No Exception for Assange: Rape Apologetics and the Left

by Matt Fodor and Michael Laxer on February 17, 2013

Originally posted at rabble.ca — Fallen left heroes.

Their mythology is often the hardest to defeat.

Just the other night, Bill Maher, the libertarian who, due to his willingness to confront the “sacred cows” of the right, has become a seeming icon to many on the left, conducted a live TV interview with Julian Assange, safe as he is from serious accusations of rape, secure in the Ecuadorian embassy, and with millions of uncritical supporters around the world, including Maher.

Maher said “I hope you get out soon Julian,” at the end of a discussion of  the apparent importance of Wikileaks, acting as if Assange was already in prison for his “political activities” as opposed to being in hiding in the U.K. to avoid charges of sexual assault in, and the likelihood of extradition to, Sweden.

And now Assange appears to be running for office in his native Australia. Some think he might win.

Assange has become another in a tragically long series of men, leaders within their own left groups or within their specific context, that the left has given a “pass” to on allegations of rape and misogynist violence, both ignoring the abuse of women and making it clear that this is seen to be subordinate to the “greater” importance of the fight against the “capitalist class” or “imperialism.”

The appalling example of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the U.K. recently covering up the actions of its male “cult of personality” leader is a case study in how leftists are willing to sell out women who have been victimized by the left’s internal misogyny. There is nothing new about this, and leftists have come blindly to the defense of rapists before, as they did in the case of Mark Curtis in the U.S. in the ’80s, who everyone now acknowledges was obviously guilty.

Despite this, but due to the persistence of patriarchal ideas within western socialist and left movements, yet again we are hearing the same falsehoods in defence of a man accused of serious crimes against women.

While the authors of the piece accept the important principle that people are innocent of all charges until proven guilty in a court of law, we also accept the equally important principle that men, no matter what other noble causes or actions they may have taken in the past or what ideology they represent, must answer to criminal accusations of sexual assault in these same courts.

Normally, this is hardly a controversial position in the left. But, even now, many months later, and due to what can only be described as a convoluted series of falsehoods and half-baked conspiracy theories, there remains widespread support within the left for Assange. Even important leftist thinkers, like Noam Chomsky, usually immune to conspiracist ideas, have taken up Assange’s cause and repeated the “arguments” of his sycophants, even though these are often demonstrably false.

Given how many sisters fought for generations to try to get society to take sexual violence seriously, and given that they have counted the left as their allies, this is simply not acceptable.

For Assange’s supporters, the charges must “really” be about Wikileaks. And after the two women filed complaints they were subject to horrendous attacks and demonization. Rumors soon began to circulate, without a shred of evidence, that this was a “honey trap” and that one of the women was a “CIA agent.” For far too many on the left, a conspiracy theory trumps taking women’s claims seriously.

As the evidence against the “conspiracy” theories swirling around Assange is very clear, it is to these that we will first turn.

Assange and the alleged “honey trap” 

There are several claims made by Assange’s uncritical supporters that are just outlandish.  For instance in a documentary for ABC Australia, “Sex Lies and Julian Assange,” Assange’s U.K. legal adviser Jennifer Robinson actually stated the following:

You only need to look at the way that Red Notices are used around the world. Red Notices are normally the preserve of terrorists and dictators. The president of Syria does not have a Red Notice alert. Gaddafi in Libya, at the same time Julian’s arrest warrant was issued, was not subject to a Red Notice but an Orange Notice. It was an incredibly… it was incredibly unusual that a red notice would be sought for an allegation of this kind.

This a flat-out lie. This “traffic light analogy,” parroted repeatedly by Assange supporters, does not apply to Interpol notices. A Red Notice is not more severe than an Orange Notice.  Here is what the various ‘colors’ actually mean:

Notice type:

Details:

Red Notice:

Requests (provisional) arrest of wanted persons, with a view to extradition. An Interpol Red Notice is “the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today”. Interpol does not have the authority to issue arrest warrants in the formal sense of the word, as this is the domain of the sovereign member states.

Blue Notice:

Requests additional information about a person in relation to a crime.

Green Notice:

To provide warnings and criminal intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.

Yellow Notice:

Asks for help locating missing persons (usually minors) or identifying people who are unable to identify themselves.

Black Notice:

Seeks information on unidentified bodies.

