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Fri Sep 7, 2012, 05:29 PM

Mark Weisbrot's Shame

Mark Weisbrot has put up a bit at al-Jazeera, entitled Sweden's Shame, in which he regurgitates (yet again) a number of the demonstrably false factoids popular among the Assangists. Here's the link to his drivel:


Most obviously, (Weisbrot writes) Sweden has had the opportunity to interview Assange in the UK, but has repeatedly refused to do so. The Swedish government also refused Ecuador's offer to interview Assange at its London embassy. As in the past, no justification was offered

But the facts by now are crystal clear. Swedish authorities interviewed Assange on 31 August 2010 and reopened a rape investigation on 1 September 2010. Swedish authorities were repeatedly in contact with Assange's lawyer in Sweden, while Assange was still in Sweden, in September 2010, trying to arrange further interrogation of him, in order to move forward with a prosecution of him in Sweden. When it was made clear to Assange's lawyer, that the authorities intended to detain his client, Assange immediately left the country for the UK. The interrogation, that the Swedish authorities seek, is not simply a matter of asking questions: the UK courts have held that the interrogation is part and parcel of the Swedish prosecutorial process and have further held that Sweden's request, for Assange's extradition to be interrogated, is nothing other than a request for Assange to be handed over for prosecution. The original arrest order for Assange was issued by a Swedish court, and Assange's lawyers appealed that unsuccessfully twice in Sweden. The Swedish court's arrest order means that the next step in the Swedish process against Assange is to take him into custody for interrogation. The Swedish court's arrest order predates the international arrest warrant that Assange fought (for over a year and a half) in the UK courts. The Swedish authoritories do not now owe Assange, or Weisbrot, or anyone else, further explanation or justification: they have prevailed in Swedish courts, and in the UK courts, and Assange has jumped bail to avoid extradition to Sweden, which had requested his extradition expressly for the purpose of prosecution

The Swedish government (says Weisbrot further) also refused to negotiate with Ecuador for an extradition under which Assange would go to Sweden but not be subject to extradition to the US. This would be very easy for Sweden (or the UK, for that matter) to arrange. Once again, the Swedish government offered no reason for its refusal to consider this obvious solution to the diplomatic impasse.

It is unclear why Ecuador believes it can properly concern itself this matter at all, insofar as Assange is an Australian citizen, not an Ecuadorian citizen, who is not in instant danger in the UK and who faces no instant danger in Sweden: Australian consular staff attended all of his court dates, and Assange repeatedly refused any contact with his country's diplomats, even as his lawyers complained to the press that Australia was refusing to help him. Ecuador made no application to intervene in the UK lawsuit on the warrant. Nor did Assange's lawyers attempt any serious discussion of this strange forward-extradition theory in the UK lawsuit: the only testimony touching on the subject came from one of Assange's own witnesses who testified that forward-extradition to the US was flat-out impossible. Both Swedish and UK authorities have pointed out repeatedly, for more than a year, that forward-extradition to the US from Sweden would require approval from the UK and could be challenged in both the Swedish and UK courts

And it is unclear why Assange, who is (after all) a man who has lost his friends hundreds of thousands of pounds in bail, by refusing to honor his own guarantees, thinks himself in a position to demand guarantees from others. Given the Assangist accusations against Sweden, it is also entirely clear that nothing, either Sweden or the UK could say, will produce any response from the Assange camp except further noisy accusations of bad faith and dishonesty. So the governments of Sweden and of the UK would gain no advantage from pointless guarantees about purely hypothetical situations

If the Swedish government really wanted to pursue the investigation of sexual offence allegations against Assange (Weisbrot tells us) they could do so. But instead, they are deliberately abandoning the criminal investigation - which is getting older and more difficult to pursue - for other reasons.

