Sunday, December 12, 2010

The week where two women were repeatedly attacked

We're not done with the issues involved in attacking two women to save Julian Assange. We have less time than we need, however. So, to make sure everything is covered on that topic and done quickly, Ann suggested we pull from C.I.'s snapshots.


CNN reports that "Julian Assange was sent to jail Tuesday while a London court decides whether to order his exradition to Sweden." Paul Owen, Caroline Davies and Sam Jones (Guardian) add, "He was asked by the court whether he understood that he could consent to be extradited to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, involving two women." Click here for a video report from CBS' The Early Show. Assange is the public face of WikiLeaks -- he is not WikiLeaks. He hasn't been convicted of anything. He may or may not be. Hopefully, he won't be. However, the desire to attack the two women accusing him is beyond unseemly.

Case in point, feminist or 'feminist' Naomi Wolf who knows neither woman, has done no independent investigation of her own but mocks both women at The Huffington Post. I hope the charges proof false but I'll be damned if I mock two women asserting they were raped to score a few political points for 'my side.' Watching her play bitchy and mock two women she doesn't know, about a rape that may or may not have taken place, is seeing just how estranged from feminism Naomi Wolf has become. This is the woman who, let's remember, waited years to accuse _____ of sexual harassment. Then again, as Ava and I pointed out sometime ago:

This is the woman who wanted sympathy and compassion for making public accusations -- but not bringing charges -- against a historian. Naomi wanted the world's sympathy. She just didn't appear to want justice.
What she really did was smear someone's name by publicly branding the criminal but refusing to take the matter to court. Of course, in a court of law, Naomi Wolf might not come off so sympathetic or, for that matter, at all believable.
This is the woman who stood by while another woman was gang-raped, after all.
'Feminist' Naomi was oh so very happy to garner attention and sympathy at the start of this decade as she accused the historian of having made a pass. The horror. How ever did Big Hair survive?
Strangely -- or maybe not so -- while painting herself as the ultimate victim, she never felt the need to talk about her days of gang rape.
Here's how Naomi writes it in her tawdry book Promiscuities (page 178):

["] When the woman came to, she fled. The joke, as I recall (and my memory of this episode fades in and out of focus), was that she had escaped so fast that her shoes remained. Someone had put her red high-heeled pumps on the wood mantel of the fireplace, next to the collection of beer cans from around the world.
The guys and I were friends. Over breakfast, they did not hide the story from me or from the other girlfriends who stayed the night. ["]

You can read on in vain for the moment where Naomi Wolf turns her prince charmings into the police, where she alerts the authorities or, for that matter, where she shows a damn bit of sympathy for the victim.
The incident took place in 1979 and, no surprise with Big Hair, the incident's all about Naomi. To have spoken out (then) would have been to be called a, as she so scholarly puts it, "lesbo."
That's the biggest insult in the world to Naomi Wolf and why she is known as the most anti-lesbian feminist poser in the US. Search in vain for any supportive statements Wolf has ever made for feminists who are lesbians. You'll never find sympathy for the gang-rape victim and you'll never find any show of solidarity with lesbians.
Big Hair is still, and will always be, the little girl laughing with the boys at the young woman who passed out and was gang-raped. That's Naomi Wolf. Not a feminist, not even pro-woman. Just a cheap, little girl striving for Daddy's love and approval (she didn't get it as child, she'll never get it as an adult).

And if that judgment ever struck anyone as harsh, she proves it accurate yet again by attacking two women she's never met, two women whose stories she's never heard and she does so in an attempt (a) to score political points and (b) to stand with the fellas. Attacking defendants -- especially ones asserting they were raped -- is disgusting and something feminists -- real ones -- regularly call prosecutors out for. The case will (presumably) unfold in public and people will form their own opinions as it does. To attack the defendants at this point is indefensible and Naomi Wolf is no feminist because all that I've gone over is Intro to Feminism 101. I do not claim to be the voice of feminism. I am one voice. At Third, Ava and I present a feminist take. We don't do "the take" and I'm not "the voice" of feminism. But Naomi Wolf has a real issue with victims of rape (as well as with lesbians which is why this woman so concerned with people's legal rights has failed to write one word on Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the last two years) and she has not and is not conducting herself in a manner that is either feminist or even just pro-woman. Somewhere around the time she was referring to a Black pioneer as homely (there was no reason to make a judgment of the woman's looks; however, if you're going to make such a call, the woman was pretty) while glorifying a White woman (Naomi's second book) and her passing off lesbians as 'stunted' females who haven't fully evolved (her third book), a public rebuke should have been in order. Naomi, I rebuke thee.

By the way, Naomi, should the two women turn out to be the pawns you insist they are, who are they the pawns of? You leave that out of your article, don't you? But you're still not able to call out Barack Obama . . . except on dust jacket blurbs. Anti-woman and cowardly, that's Naomi Wolf.