Orange Notice:

Warns police and other international organizations about potential threats from disguised weapons, parcel bombs, or other dangerous materials.

Purple Notice:

To provide information on modus operandi, procedures, objects, devices and hiding places used by criminals.

Interpol-United Nations Security Council Special Notice:

Issued for groups and individuals who are targets of UN sanctions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This was created in 2005 at the request of the UN Security Council through the adoption of resolution 1617 and implemented through the adoption of Interpol resolution AG-2005-RES-05.

In fact, of the more than 10,000 notices issued in 2011, 7,678 were Red Notices. Nor is it at all unheard of for Red Notices to be issued for rapists. A cursory look at the current Interpol database includes persons wanted for rape, as well as for theft, fraud, armed robbery, assault and drunk driving. Again, Red Notices are issued for any suspect who has left the country.

There is also no basis to Assange’s own claim that Sweden is the “Saudi Arabia of feminism.” It is simply untrue that what Assange is accused of in Sweden would not constitute rape in the U.K. and it is unconscionable for any progressive-minded person to dismiss these charges on this basis. The City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled :

The framework list is ticked for rape. The defence accepts that normally the ticking of a framework list offence box on an EAW would require very little analysis by the court. However they then developed a sophisticated argument that the conduct alleged here would not amount to rape in most European countries. However, what is alleged here is that Mr Assange “deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state”. In this country that would amount to rape.

This was upheld by the High Court:

It is clear that the allegation is that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was not in a position to consent and so he could not have had any reasonable belief that she did.

Nor is it true that Assange is ‘merely’ wanted for questioning.  As David Allen Green points out:

Assange is not wanted merely for questioning.

He is wanted for arrest.

This arrest is for an alleged crime in Sweden as the procedural stage before charging (or “indictment”).  Indeed, to those who complain that Assange has not yet been charged, the answer is simple: he cannot actually be charged until he is arrested.

The oft-repeated claim by Bjorn Hurtig that Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny had given Assange permission to leave the country is false, as is the claim that Ny had refused to arrange for an interview with Assange. According to the court record :

The lawyer gave live evidence covering in some detail the attempts made to secure an interview with his client. On 15th September Ms Ny told him there were no “force measures” preventing Julian leaving the country, i.e. he was allowed to leave. He asked when his client would be interrogated but was told the officer she needed for the investigation was sick. He phoned his client to say he was free to leave the country to continue his work.

As for the claim that Ny ‘refused’ to interview Assange:

In cross-examination the Swedish lawyer confirmed that paragraph 13 of his proof of evidence is wrong. The last five lines of paragraph 13 of his proof read: “in the following days [after 15th September] I telephoned [Ms Ny] a number of times to ask whether we could arrange a time for Mr. Assange’s interview but was never given an answer, leaving me with the impression that they may close the rape case without even bothering to interview him. On 27th September 2010, Mr Assange left Sweden.” He agreed that this was wrong. Ms Ny did contact him. A specific suggestion was put to him that on 22nd September he sent a text to the prosecutors saying “I have not talked to my client since I talked to you”. He checked his mobile phone and at first said he did not have the message as he does not keep them that far back. He was encouraged to check his inbox, and there was an adjournment for that purpose. He then confirmed that on 22nd September 2010 at 16.46 he has a message from Ms Ny saying: “Hello – it is possible to have an interview Tuesday”. Next there was a message saying: “Thanks for letting me know.  We will pursue Tuesday 28th at 1700”. He then accepted that there must have been a text from him. “You can interpret these text messages as saying that we had a phone call, but I can’t say if it was on 21st or 22nd”. He conceded that it is possible that Ms Ny told him on the 21st that she wanted to interview his client. She requested a date as soon as possible. He agrees that the following day, 22nd, she contacted him at least twice.

…Mr Hurtig was asked why he told [former Swedish judge] Brita Sundberg-Wietman that Ms Ny had made no effort  to interview his client. He denied saying that and said he has never met her…He agrees that where he had said in his statement (paragraph 51) that “I found it astonishing that Ms Ny, having allowed five weeks to elapse before she sought out interview”, then that is wrong. He had forgotten the messages referred to above. They must have slipped his mind.

