I've been pretty ambivalent about this entire Julian Assange business since it happened; through the whistle-blowing, allegations and media circus. Frankly, I found most of the WikiLeaks stuff to be dull boring and of interest only to people who want to see the USA military cast in a bad light (no bad thing there, really) or those who believe that we never get the full story of anything that involves covert work by any government.
You had to be slightly stupid not to see a correlation between Assange the press hero and the sudden allegations of his being involved in 'illegal sex acts' with two women in Sweden. The timing suggested a conspiracy and, of course, because the man targeted was, by default, a conspiracy theorist (and they're all barking mad paranoids), you can fill in the blanks.
Over the last year or two, Assange has fallen from press darling to grubby little sex offender. His stock, so high at the height of his site's whistle-blowing, has suddenly become untouchable. Defenders of his name have disappeared into the back streets and suddenly there are a bunch of moral high ground advocates all saying that the Australian should face his accusers and suffer the consequences of his alleged actions.
Assange is basically accused of raping two Swedish women; but this is where it gets slightly odd. Sweden has one of the strangest rape laws in the world and one can be deemed to have 'raped' a woman if a number of things haven't been met. For instance, in Sweden it is technically a rape if you have penetrative sex with someone without a prophylactic and the woman hasn't been told you ain't got a rubber on. There are also obscure laws that suggest that having two concurrent affairs is also bordering on the dodgy side of the law, especially if neither party are aware of the other and penetrative sex is taking place without a prophylactic (I'm thinking this is something to do with sexually transmitted diseases or perhaps odd Swedish morals).
Now, just to cloud the issues, neither woman approached Swedish police until a considerable time after the alleged offences took place - not that unusual, a lot of rape victims will not go to the authorities for a long time - and, it has come to light, that one of the women 'victims' is a radical feminist activist with a history of her own politically motivated offences. Now, to make things even more weird, the two had consensual sex - this is not argued; however, Assange's condom broke and he did nothing about it, thus evoking the law mentioned above. Assange and the woman went to dinner, attended some meetings and generally hung around each other like two people involved in a relationship. It is not denied by anyone that Assange has a high sex drive and has used his notoriety to bed women.
The other 'victim', by eye witness accounts, was said to be slightly obsessed with the Australian and essentially flirted her way into his bed - we have established that Assange will fuck anything. This victim's sole complaint is that Assange refused to wear a condom on the 3rd or 4th time they had sex. The 3rd or 4th time...
It appears that 'victim #1' was a little pissed off about 'victim #2' and subsequently challenged Assange to leave her flat - where he was staying - and suddenly within a few days of him leaving Sweden he was wanted for rape charges.
All a bit odd.
Tonight on a very emotionally charged Newsnight, a female journalist for The Independent and a former diplomat to Uzbekistan almost came to blows with each other and Gavin Essler about revealing names and defending rape. It wasn't pleasant viewing and I kind of blame the usually consummate professional Essler for it descending into farce.
The female journalist was arguing that Assange is taking the piss out of the world and should go to Sweden, where the extradition treaty with the USA is much more convoluted than it is over here. She came across of the opinion that Assange is guilty; women have been defiled and the white haired 39-year old is a monster using the press and the media to avoid his destiny. I might be being a bit harsh on her, but she didn't seem to want to entertain any of the factors that cast massive aspersions over the case. She seemed to be of the opinion that if he was accused of doing something then he was guilty of it and needed to go to Sweden and try and prove he isn't. She argued, somewhat correctly, that he was using a criminal accusation like a political one and that was not right; but, argued the diplomat, these trumped up charges are there to do just that, make it difficult for Assange to defend himself in light of heinous sexual allegations and... everything had this vicious circle feel to it.
The former diplomat, however badly he behaved and poorly he put his argument across, made some very good points. He highlighted the time line of the case in Sweden; he pointed out that four other people - himself included - who have been accused of whistle-blowing have all been accused of another (sexually related) crime within a month of their whistle-blowing becoming known - the diplomat was accused of using his position to obtain sexual favours, despite there being no evidence apart from the word of a cleaner, whose story fell apart with questioning. Here was a man, not necessarily a defender of Assange who was pointing out that there are more holes in the accusations made against the WikiLeaks founder than there is genuine reason for him to allow himself to be extradited to another country to face charges that, yes, could be easily proven (one way or the other), but would also allow him to be extracted to a country with the ability to allow the US government to take him back to the USA and face a death penalty for what they view as treason and espionage.
