Naomi Wolf on rape, justice and Julian Assange

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77 Responses to “Naomi Wolf on rape, justice and Julian Assange”

  1. MRKiscaden says:

    I’ve learned two things from this whole ordeal:

    The first is to never have sex with a woman in Europe. Its too dangerous.

    Second, Europe must be almost crime free for an international man-hunt to commence over a case of withdrawn consent.

    • Niklas says:

      It’s easy, just follow these simple rules:

      • “Don’t” means “do not do that”.
      • “Stop” means “stop now”.
      • “Yes” means “yes”.
      • “Don’t stop” mens “go on!”.

      Anyone unable to follow these rules should indeed refrain from having sex. Anywhere.

  2. Avram / Moderator says:

    I can’t remember the last time a major news story provided so many different ways for people to express righteous indignation.

    • jere7my says:

      I can’t remember the last time a major news story provided so many different ways for people to express righteous indignation.

      How is it possible that nobody has yet tied this to the DADT debate? (The all-but-forgotten) Bradley Manning is gay; why isn’t the right saying, “See what happens when we let gays into the military?” And why isn’t the left saying, “See what happens when we don’t grant basic rights to gays in the military?”

  3. Jonathan says:

    The handling of the charges suggests that the motivation for bringing them against Mr. Assange is political. If the motivation is political, then the merits of the charges might matter less. Even if they fail to result in a conviction, the authorities might nevertheless succeed in, in essence, incapacitating Mr. Assange for several months, and preventing him from releasing further documents through WikiLeaks. They might also injure Mr. Assange’s reputation among the public: certainly I have learned more about details Mr. Assange’s personal life in recent days than I would care to know.

    NYT: A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      The internet doesn’t work the way corporate media wants it to. Keeping Assange in jail doesn’t remove any documents from Wikileaks servers. Nor does jailing Assange prevent leaks from being released.

  4. jungletek says:

    Yet another reason why the whole politically motivated fiasco is so fucking offensive…

  5. eviladrian says:

    If Assange had been killed in a car accident last week I would have assumed it was a CIA hit, if he gets charged with espionage and dragged off to Guantanamo I won’t expect him to get a fair trial, but I should just stop being suspicious when he’s subjected to personal smears? Like that’s the only thing his enemies wouldn’t stoop to doing?

  6. mk11 says:

    Apart from a few level-headed comments, I find it quite striking that a lot of people seem intent on advancing their own readings of the matter/agendas despite a glaring paucity of factual info.

    So to further muddy the waters, here’s my take:

    No one seems clear about what Assange is precisely accused of and whether that actually constitutes rape under English or Swedish law, or their own “common-sense” interpretation of the term.

    The fact remains that if you type “Assange” and “rape” you will get 2.5 mln hits in 0.15s. That’s what a smear campaign is for.

    Irrespective of the actual merits of the case, it’s hard to see how anyone involved will come out of this looking better. Neither accusers, accused, legal system nor sex…

    The whole concept of consent withdrawn after the fact, in a context seemingly deprived of either violence, coercion or threat seems somewhat contrived. This is a very grey area at best, pointing this out hardly constitutes tacit acceptance of “male whatever”.

    Lest we forget, neither violence, nor threats nor coercion are a male prerogative. Neither is sex with ulterior motives.

    I’d agree with Wolf’s assertion that to define something like this, on current knowledge, as “rape” in a sense dilutes the suffering of those who were the victims of actual brutal assaults, for that matter whether male or female, and who were not “lucky” enough to have a celebrity “assailant” in the international spotlight.

    Assange is clearly basking in this spotlight and his newfound celebrity status, I personally find this somewhat troubling and I would certainly not put it past him to seek to exploit that on a personal level. He seems oblivious to the fact that by equating himself with Wikileaks, he’s opening Wikileaks up to all sorts of criticism that would be best directed at him.

