The Plot thickens

Sweden has what seem to be well thought out and enlightened views on what constitutes rape and on the duties of authorities to bring rapists to justice.  See Jender’s post here for a good examination of how the law in Sweden applies in this case.

Hence, it seems right to say that the desire to decide the truth in the Assange case, where he has been accused of rape “in the third degree,” is admirable.  And the Swedish authorities said that they were not doing it for the Americans or anything like that.  They are pursuing their own agenda.

So far so good, though honestly it was a bit surprising that they got interpol involved and had an international manhunt.  That in fact may seem to many of us women as entirely fitting, but it is quite rare to go this far with accusations.

But, apparently, Sweden now says it will defer to USA interests if they get hold of him.  At least that’s what Assange’s lawyer says they told him.  So one wonders just how much of a charade is going on.  Suppose the Swedes are really using the rape accusation to hide their collusion with the USA.  That does not make me feel very good.  What do you think?

A final observation:  next time someone gets justly accused of rape, it’s rather nice to think that they’ll be worried that the CIA or Interpol will put them on their wish list.

12 thoughts on “The Plot thickens

  1. This whole discussion is getting me in trouble.

    After being convinced in this blog that Sweden is protecting women’s rights by trying to extradict Assange from the U.K., I defended that thesis in my Chilean online political forum, receiving only negative comments from people who are sure that Sweden is being pressured by el imperio; and now, I see that you, my feminist mentors, are shifting towards the posture of my machista Chilean comrades.

    Just kidding.

    By the way, what is Assange going to do with his life? Where can he find refuge? I read in CNN (this may be disinformation) that China and Russia are hacking Wikileaks and are out to get Assange. Europe is now under the orders of Washington. Maybe Chávez would accept Assange, but would Assange accept Chávez? This Assange character really knows how to paint himself into a corner.

    In any case, the news haven’t been so entertaining for years.

  2. It’s certainly makes for distracting reading! That may be a marxist comment. Let the gov’t plunder while it squeeks with outrange at Assange.

    I think Australia might welcome him back. I saw Putin advance the conspriacy theory on cnn, though he was clearly also amused at the US’s embarrassment.

    I suppose the Brits might also squeek while plundering, but there’s so much now about Charles and Camilla’s fright.

    I meant to get back to you on filters, Amos. I think we ended up using the idea differently. I was thinking of a very specific type of filter that is neurological, or so the theory says. But your usage is probably more standard, and so understood, I agreed with you.

  3. Assange, as far as I can see, is genuinely against all power elites and if you act on that, you get into trouble.

    I agree that all power elites are more or less corrupt, but basic survival strategy seems to involve leaving yourself somewhere to retreat to, but Assange hasn’t left himself anywhere to retreat to.

    Given his philosophy of life and life-style, he can hardly seek refuge in Libya or Iran. The U.S. is doing its best to assure that he cannot function in Europe, which in terms of life-style and culture would be
    the most congenial place for Assange, if he continues with his project.

    South America? Maybe Argentina, as long as Cristina Fernandez is president, but after Cristina? Venezuela? Definitively not Cuba.

    What’s worse is with his nuclear option (he reveals topsecret U.S. information if he disappears), he’s placed himself in a position where distinct enemies of the Obama administration, including ultra-rightwing members of the U.S. military, may profit by doing away with him.
    Maybe I’ve read too many John Le Carré novels.

  4. According to this article, it would be easier to extradite Assange to the U.S. from the U.K. than from Sweden.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11949771

    By the way, why isn’t anyone concerned about Private Bradley Manning, who is in a U.S. military prison facing 52 years in jail?

    It seems that there are first class and second class political prisoners.

  5. amos,

    That’s a good question. On the other hand, Manning could have taken a fair few steps to protect himself from retribution, but he didn’t. I don’t know why. One would have been to leak through a protected communication, which would leave him safe under the military whistleblower act (or whatever it’s called). The other would have been to leak through a lawyer (always the best option, at least in the US, Canada, and Europe), since the confidentiality protections there are as close to airtight as you can get.

    Beyond that, however, I don’t really know anything. Perhaps Wikileaks was supposed to protect his identity and failed? *shrug*

  6. I agree that it’s a good question. Apparently he is getting some defenders and Berkeley city council are debating whether or not to name him a hero. Glen Greenwald is saying on twitter apparently that there’s some big upcoming story about what’s happening to Manning, in which the word “torture” appears.

    Here’s some of Greenwald’s posts at Salon: http://www.salon.com/news/wikileaks/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/12/14/wikileaks

    I don’t know that he’s yet said much about Manning. I expect that those connecting the wiki leaks story with freedom of the press are going to start paying more attention to Manning.

  7. I think the short answer to why Assange is getting more attention than Manning is just that Assange’s story is far sexier to the media. I mean, we’ve got an international playboy who hops from country to country, grants interviews, sticks his thumb in the eye of Obama and Clinton, and is being charged with rape. He grabs reader attention. Manning is a heroic military guy who exposes secrets. Not as many are going to read about that.

    But another part of the reason might be more substantive. Whether we agree with the charges against Manning or not (and I sincerely hope we do not), we can understand them and place them in a standard narrative of treason. But the charges against Assange by the United States are rather baffling. How can a non-US citizen with no ties to the US be tried in the US for treason? It boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

  8. “International manhunt” doesn’t seem to be right. Nobody was actively looking for him as far as I’m aware (he was known to be in Britain), and as soon as there was a valid warrant for his arrest here he turned himself in to the police. A minor nitpick, of course, but he never tried to evade justice on this charge.

  9. Let me recommend that one NOT google to find out about the treason question. The discussions are sometimes very ugly. Honestly, in ways one can predict and so are even more uninteresting. On the one hand, his sleeping around shows Assange is morally unfit but, on the other, he’s clearly gay.

  10. SeanH, no doubt you are right, but I could swear I read he was being looked for, was hard to find, etc.

    Self-preservation would be a motive for turning himself in. Otherwise, he is in a very vulnerable position with, e.g., the CIA looking for him. Yikes!

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