Leon Brittan vs Julian Assange 114


Young children are unlikely to recognise senior politicians. When young children are living in institutionalised “care” and suffering traumatic physical, sexual and emotional abuse they are likely to have only a very fuzzy recollection of places to which they were taken or the identities of people who were hurting them there. Thirty years on recall will be even more difficult. On top of which, people who have suffered institutionalised abuse are likely to be emotionally shaky and easily influenced.

Those are my words but I believe them to be a very fair summary of the argument which last night’s Panorama on the “VIP Paedophile Ring” was attempting to make. It was very bad journalism, with little cogent argument, merely an attempt to build up a picture that those alleging abuse are flakes. One example was the treatment of retired social worker Chris Fay who is evidently elderly and struggling in a number of ways. The camera showed his tawdry flat and furnishings and zoomed in to a tight close up shot of an apparently filthy container in which tea-bags were stored. It was a classic propaganda technique to undermine the image of a man and what he was going to say. Just an old duffer who can’t even clean his flat.

The programme built up to a climax of bad journalism with an interview of a very obviously damaged abuse victim, his voice replaced by an actor. The victim was pushed by very leading questions to say that he may have been led falsely to identify Leon Brittan. The fact the victim had apparently correctly described the birthmarks on Brittan’s face, which had led to the production of the photo he identified, was skated over. What the journalist did certainly prove is that a vulnerable victim can be led to say anything: the victim was doing it before our eyes, pushed by the BBC. But the police are expert in questioning so as not to lead, and were not pushing an agenda.

Panorama however was pushing a very obvious agenda indeed.

What was most notable was what was missing from the programme. Not all victims are such poor witnesses. There are also some other very compelling witnesses – policemen who were told to drop investigations because of VIP involvement. Panorama did not interview any of those. Nor did they interview Tom Watson, despite continually referring to his “political interference” which they implied was the only cause of the accusations. There was also a peculiar absence of Greville Janner from the story.

Nothing can excuse this amazingly biased programme. But the BBC do have a point. Those accused of sexual abuse are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and those making the accusations should not be exempt from scrutiny of the credibility of their allegations.

Except that the BBC adopts the precisely opposite principle in the case of Julian Assange. The BBC believes it would be absolutely wrong, disrespectful of the “victims” and potentially prejudicial to a trial for there to be any questioning or scrutiny of the allegations against Assange. They take an absolutely opposite view of how to treat Assange and how to treat establishment VIPs.

Indeed, the BBC has decided that, given the accusations against Assange are so risible, it would be wrong for any detail at all of the accusations to be given out. Therefore the BBC has never reported the fact that the allegation they describe as “rape” is that, during the act of consensual sex, Assange allegedly tore a condom with his fingers whilst wearing it (of which I doubt the physical possibility). The second sexual molestation accusation is that again consensual sex took place, but after they fell asleep in each others arms, Assange awoke and initiated a repeat of the sex act without requesting permission again.

Despite the fact that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen have given press conferences in Sweden promoting their allegations, the BBC has made no attempt to interview them. The BBC has not reported that, the day after the condom splitting “rape”, Anna Ardin hosted a crayfish party for Assange and tweeted her friends from it that she was with the coolest man in the world. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin had invited Assange to share her flat and her bed. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin produced a torn condom to police but police found it had no trace of Assange’s DNA – a physical impossibility if he used it. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen only made accusations after the two of them got together and cooked up the story. The BBC has not reported that Stockholm’s chief prosecutor dismissed it as no case to answer, and that Ardin then took it, as Swedish law allows, to another prosecutor, Marianne Ny who has a campaigning feminist agenda.

The BBC has not reported any of that because it would be quite wrong to doubt the word of victims of sexual abuse. It would be wrong to put them under pressure, or look sceptically at the evidence for their stories, both direct and circumstantial. It would be quite wrong to prejudice possible legal proceedings.

It would be quite wrong if the accusations are against Julian Assange. But it would be absolutely right if the accusations are against Westminster VIPs.

I do so much look forward to the Panorama on the Assange sexual abuse allegations. When do you think we will see it?


114 thoughts on “Leon Brittan vs Julian Assange

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  • Arbed

    As if questioning the suspect is the very last thing you do in a word v word sex allegations case!