    • Niklas says:

      “No one seems clear about what Assange is precisely accused of and whether that actually constitutes rape under English or Swedish law, or their own “common-sense” interpretation of the term.”

      “The whole concept of consent withdrawn after the fact, in a context seemingly deprived of either violence, coercion or threat seems somewhat contrived. This is a very grey area at best, pointing this out hardly constitutes tacit acceptance of “male whatever”.”

      We know for sure that he is accused of forcefully (by holding her down) completed a sexual act with one of the women despite her withdrawing consent.

      Having read the relevant Swedish law (transation) it is clear that the alleged crime is indeed rape. Comparing to Norwegian law (sorry, no direct link, but at least this one is available in english) Assange should be happy, had this happened there not only do they have Europe’s toughest sex crime law, it would have been in a NATO country (possibly easier to extradite him to the US).

  7. radicalbytes says:

    I also felt very uncomfortable with much of the interweb reaction to the allegations and so have been keeping a list of articles dealing with the sexist backlash against Assange’s female accusers. So far there are 11 articles on the topic (some of them responding to Wolf’s previous snide letter to Interpol on HuffPo).

    11 Articles on the internet backlash against Assange’s female accusers: http://radicalbytes.com/post/2153078999

    • Cowicide says:

      I think a lot of the skepticism has much less to do with distrust of rape accusers in general and much more to do with a deserved, utter lack of trust for the United States government in general.

      Unfortunately (and predictably) a bunch of misogynistic assholes have also jumped onto the bandwagon to further muddy the waters. But, as eviladrian above has mentioned… if it is found that the U.S. government is behind this, it certainly wouldn’t be anywhere near the lowest they’d stooped before.

      • radicalbytes says:

        @Cowicide – The misogyny embedded in the backlash against the two women has been pervasive on the Left and in internet culture. It also follows all the classic patterns used to attack victims/survivors of sexual assault. As the articles I collected above point out I think I have now seen every single patriarchal response to the sexual assault accusations possible – and on blogs and news sources I normally respect. So I will have to disagree I think it has everything to do with a deep seeded (and perhaps unconscious) cultural sexism. It is possible to hold two ideas in ones head at the same time. That A) The governments are opportunistically and cynically misusing the allegation and B) The women may have real complaints against Assange. (Both Assange and the two women in question should be presumed innocent until proven guilty).

        • teapot says:

          (Both Assange and the two women in question should be presumed innocent until proven guilty).

          I appreciate your support of a balanced, evidence-based judgment. Are you also compiling a list of links which refer to Assange as a ‘creep’ a ‘douche’ a ‘dead man’ a ‘terrorist’ an ‘egotist’ or a ‘self-obsessed megalomaniac’? Because in the interest of balanced, evidence-based judgment it might be handy to have both.

          @mdh: second.

          W. James Au, your rage is misplaced. It’s nice that you place such weight on the statements from the alleged victims, but at this point that is all they are: statements. You know what is lacking? Solid accusations. The stories change from interview to interview. What about these comments made by Assange’s Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig?

          “I can prove that at least one of them [the alleged victims] had very big expectations for something to happen with Julian,” he told Britain’s Mail on Sunday. “If I am able to reveal what I know everyone will realise this is all a charade,” he said.
          “If I could tell the British courts I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.” “But at the moment I’m bound by the rules of the Swedish legal system, which says the information can only be used as evidence in this country.” “For me to do otherwise would lead to me being disbarred.”

          Naomi Wolf. Also, can I just say, on behalf of every person, male or female, who has ever been sexually coerced, victimized or assaulted, one thing? Blow me.

          Smart move, bud… use sexual imagery to insult Naomi Wolf’s position on alleged sexual assault. Idiot.

        • Cowicide says:

          The misogyny embedded in the backlash against the two women has been pervasive on the Left

          Uh, right…

          So… ah… you’re not right-wing, are you? How about backing away from the partisan stance and just focusing on misogynists of all stripes?

