Don’t Hide Behind the Women: What is Relevant in the Story About Julian Assange and the Rape Accusation?

One of the first points I wanted to make is that I dreaded from the start the extent to which Julian Assange had become the public persona for Wikileaks, believing it to be unnecessary and a point of vulnerability. When a project that is larger than any one person becomes publicly identified with one person, then smears against the one become smears against all. This is exactly what we see happening in Twitter, which right now is the primary place where news and debates about the Wikileaks case are moving most quickly (click here to see the stream).

Over this past weekend, the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, on the grounds of rape and molestation, and then in a matter of mere hours withdrew the warrant for rape–he had been arrested in absentia in fact, so that announcing he was wanted, publicly, is at best bizarre.

Since then, the two women behind the allegations have become the focus of some of the heated discussion, with the identity of at least one of them now known (she too is in Twitter), and the deliberately distracting “big debate” has degenerated into one of whether the women are being “smeared,” or really are tools of the CIA, or whether Wikileaks supporters are “cultish.” None of this ought to matter either–it is entirely irrelevant. Understanding what Assange means by “dirty tricks” does not require that we lambast the women making the accusations.

This is what I think the discussion ought to be about. My premise is that, yes, the U.S. government will attempt anything to silence, marginalize, or put a stop to Wikileaks, and has said so. Secondly, whether directly or indirectly, the U.S. has applied pressure to the Swedish government, or whether the Swedish government pressured itself to please an ally, is almost unquestionably the case. Having stated the premise, let’s replay the key, known facts, and see what they add up to. All of the sources for these items have been compiled, with annotations, here, and some below.

In summary, this is the argument that I thinks makes best use of the available facts:

  1. The U.S. government was glad to discover that Wikileaks was, at first, not protected by Swedish law, and not registered for constitutional protection.
  2. But then Wikileaks obtained such protection, with Assange hired as a columnist, and the site to be hosted by the Pirate Party, an official political party with representation in the Swedish parliament.
  3. The U.S. was “motivating” at least some allies to take measures against Wikileaks, with Australia known to have taken action, and promising more. The news spreads for governments as it does for the rest of us.
  4. The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office is the legal arm of the Swedish state, a contact point with the U.S. Whether or not the Swedish government, whose territory was playing host to Julian Assange and Wikileaks, was directly contacted, we do not know, and it may not matter. In any event, justice systems correspond and converse with each other on an international level, on a regular basis, on any of a number of concerns ranging from copyright laws, trade regulations, criminal prosecutions, treaties and conventions, diplomatic affairs, etc. To assume that there was no possibility of discussion of the Wikileaks matter between the justice systems of the U.S. and Sweden would be truly remarkable. That there was some conversation between the two is in fact an assumption, but by no means an outlandish or unreasonable one.
  5. Had Julian Assange been arrested, it’s possible that the US could have asked Sweden to extradite him.
  6. That Prosecutor’s office failed to act in a credible and appropriate manner, thus raising everyone’s suspicion, including that of a former Chief Prosecutor who has called for an investigation. Something in this case is not right…and it happens to be “not right” in a very high profile case, which makes the moves even more questionable. The prosecutor who issued the warrant, and spoke to the press, certainly knew who Julian Assange is, and what was at stake with his arrest.
  7. The real story is what happened in the Prosecutor’s Office…the women who voiced their accusations are almost entirely irrelevant here. Both they and/or Assange are likely to have unwittingly created an opportunity that others could then exploit.
  8. The Prosecutor’s spokeswoman tells Al Jazeera that she has “no idea” if a set up was involved.

Watch this incredible interview on Al Jazeera:

Evidence of U.S. intent against Wikileaks:

On 19 August 2010, John Pilger reported the following:

In Washington, I interviewed a senior official in the defence department and asked: “Can you give a guarantee that the editors of WikiLeaks and the editor-in-chief, who is not American, will not be subjected to the kind of manhunt that we read about in the media?” He replied: “It’s not my position to give guarantees on anything.” He referred me to the “ongoing criminal investigation” of a US soldier, Bradley Manning, an alleged whistleblower. In a nation that claims its constitution protects truth-tellers, the Obama administration is pursuing and prosecuting more whistleblowers than any of its modern predecessors. A Pentagon document states bluntly that US intelligence intends to “fatally marginalise” WikiLeaks. The preferred tactic is smear, with corporate journalists ever ready to play their part.

