The Pathetic Vapourings of the Establishment 138


A number of mainstream media attacks on me today. Astonishingly, not a single one admits that Anna Ardin gave media interviews accusing Assange and put her own name in the public domain. Despite the fact I spent most of yesterday being interviewed by journalists and repeating that point over and over again.

Anna Ardin herself went to the media, under her own name, as long as two years ago to publicise her allegations against Assange. From the New York Times, 25 August 2010:

Anna Ardin, 31, has told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that the complaints were “not orchestrated by the Pentagon” but prompted by “a man who has a twisted attitude toward women and a problem taking no for an answer.”

So Ardin went very very public herself. 190,000 internet articles – a great many from major mainstream media – and 10 million mentions on twitter and two years later, I use her name on Newsnight and am attacked for “revealing it”.

Fortunately the public recognise a fake campaign of indignation when they see one. Where the mainstream media have online comment threads, they are overwhelmingly supportive of me. Even in the Daily Mail! They have a voting system on their comments and the results are very interesting.

The Headline of that piece is “Former Ambassador Sparks Anger”. It would better have been “Former Ambassador Sparks Overwhelming Agreement from our Readers”.

The Telegraph makes a claim that I was censured by the Swedish Prosecutor’s office, out of a statement in which they did not mention me at all. They rather make the perfectly reasonable point that they would prefer people, in general, not to name victims of crime. The Telegraph failed to ask the Swedish prosecutor what they thought of Anna Ardin having already named herself all over the Swedish media. They also failed to ask them why the Swedish Prosecutor’s office themselves two years ago leaked the allegations against Julian Assange to the Swedish media, and thus the world.

You may be surprised to know that I regard the Telegraph in general as one of the few places real journalism can still be found. I am therefore genuinely disappointed and surprised that they do not mention the key fact that Anna Ardin revealed herself in statements to the Swedish media, a point which I explained to their journalist repeatedly yesterday afternoon. They also say that I “alleged” that the BBC repeatedly named Ms Diallo, the accuser in the DSK rape case, while the case was still ongoing, as though there could be any doubt about the truth of the matter.

A couple of pieces from the blogosphere. My favourite piece is this very considered one from James Kelly, which makes some very valuable points.

But the all-time prize goes to Carl Gardner, former junior government lawyer and now the go to right wing “legal expert” brought out by the BBC and the Guardian. In his blog “Head of Legal” (Gardner has never been head of anything), Gardner argues that what I said was not illegal, but that we need a new law to stop me saying it!

Yes! Absolutely! What this country lacks is enough laws to stop people bloody well saying things! I feel Mr Gardner is going with the zeitgeist here.


138 thoughts on “The Pathetic Vapourings of the Establishment

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  • Barbara

    By naming one accuser Craig painted a great big bullseye on himself and then handed ammunition over.

    It was not necessary for Craig to name the women in order to voice suspicions of a set-up. He had important points to make, he had a platform on national television – why contrive a position where he could be shot down before he could fully explain his plausible theories of a set-up?

    It is irrelevant that others named the women, or that one woman knew the policewoman who took her statement. These are details, interesting, but details in a bigger picture.

  • Jon

    @CE, from me on the last thread – if you get a moment I’d still appreciate an answer. Directly relevant to people confusing the two issues.

    @CE – not being able to tell the difference is the point though, isn’t it? The comments on these past several posts, where they’ve been sympathetic to Assange, have often offered a way that the allegations can be answered. But for opponents of Assange/Wikileaks – whether or not they are paid for their disinformation – it’s as if these very reasonable points aren’t made at all. Repeat all the one-sided distortions, ad nauseum, see what sticks.

    What is your view of Assange not being interviewed in Sweden for the weeks he stayed there for that purpose? Why do you think the Swedes won’t interview him in London? What is your view for their refusal to explain why they won’t come here?

    As a feminist, I am fully in favour of alleged sexual crimes being fairly investigated. But there are competing priorities here, and the role of Wikileaks in exposing the machinations of the powerful needs to be factored into the equation. How do you see that balance?

  • Jon

    Barbara, thanks for your latest comment, but it doesn’t address the detail of my points at 10:53. If your view is simply that Craig’s strategy or media handling was poor, then that’s a valid view, but I think it’s more than that.

    I’m trying to put myself in the mind of a victim of (alleged) rape, and wondering how they/I would feel about being named (if they were genuinely anonymous) and, ditto, how they/I would feel about being named having already spoken publicly to the media.

    I think these distinctions are important, so if you wouldn’t mind?