Julian Assange remains in the news. He is part of WikiLeaks, he is not WikiLeaks. He is currently facing charges. Hopefully, he's innocent. If not, that will come out as well. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, non-feminist Naomi Wolf launched an attack on the two women who have filed charges. I really didn't plan to go into the Naomi Wolf -- and others -- garbage of attacking women who charge rape and sexual assault. Then a friend at KPFA called to inform that Dennis Bernstein -- who's repeatedly faced sexual harassment charges (KPFA news department's Aileen Alfandary: "Bernstein has an unfortunate history of abusive behavior toward his co-workers that has cost KPFA six-figure sums in court proceedings and union grievance arbitrations. One sexual harassment settlement alone cost KPFA $250,000.") -- and Ray McGovern were not just implying the women liars and CIA assets, they were laughing at the women yesterday on KPFA's Flashpoints. Click here for the archived broadcast which disappears quicker than whatever brain Ray McGovern once had. Before we get to the distortions offered on air, let's note that Dennis has a history of sexual harassment and blaming victims. And let's quote this from Caroline Davies and Sam Jones (Guardian) report on yesterday's courtroom appearance by Julian Assange:

The first complainant, a Miss A, said she was the victim of "unlawful coercion" on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange was alleged to have "forcefully" held her arms and used his bodyweight to hold her down. The second charge alleged he "sexually molested" her by having sex without using a condom, when it was her "express wish" that one should be used.
A third charge claimed Assange "deliberately molested" Miss A on 18 August.
A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he "improperly exploited" the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom.

That fourth charge? That would be rape -- unless you were Tina Fey (who apparently finds that funny). Rape would also be holding someone down for forceable sex. These are serious charges. Hopefully Assange is innocent. He may or may not be. Kate Harding (Salon) observes, "With no specific target for their suspicions and no easy way to find one, folks all over the blogosphere have been settling for the next best thing: making light of the sexual assault charges and smearing one of the alleged victims." That was certainly what took place on Flashpoints yesterday. And, for those who don't know, Ray was a rat at the CIA for years and presumably or allegedly left and is now a peace activist. It's rather strange that Ray -- who made the CIA his life and has published no expose since leaving, -- would find "CIA asset" to be a damnable charge. Presumably he worked with many in the past -- possibly, he still does today. Flashpoints begins airing at 5:00 pm PST each week night. So Ray was on -- live -- after 8:00 pm EST yesterday. Remember that as he lies about what took place in court yesterday morning.

Ray McGovern: There have been no charges filed. There've actually been no complaints. All they want to do is interview Assange obstensibly at least from Sweden. And yet they're unwilling to do that while he hung around there back last summer for several weeks. And now they're unwilling to do it by Skype or any other technical means. The idea, of course, is to get him to Stockholm where the Swedes have already acted as poodles on behalf of the United States government and he would automatically be shipped to -- if not Guantanamo at least back to the States where he would be subjected to the likes of of [Mick] Huckabee and [Newt] Gingrich and the others who want to put a bullet in his head.

Dennis Bernstein: We're hearing the word rape a lot, we're hearing molestation a lot. But you're saying there's no information. So -- But the BBC, all the big news, the word is at the tip of the lip.

Ray McGovern: Well that's, you know, that's a successful covert operation. What you do is you accuse these people of that and then if your lucky, three quarters of the time Julian Assange is mentioned in the world press, the word "rape" or "rapist" is in the same sentence. Now [laughing] no one that I know was there. But both of these women, uh, have said that this was consensual, they both gloated over having this conclest [C.I. note: He means "conquest."] after the fact. The one who's charging him invited him to a big party the day after and then for some reason unbeknownst to us of course, now they're charging him with some sort of infraction where he didn't wear a condom or something like that. [. . .] One of the ladies -- if that's the right word -- who is charging Assange is tied together with some pro-Free Cuba people, some of which are -- have been tied to the CIA back in the States and there's all very, very -- It smells to high heaven and what -- The only thing -- I can't say shocks anymore, but surprises me -- uh, is the willingness of the formerly independent and neutral Swedes, the British and everybody else to sort of cowtow to the United States even when there's no law that's been broken in this country. [. . .]

Dennis Bernstein: You were just making the point that there doesn't appear to be a major crime, I'm not saying it's not a serious thing not to use a condom but I'm trying to imagine how many men would be in jail this morning [Ray begins chorteling] if they didn't use a condom last night.

Ray McGovern: I'm not going to make a comment on that Dennis. [Both pigs now guffaw and chortle.]

