"My fervent hope is that the prosecutor will ignore the fanfare and vigorously pursue the rape charges against him on their own merits resulting in a fair trial and a long sentence."

YOU DON'T KNOW HE RAPED ANYONE!
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:25 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, my yelling is redundant. Yelling can be like that.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:26 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


On the bright side, he'll be easy to spot from a distance through the fence at Gitmo.
posted by Optamystic at 5:31 AM on February 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm still curious if an INTERPOL warrant had ever before been issued for someone "wanted for questioning"
posted by anthill at 5:31 AM on February 24, 2011


I wonder if this will delay the release of the bank documents. I kinda hope that Assange publishes them before he's ushered onto the plane.

I'm pretty sure he doesn't have them on him.

He hasn't been convicted, so maybe calling for his conviction isn't a fair shake.

Not that he's really helped himself. The US appaprently feels it can't get a conviction. Holder said there was no evidence he helped the leaker at all.

What I think is rich is that he's mad that his court documents from Sweden were leaked.

OpenLeaks is a much more sane operation. Their plan to publish only in conjunction with news outlets makes a lot more sense.

Whitey even compares himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his band of rich white sons of privilege to African-Americans in the civil rights struggle.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:32 AM on February 24, 2011


He's obviously guilty. Would an innocent man fight so hard against extradition? Next thing you know he'll be demanding that his lawyer be present during questioning - exactly as a cornered criminal would.
posted by Ritchie at 5:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [35 favorites]


Their plan to publish only in conjunction with news outlets makes a lot more sense.

Somehow I do not believe that comes as much of an assurance to those who believe that the 'news outlets' are a significant part of the problem.
posted by mikelieman at 5:34 AM on February 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


It would be darkly humorous if his flight to Sweden touched down on the runway, rolled a bit, then took off for America.

Not fair or right, mind you, but funny.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:45 AM on February 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


Sweden... has a reputation for respecting the human rights of prisoners.

That his extradition was sought in the first place is contrary to normal Swedish practice.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:04 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the biggest long term effect of cablegate will be through impeding government spinning of current news. In particular, we're finding that reporters who examine cables on issues of current interest, often find ready made honest frank refutations for the spin being applied by governments.

Aftenposten, El País, the Guardian, le Monde, and Der Spiegel are the primary news outlets using the cablegate archive as primary source material. There are good collected summaries on wlcentral.org under the entries entitled "WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage: Cablegate coverage", or "Cable: ...".

There has of course been some impact from cablegate in all North African and Middle Eastern countries, although the most important effect has been merely that people start openly discussing stuff they'd only discuss in private before.

We've also seen cablegate expose considerable American influence upon and corresponding duplicity from European leaders, witness the scuttled war crimes trials in Spain and Germany. I'd expect these scandals will impact the U.S.'s ability to abuse relations with European powers, weakening many leaders who've supported American policies, like torture, rendition, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:04 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sweden... has a reputation for respecting the human rights of prisoners.

That his extradition was sought in the first place is contrary to normal Swedish practice.


I love how this issue makes people experts in the Swedish justice system.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:07 AM on February 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


I love how this issue makes people experts in the Swedish justice system

Why, before Assange, I couldn't even spell Sweedish Justiss!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:10 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


No matter what happens, Julian Assange won the internet and no one can take that away from him.
posted by fuq at 6:25 AM on February 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


That his extradition was sought in the first place is contrary to normal Swedish practice.



Is there an article that supports this assertion? Truly a question - had not heard that before. I find it surprising that Sweden is seen as a better candidate to extradite him the the US then the UK is.
posted by JPD at 6:27 AM on February 24, 2011


You don't fuck with the CIA/NSA I guess.

Really creepy and right by their playbook.

Assange is a hero to many. Now he's a going to be a martyr too.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:31 AM on February 24, 2011


Wow, conspiracy theory much?
posted by gjc at 6:38 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Assange is a hero to many. Now he's a going to be a martyr too.

Oh, dear. I probably shouldn't have laughed at your earnest hyperbole, but I did. Because calling Assange a martyr is hilarious.
posted by lydhre at 6:39 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


[[ That his extradition was sought in the first place is contrary to normal Swedish practice. ]]

Is there an article that supports this assertion?


This.
... I believe that only those of us who have spent years working with rape and sexual assault survivors worldwide, and know the standard legal response to sex crime accusations, fully understand what a travesty this situation is against those who have to live through how sex crime charges are ordinarily handled...

In the Western countries such as Britain and Sweden, who are uniting to hold Assange without bail, if you actually interviewed women working in rape crisis centers, you will hear this: it is desperately hard to get a conviction for a sex crime, or even a serious hearing. Workers in rape crisis centers in the UK and Sweden will tell you that they have deep backlogs of women raped for years by fathers or stepfathers -- who can't get justice. Women raped by groups of young men who have been drinking, and thrown out of the backs of cars, or abandoned after a gang-rape in an alley -- who can't get justice. Women raped by acquaintances who can't get a serious hearing. ...

If the rare middle-class woman who charges rape against a stranger -- for those inevitably are the few and rare cases that the state bothers to hear -- actually gets treated seriously by the legal system, she will nonetheless find inevitable hurdles to any kind of real hearing let alone real conviction: either a 'lack of witnesses' or problems with evidence, or else a discourse that even a clear assault is racked with ambiguity. If, even more rare, a man is actually convicted -- it will almost inevitably be a minimal sentence, insulting in its triviality, because no one wants to 'ruin the life' of a man, often a young man, who has 'made a mistake'. ...

Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned -- for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims' complaints -- sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom -- please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:41 AM on February 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


Note that the judge's ruling that Assange be extradited also suggests that he could not be extradited from Sweden to the US without consent from the UK:

If Mr Assange is surrendered to Sweden and a request is made to Sweden for his extradition to the United States of America, then article 28 of the framework decision applies. In such an event the consent of the Secretary of State in this country will be required, in accordance with section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Sweden can order Mr Assange’s extradition to a third State
posted by donovan at 6:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


he could not be extradited from Sweden to the US without consent from the UK

Good thing that the UK doesn't just do whatever the US says.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:49 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Joe Beese's article puts up a kind of strawman. It tries to take a failure of justice in other cases to prove that justice is failing in a completely different way, because they have NOT failed in the first way.

It is a "but mom, you let *him* have a cookie" defense. The kid should get a cookie because mom didn't *catch* the other kid.
posted by gjc at 6:50 AM on February 24, 2011


Next thing you know he'll be demanding that his lawyer be present during questioning - exactly as a cornered criminal would.
This.
As my many years of watching crime dramas have taught me, if a character asks for his lawyer, he's definitely guilty. Only criminals insist on exercising their rights.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


gjc, I haven't heard Joe Beese claim Assange should not be prosecuted for rape. I do have, however, heard him say this case is weird because none of the other rape cases are being handled in the same way.

He has a point.
posted by DreamerFi at 6:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Joe Beese's article puts up a kind of strawman.

I originally said, in effect, that Sweden would not have tried to extradite anyone in Julian Assange's circumstances who was not Julian Assange.

Ironmouth said, in effect, "What would you know about it?"

Then, after JPD's prompting, I replied, in effect, "What I know about it is that a woman claiming 23 years of global experience in working with sexual assualt victims defies you to find a single example comparable to Assange's treatment."

When Ironmouth can find me one, I'll concede his point.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:58 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is there a legal reason why it is easier for the US to have him extradited from Sweden then from the UK?
posted by JPD at 7:02 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm doubtful that many people needing wikileaks style protection will trust openleaks Ironmouth, given how Daniel Domscheit-Berg screwed up portions of wikileaks anonymity protections.

There is however the serious issue that wikileaks profile, paranoia, and backlog might keep your leak locked away for years. I'd therefore imagine that more & more people will seriously consider leaking the documents more directly to news agencies or the public, or else use another new leaks site.

Assange has taken the very high road with source protection, redacting names, and maximizing impact. All that makes wikileaks an attractive product that makes any documents leakable both safely and effectively. Yet, most leaks simply don't require that much attention to detail.

I'd imagine most leaks should be published by first uploaded to a document sharing site like ifile.it, and then distributing the download url on irc---all from a public workstation running Tor of course.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:04 AM on February 24, 2011


Um... if anyone in this thread is calling the assumption that the CIA is working in collusion with other elements of foreign governments to illegally kidnap and/or kill enemies of the state a conspiracy theory, you are totally wrong. It's a known fact.

The CIA covers up their mistakes when it leads to the death of a missionary and her infant daughter. And then they smuggle tons of cocaine in the same jet they use to kidnap and torture people in Guantanamo. They have, in the past, plotted hundreds of assassinations and psychological warfare in order to destroy democratic nations. They are evil fucks who conspire to do evil to further the interests of the United States. That is their job.
posted by notion at 7:04 AM on February 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


I love how this issue makes people experts in the Swedish justice system.

We also read the Steig Larsson books! We've been experts for ages now.
posted by sonika at 7:05 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is there a legal reason why it is easier for the US to have him extradited from Sweden then from the UK?

It would seem not.

Swedish legal experts say he would be no more likely to be handed over from Sweden than from Britain.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:06 AM on February 24, 2011


three blind mice: My fervent hope is that the prosecutor will ignore the fanfare and vigorously pursue the rape charges against him on their own merits resulting in a fair trial and a long sentence.

Have you read the details of the case? If it had to survive on its own merits, it'd already be dropped. The accuser lacks credibility, her own behavior after the supposed event refutes her claim, and there is no evidence. Meanwhile, there is substantial evidence of significant misconduct and infighting within the Swedish judicial system.

It's an obviously trumped up case, but I think the fact that it's a rape case blinds some people to that possibility.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:09 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Having worked in Immigration Courts in the UK for several years and presented cases based on human rights issues, I have to say that there is a very low chance of Assange being taken to the US if there is a significant chance he would face any treatment that would breach Article 3 of the ECHR. He will be able to take his case to the Human Rights courts from Sweden, so this part of his argument is a bit of a red herring.

The facts are that women have made allegations against him and the Swedes have decided there is enough evidence to take it to court. The allegations may be false or they may be true - we don't know and therefore it is right that he should face trial. There is no evidence to suggest he will not receive a fair trial in Sweden and although evidence is heard behind closed doors, this appears to be Swedish practice within such cases relating to sexual offences and there are obviously pros and cons to this. There is no reason why he should be an exception to the Swedish laws and these seem to be very serious accusations that it would be in his interests to face down properly, instead of grabbing any cameras that happen to be on the steps of UK courts.
posted by Pilly at 7:16 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


The US is still torturing Bradley Manning to get him to flip on Assange. When, not if, they break him, Assange will be locked away forever in the cell next to him, charges or no. The legal manuvering with the trumped up case in Sweden is just to buy time for the US to fabiracte a case against him.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:20 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um... if anyone in this thread is calling the assumption that the CIA is working in collusion with other elements of foreign governments to illegally kidnap and/or kill enemies of the state a conspiracy theory, you are totally wrong.

Um, that doesn't prove it is happening here.

I mean, if they were smart and powerful enough to hatch this plan, why were they not smart enough to come up with a more convincing crime.

All of this conspiracy stuff really makes me kind of sick. It calls the alleged victims liars, the Swedish and British governments patsies, the US government bumbling. Just to defend a really creepy guy because we happen to like wikileaks.
posted by gjc at 7:23 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


dahlia: Wait wait, wait... Julian Assange grew up on a small island just offshore from the city of Townsville? My god, doesn't this mean that he's definitely a monster?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:24 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


these seem to be very serious accusations that it would be in his interests to face down properly

You're aware that he surrendered himself to Scotland Yard and offered to be interrogated by Swedish prosecutors in Britain?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:24 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's an obviously trumped up case, but I think the fact that it's a rape case blinds some people to that possibility.

Are you sure it isn't people blinded by their hate of the US and the love of wikileaks that they are willing to rationalize rape?
posted by gjc at 7:26 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


You're aware that he surrendered himself to Scotland Yard and offered to be interrogated by Swedish prosecutors in Britain?

Why didn't he go to Sweden? It seems like if facing up and being forthright was his goal, that's an easier way to do it.
posted by gjc at 7:27 AM on February 24, 2011


"tried in secret behind closed doors in a flagrant denial of justice"
Are closed-door trials unknown in the UK?
posted by brokkr at 7:32 AM on February 24, 2011


Why didn't he go to Sweden?

And why has he hired all these lawyers if he has nothing to hide?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned -- for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims' complaints -- sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom -- please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.

