Was Julian Assange Set-up?

We have initiated a discussion of how revolutionaries should respond to the jailing of Assange on charges of rape. In the initial thread Gary proposed that we read the following article from antiwar.com.

On the surface along, there is much in this article that seems offensive (to put it mildly!) and quite inexcusable  in such a discussion -- including describing the accusers here as a "feminist harridan" (harridan is an anti-woman term for an "shrill old nag") or clingy like a "very leggy tick" or "being a feminist, she likes to be on top." In fact, there is a clear hostility to women who are feminist altogether -- and an implication that women who are "stalkerish" or initiating sex have less right to charge rape.

Even the title term "honey trap" (to describe a widely used tactic of intelligence services) seems dismissive of women in a rather conservative way. It is their term for institutional exploitation of women and sexuality, and should not be ours.

However we share it here as part of the discussion -- to give a sense of how this controversy is being framed, to show the assumptions and tone that is sometimes adopted, and enable us to dissect it here. Further there are arguments and details that need to be weighed.

Julian Assange in the Honey Trap

How they snared him

by Justin Raimondo

December 08, 2010 -- Anyone who doubts the unmitigated evil of the US government and its international enablers has only to look at the disgraceful persecution of Julian Assange to see Washington’s brazen malevolence in full flower. As the WikiLeaks web site continues to release daily examples of US incompetence, bullying, venality, and corruption, the response from the Imperial City has been a coordinated campaign of lies, smears, and what can only be described as utter filth.

This outpouring of satanic bile has been disgorged onto the front pages of the world’s newspapers in retaliation for the “crime” of revealing the everyday machinations and cynical maneuverings of the US government as it rampages, loots, and murders its way across the face of the earth. In doing so, Assange and WikiLeaks have violated the first principle of the new world order, which is that they (the governments of the world) have every right to know what we’re saying in the privacy of our own homes: in our emails, our phone conversations, and anywhere else we (falsely) believe we’re free from prying eyes and ears. However, we have no right to know what they are doing, in our name – with our tax dollars – and to believe otherwise is “treason.”


For these people – the scum who inhabit the corridors of power – character assassination is an art, to be practiced with a fine attention to detail: and, to be sure, in this case they have outdone themselves. While sex is a weapon they’ve often used to hunt down their quarry, they can’t nowadays merely expose the intimate details of their victims’ personal life. In a society that resembles the last days of the Roman empire, where what we used to think of as immorality is rife, the smear artists have to give their revelations a more specific character, and in Assange’s case they have given us a textbook example.

The “charges” against Assange, made by two women – Axxx, a “feminist” harridan who works as the “gender equity” officer at Uppsala University, and Sxxx, a sometime photographer and former Assange groupie with stalkerish tendencies – are quite murky. Assange had come to Sweden at Axxx’s invitation, or, rather, at the invitation of the “Brotherhood,” a Christian faction of Sweden’s Social Democratic party for which Axxx is the press secretary. He was staying at her home because she was supposedly going to be gone for a few days with her family, but Ardin returned early, for some reason, and they agreed to cohabit on a temporary basis. Axxx avers that she had agreed to (or perhaps – who knows? – even initiated) consensual sex with Assange, and so, as the Daily Mail reported, “they had sexual relations, but there was a problem with the condom – it had split. She seemed to think that he had done this deliberately but he insisted that it was an accident.” Arxxx also claims Assange used the weight of his body to keep her immobilized – being a feminist, she likes to be on top.

However, she gave no indication of distress, either that day or the next: instead, she threw a party for Assange at her home. That evening Assange gave a seminar at the Stockholm headquarters of a trade union, and in the front row sat Sxxx, an employee of the local Social Democratic-controlled council in the northern town of Enkoping. Axxx later told police that she had seen Assange on television and had become “obsessed” by him. When she heard he was speaking in Sweden, she called the “Brotherhood” of Social Democratic Christians to volunteer to help at the event, but was turned down: she came anyway, of course, and was soon glomming on to Assange with all the persistence of a blond and very leggy tick – the kind that give you Lyme Disease.

Loitering outside the venue in her shocking pink jumper, she approached Assange and two others who were going to a local café, and managed to get herself invited to join. One of the participants in the ensuing conversation describes her as “certainly an odd character,” who seemed out of place. Aggressively pursuing Assange, she sat there looking at him adoringly, and there was – say witnesses – what seemed to be a mutual attraction. After lunch, the two went out to a movie, and later on, when Assange said he had to go – Axxx was planning a crayfish party for him, a traditional Swedish-style event – she asked if she could see him again. He readily agreed. Later, at the party, Axxx would Tweet to her friends that she was “’Sitting outside … nearly freezing, with the world’s coolest people. It’s pretty amazing!” She later tried to erase this record of her short-lived joy, but the internet knows all, sees all, now doesn’t it?