Hurtig’s antics led the judge to rule that Hurtig made “a deliberate attempt to mislead the court” and in fact did mislead expert witnesses Brita Sundberg-Wietman and Sven Allam. Hurtig received a disciplinary warning from the Swedish Bar Association

What of the claim that Sweden would extradite Assange to the U.S.? Isn’t it reasonable for the Swedish government to issue a guarantee before Assange is extradited to Sweden? Is their refusal to do so a sign of complicity with the U.S. government, and that the charges are ‘really’ about Wikileaks? It is our argument that such claims are absurd and would not be raised by progressives in any other context.

With regard to the guarantee, Glenn Greenwald demanded that Green retract his “clear and crucial falsehood” that the Government does not have a final say in the extradition process and thus can issue such a guarantee. In a critique of Greenwald, Stockholm University law professor Mark Klamberg  notes:

The problem is that Greenwald earlier and later in the same text argues for a sequence that would put the Government before the Supreme Court. In essence he is arguing that the Government should have the first and the last say with the Supreme Court in the middle. That would make the Supreme Court redundant which is contrary to the sequence that is provided for in the Extradition Act which I have tried to describe. It may also violate the principle of separation of powers.

And Pal Wrange, also of the Stockholm University law faculty, points out , while it is true that the Government makes the final decision:

Even if the Government has leeway under national law, it is bound by international law. Both the Swedish and the UK Governments have extradition agreements with the US, and these agreements provide that extradition shall take place, if the legal requirements are met. Hence, the Government could not provide a guarantee, without potentially violating an international obligation.

It is difficult, to put it mildly, to take the claims that Assange would simply be handed over to the U.S. seriously. Espionage is considered a political crime in Sweden and Swedish law as well as its extradition treaty with the U.S. prohibits extradition for political crimes.

Consider the case of Edward Lee Howard, a CIA agent who sold secrets to the Soviet Union, devastating U.S. operations in Moscow, and who was arrested for overstaying his visa in Sweden. The U.S. government requested Howard’s extradition, which Sweden refused. The prime minister of Sweden at the time was Carl Bildt, the current Foreign Affairs Minister who Assange supporters claim is a U.S. ‘lapdog’ who would immediately extradite Assange after “a single phone call” from the White House.

One final question that is never answered by Assange supporters: wouldn’t it have been far easier to extradite Assange to the U.S. from the U.K., which is much more of a ‘lapdog’ than Sweden? The U.K., unlike Sweden, does have an extradition treaty with the U.S. for espionage. Indeed, it would be much more difficult to extradite Assange from Sweden, as it would require the support of the governments of both Sweden and the U.K. Both are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids the extradition to countries where the accused could face the death penalty.  He cannot just simply be handed over to the U.S.

The left and rape culture

In August, 2012, during one of his regular broadcasts noted British leftist and Respect Party MP, George Galloway, when coming to Assange’s defence stated:

Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100% true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape…At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.

Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion….

Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them. It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said: ‘Do you mind if I do it again?.’ It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.

While this is a particularly appalling example of a leftist man showing a total lack of understanding of what constitutes rape and of the terrible impact of sexual violence against women, what is equally notable is that, when the controversy that erupted around these disgraceful, misogynist comments had run its course, it was not Galloway that had been forced to resign in disgrace from his “leftist” party.

Rather it was its female leader, Salma Yaqoob who resigned. Resigned due to the fact that she had publicly criticized Galloway and, instead of rallying to her support, as they should of, the leadership of Respect stood by Galloway, their sole MP and their central male “cult of personality” figure.

This is both a telling and very sad statement about the left. It has, all too often, put blind support for its men and male leadership ahead of justice for women. It has accepted the false notion that, somehow, some systems and types of oppression take precedence over others; specifically over the oppression of women.

Galloway, by no means, is alone among the many leftists who have come to Assange’s defence. As noted earlier Noam Chomsky has, with idiotic and facile claims about Sweden’s alleged lack of sovereignty. So has Naomi Klein, Naomi Wolf, Michael Moore and altogether too many others.

This is a terrible error and it helps to reinforce the global culture of rape that the left has claimed to have traditionally opposed, as well as being yet another example of leftists making excuses and exceptions for one of their male leaders or heroes.

The left should not make an exception for Assange.  As David Allen Green puts it:

Assange has challenged the arrest warrant in Sweden.  It was upheld.

He then repeatedly challenged the European Arrest Warrant in the United Kingdom.  He lost at every stage, but each of his many legal arguments were heard and considered in extensive detail.