We used ellipses because Ray McGovern's an idiot. He really needs to stop speaking about what he doesn't know. He's such a stupid ass moron. One of the ellipses indicates when he's talking about laws against "publishing" things and includes "divulging the names of the clandestine operatives." There's no law on that. He's a stupid idiot. People who don't know the law shouldn't be able to speak. Former CIA agent Philip Agee (now deceased) published the names of CIA agents. George H.W. Bush tried to claim that someone was killed as a result. He wanted to outlaw what Agee and the publisher had done. He couldn't. The press wouldn't stand for it. What did happen was Congress passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in 1982 which made it illegal for someone working for the government to expose an undercover agent's identity. That's why Robert Novak was never prosecuted in Plamegate. Novak's article broke Valerie Plame's cover. He committed no crime when he did that. Ray McGovern doesn't know what the hell he's talking about but how he does blather on.

Now before we go further, let's note that the attacks are not just on those two women. We've already quoted Kate Harding. Failed reporter (and Lizz Winstead friend) David Ehrenstein is calling Kate a "bitch" at his website and insisting women aren't worthy of respect, "they have to earn it." We're not linking to his garbage. Maybe he'll collect it in another clip-job he passes off as a 'book'? We wouldn't link to that either. For obvious reasons. We will link to and quote Jessica Valenti on this topic: "I'm fairly certain that Wolf would agree that 'having sex' with someone while they're asleep isn't sex at all, but rape. And even if you're iffy on the consent/condom question, Jill at Feministe breaks it down for you. Basically, if someone agrees to have sex with you with the condition that you use a condom, and then you remove said condom and continue the sex or if you continue the sex despite your partner's protestations -- that is straight up assault. And I'm betting Wolf would agree with that as well." Anglofile notes a pattern, "I don't have time to do an in-depth post on this, given all my deadlines, but what I want to say is this: With this Julian Assange rape charge, many on the left-wing are showing their true colors once again re: women. It's like Clinton vs. Obama all over again. Some feminists are showing that their feminism doesn't extend to women who stand up to left-wing men like Assange (or Obama). And some men who are supposedly feminist friendly are shrugging off these charges against Assange as being no big deal, even if they're true. Because, you know, rape is only rape if a guy in a ski mask hides in a dark alley and attacks a woman walking by at knifepoint. You can't actually rape a woman you know or a woman who has consented to have sex with you previously, as is the case with Assange. That doesn't count!" And it is true. We're seeing the same forces that attacked Hillary now attack the alleged victims. And we know what these attacks on Hillary did, what they unleashed in this society. But they want to play with fire again, these pigs who use sexism, and it's women who will suffer from it. Which is why it was appalling to hear Naomi and others attack Hillary with sexism in 2008. Long after Chris Matthews knew not to refer to Hillary's laugh as a cackle, Laura Flanders could be heard on KPFA doing that as an 'independent' debate 'analyst' (who 'forgot' to explain to listeners that she wasn't 'independent' and had endorsed Barack). At The Nation, Laura's huffing about those that ignore rape and, no, it's not her confession piece for ignoring the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer -- a true conspiracy with convictions on the count of conspiracy, something that landed several US service members in prison including Steven D. Green. But Laura couldn't cover it. She cares about rape . . . when she can use it for some other topic. At least she doesn't trash the victims. But she does huff, "But since when is Interpol [the investigative arm of the International Criminal Court at The Hague] so vigilant about violence against women? If women's security is suddenly Interpol's priority -- that's big news!" Since when? Let's go to Mark Leon Goldberg (UN Dispatch):

One of Interpol's key responsibilities is coordinating a global police effort to combat transnational organized crime. And after drugs and arms smuggling, human trafficking is organized crime's most profitable outfit. Accordingly, Interpol is the only international law enforcement organization with a large operation dedicated exclusively to busting human trafficking rings. Their operation to that end is pretty sophisticated. It involves criminal intelligence sharing among Interpol's member states and coordinating police action. Relatedly, some of Interpol's
highest profile cases are related to busting international purveyors of child pornography.
Seems to me this is the kind of work that a prominant feminist ought to support, not mockingly dismiss.

Does that clear it up for you, Laura Flanders? Who will clear it up for Juan O. Tamayo (Miami Herald) and since when does the Herald cite the works of people associated with claims that a race of super-lizards (which can mask as people -- such as George H.W. Bush -- and feed on the blood of young children -- hence all the missing children) controls the earth? Tamayo is working from the product of at least one The-Lizards-Are-Among-Us! writers: "___'s Cuba connections were first reported Sept. 14 by CounterPunch, a liberal newsletter co-edited by Alexander Cockburn [C.I. note: Laura Flander's uncle who, by the way, would find "liberal" an insult], a steadfast critic of U.S. foreign policy." The Miami Herald is okay with that? Sandra Cuffe (Vancouver Media Coop) does a lively -- and there are swear words so it's not work safe -- takedown of the crazies including the CounterPunch article:

To start off, how about taking a look at Counterpunch, since it is relatively well-known by progressive folks, and in particular, the article
Assange Beseiged: Making a Mockery of the Real Crime of Rape by Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett. Calling the allegations "farcical rape charges," Shamir and Bennett write: "Julian Assange now stands accused of: (1) not calling a young woman the day after he had enjoyed a night with her, (2) asking her to pay for his bus ticket, (3) having unsafe sex, and (4) participating in two brief affairs in the course of one week."
Those are clearly not the accusations. Repeating irrelevant details, except perhaps for "having unsafe sex," comes across as dismissive and mocking. The inclusion of irrelevant information and the exclusion of relevant information is misleading and serves to discredit the woman alledging sexual assault.
Shamir and Bennett go on to elaborate on "her anti-Castro, pro-CIA streak" and that she "apparently indulges in her favorite sport of male-bashing," something they learned from a "Swedish forum" and then continued to discuss in detail. Wait, a forum as in a chat forum, right? So if I find some random chat forum online that talks about how Shamir and Bennett are evil warlocks and discusses how they apparently indulge in their favourite sport of infant-bashing, can I report it as fact and publish my piece on Counterpunch too?
Or what if I actually shared the source? Let's say that I checked out the May 2004 issue of Searchlight, a UK-based monthly print magazine against racism and fascism that has been around for 35 years. Let's say that I specifically read the article "Israeli Writer is Swedish Anti-Semite" by Tor Bach, Sven Johansen and Lise Apfelblum.
I know, the title kind of sounds like a conspiracy theory, but the well-researched article is actually about Counterpunch author Israel Shamir aka Joran Jermas. He changed his name to Jermas in 2001, roughly around the time he started publishing online under the name Israel Shamir. The Searchlight article breaks down Shamir/Jermas' own virulent anti-Semitism, but also his close connections to fascists and conspiracy theorists. Now, there's nothing wrong with having friends who are into shape-shifting lizards, but the article also details a series of lies told and written by Shamir/Jermas regarding his identity, residence, and former employment.

Kate Harding (Salon) also demolishes the CounterPunch article that the Miami Herald found so credible:

Actually, as far as I can tell, the only source for that claim is an
August Counterpunch article by Assange fanboys (seriously, they recast him as Neo of "The Matrix") Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett. Here's the most damning evidence Shamir and Bennett have compiled against Assange's accuser:
1) She's published "anti-Castro diatribes" in a Swedish-language publication that, according to an Oslo professor, Michael Seltzer (who?), is "connected with Union Liberal Cubana led by Carlos Alberto Montaner," who reportedly has CIA ties. Let me repeat that: She has been published in a journal that is connected with a group that is led by a guy with CIA ties. Says this one guy.
2) "In Cuba she interacted with the feminist anti-Castro group Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White). This group receives US government funds and the convicted anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is a friend and supporter." That link goes to an English translation of a Spanish article noting that at a march last spring, Posada "wander[ed] unleashed and un-vaccinated along Calle Ocho in Miami, marching alongside" -- wait for it -- "Gloria Estefan in support of the so-called Ladies in White." Apparently, it's "an established fact" that Posada and the Ladies also share a shady benefactor, which means he should clearly be called a "friend" of the organization, and this is totally relevant to the rape charges against Julian Assange, because the accuser once interacted with them in some manner.
3) The accuser is a known feminist who once wrote a blog post about getting revenge on men, and "was involved in Gender Studies in Uppsala University, in charge of gender equality in the Students' Union, a junior inquisitor of sorts."
Are you kidding me? That's what we're basing the "CIA ties" meme on? An article that reads like a screenplay treatment by a college freshman who's terrified of women? Actual quote: "[T]he Matrix plays dirty and lets loose a sex bomb upon our intrepid Neo. When you can't contest the message, you smear the messenger. Sweden is tailor-made for sending a young man into a honey trap."

The ends do not justify the means. You'd think Alexander, Laura, et al would grasp that after their efforts to get Barack into the White House via sexism not only encouraged sexism but gave the left a left-hating president. The ends do not justify the means. The two women could very well be lying, they could very well be telling the truth. Hopefully, he's innocent. If not, that will come out as well. Amy Siskind (The New Agenda) offers a takedown of Naomi Wolf's assault. Siskind writes a 'thank you' on behalf of rapists to Naomi and makes her point. Though she doesn't bring this up, I will. She also makes her point that she is a feminist. For those who've forgotten, in January 2009, Naomi and Amy were both on CNN with Naomi insisting Barack was a feminist and a 'gift' and we'd have a post-everything world. Pop another pill, Naomi. Naomi began whispering about conspiracies and offering slurs against Amy Siksind. Events tend to demonstrate what speechifying doesn't. In other words, Amy gets to hold her head high while Naomi's brought shame on herself and her supporters. Refer to Ann's "This rape survivor says: Naomi Wolf, go f**k yourself" from last night and we'll note this from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Rights Group Alarmed By Legal Overreach