The honey-trap was nearly sprung, but there were a few more details to take care of. As Axxx was stuffing her face with crayfish and getting drunk, Assange was on the phone with Sxxx. They arranged to meet in Stockholm. As the Daily Mail reported:

“When they did meet they agreed to go to her home in Enkoping, but he had no money for a train ticket and said he didn’t want to use a credit card because he would be ‘tracked’ (presumably, as he saw it, by the CIA or other agencies).”

Little did he suspect that was already being tracked. Sxxx generously offered to buy him a ticket. When they got to her Enkoping digs, they had sex: he used a condom. The next morning, they again had sex, this time without a condom. They went out for breakfast, with no sign of displeasure or even the barest hint of “rape” coming from her side of the fence: she told him to stay in touch, and he said he would. She then bought him a return ticket to Stockholm, and he was gone – but hardly forgotten.

Here is where the story gets murky: for some reason not readily apparent to me, Sophia called Anna, and the two got to talking: the former confided she had been sleeping with Assange. Axxx was furious: here is a woman who had earlier posted on her personal blog a rather scary “Seven Steps to Legal Revenge,” which reads like it might have been written by Valerie Solanis.

Sitting alone in Enkoping, wondering why Assange didn’t call, Sxxx had been simmering in her own resentments, and Axxx was more than happy to give her the opportunity to vent. Together they concocted a plan to go to the police: initially the focus was on Sxxx’s obsession with the possibility she might have contracted AIDS from the unprotected sex. The two of them went to a police station and asked if it was possible to force Assange to undergo a test for STDs.

It was the weekend, and the regular prosecutor was off duty: a substitute prosecutor listened to their story and decided, on her own authority, to go after Assange. The police combed the entertainment district of Stockholm, looking for him: to no avail. This indictment was later rescinded, however, by the regular prosecutor, due to the fact that, as the office put it, there was “no evidence” a crime had been committed.

The two had leaked the story to the Swedish tabloid Expressen, which relentlessly blared it on their front pages. Pretty professional work for a couple of alleged groupies. Indeed, Axxx is a former Swedish embassy official who served in Buenos Aires, and Havana: she was reportedly asked to leave Cuba after her interactions with Cuban exile groups linked to the CIA.

With those kinds of connections, Axxx was not easily deterred by the dropping of the charges. In order to construct a legal case against Assange, she recruited Claes Borgström, a lawyer and the former “Equal Opportunities Ombudsman” for “gender equity issues.” He has been working assiduously to expand the legislative reach of high feminist theory, including by extending the legal definition of rape. According to this new manifestation of extreme political correctness – which is only possible, one hopes, in dreary, suicide-prone Sweden – rape need not necessarily involve physical coercion. There is also, these professional victimologists believe, a form of “psychological” coercion enforced by the unequal “power relations” between the sexes.

In league with a third prosecutor, Marianne Ny, Borgström succeeded in having the case re-opened in order to advance this unique legal innovation: the concept of “rape” without physical coercion. As Assange’s Australian lawyer, James Caitlin, puts it:

“Consensual sex can be rape, according to Borgström and Ny – but the alleged victims don’t decide – they do. ”The new laws which establish these ‘precedents’ are not yet on the books – but it’s Marianne Ny’s intention to make the Assange affair into a test case for that purpose. ”In other words: Marianne Ny wants to try Julian Assange for something that wasn’t a crime when it took place.”

So much for the “legal” case against Assange. It’s a put up job, pure and simple, so brazen that one wonders how anyone – let alone a sitting judge outside of Zimbabwe, or Saudi Arabia – can entertain it with a straight face. And yet a British judge has indeed upheld the validity of the international arrest warrant, which went straight to the top of Interpol’s agenda as soon as it was issued: in the new world order, “sex by surprise” is on a par with being a mass murderer. In spite of having pledges of funding from prominent supporters, the judge denied Assange bail: and so the governments of the world have him where they want him – behind bars.

In their quest to destroy WikiLeaks, the Powers That Be are destroying their own credibility – such as it is, or was. This disgusting frame-up discredits them much more than it does Assange, or WikiLeaks. As the corporate extensions of the US government – PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, etc., ad nauseam – shut their doors to WikiLeaks, and COINTELPRO-style disruption of its operations continues unabated, the fact that the site is still up – indeed, it’s much easier to access now than ever before – indicates the battle is far from over.

What this all means is that the future of the internet is being decided, right here, right now: if the worldwide alliance of tyrants and crooks succeeds in shutting WikiLeaks down, the rest of us are doomed. If they can get away with this, they can get away with anything – including legislation regulating content. That’s where we’re headed, unless the authoritarian assault – led by Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein, Fox News (excepting Judge Napolitano, of course), and neocons left and right – is repulsed.

There is no more important task for antiwar activists, civil libertarians, and all those who treasure freedom than the defense of WikiLeaks, and Julian Assange. That’s why the Amazon boycott is so important. That’s why we’ve got to work tirelessly to free Assange. That’s why we must never give in to the Liebermans, the Feinsteins, and the Fox News lynch mob. As the commies would say: No Pasaran!

