Yesterday, Channel 4 News ran an anniversary programme, of sorts:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – hiding for two years in the Ecuadorian embassy – is in “a prison cell with internet access” and “yearns to walk in the fresh air,” says a close friend.
Today, Slavoj Žižek, writing in the Guardian, seems to think that Julian Assange is hiding out in the Ecuador embassy because of something to do with Wikileaks and whistleblowing.
In August 2010, Julian Assange had sex with two women in Sweden. He was, so they both report, aggressive and unpleasant, and very unwilling to use a condom. When they talked to each other and realised he had had unprotected sex against their will with both of them, they went to the police to discover if they could force Assange to take an HIV test – and the police, listening to their account, realised that Assange had by their testimony committed sexual assault and rape.
Until Julian Assange stepped into the Ecuadorean Embassy, nearly two years after the legal due process began in Sweden, he had every element of the justice system due him. He was even on house arrest rather than in prison, in the confidence that he could be trusted with the large amount of money his friends would lose if he skipped bail.
They fell asleep and she woke up by his penetrating her. She immediately asked if he was wearing anything. He answered: “You.” She said: “You better not have HIV.” He said: “Of course not.” 12th July 2011
The longer Julian Assange delays his return to Sweden to be questioned by the police, charged with rape and sexual assault, and for the Swedish justice system to decide what to do with him, the less likely it is that he will ever be tried at all. It is already three and a half years since two women went to the police to discover if they could force Julian Assange to have an HIV test and, in the process of describing what had happened, gave evidence that Assange had attempted sexual assault on one woman and raped the other woman.
Since 19th June 2012, Assange has lived in a room in Knightsbridge, a guest of the embassy of Ecuador, his request for asylum accepted by the President of a nation who has little concern for free speech. Assange has, in effect, sent himself to jail without trial under much more unpleasant conditions than he would have been subject to in Sweden: where he would have been unlikely – even if found guilty – to have been sentenced to more than three years. If he intends to imprison himself in Knightsbridge until the statute of limitations expires in Sweden, he will stay there til August 2020.
Things that will happen in 2013:
In 2007, Wikileaks published the protocol manual for the US army at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta. The manual included a designated list of prisoners to be off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross – while the US government and military had claimed all along that all prisoners held in Gitmo could be visited by Red Cross representatives: and in April 2011, Wikileaks published the US military’s secret files on 779 detainees. President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay, and never has.
In 2010, Wikileaks made available to selected media outlets a huge log of every Iraqi death recorded by the coalition forces (Multi-National Forces Iraq) in Iraq between January 2004 and December 2009. As Jacob Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, pointed out: the deaths over five years is still an undercount.
- The database records 109,032 deaths in total for the period
- The database records the following death counts: 66,081 civilians, 23,984 insurgents and 15,196 Iraqi security forces
Nearly a year ago the last convoy of US soldiers pulled out of Iraq, and now President Obama uses drones to kill people with even less oversight than in Iraq.
Louis Theroux asked Jimmy Saville in 2000 [full transcript here]
“So why do you say in interviews that you hate children, when I’ve seen you with kids, and you clearly enjoy their company and you have a good rapport with them?”
Jimmy Savile: “Wrong.” (Takes cigar out of mouth – yes, he’s smoking in an enclosed car, windows shut) “Obviously I don’t hate ‘em. That’s number one.”
“Yes. So why would you say that, then?”
“Because we live in a very funny world. And it’s easier for me, as a single man, to say “I don’t like children” because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt.”
“You’re basically saying that tabloids go – pursue this whole ‘is he isn’t he a paedophile’ line.”
Jimmy Savile: “Yes. How do they know if I am or not? How does anyone know if I am, or not? I know I’m not.” *pause* “Ho, ho, ho.”
From another perspective, nearly thirty years before that conversation with Theroux, a BBC producer named Wilfred De’Ath was doing Teen Scene in 1964 and wanted Savile, presenter of Top of the Pops, to appear on it. De’Ath says:
“He had a shocking reputation for young woman – it was generally known he was into young girls”.
Warning: this blog discusses rape.
Tomorrow, Julian Assange is invited to speak on human rights and diplomatic asylum, via weblink from his room in Knightsbridge, at a UN event for permanent representatives to the UN General Assembly.
From Live on RT, which is to broadcast the event:
Julian Assange will address permanent representatives to the UN General Assembly at a high-level talk on the legal and ethical legitimacy of diplomatic asylum. RT has exclusive rights to broadcast the event live from the UN headquarters in New York. [Note: this will be at 8:30pm in New York, so half an hour into Thursday morning in London.]
Among those joining Assange for the panel discussion at the 67th General Assembly Debate on Wednesday will be Ricardo Patino, Foreign Affairs Minister of Ecuador, and Baher Azmy, the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.