Assault Allegations Must Be Taken Seriously While Ensuring Process Not Manipulated for Political Reasons

December 7, 2010, New York – In response to the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
As a human rights organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights is alarmed by multiple examples of legal overreach and irregularities in the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, especially given concerns that they are meant to clear the way for Mr. Assange to be extradited to the U.S. via Sweden.
Standard procedure in these cases is to call in a suspect for interrogation, and he has offered on numerous occasions to cooperate with the authorities. Similarly, a suspect who has surrendered, having never gone into hiding or attempted to flee, would normally be allowed to post bail. Yet Mr. Assange has been arrested and denied bail.
Allegations like these should be taken seriously, and in this regard Assange has made every effort to cooperate in this matter. He should be afforded all due process, and steps should be taken to ensure that the investigation process is not manipulated for political reasons.
We are concerned that the United States may seek to punish Mr. Assange for his journalistic efforts at uncovering and exposing the truth underlying key world events exactly as other news media, including The New York Times, have done. The documents published by WikiLeaks are providing important information about significant government wrongdoing and serious human rights violations that must be addressed, rather than focusing entirely on punishing the messenger.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

You can support Julian Assange without attacking women you haven't even heard from yet. And if portions of the left continue to waive this through -- these attacks -- they better not whine when the man accused is some right winger and what they're doing to these two women is done to the woman accusing a right winger. But, most importantly, the ends do not justify the means. We all know right from wrong -- even Dennis Bernstein -- and those who ignore the boundaries and instead continue these cheap attacks are harming everyone but most of themselves. Look at all the Barack groupies in Panhandle Media, for example, who have still not gotten their reputations or following back after whoring for Barack throughout 2008.


Julian Assange is the face of WikiLeaks, he is not all of WikiLeaks, just one part of the organization. He has been accused of rape and sexual assault. He is innocent at this point and may remain so (and if there is no trial, then the matter ends with him innocent). But the women making accusations are innocent at this point as well. And smear jobs -- there's basically one which all the losers refashion and repeat -- on the women are smear jobs on all victims of rape because these attacks encourage and lead to other attacks. The attackers?

As Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner in Romancing The Stone, screenplay by Diane Thomas) observed, "But if there was one law of the west, it's that bastards have brothers who seemed to ride forever." And they seem to thrive on sexism. Yes, as with Tuesday's snapshot and Wednesday's snapshot, we have to deal with the attacks on two women over rape charges. Faux feminist Nicole Colson (US Socialist Worker) declares, "Rape and sexual assault are very serious charges that deserve investigation. But it's impossible to take the charges against [Julian] Assange at face value given the nature of the attack on him by the world's superpowers." What is about Colson that forever finds her attacking women? Throughout 2008, she used sexism to trash Hillary but then women only pop in Nicole's writing to be trashed. She might want to take a look at that. She might also want to take a look at "impossible to take the charges . . . at face value." Marina S. (It's Not A Zero Sum Game) observes:

No, what this is about, as
Cath Elliott wrote on Lib Con a few days back, is how quickly all pretensions to feminist sympathies give way to a "bros before hos" attitude among men on the left once one of their own is in the dock (though in fairness she expressed it with more class). It's easy enough to march at the back, mumbling feminist slogans out of time because you don't quite know the words, when it's some sleazy capitalist or smarmy Republican in the firing line; statistically, it's more likely to be one of those guys in some jacuzzi showgirl snorting scenario, anyway.
But one of ours? Julian Assange, fearless defier of the Keystone Cops wannabes that are US officials trying to wipe the egg of their faces? Courageous snook cocker at misspeaking power-drunk bank functionaries? Heroic exposer of all that is ignoble and slightly ridiculous about contemporary diplomatic statecraft? Impossible! It's a conspiracy! A politically motivated witch hunt! A miscarriage of justice! A honey trap! Fame seeking! Misuse of Interpol resources!

And let's move over to Cath Elliott (Liberal Conspiracy):

When an article suggesting that a man accused of sex crimes is himself an innocent victim, it feeds into the prevailing misogynistic anti-woman narrative that says that all women who accuse men of rape are lying, and that there's no such thing as rape, there is instead just bad sex, or as John Band put it "poor bedroom etiquette".
And we join in with that 'lying women/bad laws' shtick, we're just adding our name to a whole host of sites and other media organisations keen to deny women's experiences, and that basically tell women that the men are sticking together again therefore this is a site where we really don't belong.
That's why I felt it important to speak out about this issue. Not because I believe Assange to be guilty, but because as a feminist I think it discredits us to just blithely assume that he's not.

