Wikileaks And The Issue With “We Report-You Decide”

Posted on December 8, 2010. Filed under: Personal, Politics, Social Justice |

Assange: Monster or Martyr: You Decide

Note: This post uses strong language and opinions-if you don’t like one of those two things, then stop reading now….

I love Wikileaks. Watching governments scramble to spin information that was never supposed to be fodder for water cooler conversation fuels my two greatest loves, politics and Schadenfreude.  I enjoy feeling like I am doing my part in “sticking it to the man” every time I come across an embarrassing revelation that diplomats are far from diplomatic, that the arrogant and power drunk world Governments are powerless to being brought down a notch by the changing dynamics of the information age.   We all love a good David and Goliath story.  I am heartened to know that the web of conspiracy I regularly envision going on in the smokey backrooms of government is real and my tin foil hat just became a little more fashionable.

These leaked memos are not what I want to talk about though.  Nor do I want to talk about the apparent Shakespearean flaw that allows Governments to condemn Wikileaks for disseminating information that was apparently easier to access than a Twelfth Grade Math class pop quiz.  Those subjects are better described by other media sources and bloggers.

I want to talk instead about the sexual assault allegations being levelled at Julian Assange, the public face of Wikileaks and the current poster boy for martyrdom in the cult of personality.  If you want to read some background on these allegations as well as a leveled insight into the facts at hand, I suggest these two posts by my friends Stephanie and Jason.  I won’t be quite as diplomatic as them, but I think that my analysis is fair and accurate none the less.

Assange: Revolutionary or Rapist- You Decide

Rape is a serious allegation.  Stephanie has done a really good job of explaining what constitutes sexual assault, and I think it bears repeating:

It doesn’t matter whether a woman consented to have sex with you. If she tells you to stop, and you don’t stop, that is still sexual assault. I don’t care how frustrating it is or whether you hate her for the rest of your life for it. Sex you have with someone without their permission is rape.

Let’s say that again: Sex you have with someone without their permission is rape.

One more time just for clarity: Sex you have with someone without their permission is rape.

Consent in a sexual setting is always conditional.  If your partner is doing everything right you might be in bliss one second, but you still have the right to draw a line in the sand with your own body.  You may love the blowjob you are getting but draw the line at the finger she’s slipping up your asshole.  You may like being tied to the bed but have your ornithophobia kick in when she pulls out a feather.  Hell, you may just love everything that’s happening until her dirty talk reminds you of your perverted Uncle Louie.  Consent is conditional- end of story.  As a man, I am in the enviable position of being in the ultimate position of power in most of my sexual encounters- so this conversation gets layered with even more complications when the consent is withdrawn by the non-dominant partner.

Every single person has the fundamental right to withdraw consent, to have ultimate control over their bodies.  Every single person.  Whether it is me, my wife, some girl in a tight dress and a chip on her shoulder I picked up at the bar, or a five hundred dollar prostitute; every human being has a right to conditional consent.  Get that through your thick skull because it is important.

Assange: Predator or Persecuted- You Decide

Assange may be a modern-day martyr for the public’s right to know.  Guess what?  Bill Clinton was the best president in recent memory.  He was also a shitty husband who abused a position of power to get his flute cleaned.  Martin Luther King was the driving force behind  the inalienable right of my sister-in-law being able to sit at the same table as me in Georgia.  He also stuck his dick in anything that wore a skirt in his hotel room.  People can be great leaders, great innovators, visionaries, martyrs, and heroes and at the same time be pricks.   I would go so far as to claim that those things that made them capable of greatness also made them capable of shittyness.  Bill Clinton was a charismatic, arrogant, brilliant, never-say-die, charmer who had an almost savant-like capacity to deliver empathy.  That is what made him a great president, but also a fantastic philanderer and sexual predator.  MLK was likewise a charismatic man, one who must have had a slight case of antisocial personality disorder when it came to conforming to societal pressures and expectations.  Those things made him an enviable crusader, and also a world-class adulterer.

Hell, I like to think I am a pretty good person.  My friends probably think so.  Have I done some pretty shitty things in my lifetime?  Sure.  Can I attribute many of my greatest achievements as well as my most elegant ass-hattery to the same root personality?  I think so.  I am only human, even if I don’t always appear to be a good one.

What I am getting at here is that no-one seems to be talking about the fact that the head of an organization on a kamikaze mission to destroy the curtain between the All-Powerful Oz and an awestruck and frightened audience is also likely to be an arrogant, never-say-die, crusader with a lack of concern for the consequences of his actions.  That is also a pretty good description of a sexual predator.  I’m not saying he is guilty, but I don’t believe for a second he lacks the capacity to victimize a woman.