The extradition of Assange to Sweden would signal the final phase of Britain’s long slow slide into authoritarianism, an outcome that seems nearly inevitable for a society that imposes a draconian “speech code,” and has its population under constant surveillance. From there the plan is obviously to jail him in Sweden until the US can cook up a “legal” rationale to have him extradited for trial in the US – perhaps as a material witness in the case of Bradley Manning, suspected of providing the diplomatic cables – and the Afghan and Iraq war logs – to WikiLeaks.

Truth is on trial – and a conviction would be fatal not only to WikiLeaks, but for the cause of liberty itself. This is an issue that the ruling elite is counting on to plug the giant hole in their armor called the internet. We can’t afford to lose this one – at least without inflicting some pretty heavy damage on the enemy.

Assange is the first high-profile political prisoner is a new age of repression and fear. If he is martyred to the cause of liberty, let his bravery and determination serve as an example and an inspiration to us all. But we don’t need any more martyrs: we need living activists, like Assange, who are willing to take on the States of the world. We must tirelessly work to free him, and in the process free ourselves.

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Radical Eyes

    Re: the accompanying image: Very interesting to see Guy Faulkes / V for Vendetta masks popping up in this mix...

  • Guest - pokesalad

    This article is filled to the brim with misogyny.

  • Guest - dave x

    Justin Raimondo is a misogynist with a penchant for conspiricism. I don't really think we on the left should give him the time of day. How likely is the general scenario he outlines? I have no idea, it is pure speculation, we simply don't know the exact truth of what happened nor is it likely we will find soon if ever. I think we have a clear political interest in defending Assange and Wikileaks but this sort of conspiracy mongering that treats speculation as fact does nothing to clarify issues or advance the discussion. I also don't see how the scenario he writes about constitutes in relation to the charges either a 'Set-up' (as far as I can tell he is not claiming the women set him up) or a 'honey trap' (again, same thing). The initial scenario he describes is more like a series of unfortunate interpersonal events that went badly wrong. I tend to credit the idea that personal miscommunication and misunderstanding may have played some role in this, but in the end this is and will remain speculation and is beside the point politically. Of course, misogyny on the left is not beside the point and agree that it should be called out.

  • Guest - Seamus

    Whether or not The Very open Gay Libertarian Justin Raimondo is a ''Misogynist '' isn't the issue here .
    The issue is that the US Govt. wants to destroy this network called Wikileaks and maybe even physically destory it's main founder and most visable spokesperson ,
    So i will ask the question I asked on the other related thread ; Should Progressives call for the Immediate release of Julian Assange or not ? I think the answer should be a resounding unconditional YES !

  • Guest - dave x

    Yes, Raimondo is not the issue, though one can be gay and/or libertarian and still be misogynist. I agree that supporting Wikileaks and Assange is of vital importance and that we should call for his immediate release. However misogyny on the left is also an issue and has been for a very long time. The current Wikileaks debate, far from negating this, has highlighted it. Props to Kasama for addressing it.

  • Guest - Farraday

    Funny how the benefit of the doubt is given to her (Ardin) simply because she is a woman and she cried RAPE RAPE RAPE!

    Just like Obama received benefit of the doubt just because he is black ...

    Like those cretins from CodePink or whatever who sided with White House / Pentagon for troops on the ground in Afghanistan because they protect afghan women from rape or something.

    "How likely is the general scenario he outlines? I have no idea, it is pure speculation, we simply don’t know the exact truth of what happened nor is it likely we will find soon if ever"

    Really ? The fact that a women with connection to CIA-backed anti-Castro groups in Miami is involved in basically a "honey pot" is of no consequence? It doesn't factor into you analysis ? It is not "pure speculation" by any long shot. It is the modus operandi of these individuals. In your "free" society, it is politically problematic to imprison/kill/maim what amounts to a "political prisoner". You are too "enlighten", too "liberal" and too "free" for that. What routinely happens is that the person(s) deemed a political liability (or worse) are personally discredited by allegations of corruption, rape (or, worse, child rape) and such. For fuck's sake, they leveled pedophilia charges against UN officials opposed to the Iraq invasion...

    "I also don’t see how the scenario he writes about constitutes in relation to the charges either a ‘Set-up’ (as far as I can tell he is not claiming the women set him up) or a ‘honey trap’ (again, same thing)."

    Really ? Is this a statement of your boundless cognitive incapacity or some imbecile opportunistic vomit to make yourself a fanatically devote "feminist" ?

    In the middle of this shit storm created by the wikileaks release you automatically take sides with two women (one with a very likely connection to CIA) whoi basically charge that the guy they picked up for a one night stand didn't match up to their expectations ?

    For how long did the two in question have a relation ? Did they just meet sparsely or was a long term relation ? I don't know the details but it looks like they weren't even 'lovers' or 'good friends'. Its not clear if they just met in a club (or cafe) for the first time or they knew each other from social events or it was more personal.