Both of the women above reside in the UK. On US shores, it's so very telling that all the same sexists (and liars) from 2008 can be found trashing the women. Take Dave Lindorff -- no link to trash but you can find his garbage at David Swanson's site (and maybe David can explain why he's posting attacks on two women?) -- who puts the term rape in quotes as he reidicules the women. This is Dave Lindorff, please remember, who was a Barack supporter who used sexism to trash Hillary and whose 'reasoning' for supporting Barack was suspect at best: "a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs". As those paying attention throughout 2008 quickly grasped, the sexism is coming from men and women on the left, not just men on the left. (I'm not interested in the right-wing for this conversation, let them police themselves. But on our side we're supposed to care about equality.) Naomi Klein's also weighed in with as much as she can manage -- a Tweet. Leading to this response Tweet from Clare Cochrane:

@NaomiAKlein true, but defending #Wikileaks does not necessitate mysogyny & being a defender of freedom does not mean u escape a #rape trial

This, right here, is what makes rape an insidious crime. Those we admire, those we respect, we tend to minimize, deflect, or outright deny such a charge against them. What we as a society have got to come to realize is that a rapist can do good in other areas and still have raped someone. A rapist can be someone who does works we admire. A rapist can be someone whom we have previously respected, and whose political and ideological beliefs mirror our own. Which is why an organization or political thought should stand alone, divorced from its most vociferous defenders and/or creators. Wikileaks needs to stand or fall on its own merits, and we need to defend or decry Wikileaks on its own merits (or lack thereof). What we cannot do is excuse Julian Assange from even having to defend himself against a charge because such a charge may hurt his organization. Which is where Klein is wrong again. Yes, women's freedom was used as a battle cry in Afghanistan. Yes, it was the wrong cry, not in the least because we have done a piss poor job of securing the safety and freedom of women since entering Afghanistan. But Julian Assange may have actually committed rape. And there are laws against rape. And he can and should be charged with the crime. This isn't some nebulous "protect teh women" battle cry.
I don't know if Julian Assange is or is not a rapist. I know he is being held in connection to a crime. I know that the support he is receiving from Klein is, to be frank, beneath her. As Jessica Valenti highlighted, one of the charges facing Assange is not merely that he had sex with a woman without the condom she required but that he engaged in sexual intercourse with a sleeping woman. That last one? That's describing rape, pure and simple. It's rape, because a sleeping woman does not have the ability to consent to sex. These two women deserve their day in court. If their accusations are true, they deserve every measure of justice that can be awarded to them.

As we noted last week, Naomi Klein is not a feminist. Her entire life has been about rejecting her mother (a feminist). She's still an angry little child (hilarious photos taken by Wally in DC today of Naomi which will run in Friday's gina & krista roundrobin, FYI). She's done nothing for feminism. Just because she's left and a woman don't wrongly assume she's done a damn thing for feminism. It's amazing what an issue the attacks are in England while in America . . . So much silence. And we find that the same women who were silent on the sexist attacks on Hillary are again 'taking one for the team' and sitting this out. Laurie Penny (New Statesman) observes:

I have no idea whether Assange, who firmly denies the accusations, did or did not commit sex attacks in Sweden last August. But just as we would condemn anyone who pronounced him guilty at this early stage, should we also not be concerned that many liberals, some of whom would count themselves feminists, have leapt to the conclusion that Assange must be the innocent victim of a smear campaign? Some have gone further, actively attacking the women in question and accusing them of colluding in a conspiracy to destroy Assange. This plays easily into the narrative that most women who accuse men of rape are liars, and most men who attract such accusations are just saucy scamps with, as the commentator John Band put it, "poor bedroom etiquette".


Beat down in the market, stoned to death in the plaza
Raped on the hillside under the gun from LA to Gaza
A house made of cardboard living close to the rail
Somebody's mama, somebody's daughter
Somebody's jail
And I feel the witch in my veins
I feel the mother in my shoe
I feel the scream in my soul
The blood as I sing the ancient blue
They burned in the millions
I still smell the fire in my grandma's hair
The war against women rages on
Beware of the fairytale
Somebody's mama, somebody's daughter
Somebody's jail
-- "Somebody's Jail," written by Holly Near, first appears on her Show Up