Of course it does seem to be a very long-winded and convoluted way about doing it (one suspects that Cameron would have told Bill Vague to sell Assange to the Yanks almost immediately if he wasn't so good at hiding), but isn't that what all good conspiracy theories are?
What I can't understand is why Assange won't allow Swedish detective to come to the Ecuador Embassy and question him there; under oath or in the presence of lawyers. Or, if he would consent to that, why Sweden won't. Or if it isn't what usually happens, why not make it happen so that the entire thing stops being a rather sour-tasting media farrago.
From where I've been observing it all, all parties seem to be hiding something; lots of people are taking moral high grounds, others are defending something that is largely indefensible. Like so many aspects of the law, the general public are left wondering how much it's all costing, who is going to pay for it and why the hell hasn't some common sense or compromise been applied.
Imagine my surprise when my bogus Facebook account appeared on my Facebook homepage. Apparently B*** W*** plays Sim City and has recently played poker. This was something of a surprise to me as I had no recollection of doing any of these things. In fact, B***'s account is rarely used unless I want to boost my Bejewelled Blitz credits or play myself at Scrabble (and trust me that's more trouble than it's worth).
Oddly enough, while on B***'s page, I noticed that I was mentioned in at least three Bejewelled Blitz posts, despite me specifically stating that I wanted all my activity hidden from my Timeline - the emphasis being on my because I think that's exactly what it does; like Google Chrome's Timeline Remove, when you hide something on Facebook it doesn't necessarily mean it's hidden from everyone else; in some cases you might be the only person who can't see something and like all other Facebook fuckwittery you can't speak to, email or IM someone without first going through masses of unrelated FAQs and then not being guaranteed that someone real will see your query, if you are actually allowed to send one.
The thing is recently I've asked a couple of friends if they have played certain games or have 'liked' certain brands and no one has!
I am gobsmacked that we, as a civilisation, have allowed such an invasive and revealing thing into our lives and bow down to it like some modern day version of a golden calf.
Oh and Facebook claims there are something like 78million bogus, duplicate or dormant* accounts, which would bring the actual number of Facebook users down to about 6000gazillion. My gut feeling is there's only 5000 users all with 5000 bogus IDs or it's just all part of my imagination and when I go to sleep all of you cease to exist...
I've been sitting here for a while listening to someone talking. It was odd because there's no one out there. I checked; but because my office window is difficult to get to I couldn't be sure it wasn't two people having a theological debate down a side alley.
Finally I went into the wife's sewing room and stuck my head out of the window. It was as I suspected, a television; where it's coming from is anyone's guess. Fishwife is in France. Fuckwit's bedroom is round the back (we often hear him barking, so they must hear us shagging) and it's not coming from any of the houses opposite. It might be from the Incest Family's house, but they'd have to be massively deaf.
I came back in here and wrote the above, but the sound started to become a real irritant, so I went back to the sewing room to dispel a hunch. I looked out of the window and my suspicion was confirmed; it wasn't the TV it was the radio - Radio 4 by the sounds of things - and it was coming from Fuckwit's car. I thought his radio had just come on until I saw him sitting in the driver's seat. It's 12:50am and he's sitting in the car listening to the radio (quite loudly)!?!
- Finally done some more writing; 2500 words of actual story to go with the (now) 8,300 words of notes and history. It's a slow process, but I'm not getting bored with it; I've just prioritised both the sun and my reading around it. I know what a failure I am at some things and I don't want to monopolise the rest of my holiday with something that I'll look back on and think poorly of.
- Got lots of beer dates planned for the next 8 days.
- Woke up this morning with a really sore chest; as bad as it's been since my paramedic adventure back in July. This was, like Fuckwit and the radio, a real puzzle for reasons we will get to.
- Today I listened to the bonus CD on the first North Atlantic Oscillation album Special Edition (on Spotify) variant and am glad that I wasn't tempted to buy it for all those extra tracks. The fact I haven't been able to find somewhere I can download that specific version from either has also not bothered me in the slightest.
- Falling Skies is utter utter garbage; how and why is it popular enough to warrant being renewed? Like Haven, I gave it two series and that's too many 40 minutes of my life I'm never going to see again.
- Stopped smoking last Wednesday; a variation on cold turkey and so far I'm doing 100% excellently, which is why I'm concerned about my chest, because since Friday I've been breathing much more easily (again and at last) and today I have this horrible feeling I'm going for chest infection #3 of 2012 and that wouldn't be good as I have so much planned for the next two weeks.
- Banana squirrel