The Swedish prosecutors are pursuing a sexual offense prosecution of Assange. That is why there is a Swedish court order for his arrest. That is why there is an international warrant for his arrest. The UK courts have consistently held that the purpose of extradition to Sweden is prosecution. The matter is "getting older and more difficult to pursue" simply because Assange suddenly left Sweden, then fought his extradition in the UK courts for a year and a half, and finally jumped bail

This also casts serious doubt (Weisbrot continues) on all the people who have opposed Assange's asylum on the grounds that they care about the two women who have accused Assange. (It is worth noting that neither of the two women accused Assange of rape, although that is one of the allegations that has been spread throughout the media and the world). Anyone who was really concerned about pursuing this case would aim their fire at the Swedish prosecutor, and at least ask her why she has abandoned the investigation

The UK courts have determined the international warrant, for Assange's arrest, was issued for the purposes of prosecution on various charges including rape. The claim that no one complained of rape is another standard Assangist fiction. Weisbrot shows a particularly flexible attitude towards reality by reading the fact, that Assange jumped bail to avoid extradition to Sweden for prosecution, as proof that the Swedish prosecutor has abandoned the matter

... "The other woman wanted to report rape. I gave my testimony to support her story" ...
– Den andra kvinnan ville anmäla för våldtäkt. Jag gav min berättelse som vittnesmål till hennes berättelse och för att stötta henne.
30-åriga kvinnan: Jag utsattes för övergrepp
Berättar om anklagelserna mot Wikileaks grundare Julian Assange


Weisbrot might want to familiarize himself with the record more thoroughly before he continues vacuously yammering his Assangist talking-points

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Mark Weisbrot's Shame (Original post)
struggle4progress Sep 2012 OP
WillYourVoteBCounted Sep 2012 #1
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #2
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #4
SidDithers Sep 2012 #3
TonyR Sep 2012 #5
LadyHawkAZ Sep 2012 #6
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #13
LadyHawkAZ Sep 2012 #15
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #16
LadyHawkAZ Sep 2012 #17
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #7
TonyR Sep 2012 #9
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #12
treestar Sep 2012 #8
TonyR Sep 2012 #10
treestar Sep 2012 #11
struggle4progress Sep 2012 #14

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Sep 7, 2012, 08:33 PM

1. 2 YRS AGO:Swedish rape warrant for Wikileaks' Assange CANCELLED

The allegations were asked and answered TWO years ago.

21 August 2010 Swedish rape warrant for Wikileaks' Assange cancelled

Julian Assange had been cited as saying the release of the allegations was "deeply disturbing"

Sweden has cancelled an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on accusations of rape and molestation.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority website said the chief prosecutor had come to the decision that Mr Assange was not suspected of rape but did not give any further explanation.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority website said chief prosecutor Eva Finne had come to the decision that Julian Assange was not subject to arrest.

In a brief statement Eva Finne said: "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape."

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Response to WillYourVoteBCounted (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 7, 2012, 08:39 PM

2. 31 August 2010 Mr Assange is questioned by police for about an hour in Stockholm ...

1 September 2010 Swedish Director of Prosecution Marianne Ny says she is reopening the rape investigation against Mr Assange ... Ms Ny is also head of the department that oversees prosecution of sex crimes ...
Timeline: sexual allegations against Assange in Sweden
16 August 2012 Last updated at 10:31 ET

After speaking with Assange, authorities reopened the rape investigation

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Response to WillYourVoteBCounted (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 7, 2012, 10:08 PM

4. Rape investigation into Wikileaks chief reopens (Thursday 02 September 2010)

... Ms Finne's boss, Marianne Ny, Sweden's chief prosecutor, has overruled that decision after new information reportedly came to light on Tuesday. "There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed," she said in a statement published on the Prosecution Authority's website. "Considering information available at present, my judgment is that the classification of the crime is rape. More investigations are necessary before a final decision can be made" ... Claes Borgström, a lawyer who represents both women, appealed against the decision made last week to drop the charges against Mr Assange ...
Rape investigation into Wikileaks chief reopens
By Jerome Taylor
Thursday 02 September 2010

In summary: Investigation continued into some of the allegations. The alleged victims wanted a broader investigation. After authorities spoke with Assange, the rape investigation was restarted

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 02:37 AM

5. Labelling those who disagree with you

Vigorously arguing your point of view is one thing. Labelling those who disagree with you as "assangists", "vacuously yammering" and "regurgitating"...is quite another. That's abusive, isn't it ?