And in doing this, Assange had the assistance of first rate legal advice and advocacy from some of the UK’s leading human rights lawyers, and he also had the benefit of having been granted bail in England in the meantime.  The extradition was fought by him all the way to the Supreme Court.

Assange has been afforded more opportunities to challenge the warrant for his arrest than almost any other defendant in English legal history.  This is hardly “persecution” or a “witch-hunt”.

Furthermore, as Rebecca Solnit recently wrote for Aljazeera:

We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern. Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.

We cannot abandon our sisters on the supposed alter of class anymore, and we can no longer pretend that “other” oppressions somehow take precedence over the oppression of patriarchy. Nor can we continue to give precedence to male leaders over serious accusations of rape.

Assange, while not guilty of any crime yet, clearly and demonstrably should face trial in Sweden. And leftists should abandon the apologism for his alleged actions and those of other left wing men when they are accused of sexual crimes and remember that, yes, left-wing men do also commit rape and sexual violence, and no one, no matter what else they may have done, should be above answering for it.

For more information on the Assange case, we highly recommend the excellent website Wikiwatch as well as Green’s article Legal Myths About the Assange Extradition in The New Statesman.



Matt Fodor is a Toronto based writer and academic. He is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at York University.

Michael Laxer is a political activist, a two-time former candidate and former election organizer for the NDP, was a socialist candidate for Toronto City Council in 2010 and is on the executive of the newly formed Socialist Party of Ontario.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheldon February 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I have no fixed opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Assange in this case. But separate from this, really, it is not some far-out implausible conspiracy theory that state intelligence agencies use “honey pots” in their operations. The term “conspiracy theory” seems now to be used as a blanket dismissal.

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Pham Binh February 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

The women in questioned were labelled “honey pots” by Assange supporters almost as soon as the allegations became public and were publicly maligned and ridiculed. These supporters were forced to spin conspiracy theories because all of the facts are against them, and conspiracy theories should be dismissed since they are not based on nor amenable to contrary facts and evidence.

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K February 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Thanks for posting this. :)

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Richard Estes February 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

“What of the claim that Sweden would extradite Assange to the U.S.? Isn’t it reasonable for the Swedish government to issue a guarantee before Assange is extradited to Sweden? Is their refusal to do so a sign of complicity with the U.S. government, and that the charges are ‘really’ about Wikileaks? It is our argument that such claims are absurd and would not be raised by progressives in any other context.”

While I consider the left response to the Assange situation to be deplorable, particularly the character assassination of the women who complained (one was maligned for her association with Cuban dissidents, which was characterized as evidence that she was part of a CIA plot to ensure Assange, an association that would make the legendary leftist, and former PCI member, Rosanna Rossanda, equally dubious), calling such claims absurd does not make them such. I can only speak for myself, but I would make such a demand for anyone around the world who faces the possibility of indictment for Espionage Act crimes by a US grand jury, or indefinite detention. I haven’t followed this situation lately, but, the last I looked, last summer, it was telling that the Swedish prosecution has refused to even mention his right to avoid extradition for political crimes.

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Manuel Barrera, PhD February 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

“While the authors of the piece accept the important principle that people are innocent of all charges until proven guilty in a court of law, we also accept the equally important principle that men, no matter what other noble causes or actions they may have taken in the past or what ideology they represent, must answer to criminal accusations of sexual assault in these same courts.”

Despite all that, the authors go on to comment and create “guilt by association” arguments about how Assange’s case is equivalent to the UK SWP rape misogyny crisis and the pathetic case of the US SWP and Mark Curtis? Despite what appear to be “nod” to democratic rights and democratic process (none of which the capitalist Euro-US courts exemplify), the authors decide now to indulge in the same speculations as the bourgeois press? I have to ask, what exactly is the purpose of this article?

I note in this article there are exactly three references to women; one being Marianne Ny, the Swedish prosecutor who promises that Assange will not be prevented from leaving the country and that Assange would be allowed to be interviewed, however, the person who could do it was “sick”; the second is a female victim of the Respect/Galloway fiasco, Salma Yaqoob who resigned in disgust with the decision to allow Galloway to “skate” on his sexist beliefs about rape (yes, this article is still about Assange, but, hey, you have to make your argument for the prosecution by the media somehow) and the third, a reference to an article by Rebecca Solnit in Al Jazeera regarding the way rape is used as a weapon of war and hatred toward women worldwide. I wonder why the authors did not choose to include the writing of Laurie Penny, or the host of other socialist or feminist female writers who have had much to say about these issues and most of which have largely steered away from making a clear-cut determination of Assange’s guilt or innocence.

