Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bock, Whats Your Beef With Assange?

As I have written more than a few posts on Julian Assange and the extradition circus, that is now in its final stages, I have sometimes been asked by friends - and others - what I have against Assange or for that matter WikiLeaks.

Conversations in IM chats have their difficulties and many facts get lost, overlooked or forgotten, so I thought I should try to summarize my points of view on some of the issues debated.

Before starting I would like to emphatically stress the fact that everything as yet is based on what has been reported in the media coverage of the matters which are not always the most reliable sources. At the present time Julian Assange is only wanted for questioning by the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny on charges made against him. Assange has not been indicted and is far from condemned by a court of law.

1. WikiLeaks
I firmly and wholeheartedly admire and support the work that WikiLeaks has done, is doing and hopefully will continue to do. I also admire Assange for his co-founding of this organisation.

In my mind every healthy society - and the world community as a whole - needs to be informed about the wheeling and dealing and misdoings of the powers that be, especially in foreign policy and military matters.

Whistle-blowing, i.e. people passing on secret information to the press, is a fundamental and inherent part of a democratic society and are essential for a free press. However, sometimes information alone is not enough as this can be swept aside as hearsay or speculation. In these cases the press has to be supplied with corroborating documentation to prove the case. Passing on classified documents is however a crime in most countries, even when - as in Sweden - the passing of information itself is allowed and supported by the constitution.

My only objections to WikiLeaks is that the organization should try even harder to protect their sources so  they do not risk criminal charges and - perhaps - also should try evaluating if, when and in what form the publishing of certain information and documents could put human lives or liberty at risk.

2. Rape or not?
I was raised to believe that women and men are equal, with full and equal human rights. As a part of this I also fundamentally believe that no one is allowed to force sex on anyone else without prior consent. It is also my belief that any consent to sexual activity can be given with whatever limitations a woman or man sees fit, even if the limitation should be that the one penetrating them should use a condom.

If anyone then with disregard of the limitation stated  proceeds to have sexual activity with someone else the ensuing act is done without consent.

Sex without consent is correctly named rape. Rape is a crime in most countries.

Assange´s supporters, among these most notably John Pilger (Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker) and Michael Moore (American documentary filmmaker) have both embarked on a crusade to vilify the two Swedish women and the Swedish system of justice. Their main arguments seemingly being that this is not the usual violent street-rape and that Sweden is acting in cahoots with the United States military complex in getting at the, in their mind, lily white Assange.

3. Is Assange a rapist?
Hell, I don´t know and neither does anyone else, except for Assange himself and the two Swedish women that have made the charges. It is precisely for that reason Sweden wants Assange to come to Sweden to answer the questions of the Swedish prosecutors. Admittedly there seems to be conflicting evidence but this is a matter for the prosecutor to evaluate and weigh before she decides if Assange should be indicted or not.

If the prosecutor should find that she does not have a strong enough case to get a verdict she will close the inquiry and Assange will be deemed innocent of all charges. Should the prosecutor however decide that there is enough proof to indict Assange the cases will go to trial and all the proofs in the cases will be laid before the Swedish courts, by both the prosecution and the defense.

Before the final judgement of the courts has been made in these cases none of us can know a damn thing about whether or not Assange is guilty of any crimes or not.

2 comments :

  1. Thank you Bock for this statement.
    There seems to be a wide gap between our Swedish view on sexual assault and the American/British when it comes to culture and legislation.
    And in cases like this it seems evident to me that the Swedish legislation is a better support of the equality between women and men.

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