Assange and More Fallacies


I’m going to be doing a significant bit of blogging in advance for the next week or so, as I’ll be attending Science Online 2011 shortly, followed immediately by visiting Minnesota and a number of people I’ve grown to adore and miss terribly since meeting them on our honeymoon this past June. Blogging will probably be sparse, as will activity in the comments (though I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on things at the absolute least, so no funny ideas!). I’ll try to liveblog a few of the discussions, if not all of them; and if I can’t manage that (dunno how the netbook battery is going to last, it’s only a 3-cell!), then at least I’ll take copious notes and turn them into something worth publishing after the fact.

So with that, let’s get a few posts into the hopper, shall we?

Stephanie Zvan’s ongoing series, which examines the absolutely ridiculous number of tropes that people have developed while grasping for any argument to use in defense of Julian Assange, continues with three more posts. I’ve covered the first one personally, but it definitely bears repeating.

Assange and Sex by Surprise:

I wasn’t expecting to have to write this post. I thought this issue was done when the charges for which the Swedes were requesting Assange be arrested were read out in a British court. I should have known that no bad information dies in a situations like this. But no, just two days ago:

The original Swedish charges were for Sexual Surprise- a term that doesn’t have an equivalent here in the US and that carried a $750 fine. There is nothing in the original post that supports a charge of rape or assault–if you define rape as an act of sexual violence and assault as an act of physical violence.

The myth has merely morphed from “Assange is being charged with this ludicrous crime” to “Assange was charged with this ludicrous crime before…something happened.” However, despite the attempts to continue to fit it into the evolving reality of the legal process, it simply isn’t true.

Assange and Lover’s Revenge:

In short, in order to believe that the post Ms. A translated is anything like a blueprint for what happened, we would have to believe that Ms. A viewed Assange’s behavior as (1) beyond forgiveness, (2) emotionally comparable and proportional to being charged with rape, and (3) worth having her life torn apart and her privacy violated. We would have to believe that Ms. A’s friends agreed with her to the point of being willing to lie to the police about what she told them when instead of telling her to snap out of it and get a life.

Assange and Eyes on the Prize:

The basic idea is that by telling the world that rape allegations are to be taken seriously, those of us engaged in the process have been keeping people from talking about Wikileaks, its work, and the very serious threats it’s under from various governments. By focusing on this narrow issue (then more broadly construed as identity politics), we’re missing the big picture.

While I’m sympathetic to the frustration that the rape allegations have gotten far more press recently than the appalling lengths to which politicians and governments have gone or advocated going in the attempt to shut down Wikileaks, this particular argument isn’t going to fly. Why? Because we were there first.

I noticed that there are very few comments on these posts. I have further noticed that the posts that get the least comments around here, are posts that everyone generally agrees with or can find no valid counterargument against, and stupid Youtube nonsense. Since this post series contains no embedded videos, I’d assume the former. But just in case, I strongly encourage you to read this, especially if you’ve already read the other posts in the series. The nonsense being argued by the blind followers of Julian Assange really needs to be put to bed.

And don’t get me wrong. I support Wikileaks. Maybe not materially, but I’m totally with them in spirit. But as I’ve argued elsewhere, its founder is not Wikileaks in toto. Wikileaks has a separate and distinct existence. Do not conflate them.

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