          • radicalbytes says:

            @Cowicide – I expect misogyny for the Right, but the Left largely claims to be anti-sexist which is why I point out the Left’s misogynistic backlash against these two women specifically.

          • radicalbytes says:

            @Cowicide – I expect misogyny FROM the Right, but the Left largely claims to be anti-sexist which is why I point out the Left’s misogynistic backlash against these two women specifically.

  8. nzruss says:

    Imagine for a second the girl breaking down on the stand and saying she was blackmailed by the CIA to accuse Assange.

    That would probably lead to WWIII.

  9. Regulas says:

    “…but also smelled a rat…”

    Smelled a rat? Hardly. There is an ancient proverb about human interaction “You mess with the bull, you get the horns.” Al Capone went to jail for tax evasion, not murder; Assange endangered the lives of countless human-rights activists and freedom fighters in Afghanistan and now he is incarcerated on a rape charge. Hardly surprising at all.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Your bull stretches to cover disparate examples.

    • Anonymous says:

      Countless, I assume, meaning nobody who claims so has actually volunteered a count.

    • Nelson.C says:

      I don’t think the comparison with Capone quite works. After all, with Capone, I think the evidence of his having committed the other criminal acts was lacking, whereas with Assange no-one, not even he, is denying his connection with Wikileaks. The problem with our Australian friend seems to be over whether what he did with the leaks is in fact a crime, or any more of a crime than what the editors of various newspapers that have published the leaks have done.

      If publishing the leaks is as indisputably a crime, then it should not be difficult to show this and arrest Assange for that crime. And then arrest the editor of The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the rest.

      Instead, we have the spectacle of a Swedish prosecutor dismissing a complaint, waiting for Assange to leave the country, decide to take up the complaint again, and start extradition procedures for a crime that — as far as anyone can tell — Sweden has never bothered to extradite anyone for in its history. This looks more like farce than justice to me.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hm.

    So, for those of us who feel uncomfortable with Naomi Wolf’s response.. and for those of us who don’t understand why… over at feministing, an analysis:

    http://feministing.com/2010/12/14/naomi-wolf-responds-case-against-assange-is-%E2%80%9Can-insult-to-rape-victims-worldwide%E2%80%9D/

  11. jeffguevin says:

    There seems to be some confusion over W. James Au’s post. The “blow me” comment was not his–those couple of paragraphs were snipped from the salon.com article he linked to.

    (If that was understood by mdh and teapot, then, well, I guess I don’t understand their posts.)

    • teapot says:

      I stand corrected. I did not realise that it was a quote from the article because I have a policy of not clicking any link that has a ad hominem attack in its URL “this_week_crazy_naomi_wolf”…. no thanks.

      In any case, I still think W. James Au is an idiot for posting it because it shows tacit support for the comment and if he/she wanted to make it clear that it was from the article, then that’s what the italics tag is for.

      @hpavc: AOLnews.. are you serious? They were/are a horrible ISP, which was their primary business…. why would you use AOL as a news source of all things?

  12. W. James Au says:

    Cory, Naomi Wolf’s original response to this was NOT nuanced — she belittled the women making the allegation, which is totally appalling for anyone to do, let alone someone who claims to be a feminist leader. Read MaryBeth’s takedown last week:

    http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/12/11/this_week_crazy_naomi_wolf/

    [Wolf] in a snippy open letter to Interpol this week, decided Assange had been a victim of “the dating police,” because he’d been “accused of having consensual sex with two women.” Actually, among other things, one of the alleged victims accused him of having decidedly nonconsensual sex with her while she was asleep, and the other has accused him of “using his body weight to hold [her] down in a sexual manner.”

    [Wolf also] condescendingly dismissed a rape allegation by comparing it to a guy who “did not notice that his girlfriend got a really cute new haircut — even though it was THREE INCHES SHORTER.” Yes, sex crime and not giving sufficient props for your girlfriend’s hairdo are exactly the same, Naomi Wolf. Also, can I just say, on behalf of every person, male or female, who has ever been sexually coerced, victimized or assaulted, one thing? Blow me.