    And, yes, in your 'free' society, where women can lead fascist corporation slave-labouring people in Africa, where, according to wikileaks releases, it was a women in charge at Shell coordinating with US government and bought-off corrupt Nigerian government ( quite an achievement feminists - please provide links to feminist groups taking issue this ) and so on, when a women with possible CIA ties picks up a 'famous' guy in a bar, invites him to her home, pays for the ticket, have consensual sex in the evening -everything fine - but, in the morning, again consensual sex, but this time RAPE! RAPE! RAPE! You have to be a complete retard to get behind this.

    First and foremost, it devalues rape and makes a mock of women who are actually raped. Second, contrary to the propaganda vomit here and on some other sites, a rape has clear indications. When you are raped, like in forced to have sex without your consent, first of all there are biological signs in the vaginal area and, second there are even minute physical signs of struggle on the body of the women and, possible, on the body of the rapist.

    Second, it is a very liberal interpretation of 'rape' which reads more like a consumer protection law. Basically she was unsatisfied with the product after she bought it (literally payed for famous blonde tom-boy to come to her home, had 'good' sex, everything ok, then, in the morning 'bad' sex and he didn't call).

    If that is 'rape' and you people take it seriously, then, 5 years from now, 'rape' could mean anything. Hey, 'rape' could mean you didn't make her have an orgasm during and didn't prepare her breakfast in bed. From her point of view it was 'consensual' as long as she expected an added value ( physical pleasure and food comfort ).

    Since this started, I've waded through a ~600 pages book about clinical and psychological effects of rape with 3 full chapters dedicated solely to forensic evidence that can be used in 'rape' cases. Guess what ? Picking up a guy in a club, taking him home, having sex once and then again, but this time w/o a condom isn't rape.

    Raped women are physically assaulted and to some varying degree resist it enough to leave medical forensic evidence. Unless, of course they were drugged or the like before, which is not the case.

    Similarly, picking up a 'famous guy' in a club and having sex and then expecting some sort of 'long term' relation is pathetic. If she wanted to make sure this isn't just a 'fun night' maybe they should have dated for a month, two, make sure he isn't a prick looking for sex and then make the step from friends to lovers.

    If you want to really trivialize this into a tabloid/talk-show vomit here is one: maybe Assange is a real 'leaker' and can't hold it for more that 2 minutes at a time, so a 'quickie' in the morning without a condom isn't such a big deal.

    You are debating a non-debate. There is so much to debate IN THE FUCKING LEAKS vis a vis core issues you address in this blog that you somehow miss entirely, instead focusing on some retarded feminist defense.

    And, yes, it is retarded. In the western individualist / consumerist capitalist society, equal rights for women, mean , opportunities for women to behave like fascist white supremacist, eloquently shown by Code Pink in support for Afghan occupation, Hillary Clinton, that fascist whore at Shell coordinating between the Nigerian lackeys and White House and the myriad of 'free' women with equal rights to drive alone in a gigantic 4-person SUV ( 1/3rd of SUV owners are women ) rub it multi-touch on bazillion gadgets assembled by forced labour in the third world ( ALL women with middle class income around here have iPhones, iPads and crap like that, the hq of the feminist organization here is packed with iMac and similar expensive social-penis-enlarging devices ) and so on.

    Do these things EVER factor into your analysis, 'comrades' or we are supporting a principle for the sake of it, in order to look good to feminists, makybe we get some more party cadres ?

    If Raimondo's article "is filled to the brim with misogyny" which IT IS, then the reactions here and elsewhere on "leftist" forums vis a vis the 'rape' charges are filled to the brim with idiocy, ignorance and fanatical affinity with the letter of an ideology for the sake of it.

    Again and again, these fascist command language at a primitive level and change the meaning of words to a degree that most leftists call insurgents and the like 'terrorists' while acknowledging that they fight an occupation army. They hijacked the word 'rape' and they changed its meaning to suit their (political) purpose.
    Rape means FORCED SEX. The 'forced' part encompasses the the notion of lack of agreement on the part of the victim. There was no RAPE in the case of Assange vs Ardin. Please find another word or invent one that condenses the MEANING of what happened there which is not RAPE.

    If you find it in your power to do so, 'comrades', please find the will to actually debate these points rather that vomiting a 'reactionary' and/or 'misogynistic' on the blog.

    I eagerly await to count how many articles and how many comments are dedicated to this non-debate over 'rape' and 'feminism' versus on how many articles and comments dedicated on the actual contents of the wikileaks.

    'Divide et impera', heard of it ?

  • Guest - dave x

    Point made.

  • Guest - Justin Raimondo

    Now we can see how successful the government's COINTELPRO-like operation against Wikileaks has succeeded just in the response my piece has generated on this thread. Ostensibly "leftist" commenters are actually taking the "rape" charges seriously -- as if they aren't a typical frame-up job hatched at CIA HQ. Those guys sure know their business: it's easy to disorient what passes for the "left" today. Just throw out some sleazy accusations, throw in a good dollop of identity politics, and -- voila! -- you've knocked those lefties off balance. Easy as pie.