  • JimmyGiro

    What’s the matter Barbara dear, is the 3-dimensional reality overloading your 2-dimensional analysis?

    The knowledge of the women’s contrivance is extremely pertinent to a human beings innocence; and as I’ve said above, if you’re offended by the innocence of men, then you are divorced from the human race.

  • VivaEcuador

    CE:

    You never answered my question:

    Why do you think a grand jury is sitting in the US to consider charges against JA?

  • OldMark

    ‘I wonder about P.E. sometimes.’

    They still do the speech bubbles superimposed on a photo joke better than most; but in this instance, remember that little Wheen was Joan Smith’s first husband.

    Meanwhile, La Mensch is still emoting on the subject, lumping in the dumb Republican congressman (who is nothing to do with the Assange/Wikileaks story) with Craig’s & Galloway’s contributions. She’s clearly trying to construct some sort of ‘axis of misogyny’ around which to frame the issue. What a shame JA’s supporters also include such well known misogynists as Naomi Wolf and the Tamil rapper, MIA.

  • ironical

    CE, “No, PE just sees JA for the charlatan and hypocrite he is.”

    Would this charge be in regard to his private life, or his political life? It sounds to me that you believe it true of both, in which case, I suspect that you have already decided the question of his guilt or innocence on any and every charge that he may possibly be accused.

    I find it strange, as a male, to think that you think that any man would choose to live his life with such charges hanging over him willingly. JA wishes to clear his name, according to all reports, and has affirmed that he will answer all questions and charges. That doesn’t sound hypocritical to me.

  • Jives

    Ardin revealed herself to the media 2 years ago with a PR flourish.All that was missing were a few whirling dervishes by her side.

    Watching Esler’s faux-outrage was genuinely pathetic i thought.That a supposed educated adult could so blatantly twist reality was like watching a spoiled child bullying in the playground.It was actually rather sad to watch,as much as it was disturbing.

    Ardin blew her right to anonymity herself,years ago.To watch so many commentators and media studiously deny this blatant fact is akin to watching someone you care for slipping into dementia.

    Very sad.

  • N_

    @CE – so Galloway’s macho apparent idiocy means Ardin isn’t a CIA-run liar? Talk about diverting the discourse!

  • Komodo

    No offence, honest, but I’m not reading CE’s links until I see some evidence that she (got to be, hasn’t it? Charred bra and all) has read even part of one of mine.

  • Tom Welsh

    “I wonder about P.E. sometimes”.

    No need. Private Eye is not in favour of anything at all. It is just against what it sees as fraud, pretence, and hypocrisy – and it prefers to risk overdoing its criticism than missing any possible target.

  • VivaEcuador

    CE:

    Let’s take this extract from your link:

    “If a decision is taken to formally charge him, Assange would face trial within two weeks of that decision being made. It is difficult to see how this could happen if the final interview takes place in the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge. Even if he were interviewed in the embassy, if a decision was then taken to formally charge him, it is somewhat difficult to believe that Assange would suddenly renounce his claim to asylum in Ecuador.

    In these circumstances it is difficult to see why Sweden would or should agree to interview Assange in London rather than continue to push for extradition so that they can follow their usual procedures in due course. No other fugitive from justice gets to bargain with the authorities about the way in which their case will be dealt with. I don’t see why Assange should be any different.”

    Now we’ve heard everything. It’s not the fact that Assange is on foreign soil that causes the Swedes problems, it’s the fact that the case could not be heard within 2 weeks afterwards. Hey, you know what? Maybe if the Swedes were to show minimum flexibility and interview JA in an Ecuadorian Embassy then the ball would be in Assange’s court. Again, are the Swedes really interested in resolving this case? What is really going on here?

  • Robby

    Gavin Esler reminded me of Vernon Dursley, furiously trying to keep Harry Potter from seeing the thousands of admission letters he’s received from Hogwarts, and forever sending Harry off the the spare room as a punishment.

  • VivaEcuador

    @Komodo:

    “No offence, honest, but I’m not reading CE’s links until I see some evidence that she (got to be, hasn’t it? Charred bra and all) has read even part of one of mine.”

    I am doing it so others won’t have to. Trust me, they are less than impressive.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    CE,

    You said, ‘So Karl Rove is orchestrating the CIA agent AA to frame JA? Seriously, does anybody believe this nonsense?’

    Nobody does CE because the claim is speculation and requires proof beyond reasonable doubt. The allegation is not the hogwash you express for reasons I and others have advanced here. That thinking I believe requires an agile mind anticipating outside the box to pursue truths concealed by secrecy and deception. That is how difficult crime is solved.