    • mdh says:

      W. James Au, as a victim, personally, of such violence, never ever speak for me again. In future you speak on behalf of your own damn self, and nobody else.

      Besides, it didn’t even help you make your point.

    • Irene Delse says:

      If Cory had linked to the article MaryBeth’s responding to, or if Naomi Wolf had not posted today’s piece, that would have been fair. But he didn’t link to the previous post, and Naomi Wolf didn’t stop there either. So why are you trying to dismiss what she writes today?

    • Brillobreaks says:

      Indeed. She let her support for Wikileaks (or at least opposition to some of the policies they’ve leaked materials on) let her go down a really shitty path as far as Assange and the allegations made against him, and she was quite widely called out for it by other women. This is a rather transparent attempt by Wolf to ‘atone’ for her initial response to the case, which repeated virtually all of the misogynistic crap people usually throw out at rape victims.

      For her to act like she didn’t write the exact same stuff she’s now criticizing (and which Cory apparently felt ‘uncomfortable’ about) just a few days ago is really just sickening.

  13. tgjer says:

    It’s all so spectacularly fucked up. Even if he’s found guilty (and I’m not sure I fully understand what he’s being accused of), how can the verdict of the trial be taken as trustworthy when so many world governments are baying for his blood? Watching from the sidelines with the rest of the world, how can we tell a honeypot trap from trumped-up real charges from actual assault?

    I really want to believe he’s innocent. Even if he isn’t, it is very obvious that the intensity of the search and severity of detainment are over Wikileaks, not the alleged crime. But I don’t think we’re going to know the truth, at least not until 50 years have passed and some future historian digs up old declassified documents long after this has become just a matter of historical curiosity.

    I also don’t expect him to live. Innocent or guilty, I will be shocked if he isn’t declared guilty in the trial, and “hangs himself” in jail.

    • Cowicide says:

      I also don’t expect him to live. Innocent or guilty, I will be shocked if he isn’t declared guilty in the trial, and “hangs himself” in jail.

      If Assange is murdered… that could really backfire…

      King Leonidas: [on being told the Persians are coming to parley] Captain, I leave you in charge.
      Captain: But, sire…
      King Leonidas: Relax, old friend. If they assassinate me, all of Sparta goes to war. Pray they’re that stupid. Pray we’re that lucky.
      [He takes another bite of apple, as the Captain notices a Persian soldier, still alive]
      King Leonidass: Besides, there’s no reason we can’t be civil, is there?
      Captain: [stabs the Persian] None, sire.

    • Niklas says:

      “I’m not sure I fully understand what he’s being accused of”

      He is accused of one case of rape (forcefully completing intercourse despite the woman withdrawing consent) and one case of molestation and unlawful coercion.

      “how can we tell a honeypot trap from trumped-up real charges from actual assault?”

      I don’t know either, but judging the two women from their background I see it as unlikely that they are helping any government set up a honey pot. They are both very vocal pro-freedom and are often seen with non-profits and aid programs.

      • kxwaal says:

        http://www.smh.com.au/national/did-he-or-didnt-he-the-murky-politics-of-sex-and-consent-20101211-18tie.html

        “Should we pay attention to [Ardin's, the accuser] background among right-wing Cuban exiles, her stint in Washington, DC, the military side of her family, her cousin Mattias being a very senior liaison officer between NATO and Swedish forces in Afghanistan?”

        Doesn’t sound as firm in her pro-freedom, leftist views as one would think…

        “Ardin had also annoyed many people by posting on her blog a seven-step guide to revenge on ex-lovers, which advocated ”the big lie”, and getting the law involved. ”

        ” She tweeted, ‘I’m with the coolest most exciting people in the world.’ That tweet, occurring three days after the alleged rape, would later be deleted from her Twitter feed, though it persisted in the Google cache, and was recirculated. ”

        Before you go calling me a misogynist promoting rape culture, know nothing could be further from the truth. I consider myself to be a third-wave (or sex positive) feminist, and also have far more first-hand experience with the effects of rape than I’d like.

