There is an excellent article in Reuters about the two Swedish complainants crying “rape” against Julian Assange. I mention this because of the recent hysteria on Twitter – that may still be going on, but I’ve tuned it out because it is so puerile – that assumes Assange stands already convicted of serial rape and is somehow the Roman Polanski of our time.
But let’s spend just a few minutes discussing the cases that these two women present.
The first one, Miss A, was the Swedish spokesperson for Wikileaks; Assange was staying at her place at her invitation. They had consensual sex on a number of occasions. During one encounter, the condom broke. After the incident, Assange continued to stay at the woman’s place, again with her permission. People who saw them together later reported their relationship seem amicable.
The second one, Miss W, paid for Julian Assange’s train ticket so he could come to her apartment and stay. (It may be fair to say that she was a Wikileaks groupie with money.) They had consensual sex – which it is apparent that the Swedes do with frequency and enthusiasm – but Reuters reports that the woman claims that later, while the bed was still warm, the pair had sex again and Assange did not use a condom.
Now – and this is key – neither of these woman has ever been subjected to the mildest of cross examination on whether Julian Assange did anything without their consent. Based on their behavior alone after the encounters; he did not.
The two women found each other – always a dangerous situation for the guy – when, again apparently, they were trying to contact Assange about STD testing. They reported that is what they wanted, not to have Assange charged with rape (further reducing any credible claim that a rape occurred). It was only when he proved “elusive” that they went to the constables.
Assange? Elusive? Imagine my surprise! He’d only been the subject of the biggest intelligence manhunt probably in history. And the ladies are put out because he doesn’t answer their phone calls?
Please also consider this: two women, unknown to each other, each develop a fear – days, weeks, months? after their encounters – of picking up an STD from Julian Assange. How does this happen? I suspect it happened because a rumor was started that Julian Assange had a sexually-transmittable disease. How does that happen? Louis Nizer, where are you now that we need you?
It could happen a couple of ways of course.
But I wouldn’t discount the possibility that the was started by an intelligence service – gee, I wonder which one? – to panic Assange’s sexual partners into coming forward and help to smoke him out. That seems to be what happened.
It is laughably easy to start rumors like this, and it is especially effective when your goal is to discredit a muckracker, whistleblower or other messenger of bad news. I’ll illustrate the point with an example.
Walter Liggett was a muckraking journalist in the Twin Cities, a contemporary of Jay Near, whom I have written about several times. When Liggett did some reporting on the connection between the crime syndicate of Kid Cann and the administration of Floyd B. Olson, allegations of sexual impropriety were lodged against Liggett:
Soon after alleging links between the criminal syndicate of Kid Cann and the administration of Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson, Liggett was beaten up, prosecuted on trumped-up kidnapping and sodomy charges (and acquitted), and finally died after being machine gunned in the alley behind his apartment on December 9, 1935, in view of his wife and two children. All witnesses, his wife Edith in particular, identified Cann as the shooter, but Cann was acquitted.
This is most probably a case of a highly effective disinformation campaign by western intelligence services, including the CIA. Calling Assange a rapist – especially at this point in the proceedings – is irresponsible and slanderous.
Update: Correspondents have inquired (or maybe enquired is a better word choice given the British legal proceedings) what I thought of the notion that Floyd B, Olson was involved in the murder of Walter Liggett. I won’t speculate on that, and the little Louis Nizer voice in my head says it’s unlikely. Kid Cann never needed much prompting to kill anybody. Louis and I do suspect, however, that there was some political connection somewhere in the charging of Liggett with sodomy and kidnapping.
Tail thumps to PW for the link and to Avidor for the reminder about Walter Liggett.
Further update: The cartoon is from Mr. Fish at Harper’s.