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Sat Jun 23, 2012, 08:05 PM

Definition of paranoia: supporters of Julian Assange [View all]

The right does not have a monopoly on paranoia, as the conspiratorial fantasies of the backers of Julian Assange show
Nick Cohen
The Observer, Saturday 23 June 2012

... The right does not have a monopoly on paranoia, as the conspiratorial fantasies of supporters of Julian Assange show. Glenn Greenwald, Glenn Beck's namesake and mirror image on the American left, made it embarrassingly obvious in the Guardian last week that a paranoid "leftist" defence of an alleged rapist was the order of the day. Greenwald argued that Assange was not a coward who dare not face his Swedish accusers but a true dissident, who was camping out in the Ecuadorean embassy because he had a genuine fear of persecution. America "would be able to coerce Sweden into handing him over far more easily than if he were in Britain", he explained.

It was a small country "generally more susceptible to American pressure and bullying". The poor man did not know that Britain has a notoriously lax extradition treaty with the United States, which the liberal-minded have condemned for almost a decade. Nor did he blink at what must be the crankiest request for refugee status ever. Assange is the first asylum seeker to claim persecution at three removes. He wants to renounce his Australian citizenship and become an Ecuadorean because (and you may have to bear with me) the Australian government failed to help him fight an attempt by the British government to extradite to him to Sweden, whose government may, at some undefined point, extradite him to the United States or maybe not, because there is no extradition request ...

Reasonable doubt cannot stay the tongues of Ken Loach, Tariq Ali, Jemima Khan, Naomi Wolf, John Pilger and their comrades. They lament western wickedness with the reliability of professional mourners. For them, America is a demonic empire with supernatural power and reach. The constraints that bind ordinary nations cannot contain it. I refuse to call their conspiracy theories "leftwing," and not only because most of the British liberal left behaved honourably during the WikiLeaks affair. Hofstadter's caution needs to be remembered too paranoia turns everything it touches to dirt. The professed principles of sufferers are no exception. The American right's hatred of immigrants makes a nonsense of its belief in free markets, which require the free movement of labour. Its opposition to gun control makes its claims to be tough on crime equally ridiculous. Mutatis mutandis, the leftwing defenders of Assange are equally willing to destroy their own beliefs.

Conservatives throw around the phrase "leftwing feminist". They do not understand that although most feminists are on the left, it is far from clear that all leftwingers are feminist. If the indulgence of Islamists who believe that divine law mandates the subjugation of women did not convince you on this point, the treatment of Assange's alleged victims ought to make you think again. Some of Assange's supporters say that the women have no right to put allegations of sexual abuse before a competent court. Instead, they denounce them as "feminazis" in language so extreme that the women's lawyer said his clients were "the victims of a crime, but they are looked upon as the perpetrators". I doubt that posterity will recall much that Assange said. But it ought to remember his assertion that "Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism". In one sentence, Assange encapsulated the special pleading and misogyny of a rotten "progressive" culture ...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/24/nick-cohen-julian-assange-paranoia?newsfeed=true

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Reply Definition of paranoia: supporters of Julian Assange [View all]
struggle4progress Jun 2012 OP
freshwest Jun 2012 #1
tblue Jun 2012 #2
struggle4progress Jun 2012 #3
EFerrari Jun 2012 #6
OnyxCollie Jun 2012 #7
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Daniellesbian Jun 2012 #10
Kaleko Jun 2012 #4
OnyxCollie Jun 2012 #5
Daniellesbian Jun 2012 #9
EFerrari Jun 2012 #11
Daniellesbian Jun 2012 #15
treestar Jun 2012 #12
Daniellesbian Jun 2012 #13
treestar Jun 2012 #14
Daniellesbian Jun 2012 #16