Naomi Wolf is not an expert in the Swedish justice system either. She's an American feminist writer. This is all you've got?
posted by Ironmouth at 7:33 AM on February 24, 2011


Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned -- for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims' complaints -- sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom -- please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.
It doesn't really seem like an example of justice to make up special new rules for someone just because you don't like him, but that seems to be the case here. Are there any other cases out there with similar circumstances where a man has been convicted?

The details of the first case are that that he allegedly intentionally broke the condom. But the woman allowed him to continue after it broke, so how is that rape? In the second case Assange had consensual unprotected sex with a woman, they fell asleep together and he started having sex with her while she was still asleep the next morning. The girl woke up and asked him if he was wearing a condom, he said no, and she said "I hope you didn't have any STDs" or something like that. At no point did either woman ask him to stop.
posted by delmoi at 7:33 AM on February 24, 2011


Naomi Wolf is not an expert in the Swedish justice system either. She's an American feminist writer. This is all you've got?
She did do some research on how rape cases are prosecuted in Sweden. Obviously you don't know anything. Why don't you actually do some research and learn something instead of just posting nonsense?
posted by delmoi at 7:35 AM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


The details of the first case are that that he allegedly intentionally broke the condom. But the woman allowed him to continue after it broke, so how is that rape? In the second case Assange had consensual unprotected sex with a woman, they fell asleep together and he started having sex with her while she was still asleep the next morning.

That's not what I read. Cite, please?
posted by Ironmouth at 7:36 AM on February 24, 2011


Delmoi - the "how is that rape?" issue has been covered fairly extensively in the blue. My takeaway is that we're using the best word we can in English to describe something that they have a law and word for in Swedish. I'm not comfortable with questioning another country's laws, and I think the question here is the precedent and application of them, not the actual law.
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 7:37 AM on February 24, 2011


That's not what I read. Cite, please?

What did you read?
posted by delmoi at 7:37 AM on February 24, 2011


She did do some research on how rape cases are prosecuted in Sweden. Obviously you don't know anything. Why don't you actually do some research and learn something instead of just posting nonsense?

The burden of proof is on the party asserting the statement. Its total bullshit to say something and dare people to disprove it. This is basic argumentation. People don't take you seriously if you cannot back up your statements. Naomi Wolf is not a Swedish lawyer or law professor. She did research? What papers did she write? What research did she actually do?

Back up the statements. That's all I'm asking.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2011


come up with a more convincing crime

I don't think anyone here is saying that the CIA fabricated Assange's two-timing terrible-sex escapades, or is calling the alleged victims liars.

Despite Ironmouth's handwaving, I still haven't seen any evidence that an Interpol warrant has ever been issued for someone 'wanted for questioning', nor that any withdrawl-of-consent sex accusation has ever produced a prompt arrest and extradition of a person.

The US, UK, and Swedish governments are both deadly serious, patsies, and bumbling at the same time, as they try to reconcile their practical interests with the fig leaves of their legal systems.
posted by anthill at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not what I read. Cite, please?

What did you read?


Ironically, summaries of the leaked transcripts.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2011


Ironmouth, the claim is "there is no person arrested under similar situations". That can only be disproven by finding one person arrested under a similar situation.

Go find that evidence.
posted by anthill at 7:39 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's not what I read. Cite, please?

What did you read?


Again, the burden of proof is on you to support the statements you made. Not me. Just saying it doesn't make it so.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:40 AM on February 24, 2011


Extradition is a form of leaking.
posted by storybored at 7:43 AM on February 24, 2011


Ironmouth: the more falsifiable an argument is, the more merit it has. That's because it's far easier for you to find one person who has been treated like Assange in connection for a sexual assault than it is for us to check every single sex crime suspect in modern history.

Stop being a baby. Find this other person, or concede.
posted by notion at 7:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


The details of the first case are that that he allegedly intentionally broke the condom. But the woman allowed him to continue after it broke, so how is that rape? In the second case Assange had consensual unprotected sex with a woman, they fell asleep together and he started having sex with her while she was still asleep the next morning.

That's not what I read. Cite, please?


Well, let's see Ironmouth, you could start by reading the 28 page "Finding of Facts and Reason" that the Chief Magistrate fo the City of Westminster wrote, which I linked to upthread. You'll clearly see the allegations delmoi summarizes above.
posted by donovan at 7:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


And I mean concede that you don't know of any other person who has received the same treatment for the same crime as Julian Assange.
posted by notion at 7:48 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


The burden of proof is on the party asserting the statement
What are you talking about?
This is basic argumentation. People don't take you seriously if you cannot back up your statements. Naomi Wolf is not a Swedish lawyer or law professor. She did research? What papers did she write? What research did she actually do?
I disagree. If you think she's wrong, you can go out and find something to disprove what she's saying. Right now, you're actually adding zero to the conversation. Like a 3-year old yelling "nuh-uh!!!" she lays out what she considers her qualifications here:
I started working as a counselor in a UK center for victims of sexual assault in my mid-twenties. I also worked as a counselor in a battered women's shelter in the US, where sexual violence was often part of the pattern of abuse. I have since spent two decades traveling the world reporting on and interviewing survivors of sexual assault, and their advocates, in countries as diverse as Sierra Leone and Morocco, Norway and Holland, Israel and Jordan and the Occupied Territories, Bosnia and Croatia, Britain, Ireland and the united States.
In another interview she pointed out that Sweden actually has one of the worst records on prosecuting rape. You on the other hand, know nothing about the topic and are basically saying that only people who are experts on Swedish law (which you are not) should be allowed to comment. Now, of course by your own standards, you shouldn't be allowed to comment either. But never mind that, it would also make any discussion impossible.

---
Delmoi - the "how is that rape?" issue has been covered fairly extensively in the blue. My takeaway is that we're using the best word we can in English to describe something that they have a law and word for in Swedish. I'm not comfortable with questioning another country's laws, and I think the question here is the precedent and application of them, not the actual law.
If that's the case, people shouldn't really use 'rape' since it's such a loaded term.
posted by delmoi at 7:48 AM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ahh, the "show me you law degree!!!!!111!!1!!" defense. Very popular here lately.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:53 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


the burden of proof is on you to support the statements you made

Fair enough.

Are you willing to say - rather than just imply, as you have been doing - that it is false that Assange's treatment is unprecedented?

If so, you can then satisfy your burden of proof by finding a single previous example of such treatment.

However, if, as I think more likely, you will maintain this passive-aggressive "You and your American feminist writer don't know what you're talking about" posture, I will respectfully request that you either contribute someone's greater knowledgeability or please stop with the insults.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:53 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mean, if they were smart and powerful enough to hatch this plan, why were they not smart enough to come up with a more convincing crime

This isn't quite how this seems to work. People assume you have to be incredibly intelligent to run this kind of operation. You just have to have a bunch of power, people to do it, and the desire to. There's no brilliant plan, just a lot of bullying. The CIA has a pretty long history of being bumbling idiots who will trust anyone who tells them what they want to hear, not shadowy figures and james bond types.
posted by Subcommandante Cheese at 7:54 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Delmoi, the first woman says she DID ask him to stop after the condom broke and he didn't. That is rape.

The second woman said that she had made it a stipulation that Assange wear a condom in order for sex to take place. He disregarded this stipulation without her consent when he began intercourse without one while she was asleep.

A yes CAN turn into a no. That's the rules.
posted by jfwlucy at 7:54 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are you sure it isn't people blinded by their hate of the US and the love of wikileaks that they are willing to rationalize rape?

The other side of this, I think, is that to people who have been asking the question "what does it take for women who report sexual assaults to be taken seriously?", the idea that the answer is "sustained international diplomatic pressure from a superpower" is pretty depressing.
posted by DNye at 7:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [20 favorites]


Read this from the Guardian summary as well:

"According to her statement she “tried to put on some articles of clothing as it was going too quickly and uncomfortably but Assange ripped them off again”. Miss A told police that she didn’t want to go any further “but that it was too late to stop Assange as she had gone along with it so far”, and so she allowed him to undress her.

According to the statement, Miss A then realised he was trying to have unprotected sex with her. She told police that she had tried a number of times to reach for a condom but Assange had stopped her by holding her arms and pinning her legs. The statement records Miss A describing how Assange then released her arms and agreed to use a condom, but she told the police that at some stage Assange had “done something” with the condom that resulted in it becoming ripped, and ejaculated without withdrawing."

Pinning someone down against their will during intercourse? I'd say that's uh, "problematic," at the very, very, very least.
posted by jfwlucy at 7:58 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


On second read, I should note, my comment that the CIA "will trust anyone who tells them what they want to hear" is not in any way a reference to this case. Just my overall characterization of the CIA. Probably should've left that out.
posted by Subcommandante Cheese at 7:59 AM on February 24, 2011


Having sex with someone who is asleep is rape.

Even if they don't say no! Which they can't! Because they're ASLEEP!

I know consent might be complicated when you don't understand how things like "sleeping" work, but try to keep up anyway, delmoi. Wikipedia and google are there for you to utilize at any time.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:02 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ahh, the "show me you law degree!!!!!111!!1!!" defense. Very popular here lately.

Believe me, people don't get more reasonable when you have one.
posted by jaduncan at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


The judge's ruling is pretty damning of Assange's legal team, in regards to Hurtig's claims that the Swedish prosecution had made no effort to interview Assange:

Mr Hurtig (Assange’s Swedish defence counsel) said in his statement that it was astonishing that Ms Ny made no effort to interview his client. In fact this is untrue. He says he realised the mistake the night before giving evidence. He did correct the statement in his evidence in chief (transcript p.83 and p.97). However, this was very low key and not done in a way that I, at least, immediately grasped as significant. It was only in cross-examination that the extent of the mistake became clear. Mr Hurtig must have realised the significance of paragraph 13 of his proof when he submitted it. I do not accept that this was a genuine mistake. It cannot have slipped his mind. For over a week he was attempting (he says without success) to contact a very important client about a very important matter. The statement was a deliberate attempt to mislead the court."

Ouch.

Also, regarding the allegations against Assange and whether or not what he's accused of even counts as a crime, the judge was pretty clear:

This is an extradition offence pursuant to section 64(3) in that:
(a)the conduct occurred in Sweden
(b)If the conduct had occurred in England and Wales it would amount to sexual assault
(c)The maximum penalty that may be imposed in Sweden for the offence is 2 years imprisonment


So, can we maybe put this it's-not-even-illegal-anywhere-else-but-Sweden! stuff to rest, now?
posted by Catseye at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why didn't he go to Sweden?

It was my understanding that the charges were originally placed when he was in Sweden, and that he agreed to interview there. The prosecutor refused, and he left a while later.

Do I have that timeline right?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:18 AM on February 24, 2011


Glenn Greenwald on the Assange Extradition Ruling, the Jailing of Bradley Manning, and the Campaign to Target WikiLeaks Supporters
posted by homunculus at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pinning someone down against their will during intercourse? I'd say that's uh, "problematic," at the very, very, very least.

The Guardian is where I read it. That's rape under any definition of the law. Seriously, who here has ever had sex with someone without a condom when they were asleep when they had earlier said no condom, no sex? Who? I've never done so.

As for the handwaving, all I'm looking for is a quote from some Swedish lawyer or law professor not representing Assange saying its not normal procedure. I don't think Naomi Wolf counts.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2011


I could only track down statistics from two time periods, calendar year 2005 and business year 2009-2010, but both show that extraditions are not common. In 2009-2010, a mere six people were sent from the UK to Sweden under the rules of the European Arrest Warrant agreement. In 2005, just a one single person was extradited from the UK to Sweden.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2011


Former Swedish judge Sundberg-Weitman speaks out on the handling of the Julian Assange case
posted by jeffburdges at 8:34 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


1. Good. If, as Assange maintains, he is innocent of the charges, then returning to Sweden to prove that in a court of law shouldn't be a problem.

2. Does anyone really - and I mean, really - think, with all the publicity Assange has ginned up, there's even the remotest chance of him just being "swept up" by the CIA and sent off to some black-ops detention center in Mongolia or something? REALLY? Horrible, horrible things have been done by the US government in the last ten years (not to mention the even worse things that have been done prior to that we don't even know about...), but they all relied upon the public not knowing about them at the time. As stupid and evil as some seem think the CIA to be, you really think they are that stupid?
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 8:36 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, there are a lot of different versions of the story going around. At least now we'll have a trial and hopefully we can figure out exactly what happened with a little more clarity (assuming the trial is public)
posted by delmoi at 8:38 AM on February 24, 2011


Ah, I was just looking for that jeffburdges. It is extremely unusual for EAWs to be issued before appeals are exhausted for obvious reasons of danger of injustice, and the confirmation of the name of the suspect is also unusual/an infringement of rights in Swedish law. The approach in general to this case has been confused and unusual.