As with Tuesday's snapshot and Wednesday's snapshot, and Thursday's snapshot we have to deal with the attacks on two women over rape charges. Maia (The Hand Mirror) explains, "The charges are actually really clear cut: he had sex with one woman while she was asleep, and he didn't stop when another woman said stop. It doesn't require a very in depth and complex understanding of consent to understand that that is rape. But there is a constant narrative that anything other than stranger rape where force is used is somehow a lesser form of rape. That narrative is really damaging to rape survivors." wiki leaks observes, "But Assange's status as embattled warrior for free speech is taken as giving permission -- by those on the left as well as right – to indulge in the basest slut-shaming and misogyny. It's terrifying to witness how swiftly rape orthodoxies reassert themselves: that impugning a man's sexual propriety is a political act, that sexual assault complainants are prone to a level of mendacity others are not (and, in this case, deserving of the same crowd-sourced scrutiny afforded leaked diplomatic cables), that not all forms of non-consensual sex count as 'rape-rape'." Amelia Gentleman (Guardian) speaks with the attorney of the two women, Claes Borgstrom, and reports:

In an interview at his fifth-floor office in central Stockholm, he continued: "What is going on now is very, very unfair to them because they are being pointed at as if they have started a conspiracy against Assange and
WikiLeaks, and that is not true. There is nothing wrong with their reputation and they have done nothing wrong in going to the police. What they are going through is unfair and absurd."
He questioned whether the women would have pressed charges had they known in advance how their reputations would be attacked. "If they had known what was going to happen, maybe they would not have gone to the police at all … I would not have done it," he said.

Esther Addley (Guardian) observes, "Rarely can there have been a rape case where the personal details of the alleged victims have been so eagerly sought out by so many. "Is [Miss A] a lesbian?" asks one blog, accompanying its text with photographs of Miss A alongside another woman. 'If [she] is gay, and she sleeps with Assange, that's a contradiction. So, I'm inviting the blogosphere to look for the evidence. Be a WikiSleuth! There must be a lot of people who know about [Miss A] and her behavior. Speak up!" And the tarring and feathering has come from all over including Coward Matthew Rothschild. Matty who wants Russ Feingold to run for president . . . except when he doesn't. (We'll be ripping apart his latest 'reasoning' at Third.) Matty who wants to hurl the c-word at women in 2008 but was too cowardly to be upfront about his sexism so he hid behind The Weekly Standard. Matty who questioned the women and declares himself a Socialist and is CEO of The Progressive. Our 'friend,' women's 'great friend,' Matty Rothschild who wanted to insist this week "I take all allegations of rape and sexual misconduct seriously" seconds before adding that the alleged behavior of the women just struck him as fishy. Maia (The Hand Mirror) explains the harm that's being done:

But I think that defenders of Julian Assanger do the most damage when they construct a way that rape victims behave and imply that the woman involved isn't acting like a rape victim: she tweeted about him, or she seemed happy, or she saw him again.
I lose it at this point. There is no way that rape victims act - there is no way that rape victims don't act. Seriously. If you don't know this then you have no right to say a word about rape.
It does so much harm to so many women, the idea that there's a way that rape victims act. It's not just some idea that you're spinning off into cyber-space. It's something that women who are going through trauma have to struggle through - their own, and other people's expectations of how they should be behaving. And it doesn't stop - the idea of the acceptable behaviour of a rape victim gets used as a weapon again and again.
Most rape myths are about women, about attacking suvivors of rape, discrediting them trashing them - and there's been a lot of that. But some are about men
John Pilger said that he had a very high regard for Julian Assange. And? The rhetorical rapist - the scary man, who no-one holds in high regard - is a weapon that is used against actual victims of rape all the time.
And what is most ridiculous about this spreading of rape myths by left-wing supporters of wikileaks is that these myths are completely unnecessary to stand in solidarity with the wikileaks project.
It is states and companies that are attacking Wikileaks and Julian Assange, not two women. It is perfectly possible to criticise the actions of prosecuters, interpol, judges and government's without invoking rape myths.

We've seen the sexism of the left yet again. You get the usual women who operate as instruments of patriarchy, women who either have done nothing for women's rights (Naomi Klein would fit in here) or who lost interest in feminism long, long ago (Naomi Wolf). They need these women to hide behind. They've rewarded these _____ _____ types for years because those women only fawn over them and never 'make trouble' by noting, for example, their sexual harassment practices. And the men form a circle whenever they fear one of them might be held accountable for something that, let's be honest, is fairly common behavior for the males at the top of the power pyramid. Cute phone call this week from the friend of a media 'god' who wanted to know if I was planning on outing him for his attempted rape some years and years ago? (Newsflash, Rebecca outed him at her site back in 2005.) I bet there are a lot of conversations like that, a lot of men on the left sweating it out, and I bet that has a lot to do with the attacks on these two women. Attack them and, hopefully, scare off all women. The attacks send a message and it's damn hard to believe that the message is unintended.

