Thomas Mathew writes from London: I don’t know about you, but I find those accusations of rape and sexual abuse against Julian Assange a bit weird. In fact, I find them quite bizarre, especially considering that one of the women who has accused him of sexually abusing her was seen two days later happily socialising with Assange. Not to mention that the other woman objected mostly to the fact that he didn’t use a condom when he had sex with her. Does that constitute rape?
I’m no fan of Assange and his obsession with self-promotion but the whole case against him looks mighty suspicious. Why, for example, is the Swedish government so keen on questioning him on its own turf? Why not send detectives to London to take his evidence over here? Especially as Assange is not yet charged with anything and is just accused by two women of sexual abuse and rape with one of them obviously upset for being dumped in favour of the other.
And why is it that the British government is so keen on deporting Assange to Sweden? It’s not as if it has no other important matters to deal with: for example, getting the Chilcot inquiry into the war in Iraq publishing its conclusions and holding all the culprits, who had started the war under false pretences, taken to account. But no, British officials at all levels continue to make statements about their determination to see that justice is done to the two women in Sweden. If only the government could have had the same approach to Syria and considered the fate of the victims of the civil war there that is fuelled from abroad with the same gusto.
Assange’s case has sparked a full-blown debate about rape and sexual abuse that somehow went well beyond its remit. George Galloway, the renegade MP, has caused a full blown scandal by stating that Assange was only guilty of breaching ‘sexual etiquette’ but committed no rape. Naturally, feminists went apes..t when they heard George belittle the suffering of the two sisters in Sweden, accusing him of disrespect for the victims of rape generally. George obviously wanted to make a point that the allegations against Assange were a bit suspect, considering that the mighty US had a grudge against him for leaking all those diplomatic cables and other stuff, but the sisterhood did not want to know. Rape is a subject that feminists take very seriously, insisting that most men are potential rapists and could pounce on a woman at any moment when she least expects it. If supporters of women’s lib, most of whom can’t get laid, had it their way they would probably classify most penetrative sex as rape. Nothing excites these people more than erecting, if you pardon the word, barricades between males and females.
Meanwhile the Assange saga has turned into a farce. Having been granted political asylum by Ecuador, the founder of Wikileaks is now hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. Thanks to the principled stand of Foreign Secretary William Hague the matter now threatens to spoil Britain’s relations with most Latin American countries. But does Mr Hague care? Nope, he doesn’t. He wants justice for the two Swedish women at any cost and is prepared to face the international consequences. The British government stands firm on the matter, insisting that Assange will not be allowed to travel to Ecuador and will be deported to Sweden to face the music there. (Word has it that the decision to deport Assange to Sweden and then move him to the US was taken last year, before the court’s ruling on his case.)
Last week Assange addressed the shoppers of Harrods from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy, thanking people across the world for their support and calling on the US government to stop its witch hunt against whistle blowers like himself. The address did not impress the British and American officials but proved that any farce can get even more farcical if diplomats and lawyers get involved in it.
Still, the rape accusations continue to hang over Assange, getting more people to join in the debate. The prospects for the Wikileaks founder don’t really look good at the moment. All things point to deportation to Sweden and a possible journey to America after that.
If only Julian had stuck to sexual etiquette. He might not have been in trouble now.