This now doesn't matter, as the English court has said that the issues related to possible abuse of process should be dealt with in Sweden (as with previous EAW case law, although this is the one ground an appeal might be justified on, as it is arguably a point of law rather than of fact).

NB: On a read through of the thread, you appear to have quoted me above with a slightly snarky comment about the situation making people experts on Swedish law, Ironmouth. That isn't very classy, and aside from that I'm currently doing academic work at the University of Cambridge on EU law.
posted by jaduncan at 8:56 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jeff Burges, that is exactly what I'm looking for. Apparently Ms. Ny should have consulted the foreign minister. The judges' arguments about proportionality don't go to normal practice, but what is legal. But Ny apparently didn't dot the "i"'s and cross the "t"'s. Which counts.

Well, there are a lot of different versions of the story going around.

There's only one based on the leaked statements of the alleged victims. And that one describes two rapes. I'm certain everyone here will agree the described behavior, if true, is rape, any way you slice it.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:57 AM on February 24, 2011


2. Does anyone really - and I mean, really - think, with all the publicity Assange has ginned up, there's even the remotest chance of him just being "swept up" by the CIA and sent off to some black-ops detention center in Mongolia or something?

No. He could possibly be killed in an accident like the then-President of Ecuador Jaime Raldos Aguilera, or then-President of Panama Omar Torrijos. Another option is for Assange to be murdered by a "madman" while in custody of Swedish or US authorities.

The far more likely option is for Assange to be indefinitely detained in a legal black hole for a number of years. Which will be claimed by many to be S.O.P. for someone suspected of sex crimes.
posted by notion at 8:58 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. He could possibly be killed in an accident like the then-President of Ecuador Jaime Raldos Aguilera, or then-President of Panama Omar Torrijos. Another option is for Assange to be murdered by a "madman" while in custody of Swedish or US authorities.

You'd think they'd cut out the middleman on that. I mean how dumb could you get?

I really do think these "CIA conspiracies" are flights of fancy. If they were gonna extradite, UK is the closest ally we have. Sweden makes furniture for us and was never in NATO. I disagree with the Swedish judge on that one. UK was the place to extradite him from.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:02 AM on February 24, 2011


NB: On a read through of the thread, you appear to have quoted me above with a slightly snarky comment about the situation making people experts on Swedish law, Ironmouth. That isn't very classy, and aside from that I'm currently doing academic work at the University of Cambridge on EU law.

I was quoting Joe Beese. A lot of the Assange defenders here have been, shall we say, fact-free in the past. Note Delmoi's assertions about the sex flatly contradicted by the witness statements.

As for "classy" this isn't a court of law. It's a message board where few back up assertions with links to reliable sources. I've always tried to do that--look through my posting history.

Good luck on your degree!
posted by Ironmouth at 9:06 AM on February 24, 2011


I really do think these "CIA conspiracies" are flights of fancy. If they were gonna extradite, UK is the closest ally we have. Sweden makes furniture for us and was never in NATO. I disagree with the Swedish judge on that one. UK was the place to extradite him from.

Extradition and the CIA have nothing to do with each other. And given the CIA's well documented history, it's not a conspiracy theory to speculate that they might kill him because he pissed off the wrong people in the US government.
posted by cmonkey at 9:13 AM on February 24, 2011


The judges' arguments about proportionality don't go to normal practice

For the sake of completeness, could you mention why the numbers in my earlier comment also fall into your "Is that all you've got" category?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:13 AM on February 24, 2011


The judges' arguments about proportionality don't go to normal practice

For the sake of completeness, could you mention why the numbers in my earlier comment also fall into your "Is that all you've got" category?


What, logically, does that have to do with Assange's situation
posted by Ironmouth at 9:18 AM on February 24, 2011


I really do think these "CIA conspiracies" are flights of fancy. If they were gonna extradite, UK is the closest ally we have. Sweden makes furniture for us and was never in NATO. I disagree with the Swedish judge on that one. UK was the place to extradite him from.

Agreed. The UK has no apparent problem extraditing Gary McKinnon, a UK subject, for hacking into US computers. I fail to see why they would refuse to extradite Assange if requested.
posted by daveje at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2011


One other thing--as a prosecutor, I'd be very anxious to get any public figure who faced rape accusations prosecuted. If such a figure were not prosecuted, it would send the wrong message regarding the state's attitude regarding rape.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2011


Horrible, horrible things have been done by the US government in the last ten years (not to mention the even worse things that have been done prior to that we don't even know about...), but they all relied upon the public not knowing about them at the time. As stupid and evil as some seem think the CIA to be, you really think they are that stupid?

What would stop the CIA from doing so? The CIA agent responsible for the kidnapping and torture of an innocent German citizen was given a promotion.
posted by ryoshu at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


What, logically, does that have to do with Assange's situation

So the reason it falls into your "Is that all you've got" category is because statistics compiled by a researcher for The Atlantic showing how few people are extradited from the UK to Sweden each year has no logical connection with how unusual it is for Sweden to seek Assange's extradition.

Got it.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:29 AM on February 24, 2011


What, logically, does that have to do with Assange's situation

So the reason it falls into your "Is that all you've got" category is because statistics compiled by a researcher for The Atlantic showing how few people are extradited from the UK to Sweden each year has no logical connection with how unusual it is for Sweden to seek Assange's extradition.

Got it.


Just explain how the numbers of people who are extradited from UK to Sweden is important here.

Such as: The fact few people are extradited to Sweden from the UK is important because _________.

That's all I'm asking. Why does it tell us anything about this case?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:32 AM on February 24, 2011


There isn't much doubt that Assange's persecution is entirely politically motivated, irrespective of the case's details. Assange's case has therefore dramatically raised awareness of selective prosecution all over the world. A priori, A Very Good Think (tm)

Yet, there has always been awareness of selective prosecution in rape cases. In particular, people know sex crimes prosecutions make perfect political tools, witness the Clinton scandals.

Assange's case therefore hurts all anti-rape efforts all over the world, just like Clinton's scandals did. Naomi Wolf makes precisely this point when she accuses the state of "pimping feminism".

I've heard similar sentiments from other active anti-rape activist's as well. It obviously emboldens rapists, discourages reporting, and complicates prosecution when the only rape accusations anyone remembers are heros who're being attacked politically, like Assange and Clinton.

John Wilkes provides a remarkably similar case :
Nothing is new [with respect to Assange and Wikileaks]. In 1771, that great lover of liberty, John Wilkes, and a number of printers challenged the law that prohibited the reporting of Parliamentary debates and speeches, kept secret because those in power argued that the information was too sensitive and would disrupt the life of the country if made public. Using the arcane laws of the City of London, Alderman Wilkes arranged for the interception of the Parliamentary messengers sent to arrest the printers who had published debates, and in doing so successfully blocked Parliament. By 1774, a contemporary was able to write: "The debates in both houses have been constantly printed in the London papers." From that moment, the freedom of the press was born.

It took a libertine to prove that information enriched the functioning of British society, a brave maverick who was constantly moving house – and sometimes country – to avoid arrest; whose epic sexual adventures had been used by the authorities as a means of entrapping and imprisoning him. The London mob came out in his favour and, supplemented by shopkeepers and members of the gentry on horseback, finally persuaded the establishment of the time to accept that publication was inevitable. And the kingdom did not fall.

Over the past few weeks, there have been similarly dire predictions from sanctimonious men and women of affairs about the likely impacts of publication, and of course Julian Assange finds himself banged up in Wandsworth nick, having neither been formally charged with, nor found guilty of, the sex crimes he is alleged to have committed in Sweden. Making no comment about his guilt or innocence, or the possibility of his entrapment, I limit myself to saying that we have been here before with John Wilkes; and the reason for this is that authorities the world over and through history react the same way when there is a challenge to a monopoly of information.

It is all about power and who has access to information. Nothing more. When those who want society to operate on the basis of the parent-child relationship because it is obviously easier to manage, shut the door and say "not in front of the children", they are usually looking after their interests, not ours.
Btw, we've our own New Years celebration of wikileaks' cablegate stories if anyone's still musing about the political impact.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


And in case anyone else has any doubts about the US government engaging in conspiracies and/or doing stupid shit: Army Psy Ops Units Targeted American Senators
posted by ryoshu at 9:33 AM on February 24, 2011


There's only one based on the leaked statements of the alleged victims. And that one describes two rapes. I'm certain everyone here will agree the described behavior, if true, is rape, any way you slice it.
I don't think it's the case that everyone agrees it's rape. The argument Naomi Wolf made was that in the first case Ms. A didn't actually explicitly tell him to stop at any point. She said in the second case Ms. W woke up, talked to Assange and didn't tell him to stop. Here's a video of Wolf debating another feminist on the issue and both are going off the witness statements.

You can decide if you agree or disagree with her statements.
posted by delmoi at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2011


Assange's case therefore hurts all anti-rape efforts all over the world

Do you honestly think it would help anti-rape efforts if rape accusations were dismissed out of hand whenever they were made about somebody other people liked?
posted by Catseye at 9:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


I really do think these "CIA conspiracies" are flights of fancy. If they were gonna extradite, UK is the closest ally we have. Sweden makes furniture for us and was never in NATO. I disagree with the Swedish judge on that one. UK was the place to extradite him from.

The UK has some sense of national pride. Assange getting carted away as a political prisoner to languish in the American prison system would rightly reveal the UK for the lapdog that it is, so it's off the table. Sweden is a much smaller country with much more to gain for political favors, especially if individuals within the Swedish government are being leaned on. Remember, it doesn't take the bribing of a whole country. Just the right person in the right position.

And for the record, I do think Assange should stand trial, but not without guarantees that he is going to be treated as any other person accused of the same crime. So far he's the only person I know of who has been accused of rape, not questioned, granted the freedom to leave the country, had the case dropped, then reopened, and then suddenly had warrants issued over Interpol for his arrest. No flights of fancy in that paragraph. Just the facts so far as we know them.
posted by notion at 9:54 AM on February 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Look, for all this idiotic support of Naomi Wolf's bullshit assertions: Amnesty International's report on rape in Scandinavian countries.

About 20 percent of reported rapes are prosecuted. Pretending that Assange is suis generis is special pleading. Unfortunately, right now the results for google searches on Swedish rape cases are polluted with a bunch of Islamophobic bullshit about Muslim rape rings (even though there do appear to have been a disproportionate number of recent rapes by Muslims).
posted by klangklangston at 9:59 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"No. He could possibly be killed in an accident like the then-President of Ecuador Jaime Raldos Aguilera, or then-President of Panama Omar Torrijos. Another option is for Assange to be murdered by a "madman" while in custody of Swedish or US authorities.

The far more likely option is for Assange to be indefinitely detained in a legal black hole for a number of years. Which will be claimed by many to be S.O.P. for someone suspected of sex crimes.
"

Would you like to bet on any of those outcomes? Because for all the sturm und drang, they seem incredibly unlikely and putting them forth as if they are in any way probable seems inflammatory. So, I'm willing to bet, say, $50 that Assange won't be killed in Swedish custody, and that he won't be held indefinitely in a legal black hole (obviously, we'll have to define our terms a little more stringently than that). What kind of odds will you give me?
posted by klangklangston at 10:07 AM on February 24, 2011


Amnesty International's report on rape in Scandinavian countries

Thank you for the link. It nicely confirms Ms. Wolf's contention:

In the majority of cases, such crimes are not properly investigated and the perpetrators are rarely punished.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:08 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


/me deletes sweden from list of countries to visit
posted by 3mendo at 10:09 AM on February 24, 2011


I don't think it's the case that everyone agrees it's rape. The argument Naomi Wolf made was that in the first case Ms. A didn't actually explicitly tell him to stop at any point. She said in the second case Ms. W woke up, talked to Assange and didn't tell him to stop.

My position is that's rape and Ms. Wolf is off her rocker. do you personally believe that the described conduct is rape?

There must be some level of conduct that constitutes rape, no?

I've heard similar sentiments from other active anti-rape activist's as well. It obviously emboldens rapists, discourages reporting, and complicates prosecution when the only rape accusations anyone remembers are heros who're being attacked politically, like Assange and Clinton.