    Even by 15th November 2010 the Swedish prosecutor was ignoring the Swedish Prosecutorial Code, which states that if a suspect is not resident in Sweden he/she should be interviewed immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, following a crime being notified. Here’s the women’s lawyer Claes Borgstrom telling the media exactly that on 24th August 2010 (3 days after the women’s visit to the police for “advice”) and complaining that Assange had not yet been questioned.

    http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artikel=3946520

    This was, of course, when Stockholm Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne – who read the women’s testimony, said it showed “no evidence of a crime having been committed” and closed the case – was still in charge. He shut up about the need to have Assange questioned promptly as soon as he had succeeded in having his clients’ false allegations transferred to his old political colleague and personal friend, Marianne Ny in Gothenburg.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “If the rape case is so flimsy why doesn’t Assange agree to go to Sweden to answer police questions?” MBC

    Why don[‘t you aks him? I think he’s probably already answered the question.

    Perhaps because he fears:

    1) A miscarriage of justice and/or the manipulation of the criminal justice system in Sweden for political reasons.

    2) The USA using this as an opportunity to extradite him on charges which could get him locked up for decades. Think of recent cases: Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, etc.

  • fred

    “If the rape case is so flimsy why doesn’t Assange agree to go to Sweden to answer police questions?”

    Because he might get extradited to America to face charges there.

  • Arbed

    Fred, are you aware that Assange remained in Sweden for five weeks waiting for the corrupt lawyer Borgstrom’s [Google “Thomas Quick scandal”] chosen prosecutor to interview him? During that time he repeatedly asked to be questioned so the resurrected case – he had already been cleared once by the first prosecutor and the case closed – could be closed down for a second time. She refused with the following excuses for each date he suggested: “the policeman is off sick”, “it’s a weekend” and “it’s too late”.

  • fred

    ‘Fred, are you aware that Assange remained in Sweden for five weeks waiting for the corrupt lawyer Borgstrom’s [Google “Thomas Quick scandal”] chosen prosecutor to interview him? During that time he repeatedly asked to be questioned so the resurrected case – he had already been cleared once by the first prosecutor and the case closed – could be closed down for a second time. She refused with the following excuses for each date he suggested: “the policeman is off sick”, “it’s a weekend” and “it’s too late”.’

    That doesn’t make any difference. Proceedings are ongoing.

  • John Goss

    Craig, a well-argued post which shows there are laws to protect establishment figures and laws to make it easy to persecute those who oppose the establishment.

    Arbed, welcome back. You have I think as much knowledge as anybody regarding the continual establishment persecution of Assange. I respect your research and welcome your comments. It is high time Julian was released a free man. We may have to wait for the landslide victory of Jeremy Corbyn before that happens. I am confident that the electorate is piece by piece putting together the jig-saw of world affairs, which is a much different picture to the one on the ‘box’.

  • Arbed

    Fred, I’m not arguing your point that Marianne Ny’s case file is still technically open, just pointing out that there has been zero progress in her investigation for 5 years – ie. it’s not “ongoing” in that sense. Even the Swedish High Court acknowledged in its November 2014 ruling that the case had been effectively frozen since November 2010 and, rightly, put the blame for that on the prosecutor.

  • fred

    Arbed, I’m not attacking Julian Assange, I’m defending the BBC and I don’t think using him as a stick to beat them with does him any favours. There can’t be an in depth Panorama about him till the case is resolved which it isn’t. On going or in limbo it is not resolved and won’t be till he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy or the statute of limitations expires in 2020. Then I have no doubt there will be plenty of in depth programs about him but I doubt there will be any before.

  • Arbed

    Unfortunately, in Sweden prosecutors have a great deal more power than ours in the UK (and this particular prosecutor elected to also make herself chief investigator – a dual role that is allowed in Sweden for very minor offences but it’s very unusual). In theory, a prosecutor’s detention orders are supposed to be reviewed by a court every two weeks but that hasn’t happened in Assange’s case, I guess because he’s detained (house arrest, curfews, Serco tagging etc counts as detention in Swedish law) but not in a prison cell.

    In January 2015 Sweden confirmed to the UN that it sees indefinite pre-trial detention as perfectly ok and doesn’t see any reason why there should be any limit put on the amount of time anyone should spend in detention awaiting charge or trial.

    https://wikileaks.org/Sweden-Tells-the-UN-that.html

  • Arbed

    Fred, not sure your defence of the BBC holds up. Isn’t the Leon Brittan et al investigation “ongoing” at exactly the same stage as the Assange case? – ie. preliminary pre-charge investigation of allegations – and yet Panorama has just done an in-depth programme on those UK allegations.