Previously, when asked if the Pentagon had any authority to act if WikiLeaks ignored its demands, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell responded: “We will cross the next bridge when we come to it. … If doing the right thing isn’t good enough for them, we will figure out what alternatives we have to compel them to do the right thing.”

We know that the FBI is already involved in investigating Wikileaks and its supporters who facilitated any of the leaks of which Pvt. Bradley Manning is accused. Also, “the Pentagon announced it had launched a criminal investigation into the leak.” The Pentagon asserted that it believed the second tranche of documents to be released could potentially be “more explosive” and damaging to U.S. interests. Tracking down and detaining members of the Wikileaks crew is a priority–we see this from 31 July 2010: “Officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Army then told him [Jacob Appelbaum] he was not under arrest but was being detained, the sources said. They asked questions about Wikileaks, asked for his opinions about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and asked where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is…”

We also know that the U.S. urged allies to crack down on WikiLeaks (10 August 2010), and as we read this news, so does the Swedish government, assuming that it was not directly contacted:

  • The Obama administration is pressing Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allied Western governments to consider opening criminal investigations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to severely limit his nomadic travels across international borders, American officials say.
  • ” ‘It’s not just our troops that are put in jeopardy by this leaking,’ said an American diplomatic official who is involved in responding to the aftermath of the release of more than 70,000 Afghanistan war logs—and WikiLeaks’ threat to reveal 15,000 more of the classified reports. ‘It’s U.K. troops, it’s German troops, it’s Australian troops—all of the NATO troops and foreign forces working together in Afghanistan,’ he said. Their governments, he said, should follow the lead of the Justice Department and ‘review whether the actions of WikiLeaks could constitute crimes under their own national-security laws.’
  • “They say severe limitations on Assange’s travels might serve as a useful warning to his followers that their own freedom is now at risk. A prominent American volunteer for WikiLeaks reported last month that he was subjected to hours of questioning and had his laptop and cellphones seized by American border agents on returning to the U.S. from Europe late last month.”
  • “An American military official tells The Daily Beast that Washington may also want to closely review its relations with Iceland in the wake of the release of the Afghan war logs.”
  • There seemed to be some relief for the U.S. in the news that the WikiLeaks website might not be protected by Swedish Law (06 August 2010): “Rules on source protection are written into the Swedish constitution and effectively block individuals and government agencies from attempting to uncover journalists’ sources. Revealing the identity if sources who wish to remain anonymous is a punishable offence….But the law only applies to websites or publications that possess a special publishing license granting them constitutional protection, and WikiLeaks has not acquired the requisite paperwork.”

    While we are also told that, “Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Anders Jorle said the government had not been contacted by the United States about the WikiLeaks servers and had no plans to get involved in the matter,” the same spokesman then added, “Any decision to intervene would have to be taken by Sweden’s justice system.”

    The Problem of Sweden as a Safe Haven:

    But then what happened? Any legal avenue, through the above entry points, now suddenly seemed to be closed off. First, Julian Assange was hired as a columnist: ” ‘It’s no coincidence that I’m going to be writing for a Swedish paper. The Swedish publicist culture and Swedish law have supported us from the beginning’.” Assange also declared that “WikiLeaks will be applying for a Swedish certificate of publication (‘utgivningsbevis’) next week to guarantee that the organisation will be protected by Swedish constitutional law, even though they’ve already been offered such protection from two Swedish publications. This Swedish constitutional protection increases support for WikiLeaks, says Assange.” Another report also suggested that with Assange hired as a columnist, this would facilitate Wikileaks getting a license for full journalistic protections. To make matters even better for Wikileaks, the Swedish Pirate Party agreed to host WikiLeaks servers:

