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Some days being a libertarian is kind of tempting - Tactical Ninja

Dec. 9th, 2010

10:15 am - Some days being a libertarian is kind of tempting

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OK, so I've spent the last couple of days getting up to speed on the WikiLeaks thing. It was helped along by Assange's arrest bringing a whole new angle to the story. And if I have one thing to say, it's this:


Don't get too hung up on Assange.

From what I understand, WikiLeaks will continue to do what WikiLeaks does whether he gets convicted or not. Whether he is innocent of the charges or a scumbag who assaults women is irrelevant to the value of the work he's done, and his work is now in a position where it can carry on without him.

I am, however, wondering how likely it is that anyone else who's been accused of having non-consensual sex with a woman/women and then left the country is being pursued with such vehemence by Interpol. Yes, I smell a rat. We all do. And as a woman who, like so many other women, has been a victim of not-rape, actual rape and oh-shit-that-was-rape-but-I-didn't-realise-till-later, I am absolutely furious that these charges are the ones that are being used to get him into custody so the political machine can swing into action and the US can get their hands on him to charge him with what they really want him for.

It seems to have made him a martyr to all his stans and the first thing that has happened is those who believe he can do no wrong started defending him and either saying the women are lying, or minimising the accusations. Neither of these is helpful to all the other women who have the same story but it's not regarding someone that governments want to get their hands on, so nobody cares. Women do not need more fuel for the "Women lie about rape all the time" trope. No really, we don't. We also don't need governments to suddenly start caring about our sexual rights when they have an agenda, because all it does is show us how little they care the rest of the time. And if it does turn out to be a honey trap, as some people are implying, they have just set back women's right to bodily autonomy by about 50 years. Cheers, governments.

And you know what? Whether he did it or not, whether you consider non-consensual sex to be rape or not, whether it turns out to be a $700 fine or a jail term or walking free, these charges make absolutely no difference to the contribution he's made to the world through WikiLeaks. They matter to the women involved, they matter to women in general, but do they make any difference whatsoever to your opinion of WikiLeaks and what it does? Do you really think the governments involved care about those women? Or do they just want to get their hands on someone who's a thorn in their side and are using the first opportunity he's given them? And does it matter what kind of person he is, really? Because right now he's a political football who can't really do anything except stir up emotion in people through the way others act towards him, and WikiLeaks is doing its work anyway and will continue to do so regardless of the outcome of the charges. He is no longer the thing that makes it happen.

As I said to someone else this morning, history is full of brilliant men doing great works who also treated women like shit. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

So I'd suggest that rather than being all up in arms about what's going on with Julian Assange, people look at what's going on with WikiLeaks itself, and what sort of political machinations are going on outside of where our attention is currently being focused. Because that is probably a more important thing to keep your eye on.

And I'm still taking bets on when the first leak will come through that exposes goverment plotting and collaboration aimed at stopping WikiLeaks.


Something that's really making me go *grr* this morning, much closer to home, is this: NZ's Parliament passed a bill last night that removes prisoners' right to vote. Yep, that's right folks, if you get convicted of a crime that carries a jail term, you're not a citizen any more. This means those thousand people per month who the Deputy Police Commissioner was bragging about incarcerating on cannabis offences earlier this year are not citizens any more. You get no say in the leadership of the state that incarcerates you. Awesome. I have three questions:

1. What is this supposed to achieve and how is it supposed to benefit anyone and in what way?
2. Of the reasons we have prisons, which of them does this one serve?
3. How many of the people currently incarcerated do you think were likely to vote for the current government, given the likely demographics involved?

Fucking fucking fuck. What the fuck kind of goverment is this and where exactly are they trying to take our country?

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
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Yep.

I feel safer already. You?
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
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Only by 5 votes.

Hilarity ensues, where values of hilarity include Paul Quinn being a dick.
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From:richdrich
Date:December 8th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
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I'd say it was about creating an "other", so that even if people have a shitty job in a factory or call centre, they can feel superior to the evil criminal classes. Helps keep them docile, and they way the world economies going at the moment, our rulers sure need a docile populace.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
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Weirdly, it makes me feel the opposite of docile.

