Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Julian Assange Vs Lisbeth Salander

Julian Assange: Or should we say Man with a dragon tattoo?
I recently read a profile of Julian Assange in the New Yorker. As a friend said in a comment to a previous blog on Wikileaks: "it had the effect of watching a thriller with elements of drama."

It reveals a troubled childhood, a genius mind, an amazing ability with computer hacking, problems handling relationships, trouble with authority, a leaning towards paranoia, a slight air of vulnerability, a fierce desire to fight for justice and all sorts of curious links with Sweden (his most important servers are based out of the country). And then it struck me. Julian Assange is actually Lisbeth Salander: the famous girl with a dragon tattoo.

Fact and fiction seem to diverge on one important point though: Lisbeth Salander was a victim of sexual abuse, and Assange is accused of commiting it in Sweden.

11 comments:

anonandon said...

Now if only he'd get some piercings and breast implants.... :-P

globalbabble said...

hehehhehe...

Yet Another Anonymous said...

Fact and fiction diverge on at least one other important point. While Lisbeth Salander was horrendously abused (we were all eye witnesses to the fact) Julian Assange has only been accused of having consensual sex that is somehow being construed as rape and molestation (a fact none of us are witness to).

Lisbeth retaliated with extreme violence, at least according to the movie, and Julian so far has not displayed violence.

Does Julian Assange really have a fierce desire to fight for justice, or does he have a fierce desire to portray himself as someone who does? From the things I've read there is at least as much evidence for the latter as for the former.

However much I may believe Assange is ego driven more than altruistically justice driven, I applaud Wikileaks as an organization. There should be a clearinghouse for whistleblower information, we ought to know when representatives in our governments are committing crimes or engaging in unethical or immoral behavior. For instance, when US taxpayers fund the display and sexual use of young boys for allies, taxpayers should know, especially when the company responsible has formerly been involved in underage sex trafficing in other areas of the world.

globalbabble said...

Hi Yet another anonymous,

Which company are you talking about? I must have missed that bit on the cables.

globalbabble said...

Here are the details of the Assange rape case:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/world/europe/19assange.html?pagewanted=1&ref=global-home

Yet Another Anonymous said...

The company is Dyncorps, Chetna. They were involved in the same sort of stuff in Bosnia a few years ago.

Yet Another Anonymous said...

Your posts on Wikileaks and Assange have been on my mind a lot over the last few days. You raise interesting points.

I've read the accuser's side of the "rape" case details and it doesn't sound much like rape to me. Most times rape victims don't maintain relationships after the rape, but these are Europeans... It sounds more to me like a case of two women who've discovered they've been sleeping with a manslut and want to get revenge, per the plan laid out by one of the hapless victims on her blog.

Some femininists consider all male/female sexual acts to be acts of male aggression. From the two articles I've read of the details it seems the Swedish prosecutor is weighing the degree of force Assange used in allegedly having sex with his rape victims without bilateral consent to no condom use. All must agree that for any act of sex to be completed some degree of force must be used, so it looks like in the end this will come down to a court argument over net use of force- the implication being that the degree of resistance (not detailed in the articles) used by the victims minus the force used by the rapist will provide the net force used- will the court decide that net force meets the Swedish standards of rape? Only time will tell.

Yet Another Anonymous said...

The real hero in all this, to me, is Bradley Manning. He claims that he found incredible and horrible things while rummaging around in the defense department computers. Judging by the response of the US State Department and Pentagaon I believe he just might have. Manning had to have known what would happen when he was exposed, and he had to know that he would be exposed. I suspect exposure will no longer be his problem, I predict he will get about as much exposure from now on as Manuel Noriega had after his arrest.

I find it interesting how little has been said about the Dyncorp cables and their former troubles with child sex slave trafficking, their other forms (along with Haliburton) of human trafficking they've been caught engaging in, and the fact that Dyncorps contracts to some state agencies domestically to provide support to Child Protective Services.

Tolerance of this sort of behavior comes when people are willing to justify any behavior as being for the "good of the community", the global community in this case. If the US can foster internal security in Afghanistan by supplying Afghan police officers with boys for sex, then don't we all benefit? If UN troops need the services of young girls to entertain them while they selflessly serve in war torn regions, doesn't the global community likewise benefit? And if a little profit can be made along the way selling humans, why, what is wrong with that? Can't a global government have two purposes? (this argument was used in the Iran-Contra hearings when the founder of The Enterprise was asked why he profited so much in the arms for drugs for arms deals). And besides, the US government, at the highest levels, has a zero tolerance policy for human trafficking. As Haliburton has explained, it is neither practical nor possible to enforce foreign policy objectives in the recruitment activities of it's subcontractors. Who cares about a bunch of third world peasants anyway? Certainly not the stockholders of companies like Haliburton and Dyncorp, who are certainly on the side of good and civilization and maintaining American hegemony; both the extreme right and left are together on this as can be seen in the works "The Grand Chessboard" from the left, and "Project for a New American Century" on the right.

One of the pleasures I derive from your blog is the enthusiasm you display for life and your career. I wish I still had those blessings of youth. I can't share your faith in the good of government as a given though, or of any right of government to privacy. I sometimes wonder if you know that India is a target of US foreign policy, that the US in engaged in building a corridor from Irag to India that will allow NATO forces to establish permanent bases to keep an eye on you Easterners who want to challenge western dominance.