Here are a few that I found from a quick search:
Jill Filipovic (2010): http://bigthink.com/focal-point/a-feminist-lawyer-on-the-case-against-wikileaks-julian-assange

Laurie Penny (2012): http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/laurie-penny-if-you-really-believe-in-wikileaks-you-must-want-assange-to-face-up-to-justice-8069906.html

Cath Elliot (2012): http://toomuchtosayformyself.com/2012/08/17/assange-and-feminisms-so-called-male-allies/

Interestingly, some if not most of these accounts present similar views as expressed by the authors here. The notable difference is that they all do much better to avoid prosecuting Assange and maintaining the point that giving fighters for democracy a “pass” for their sexism is unacceptable.

Not one reference to women who have written about this issue, but lots of commentary by men opposing Assange’s refusal to become vulnerable for being extradited to the US on charges of terrorism. The reference to Solnit’s article is quoted that “Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.” I suppose to the authors the authority on whether Julian Assange is guilty of rape and crimes against women also seems to have a gender.

I know that there is supposed to be a forthcoming discussion here on the North Star regarding feminism, women’s liberation, and the Left. Prosecuting Julian Assange for rape in our “pages” with nothing but bootstrapping documentation is decidedly a poor way to begin. The FACT is no one here really knows the facts of the case and Assange may be completely guilty, but there is a little matter of the Wikileaks and the global Terror War against Muslims, the Arab world, and liberation struggles throughout the world by the very countries who now want to create an “exception” or timeout from their war to “do the right thing” and defend women against rape, not by providing healthcare and legal protections in their countries, but by using the laws they use to keep workers and the oppressed at bay. “They” wish to use the capitalist courts to prosecute one of their enemies what they daily refuse to prosecute.

As Laurie Penny states : ” Nobody should be forced to choose between defending investigative journalism and freedom of speech and fighting for justice in the global war on women’s bodies. So please, don’t ask if one alleged sex attacker out of hundreds of millions currently walking free and unpursued across three continents should be made to answer for his actions in a court of law when all that distinguishes him from the rest of the army of decent men doing despicable things to women without facing the consequences is the fact that he happens to have personally embarrassed several governments. Please don’t ask, because the answer hurts.

“The answer is that of course, Julian Assange should be held to account, of course he should, and he should be held to account in a system where due process means something and women are respected, and currently that system does not exist. Come back to me when the 19,000 annual sex attacks committed by members of the US Army and private contractors against their own fellow soldiers are prosecuted. Come back to me when Private Bradley Manning is free.” (l. Penny, 2012)

Like I said, I don’t know whether Assange is guilty of rape or even “just” misogyny (gee, I wonder if there is any of that going on in the left as well?). I do know the U.S. would love to paint Wikileaks and their spilling of the truth of imperialist crimes against humanity with the taint of misogyny so that the media can try to inoculate the masses from wanting to hear or read about them. I do know that having a healthy skepticism of the British, Swedish, and U.S. court and intelligence systems is something with which every revolutionary should resonate.

There is currently a campaign (in my view, not very well conducted) to stop FBI repression of the anti-war and solidarity movement in the U.S. that is based on the right of citizens NOT to consent to questioning or seizures of property based on governmental “fishing” expeditions. I doubt anyone here would say, “hey, if you don’t have something to hide, what’s the problem?” Yet, the authors of this flimsy piece seem to have no difficulty with convicting Assange because he refuses to believe in “the system”.

I do not believe in making “exceptions” for Leftists. I simply do not believe we should alternately give in to the capitalist legal system without our own healthy skepticism.
I believe there is a serious need to address not only the misogyny in society and how it is manifested in the Left, but in the predilection for males in the Left to want to “lead the way” .

I look forward to a veritable conversation with women–and male–comrades on the road forward toward women’s liberation and socialism.

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Brandy Baker February 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for reprinting this, Binh. I saw it on Rabble and was happy that people are stepping up and saying this. Just because we admire Assange’s work with Wikileaks does not mean that he is a stand-up guy. I do not want him sent to the US, but I do want him to appear and respond to the rape charges. Attacking the women is sad, but not surprising, even for the left. In 2013, we still do not get women’s rights in the way we should.