    “The Pirate Party, by hosting WikiLeaks, hopes to provide it a safe haven much as it’s done for The Pirate Bay. ‘We hope that the new Parliament will give serious consideration to further strengthening Sweden’s press protection legislation,’ says Assange. ‘Western democracies are not always as free as one might think, and freedom of the press needs constant vigilance. In particular, we would welcome Sweden copying Iceland’s Modern Media Initiative, something that the Pirate Party also desires.’ The Pirate Party, for its part, knows that by hosting WikiLeaks servers the threshold for the confiscation is much, much higher. ‘If the servers are placed at an ordinary web hotel the threshold is of course already high when it comes to making a raid and removing them,’ says Anna Troberg (PP), deputy leader of the Pirate Party. ‘But the political price for touching the servers of a political party is even higher. So we can offer them some added protection, of which they are in great need.’ Some have also argued that WikiLeaks lacks the publishing certificate needed for full press freedom protection in Sweden. Now that The Pirate Party is hosting WikiLeaks the matter is no longer of concern.”

    Ending the Safe Haven:

    The Swedish Prosecutors’ Office arrested Julian Assange in absentia, and then gave this information to the press, a tabloid to be specific, Expressen (see here). Yet, a few hours later, the Prosecutor’s office reversed itself: “On Saturday afternoon chief prosecutor Eva Finné came to the decision that Julian Assange could no longer be suspected of rape. Considering that, Assange is no longer arrested in his absence.” Why? “When Ms Finné became in charge of the matter on Saturday, she had more information than the first prosecutor had on Friday night.” They do not indicate what that “information” was, and we must be clear, no official complaint was ever filed by those accusing Assange. The Police and the Prosecutor’s office took it upon themselves to take action, without being asked to do so. Why did they release Assange’s name? “Normally, the Swedish Prosecution Authority do not publish the names of persons suspected of crime. The authority did not in this case initiate publication. Late on Friday night, a Swedish newspaper got hold of information concerning Mr Assange’s arrest. When interviewed, the duty prosecutor confirmed the facts presented.”

    In spite of the reversal, oddly the Prosecutor’s office claims that “absolutely nothing” suggests errors had been made, by either prosecutor (the one who issued the warrant, and the one who withdrew it).

    When Karin Rosander was asked if it might have been a setup she said, “I have no idea.”

    Given the obvious irregularities here, which the Prosecutor’s spokespersons can themselves barely veil, “A small Swedish justice watchdog group, RO, said it filed a complaint Sunday against the on-call prosecutor to the Ombudsmen of Justice, an office that investigates wrongdoing by public authorities. The complaint accused her of issuing the arrest warrant ‘without having enough information to make such a decision,’ said Johann Binninge, the group’s chairman and founder.” Even a former Swedish Chief Prosecutor is demanding an explanation for the arrest order:

    “The former Swedish chief prosecutor, Sven-Erik Alhem, demands an explanation from the prosecutors that filed the arrest order for Assange and later withdraw the order. Alhem tells the Swedish newpaper Dagens Nyheter that he finds the actions of the prosecutors bizarre and confusing.  Alhem points out several actions to DN that he finds questionable; the arrest order was based on the assumption probable cause, the strongest grade of suspicion of crime that is required for an arrest order, and later this probable cause suspicions is withdrawn without the appearence of any new information in the case. This is very confusing. An order for an arrest in absentia is not normally made official as this will give the suspect a chance to escape. This was not the case here it was announce to the world and no one could avoid the media storm that followed these news. In this case when the arrest order was issued for a well known person, extra caution would have been taken by the prosecutor’s office to make sure an experienced and well educated spokesperson could have explained to the public and media the reasons for each step in the investigation.”

    The same Swedish group named above, that monitors government actions, also called for an investigation of the original prosecutor, identified on Twitter as Maria Haljebo Jkellstrand: “We can see that, time after time, prosecutors don’t follow the Swedish objectivity laws,” Johann Binninge, founder of Organization for Safe Legal Proceedings, told CNN.”

