From the Right, and including the hugely important insight that supposedly conservative anti-statism is in fact a product of the sexual revolution, Stephen Baskerville writes:
The impending extradition of Julian Assange on obviously trumped-up sex charges brings the new politics of sex into vivid relief. As with the tribulations of Silvio Berlusconi, there is more here than meets the media’s eye. The Swedes call such ordeals sexfalla, or “honeytraps,” where women use sexual charms as a weapon against men who wrong them. The men who succumb to such wiles may deserve what they get, but when such a sexual drama becomes ensnared with law and politics, the rest of us have an interest in the matter. Assange, in his public and private life, may be far from admirable. But conservatives eager to cast the first stone might consider how Assange’s experience is becoming the experience of us all. Assange’s biography reads like a textbook of the sexual revolution. Even sketchy accounts of Assange’s life illustrate how extensively his ordeal has been shaped throughout by the new sexual order.
First, Assange’s freewheeling and sexually liberated mother, through divorce, deprived him of a father and a stable home, thus ensuring him his share of the problems now well known to accompany such upbringings. In Assange’s case, this seems to have set him on the course of a kind of global nomad, lacking firm attachment to family, home, community, country, or God. His own marriage likewise turned out to be another honeytrap, as marriage has become for millions of men, with the government confiscation of his own son and a prolonged legal battle with the Western democracies’ most corrupt and authoritarian machinery—one designed to neuter, eliminate, and criminalize “male chauvinist” fathers. By several accounts, this was the defining moment in his adult life, leaving him (like many other men) intensely embittered against all government. His experience with the feminist divorce apparat also seems to have diverted his leftist upbringing into a more libertarian distrust of all authority.
We can dismiss this with standard euphemisms about a “nasty divorce” and “ugly custody battle” and smear him, as some conservatives seem eager to do, with sneers about his “failed marriage.” But there is no need for armchair psychology to see that Assange is yet another product of our great experiment with single parenthood. Nor do we need conspiracy theories to realize that Assange’s current prosecution is very political indeed, though less in the way the left wants to see it than in the way the left itself has made it. Once again Assange has fallen into the clutches of the sisterhood. Indeed, if his arrest did not involve US pressure, its politicization is all the more serious. For it is not a conspiracy, but a vindication of an ancient truth. Men fool themselves that their high political machinations determine the fates of nations. Meanwhile, “the hand that rocks the cradle”… Here as elsewhere, feminists have not eliminated gender “stereotypes” so much as they have politicized them.
It is hardly conspiratorial that American officials and Swedish prosecutrixes have entered a marriage of convenience using the silver bullet of political prosecutions: fabricated sex charges. How do I know they are fabricated? Anyone familiar with the politics of the feminist rape industry can immediately spot the setup, and the New York Times, one of the mouthpieces of that industry, makes it very plain. “When Julian Assange…asked two Swedish women out on dates in August, he may not have known that Swedish laws protecting women in their sexual encounters include wide-ranging definitions of sexual assault and rape.” Translation: Laws against “rape” have nothing to do with actual rapes. Repeatedly the Times bends over backwards to disguise the reality that rape law is political, its purpose to criminalize men regardless of actual culpability. “Swedish prosecutors who want to question him on whether separate sexual encounters he had with each of the women became nonconsensual after he was no longer using a condom.” Translation: The women clearly consented, but feminist prosecutors are charging him anyway.
As if to emphasize the politics of rape prosecutions, the Times adds that “female empowerment – economic, social, and also legal — has a different quality in Sweden than in other countries.” In other words, rape law is so politicized that it can convict innocent men with no fear of scrutiny by journalistic watchdogs. The Times admits that “Sweden’s current criminal code is not much stricter on sexual offenses than those of other European countries” or the US, where miscarriages of justice over rape are routine, if not out of control. One need only glance at the cases of various innocence projects (or a daily newspaper) to see that almost all consist of rape trumped-up charges. The Times account is an open admission that feminist rape laws constitute a standing miscarriage of justice designed to criminalize men, as is now on full display. Not content with this, the feminist gestapo “contend that the definition of rape should be expanded to include situations in which a woman does not explicitly say no to sex, but clearly signals her opposition in other ways.” This manipulation of law to debase the language and create criminals already operates in the US.