In truth it is not the average citizen who has these dreams of western empire, those dreams belong to the people who run the financial, industrial, and defense establishment, people like the movers and shakers at Haliburton and Dyncorp who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

To your assertion that democratically elected governments are mandated by the people to govern, I add the caveat that such governments are mandated to govern only within the legal boundaries accepted by the people. Extra legal activities carried out in secret are not the mandate of the people.

I hope I don't seem antagonistic in this reply, some of this is meant as dry humor and I really do appreciate your ability break things down into essential questions.

globalbabble said...

Hi Yet Another Anonymous,

Hmm... I detect sarcasm here :)

You are not the first person to accuse me of naivete. Sid is constantly banging on about it. Thankfully, god gifted me with a very thick skin.

There are a few things that I find peculiar about the West.

A) Both liberals and conservatives take a very patronising attitude towards India, which is uncalled for if our recent histories are anything to go by. We are niether stupid nor powerless. At every global arena, India has only - and I mean this in the best and worst sense - looked out for itself. We haven't been steamrolled into doing anything they didn't care for: we didn't sign the NPT, we scuttled the Doha WTO rounds, we did not join the Iraq War, we did not allow a referendum in Kashmir, we did a nuclear deal with America, and now we are refusing to make any commitments for the reducing our CO2 emmissions.

As an average American, I don't know what image you have of India. But believe me, it would be very difficult for Western companies to do anything without the express permission of the Indian government. And that the Indian government itself is massively corrupt cannot be ignored.

B) So many people in the West seem to have lost their faith in democracy. And yet, the only reason they think democracy doesn't work is because they don't know what life is like outside of it. I am not saying that it gives anyone the right to bomb another country to introduce democracy - but it is a far better system of governance than anything experimented with otherwise. (Though my Chinese friend would vehemently disagree here). It has problems, but in order to adress those problems you have to have the enthusiasm for the system in the first place. We in India with all our problems, have so much enthusiasm for it - which I find missing in the West. Why is that?

I guess, I have not answered all your questions and points but we can convert this into a conversation perhaps!

Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I appreciate it, and the fact that you take the effort to write down your thoughts on it.

Yet Another Anonymous said...

Hi Chetna,

I have only a general sense of India, of India being once a country of great riches and culture, then a colony, and now a country in transition to a new era of greatness. Most people here don't give India much thought, except now and then to complain about the loss of jobs to India.

The average American doesn't think too much about India, but India is seen as a threat by some of our think tanks who fear an Indian-Russian or Indian-Chineese alliance.

I don't see what's to fear if we truly honor the precepts of our constitution. I don't see how bad can come of many prosperous nations trading freely (true free market trading, not the WTO version: I am spekaing of trade conducted with sound money and not fiat money), and I don't see how bad can come of all nations striving for prosperity.

We haven't lost our faith in democracy, we've just given it away in bits and pieces by forming a too powerful federal government whose bureaucracies span administrations. We've also given away control of our currency to private bankers, and with that we've given away our economic freedom.

One key to our lack of enthusiasm may be our overall lack of education. I think you might be shocked at what passes for education in our public schools now. We are almost too uneducated to understand the things we need to understand to govern ourselves properly so we just let the professional politicians do it for us. We no longer have a basic understanding of the difference between a natural right and a civil right or why a natural right is better. We have people who no longer have any understanding of what money is or how it works or why a nation's currency is so important to both the material and spiritual health of a nation.

We have more the appearance of a democracy than a democracy (notwithstanding that we are supposed to be a democratic republic, not a democracy). Our elections are a polling of public opinion conducted so the rulers will know how best to pitch the government they wish to impose upon us.

Let's talk more about this when you have the time. For now it is my bedtime.

Yet Another Anonymous said...

Your question about our lack of enthusiasm for our democracy actually has a clearer and simpler answer than I've given you so far.

The answer is that our government does not really operate so much as a representative democracy. This is because of something called critical theory, a movement that began when Marxist theorists re-targeted the revolution from the proletariat to the middle class after the predicted global worker's revolution failed to materialize after WW I.

Critical theorists came to the US from Germany and ensconced themselves in the premier institutions of higher learning and launched various critical projects, one of which has been critical legal theory, which gave birth to identity politics. Identity politics is a divide and conquer theory that pits one group of people against all others based on some factor members of a group identify themselves by.

The main thrust of critical legal theory is that man is incapable of designing a just legal system so if the proper enlightened individuals are placed in the right positions those individuals can by fiat declare new laws. So now we have a situation where the judicial branch makes laws from the bench, and the executive branch makes laws from the oval office, bypassing the will of the people represented by congress.

The executive and judicial branches now have the de facto power to say "we don't agree with that law, so we won't obey it". Formerly this power was left to the people in the form of juries. Suppose a person committed a crime with a particular penalty. In former times, when we were more educated about how our system is supposed to work, juries had the duty of judging both the law and the facts of the case in any particular case; thus, even if a jury found that a person had committed the crime accused of, the jury could nullify the law as being inapplicable if the person had acted as any reasonable person would in those circumstances, within the judgement of the jury.

When the people are subjects of the state and not in themselves the sovereign, then that is no democracy, and that is what we are unenthusiastic about.