I still think Julian Assange is a rapist.

Trigger warning: this post discusses rape and links to some nasty examples of rape apologism

The latest in the saga of rat-faced probable rapist Julian Assange: having lost countless extradition appeals, he has skipped bail and is trying to skip the country to go to Ecuador.

I have written before about how Julian Assange and Wikileaks are two mutually exclusive concepts, and that Wikileaks has never raped anyone, but Assange probably did based on what his own defence lawyers have said. It’s also a remarkably silly decision for a self-proclaimed hero of free speech to decide to go to Ecuador.

The thing about Ecuador is that they’ve got a pretty bad record on letting journalists speak their minds, unless they’re thinking about how thoroughly brilliant government is. Assange is, I suppose, fairly chummy with the Ecuadorean president, so maybe this relationship can work, and our self-proclaimed hero of free speech can live out the rest of his days as a state propagandist. If his plea for asylum goes through, I suspect Wikileaks will never publish anything remotely critical of Ecuador again. So much for free speech.

Usually for the excuses Assange is using–that he might face the death penalty in the US for his work with Wikileaks–the place you would probably want to seek asylum is Sweden. Sweden is pretty fucking good on not extraditing people: their law means they cannot send someone to a country with the death penalty or for political offences. And they take CIA rendition flights very seriously. Simply put, Sweden would not extradite someone like Assange for his work with Wikileaks.

So why won’t Assange go back to Sweden, where he is still phenomenally unlikely to find his arse extradited? All that is left, once the smoke and mirrors of the inflated threat of extradition from Sweden clears, is the fact that Assange raped two of Sweden’s citizens. And of course, Assange’s fans are still banging the rape apologism drum.

They fundamentally (probably wilfully) misunderstand consent, one site thinking that a sleeping woman should have probably expressed non-consent if she didn’t want to be raped while asleep. Another, an incoherent mess suggesting that the site was put together by run-of-the-mill rape apologists rather than the hackers, laments Sweden’s “gender politics”, considering the whole thing to be some sort of big feminist conspiracy to get men to wear condoms. And of course, the survivors are dragged through the mud again and again, and my heart goes out to them. Not only do they suffer the utterly vile abuse of the fans, but they are instrumentalised in a both real and perceived international power struggle by a reboant chorus of cunts who can’t tell the difference between a rapist and a website.

The rape apologism shows the last resort of people with no other form of argument. The US extradition threat from Sweden is flimsy, but Assange wants to evade any form of accountability for his actions.

Which makes things difficult. In my ideal anarcho-utopia, there would be no courts and no extraditions (for there would be no borders). Sexual violence would be addressed through transformative justice and community accountability, with the needs of the survivor put first. But here’s the pinch: it requires engagement from everyone. It requires the Assanges of the world to stop running and start to accept that they have crossed boundaries. It requires the rape apologists of the world to shut the fuck up and stop spinning conspiracies, expressing deep misogyny and outright lying about survivors.

It is due to people like this that we are stuck with the current system we have, deeply flawed and often harmful. They are doing themselves no favours.

__

Big thanks to @gwenhwyfaer, who pointed out to me how Sweden’s usually going to be the place you want to flee to if you’re in trouble politically.

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50 responses to “I still think Julian Assange is a rapist.

  • Korhomme (@Korhomme)

    Thought experiment: suppose Assange went/was sent to Sweden, was tried and convicted; would he still be welcome in that country, or would he then be deported?

  • KT Glitz

    Have to say that whilst I agree with most of your sentiments there, at present, NO FACTS that Assange is a rapist. This has NOT been proven. He is an alleged rapist at this moment in time. I do however agree that his efforts to try and avoid going back to Sweden do not paint him in a good light and the more he wriggles the more I fear there is truth in the accusations and that is more about fear than subsequent extradition.

    • stavvers

      I’m going on what his defence team have said he did, i.e. rape.

    • tristan

      I’m a big believer in due process, meaning I’m not entirely comfortable of anyone being referred to as a criminal if it hasn’t been proven.

      However, political motivations aside, Assange hasn’t exactly shown a lot of regard for due process by skipping bail and fleeing to Equador. That doesn’t mean he’s lost his right to a fair trial, but I don’t feel as inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      I get very suspicious when people use the argument “there is no proof” to avoid engaging in the Justice System at all. You’re not doing yourself any favours by running from the only people who have the capacity to clear your name.

      • Radguy

        This site is filled with concern trolls.

        Perfectly normal and justified for anyone to flee kangaroo courts.