    This is not an ordinary screw up, and this is not a screw up involving an ordinary person.

    The Distraction and the Tricks of Debate:

    There should be no doubt whatsoever now about at least two key facts:

    1. Julian Assange is the victim of a wrongful rape allegation, so he is the one who has been smeared.
    2. That this article, like so much other discussion in the news, and about the news, is a distraction from the real work of Wikileaks and the war in Afghanistan.

    Some, however, are determined to cling to the allegations as if for dear life. One example is an apparently well known lawyer in the UK, David Allen Green, whom I have been “debating” in Twitter (that’s if his multiple responses consisting of “ha ha ha” can be considered debate), who goes by the name Jack of Kent in Twitter (in the last hour or so he has moved to close his tweets from public viewing), has a blog by that name, and a Facebook page, and has written: “Is there a WikiLeaks Cult?” –short answer: yes– and “Rape Allegations and Due Process.” He appears to be gallantly defending the honour of these two mystery damsels in distress. His chief concern: that they suffer no smears (even though they seem to have made some of their own, and those led to an arrest warrant, something they did not suffer). One of the persons’ identities is unknown, but in the meantime “Julian Assange, rapist” occupied thousands of screaming headlines.

    The other trick, after reducing this to a story about the honour of unfairly tarnished female “complainants” (who never filed any official complaint…and for some reason, Green, as a lawyer even, refuses to grasp that fact), is to make Wikileaks the recipient of charges and attacks against Assange. Thus most of Green’s tweets specified “Wikileaks” when he is actually speaking about Assange. Distraction accomplished, and it is deliberate, and a smear too, especially when those who protest such moves are immediately called “cultists.”

    The third trick is to thus malign any suggestion of U.S. interest and involvement as “conspiracy theory” and to naively demand “evidence” (as if the CIA freely furnished documentation about its current and intended actions…which, keep in mind, have been as far fetched as exploding cigars for Castro, among other attempts, let alone unseating various elected governments). That others have recalled how anti-war critic and former weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, went up for sex charges that were then dropped, and that the same “fate” befell anti-war celebrity Robert del Naja, in a pattern that almost perfectly mirrors that of Assange, should at least cause a reasonable person to ask questions. The only conspiracy, then, would be the conspiracy to refuse to ask questions and maintain silence.

    There is, even now, considerable circumstantial evidence that incriminates both the U.S. and Swedish governments in the hounding of Julian Assange. There is no definite, decisive, and fully documented proof–and there won’t be, without another leak–that this event and its handling was orchestrated by the CIA. But the best one can do is to construct an argument that makes use of the available facts, and to remember: in the real world, all we need is for three of five fingers to be pointing in the same direction. The U.S. went to war in Afghanistan on far less than that. I do not recall the widespread outrage in the West against Bush and others spouting an “Osama Bin Laden conspiracy theory” even when that is all it was, and no evidence of any kind had been furnished prior to the war, and no attempt was made to provide evidence until years later.

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    16 thoughts on “Don’t Hide Behind the Women: What is Relevant in the Story About Julian Assange and the Rape Accusation?

    1. GT

      A super piece – and the unravelling of the methodology of Green/JackofKent near the end is sublime. As I’ve said elsewhere, he’s far too keen to be seen as ‘serious’ – the sort of person who discusses atrocities over canapés, but never in such a way as to seem too inflamed about them. As a soi-disant ‘skeptic’ he was very keen to re-hash the self-interested claims of anybody who was on the other side of the smear: the ‘serious person’ always defers to authority.

      I have only one slight issue with your otherwise excellent story: in the very first paragraph you indicate your dread that Julian Assange became the ‘face’ of Wikileaks.

      I can say with not too much fear of contradition, that he is the reluctant public face of WL; he has taken on the thankless job of being a lightning rod: it involves more travel than most people could stomach, more jetlag than most could cope with, and an obligation to be sentient within hours of arrival (see how badly Lamo looked in his woeful interview? JA can’t be like that – EVER).