Up equals down, eh? We should just let these famous accused rapists go then.

Are you stating that if Assange committed the alleged conduct he should not be prosecuted and should walk free?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:09 AM on February 24, 2011


Assange's case has garnered all this attention only because the Swedish government has been illegally leaking any information about the case that's damaging to Assange. And that's what Naomi Wolf means by "pimping feminism". See my old comment on these leaks

Ideally, those leaks should be prosecuted to maintain the respectability of the rape case against Assange, and their legal system in general, except that'd likely end with the disablement of either Claus Borgström or Madeleine Ny.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:12 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"So the reason it falls into your "Is that all you've got" category is because statistics compiled by a researcher for The Atlantic showing how few people are extradited from the UK to Sweden each year has no logical connection with how unusual it is for Sweden to seek Assange's extradition.

Got it.
"

It's also terrible proof. First you say that it never happens — well, except that people have been clearly extradited to Sweden in the past. There's no context for your numbers, which can be explained by any number of circumstances, e.g. not many people fleeing Sweden to England on serious charges, extradition to Sweden being rare in general, etc. And given that Assange has already been extradited, it doesn't show anything about the probability in his case, i.e. it's relatively unlikely to draw the queen of spades from a deck of cards with a single pull, but that rarity doesn't speak to the conditions once the card has been drawn.
posted by klangklangston at 10:12 AM on February 24, 2011


My position is that's rape and Ms. Wolf is off her rocker.

I love how this issue makes people experts in mental health diagnoses.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:14 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"There isn't much doubt that Assange's persecution is entirely politically motivated, irrespective of the case's details."

Oh, bullshit. Minus ten points for begging the question.
posted by klangklangston at 10:15 AM on February 24, 2011


I doubt the U.S. could extradite Assange any easier from Sweden than the U.K., but Australia would never extradite him. It follows that the U.S. buys more time by keeping him in Europe : time for torturing an accusation out of Manning, time for infiltrating wikileaks, just preventing him from building up wikileaks quickly, whatever.

I'm cautiously hopeful that Assange's rape trial will help wikileaks over the long run though, both by keeping up publicity and donations, but also forcing him into delegating more responsibility. Assange might even win the Nobel Peace Prize while locked up in Sweden. :)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:18 AM on February 24, 2011


"I love how this issue makes people experts in mental health diagnoses."

Hey, you're the one who cited Naomi "Feminism was awesome until I was old" Wolf, the same one who's gunning for Camille Paglia's dissident feminist post, like she was an authority on Swedish law or that she wasn't prone to just making shit up about the women making the charges (inventing her own narrative of their experiences). But then, she was the Clinton apologist who spun Slick Willy to soccer moms, so she's got 15 years of experience on that.

You post what you want to believe and have no real attachment to any reality outside of the one you create.
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's no context for your numbers, which can be explained by any number of circumstances, e.g. not many people fleeing Sweden to England on serious charges, extradition to Sweden being rare in general, etc. And given that Assange has already been extradited, it doesn't show anything about the probability in his case, i.e. it's relatively unlikely to draw the queen of spades from a deck of cards with a single pull, but that rarity doesn't speak to the conditions once the card has been drawn.

Well, I was going to say all that, but only after he tried to justify it the alleged "logic" behind his claim.

But again, I ask everyone, if Assange did commit the alleged conduct, is that rape?

And I ask everyone if Assange should not be prosecuted if he committed those acts? If so, why? Because he is famous and it allegedly encourages rapists to go after famous rapists?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:26 AM on February 24, 2011


Because calling Assange a martyr is hilarious.

Once the CIA has him killed he will be. I said "going to be."

Now watch and we can settle the bet in a year or two.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:39 AM on February 24, 2011


It could be that he raped these women and that the legal process is being influenced by politics.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 10:41 AM on February 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Ironmouth says
One other thing--as a prosecutor, I'd be very anxious to get any public figure who faced rape accusations prosecuted. If such a figure were not prosecuted, it would send the wrong message regarding the state's attitude regarding rape.

I fail to understand your insistent lack of comprehension. You do not come of well by this attitude - this is MetaFilter, not Usenet. The history of prior Swedish rape prosecutions, as documented by Ms. Wolf clearly indicates a discrepancy between Mr. Assange and apparently every other case ever prosecuted in Sweden.

Furthermore there is the troubling and undeniable connection between one of the rape accusers and the CIA as documented in a great many places including here:

http://my.firedoglake.com/kirkmurphy/2010/12/04/assanges-chief-accuser-has-her-own-history-with-us-funded-anti-castro-groups-one-of-which-has-cia-ties/

The CIA connection alone is troubling and telling by itself . Your insistence on maintaining innuendo and failing to provide the slightest hint of substance of corroboration to your arguments is, quite frankly, boorish.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Interesting to see who else has been hanging in Sweden lately. Not that I think it's a conspiracy or anything...
posted by doctor_negative at 10:47 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The CIA connection alone is troubling and telling by itself . Your insistence on maintaining innuendo and failing to provide the slightest hint of substance of corroboration to your arguments is, quite frankly, boorish.

If Assange committed those alleged acts, is it your belief that he should not be prosecuted?"
posted by Ironmouth at 10:53 AM on February 24, 2011


Then, after JPD's prompting, I replied, in effect, "What I know about it is that a woman claiming 23 years of global experience in working with sexual assualt victims defies you to find a single example comparable to Assange's treatment."


Roman Polanski. Ali Achekzai, Hans Joachim Klaar, I'm sure I could find others that further refute this given a few minutes of Googling. From many news reports it would seem that arrest and extradition of rape suspects is pretty common. Most of them are not so high profile. So apparently the woman is making an argument without evidence to back it up. I'm not aware is such a weasel word, its like I'm not aware if it is sunny out side, not that I've bothered to look out the window. I'm not aware, and since I've been going outside for 30 years, you should listen to me.

Here is a simple true/false quiz:
-Assange engaged in sex with two women with their affirmative prior consent?
-Assange engaged in sexual activities that the women specifically declined, specifically sex without a condom
-Assange used force to continue the sex act despite the woman's objections?
-After the fact he refused to even consent to a STD test, at the woman's insistence as a means of resolving this issue without involving the authorities, he declined?

This is an open and shut case of date rape where the rapist has given a public confession. It is a violation of the laws of most countries and punishable by a jail term. It would be outrageous for a prosecutor to ignore this.
posted by humanfont at 11:01 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, I'm of the opinion that more accusations of rape being investigated is a very very good thing, no matter what the fuck Naomi Wolf says. I'm of the opinion that taking women seriously when they claim to have been raped is also a very very good thing, no matter how much people like the alleged perpetrator.

Considering the risk of Assange being deported to the US is no higher in Sweden than it is in the UK (since the UK would have to ok the freaking extradition order ANYWAY), then this step is nothing but a good thing and brings this situation closer to being resolved. Assange, who allegedly committed the crime in Sweden, will be tried in Sweden according to Swedish law. Awesome.

Can we at least agree that if Assange is guilty of the charges leveled against him by these women then he is a rapist? Can we? Because forcing someone to have sex without a condom by holding them down and penetrating someone without a condom, which had been previously determined to be a necessary condition for consent, while they are asleep and could not consent anyway, is rape. If he did what he has been accused of doing then he is a rapist and I would be very glad to see him in jail.
posted by lydhre at 11:03 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


We've got everybody else's opinion so far; can somebody in Clapham ask a man on the omnibus what he thinks?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:04 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey, you're the one who cited Naomi "Feminism was awesome until I was old" Wolf...

It totally doesn't matter what Naomi Wolf's credentials are. She's made a very prominent and easily refutable claim that Assange's treatment is unprecedented. With all the people writing about this case, it should be trivial to produce someone well versed in Swedish / international law to refute her if she's wrong.
posted by straight at 11:04 AM on February 24, 2011


We've got everybody else's opinion so far; can somebody in Clapham ask a man on the omnibus what he thinks?

Wot?
posted by notion at 11:06 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is an open and shut case of date rape where the rapist has given a public confession. It is a violation of the laws of most countries and punishable by a jail term. It would be outrageous for a prosecutor to ignore this.

Shit man. I had no idea the trial was over already. Where did the time go?
posted by notion at 11:07 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can we at least agree that if Assange is guilty of the charges leveled against him by these women then he is a rapist? Can we? Because forcing someone to have sex without a condom by holding them down and penetrating someone without a condom, which had been previously determined to be a necessary condition for consent, while they are asleep and could not consent anyway, is rape. If he did what he has been accused of doing then he is a rapist and I would be very glad to see him in jail.

Amen. I'd like to ask everyone to agree or disagree with the simple statement: "If Assange has committed the alleged acts, he should be prosecuted for rape."

Why is this so hard?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:12 AM on February 24, 2011


This is an open and shut case of date rape where the rapist has given a public confession. It is a violation of the laws of most countries and punishable by a jail term. It would be outrageous for a prosecutor to ignore this.

Shit man. I had no idea the trial was over already. Where did the time go?


I do agree that we must wait for the trial.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:13 AM on February 24, 2011


Just curious, has he actually been charged with a crime yet? If not, why not?
posted by mullingitover at 11:18 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My position is that's rape and Ms. Wolf is off her rocker. do you personally believe that the described conduct is rape?
I think it's very unlikley that someone would be convicted under those circumstances in the U.S. if they were charged. And it would also be very unlikely that they would be charged.
posted by delmoi at 11:19 AM on February 24, 2011


I think it's very unlikley that someone would be convicted under those circumstances in the U.S. if they were charged. And it would also be very unlikely that they would be charged.

Delmoi, that is exactly why we should fight for that to change and start taking the reporting of rape and sexual violence more seriously.
posted by lydhre at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think this is the most coherent and concise summation I've seen of the situation, and it seems logical to me:

The co-ordinator of the WikiLeaks group in Stockholm, who is a close colleague of Assange and who also knows both women, told the Guardian: "This is a normal police investigation. Let the police find out what actually happened. Of course, the enemies of WikiLeaks may try to use this, but it begins with the two women and Julian. It is not the CIA sending a woman in a short skirt." (via the Guardian piece).

I went back and read the Guardian's account of what the victims said happened and what Assange said. It's obvious that at the very least he is a self-centered jerk who has a real problem with using condoms. Neither of the victims consider themselves raped--rather, they were concerned at the possibility of having been exposed to an STD or an unintended pregnancy after Assange either didn't use a condom (Miss W) or used one which was apparently ripped (Miss A). The only reason, according to both women, that Assange was reported was because reporting him was necessary to insist on an STD test--they had asked him to have one and at first he said he didn't have time and then when he actually agreed to go the clinics were supposedly closed. Again, as I said, he's a self-centered jerk.

Miss A seems to have just become incredibly annoyed with Assange because he overstayed his welcome in her apartment. He appeared completely oblivious to the fact that she wanted him out. That sounds like a serious case of miscommunication. She apparently also said he was the "worst screw" and "violent", but this was after the fact, when apparently tweets were being sent out about the possibility of getting money out of Assange as well between her and a friend. And before that, she just said they had sex.

It's really hard to look objectively at something like this without all the context. Pinning someone's arms and legs sounds bad. Miss A. said she kept reaching for the condom but couldn't get to it because of that. But then, Assange let her go when she said she wanted him to put one on. So I get the impression that direct communication was not going on until it got to that point, and the pinning down was more some kind of foreplay than an attempt to force Miss A into anything. Seems like Assange didn't know she was reaching for a condom, and then let her go when he realized. But he does seem absurd about the condom issue. I don't know whether it was ripped or he intentionally ripped it. Could be either.

Which brings us to Miss W, who refused sex with Assange without a condom because he wouldn't wear one. Later that evening, they had sex with a condom. They fell asleep together, and she woke up to him having sex with her. That really rings alarm bells. Cuddling, fondling, kissing, sure. But it sounds like he was actually penetrating her. She says she was half-asleep still, and then realized he didn't have a condom on, and said, "I hope you don't have an STD." The defense uses this to say it was no big deal and she was joking with Assange about it. To me, it sounds like more. I imagine she was pissed and feeling violated, and rightly so. Again, she doesn't consider herself raped, but I think anyone reading this would feel she was. Sleeping women cannot consent to intercourse. The fact that they had consensual sex before doesn't change that. And we can be pretty sure she would not have consented even if she were awake: she wouldn't have sex with Assange without a condom the night before. She only agreed when he wore one. He knew her position on this. Miss W's former boyfriend even made the point of saying that she would never have sex without a condom, she went to get the morning-after pill and get tested for STDs. This was not something she would have chosen to do. When you take a woman's choice off of the table, that's rape.