    Checkout Stephen Lendman a friend of mine as an example of this resolution needed to SEEK OUT reality.

    http://warisacrime.org/content/syrian-false-flag-planned

    Unfortunately I’m tethered having signed the OSA.

  • Chris2

    “…is the USA’s legal system so corrupt that he and his lawyers could not, no matter how castiron their case, argue for Assange’s (and the NYT’s) freedom to publish information in the public interest?…”

    In a word: Yes.
    It is surprising that anyone who has been aware of the courts’ decisions in National Security cases, in the past few years should even ask this question.
    The fact is that the Supreme Court is controlled by five extremely authoritarian jurists who support the government’s right to do as it pleases. There have been some dissenting judges but invariably the Supreme Court overturns any decision, on appeal, which it does not like.
    The current treatment of prisoners and their lawyers at Guantanamo Bay makes the work of defending prisoners almost imnpossible.
    Then there is the case of Jose Padilla whose long crucifixion by the US government should never be forgotten.
    Quite simply, for those who are selected as victims by the US government there is no justice, and barely a pretence that anything approaching due process is observed.

    The US Justice system is clearly used as a means of asserting political control by terrorising dissidents. This has long been the case (Jim Crow, anyone?) and it shows almost wilful ignorance not to understand as much, every black, brown or poor teenager in America knows. I suspect that most kids in Hackney understand what Justice in the USA means, if only because they live within its sphere of influence.

  • amy

    Thanks for all the rape isn’t real rape stuff, I feel so much better knowing I wasn’t really raped. I guess I should let the police know so they can release the man who didn’t rape me. And I should stop having the nightmares and stuff.
    Thanks again.

  • Jon

    @Amy – that is not what people are saying here at all (to be fair, people are saying a lot of different things here, and not everyone here agrees about this topic). But broadly, people are saying that whilst alleged rape victims deserve protection of the law and to have their cases acted on, equally people accused of rape deserve protection from malicious prosecution.

    What is your view about Wikileaks, by the way? I have a (fairly obvious) theory that many people wanting Assange to go voluntarily to Sweden have taken that view because they are opposed to Wikileaks, and not because of the merits of the case. As @CE rightly keeps saying, the two topics should be treated separately.

  • Chris2

    This question seems to me to be so clearly settled, and Assange’s position so clearly the right one, that by continuing to discuss the trivial points made by the defenders of Guantanamo Bay, and the partisans of rendition and torture, is to waste time and space better used to discuss some of the crimes revealed by Wikileaks.
    Instead of talking about whether or not Assange should practise birth control we ought to be identifying those behind the carnage in the middle east.
    The sordid gossip surrounding Anna Ardin and her set is of no importance when set beside the crimes that her friends and supporters commit every day in, for example Honduras. No doubt Correa, who is the President of a country shaking off Banana Republic status, understands what we, in countries whose governments aspire to become what Trujillo and Pinochet once were in the eyes of Washington, do not.
    Rafael Correa, who has already faced down one armed coup, organised by the USA, lives in the real world, in which Empires do terrible things to ordinary people; it must be profoundly disappointing to patriotic Ecuadorians that, in Britain the sacrifices that they are prepared to make by defending human rights and defying tyranny, are forgotten in a minute and narcissitic examination of two year old bed sheets and soiled lingerie.

  • ironical

    Amy, I for one am firmly anti rape and have never taken rape charges lightly.

    If you have researched the history and timeline of this case, as I and most others on this blog have, I think you must well understand our concerns in this particular case.

    You may also ponder on the fact, that if the right of anonymity had not been broken by the Swedish police, this blog would not probably exist. I and others suspect that anonymity was broken precisely with the knowledge that Assange’s character and Wikileaks as an organisation, would become permanently damaged.

  • VivaEcuador

    Amy:

    You should not used emotional blackmail. It is extremely unfair to those of us who take this subject extremely seriously.

  • Jon

    @VivaEcuador – I think that’s unfair. @Amy could well be speaking from personal experience, and deserves sympathy; it is quite possible she is taking the view that she does because of a personal traumatic experience.

    @Mark’s response to her is much kinder, thanks.

  • Phil

    Preserving the annonymity of the alleged victims in rape cases is a protocol even the lowest hack working for the worst red top adheres to. I’m sorry to see that Mr Murray, a supposed human rights activist, lacks any respect for the rights of these women. It makes no difference that the names are available from other sources, like Mr Assange they’re innocent until proven otherwise.

  • VivaEcuador

    Jon:

    Amy is suggesting that we have expressed an opinion on what she says has happened to her. We have done nothing of the sort.

    I stand by my comments.

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