      While you indicate that you think it was unnecessary, I can’t agree. It was always going to be the case that Wikileaks would explode into the mainstream media – part of the primary strategy has always been to force the mainswamp to cover the material (they will not do so if they’re not forced into a game – as we found when news orgs sat on the helicopter Death Porn video for a year).

      Without mainstream media penetration, WL could have done a terrific job just on the web, but the VAST majority of people in the West still get most of their news from the mainswamp… and their brains are the primary target.

      Nobody who knows JA even tangentially (I’ve moved in the same circle here in Melbourne since the mid-90s) gives the slightest credence to any claims of sexual misconduct – but the aim of this smear is not to alienate his inner circle… as you correctly point out, it’s to damage to WL ‘brand’.

      Tomorrow’s CIA document rlease is nto even the wind-blown ice off the tip of the iceberg; the amount of material now being sifted, de-loused (removign barium meals and so forth) is absolutely staggering. By the time it’s all out, ‘NOFORN” will not even be an interesting acronym any more.

      All the very best


      1. Maximilian Forte

        Thank you GT, very much appreciated, and I am also happy to be following you in Twitter. I will take your points on JA as the public media face for WL, and what you know of him personally I will have to defer to, since I have not exchanged as much as a single email with him.

    2. Whatma

      I’d just like to pint at the weakest link of your otherwise well put together arguments, namely these two points:

      > But then Wikileaks obtained such protection, with Assange hired as a columnist, and the site to be
      > hosted by the Pirate Party, an official political party with representation in the Swedish parliament.

      The protection of being a publisher in Sweden only requires this: One person is the editor responsible (this person needs to be employed by the publication, and in this case have strong ties to Sweden since the publication is worldwide), and a form filed for a small fee. The person responsible needs not be Assange, it could be anyone. Assange having been hired as a columnist at Aftonbladet does not give wikileaks the protection a publisher has, Aftonbladet is a publisher and Assange is simply a columnist.

      —–Wikileaks needs to register as a publisher. ——-That’s it. Why they have not done so when it’s quite simple is beyond me.

      The Pirate Party hosting Wikileaks servers also do nothing to establish Wikileaks as a publisher legally. It does however give them a nice “in” being associated with an official (as in registered) political party not currently in government.

      We also have a political party called The Donald Duck party, whose main political promise is to rename Stockholm to “Ankeborg”, they are also not in government, in case Assange wants to make more political party friends.

    3. Whatma

      Oh, and plus another clarification;

      “Another report also suggested that with Assange hired as a columnist, this would facilitate Wikileaks getting a license for full journalistic protections.”

      It would if they were planning of having Assange himself take the role as the responsible publisher in Wikileaks publication, since this might give Assange enough “strong tie to Sweden” to be able to have his name in that roles. It is however extremely rare if not unheard of that the editor legally responsible for a Swedish publication isn’t a) residing in Sweden or b) a Swedish citizen. Assange’s job as a columnist at Aftonbladet doesn’t tie him enough to Sweden to be able to legally take this role. In short, Wikileaks needs to hire a Swedish editor who can be the legally responsible person. Easy! (This is probably why they haven’t filed the formalia yet.)

      1. Maximilian Forte

        Excellent, many thanks for these very valuable notes and clarifications. I was largely in the dark about the process, relying only on published reports, but what you say makes a lot of sense.

    4. anonymous

      Being the victim of discrediting campaigns and dirty tricks that at least on the surface seem to follow CIA manuals, I can say that often the technique to discredit usually entails having the victim falsely accuse someone, rather than being falsely accused. When one is falsely accused and the accusation is withdrawn, one can become a martyr. When one has ugly crimes committed against them and a complicated decoying system is set up to blame the wrong group or person, then there is no chance for martyrdom. Those of us with this problem always have to be more careful than most.

      1. GT

        Hey there Anonymous @7:32pm.