Accounts of Assange’s experience bear out the politics very clearly: His first accuser is a professional feminist. “While a research assistant at a local university she had not only been the protégée of a militant feminist -academic, but held the post of ‘campus sexual equity officer’,” according to the Daily Mail. “Fighting male discrimination in all forms…was her forte.” Along with the other accuser, she enlisted a prominent “gender lawyer” and “leading supporter of a campaign to extend the legal -definition of rape to help bring more [alleged?] rapists to justice.” Her website offered “7 Steps to Legal Revenge,” advising women how easily they can use trumped-up accusations to punish men for personal hurts. After the “rape” the woman had sex with her “rapist” again and threw a party for him, while the other accuser cooked him breakfast.
In short, there is not a shred of evidence that Assange raped anyone and very clear indications that he did not. Assange himself sees into whose trap he fell: “Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism,” he tells the Sunday Times. “I fell into a hornets’ nest of revolutionary feminism.” Even some feminists are embarrassed. In a satirical piece in The Huffington Post, Naomi Wolf writes, “As a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That’s what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!” Wolf’s sisters responded by castigating her for “trivializing rape,” another confirmation that the trumped-up charges against Assange are nothing exceptional but part of the standard feminist modus operandi against men without the publicity or leftist support Assange enjoys.
Indeed, what Wolf is trivializing is not rape but men imprisoned for crimes not simply that they did not commit, but that everyone knows did not happen. The women are not using only “feminist-inspired rhetoric”; they are using the criminal charges, which imprison the innocent for decades. There was no rape, and everyone knows there was no rape. Yet everyone involved from the left to the right has political reasons for implying there might have been, for pretending to see the emperor’s clothes, for blurring the distinction between innocence and guilt, between truth and falsehood.
Thus we all become part of the brave new post-modern world where words can be deconstructed to mean whatever we want them to mean, where there is no objective truth and we all — prompted most likely by political motives — follow the truth that is “right for us.” It is hardly surprising if our governments follow our lead and legislate the meaning of words and “findings of fact” to create their own reality and make us all criminals. As usual, one deconstructed reality (what used to be called a “lie”) necessitates another, until our political agendas require that we remain silent as we watch innocent men being led away in handcuffs. Thus we all trade virtue (literally, one hesitates to point out, “manhood”) to become operatives of the servile state. And then we all have the hubris to claim we are defending freedom.
But this is the disposition of lackeys and tyrants, where brave men are cowed into abject silence by feminists wielding government power, and where everyone finds it handy to have a criminal charge available to pin on anyone who hurts our feelings or threatens our power. This is more than a sideline to national security. National secrets are kept ostensibly to protect our freedom. But servility cannot sustain freedom. A society that averts its eyes and holds its tongue as criminal charges become political weapons will not maintain freedom long. Do the ends here justify the means? Perhaps, but in that case it is much healthier to be straightforward about it. If the US government determined that Assange truly threatened national security, methods exist to deal with him quietly. The international political environment is lawless enough that eliminating nuisances is often the only option, without the sanctimonious pretence that principles other than power and self-interest are in play.
That is part of international espionage, and anyone in Assange’s business knows the risks. (Assange’s prototype may not be the glamorous James Bond, as some suggest, but Alec Leamas, the spy manipulated by forces beyond his control.) Such expedients may or may not have been appropriate in this case, but they are less threatening to freedom than kangaroo courts that mock and debase justice. Expressions of outrage would follow, precipitating a morally elevating public debate about whether assassinating foreign troublemakers is ethically acceptable. But such unpleasant realities do not accord with the new gender sensitivity.
So instead impotent men hide behind Swedish women and indulge in the high-minded pretence that we are employing the rule of law (defending wronged women, no less), when what is occuring is just as much the naked exercise of power as if Assange were quietly snuffed out in a corner. And thereby we cheapen the rule of law, not only internationally (where it cannot be expected to operate), but also within that fragile balance we call free societies. This is the honeytrap which catches us all.