        YES, rape is terrible – Almost as bad is the hell a person goes through in reporting it…. And yes, I certainly do think the vast majority of people that make rape accusations are being truthful…

        But at the same time, our cultures growing sympathy for these problems causes a new one: a chilling effect placed on anyone who would dare challenge such a vile accusation.
        No other charge, with the exception of child abuse accusations, has this much of “guilty until proven innocent” effect on the general public.

        If you wanna completely destroy a persons life, while at the same time having the convenience of being able to accuse anyone standing in your way of being a misogynist pig – an EXCELLENT way is to accuse someone of rape. Does it happen in most cases? I’d think & hope not. Does it happen in sooooome cases? Totally. It doesn’t help that there are zero penalties for false accusations of this sort.

        Given the accuser in this case wrote a damn guide on her blog, explaining how to get revenge on ex lovers using false criminal charges – Combined with the obvious interest so many have in discrediting this man – I think that’s more than enough for any reasonable person to have their doubts about this case.

      • Cowicide says:

        They are both very vocal pro-freedom and are often seen with non-profits and aid programs.

        Right….

        • Niklas says:

          What does that have to do with anything discussed in this thread?

          • mathdemon says:

            What does that have to do with anything discussed in this thread?

            Absolutely nothing. Absolut INGENTING. You just have to get used to him/her/it.

          • Cowicide says:

            What does that have to do with anything discussed in this thread?

            Figure it out. It only takes critical thinking skills… oh, wait…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Very good. I translated to portuguese.

  15. Ugly Canuck says:

    You’ve got to take the bull by the tail, and face the situation!” – W.C. Fields

  16. Jonathan says:

    There is a long tradition of the use of rape and sexual assault for political agendas that have nothing to do with women’s safety. In the south of the US, the lynching of black men was often justified on grounds that they had raped or even looked at a white woman. Women don’t take kindly to our demand for safety being misused, while rape continues to be neglected at best or protected at worst.

    Katrin Axelsson
    Women Against Rape

    http://www.womenagainstrape.net/inthemedia/women-question-unusual-zeal-pursuing-julian-assang

  17. EH says:

    I’m pretty sure Newton’s Third Law covers how chaoticked up this will be. The upshot is that the overreaction indicates how much of an impact Wikileaks is having.

    PS I just love losing my comment when losing my session and having to relogin. Please do not take this as motivation to start using Disqus and its ilk. TY

    • teapot says:

      PS I just love losing my comment when losing my session and having to relogin. Please do not take this as motivation to start using Disqus and its ilk. TY

      Dude… I have been bitten in the butt by that one so many times I just Ctrl+C every comment by habit before hitting Submit. Also, you do get a chance to copy it after the ‘session expired’ message (but you gotta do it before you click login).

      Also helps when Anti is brandishing his machete.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I don’t get the comment-loss thing. I have to keep signing in, too, but my comment never disappears. Possibly browser related.

      We are, however, possibly switching to Disqus. Movable Type is an ongoing disaster. If you have comments about why you do or don’t like Disqus or any other comment systems, feel free to discuss it in the Comment Policy thread. We’d be interested in hearing about it.

      • teapot says:

        Im running FF 3.6.13 on XP, but I am behind a company proxy which may have something to do with it. Though, I’m pretty sure I’ve had it happen at home too (running FF/Chrome).

        It happens when I have had a comments page open for a while (20+ mins?). I hit Submit before getting a “Your session has expired, you need to login” dialogue box. I hit OK (and at this point usually ctrl+v everything) because after hitting “login”, being sent to the login page, filling in my deets and hitting OK, I get sent back to the correct comments page but my genius ramblings are missing (and irretrievable by clicking back).