        See if this gets up, I doubt it.

        • stavvers

          Except it’s not a kangaroo court. I genuinely worry about the lack of critical thinking and nuance coming from the Assange camp.

  • marybysshe

    ” Sexual violence would be addressed through transformative justice and community accountability, with the needs of the survivor put first. ”

    Thanks for that link, as a survivor of abuse I find the current criminal justice system useless in meeting my needs. The concepts of trans formative justice and community accountability are ones that seem to have the survivor at the center and are concerned with healing rather than punishment at any price.

    As for Assange, I find it hard to understand why people struggle with the idea a good thing like wikki leaks can come from a man who did bad things. It is as if we are all 8 and in the playground again.

  • narrativeeschatology

    Strongly agreed – had much the same conversation with a Swedish feminist a couple of weeks ago.

  • Paul Trembath

    Rape is rape, but torture is torture. If there is a credible risk that Sweden will allow Assange to be rendered to the USA and treated like Bradley Manning, he is not wrong to try to avoid the risk. Rapists, alleged or not, also have rights.

    • stavvers

      And, ladies and gentlemen and non-binary identified folk of distinction, the prize for really terrible reading comprehension regarding Sweden having banned extraordinary rendition in 2006 goes to… Paul Trembath!

      • Paul Trembath

        Point taken; I missed that bit. Terrible attention span. That being the case, he should go to Sweden (and probably will).

      • Paul Trembath

        Though on further consideration and research, I did say “rendered”, not “extraordinarily rendered” (while we are talking about reading comprehension). Opinions are being expressed, and I am not qualified to judge them, that Assange could be extradited on a non-political charge. Manifestly Sweden does have an extradition treaty with the US, whether or not you consider that the US has the death penalty for political crimes, and cannot/will not guarantee not to extradite Assange if he faces the (still potential) charges. So, admitting my ignorance on extradition, it still appears plausible on its face that Assange seeks to avoid indefinite extrajudicial detention and torture, as anyone would.

  • Jt

    While I fully accept that Assange should be tried for rape, he should not face deportation to the USA. I can’t find reference to *anything* which states this would not happen. He could not face the death penalty there (or at least Sweeden would get a potentially worthless guarantee that the US would not impose this) but could easily be detained indefinitely without trial.

    Sweeden has refused to guarantee that it will not extradite Assange once the criminal proceedings against him are finished.

    • stavvers

      It’s worth noting Ecuador haven’t either, if we’re playing this “what haven’t people said” game.

      • Al Derby

        I think the difference is that the US-Ecuador treaty expressly prohibits extradition in political cases, whereas the US-Sweden treaty allows the Swedish executive to overrule a court order barring extradition on political grounds. It’s a fair point that the refusal to rule out political extradition in Assange’s case is extremely unusual for Sweden.

  • Zarathustra

    It seems these days to be a progressive is to cheer on an alleged rapist asking a corrupt regime to shield him from answering questions by a nation with a good human rights record.

    Stop the world, I want to get off.

  • epic wall of text

    I spent so many hours on the internet reading about this case and almost half of all the information contradicts the other half. We don’t know exactly what happened between Assange and those two women but you judge, just like those people you are critisising.

    As a swede, I find it VERY likely that they will send him over to the States. Most swedish people I’ve talked to believe so as well. We have too close ties with them to deny them that. Read the leaks from the american ambassy in Stockholm. They list 6 orders for Sweden in one of the cables. We complied with 5 of them so far, I believe. This would indeed not be the first time the americans mess with the Swedish justice. *cough*The Pirate Bay*cough*
    Basically, you want to be in Sweden as long as you didn’t piss off the US. Or when the charges are about rape/sexual assault. Our laws regarding that are very strict. Things that wouldn’t be rape in many countries is rape here. Which is a very good thing, as long as people or gov’s doesnt exploit this.

    Cases that might be interesting:
    MegaUpload – More recent, not about Sweden but still involving the US and extradition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaupload#Legal_case

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120615/17485919355/new-zealands-high-court-steps-into-extradition-fight-over-kim-dotcom.shtml

    “Acting upon a US Federal prosecutor’s request, the New Zealand Police arrested Dotcom and three other Megaupload executives in a leased $30 million luxury mansion at Coatesville near Auckland on Friday, 20 January (NZDT, UTC+13).[48] This was pursuant to a request from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that the four be extradited for running an illegal clothing laundromat.”