    I know it’s not a direct comparison but the Australian current affairs series Four Corners ran an hour-long, in-depth programme on the Assange allegations – naming the women and showing photos of them too – a couple of years ago. It’s very good. As far as I’m aware ABC Television didn’t get in any trouble for sub judice contempt of court.

    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/07/23/3549280.htm

  • glenn

    Arbed, whatever Fred says “is” is. He’ll argue the toss until the end of days, because it amuses him to do so. If parroting the official line is annoying to everyone, that’s what he’s going to do. You won’t get Fred to agree that water’s wet, if it brings a grin to his chops to insist otherwise. No point in expecting honesty and straight talk out of this particular joker, most correspondents here realised that a long time ago. Foul-mouthed bullying is the nearest thing to honesty you’ll get out of this slippery character.

  • Old Mark

    ‘Fred, not sure your defence of the BBC holds up. Isn’t the Leon Brittan et al investigation “ongoing” at exactly the same stage as the Assange case? – ie. preliminary pre-charge investigation of allegations – and yet Panorama has just done an in-depth programme on those UK allegations.

    I know it’s not a direct comparison but the Australian current affairs series Four Corners ran an hour-long, in-depth programme on the Assange allegations – naming the women and showing photos of them too – a couple of years ago. It’s very good.’

    Arbed- Australian TV has also been more even handed than Panorama in the investigative programmes it has made about the Elm House/VIP Paedophile Ring allegations-

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2015/s4256372.htm

    ‘Those accused of sexual abuse are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and those making the accusations should not be exempt from scrutiny of the credibility of their allegations.

    Except that the BBC adopts the precisely opposite principle in the case of Julian Assange. The BBC believes it would be absolutely wrong, disrespectful of the “victims” and potentially prejudicial to a trial for there to be any questioning or scrutiny of the allegations against Assange.’

    BBC double standards correctly skewered by Craig here- and the Newsnight clip of Joan Smith and Gavin Esler attempting to shut him up about the Assange case is always worth a repeat viewing.

  • Resident Dissident

    You are quite right Craig there is one place where ALL these accusations should be dealt with – the judicial systems of the countries where the alleged offences took place. The MSM or even blogs like this are not the place where trials and acquitals should take place.

  • giyane

    The entire Tory cabinet and half of New Labour have been referred to the government’s Channel programme which is designed to counter increased levels of political radicalisation.

  • Ken2

    Thatcher knew it happened. A senior police officer told her. ‘Boys will be boys’, she [email protected] Edwina Currie. Boys were being abused in the top floor of the Grand Hotel, when the IRA blew it up. Hague lost the crime file he was given. The Tories are pigs sucker. A ‘D’ notice has been put on that one. The sanctimonious nonsense from the Tories. Anyone who voted for the 25% should be totally ashamed.

    Labour raised £600Billion in taxes borrowed and spent £120Billion = £720Billion

    Tories are raising £466Billion in taxes and borrowing and spending £90Billion = £556Billion

    Tories have lost nearly 25% of revenues, and are borrowing from the Chinese increasing the debt.

  • DonNeedNoStinkinUserName

    I actually think that the second person they took their rape allegations too was a personal friend of one , if not both of the women and that they had to wait a considerable amount of time for her to arrive at work. It was a long time ago I read this – not long after it happened, but I’m sure my “memory is correct” ( ͝° ͜ʖ͡°)

  • craig Post author

    Yes, what you are remembering is that they went not to the nearest police station but to another police station to see another policewoman famous for a campaigning feminist agenda, in order to cobble together their ludicrous accusations.

  • nevermind

    Welcome back Arbed and thanks for all your updates on the increasingly sour reaction of the Swedish public to this smelly old cheese case.

    Fred wrote: I’m only defending the BBC… followed by ‘There can’t be an in depth Panorama about him till the case is resolved which it isn’t.’

    Thats poppycock and you know it, Panorama has a history of inquiring into cases that are not resolved by the courts, such as the most fumbling bumbling latest edition, trying to make out that this is the best the BBC really can do in the VIP paedophile cases, an act worthy of Pontius Pilate.

  • Very Puzzled

    So how did this government get re-elected, despite all? Was it a tribal arrangement made under the table with Millipede?