I'm wonder what labels struggle4progress has for "Women against Rape" and Naomi Wolf - both whom have come out against the Swedish prosecution -pointing out that rape accusations such as these would never normally have been investigated or prosecuted, because the context was clearly consensual (even if a crime did actually occur, which none of us can ever know). Naomi Wolf, who claims 23 years experience working with rape victims, straightforwardly describes it as a "corrupt prosecution".

So are these women "assangists" ? "Rape apologists" ? "Faux feminists" perhaps ?

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Response to TonyR (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 03:44 AM

6. Or misogynists. The one I really enjoyed

was the guy that tried to tell me about Sweden's better-than-average record on rape prosecutions. All this despite the fact that so many rape victims, even here, think this chase is politically motivated and/or the charges are bull excrement.

Sometimes we get a half dozen or more of these op/eds a day. It's pretty sad. Best just to let them sink without comment.

Welcome to DU!

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 01:26 PM

13. You and Tony should get your stories straight, because you argue in opposite directions: your theory

(as indicated by your sarcastic remarks) seems to be that Sweden hardly ever prosecutes alleged rapists, so the Assange prosecution is very questionable and unfair, whereas Tony's theory (see http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1305182 ) is that an alleged 2005 expansion of Swedish rape law made prosecution easier, so the Assange prosecution is very questionable and unfair

Both cannot be true. Assange is on record supporting the first view. Well, then, which is it? Is it (to use Assange's phrases) that Sweden is a whole lot like Saudi Arabia, but chock full of revolutionary feminists, ready to persecute a man on rape charges if he looks at a woman cross-eyed? or is it that Sweden is rather indifferent to sexual assault complaints -- unless, of course, you happen to be named Julian Assange?

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #13)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 05:29 PM

15. The one he clearly said was on paper but rarely invoked in practice?

We're saying the exact same thing, but nice try.

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #15)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:21 PM

16. It's still the opposite of what Assange originally claimed -- namely, that he was the victim

of excessively feminist Sweden

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #16)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:27 PM

17. Details usually do become clearer over time than they are initially

and this is the last time I will bump this op/ed trash.

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Response to TonyR (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 07:38 PM

7. Naomi Wolf: Wrong Again on Rape


Should the press reveal the names of complainants in rape cases? In the Guardian, Naomi Wolf says yes — beginning (but you knew this was coming) with the two women who've accused Julian Assange of forcing his attentions — his condomless attentions — on them ...

Anonymity, Wolf argues, is a relic of the Victorian era, when raped women were seen as damaged goods; permits stereotypes about rape victims to flourish, since people don't see that "ordinary women" get raped; harms women by treating them as children rather than moral agents; and impedes law enforcement. This last point is a little bizarre: doesn't Wolf realize that anonymity applies only to the media? Everyone in the justice system knows who the complainants are. Wolf also, as she often does, gets her facts wrong ...

... This is all about protecting Assange from what she believes are politically motivated charges. In other contexts, Wolf seems aware enough of the risks of exposure for women who accuse men of even minor acts of sexual aggression. After all, in 2004 she confessed inNew York magazine that for twenty years she had not "been brave enough" to mention to any living soul that Harold Bloom had "sexually encroached upon" her by groping her thigh when he was her professor at Yale. Does she think she would have been more courageous if going to the dean would have meant seeing her name on the front page of the Yale Daily News, the New Haven Register and maybe even, given Bloom's celebrity, the New York Times? In fact, Wolf waited decades to make a peep and is furious at Yale, all these years later, for not acting on her non-complaint ...

In defending her attacks on the women in the Assange case, Wolf often mentions her experience as a counselor and reporter on rape (she's reported on rape "more than any journalist I know," as she modestly put it on Democracy Now!). Does she really think rape victims (including of course male rape victims) would side with her on this? Yes, Naomi, I would like my extremely conservative extended family to know all about how I came not to be the virgin they think I am! Oh, Naomi, please, it's so important that everyone I meet knows I was raped at a frat party, because otherwise how will they know how to set up a group on Facebook calling for me to be sodomized unto death? The trouble with declaring anonymity an outworn custom is that the Victorian code that shamed rape victims is with us today, it's just that to the stereotypes of the sullied virgin and chaste wife have been added the crazy lying slut, the cocktease and the repressed frump who secretly "wants it." If Wolf has really spent as much time with rape victims as she claims, I can't believe she doesn't know how ready people are to attack the credibility of just about anyone who brings a charge of rape, including, often, the accuser's own friends and family. Disproving her own thesis, Wolf is quite willing to assume the worst about the Assange accusers, based on Internet rumors, early misreportings and spin from Assange and his lawyer ...


