|megpie71 (megpie71) wrote,|
@ 2010-12-16 14:05:00
|Current location:||Behind a keyboard|
|Current music:||"The Masochism Tango", Tom Lehrer|
|Entry tags:||living with the media, my opinion let me bore you with it, political polemics|
My 5c on Julian Assagne
Most of this was published yesterday as a comment on Shakesville, and it's something I've thought about for about a week or so. I figure it's quicker and easier to post it once here, and then I can link it everywhere else.
Quite frankly, the only way I can believe that the whole mess surrounding Julian Assagne has occurred with him as a tragic innocent victim of his own principles is if I'm willing to believe he's been holding the stupid ball since about the middle of last year. Which I'm not.
I'm not willing to believe this, because I believe that Julian Assagne is a media-savvy, intelligent man who is quite capable of figuring out the following:
1) Wikileaks has drawn the attention of the US government;
2) He's facing criminal charges in a foreign country; and
3) There is an existing cultural narrative of "tragic martyred hero of the Left" which can be bent to fit his circumstances and earn him good publicity at the same time.
Basically, in order to believe Assagne's particular narrative of the story, I'd have to believe he wasn't aware of the charges against him (which he has been, since about June or July). I'd have to believe he had no control over the timing of the various leaked documents Wikileaks posts (which seems unlikely). I'd have to believe in a shadowy conspiracy of US government players controlling the timing of things as unlikely as Julian Assagne's sexual activities, the Swedish court and justice system, the Wikileaks website, the global press, and the British court and justice system (which goes straight out of "unlikely" and into "Dan Brown Novel" territory). I would also have to believe that Julian Assagne has somehow grown to adulthood in a highly media and public narrative oriented culture and not managed to pick up a single hint of how things work (which I'll believe shortly after I see flying pigs, and not before).
What seems much more likely to me is the following chain of events:
* Julian Assagne becomes aware of the charges laid against him in Sweden (back around June/July this year). He hires a legal team to try and figure out what would be the best form of defence.
* Sometime between July and November, the Wikileaks people are contacted by a person in the US State Department with a huge bundle of diplomatic telegrams.
* Assagne and his legal team, aware of the legal processes in question, time the release of the cables for the point where he's most likely to be affected by extradition proceedings from the Swedish government. After all, this is manna from heaven in the situation.
* All heck breaks loose when the cables are released.
* Assagne and his media/legal team go to a great deal of trouble to portray the sexual assault charges he's up against as something which has surfaced out of nowhere. They point to the massive embarrassment of the US government following the leaked cables, and portray this as the primary cause for the whole thing.
* Assagne starts talking up the "tragic jailed hero of the left" line, trying to imply that the reason the Swedish government is asking for his extradition is because he's a rebel who's following his own principles, and pointing toward shadowy US government conspiracies as the reason why he's being "persecuted".
* Subsequent media statements from Assagne stick to the "tragic martyr being persecuted for his beliefs" narrative, and the world media, happy to have their narrative pre-supplied in these busy times, leaps on it as an explanation.
My own beliefs on the matter are that firstly, Julian Assagne is an intelligent man who is capable of figuring out how to manipulate the media and the world around him in order to obtain the best results for him. Secondly, I believe he's a man of the same generation as myself, raised in the same culture as myself, and as such would regard such behaviours as he's been accused of as not being particularly remarkable or worthy of complaint (they're not regarded as such in the Australian legal system). Thirdly, I do believe strongly that the US government, while it may be capable of quite a lot, and while it may well have its own motivations for just about everything it does (just like every other government in the world) is not at all capable of managing such a wide-ranging and far-reaching conspiracy without at least one person in the whole shemozzle deciding not to play along and bringing the whole mess down in a heap. The logistics are unreasonable. Fourthly, I believe Julian Assagne has decided playing the Tragic Martyred Hero of the Left is a good way to get chicks, and he knows perfectly well that globally known rape charges aren't a good look for this particular archetype. Or in other words, I believe Julian Assagne is not currently in possession of the stupid ball, and probably hasn't been for a long time.
I should clarify that while I grew up in an Australian culture at a similar time to Julian Assagne, this does not mean I agree with all of its views. For all I know, Assagne may not agree with them either.
I should also point out while Julian Assagne is media-savvy and using the media and his legal team to support the "tragic imprisoned leftist hero martyred for his beliefs" narrative, he isn't necessarily doing this in a cynical fashion. He may well believe some of the rhetoric he's spouting, and he may well believe the charges against him are unjustified and unjustifiable. Everyone has their own functional delusions which keep them relatively sane in a world which gets more and more insane; however, not everyone has to agree with your particular set of delusions. In particular, the Swedish legal system appears to have bought out of the Western cultural delusion which says in sexual matters, persons identifying as men are unable to understand the words "no", "not now" or "stop" in context. Mr Assagne is welcome to believe this particular cultural delusion, but he still has to face the charges against him.
My personal impression of Mr Assagne is "slick bastard" (in the Australian sense) - seeing photos of him brings me strongly to mind of a lizard or other such reptile. I'm also waiting on hearing of a long-secret diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome or chronic mental illness which could be used to excuse his actions. Yes, I'm a cynical bitch.
One of the more daft things about his particular set of circumstances is this: Julian Assagne knew for at least a year or two before these charges were laid the US government (as an institution) wasn't happy with Wikileaks (as an institution) or him as the individual who started the whole thing rolling. As such, he was presumably being very careful not to break the law in any place he was residing, in order to avoid just this kind of political manoeuvring. His biggest mistake, and the one for which he presumably was holding the stupid ball, was to think that firstly, the women in question wouldn't press charges, and secondly, that the charges wouldn't be taken seriously by the Swedish legal system. It's understandable he'd hold those two assumptions, particularly if he was raised in Australia, where the assumptions would be valid. It isn't understandable for him to think those assumptions hold elsewhere. He did something stupid. He should be facing the charges. Instead, he and his legal team are going to a lot of trouble to point at anything except his responsibility for his actions. Which doesn't really make me think positively about the man at all.
Or the teal deer version: playing the martyred hero of the Left doesn't immediately make Julian Assagne into one.
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/11037.htm