    It's fascinating how easily diverted some people are -- and how they don't understand simple English, or, worse, the rules of logic. Anna Ardin is a feminist harridan -- but does this mean that all feminists are harridans? You don't need to be an academic philosopher to figure that one out.

    Not that everyone on this thread took the "rape" bait. As you commies would put it, this "line struggle" really brought out those who are on the Revisionist Road, separating the revolutionary wheat from the counter-revolutinary chaff.

  • Guest - David_D

    There is this notion among some that goes something like this: "all women who bring charges of sexual misconduct by a male must be 'believed' until proven wrong." In reality, these accusations are only relevant insofar as they divert people from the question of Western intelligence practices. Whether or not this is a diversionary effort (honey trap) of some intelligence agency of another is inconsequential, since the practical effect is the same.

    As for the question of rape generally, I think it would be a serious mistake to confuse rape and sexual assault with the various gradations of sexual miscommunication leading to an result that is, upon later reflection, not desired by one party. For instance, sexual activity that is apparently consensual (it was mutually initiated, and no one verbally or physically indicated the desire to stop) is not rape.

    More than one poster has commented that Raimondo's piece is anti-female, but no one has argued in what way this is true. I do not see it. I have a different ideology than he does certainly, but I do appreciate that he criticizes the negative aspects of the "New Left" ideologies that have indeed perverted the nominally communist movement. I hope that genuine communists would see someone like him at least as a potential tactical ally.

  • Guest - chegitz guevara

    The problem with this article is there is possibly useful information wrapped up in vile misogyny. It repeats as fact what are suppositions and assertions. The truth is, we have <i>very little information</i> about the women involved or what actually happened.

    I <i>personally</i> believe it is quite possible that Assange raped these women, but I don't <i>want</i> to believe it. For now, I am giving him the benfit of the doubt, because the accusations are too convenient for the Empire. That doesn't mean I'm going to attack the women involved, either. The fact that someone does some very important and heroic work does not mean that a person cannot also be a monster in other ways. Humans are not simply one thing or another.

  • Guest - Gary

    A few days ago I posted, on another thread, with minimal comment, a link to the article posted above. I did so because people were discussing Assange's legal problems and this peice assembled together some pertinent information. I knew like most of us before reading it that Assange had been the object of character assassination by the mainstream press, which while generally avoiding discussion of the content of the leaks of U.S. embassy documents instead vilified Assange for "stealing" classified information and endangering lives, characterizing him as paranoid, weird, hypersensitive, "anti-American" etc. (This media characterization is largely responsible I think for the fact that 2/3 of US residents polled say they think WikiLeaks should be prosecuted.)

    The column contains some important information I hadn't encountered elsewhere. Like the fact that accuser Ardin had been a diplomat in Cuba and asked to leave due to contacts with CIA-backed Cuban exile groups. And the fact that she has apparently stated that her sexual encounter(s) with Assange was/were consensual, and that the issue is a broken condom. (She apparently alleges that he deliberately broke it, which is possible. But this requires us to assume that Assange finds condomless sex so much more enjoyable than condom-sex that he would wilfully contrive such a situation---perhaps by biting off the top of the condom when his partner wasn't looking...)

    And the (reported) fact that Wilen, the second partner, having taken considerable pains to meet Assange and host him at her home, had consensual "protected" sex and then the following morning bareback sex with no protest before phoning Ardin and launching the joint legal case.

    And the fact that prosecutors Claes Borgstrom and Marianne Ny want to use the Assange case as a "test case" to show that consensual sex can be rape due to "psychological coercion" resulting from "unequal power realtions" between men and women.

    And the fact that Ardin and Wilen leaked their story to a Swedish tabloid. And the fact that the initial indictment was rescinded by the Swedish prosecutor due to lack of evidence but then reinstated (although the request for Assange's extradition from Britain was so shabby that UK officials sent it back).

    All this merits discussion. Even if Raimondo's presentation is tendentious (and it is, in such aspects as attributing Wilen's call to Ardin to her disappointment that Assange never called her back) it contains substantial content. Dave X may think we on the left shouldn't give Raimondo the time of day (due to his alleged misogyny), but I think we need to learn from anybody supplying useful information and I'm glad Kasama has posted this peice.

    And I'm not sure what Dave X means when he refers to Raimondo as a conspiracy theorist. He has built a case that Israeli intelligence officers were tracking the 9-11 hijackers that can be evaluated in its own right. I personally find it pursuasive.

    Back to the Assange case--and just thinking aloud here---if I were a US intelligence operative intent (as we know they are) on silencing Assange and crippling his work, I'd think the following strategy would be highly desirable and effective. Have Assange charged with rape, a particularly vicious crime that evokes strong emotional reactions and can be very useful in destroying a person's repultion. Have him accused by women in Sweden (neutral, non-NATO Sweden with its history of opposition to the US war in Vietnam, etc.) That makes it easier to dissociate, to say, "We had nothing to do with this."