        Now that I think about it, my PC at home doesn’t do this, perhaps because I have my login details stored in FF. Maybe the deleted comment text issue only happens when you don’t let your browser remember your login details? I presume your browser is set up to remember your details, Anti? I would never allow the jerks in my office to be able to find out my passwords (everyone does know how easy they are to export from FF, right?)

  18. Xenu says:

    When the conspiracy theory is more plausible than what’s reported in the news, you know there’s a problem.

  19. Mitch_M says:

    It’s just the same as when professional athletes are accused of sexual assault. Part of people’s hero worship toward them is a tendency to attack and seek to discredit any woman accusing their hero of wrongdoing.

    The accomplishments of Wikileaks are valid for what they are, but Julian Assange is just a guy and he may very well be guilty of sexual assault if he pressed to continue a sexual encounter after consent was withdrawn. I don’t really know enough about what really happened to form an opinion of his guilt or innocence, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping a lot of other people.

    In a case of an alleged sexual assault both sides need to be given the benefit of the doubt.

  20. Rob says:

    EU extradition laws have brought a ton of criticism over the years. It’s a flawed system trying to catch up with a mobile populace. This is ridiculous to the world, but not the first, or worst, example of EU extradition gone wrong.

    That and the fact the boundaries of rape in Sweden are violating a womans sexual integrity… By that measure much more is called rape there than anywhere else, and it certainly dilutes the meaning of the word, and the nature of the crime. As the alleged victims lawyers stated when asked why his clients didn’t think they were raped, he responded “my clients aren’t lawyers”.

    In October of this year, legislation to broaden the definition of rape was proposed in Sweden. The link to that follows.

    http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/13420/a/157339

    and a link to the sex crime facts sheet in PDF. http://www.sweden.gov.se/download/334b059a.pdf?major=1&minor=46797&cn=attachmentPublDuplicator_0_attachment

  21. forgeweld says:

    Hmmph. Assange will be alright. It’s all more fodder for his narcissism. Meanwhile, the real hero of the whole story, Bradley Mannning, is rotting in military prison and no one seems to give a rat’s ass about him.

  22. kjh says:

    Anon wrote:

    Rape does exist in British law, and quibbling over precise definitions could block just about any extradition.

    Rape does exist in British Law. It’s not what Assange is being charged with.

    In any case, if she told her to stop touching her and he continued, we’d class that as a sexual assault, or at the very least assault.

    Hmmm…. so sex is solely something men do to women?

    • prentiz says:

      Rape does exist in British Law. It’s not what Assange is being charged with You could make an argument under English law that what Assange is accused of doing amounts to rape, because he allegedly continued where consent had been withdrawn, or that the consent was only conditional (i.e. only protected sex) in the first place. It would lead to a lot of interesting (in a legally academic sense) about the nature of consent, that perhaps someone with more current legal knowledge might know more about, as well as evidential issues about what his understanding of consent was etc. It would certainly be justicible as rape or indecent assault in English law imho – but certainly not straightforward.

      Those who are suddenly upset about the extradition process should really inform themselves about the European Arrest Warrent that allows, for example, UK nationals to be arrested and deported to other EU member states for activities which are not at all criminal in the UK, where the burden of proof would not be met in Britain, and where they will most likely be denied bail during lengthy trial proceedings. The US extradition treaty is not much better. The right wing press has complained bitterly about both for some time…

      • kjh says:

        You could make an argument under English law that what Assange is accused of doing amounts to rape, because he allegedly continued where consent had been withdrawn, or that the consent was only conditional (i.e. only protected sex) in the first place.

        You could make lots of arguments. You could read things into the situation that are not there.

        If committed rape you can be sure he would be charged with rape.

        We barely have seen the charges let alone any evidence. You sound like everything to do with sex were cut and dried. Did they sign a contract? Were clear messages given? Did she make it clear that she was unhappy? And as I said before which no-one answered: is sex solely something a man does to a woman?