  • Miriam

    Wonder if the same Swedish self-proclaimed feminists who are so keen to extradite Assange are similarly extremely concerned about the hey-hey USA’s on-going abuse of Chelsea Manning?

  • nevermind

    “The MSM or even blogs like this are not the place where trials and acquitals should take place.”

    With one breath you are saying the judicial authorities should deal with this case, knowing full well that they have not done so, then you berate the blog for daring to discuss this judicial failure and case.

    Blogs like this are exactly the right place to debate and discuss this case, because the MSM is not doing so, or is debating with bias in mind. Only in places such as this, as well as other progressive blogs are forgotten truth speakers, such as Julian, and their most private situation discussed to the nine pins.

    Your trust in the judicial authorities is misplaced, Kempe, however much your head is stuck in it, they are mere tools of the controlled state.

  • nevermind

    So how did this government get re-elected, despite all? Was it a tribal arrangement made under the table with Millipede?

    well very puzzled, by lying to voters about paying for care, by fraudulent use of postal voting, the soft underbelly of the electoral system and of lazy voters, and by threats of catastrophy under Labour, good old fashioned fear and loathing.
    Not to forget the unreformed (due to lack of party political will) unfair and disproportional voting system. hope this helps….

  • deepgreenpuddock

    referring to the VIP paedophile issue.
    Obviously this is a difficult topic to investigate for the reasons that the opening of this blogpost explores. (False memory, trauma and psychological harm to victims etc etc.)
    However it strikes me that there might be a way to (if not to get to the bottom of the detail) to at least uncover the likelihood of whether there have been cover ups.
    Essentially it should be possible to apply a statistical model to the incidence of paedophilia and the extent of prosecution within particular groups.
    I think it would be quite difficult but the tools for this are certainly available to get to a probability that there has been under prosecution in ‘politicians’ or ‘teachers’ or ‘clergy’ or other definable groups.
    One would look for a discrepancy in the incidence of prosecution within target groups and make comparisons.
    I woud imagine a criminology department could look at this. I imagine it would also take a few years to acquire data to make the informed corrections that would be required.
    The reporting yesterday of the clergyman who abused young boys was interesting because he was defended by so many socially significant figures.I doubt that that was because they were necessarily sympathetic to pederasty but may have been highly tolerant of it within individuals who were perceived, by these significant people to be of some virtue or value or to be one of their peers. There is also the possibility that the instinct to protect hugh status individuals from exposure is necessary to avoid their own exposure for some other private peccadillo or indulgence best kept hidden from the hoi polloi who are more readily held to account.
    So the cover up and evasion of prosecution by individuals who are of socially high status is not really disputable but it might be useful to put a numerical handle to it.

  • fred

    “Fred, not sure your defence of the BBC holds up. Isn’t the Leon Brittan et al investigation “ongoing” at exactly the same stage as the Assange case? – ie. preliminary pre-charge investigation of allegations – and yet Panorama has just done an in-depth programme on those UK allegations.”

    No, the police have investigated the Leon Brittan case and said there is not enough evidence to bring a prosecution, there is no warrant outstanding on Brittan and he hasn’t jumped bail to appear in a British court.

    The two cases are not the same.

  • Jon

    Miriam, I think trans attitudes amongst some feminist groups still have some way to go, and not just in Sweden. I would ponder whether there is a “reactionary bloc” within the feminist Left, perhaps represented by a correlation between sex-negative and trans-exclusionary opinions.

    Certainly there will be a relationship between people who support the Swedish investigation in the Assange case and people who refuse to support Chelsea Manning. However, the link there may not be feminist in character: it is people who are using “feminism” to support imperial power, and to harrass opponents of imperial power.

  • fred

    “Arbed, whatever Fred says “is” is. He’ll argue the toss until the end of days, because it amuses him to do so. If parroting the official line is annoying to everyone, that’s what he’s going to do. You won’t get Fred to agree that water’s wet, if it brings a grin to his chops to insist otherwise. No point in expecting honesty and straight talk out of this particular joker, most correspondents here realised that a long time ago. Foul-mouthed bullying is the nearest thing to honesty you’ll get out of this slippery character.”

    I post logical factual arguments and the Craig Murray black shirts respond with personal attacks and intimidation. Disagree with Craig and some nasty little shit with an IQ lower than his shoe size will start firing abuse at you.

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