I find myself wondering about the potential ramifications of removal of citizenship for breaking the law. I am assuming they'll still have to pay tax?
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From:rivet
Date:December 8th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)

Dead right

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1. I am, however, wondering how likely it is that anyone else who's been accused of having non-consensual sex with a woman/women and then left the country is being pursued with such vehemence by Interpol.

2. Whether he did it or not, whether you consider non-consensual sex to be rape or not, whether it turns out to be a $700 fine or a jail term or walking free, these charges make absolutely no difference to the contribution he's made to the world through WikiLeaks.

I totally agree with these points, which sum up my arguments about the current situation. A game is being played among commentators (conscious or not), in which these 2 issues are being linked together and people are being cornered into an awkward position. They are being asked to either (1) reject Assange (and by extension wikileaks) because you support women's rights or (2) downplay the importance of rape because you support Wikileaks. These are preposterous and unrelated.

It sounds like the man's a cad, whether these allegations are true or not. This doesn't phase me in the slightest, or diminish what I see as the very imporant (if somewhat amoral) work done by Wikileaks. The attempt to use these charges as a wedge issue--to treat it as important this ONE time that it suits the establishment--trivialises sexual assault. Grrrr.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Dead right

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Yeah. And I feel as if even speaking about it as a women's rights issue creates a false dichotomy that polarises people, when no polarisation is necessary in this.

My feelings have little to do with Assange or Wikileaks, and a lot to do with state manipulation of popular feeling - which is one of the reasons I linked it with the prisoner-voting issues. It's the same sort of thing.

;-/

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From:rivet
Date:December 8th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
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AND! (sorry, I'm now in rant mode)

This whole thing is just a red flag being waived by embarrassed nations to distract people from the actual story: the contents of the cables.

Hmmmph.
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From:ophe1ia_in_red
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Something that's really making me go *grr* this morning, much closer to home, is this: NZ's Parliament passed a bill last night that removes prisoners' right to vote.

I dare say it’s not much consolation, but way to go at being a civilised country up until this point, anyway! Here in the UK we’ve been violating human rights for 140 years (apparently) by not permitting anyone who’s in prison to vote. :(
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From:thatgirljj
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Early on, I heard rumors that Assange was a fall guy. I have no idea if it's true, and with the vehemence he's being prosecuted I have to believe it's false. But an interesting theory. If he is, he's certainly willing to take his blows.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
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Agree on all fronts!

(boring comment I know)
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From:skramamme
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
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Ugh yes, that's exactly my issue with the whole Assange situation. I am furious at how they're been used as a tool to bring this guy down- what other woman would have resources like that put into chasing their rapist? And if it turns out that it's not rape (according to an interview with the women a while back they said it was that his no condom use was non consensual but the sex itself was... IDEK) then that's just going to add to the whole "oh women always lie about rape, remember Assange?!" *grrr*
Also, what a shitty law. I hope a good lawyer fights that in court- surely it goes against the whole point of serving your time?
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From:tatjna
Date:December 8th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
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I believe that the right to vote is reinstated on release from prison, so it only affects people while they're incarcerated.

My beef with it is that it's pointless - what does it actually achieve except further othering of anyone convicted of a crime, and how does that help make anyone's life better?
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From:pythia
Date:December 9th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
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I'm also wondering, does the bill only apply to people currently in custody, or will it affect people who have been in jail once theyr released?
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From:tatjna
Date:December 9th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure it's only while in custody.
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From:fallaras
Date:December 9th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)

Not-Rape

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Never read that before...
Makes me mad...

Not quite sure who at though, sociaty for not coming down like a tone of bricks, men for doing it, women for letting it slide, lawers for arguing for the defendant/re-killing the victim, 'growenups' for not looking out for the young, pears for not looking out for each other...

In light of my background I probably should have expected to get all actavated in reading this...

watch out first person to step the wrong way in the next 3 or so hrs till I leave work...

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From:tatjna
Date:December 9th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)

Re: Not-Rape

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Yeah, it's pretty sobering.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:December 9th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
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Removing the right so of people to vote is one reason I'm not too concerned if wikileaks completely collapses the existing power structure.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 9th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
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We are living in interesting times, yes?

(i'm sure everyone does but the advent of the internet and its ramifications have made these times particularly so imo. we are participating in history being made)
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