This whole case may be a footnote in his obituary, like MLK, or an all-encompassing reason to consider his legacy tainted and worthless, like Clinton.  He may just end up being cleared of the charges and canonized as the Patron Saint of the Public Interest.

Assange: Hero or Huge Fucking Dick- O.K. so I'm running out of these, but Decide Anyway....

In the same way, his accuser may have done some shady things in her life.  With most of our understanding of her being fed to us by Assange’s lawyer and a sympathetic media, it is not surprising that is all we know about her.  Imagine for one moment if you will, that I am about to introduce you to an audience of millions.  Now imagine that I choose your five dirtiest little secrets, the ones that even you yourself try to imagine never happened, and rhyme them off before saying “Without further Ado…”. That is what you are seeing about the victim right now.  Maybe she volunteers at a soup kitchen.  Maybe she helped to draft human rights legislation.

What you are witnessing right now is not “We Report-You Decide”, it is “We Decide What You Need To Know So That You Can Arrive At The Same Decision We Have” ; that is media.  It always has been and it always will be.  It is up to you to rise above it. There is a lot more to this case than black and white.  Nothing is black or white, except Hitler.  He sent his Black and Shades Of Gray to a concentration camp for the sole purpose of giving Glenn Beck someone to compare liberals to.

Dichotomies make for a good news cycle, but the real news lies somewhere in the middle.


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8 Responses to “Wikileaks And The Issue With “We Report-You Decide””

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Fucking A, man. Fucking A.

Thanks for the pingback, too.

You are forgetting (or ignoring) something else: an accusation is not even a charge, let alone proof of wrongdoing. In Assange’s case, we are speaking of a crime — and yes, it is a crime — which is practically impossible to prove — it nearly always boils down to the accuser’s word against the defendant’s — and which is seldom prosecuted for that very reason. In the case of Assange, the Swedish authorities had already announced that the accusations were sufficiently unproveable that they did not think they would file charges, and so these two women who came out of the blue to make the same accusation at the same time against a man who has offended the political elite weren’t going to get to push their accusations into a court of law. (Although the nature of the accusations is such that Assange has automatically been tried by the court of public opinion — and your apparent assumption that he is probably guilty of the charges shows you just how effective this was if indeed it was a smear tactic.) One of the two women in question even admitted she had been pressured into the accusation.

Then Assange published leaks from the U.S. diplomatic service and announced that there were upcoming leaks disclosing wrongdoing from one of the “Too Big To Fail” banks, probably Bank of America, and suddenly the accusations become charges and the U.S. is in talks to see if they can extradite him — despite having made no charges. (And, incidentally, one of the leaks from the diplomatic service proves that the U.S. successfully pressures its first-world allies to abuse their own judicial systems.)

This should be opposed on the grounds that modern nations are supposedly governed by the law. Assange may or may not be guilty, but until there is more convincing proof of his guilt than suspiciously-timed and definitely unverifiable accusations we shouldn’t even be considering this. It isn’t a gender issue or a sex issue, it’s a rule of law issue.

In your haste to assume I have adjudicated his guilt in the court of public opinion, you have completely missed the point of my post. I didn’t say he was guilty, I said that his guilt is possible. I point that out because so many people seem oblivious to that possibility because they are so emotionally invested in his public persona that they refuse to acknowledge that he may be a dick in private. That does not diminish his or Wikileaks importance. I am as big a proponent of Wikileaks as anybody. I never said I even thought he was guilty, just that it is a distinct possibility. Only you seem to think that the “all too convenient” nature of the accusation recuses him from a proper investigation and fair trial if necessary.

The charges were read out in court.

The timing is suspicious, but unless you have anything better than that, you’re a conspiracy theorist out to throw sand in the eyes of justice.

And for the record, nobody here assumes he’s guilty. We assume he’s innocent but that the allegations are serious enough to merit an investigation.

%@#$%!!! I tried to post a comment earlier, but it didn’t take. Rats.

Anyway, I’m delighted that someone is bringing this up. Several commentators I’ve read have automatically assumed that the changes against Assange are political and meritless, but I disagree. A jury needs to evaluate the evidence against him before we can know for sure if her committed those sexual assaults.ults.

[…] on December 9, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Note: This post  is a re-post of the post I made yesterday, with changes I think make my point a little clearer:  I have not convicted Assange in the […]

I heard that before wikileaks they said that his charges of rape were unfounded, can’t give you a source for the quote, just heard it on the news (CBC new- the national if you care to know my source).

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