Assange to Sweden – Latest

From the Financial Times –

Ecuador’s government may ask the UK to allow safe passage for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to its embassy in Sweden so that he can respond to sex crimes allegations there.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, who is likely to meet Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague in New York next week at the UN General Assembly, said Ecuador was considering the transfer as an option to solve a diplomatic stalemate over Mr Assange, who is wanted in Sweden on allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The two foreign ministers will resume their discussions on Mr Assange’s case among other foreign policy issues.  Britain has repeatedly said it will not grant him a safe passage to Ecuador.Safe passage to Sweden would allow Mr Assange to “remain under our protection while also satisfying the demands of the Swedish justice system,” Mr Patiño said.
The British Foreign Office said on Saturday it had a binding obligation to extradite Mr Assange if he left the Ecuadorean embassy and that it fully intended to do so.  “We want to reach a diplomatic solution but need to make sure our laws are respected and followed,” said an official.

The WikiLeaks founder fled bail three months ago when he lost his legal appeals against extradition to Sweden.
On Friday, Mr Patiño also hinted at fresh developments in the Swedish case against Mr Assange, saying that “several elements of proof have been dismissed.”

Mr Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador in mid-August, having been holed up since June in its London embassy, where he enjoys diplomatic protection.
Mr Assange has said that once in Sweden he would be at risk of being extradited to the United States because of WikiLeaks’ whistleblowing activities and involvement in publishing of thousands of secret US diplomatic and military cables.  Both Stockholm and Washington reject the claim.

“I think Ecuador is making a huge effort to resolve the diplomatic problem and protect Assange from the gorilla in the room: persecution by the US,” Michael Ratner, Mr Assange’s lawyer in New York, told the Financial Times.  “Ecuador is suggesting many solutions.  We hope the UK is likewise willing to come to a solution.”

Mr Assange is seeking asylum from a government that has a controversial attitude towards independent media. “If he sets foot in the US, it is very likely that he won’t see the light of day,” said Mr Ratner.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ec97e5ae-04a9-11e2-b64f-00144feab7de.html#axzz27Jo0uttS

Seems perfectly reasonable to me.  Sweden gets to question Assange in Sweden and he remains protected from any US machinations by the Ecuadorian embassy.

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It’s Rape, Jim…. A Clarification.

I have had quite a bit of feedback following the publication of my blog post “It’s Rape, Jim.  But Not As We Know It.”   To all who took the time to offer me constructive criticism, thank you very much indeed.  The following is some clarifications and updates based on the negative comments I have received in recent days.

While I was writing in the opening paragraph what rape meant *to me*, and not what it meant in Law or in a dictionary, I acknowledge that my impressions were naive and poorly written.  Rape does not need to be accompanied by violence or the threat of violence.  This point was put strongly to me by posters to the blog and by female friends of mine, some of whom have actually been victims of rape.  So I apologise for my limited perspective as shown in that opening paragraph, and readily concede I was wrong.  As a poster called EdinburghEye pointed out, there are multiple varieties of rape, and not all require violence or menace –

1.  You could set up a situation where, without saying a word of menace, you make clear to the woman there are unpleasant consequences to saying “no” to you.  (a) You’re her boss or have influence in her career (b) You’re say the driver and you make a sexual proposition in the car miles from anywhere (c) you’re a lot bigger than your target, alone together, and she couldn’t physically stop you and you make that clear.

2.  As you say, you could just wait until she’s asleep and then do what you want.

3.  You could get angry and unpleasant if she says “no” until she learns from fear of your temper not to say “no” even if she really isn’t feeling anything sexual for you any more.

4.  In the context of a long-term relationship, you could become a nagger for sex such that your partner knows she won’t get any peace, once you demand sex, until she gives in.  Then you can rape her regularly because she knows that she has no choice until the day she decides to ditch you.  And you might be a very pleasant person otherwise. You can even tell yourself it’s not rape, even though she doesn’t want it, because she “consents” – ie she knows the consequences of saying “no” mean you will keep on at her and whine and moan and refuse to let her sleep no matter how tired she is, because you don’t care what she wants, only what you want.

And that is the essence of rape. Overriding what the other person wants: just taking what you want.

I accept all of this without reservation.  My critics are right on this point, and I was wrong.  I ask forgiveness for any offence my myopic view may have caused.  A fabulous article about what rape actually is can be found on the EdinburghEye’s blog.  I found it very informative indeed.

It was put to me by some that, as a man, I have no idea about sexual assault, rape, and predatory males.  This is not quite true.  I was a victim of an attempted sexual assault by a man when I was about 13 or 14.  A man, who I did not know, but who knew me as a player for the school football team, approached me one Sunday while I was out for a walk along the shores of the River Clyde at Dumbarton.  He pulled a knife on me, and pushed me to the ground.  He tried to pull my trousers down while waving the knife in my face.  Somehow I managed to struggle free and ran faster than I ever have back home.  It was a fortunate escape.  It turned out the man had a string of offences against young boys to his name.  In mitigation, I would say this event has possibly coloured my view of what rape is or is not.

Regarding the allegations against Julian Assange, I acknowledge that to echo George Galloway’s view on what the allegations amount to was hasty of me.  If the allegations are 100% correct, they amount to far more than “bad sexual etiquette” as George stated.  They amount to a criminal act (in Sweden) if true.  Initiating sex without a condom with a person who has expressly asked you to use one, is more than just bad form, it is a terrible liberty to take, and arguably a sexual molestation offence.  Whether it amounts to ‘rape’ or not is another matter altogether.

“If initiating nocturnal sex with a sexual partner who is half asleep is rape, then every girl I have ever slept with is a rapist, and so am I…”

When I wrote this I was thinking of the many, many times I have woken to find a girlfriend playing with my penis, or even engaging in penetrative sex.  This has happened to me several times.  I do not regard that as me being raped.  But I accept that it is of a different order of magnitude from that alleged against Julian Assange, as I, for one thing, am unlikely to end up pregnant.  Neither did any of my girlfriends try anything that I had previously refused consent to.

I hope this addresses some of the concerns that have been put to me.  I still think the pursuit of Assange stinks to high heaven, but I am open to persuasion.  If there is anything else, please feel free to get in touch.  I am not arrogant enough to think I am always, or even mostly right, and welcome differing perspectives and viewpoints.  Thanks again for reading, and commenting.

http://www.thenation.com/article/169632/julian-assange-justice-foreclosed#  (interesting article with VERY interesting comments)