        • prentiz says:

          KJH, those would be evidential issues – and they would be hard to prove. My point was that, had the offence took place in England, there could certainly have been an argument made that English law had been broken. My knowledge of Swedish law is totally non-existent, so I’ve no idea what the case might be there. I was responding to your suggestion that the accusation was one which he wouldn’t have been tried for under English law – I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

          On your last point, a woman can indeed (again English law) rape a man. But, I don’t think anyone is suggesting here that Assange continued after consent was withdrawn…

          • kjh says:

            My point was that, had the offence took place in England, there could certainly have been an argument made that English law had been broken.

            How can we know that without any evidence at all?

            My knowledge of Swedish law is totally non-existent, so I’ve no idea what the case might be there.

            Here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11946652
            it describes the Swedish law (given IANAL and IADNASL – I am definitely not a Swedish Lawyer)

            Under Swedish law, there are legal gradations of the definition of rape.

            There is the most serious kind, involving major violence.

            But below that there is the concept of ‘regular rape’, still involving violence but not violence of the utmost horror.

            And below that there is the idea of ‘unlawful coercion’. Talking generally, and not about the Assange case, this might involve putting emotional pressure on someone.

            I was responding to your suggestion that the accusation was one which he wouldn’t have been tried for under English law – I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

            Not my suggestion, Afua Hirsch’s suggestion:
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/dec/14/julian-assange-european-arrest-warrant

  23. Anonymous says:

    Innocent until proven guilty.

    I’m sure there are political motives behind this trial, but what message does it give to other people wishing to press charges if this trial is called off?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Naomi Wolf erred with her ignorant initial reaction to this (also published on HuffPo but I will not link it) and then came back to make a better statement which was just parotting this:
    http://www.thenation.com/blog/156896/when-interpol-cares-about-sexual-assault

    Good for her for correcting her misguided rants but be responsible the first time around. When Wolf is on, she’s brilliant. But when she’s off she’s absolutely terrible.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Naomi Wolf’s main argument on anonymity, if not all of her surrounding discourse. I wrote about it here. In the UK and online the backlash against her from feminists has been vitriolic.

    http://graunwatch.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/fallen-angels/

  26. kjh says:

    From the Guardian:

    Our legal affairs correspondent, Afua Hirsh, examines the “mockery of extradition”. She asks:

    Why can our prisons detain someone (Assange is currently on remand in Wandsworth prison) for an offence under Swedish law that does not exist in British law? And how can a judge agree to an extradition without having enough evidence to make out a prima facie case?

    You’d have to ask too, if this was a plain rape charge why did the women not make a direct complaint to police rather than “ask for advice”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rape does exist in British law, and quibbling over precise definitions could block just about any extradition. In any case, if she told her to stop touching her and he continued, we’d class that as a sexual assault, or at the very least assault. The fact that the filth and the courts here probably wouldn’t bother with it says more about them than it does about the validity of the extradition.

  27. Deidzoeb says:

    This pair of sentences was ill-advised: “Of course ‘No means No’, even after consent has been given, whether you are male or female; and of course condoms should always be used if agreed upon. As my fifteen-year-old would say: Duh.”

    It sounds like “As my fifteen-year-old would say when revoking consent or agreeing to use condoms: Duh.”

  28. Anonymous says:

    I especially like her last line which shows the true colours of this incident -
    “That is not the State embracing feminism. That is the State pimping feminism.”

  29. KWillets says:

    God bless our brave wikileaks for enabling people to post things anonymously on the internet, since it was never possible before.

    • teapot says:

      KWillets: How anonymous do you think you are on the internet?

      When revealing material that has the capacity to make very powerful people angry/worried, sometimes crappyproxy.cc* is not enough protection

      *totally and completely a fully legit proxy

  30. bkad says:

    Remember kids, it’s simply UNPOSSIBLE that any female could ever make a false claim of rape. (We’ll just have to agree to consider Tawana Brawley an ignorable outlier.)