    The swedish-egyptian case http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition#Sweden
    One of them is still a prisoner in his village.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repatriation_of_Ahmed_Agiza_and_Muhammad_al-Zery

    “In hindsight, it appears that the Swedish mode of action was strongly influenced by the events of the attack on the New York twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, three months earlier. At the time there was a strong desire among European governments to show solidarity with the USA, and to appear like reliable partners in security issues.”

    TL;DR: I’d be really scared if I was Assange, even if I hadn’t raped anyone.

    • stavvers

      I believe one should always listen to the survivor. And the statement I linked comes from his defence.

      As for The Pirate Bay, that didn’t involve any extraditions. Despite having pissed off the US, everyone remained in Sweden. As for the Egyptian cases, you’ll note that that’s why Sweden changed the policy towards rendition.

  • braingarbage (@braingarbage)

    hey, the feminist conspiracy was first launched in february 2011 by law firm FSI, the conspiracy defense website launched june 2011 promoted by @wikileaks attacks the victims and other women unrelated to the case including politicians and domestic violence shelters in sweden and the human trafficking law. it also linked to a nazi murderer tony olsson’s legal opinion. this was pointed out to me by goran rudling march 2012 and it took SVA three weeks to delete the nazi. the website cites rixstep who is rick downes, a viagra spammer, who stalks the rape victims online. it also cites marcello ferrada de noli who indicates a lesbian-feminist conspiracy and attacks non-traditional marriage among swedish lesbians, as well as the study of shariah honor killing to be a part of a conspiracy against assange and of men’s right to rape and or kill partners and daughters. wikileaks linked to this blog march 22. it was clearly deranged. i have been stalked for complaining of the sexism in the defense as not in assange’s best interest, called a CIA agent and a troll.
    here is correspondence pertaining to the stalking and abuse i have endured and the advocacy i have waged to get the nazi and the antifeminism off the official defense site.

    thanks for pointing out how absurd the feminist conspiracy rape defense is. i believe assange’s lawyers have allowed a great mistake in allowing this, which may end up as civil claims against him for defamation and cyberbullying his victims.

  • Happy solstice | Edinburgh Eye

    [...] comment off Twitter was from Stavvers: Usually for the excuses Assange is using–that he might face the death penalty in the US for his [...]

  • fusako

    So now I have become officially a rape apologist because I believe that no one should be called rapist (I won’t comment on the rat faced) just because of allegations and because I see that there have been many irregularities in the Swedish investgation (i.e. violations of police procedure). Thank you

    • stavvers

      Your rejection of the label “rapist” is fine. It’s the credulous swallowing of conspiracy theories about investigations that probably makes you a rape apologist.

      • fusako

        Did I say anything about a conspiracy? I see only allegatons and a shoddy investigation. The women’s statements weren’t recorded at all (against police procedure), only Assange’s. The prosecutor interviewed a former boyfriend of one of the complainants before interviewing Assange.
        I don’t say the complainants lied but there has to be an unbiased investigation before one can call somebody rapist.

  • Zoey DG

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    I am not a great fan of Assange, but that fact of it is, no former charges have even been made against him. He is wanted for questioning. Assange has stated repeatedly he is happy to be questioned via Skype or in the Swedish embassy in London. The authorities also had five weeks to question him in Sweden before he came to the UK and never took the opportunity to do so.

    Assange is scared that if he goes to Sweden he will end up locked up in a jail cell and eventually handed over to America. Whether those fears are legitimate, it’s impossible to say at this point. But certainly a man who has been dubbed a terrorist by the vice-president by the most powerful and aggressive country in the world is right to at least be a touch paranoid about his fate.

    What is *not* right is to go about accusing people who have not even been formally charged of being “probable rapists”. Nor should you shout “rape apologist” at anyone who merely acknowledges this case is deeply complex and that Assange is doing what he is doing because he is scared of a US prosecution. Doing so is mindless and does not further anyone’s cause.

    We all want to see justice served, and certainly that entails Assange being questioned about the accusations made by the women in Sweden. But you must consider that the Swedish authorities have not exactly helped expedite the process. Their conduct has contributed greatly to bringing about this bizarre situation where a panic-stricken Assange has sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy. Over the course of the last 18 months, why didn’t they just come and question the man in London and, if there were charges to brought, bring them?

    • Matt

      Not to mention that Assange offered to go to Sweden as long as the Swedish government gave him a guarantee that he wouldn’t be extradited to the US when he arrives. The government rejected his request. It’s time the stavvers actually attempted to assess the social and political forces at work in this case instead of taking everything the Swedish state says on good coin, and she needs to stop her reductionist approach of isolating the case from global politics. Her only rebuttal towards possible extradition to the US is the government’s word–and given their history with aiding rendition and the US “war on terror”, it’s simply not good enough. Her claims that the injustice delivered toward rape victims in the center of this simply do not hold water.