        Often, the smear’s final outcome is not to be measured at the point at which the accusation is withdrawn or the legal process finalised. The ‘win’ is in the trace and the cache.

        That’s why when you take action to remedy a smear, you have to check search results for months thereafter (because the smearer will don sockpuppets and repost the material all over the place); then you have to contact the site owner (politely – nothing gets achieved by bad initial contact) and request removal of the material. Most will do so without qualms.

        THEN – and this is the step that nobody bothers with – you have to get the material deleted from the Google cache (see ).

        And as you point out – often the thing the smearer hopes for is that the target says out loud ‘The CIA is after me’ (or ASIO, or FSB, or the DGSE, or MI5) and thus can be branded a ‘conspiracy theorist’ nutter who will thereafter be dismissed.

        In the recent allegations against Julian Assange, the diversion has been to concentrate on the ‘conspiracy theorists’ who claim US government (or other government) pawprints; frankly, if it’s a choice between a smear conspiracy and a set of coincidences that has a near-zero probability of occurring, it is actually the conpiracy that is left after Ockham’s Razor is applied.

        Ockham’s razor, properly deployed, is meant to discriminate between two EQUALLY LIKELY outcomes – choosing the one of the least complexity based on parsimony.

        In this case the elements of the ‘coincidence theory’ have such a vanishingly-small joint probability of happening, that the coincidence theory is not on the same probabilistic footing as the putative smear campaign (which was the subject of a document by the US govt months ago: the CIA ADVERTISED its intention to smear Wikileaks, whereas Assange has never advertised an intent to commit multiple rape).



        1. anonymous

          I see your point. The sad thing is that anyone should be discredited in order to protect information that might affect public opinion if known. The other things is that we live in a society of smears and smearing – some smears likely referring to something that happened and others just used as a means to control and manipulate both the victim and the public.

          The irony is that if I were to claim the CIA were after me, it would be believable in my community and among certain colleagues. It wouldn’t serve to discredit me but rather just frighten everyone away. But even then I can’t prove they are the ones behind the problem.

          I’m going to guess this kind of thing happens at a smaller level all the time. One thing is a big smear campaign that makes the news and another thing is small or complex crimes committed with a set up to get the individual to blame either the wrong individual or a non existing entity. That would lead to discrediting within the justice system. Or even make the person falsely appear as “hysterical” if they were a woman since that kind of thing always gets reduced to stereotypes anyway. I’ve already been through this 4 times and counting. But I haven’t fallen for it unless they provided enough collectable evidence to make it appear that I wasn’t “hysterical” in pointing the accusation at a particular person. That’s what I meant about being careful.

          BTW, my “harassers” have done exactly what you mention through postings and cyberstalking – tried to lead me to the conspiracy theory “nutter” thing. The truth is that there are conspiracies and the rest are just theories – of the nutter type or not.

    5. Matt

      last time i commented on ZA it was to lambast a poorly constructed argument. i feel i would be remiss, therefore, to not take the time now to say:

      excellent article.

      as i don’t “tweet”, this is the first i’ve even heard of this issue. i wish more issues were presented this way, in all the various forms of media through which news is conveyed.


      1. Maximilian Forte

        Many thanks Matt! The story is even more absurd than I first understood–if you have a chance, check this and its link to The Guardian story as well:

        “Lawyer for Women Accusing WikiLeaks Founder Maintains Charges of Sexual Misconduct – Newsweek” ( )

        “Prosecutors may decide today on charges against WikiLeaks founder | Media | The Guardian” ( )

        Essentially neither of the women ever alleged rape, nor claimed that Assange was violent and forced himself on them. One of them, Anna Ardin, invited Assange to Sweden, and then into her bedroom. Their main complaint, and this is a bit too much information for me: he doesn’t like condoms and wouldn’t get tested for STDs. Instead of ushering him back out of the bedrooms into which they had invited him, where they nonetheless had sex with him…they go to the police…days later…after they conferred about it. The police and prosecutors then take it upon themselves to construct all this as “rape and molestation,” quickly issue an arrest warrant, and leak his name to the press (in contravention of their own procedures and Swedish law).