And then Miss W. spoke with Miss A. I think Miss A's own experience was something she was okay with until she spoke with Miss W and realized Assange had a habit of not wanting to wear a condom and being an ass about it. And it's okay for her to reflect on that and say, "You know, now that I know he's been sleeping around, I think Assange should be tested for STDs, too."

So, yeah, I'm sure the U.S. and others would love to see Assange found guilty, as it would serve their own interests very well. I don't see them disappearing Assange, or torturing him--I think officials are going to wait this one out and see how it plays out for Assange. They may have put pressure to bear to get him tried for these charges. But it certainly sounds like he made this problem for himself. He is responsible for his actions regarding these two women.

Now, if he isn't found guilty of rape, and let go, he may again have to watch out for entirely unrelated reasons, because he is considered a threat to "national security" in the US because of Wikileaks, which I think is BS.

But I really don't think what happened is just being manufactured out of whole cloth; these women sound real in their concerns to me.
posted by misha at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Amen. I'd like to ask everyone to agree or disagree with the simple statement: "If Assange has committed the alleged acts, he should be prosecuted for rape."

Why is this so hard?


Because you're the only one making that argument.
posted by notion at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


humanfont, not familiar with the last two, but Roman Polanski 1) drugged 2) a minor, 3) was convicted, then fled to escape sentencing and was threatened with extradition only after 4) a decade or so.

There's a few differences.
posted by anthill at 11:25 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to ask everyone to agree or disagree with the simple statement: "If Assange has committed the alleged acts, he should be prosecuted for rape."

Why is this so hard?


Well, I'd like you to offer your own sources rather than just sneer at mine - but we don't always get what we want.

The reason I personally am not willing to indulge your attempt to change the subject is because the assault on free speech motivating the Assange prosecution affects me more than whether or not Julian Assange is a rapist.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because you're the only one making that argument.

Because no one else wants to answer that question. Are you afraid to?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2011


So, notion, do you agree that the charges, as presented, constitute rape?
posted by lydhre at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2011


The reason I personally am not willing to indulge your attempt to change the subject is because the assault on free speech motivating the Assange prosecution affects me more than whether or not Julian Assange is a rapist.

This post is about someone accused of rape. And I suspect you don't want to answer because you know you are painted into a corner and if you admit that you don't want to see him prosecuted regardless of whether or not he committed the charged conduct would make you a person who condones rape.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:28 AM on February 24, 2011


Joe Beese, I don't disagree with you that assault on free speech is a vital issue. I also think recognizing and prosecuting sexual assault is just as important and in no way do I want to hinder the legal process on the matter.

Whether Assange personally is a rapist affects me very little. Whether we keep ignoring sexual assault and reported rapes as often as we do in this society affects me every day of my life. So.
posted by lydhre at 11:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Amen. I'd like to ask everyone to agree or disagree with the simple statement: "If Assange has committed the alleged acts, he should be prosecuted for rape."

I'll do you one better, if there's a reasonable suspicion that Assange has committed these alleged acts, he should face trial where, hopefully, it will be found that no crime has been committed. I prefer fewer crimes having been committed rather than more.

That said, the prosecution seems really trumped up and malicious to me. I'm reminded of the time that the LAPD tried to frame OJ for a crime that it seems likely he committed. My impression is that the charges against Assange are being pursued with an atypical enthusiasm. That seems suspect.

I sincerely hope that no crime has been committed because, obviously, no-one should be sexually assaulted. And if Assange is guilty, I hope that he is fairly tried and convicted. But it sure seems like they're going after Assange with a lot more enthusiasm than is typical for this sort of case. Mind you, I'd like all sexual assault charges to be pursued with as much enthusiasm, but they're not, so I don't think I'm wrong in assuming there might be something else motivating the prosecution (not persecution).
posted by stet at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because no one else wants to answer that question. Are you afraid to?
And for the record, I do think Assange should stand trial, but not without guarantees that he is going to be treated as any other person accused of the same crime...
posted by notion at 12:54 PM on February 24
The words. They mean things.

Or wait, you're one of the many, many lawyers who doesn't believe in due process of law. Carry on.
posted by notion at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2011


Thank you misha for taking the time to post substance instead of trying to browbeat other members of this site.

that is exactly why we should fight for that to change and start taking the reporting of rape and sexual violence more seriously

This sentiment is exactly what Naomi Wolf addressing. There are many who will be happy to start, and stop, taking this reporting seriously with Assange.
posted by anthill at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This sentiment is exactly what Naomi Wolf addressing. There are many who will be happy to start, and stop, taking this reporting seriously with Assange.

I must admit, sadly, that this is true.

But, that does not mean that if this person engaged in the alleged conduct, that they should not go to trial.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:37 AM on February 24, 2011


Amen. I'd like to ask everyone to agree or disagree with the simple statement: "If Assange has committed the alleged acts, he should be prosecuted for rape."

Why is this so hard?


Simple: because you're trying to bully everyone into taking Assange's guilt for granted, even though no charges have been filed and no trial has been held.

I suspect you'd understand this point if this was a conversation about, say, Obama and Guantanamo: "Agree or disagree with the simple statement: If the President has supported rendition and torture, he should be prosecuted for war crimes. If you don't agree, you support and condone war criminals." See?
posted by dialetheia at 11:37 AM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


In an ideal world, Assange would be found not guilty based upon some form of selective prosecution defense, even if Ny proves that he's guilty of rape. We need some limits upon prosecutors who seek to manipulate the law for their own personal gain, especially when that gain comes through illegally aiding foreign powers that've no stake in the case at hand.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:39 AM on February 24, 2011


Actually, Dialetheia, I agree. If the President has supported rendition and torture, he should be prosecuted for war crimes, along with all the other Presidents who did so before him. If Assange is guilty of rape, then he should be sentenced in a court of law.

I am unclear on how this is a controversial statement. If someone is guilty of rape then he or she is a rapist. Assange has not yet been proven guilty, but he is going to stand trial in Sweden to determine whether he is guilty of rape or not. IF HE IS, then he is a rapist. IF HE IS NOT, then he is not a rapist.

What I was trying to accomplish, though I can't speak for Ironmouth, was confronting those who, in this thread and in the past, have denied that the charges as presented define an act of rape. Because they do.
posted by lydhre at 11:43 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


>So, notion, do you agree that the charges, as presented, constitute rape?

Not our problem. That's what courts are for.

>Whether we keep ignoring sexual assault and reported rapes as often as we do in this society affects me every day of my life. So.

Abso-fucking-lutely. The issue with Assange isn't that he's being vigorously prosecuted, it's that it's atypical. These accusations are a big fucking deal. And if they're only taken seriously because the target of the accusations is a big pain in the ass for The Powers That Be, that's also a big fucking deal.

Selective prosecution is particularly vile in this case because it provides a tacit endorsement to engage in the sexual assault with which Assange is charged so long as the perpetrator doesn't piss off anyone important. Haha! Boys will be boys so long as you don't rock the boat!

There is so much about this that pisses me off. It's like a smorgasbord of cranky.
posted by stet at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


... if you admit that you don't want to see him prosecuted regardless of whether or not he committed the charged conduct would make you a person who condones rape.

I do not want to see him selectively prosecuted. If that makes me in your view someone who "condones rape", make the most of it.

Whether we keep ignoring sexual assault and reported rapes as often as we do in this society affects me every day of my life.

If you believe that the authorities are trying to punish Assange for rape - rather than for his undermining of American interests - I respectfully disagree with you.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2011


lydhre: Assange has not yet been proven guilty, but he is going to stand trial in Sweden to determine whether he is guilty of rape or not. IF HE IS, then he is a rapist. IF HE IS NOT, then he is not a rapist.

Going to stand trial? Sure about that? I have yet to hear of any charge actually being leveled against him. It sounds like they're just making promises at this point. "No really, we're not just pulling him into the country so he can be conveniently extradited to the US, we swear!"
posted by mullingitover at 11:49 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


In an ideal world, Assange would be found not guilty based upon some form of selective prosecution defense, even if Ny proves that he's guilty of rape.

In your ideal world man should get away with rape because the authorities are out to get him? Really? Your ideal world is fucked up.
posted by dersins at 11:49 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


... if you admit that you don't want to see him prosecuted regardless of whether or not he committed the charged conduct would make you a person who condones rape.

I do not want to see him selectively prosecuted. If that makes me in your view someone who "condones rape", make the most of it.


OK, let's assume that (1) Assange did commit the charged conduct; and (2) The Swedish government is prosecuting him because of any one of the following reasons (a) he is a celebrity; or (2) the USA has asked them to throw the book at him so they can extradite him.

Assuming that these women were subjected to the alleged conduct, are they not entitled to justice regardless? Or are they to be sacrificed to a greater good?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:50 AM on February 24, 2011


let's assume that (1) Assange did commit the charged conduct

You assume it.

I still have a pre-9/11 attachment to "presumption of innocence".
posted by Joe Beese at 11:52 AM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Simple: because you're trying to bully everyone into taking Assange's guilt for granted, even though no charges have been filed and no trial has been held.


Read what I wrote. Alleged conduct. I have no fucking idea if he committed the alleged conduct. But I have no truck with fools who think he ought to get away because of his alleged "heroic" acts elsewhere, or because the U.S. is "out to get him."

What I want people to commit to is the idea that he is not above justice because he leaked all of those documents and is therefore a hero.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:53 AM on February 24, 2011


let's assume that (1) Assange did commit the charged conduct

You assume it.

I still have a pre-9/11 attachment to "presumption of innocence".


Don't twist my presentation of a hypothetical with somehow saying he doesn't deserve a fair trial, should the authorities choose to charge him. You still run from the question.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:54 AM on February 24, 2011


"It totally doesn't matter what Naomi Wolf's credentials are. She's made a very prominent and easily refutable claim that Assange's treatment is unprecedented. With all the people writing about this case, it should be trivial to produce someone well versed in Swedish / international law to refute her if she's wrong."

I've already posted a link to show that prosecution for rape is normal, if not as prevalent as it arguably should be in Sweden. Humanfront posted three prominent men who have been extradited over rape charges.

It is easily refutable and it has been refuted, and her claims were even more nuanced (or at least with more caveats) than the presentation of them here, which was was that seeking extradition was contrary to normal Swedish practice.

The promulgators of this claim are using it to leverage a shaky ad hominem argument that Assange is being somehow persecuted or martyred, and that there's a legitimate fear of his being murdered by the CIA, because the United States government is putting pressure on Sweden to go above and beyond the standard procedure. They refuse to state whether or not they believe it should be prosecuted, only arguing again and again that it is odd and because it is odd, it is suspect.

These arguments are made without any acknowledgment of different law enforcement contexts, with the most-cited evidence coming from a judge who believes that the prosecutor is a "man hater" and that this is her motivation for pursuing the prosecution. It is not unreasonable to view her opinions on Swedish law with skepticism in this case. Unfortunately, the only member who I know to be Swedish (3bm) posted a comment that's not likely to engender further credibility on the matter.

Is this case unusual, at least to me, having only really experienced the US justice system? In some ways, yes. But in each instance, the oddness does not seem to have any bearing or cumulative effect. It is not unusual for charges to be filed, then dropped, then filed again. If this were all happening in the United States, rather than the EU, it would not be unusual for someone to leave the state after charges had been dropped, nor especially unusual for them to contest extradition. It would not be unusual for extradition to be granted, nor for the UK court to presume that Sweden's courts were adequate for the task.

The only thing that is truly unusual in this case is that the accused is a dissident. If he were an athlete or an artist, well, he'd still have some defenders, but no one would posit sub-rosa machinations bent on his destruction.

Sexual assault is a hard case to prove pretty much everywhere, in part because of the intimate nature of the crime. It is not at all certain that Assange is guilty, nor that he will be found guilty irrespective of his actual guilt. But given the fairly credible (detailed, but ambiguous) statements from the accusers, it's not unreasonable to try Assange for these charges (nor is it unreasonable for him to resist or to reframe the circumstances to favor his narrative).
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Joe Beese, I am unclear on how, in your pre-9/11 "presumption of innocence" world, would someone ever be tried for his or her alleged crimes. Because presumption of innocence on the part of the court doesn't mean that the accused does not stand trial. It simply means the accused is innocent until proven guilty, which is the court's job.

So, assuming that the Swedish court does its job correctly, Assange will only be considered guilty if he is proven guilty.