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Deran February 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

The accusations against Julian Assange are not, at least as presented to me, of the same caliber or nature as the problem of Leninism and rape as recently manifested in the UK SWP. If it could guaranteed in a manner that the US could not intervene in, and it was clear on the part of the Swedes that Assange would stand trial in Sweden and that by no means would the US being able to capture or secure custody of Julian Assange, then I think a trial of Julian Assange on these charges could and should be carried out. There are no security circumstances regarding the accusations against the leadership of the UK SWP.

In my opinion the accusations are similar in that they are all about nonconsensual sex, the circumstances are not. Allowing Julian Assange to end up in indefinite detention in a US military prison will not root out sexism in the Left. Discussion like this will, but allowing Assange to end up in US custody will not.

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Brian S. February 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

These guys are from Canada, so maybe the debate on this has been later starting there. But we went over it fairly thoroughly here 6 months ago: http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=2037
People might like to review that discussion – on the other hand with 65 comments to work through, maybe not.
Anyway, I’ve said all I want to then.

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Aaron Aarons February 20, 2013 at 12:21 am

This article fits the North Star pattern of denouncing “the left” while claiming (I think!) to be part of the left. While certainly some of the people and actions criticized here should indeed be criticized, using them to create a supposed “rape culture” on the left is absurd.

While the authors of the piece accept the important principle that people are innocent of all charges until proven guilty in a court of law, we also accept the equally important principle that men, no matter what other noble causes or actions they may have taken in the past or what ideology they represent, must answer to criminal accusations of sexual assault in these same courts.

Really? Shouldn’t appeal to the capitalist state or submission to its procedures be the last resort in any dispute among leftists, oppressed minorities, etc.? Is there really some great harm that will result if Julian Assange is never tried, especially since the kind of sexual behavior he is charged with here, if it is ‘rape’ at all, is only the least degree of such a crime. (If there are degrees of assault, theft, murder, etc., with very different punishments for such different degrees, why should all acts to which the word ‘rape’ is, rightly or wrongly, applied, be treated as essentially the same thing?)

I would write a lot more, but almost everything else I might say has been said by one or another of the commenters at the rabble.ca page where the article first appeared

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Brandy Baker February 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm

You can have your high and mighty, mental masturbatory ideals about rape victims not going to the police. It is just an academic exercise that has no real bearing on the very real lives and plights of rape victims. The crime of rape is *not* about a dispute amongst leftists, it has nothing to do with the ideology of the actors involved or the organizations they to which they may belong.

“Is there really some great harm that will result if Julian Assange is never tried, especially since the kind of sexual behavior he is charged with here, if it is ‘rape’ at all, is only the least degree of such a crime.”

Your questioning of of the definition of rape puts you in the same league with George Galloway, and sadly, the you seem to be embracing parts of the rape culture that you deem to be imaginary. And sex offenses are treated in such degrees, rape being the highest.

We don’t know what truly happened between Assange and those women because we are outside observers. The police and courts, as horrible as they are, as much as we should oppose them, are all that we have, despite these sects thinking that they can try a rape case. To imply that someone is not part of the left who states this is outrageous and shows that we have a lot of work to do. I wish that these types of comments surprised me, sadly they do not.

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Aaron Aarons February 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Sorry, but I agree with Galloway on the essential points, if not with every vowel, consonant and punctuation mark he used to express them. And the reaction of the leadership of Respect to the criticisms of Galloway’s remarks has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of his remarks.

Regarding your assertion that “sex offenses are treated in such degrees, rape being the highest”, do you really think that every act that a particular state decides to include in the definition of ‘rape’ is a crime of the same degree of seriousness as every other act that that same state, or another state, includes in that definition? And what about the ‘crime’ of “statutory rape”, whose definition varies greatly from one jurisdiction to another where such a ‘crime’ is defined as ‘rape at all?

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Brandy Baker February 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm

“Sorry, but I agree with Galloway on the essential points.”

Case closed.

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Aaron Aarons July 17, 2013 at 6:16 am

I notice, looking back at this page in response to this issue’s coming up again here:
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=9183
that Brandy Baker chose not to respond to the substantial questions regarding the definitions of ‘rape’ that I raised in my final paragraph, hiding that avoidance behind a repetition of Baker’s previous denigration of George Galloway.

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