    Have him targeted by Interpol and hauled out of Britain to face Swedish prosecuters. (No problem that the Swedes had earlier rejected the case on grounds of no evidence. The point is to get him in detention and then extradicted to the U.S. to face 1917 Espionage Act charges.)

    Have him charged with offenses defined in such a way as to demonstrate cutting-edge sensitivity to the question of rape, including the notion that one can be raped during consensual sex and then after a period of amicability decide to press charges. Those most likely to support Assange and WikiLeaks will be disarmed by this, "disoriented" as Raimondo suggests (in the post above) and prone to question their earlier sympathy with Assange. This is how I think the intelligence community seeking to minimize the damage done to US imperialism by the WikiLeaks organization thinks.

    It's easy to use feminism to promote reactionary causes. Laura Bush took over for her husband on the president's weekly radio message to preach to the world, in September 2001, how the burqa in Afghanistan justified a U.S. invasion. The U.S. mainstream press is now, in my opinion, using the allegations against Assange to justify his arrest and silencing---confident that a significant bloc of feminists, progressives and radical leftists will be either disillusioned or thrown into confusion.

  • Guest - Danielle Ni Dhighe

    Raimondo uses the language of misogyny, but his theory is still a credible one.

  • Guest - sin nombre

    personally i think the left is being played or is playing itself if it thinks that assange / wikileaks is its issue.

    Structly a crisis within the ruling eiltes - perhaps real, perhaps phony. Assange is no revolutionary, nor is wikileaks, and the 'leaks' only serve to strengthen the mythology of american power as benign if bumbling.

    Yes, Ardin is a swedish social democrat active in a christian caucus within said party. Is she CIA? - as one poster above suggests when he writes "Like the fact that accuser Ardin had been a diplomat in Cuba and asked to leave due to contacts with CIA-backed Cuban exile group" [I would ask for a link proving that she was ever a diplomat in Cuba or anywhere else].

    Objectively you could argue that the CIA is using the Socialist International against cuba on the dissidents issue. That Ardin personally is an agent is a stretch. By the way, the primary source for this allegation is a Counterpunch article authored by one Israel Shamir, who if you really want to delve into it, is a less than reliable source on anything: http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&amp;story=6

    so far the most perceptive takes on the wikileaks'crisis have been from that veteran cold warrior zbignew brzezinski, who in the words of Pablo Escobar in his Asia Times column of last week, "told the US Public Broadcasting Service that cablegate is 'seeded" with "surprisingly pointed' information, and that 'seeding' is too
    easy to accomplish.....Dr Zbig says that WikiLeaks may have been manipulated by intelligence services with 'very specific objectives'. They could be, as he hints, internal US elements who want to embarass the Barack Obama administration. But he also suspects 'foreign elements' [ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LL04Ak02.html ]
    [See also Brzezinski's remarks in his Der Spiegel interview last week:

    <blockquote>"<strong>Brzezinski: </strong>There are slightly mystifying aspects to this whole operation. I do see some strange degree of emphasis on some issues.
    <strong>SPIEGEL:</strong> For example?
    <strong>Brzezinski: </strong>Just look at the degree of emphasis that has been put in the initial wave of revelations on discrediting several pro-American Arab governments by highlighting their demands for military action against Iran. That could be very troublesome within some Arab countries. It's also interesting that so much emphasis is put on leaks that could be calculated deliberately to damage American-Turkish relations"
    [ http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,733079,00.html#ref=nlint ]</blockquote>

    these themes are beginning to slowly be considered from a left perspective [see, for example yesterday's piece by Michel Chossudovsky
    at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&amp;aid=22389

    All in all, approach with caution.

  • Guest - RW Harvey

    I also wonder, along with Sin Nombre, just how deep and complex this all is.

    And I wuold also urge the reading of the essay http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&amp;aid=22389

  • Guest - Seamus

    A small victory . Julian Assange was released on Bail this morning in London . BTW According to ''Democracy Now'' Michael Moore contributed 20 k to his bail fund .
    I'm not big on ''sloganeering ''but i strongly think the following ones are timely and just :
    Drop all charges against Manning and Assange ! Hands off Wilileaks !

  • Guest - hegemonik

    I wanted to avoid getting into this flamefest, but sometimes you have to put on your asbestos underwear:

    1) "Honeytrap"/"Honeypot" is a generic term for any sting operation where the operator puts something on offer that is going to attract a target, either for the sake of immediate capture or for gathering further intelligence. The metaphor has nothing to do with sex or patriarchy or anything like that; it simply comes from the old cliche about attracting more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    Those from the U.S. are very likely familiar with one of the oldest honeypot tricks, which are usually aired by local TV stations: police will usually try to clear up old cases by sending a mail out to persons with open warrants, usually under the false pretense that they've won a sweepstakes for something (usually, it's Super Bowl tickets). The offer of something for nothing usually brings people clamoring like flies, and by the time they realize they've been had, they're already in handcuffs.