When I was assaulted it was my word against his. How would I, in your "presumption of innocence" world, seek justice if not through the courts?
posted by lydhre at 11:58 AM on February 24, 2011


Amen. I'd like to ask everyone to agree or disagree with the simple statement: "If Assange has committed the alleged acts, he should be prosecuted for rape."

If he did what they say, it's rape, yes.

Why is this so hard?

Probably because it's the least interesting element of teh whole Wikileaks/Assange/extradition saga. The question of whether, by who, and how much political influence is being brought to bear on the U.K. and Sweden is far more interesting (and harder to answer).
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 12:00 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


If he were an athlete or an artist, well, he'd still have some defenders, but no one would posit sub-rosa machinations bent on his destruction.

Isn't this kind of a tautology though? Assange has after all actually done stuff that would invite "sub-rosa machinations" against him whereas most athletes typically haven't.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 12:02 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Amen. I'd like to ask everyone to agree or disagree with the simple statement: "If Assange has committed the alleged acts, he should be prosecuted for rape."

If he did what they say, it's rape, yes.

Why is this so hard?

Probably because it's the least interesting element of teh whole Wikileaks/Assange/extradition saga. The question of whether, by who, and how much political influence is being brought to bear on the U.K. and Sweden is far more interesting (and harder to answer).


Thank you. I appreciate your honesty and forthrightness.

There is no evidence of any pressure being brought to bear. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, I'm saying we do not know. I also believe that pressure is less likely on the UK side.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:02 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: let's assume that (1) Assange did commit the charged conduct;

Why would we do that when the charges have been dropped?

Sweden drops Assange rape charge

"I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape," the chief prosecutor said, but declined to go into any more details.
posted by mullingitover at 12:03 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


If he were an athlete or an artist, well, he'd still have some defenders, but no one would posit sub-rosa machinations bent on his destruction.


I wish I could say that were true. See: OJ was framed

About 740,000 results on google.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:04 PM on February 24, 2011


I've already posted a link to show that prosecution for rape is normal, if not as prevalent as it arguably should be in Sweden. Humanfront posted three prominent men who have been extradited over rape charges.
I don't know about the other ones, but Roman Polanski was not extradited for rape. It's been requested that he be extradited. He also drugged and anally raped a 13 year old girl. A much more serious allegation.
posted by delmoi at 12:10 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, notion, do you agree that the charges, as presented, constitute rape?

Julian Assange has not been charged with a crime.

But yes, if he had sex with someone who was sleeping, that would be rape, if the woman decided to press charges. But the new feminism of taking away a woman's right to decide what she wants to do with her own sex life is pretty fucking ridiculous.

If you think you've been raped, call the cops. Press charges. Throw that piece of shit in jail. Don't invite him to your dinner party the next day.
posted by notion at 12:11 PM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


But the new feminism of taking away a woman's right to decide what she wants to do with her own sex life is pretty fucking ridiculous.


Hahahahahaha. Hah. Ha. Right.
posted by lydhre at 12:12 PM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


lydhre: during sex, only men are accountable? Is that what you're proposing for gender equality?
posted by notion at 12:13 PM on February 24, 2011


So, notion, do you agree that the charges, as presented, constitute rape?

Julian Assange has not been charged with a crime.

But yes, if he had sex with someone who was sleeping, that would be rape, if the woman decided to press charges. But the new feminism of taking away a woman's right to decide what she wants to do with her own sex life is pretty fucking ridiculous.

If you think you've been raped, call the cops. Press charges. Throw that piece of shit in jail. Don't invite him to your dinner party the next day.


thank you.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:14 PM on February 24, 2011


150+ comments and it's clear that maybe a handful of you have even read the judgment.

1. The crimes of which he is accused are not strange Swedish crimes that don't exist anywhere else. Contrary to the disappointing (and, frankly, disgusting) line run by Geoffrey Robertson, having sex with a woman who is asleep is rape. In fact, the magistrate noted that the accusation in two of the other charges was sexual intercourse without consent - one for using violence to force the victim into submission, and one for tricking the victim into consenting. That is, there might be *3* rape charges if it happened in England.

2. Assange did not make himself available for questioning in Sweden. When the prosecutor tried to make arrangements, he was "suprisingly" (to quote the magistrate) uncontactable by his lawyer, and then left the country. His lawyer then set out in the media and in his statements to other witnesses and the court to mislead people. The magistrate made remarkable findings about this:
Mr Hurtig said in his statement that it was astonishing that Ms Ny made no effort to interview his client. In fact this is untrue. He says he realised the mistake the night before giving evidence. He did correct the statement in his evidence in chief (transcript p.83 and p.97). However, this was very low key and not done in a way that I, at least, immediately grasped as significant. It was only in cross-examination that the extent of the mistake became clear. Mr Hurtig must have realised the significance of paragraph 13 of his proof when he submitted it. I do not accept that this was a genuine mistake. It cannot have slipped his mind. For over a week he was attempting (he says without success) to contact a very important client about a very important matter. The statement was a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. It did in fact mislead Ms Brita Sundberg-Weitman and Mr Alhem . Had they been given the true facts then that would have changed their opinion on a key fact in a material way.
These are strong words from a court, and may have consequences for Mr Hurtig's practice.

3. Two of the other defence witnesses were found to have based their evidence on media reports and briefings from the defence lawyers (including the liar Hurtig). They both said if the facts were different they would have sought an extradition warrant, and it turns out the facts *were* different.

4. The warrant is not merely a warrant for questioning. No formal charges have been laid but that is because in the Swedish system the charges are laid much closer to trial. It was found that Assange is "an accused person" who is "wanted for prosecution", even though the Swedish system requires him to be interviewed before charges are officially laid.
Here is it necessary to focus clearly on the facts of the case. Clear and specific serious allegations have been made against Mr Assange in Sweden. ... the boundary between suspicion and preliminary enquiries on the one hand, and prosecution on the other, has been crossed. ... the fact that some further pre-trial evidential investigation could result in no trial taking place does not mean this defendant is suspected as opposed to accused. ... As a matter of fact, looking at all the circumstances in the round, this person passes the threshold of being an “accused” person and is wanted for prosecution.
5. The Swedish court system is the appropriate place to deal with questions about irregularities in the procedures used by Swedish police and prosecutors. There is nothing to suggest that Swedish courts are not capable of doing so. In fact, the material linked by somebody above shows that the conviction rate in Swedish rape prosecutions is low - which shows the courts do not simply rubber-stamp prosecutors' decisions.

6. The idea that they're trying to move him to the US one country at a time is absurd. The US could extradict him from the UK. The defence's own expert witnesses undermined their conspiracy theories about it.
There was at one stage a suggestion that Mr Assange could be extradited to the USA (possibly to Guantanamo Bay or to execution as a traitor). The only live evidence on the point came from the defence witness Mr Alhem who said it couldn’t happen. ... If Mr Assange is surrendered to Sweden and a request is made to Sweden for his extradition to the United States of America, then article 28 of the framework decision applies. In such an event the consent of the Secretary of State in this country will be required, in accordance with section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Sweden can order Mr Assange’s extradition to a third State. The Secretary of State is required to give notice to Mr Assange unless it is impracticable to do so. Mr Assange would have the protection of the courts in Sweden and, as the Secretary of State’s decision can be reviewed, he would have the protection of the English courts also. But none of this was argued.
None of this is to say the charges will be made out, but that's why he should go to Sweden and face trial. The presumption of innocence does not mean you get to assert "I didn't do it" and everyone says "oh, shit, presumption of innocence, let's not bother with a trial". It is not a strong case, and he will probably be acquitted (which does not mean he didn't do it).
posted by robcorr at 12:15 PM on February 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


lydhre: during sex, only men are accountable? Is that what you're proposing for gender equality?

Notion: What? If a woman were to have sex with a man while that man was asleep, or if a woman were to hold down a man to forcibly have sex with him without a condom despite his protestations, then those actions would be rape and she would be a rapist. I'm not sure what gave you any idea to the contrary.
posted by lydhre at 12:20 PM on February 24, 2011


PayPal Freezes Support Account For Bradley Manning (via)
posted by jeffburdges at 12:20 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean "concerning sex."

Here's the real concern I have: if I take a girl home tonight, get drunk with her, and we have consensual sex, can she decide that she didn't "really" consent and charge me with rape the next day? And let's say she doesn't exactly remember what happened, and wants me to submit to an STD test, can the authorities force her to press charges against me?

At a certain point, if you keep removing accountability from one party, you no longer have equality. I just don't like the attitude that regret can turn into a felony. If you don't make good decisions when you get drunk, and then you get drunk, why should I go to jail for it?
posted by notion at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why is this even news?

Here are the facts:

1. Swedish police wish to talk to someone who is in the UK. (Whether or not the alleged crime ever took place is not a matter for British justice to determine.)

2. Sweden and Britain have an extradition agreement.

What is everyone getting so angry about? What, more to the point, are they proposing? That (just in this one case), we forget the rule of law? Isn't that exactly the reason everyone is getting so butthurt about Assange in the first place?

You get angry when governments break the law, you get angry when they don't. You just get angry.
posted by dougrayrankin at 12:35 PM on February 24, 2011


I love how this issue makes people experts in the Swedish justice system.

What if he doesn't get extradited, convicted, or incur a heavy sentence? I really don't know what degree of culpability, if any, he might have for his sexual encounters with these Swedish women. But the US government doesn't appear to be putting much effort into getting hold of him. I have a feeling that if it all blows over some people are going to be terribly disappointed.

On preview, this seems to have turned into another thread about rape so I doubt it's going to end any more conclusively than all the other threads about Assange. Personally I think he was at much greater risk of being extradited from the UK than he will be in Sweden.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:37 PM on February 24, 2011


Notion, just make sure she's awake. That usually helps keep people from accusing you of rape--waiting for them to, you know, consent.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:37 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean "concerning sex."

Here's the real concern I have: if I take a girl home tonight, get drunk with her, and we have consensual sex, can she decide that she didn't "really" consent and charge me with rape the next day? And let's say she doesn't exactly remember what happened, and wants me to submit to an STD test, can the authorities force her to press charges against me?

At a certain point, if you keep removing accountability from one party, you no longer have equality. I just don't like the attitude that regret can turn into a felony. If you don't make good decisions when you get drunk, and then you get drunk, why should I go to jail for it?


I do a little practice in Maryland:


§ 3-304. Rape in the second degree.



(a) Prohibited.- A person may not engage in vaginal intercourse with another:

(1) by force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the other;

(2) if the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual; or

If a woman does not consent, she does not consent. If she is incapable of consent, she is incapable of consent.

seriously, be safe don't hurt anyone.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:39 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just don't like the attitude that regret can turn into a felony. If you don't make good decisions when you get drunk, and then you get drunk, why should I go to jail for it?

The allegations aren't that Assange had consensual sex with someone who later regretted it, though. And neither Swedish law nor English law considers that to be a crime, anyway. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make about this case with the discussion of accountability and equality and 'the new feminism', but it's coming as gathering up steam for a full-tilt charge at a windmill.
posted by Catseye at 12:43 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


So what you're really saying, Ironmouth, is that it should be illegal for two adults in Maryland to have sex if they've consumed alcohol. Trying to establish consent is pretty impossible if both parties are "mentally incapacitated."

Good luck with that.
posted by notion at 12:44 PM on February 24, 2011


"seriously, be safe don't hurt anyone."

Oh, the only thing being hurt is any chance of a fair discussion on Metafilter about Julian Assange.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 12:47 PM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Notion: What? If a woman were to have sex with a man while that man was asleep, or [other examples] then those actions would be rape and she would be a rapist.

I don't think it can be demarcated with such simple rules. There are times when one member of a couple is not in the mood and grumpily rejects any physical advances, and other times when the same person is quite OK with waking up to that. Rather a lot depends on what sort of relationship the couple has and what degree of mutual understanding is present, which is not really subject to generalizations. Allowing both parties the autonomy to negotiate such things, formally or informally, doesn't undermine the idea of consent even if different couples settle on different thresholds of what's allowable.

Put another way, I don't consider my wife a rapist.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:56 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


BTW, the above may look like I'm quoting Notion, but in fact I was quoting this comment from someone replying to Notion.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:59 PM on February 24, 2011


Put another way, I don't consider my wife a rapist.

