Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wikileaks Charges

Following the Wikileaks affair has been a fascinating glimpse into how personal world affairs become. The discussions about the character (or lack thereof) of assorted world leaders is a salutary reminder that we are led by men (and a few women) with feet of clay. It's also a reminder that (some of) our leaders actually have a pretty good idea what's going on. The notion that they are incompetent doesn't seem to hold water. They do what they do because it is in fact in their interest. Furthermore the messages revealed by Wikileaks have upset enough people that Julian Assange, the Australian leader of this world wide hack is now a wanted man. That is suspicious enough but reading the charges against him, reported by Washington's Blog make laughable reading. That Amazon chickened out and dropped Wikileaks is to be expected, a corporation as Assange pointed out, that doesn't believe in freedom of speech shouldn't be selling books... Now we wait and hope for bank revelations in January. Roll on Wikileaks, even as Julian Assange is held in Wandsworth Prison in England, awaiting extradition charges to Sweden.
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Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for "sex crimes".

Everyone assumed it was for rape.

But it turns out it was for violating an obscure Swedish law against having sex without a condom.

As Newsweek wrote in August:

A Swedish lawyer representing two women whose allegations triggered a sexual-misconduct investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has given [Newsweek column] Declassified the first on-the-record confirmation of the allegations that led to the issuance—and then rapid cancellation—of a warrant on a rape charge and to a parallel investigation into alleged “molestation." Claes Borgstrom of the Stockholm law firm Borgstrom and Bostrom, who is representing two women who said they had sexual relationships with Assange, said his clients complained to the police of Assange's reluctance to use condoms and unwillingness to be tested for sexually transmitted disease.


Borgstrom said that specific details about the the allegations had not yet appeared in Swedish media. But he acknowledged that the principal concern the women had about Assange’s behavior—which they reported to police in person—related to his lack of interest in using condoms and his refusal to undergo testing, at the women’s request, for sexually transmitted disease. A detailed, chronological account of the women’s alleged encounters with Assange—which in both cases began with consensual sexual contact but later included what the women claimed was nonconsensual sex, in which Assange didn’t use a condom—was published on Tuesday by The Guardian; a Declassified item included a more explicit reference than The Guardian to Assange’s declining to submit to medical tests.

Similarly, the Daily Mail reported in August:

'When they got back they had sexual relations, but there was a problem with the condom - it had split.



'She seemed to think that he had done this deliberately but he insisted that it was an accident.’



Whatever her views about the incident, she appeared relaxed and untroubled at the seminar the next day where Assange met Woman B, another pretty blonde, also in her 20s, but younger than Woman A.



The [second] woman admitted trying to engage her hero in conversation.



Assange seemed pleased to have such an ardent admirer fawning over him and, she said, would look at her ‘now and then’. Eventually he took a closer interest.




What he did not tell her was that the party was being hosted by the woman he had slept with two nights before and whose bed he would probably be sleeping in that night.



‘The passion and attraction seemed to have disappeared,’ she said.



Most of what then followed has been blacked out in her statement, except for: ‘It felt boring and like an everyday thing.’



One source close to the investigation said the woman had insisted he wear a condom, but the following morning he made love to her without one.

This was the basis for the rape charge. But after the event she seemed unruffled enough to go out to buy food for his breakfast.
And today, a former attorney for Assange confirmed that the charges are for having sex without using a condom, accused the prosecutors of "making it up as they go along", and said that Sweden's justice system is destined to become "the laughingstock of the world" for pursuing the case against Assange.

So Assange might be a cad for sleeping with 2 women within a couple of days, and he might be irresponsible for having sex without a condom and then failing to submit to HIV tests afterwards.

But he has not been accused of rape under any traditional meaning of that term.

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