Julian Assange arrest: This isn't about WikiLeaks, it's about an accusation of rape
Of course these are two unrelated issues that just happened to occur at exactly the same time. Despite the fact that there were many months between the charges being made and Wikileaks releasing those cables, and that an international warrant for his arrest could have appeared at any moment in the intervening time period.
As readers of this blog may know, I’m not a fan of Julian Assange and think his professional life is a troubled one. But I can say this confidently: I have ABSOLUTELY no idea whether he is a rapist or not.
Will Heaven has not been paying attention, then; he would do well to catch up to the facts. Such as the fact that neither Anna Ardin nor Sofia Wilén - the two women who he is alleged to have raped - have actually made an official police complaint. Or the fact that both women have admitted that the sex was consensual, he just didn't wear a condom. Or the fact that having consensual sex but not wearing a condom does not constitute rape in Sweden or anywhere else in the world. Or the fact that Anna Ardin is a radical feminist who talks about 'getting revenge' against men. Or that Anna Ardin specialises in getting 'legal revenge' against men. Or the fact that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén went to the police station only asking for advice on what to do if raped, knowing that the police would have to charge Mr. Assange, but the women could not be held accountable if the story turned out to be false. See here.
The WikiLeaks revelations, published by the Guardian and other newspapers, were at times fascinating – but they did not suggest that the USA is in the habit of forcing foreign courts to fabricate criminal charges.
Actually, sexual misconduct has, historically speaking, been the smear of choice of the United States government. The USA is by no means above interfering in the business of other countries, and does so, often in the most pernicious manner.
I am quite happy to entertain the idea that the US government did not have a hand in all this. I absolutely will not entertain the idea that the US government could not have done.
Will Heaven continues with a couple of rhetorical questions, designed to dismiss all opponents of his view as unreconstructed chauvinists and barbarians:
Who are we to offhandedly dismiss two women’s claims that they were harmed? Why are Assange’s supporters so quick to abandon their belief in international law and women’s rights?
And I put it to you, sir: who are we to offhandedly dismiss one man's claims that he did nothing of the sort? Why are Assange's detractors so quick to abandon their belief in international law and men's rights?
Because, you see, the reason we have trials is that we don't know who's telling the truth. If Ardin and Wilén are lying, as many of us suspect, then this is a men's rights issue - because a man's rights will have been violated. If they are telling the truth, then it could fairly be called a women's rights issue, on much the same grounds. So then, why mention women's rights at all? Are they held to be more important than men's rights? This all strikes me as a simpering display of international chivalry.
If we are to listen to one lawyer defending his client, we should also listen to the other side. Here’s what Claes Borgstrom, who represents both the women, said in September when Sweden reopened its investigation: “This is a redress for my clients, I have to say, because they have been dragged through the mud on the internet, for having made things up or intending to frame Assange… There is not an ounce of truth in all this about Pentagon, or the CIA, or smear campaigns, nothing like it.”
I can fully accept that the complaint was not provoked by any institution of the United States government; the fact is, women, and particularly feminist-minded ones, make false accusations every single day. This could quite conceivably have happened on its own. What absolutely is certain is that these charges, and this 'manhunt' for him, have been trumped up because of Wikileaks.
The issues are one and the same; it's simply the tried and tested method for ruining a man's career, his reputation, and his life. Given that Julian Assange is Public Enemy Number One, I would be a lot more shocked if something of this nature had not happened.
This is about Wikileaks, and it is also about an accusation of rape.