I don't think anyone, least of all Julian Assange, is claiming that his relationship with either of these women was anything more than a one-night stand, let alone the sort of long-term relationship that might involve unspoken mutual assumptions of consent.
posted by Copronymus at 1:05 PM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


See, angibrowl, that is exactly why I debated qualifying my statement to include situations in which consent to have sex while asleep were previously established for certain specific instances.

I didn't do that, because that is not what Julian Assange is alleged to have done and not what was being discussed, which was notion questioning whether I would consider Assange's alleged actions rape were those actions perpetrated by a woman. The answer to that is yes. In fact, if there was any previous deliberation at all it was that sex was out of the question without condoms, which Assange is alleged to have ignored in that he penetrated a sleeping woman without a condom and without her consent.
posted by lydhre at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2011


Allowing both parties the autonomy to negotiate such things, formally or informally, doesn't undermine the idea of consent even if different couples settle on different thresholds of what's allowable.

Exactly. And if a woman says "no sex without a condom", then wakes up to someone penetrating her without a condom, then consent isn't there.

Why is that concept so difficult for some people to grasp?

"No" does not mean "Yes, just wait 'til I'm unconscious".
posted by robcorr at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's the real concern I have: if I take a girl home tonight, get drunk with her, and we have consensual sex, can she decide that she didn't "really" consent and charge me with rape the next day? And let's say she doesn't exactly remember what happened, and wants me to submit to an STD test, can the authorities force her to press charges against me?

Yes and you could get herpes or another STD from her. Gosh it is so unfair. It is like you have to think about all these crazy "things" before you stick your penis into someone. Though most of the time it just ends with a really awkward breakfast and a noncommittal promise to call you later.
posted by humanfont at 1:34 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This person says what I am trying to say better than I can.
... the Swedish prosecutors themselves have asserted that the consent of the women is not in question... Then the accusers' lawyer Claes Bergstrom explained the contradiction of a crime of non-consent committed with consent by declaring: "they (the accusers) are not jurists.”...

The problem here is more worrying than simply of the prosecutor or even the entire Swedish government caving into foreign (presumably US) pressure. The issue here is of a supposedly developed, socially progressive nation - which can't stop itself from taking on the mantle of moral superiority on all global issues - assuming that a rape victim cannot decide whether she has been raped.

Isn't this precisely the sort of infantilisation that feminism fought against? Isn't this infantilisation insulting and demeaning to all women, and not only those who have been raped?
posted by notion at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gosh it is so unfair. It is like you have to think about all these crazy "things" before you stick your penis into someone.

humanfont: You're doing it wrong.
posted by notion at 1:44 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


...don't hurt anyone... | ...so difficult for some people... | Notion, just make sure she's awake... | It is like you have to think ... before you stick your penis
Please make the discussion about the issues, rather than other members of this site.
posted by anthill at 1:52 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My point is that pretty much any line you draw turns out to be more a gray area the more closely one examines it. All the considerations people mention should be weighed, and the right place to do that seems to be Sweden, where the crime is alleged to have taken place.

It's a contentious subject because in cases like this, where it's one person's word against another's, then it's almost impossible to draw an objective conclusion. This is a problem for women, who are most likely to find themselves the victim of sexual assault which they have difficulty proving later. It's a different but no less worrying problem for men, who can be accused of sexual assault in any situation short of obtaining a consent receipt every time they have sex. The risk of being sexually assaulted is a great deal higher than the risk of being falsely accused, which might be seem to make the latter much less important; but the consequences of a false accusation (from social ostracism to years in prison) can be very severe.

Like an obscure disease, the low probability of its occurrence is no comfort whatsoever to the person who does end up dealing with it. The problem is that most people like sex and want the opportunity to enjoy physical pleasure and possibly fall in love; and this is more than a mere whim, because biologically humans are very sexually active (compared to other animals that only mate seasonally). So virtually everyone is interested, and in a secular modern country that means lots of opportunities, but there's no way to fully enjoy one's sexuality and still insulate oneself from the threat or accusation of assault. The risk is inherent and potentially severe, and where a question of assault rides upon an issue of consent rather than the fact of intercourse, the fact that there's no objective standard of proof means one can't just rely on the court to straighten it all out. It's always going to be a problem, even as we make gradual progress towards reducing the incidence of it.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:58 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


... the Swedish prosecutors themselves have asserted that the consent of the women is not in question... Then the accusers' lawyer Claes Bergstrom explained the contradiction of a crime of non-consent committed with consent by declaring: "they (the accusers) are not jurists.”...
Not only do you need to be an expert in Swedish law to have an opinion on Julian Assange. You also need to be an expert on Swedish law to have sex with anyone in the country!
posted by delmoi at 2:15 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


This person says what I am trying to say better than I can...

Rape has a legal definition, in Sweden as in elsewhere. As do various categories of sexual assault which cover different actions. These are legal terms, for operating within the legal system, which by necessity has objective rules for what constitutes which particular type of crime. And that's what you were arguing for in your previous comments, by saying that you didn't want a system in which someone who had drunken consensual sex with you could later decide she was raped. You can't say it should be the woman's decision whether or not what happened to her constitutes rape in one case, and then say it should be the court's decision and not hers to make in the other.

Also, there's a distinction between 'the women claimed X happened to them, and the prosecution decided X constituted rape/sexual assualt' and 'the women just happened to be relating their account of a happy, consensual night in front of a lawyer, who immediately said 'Ha! That's rape!' despite their protestations that they'd consented and the man was innocent and shouldn't be prosecuted'. The latter is what's implied by the piece you link to, but it's not what's claimed by the prosecution, by the accusers, or by anyone else. Yeah, Borgstrom's quote kind of mangled it, but he's still right.

Also also, and probably most importantly: claiming "the consent of the women is not in question", and that the act alleged was "a crime of non-consent committed with consent", is just plain incorrect. That's not what's alleged. What's alleged is non-consent. Penetrating a sleeping woman without a condom, when she'd previously and repeatedly refused sex without a condom, is not a consensual act. The acts alleged constitute a crime, both under Swedish law and under English law (according to the judge who ruled on the extradition case).

I'm a woman. I don't feel infantilised by rape allegations being treated seriously. I am, however, getting a bit tired of being told that treating rape allegations seriously is some kind of terrible blow to feminism.
posted by Catseye at 2:19 PM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Your ideal world is fucked up.

The actual world would be so much better if we were allowed to say this to others, and actually listened when someone said it to us.
posted by byanyothername at 2:34 PM on February 24, 2011


You can't say it should be the woman's decision whether or not what happened to her constitutes rape in one case, and then say it should be the court's decision and not hers to make in the other.

The difference between withdrawing consent after the fact and having the prosecution allege rape where the victim does not is pretty clear.

Having the latter can easily lead to situations where there is an argument between two partners that is overheard, and the authorities are called. Once hearing the story, they decide one party has been raped even though that party doesn't want to press charges. That is a bizarre system of accountability in my book.
posted by notion at 2:34 PM on February 24, 2011


... the Swedish prosecutors themselves have asserted that the consent of the women is not in question... Then the accusers' lawyer Claes Bergstrom explained the contradiction of a crime of non-consent committed with consent by declaring: "they (the accusers) are not jurists.”...
Not only do you need to be an expert in Swedish law to have an opinion on Julian Assange. You also need to be an expert on Swedish law to have sex with anyone in the country!


It is not really clear to most of us what their law on rape is. But in any country we are charged with constructive knowledge of the laws. There is and never will be a defense of "I didn't know it was against the law" in any country. If the information alleged is true and if it violates Swedish law, Assange should not have done it. That is how law works.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:43 PM on February 24, 2011


The difference between withdrawing consent after the fact and having the prosecution allege rape where the victim does not is pretty clear.

Okay, imagine it this way. Some anonymous MeFite posts a question to AskMe about problems in his marriage, and he reveals in his question that his wife frequently hits him, screams at him, threatens him if he goes out with his friends after work, and doesn't let him talk to his family. But then he says, "It's not really an abusive relationship, she's just really insecure." I think most of AskMe would be telling him that oh yes it is an abusive relationship, and I don't think they'd be infantilising him or setting a dangerous precedent for society in doing so.

Having the latter can easily lead to situations where there is an argument between two partners that is overheard, and the authorities are called. Once hearing the story, they decide one party has been raped even though that party doesn't want to press charges.

That's not what happened here. The women went to the police about the alleged events in question; if these things did happen, the women clearly weren't totally happy and fully consenting to them before some scheming US-affiliated prosecutor overheard and decided to go after Assange. Whether the women initially defined their own experiences as sexual assualt, or rape, or just really icky, violent, unpleasant sex doesn't change the legal definitions of sexual crimes.
posted by Catseye at 2:44 PM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


It doesn't really matter if we agree with Swedish law or not. He was there, and is alleged to have broken their laws. He should be extradited.

Everything else is just a derail. And a fairly disgusting one, at that.
posted by gjc at 3:40 PM on February 24, 2011


These are legal terms, for operating within the legal system, which by necessity has objective rules for what constitutes which particular type of crime.

All true, but absent an objective fact-finding mechanism we're back to square one. If a defendant says 'well, it's true she objected a few times but I ignored her in the heat of passion,' then we can make objective statements that what the defendant did was a criminal act. But if the defendant says 'no way, you said at the time you were totally OK with (whatever took place)' how do we know who is telling the truth? It's a general problem in that sometimes a judge or jury member's decision comes down to a subjective assessment of which person is more credible. In this case, there's the additional problem that a court is weighing the testimony of a fellow citizen who speaks the same language against that of a foreigner who speaks a different one, a situation which always involves a risk of bias.

All I know objectively about this case, because everyone seems to agree about it, is that Assange had sex with two different women a few nights apart, and some days later the two women made a joint visit to the police in which they complained of his behavior. All of the other stuff involving the Swedish prosecutors and legal system is kind of a sideshow to that - the questions of procedural integrity matter a good deal, but ultimately the case revolves around the reports and credibility of the three people involved.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:40 PM on February 24, 2011


Julian Assange's greatest value to the Wikileaks cause is as a 'lightning rod' for negative attention (which its enemies are going to make sure happen) while other people make sure its invaluable work gets done. I HOPE it isn't required to get Julian to read every document and approve it before it is passed on to their allied media entities (but considering the trickle of Cablegate documents, I fear it is). I, myself, don't trust his personal judgment so I hold out hope that Wikileaks (and the spin-off organizations, some of which were specifically created due to dissatisfaction with Assange's leadership) will accomplish its mission BETTER without him.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:05 PM on February 24, 2011


Because no one's said it yet: the complainants have pretty strong incentives NOT to be prosecuting. They have been harassed, including their names and addresses being published online. Despite assertions to the contrary, there's no evidence that they're CIA operatives. Assange's lawyer has also told a bunch of really nasty lies about the case that materially endanger them.

I think that context is important to discussing the case. It's not like a couple women had sex with him, felt bad about it, and then decided to file a complaint against an internationally-famous guy for funsies.
posted by momus_window at 4:10 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Though I can understand him being extradited, it's hard to imagine Julian Assange actually being sentenced as guilty for anything... especially considering how popular he is with younger people in Sweden.

Where would they find a jury willing to convict?!
posted by markkraft at 4:52 PM on February 24, 2011


Where would they find a jury willing to convict?!

The beauty of a closed-door hearing is that you can report the jury's verdict as whatever you want.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:57 PM on February 24, 2011


Would this be the jury that doesn't exist in Swedish criminal cases? Because you can look up how those things work, you know (pdf).
posted by anigbrowl at 5:17 PM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


We don't know much about the accusations themselves other than what's been illegally leaked to the Guardian by the prosecution.

There is however considerable evidence from outside the prosecution's case that almost uniformly points towards Miss A having filed the complaint for revenge after learning Assange slept with Miss W. We also know that Miss A has publicly stated that all sex was consensual, contradicting the prosecution's claims about her case, hence the cryptic argument between notion, catseye, etc. up thread.

We know almost nothing about Miss W's case outside the prosecution's illegal one sided leaks, but overall her complaint sounds more believable, lacks obvious ulterior motives, etc.


Imho, there isn't too terribly much point in speculating about the rape case itself, given how little information we posses, said information's biased nature, and the obvious political motivations behind the prosecution.

We might see the Miss A charges get thrown out while the Miss W charge stick. We might see all charges get rammed through to conviction with the defense screaming blood murder of procedural abuse, embarrassing their whole justice system. We could see the trial dragged out indefinitely to prevent him from returning to Australia. We might even see all charges dismissed with Ny run up for disbarment for her office's leaks. etc.