    2) Is it within the realm of possiblity that Assange did in fact violate two women? Unfortunately, yes it is. There's more than enough folks on here who have dealt with "macktivists" who took advantage of the attention they bring to coerce women to shut up and take mistreatment of some sort or another. And I think it's frankly disgusting that there are now excuses being made for Assange having possibly used deception to have unprotected sex. Do any of us know his sexual history? Or whether he may have used intravenous drugs? Or his HIV status?

    3) Is it out of the realm of possibility that Assange was set up? In a word: no. The case of Mordecai Vanunu is a case in point: after outing Israel's nuclear program to the British press, and after Margaret Thatcher's government made it clear that a Mossad action on British soil would upset diplomatic relations, the Mossad cleverly lured Vanunu (of his own volition!) to go to Italy by setting up a date with an agent disguised as an American tourist. If it is any measure of success: Vanunu still swears the woman he knew as Cindy was "just" an American tourist, after the woman outed herself a couple of decades later and was honored by the Knesset.

    So it's entirely possible that Assange was set up by one or both of the women on his tour of Sweden, and it's entirely possible that this was a very brilliant attempt to come up with a pretext for extradition.

    It should also be said: these operations inherently involve taking advantage of male stupidity. If anything, the case shouldn't be made that the women are evil, but that Assange, who apparently prides himself on his mindfulness of security,
    was a complete moron and a hypocrite who threw all his training by the wayside with the promise of a mere tryst.
    4) But does the possibility of a setup mean we should be going around trying to trash the women involved? In a word, no. It's wrong in this case, where we do not have complete information and there are more rumors than hard facts. But moreover, it's wrong in that by sending a message that rape accusers are "fair game" we create all manner of barriers to the very reporting of rape, much less its prosecution.

    This is an area where the libertarians are simply libertines. Or in somewhat more philosophical terms: while "ought" implies "can", "can" does not imply "ought" --the ability to trash a woman to "protect" Julian Assange does not mean it should be done. Saying otherwise simply shows how unprincipled libertarians are about women's liberty.

  • Guest - dave x

    That article you linked is classic conspiracy mongering. To understand the imperialist reaction to Wikileaks one must understand that it has nothing (or not too much) to do with the specific content of the cables (Of course the cables contain imperialist lies and ideology that who wrote them, of course the way the NYT reports this reflects imperialists interests). It has to do with the way it shows the system up, shows that is vulnerable and pokes little holes in its ideological hegemony. If the imperialists let Wikileaks and Assange get away with it then why couldn't we all get away with it. And you know what? People sense that. Their oppressors are vulnerable. They have the power to do something. It is cracks like this that can open the flood gates.

  • Guest - RW Harvey

    I find it hard to label Chossudovsky a conspiracy monger. He may be an academic rfesearcher but tomy reading he has clearly shown his anti-imperialist bona fides.

    That said, it is not clear at this point the overall impact of Wikileaks on the consciousness of people. I imagine the advanced see it as you do, and that is an important piece. Yet what if the article is accurate and amongst the opulation as a whole it is fostering more alignment with America's aims to take out Iran (e.g., even those weird Arab states agree that their nukes must be stopped)?

    SO yes, there is an ideological push in the direction that you are arguing for, and, I would argue, alsoo an ideological pull to gather public opinion on behalf of the empire's designs as well. The truth about floodgates being opened is just that -- it is a flood, many cascading waves and swirling currents that we revolutionaries will need to help sort.

  • Guest - dave x

    @Harvey says:
    "Yet what if the article is accurate and amongst the population as a whole it is fostering more alignment with America’s aims to take out Iran (e.g., even those weird Arab states agree that their nukes must be stopped)?"

    Yes, I agree, they are trying to use the cables for nefarious ends and that is something we should fight, though I don't think what the cables reveals provides as clear a case as they would like, more a situation of using lemons to make lemonade. On the other hand, Iceland is now threatening to ban VISA and Mastercard for their dropping payments to Wikileaks ( ...sound of distant rumbling). They have started to over reach themselves, not only over Wikileaks and Assange but in the streets of London, everywhere. This Wikileaks thing is coming at a bad time for them and threatens cascading consequences. Of course that doesnt mean that things can't be contained and misdirected, but the cracks are real, just gotta keep opening them up.