      • stavvers

        Ah yes. Of course. Rape survivors are thoroughly unimportant and we should carry on fretting about the people who have done them injustice.

  • Maria Poenaru

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    In the eyes of the feminists he is already guilty. Poster boy for rape denial.

  • Paul Nelson

    [Poor Paul can't read the comment policy. Poor Paul should try to read the comment policy if he ever wants his comments approved. Unfortunately, he's a rape apologist who likes hurling around personal abuse, so he has a lot of work to do to get himself approved]

  • harpymarx

    It does seem like Assange is more scared of Sweden than the USA. UK has the history of going to war and rendition. Assange, funny enough, will be safer in the country where he likened Swedish feminism to Saudi Arabia. He’s one egotistical misogynist who thinks he’s Wikipedia and poor Bradley Manning rots. I really don’t understand why this man is the poster boy for many on the Left. I want to see evidence tested in court, where all parties give their sides of the story. Seems like Assange is running away from that as opposed to being slung over to the States. He’s looking for every excuse not to face justice while the women accusers are treated as the criminals. There has been NO extradition order from the US and unlike the UK it has a written constitution (not perfect but more of a citizen than a subject!). He’s one big coward who should just face his accusers and stop running, and shame on Pilger et al who are backing this man.

  • 1maiamaia

    Sweden, very early in the special renditions, enabled the USA to kidnap and special rendition for torture in the middle east at least one asylum seeker. And i don’t give a fig about Assange.

  • Why didn’t @YourAnonNews credit @Stavvers? | Edinburgh Eye

    [...] 20th June 2011: I still think Julian Assange is a rapist. So why won’t Assange go back to Sweden, where he is still phenomenally unlikely to find his arse [...]

  • TheRealThunderChild

    IF the US wanted Assange extradited, they would have asked, by now, a country with a treaty so favourable it’s been labelled supine…..
    Great Britain.
    Simple.
    But, unless Assange has a method of teleporting to Equador, he will have to leave their embassy at some point in order to board an aeroplane.

    Futher to that, unless the definition of espionage has changed, then some of what Wikileaks(support them or not) has been doing, is, by definition, espionage.
    Ho hum.

    And what sort of coward let’s a mentaly fragile Welsh/American suffer whilst cowering behind rape apologist and conspiracy theorists for a crime that he may well be equally guily of?

  • Ecuador is to grant political asylum to Julian Assange | Edinburgh Eye

    [...] 20th June 2012: So why won’t Assange go back to Sweden, where he is still phenomenally unlikely to find his arse [...]

  • Lindsay

    I’m a progressive who thinks Assange is an absolute cock and seems to be an admitted rapist.

    If Sweden can guarantee that after a guilty verdict they won’t extradite him to the US on a non-political* charge that doesn’t carry the death penalty and is completely unrelated to the rape charges, leaving him in a situation whereby the US can THEN charge him with any political charge or capital crime and deny him a fair trial for THAT charge, I’m all in favour of sending him over to answer for what he’s seemingly admitted doing.

    Likewise, if the US abolishes the death penalty, legalises whistle-blowing that doesn’t step over commonly agreed exceptions to free speech (incitement, shouting fire, etc), reforms its justice system so that every suspect receives a fair trial, and winds in that extraterritoriality which is an expression of hegemony, I’d have no objections.

    I want him to stand trial for what he’s seemingly admitted doing, and I don’t want that trial to THEN be used as leverage to muffle public outcry over subsequent, completely unrelated, charges.

    *Note that, whilst a non-political charge – for instance, of cyber-crime – could be used to get him extradited, the link about how it’s against the law in Sweden to extradite for political crimes makes it quite clear that the Swedish government can override this law.

    • stavvers

      Asking for those things is mere obfuscation of the real issues.

      • Lindsay

        Obfuscation? Real issues? Which issues are real and which are not? Do you disagree that unfair trials, indefinite detention without trial and execution are real issues in this complicated case? Assange’s uncritical supporters could just as easily assert you’re obfuscating the political issues.

        There’s absolutely no doubt IMO that hawks in the US would love to mete some of this out. And given Assange’s public profile, their best shot at this is to wait for a conviction for rape so that public sympathy and support for him disappears, and THEN they get him extradited for cyber-crime or such, and THEN they charge him with espionage, and THEN it’s likely either Gitmo or the chair.