And from the Left, displaying its historically characterstic Euroscepticism, Mark Stephens writes:
Julian Assange will, according to the judge's finding of fact, be held in prison in solitary confinement when he is returned to Sweden and will then be interrogated, held without bail and later subjected to a secret trial on accusations that have been bruited around the world, not least by this newspaper. He has a complete answer to these charges, which he considers false and baseless. Even if acquitted, however, the mud will stick and, if convicted, the public will never be able to able to assess whether justice has miscarried. This country, which has given to the world the most basic principles of a fair trial – that justice must be seen to be done – denies that basic liberty for those that are extradited to Sweden.
How come our courts abandon our cherished principles in deference to European systems and prosecutors? The answer is that they are bound to regard the prosecutors of no less than 26 countries, including Poland and Romania – as perfect. This is the result of the European arrest warrant (EAW), one of the civil liberties disasters bequeathed by the Labour government when it passed the Extradition Act in 2003.
This act, quite incredibly, allows European countries to deem prosecutors and even policemen "as judicial authorities" (a contradiction in terms, because they are neither independent nor impartial) and to pluck their suspects from the UK so long as they tick the right box on the EAW form. In Assange's case, for example, they ticked "rape" and the court cannot dispute that the allegation is of rape, even though the leading authority on sexual offences, the Oxford Vinerian professor, Andrew Ashworth, disputes this characterisation. There can be no questioning on the merits of the charges – in 2003 parliament abolished the traditional right of a suspect to require foreign governments to show a prima facie case before dragging them off to unfair trials.
An inquiry into the working of the EAW system has been set up and Assange's appeal to the high court may demonstrate the extent to which it allows our judges to stand up against unfair European systems. In the case of Sweden, for all its civilised and rational approach to many criminal justice issues – especially sentencing – it is a human rights black spot in relation to solitary confinement, the lack of a money-bail system and ill-treatment of foreigners in the very prison for which Assange may be destined – all matters for which it has been condemned by the recent European Committee report on torture.
But nothing so breaches the most fundamental principle of justice as its custom of holding all rape trials behind closed doors. This, so the prosecutor Marianne Ny explains, is so that "complainants may give their evidence better". Of course it is absolutely right to give complainants the protection of anonymity and to limit the right to cross examine them on their past, but it is utterly wrong to keep it from public view, for three reasons:
1. As Jeremy Bentham pointed out, "publicity is the very soil of justice, it keeps the judge, while trying, under trial". In this case, which will be heard by three lay judges appointed by political parties who are usually members of such parties, it is essential to see justice being done, especially since the Swedish prime minister has publicly attacked Assange.
2. Second, openness is essential to truth. It ensures that witnesses will be afraid to perjure themselves less they be found out. Others will come forward to confound them if they learn that they are lying. In this case, where both complainants tweeted and text-messaged their friends in ways which can be said to be inconsistent with their complaint, justice demands a public hearing.
3. Finally, the public itself has an interest, and that must override the interest of individuals whether the complainant or even defendants are happy that their details of conduct are hidden from public view. No democracy can commit secret court, because then there is no check that the formidable powers of prosecutors and judges are not being abused.
There are two philosophic approaches to the EAWs open to our courts. At present most adopt the "rubber stamp" approach – hand suspects over to the European policeman and prosecutors if the formalities on the warrant are correct. But the alternative – which we will invite the high court to adopt in this case – is that the EAW system should be used to actually improve the quality of justice throughout Europe, but to refuse extradition when the trial in prospect is likely to be unfair, judged according to our fundamental principles. That way, things can only improve and human rights blind spots can be eradicated. If our courts declare that open justice is the only possible justice by denying Sweden the extradition of Assange, this would very likely have the result that Sweden would change its unacceptable policy.
Open justice is one of the greatest contributions the UK has made to international human rights law. It goes back to the famous demand of "freeborn John Lilburne the leveller" – to have the doors of his court opened so that Cromwell's judges could not try him in "holes or corner". The rhetoric about the importance of open justice is found throughout law reports and often in cases brought by journalists at newspapers like this one. Will all this judicial rhetoric be empty or even hypocritical when it comes to deporting Julian Assange? We must wait and see.