    Sure, just as it is UNPOSSIBLE that a proud, charismatic leader would ever be guilty of a sexual indiscretion.

    More than one thing is allowed to be true you know. It could be true that he guilty of these crimes and deserves to be punished, while it simultaneously being true that governments are secretly working to prosecute these crimes form of personal attack. Or, one of those things could be true. Or, neither of those things could be true.

    I don’t know. Do you?

  31. BethNOLA says:

    Unfortunately, I read Wolf’s initial response, too, and won’t be looking to her for any nuance or leadership on the issue. The second article strikes me as saying “Look girls, before you go accusing a guy who’s big in leftist politics for anything less than beating you bloody in a brutal rape, think about all the poor, marginalized women out there who can’t get justice, and stop whining, why don’t you?” She’s using the hipster “this is a first-world problem” dismissal pose and I think it’s shameful.

  32. Joe says:

    I don’t know whether Assange is guilty of whatever form of sexual assault he is charged with, or not. But the Swedes and the British have already telegraphed that this is a pretext to hold him, and that they are willing to turn him over to the US if the grand jury indicts him for espionage. Wolf is right, this is not the usual procedure for this kind of case.

    Victims of sexual assault have the right to be taken seriously, but the accused are also entitled to a presumption of innocence. It’s a tricky balance to strike, and the timing of the accusations was so convenient that I can’t blame people for suspecting that the whole thing is a frame-up.

    After all, shortly after weapons inspector Scott Ritter announced that there were no WMDs in Iraq, prosecutors tried to trap him on a pedophile charge (and failed). We already have evidence that elements of the US government aren’t beyond smearing the reputations of critics.

  33. djfatsostupid says:

    I would totally believe that Assange did what he is accused of. At the same time is a very obvious that what is happening to him now is happening because of his involvement with WikiLeaks, not because of the accusations against him. Convicting people for rapes they actually committed is just. Singling out and aggressively pursuing accused criminals for political reasons while letting similar crimes committed by political allies pass is unjust. It is possible that the conviction of Assange would be a just one, while the actions taken to arrive at that conviction are strong evidence of an unjust system.

    But what are the Swedes to do? If he has been accused of rape and there is credible evidence and a prospect of conviction then they should absolutely be pursuing the matter, no matter who he is and how he is politically important. It is right for them to use every advantage they have in try to pursue someone, including if that person has the misfortune of being a political enemy of the USA.

    What we should all be outraged about, though, is that it is the very fact that rape is not taken seriously as a crime that gives the potential to use it as a weapon against political opponents. If rape were taken seriously and investigated seriously, then we could feel comfortable waiting for the results of the trial. Instead, we have a system where we know that rape accusations are often ignored and that rapists are rarely convicted. Because of this, if the USA wants to smear someone, it is natural for them to use rape accusations. Even if the crime did not happen and there is no evidence that it did, it is natural for us to be left with lingering doubts about it. When I look at it that way, the whole situation seems deeply disturbing. It is actually in the interests of governments to keep rape conviction rates low among actual rapists so that they have a convenient smear to launch against their political enemies.

  34. hpavc says:

    Her argument is garbage, she is the one who is botching her own cause.

    Where is he being accused of “RAPE”?

    http://www.aolnews.com/2010/12/02/sex-by-surprise-at-heart-of-assange-criminal-probe/

  35. Anonymous says:

    kjh wrote: “We barely have seen the charges let alone any evidence. You sound like everything to do with sex were cut and dried. Did they sign a contract?”

    Surely you are not forwarding the argument that a rape claim is only valid if the accuser can prove the accused violated a contractual clause?

    That said, I am a little confused that an international manhunt and warrant can be issued without actual (as in filed and recorded as part of the legal process) charges being brought against a person. That seems like a violation (abnegation?) of due process. Is that really how international law works in Europe?

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