        It’s not a simple question of the US trying to get him successfully extradited. It’s a more complicated question of the US trying to successfully get him into a situation whereby he’s an easy target.

        A simple “Given the complications of this individual’s case, we are prepared to agree not to extradite him to the US in order to bring him back to Sweden to answer for what he has been accused of and essentially admitted” is all that’s needed to get me on board.

      • TheRealThunderChild

        Well- there’s plenty of informed, impartial comment stating that Assange may be guilty of/or promoting, espionage, by the definition of the term.
        Either way, if Bradley Manning is, then surely, by definition, so is Assange.
        And unlike Manning, he hasn’t even got fragile phsycological health to excuse his actions.
        Now- I’m not saying, or assuming, either of them are guilty of anything, but its absolutely NOT forgivable to squawk ” free speech free speech” ad infinitum, when that “so-called” free speech has the possibility of endangering life.
        Whatever you think of US foreign policy, I’m sure youl agree that the service people concerned are in enough danger as it is.

        As to the rape allegations, whither the victims?
        Are they nothing but “collateral damage” in Equador’s use of Assange to give the US the “bird”?
        And does Assange not realise that he’s being used as a patsy for this?
        As soon as Equadore tires(as it surely will) of him, they will leave him alone to face his accusors like a disguarded tissue.

  • Eddie

    I like this article. I found your blog by chance on Google, and I think that you talk a lot of sense here.

  • James Taylor

    ” All that is left, once the smoke and mirrors of the inflated threat of extradition from Sweden clears, is the fact that Assange raped two of Sweden’s citizens.”

    Good to know you haven’t already made up your mind. Good to know you respect due process (as you are asking JA to do), instead of just finding someone guilty because they are accused in the tabloids.

    Oh yeah and also good to know you understand the legal concept of libel – the sentence I have quoted is a textbook example, bravo. If JA’s lawyers didn’t have bigger problems at the moment, I imagine they’d want a word with you about that.

    Keep up the “good” work!

    • stavvers

      Oh I DO hope he sues me. That’d make my life.

      The fact there’s a lot of people saying he’s a rapist and he isn’t even trying to shut this down speaks volumes of his guilt.

  • Splong

    Well said!

    Current Assange stories seem to have lost track of the accusations against him. I have no idea what the motivation of the President of Ecuador is and who he is trying to impress with all this nonsense. The whole story is absurd. Assange needs to grow up.

  • Women, the makers of “Skyfall” hate you « Exiled Stardust

    [...] rapists?  Rape is great!  Just ask our other heroes who’ve appeared in the media lately:  Julian Assange, Gary Glitter,  Freddie Starr or, if you have an ouija board handy, Jimmy Savile.  Even alleged [...]

  • gizzybiscuits

    The people willing to handwave the guys’ crap and stick up for him disgust me. Why don’t the people going ‘its not rape rape silly’ ever stop to think that whatever their stance on it, its still _wrong_ and cruel? How would they feel if they woke up to find someone raping them? Why should the women be punished for that? Why does no give a shit about the victims and imply ‘oh probably lied about being raped’ which I think is a _crime_ but all of their ‘alleged rapist’ and ‘alleged victim’ shit is okay? We can say the victim did something heinous but we can’t go ‘x is a rapist’? When his behaviour SCREAMS guilty? Just put someone else in charge for fuck’s sake.

  • Barrie Rodliffe

    There we are, it seems that some people like me do not believe Assange, as for the lame excuses to not go back to Sweden. The sooner he stands trial the better. He does not act like an innocent man. I would normally say innocent until proven guilty, but in his case guilty by his own actions and by what he says.

  • Fran

    While I don’t doubt that “Sweden’s usually the place you want to flee to if you’re in trouble politically”, I think it’s worth considering the case of Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery. Both were asylum seekers who, following a CIA request, Sweden deported to Egypt knowing they would likely be tortured and ill-treated (which they were). Aside from the many indications that both men were innocents, what’s disturbing about this case is the extra-judicial nature of the extraditions and the fact that the Swedes so readily complied with the CIA. Both men were repatriated within hours of the CIA request and without either them or their lawyers being informed. Disgraceful.

    • stavvers

      That was in 2001. In 2005, Sweden explicitly decided not to participate in such flights any more, something which many countries, the UK included, have not done.

      So yeah. Sweden’s the place you want to be. Unless you might have raped a few of its citizens.

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