Wolf is not a feminist but merely generates noisy controversy to promote herself

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #7)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 02:53 AM

9. Interesting but not relevant in this case

Not everyone agrees with Naomi Wolf - but the article you cite here is a strange choice because it concentrates on rape victim anonymity - an entitlement Anna Ardin specifically abandoned by giving a series of media interviews in her own name.

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Response to TonyR (Reply #9)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:47 PM

12. (A) You asked what I thought of Naomi Wolf. I told you. Then you sneer it's not relevant.

If you didn't want to know, why ask? But, since you go on to discuss the matter further, perhaps you use "relevant" simply to indicate your agreement, in which case you might want to review the meaning of the word

(B) The Pollitt article discusses Naomi Wolf's opposition to alleged rape victim anonymity: Wolf's is a very strange stance for a self-proclaimed feminist, since complainant anonymity has long been a major plank of rape-prosecution reform, designed to prevent the public shaming and trial-by-media of alleged victims that may often prevent women from reporting assaults. And Pollitt points out clearly, using an alleged incident from Wolf's own story, exactly why trial-by-media might be expected to prevent women from reporting assaults.

(C) Trial-by-media in the Assange case began early: within only few days of the alleged sexual encounters, Assange's friend and Wikileaks collaborator "Israel Shamir" -- an anti-Semite and holocaust-denier, already known for his earlier claim that Jews in the Twin Towers got advance warning of the coming 9/11 attacks -- began a media smear campaign against the women as feminist extremists and/or CIA agents

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 09:07 PM

8. Having had the chance to appeal through both countries' legal systems

hardly sounds like "persecution." Or does Julian suppose the courts of both countries are part of the conspiracy to turn him over to the US as well?

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Response to treestar (Reply #8)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 03:27 AM

10. No conspiracy deeded

I agree that the courts are not involved in any conspiracy. I don't think they were involved in Sweden's famous collusion in US rendition in 2001 either. Almost nobody knew about that. It just happened - at the heart of one of Europe's most venerable democracies.

Personally, I don't really see a conspiracy in the Assange case either - just a "coincidence of circumstances" that goes something like this:
1. Sweden advances the definition of rape via its 2005 act (rarely invoked in practice).
2. Assange (rather stupidly) sleeps around with Wikileaks volunteers
3. One of them, Anna Ardin, is hurt by this and wants some form of redress (and who can blame her?)
4. Politican Claes Borgstrom sees an opportunity to raise his profile and petitions a prosecutor, citing the 2005 act.
5. Both get paid by the Swedish state for doing this.
6. UK has a (temporarily) defective extradition process, with all judicial oversight removed.

Join up the dots and you end up where we are today. No conspiracy needed.

So, does that mean it's all OK ?

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Response to TonyR (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 07:34 AM

11. 6 is simply not true

He appealed all the way to the top of the British system.

3 is out of bounds. That kind of stuff is crap.

5 is silly. Prosecutors get paid to do their job.

It's a roundabout way to get the accused. If the US wants him so badly, we'd have gotten him directly from the UK by now. A total house of cards.

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Response to TonyR (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 01:36 PM

14. Hallucinations won't count as evidence here. If you know (by ESP, say, or because Martians

Last edited Sun Sep 9, 2012, 02:42 PM - Edit history (1)

are beaming such information to your dental fillings) that Borgstrom is involved on his own initiative and only to raise his own profile, or that the two women involved were paid by the Swedish state to make the accusations, or that the UK has abandoned its ancient custom of judicial oversight in this case, then (of course) none of the rest of us can dispute your private revelation, and you are therefore allowed to hold such a view yourself -- but common standards of public discourse also require you to provide public evidence (rather than your private revelation), if you want to convince other people of the rightness of your views

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