I'd imagine that Obama, Clinton and Holder would prefer that Assange remains stuck in Sweden as long as possible, buying them more time before Assange becomes unextraditable by returning to Australia. And this holds true even if they don't yet know if they'll indict him!

If the Americans wish a conviction, obviously the whole secret jury-less star-chamber style trial will prove much more accommodating than a public jury trial. And authorities always love harassment when they dislike you but cannot convict you.

Assange himself has laid out more direct complains about prosecution's abuse of process in his interview with Aftonbladet.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:48 PM on February 24, 2011


The allegations are serious and both Swedish and UK justice systems have taken the view there is enough evidence for the matter to be taken to trial. If he's convicted he will go to jail. I think most would agree this is the way it should be.

However Joe Beese definitely has a point regarding the unusual handling of this case.

There are good reasons to be suspicious of the 'enthusiasm' for putting Assange behind bars, given the circumstances surrounding wikileaks, the calls by some politicians and media for his assassination, etc. Given the special treatment of his extradition, it is reasonable to wonder if this special treatment is going to extend to his trial.*

Asking such questions & pointing out the discrepancies does not make one a rape apologist.

I can only say, I wish all rape allegations were investigated and prosecuted so vigorously. Maybe then, more victims would come forward, and more rapists would have to face the consequences of their actions.

* that said, after reading some comments I think a trial without jury behind closed doors in Sweden, would be preferable to a trial here on metafilter.
posted by joz at 6:04 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


This site has taught me so much about feminism and respecting women. I'm a bit surprised at how many people are defending Assange. Yes, he's a tireless defender of freedom. He's also a creep. The fact that the charges are politically motivated doesn't mean they're not true.

I'm a creepy nerd (with an 85% OkCupid compatibility with Assange). I know one when I see one.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:51 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm a bit surprised at how many people are defending Assange.

I'm no longer surprised how many people no longer distinguish between defending a man and defending a principle.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:04 PM on February 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


"The beauty of a closed-door hearing is that you can report the jury's verdict as whatever you want."

The beauty of insinuations is that you can say what you want and not have to support it.
posted by klangklangston at 7:23 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This site has taught me so much about feminism and respecting women."

You've learned only to set aside the presumption of innocence when you hear the word "rape". You don't know that he's a creep. Oh no, wait, you do, because....Metafilter. Wonderful.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 9:52 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


lydhre:Can we at least agree that if Assange is guilty of the charges leveled against him by these women then he is a rapist?

Certainly, just as as long as we can agree that if you turn out to be guilty of molesting several children near where you live children then you are indeed a pedophile.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:07 PM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Congratulations, Poet_Lariat, you have mastered the concept of The hypothetical! Give yourself a pat on the back.

For your next trick, you might want to rethink your conspiracy theory. Even Assange has distanced himself from the ultraparanoid honeytrap bullshit.
posted by robcorr at 11:10 PM on February 24, 2011


robcorr: For your next trick, you might want to rethink your conspiracy theory. Even Assange has distanced himself from the ultraparanoid honeytrap bullshit.

What part of confirmed CIA ties are you choosing to ignore exactly?

And Ollie North never traded weapons for drugs in the 80's....

And Lee Harvey Oswald just had a darned awful spot of bad luck....

And the man who happened to expose the corruption and greed of some of the wealthiest and most powerful politicians on the planet just happened to engage in a spot of rape a few weeks beforehand ... with a CIA flunky no less.

Seriously?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:47 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a dutiful tracing sociologist, one could also try to research a honeytrap variant that's a bit closer to home, and tied to individuals as opposed to grand concepts and evil, plotting states: perhaps someone went to bed with him in order to later be able to expose him as the jerk he perhaps actually is, just for the kicks.

Problem with this, like with every other look-into-the-future-have-no-clue-what-really-happened theories is the cynicism of anticipatory judgment. We can do better than that.
posted by Namlit at 1:27 AM on February 25, 2011


Oh, grow up, Poet_Lariat.

Here is the allegation:
Anna Ardin (the official complainant) is often described by the media as a “leftist”. She has ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes (see here and here) in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba. From Oslo, Professor Michael Seltzer points out that this periodical is the product of a well-financed anti-Castro organization in Sweden. He further notes that the group is connected with Union Liberal Cubana led by Carlos Alberto Montaner whose CIA ties were exposed here. Note that Ardin was deported from Cuba for subversive activities. In Cuba she interacted with the feminist anti-Castro group Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White). This group receives US government funds and the convicted anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is a friend and supporter. Wikipedia quotes Hebe de Bonafini, president of the Argentine Madres de Plaza de Mayo as saying that “the so-called Ladies in White defend the terrorism of the United States.”
Her accuser, Israel Shamir, is a man who lies about his qualifications, believes the Jews had advance warning about 9/11, and helps neonazis write "Holohoax" books. Forgive me for being a bit wary of his claims.

But even taking his claims at face value: and furthermore: If this constitutes "confirmed CIA links" to you, then I'm afraid we have a different definition of "confirmation".
posted by robcorr at 1:54 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


markkraft: "Where would they find a jury willing to convict?!"

Pro tip: The world is not the United States.
posted by brokkr at 4:15 AM on February 25, 2011


A bit more of a pro quip really. let's be kind and spell it out: some other (otherwise perfectly fine) jurisdictions don't make use of juries and such.
posted by Namlit at 7:03 AM on February 25, 2011


]
robocorr: f this constitutes "confirmed CIA links" to you, then I'm afraid we have a different definition of "confirmation"


Of course when the very young accuser brags about being a
CIA Agent in her Twitter feed I suppose it's best to ignore that as well.

I suppose that you are correct, as you suggest in your previous entry , that we do indeed have very different definitions of reality in this case at the very least.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:49 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


There isn't much doubt that the Cuban exile community has pretty hefty CIA ties, witness the bay of pigs. And the CIA isn't all military coups and assassinations, they backed Gloria Steinem and Jackson Pollock too. I'd expect they still back lots of human rights work in Cuba.

It's therefore possible the CIA knew Ardin existed, especially by the time Cuba deported her, so maybe they asked her to get close to Assange. <shrug> You'll notice however that her online tracks were not covered very well, plus simple revenge accounts well enough for her accusations. And obviously that twitter post occurred after the whole internet started discussing her possible CIA ties.

I'll sing a different tune of course if you find CIA ties to EAPPI, her Christian group that works with Palestinians. Yet otherwise, it's far more likely the American embassy simply had Claes Borgström keep the pressure on Assange after the first prosecutor dismissed the case. No honeypot, just opportunism.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Of course when the very young accuser brags about being a
CIA Agent in her Twitter feed I suppose it's best to ignore that as well.
"

The CIA gave her secret sarcasm training.
posted by klangklangston at 9:24 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Solitary confinement, closed trial. (The Guardian)
posted by anthill at 1:02 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not just Assange, the Obama DOJ is cracking down on whistleblowers of all kinds, much harder than any previous President and in direct contradiction to campaign promises.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:23 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, you really think that's "brag[ging] about being a CIA Agent"!

Just, wow.
posted by robcorr at 2:12 PM on February 25, 2011


Mark Stephens is naturally doing his best on behalf of his client, but I think most UK lawyers would agree that the European convention on human rights has given individuals in Britain a lot more legal protection from the power of the state than they used to have. In general, Sweden is considered extremely progressive in criminal justice matters, so I would start planning Assange's funeral just yet.

Whatever the outcome, if you're waging a global media campaign against the world's most powerful government(s), then you should probably avoid letting it overlap with your sex life and not go to bed with people you barely know, no matter how attractive and friendly they appear to be. Sexual blackmail is about as old as history.

It's not just Assange, the Obama DOJ is cracking down on whistleblowers of all kinds, much harder than any previous President and in direct contradiction to campaign promises.

I am of course wasting my time here, but feel bound to point out that among the whistleblower protections which were promised and subsequently implemented by the Obama administration are the setting up a mechanism for working with the Office of Special Counsel (pdf). In general, but especially in relation to security matters, one is supposed to bring wrongdoing within the federal government to the attention of oversight bodies - OSC within the executive branch if possible, or failing that, a Congressional oversight committee. One is not supposed to use the media as a first resort, and nor is every example of government failure equivalent to corruption or illegality.

The Obama administration has more to do before fulfilling the President's promises, and while Glenn Greenwald is correct to point this out, I think he is more of an editorial writer than a reporter. So instead I suggest a look at the National Whistleblower Center, which is about to publish a book on how to 'blow the whistle' effectively, and has tons of other legal resources and advocacy. It's a great non-partisan organization that is intent on improving government transparency without dumbing down the issues or getting caught up in political shell games. There are about 2 million civilian employees in the federal government, spread across around 30 major agencies; about as many again working for agencies in the 50 different state governments; and somewhere around 6 million people employed by the ~87,000 (yes, really) county/municipal governments across the USA. Getting consistent whistleblowing laws, in place for all public employees is a monumental task, and even doing so just in the federal government is a very big undertaking. The OSC itself has had a messy history. Set up in 1979, it was promptly gutted by the Reagan administration, resulting in the resignation of about 70% of its staff, and was still having problems under George w. Bush - which is why the previous head of the OSC, Scott Bloch, is trying to stay out of jail right now. Here's information and a petition you should be aware of; inexplicably, Glenn Greenwald has never written a word about this.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:06 PM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bush Cancels Speech Because of Assange Appearance
posted by homunculus at 9:27 AM on February 26, 2011


Poet_Lariat (link), and later Klang, yesterday: The CIA gave her secret sarcasm training.

Yeah, but let's give it a real try, instead of this Google translator thingy.

"CIA-agent, rabiat feminist/muslimälskare, kristen fundamentalist, flata & dödligt förälskad i en man, kan man ens vara allt det samtidigt?"

Is not really: "CIA agent, rabid feminist / Muslim lover, a Christian fundamentalist, flat & fatally in love with a man, can you even be all the time?"

But more like: "CIA agent, ruthless feminist, Muslim lover, a Christian fundamentalist, gay & fatally in love with a man, can one even be all this at the same time?"

Answer: what
posted by Namlit at 10:03 AM on February 26, 2011


Solitary confinement, closed trial. (The Guardian)

If you need evidence that the rape charges against Assange are a setup to a kangaroo court and further extradition, putting the defendant into solitary confinement and subjecting him to a secret trial would be proof positive.

This is a travesty of justice and the UK should be ashamed of itself for playing its role in this obvious sham.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:55 AM on March 1, 2011


If I understand the Swedish rules correctly, closed trial is standard for that kind of offense. I think it has been said here before. no idea about the solitary confinement. Time will tell.
posted by Namlit at 5:18 AM on March 1, 2011


Namlit, it seems pretty obvious she's listing things others have called her and rhetorically asking, "How is it even possible for one person to be all the things I've been labeled?"
posted by straight at 12:58 PM on March 1, 2011


Never been a fan of Swedish sarcasm. Why doesn't she just give us a list of approved qualities...
posted by Namlit at 3:36 PM on March 1, 2011


Assange blames jewish conspiracy for his problems.
posted by humanfont at 5:48 AM on March 2, 2011


Or maybe not, given that it's the Private Eye.

He should be able to take that suit to British court and get the tapes played if he wants; British law is incredibly tight on libel.
posted by klangklangston at 8:07 AM on March 2, 2011


Meanwhile Bradley Manning faces capital charges further compacting any potential Assange Extradition to the USA.
posted by humanfont at 4:57 PM on March 2, 2011


LOL, wow. The fact that the NYT would mindlessly regurgitate a Private Eye article because it's anti-Assange shows how totally morally bankrupt American journalism is. How sad.
posted by mek at 6:36 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Greenwald on Shifting Editorial Standards at the New York Times.
posted by mek at 4:45 AM on March 3, 2011


"Aiding the Enemy" charges for Bradley Manning.
posted by misha at 6:02 AM on March 3, 2011


DreamWorks lines up WikiLeaks film based on Guardian book
posted by homunculus at 2:13 PM on March 4, 2011


Interpol issued a "Red notice" for Assange, but issued a lower "Orange Notice" for Gaddafi. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 6:22 AM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOL, wow. The fact that the NYT would mindlessly regurgitate a Private Eye article because it's anti-Assange shows how totally morally bankrupt American journalism is. How sad.

The NYT has been smearing Assange since Burns' hit piece shortly after the leaks came out. Someone must have gotten to the editors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:39 PM on March 7, 2011


Julian Assange: Houseguest
posted by homunculus at 3:20 PM on March 21, 2011


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