        “Come to Sweden! Enter my bedroom! Have sex with me! Then I’ll take you to the police” — it strikes me as being just this absurd and nonsensical.

    6. CM

      I suppose it was just a matter of time before some allegation of misconduct aimed at Assange surfaced. I don’t how many people work for WikiLeaks but he is certainly the one known around the world. Claims against anyone else wouldn’t have anywhere near the impact.

      I’ve also noticed that his trademark mane of silver hair has disappeared. It would allow him to blend more easily into a crowd and also make him a less perfect target in a sniper’s crosshairs.

      The interview with the Swedish official was a perfect example of avoiding the question or professing ignorance. I’m beginning to think that all government officials take the same training course to allow them to stonewall the press more efficiently.

      This article from the Guardian a few weeks ago gives a fascinating insight into modern Sweden. It concerns the arrest of the Swedish chief of police recently on charges of involvement with child prostitution. It shows the split between the Sweden most people (outside the country) think they know and what is really going on. It could explain the ready complicity of the prosecutors and police with the CIA/Pentagon agenda.

      Göran Lindberg and Sweden’s dark side, by Andrew Anthony

      “The political elite is internationalist and neutralist in outlook, whereas the other elite, the military-industrial, is essentially nationalist and west-supporting. The two have left each other alone very largely, especially throughout the 20th century when the Swedish model was built up. The thing about [Swedish police chief] Lindberg is that he adopted the rhetoric of the political elite but he belonged by nature and biology to the military-industrial elite, where these things are just horseshit. You just say it to get on in your career.”

      And then there’s this from Justin Raimondo at I can’t say that this thought hadn’t crossed my mind as well.

      Dirty Tricks

      “…[S}o these two women just happened to meet up at one of Assange’s lectures, and – in the course of casual conversation – realized they’d both been raped by this monster. I don’t know how many rape victims attend lectures by their assaulters, but the number is probably very low….[S]o why am I so certain this is what Assange says it is: a coordinated effort by Washington to smear and discredit him? Because it’s all so very American, i.e. sex-obsessed. In what other country would their spooks exhibit such an unhealthy interest in the erotic routines of their quarry? The combination of voyeurism and puritanism is a national characteristic: this smear campaign has “Made in America” stamped all over it.”

      1. Maximilian Forte

        Because it’s all so very American, i.e. sex-obsessed. In what other country would their spooks exhibit such an unhealthy interest in the erotic routines of their quarry? The combination of voyeurism and puritanism is a national characteristic: this smear campaign has “Made in America” stamped all over it.”

        This last point is one that I made almost immediately (not here, but in the parallel “dimension” of this blog, in Twitter, where I am regularly more active than here). Sexual scandals are the career enders in the U.S. –moral conduct in the bedroom has become the high watermark for establishing the decency and honesty of a candidate. They all have to be married, monogamous, heterosexual, and religious. It’s not just Scott Ritter, but Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and a host of senators and congressmen who have hired escorts (male or female), solicited gay sex in public washrooms, etc. War crimes have ended no careers instead, especially because they do not even recognize their careers as involving a long chain of war crimes.

        1. CM

          It’s a pretty strange situation. War crimes aren’t crimes, just a natural adjunct to the wars that have become the chief industry of the U.S., one of the two industries that are actually making money – for some people, anyway. They have become the equivalent of collateral damage, once called the murder of civilians. In ten years, wars of aggression, kidnapping and torture, targeted assassinations anywhere in the world and constant surveillance of everybody has become accepted. Quite a major shift, which makes you wonder if the easy acceptance of it all wasn’t close to the surface all along.

          As for the sex scandals of the U.S. politicians, what’s struck me is how adolescent they are – with apologies to all sensible adolescents. These people seem to be cases of arrested development. They should have acted like teenagers when they were teenagers…and then grown up.

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