It's similar to their attacks on Hillary Clinton and it's the same gang. People like Danny Schechter, for example, who repeated sexist attacks on Hillary at his website and then, when Ruth was calling him out -- RIGHTLY her website because he bills himself as a media critic but managed to go the whole year and after without ever noticing the sexism, Danny suddenly cared and rushed forward with e-mails. (Ruth never told me and I never asked. It was obvious that Ruth was doing a hard hitting series and that only one person -- Ruth didn't name the man at her website -- had a vested interest in attempting to derail Ruth's series.) So Ruth calls him out and the best he can offer is that if Hillary didn't call it out (she did call it out) then why should he? If you're going to call yourself a media critic, it's incumbent upon you to call it out. Not that we expected it, we've certainly gotten a ton of e-mails filled with allegations of sexual harassment and sexism in hiring, retaining and pay at Media Channel. [Sidebar: Ava and I were not paid when Media Channel reposted our article. I've never discussed that here and I'm not sure I've discussed it at Third. We have no business relationship -- and have never had any business relationship -- with Media Channel. Had we been asked about our article being reposted, we would have said no. We would have said no because (a) Media Channel is notoriously sexist and (b) they have received Soros money and we didn't want to be tainted with blood money. Repeating, "Friendly faces aren't who we meet" was written -- by Ava and myself -- for Third and published there. We were never asked about it being reposted. The first we knew of it was when e-mails arrived at Third. And it did nothing but cause us problem -- with women who've suffered from Media Channel's work practices and with those who rightly decry the blood money Soros amassed. And in this sidebar, you've got a pretty telling comment on the sexism of Media Channel. Without ever contacting us, Ava and my work -- the work of two women -- was reposted in full at a site that seeks donations and we were never thanked or notified. Is that really how they would have treated two men? No, it's not. And that's not a whine for money. Ava and I both will never, ever hurt for money. It is noting that our work product was used without our permission, without notification to us and distributed on a site that seeks money for the work 'they' (the 'mens') do. It's very telling and jibes completely with the stories Danny's ex-girlfriends been informing many women of.]

While we have tried to avoid that topic, Ava and I called out Danny's bulls**t that Tina Turner owed Ike something. Tina (whom I know and love) owes Ike nothing. He was a terrorist. It's cute the way these Danny Schechter types whine about abuse except when it's done to women. And what's he done all week? Passed on false information. When Judith Miller did that, he was outraged. But he thinks as long as he quotes false information from others (presumably from others, his new layout makes it impossible to tell when he's writing or when he's quoting) it's okay and his hands aren't dirty. He's quoted disgusting trash and linked to false trash attacking the women. As late as yesterday, a whine that no one would even say what the charges were. Uh, charges were reported Tuesday by many outlets including the Guardian which live blogged the court appearance. That's a fact that and facts aren't as easy to bend so liars ignore them. And December 8th, Danny pimped: "Roman Polanski, who during his Hollywood time recongizably raped a minor who later forgave him."

What the hell is that? Is murder dependent upon what the victim may have thought of the attacker? Then why would rape be?

I know Roman. I have no respect for him, but I know him. And he damn well knew what he was doing. But it's cute the way murder is 'real crime' and rape is just a 'so-so crime' that can be dimissed for any number of reasons. Torture's the same way. If we're talking about it under the Pinochet regime, it's torture and unspeakable. If it's a man torturing his girlfriend,lover, wife, it's fine and dandy and understandable and a personal matter. As Marlo Thomas has so often noted, before the second wave of feminism, domestic abuse didn't even have a name. That's the world that the attackers on the women promote: When victims didn't speak out.

And I just mentioned Pinochet. Augusto Pinochet is a War Criminal. And a US-backed one. The US-backed and funded coup that brought him into power -- and assasinated Salvado Allende and Chile's hopes of a free society -- launched non-stop torture. It's funny that so many lefties overlook the way women were targeted specifically. The easiest starting point? Women being attacked by the junta's military for wearing pants. They were forced back into dresses. It's not that different from what's taken place in Afghanistan or what they've pretty much succeeded in doing in Iraq -- instute clothing 'purity' for women. But don't look for Danny Schechter or burqa loving Naomi Wolf to tell you about that. After all 'real problems' are the ones that effect men only. What was done to the women of Chile was far more brutal than our 'brave' left ever wants to talk about.

But women are always under attack, even from our 'friends.' And women are always expendable. That's the history in the US. Wait for the vote, wait for ERA, take a hit for the team, again and again and again. Rape is a real crime. Julian Assange may or may not be guilty. I have no idea. I've expressed my hope that he's not. I've not attacked him. It's a shame that so many feel attacking is the way to go when it comes to women. It's not cute, it's not funny and it hurts women. Again, read Ann's "This rape survivor says: Naomi Wolf, go f**k yourself." And if this is still an issue come Monday, we'll note what the attackers don't want noted but the past can be a portent.
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