    Just because the author is a sincere anti-imperialist doesn't mean he isn't engaged in conspiracy mongering and in this article he is. Wikileaks is not a CIA ops project and to suggest that this might be so shows a serious lack of perspective:

    "On the surface, nothing proves that Wikileaks is a CIA covert operation. However, given the corporate media's cohesive and structured relationship to US intelligence, not to mention the links of individual journalists to the military-national security establishment, the issue of a CIA sponsored PsyOp must necessarily be addressed"

    Stan Goff has posted a decent article on this at his blog:
    'Conspiracism and Wikileaks'

  • Guest - Gary

    New questions are emerging Julian Assange’s legal case.
    Last week the Swedish prosecutor’s office issued a European Arrest Warrant for Assange and requested his extradition from Britain.
    It was initially reported that the Swedish judiciary appealed the Tuesday decision to grant Assange bail, using the Crown Prosecution Service as its agent in doing so. Time reported today (Thursday) that “Assange had been granted bail on Tuesday but spent the next two days in prison while Swedish prosecutors appealed the decision.”
    But the Swedish prosecutor’s office told the Guardian on Wednesday that it had actually “not at all got a view on bail” and that the British government had itself made the decision to postpone bail. It added that it had no new evidence to present in the Thursday hearing.
    “There was confusion,” Reuters reports, “over whether Britain or Sweden had been behind the bid to deny him bail. British prosecutors said they were acting as agents for Swedish authorities. However, Sweden’s Director of Prosecution Marianna Ny said in a statement the case was in British hands and that the court’s decision did not change the case itself.”
    The Guardian reported Thursday: “Karin Rosander, director of communications for Sweden’s prosecutor’s office, told the Guardian: ‘The decision [to deny bail Tuesday, right after it had been granted by another judge] was made by the British prosecutor. I got it confirmed by the CPS this morning that the decision to appeal the granting of bail was entirely a matter for the CPS. The Swedish prosecutors are not entitled to make decisions within Britain. It is entirely up to the British authorities to handle it.’” That is to say, Sweden’s in no rush.
    Assange’s people have been alleging that the Swedish case is being used by the U.S. as a “holding charge.” Lawyer Mark Stephens told Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now!” Wednesday that “the word swirling around the elites in Stockholm is that the Americans are effectively using this as a holding charge. A holding charge, as you’ll know, is a charge that people have no intention of prosecuting, because it’s meritless, or that it’s such a minor offense that actually the big sucker punch is coming, and we haven’t yet seen that. And the word in Stockholm is that there is a secret grand jury empaneled in Alexandria just near the Pentagon and that they are considering how they might get Julian Assange on criminal charges in the United States.”
    Assange, who’s been interviewed once by a Swedish prosecutor, is now ordered to submit to a second interview (in Sweden). He has not been told what questions he’d be asked, but informed that he would not be jailed and even if convicted spend no time behind bars. Stephens told Goodman, “So we’re in this rather bonkers position where the Swedish lawyers tell us he wouldn’t go to jail, yet on an extradition warrant, he’s being held in custody [in Britain].”
    Now that he’s out on bail, under carefully monitored conditions, obliged to live in a known location (while he is accustomed to changing quarters often for personal security reasons), wearing an electronic tag, observing a curfew, and reporting to police every day, his lawyers are hoping to fight the Swedish extradition request. They will note the anomalies in the case, including the fact that the first Swedish prosecutor found no merit in it and that Interpol published the arrest warrant publically whereas warrants involving sexual offense charges are normally not made public. They are demanding evidence of criminal activity.
    But what to make of the CPS’s decision to try to overturn the initial bail decision, which now seems likely to have been made without Swedish pressure? Stephens’ thesis has been that Britain has been colluding with Sweden to get him further embarrassed and to have him extradited to the U.S. where prosecutors are preparing a case against him under the Espionage Act of 1917. But while he’s in detention in Britain, the U.S. could request his extradition (leaving the sex charges unresolved). “Why,” Goodman asked Stephens Wednesday, “would it be easier for [Assange] to be sent to the United States from Sweden than from Britain?”
    Stephens, who also stated “The Swedes really clearly didn’t want to abide by the umpire’s decision” (that is, had assumed that the denial of bail by the second judge was demanded by the Swedes) replied that “the answer really is that we do have extradition arrangements between the U.K. and the U.S., but the British judges have a long history of looking at them pretty carefully. You’ll be familiar with the case of Gary McKinnon, the young child that hacked into the Pentagon computers, comprehensively embarrassed them, and he’s wanted on an extradition warrant to the United States. [He actually did so in his mid-30s—G.L.] That’s been being fought for about three or four years now. And so, the possibility is that the British courts would look at this and scrutinize it in a thorough and independent way. That’s what British judges are; they’re not politically influenced. Whereas I think that it’s felt that the Swedes have perhaps a little more of a soft touch and perhaps, more fairly, are less experienced, the judiciary in Sweden, in dealing with these extradition warrants, and perhaps would—it would go more on the nod from Sweden.”
    I’m not sure that British judges would be any fairer than Swedish ones, less “politically influenced” or less inclined under extradition arrangements to resist U.S. pressure. Unless the charges are dismissed or beaten, Assange will be unable to travel freely while remaining in the crosshairs of an infuriated U.S. government.

  • Guest - Radical Eyes

    Democracy Now! has featured a debate over the Assange case between two feminist writer/activists extending over the past two days.

    Here is the link to the first part of that (heated) debate.


  • Guest - Radical Eyes

    And here is Part Two.

    Noami Woolf makes some strong arguments here, imo.

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