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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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66 Responses

  1. gk
    gk December 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm |

    “I certainly can’t claim that I have been”
    No kidding!

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=moore+manning+donation

  2. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm |

    We’d have to muddle through conflicting ideals of transparency and safety and freedom and security. We’d have to do the hard stuff, in other words, the stuff that doesn’t fit as cleanly into back-patting blog posts and one-time donations.

    Yes…but then I’m not sure the US is capable of having this conversation any more than we capable of talking about the myriad of social problems we’re facing right now. Instead, media personalities construct cute little phrases like “guubberment option” to polarize debate and USians eat it up. Because its easier…and I get it…when you’re worried about paying the mortgage and feeding your kids its hard to have conversations about the big picture issues. Unfortunately, these aren’t conversations we should be putting off anymore.

  3. Miku
    Miku December 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm |

    Keith Olbermann (on right now on the east coast) just mentioned Bradley Manning and the horrible conditions he’s in! Surprise, surprise. Keith isn’t exactly my FAVOURITE liberal commentator, but this is a little redeeming. :)

  4. Garland Grey
    Garland Grey December 15, 2010 at 10:01 pm |

    The New House Intelligence Chairman and others in the GOP have called for his execution.

  5. Garland Grey
    Garland Grey December 15, 2010 at 10:01 pm |

    The New House Intelligence Chairman and others in the GOP have called for his execution.

  6. Eggs Maledict
    Eggs Maledict December 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm |

    sletěl:
    Fix’d

    No, he’s charged with rape.

  7. Sonya
    Sonya December 15, 2010 at 11:09 pm |

    Wow way to defend an alleged rapist! You totally dismiss the claims of two allegedly victimized women. Didn’t this used to be a women’s issues blog and not just a bunch of left-wing talking points? If some Tea Party activist were arrested on the same charges would you callously refer to the accusers as “lying bitches?”

  8. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm |

    Can someone bounce sletěl on hir ass?

    So sletěl, you don’t think that holding down a woman while forcing a “sex act” or doing a “sex act” is rape? Because it’s rape in my book, it’s rape by US law, it’s rape by Swedish law. What law are you basing your opinion on? Moore’s law?

  9. Chally
    Chally December 16, 2010 at 12:24 am |

    Just a moderator note: Eggs Maledict is replying to a comment I have deleted, the same GallingGalla is referring to. It was from a repeat troll who slipped through moderation.

    Sonya: Jill isn’t defending an alleged rapist and has been quite far from dismissing the claims in her writing about the issue. She was referring to a trope other people have played into when she said “lying bitches” by way of pointing out how callous it is to regard women who have made rape claims as such. She doesn’t think of them as “lying bitches” herself.

  10. Henry
    Henry December 16, 2010 at 2:46 am |

    I was a member of the intelligence community (although in the Marines, not the army), and I know exactly the job that Manning was doing. Because of that, I can say this: Manning is a traitor, in the traditional sense, and he deserves whatever punishment he receives as the result of due process. When you take the job he took, you swear an oath (both written and verbal) not to reveal the information you are given access to, and the penalties for infractions are clearly explained. He brought recordable media into a secure area, unlawfully removed classified information, and knowingly disseminated that information to parties unauthorized to receive it for the express purpose of harming the United States during a time of war. He should be thankful that he is only being charged under Title 18 and not with actual treason.

  11. little light
    little light December 16, 2010 at 3:40 am |

    Except, by Manning’s own account, Henry, Manning’s express purpose was not indeed to harm the United States but to encourage its best self, one powered by an informed and conscientious citizenry. Manning definitely committed crimes against the letter of the law and oath taken–that seems without dispute. But given the chance to sell the information at great profit to the USA’s enemies or even allies, Manning refused, and instead gave the information to the public domain at great risk and self-sacrifice for no fame and no profit.
    It was absolutely an infraction, but it seems to have been motivated by the highest patriotism–that of believing your country is better than it is behaving and can be trusted and pushed to change. I pray for more servicemembers with Manning’s fearless dedication to this country’s better angels.

  12. Rkel
    Rkel December 16, 2010 at 5:56 am |

    Lucky he’s not being charged with treason?

    He didn’t give away the location of the USA’s nuclear missile locations to the Chinese government.

    He may be technically a traitor under law, but I think that just goes to show how completely archaic and useless laws about treason really are. This isn’t the cold war, the west and the USA are being threatened by terrorist groups, not the Soviet union; perhaps its time mentalities and policies adjusted to the new reality we all live under.

    I agree with little light, Manning is exactly the kind of new patriot the US needs and has desperately needed for so damn long. The state of affairs in high politics and the military is a filthy cesspit of corruption and a den of REAL, honest to god traitors. And transparency is exactly what is needed to clear the air.

  13. glasnost
    glasnost December 16, 2010 at 7:52 am |

    Frankly, once you get into this realm where a woman consents voluntarily to something because, well, she seems to like you, and then any expression of doubt or uncertainty at any point in the process, even if smoothed over at the time can be used by the person to have you thrown in jail later as we can now frame it as a withdrawal of consent, makes a lot of guys extremely uncomfortable. Of course, most women would not manipulate a process or misconstrue the extent of their doubts retroactively, but it only takes one in ten to put serious trust barriers in the way of any type of romantic process whatsoever.

    I think feminism is good. I date feminists. I read Feministe voluntarily. But this angle goes further than I’m willing to go, and I’m not the only one.

  14. groggette
    groggette December 16, 2010 at 9:55 am |

    Henry: he deserves whatever punishment he receives as the result of due process.

    OK, then let’s work on that due process bit. Bradley is currently being held, in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, in torturous conditions. And he hasn’t been found guilty of a damned thing yet.

  15. glasnost
    glasnost December 16, 2010 at 10:22 am |

    There are a lot of reasons why Bradley Manning is getting less attention that Julian Assange that have nothing to do with any feminist issue. A lot of MSM and centrists are at least wavering on prosecuting assange but have called for punishing manning and everyone like him as thoroughly as possible. Also, Assange was giving interviews three weeks ago, while Manning has been held incommunicado in a brig for seven months.

    People look at Bradley Manning’s situation and don’t feel much hope, and the very idea of him avoiding punishment is much more radical to the centrist world. He is, in short, screwed, and people make a snap judgment that his cause is futile and lost.

  16. Times
    Times December 16, 2010 at 11:10 am |

    Rkel: He didn’t give away the location of the USA’s nuclear missile locations to the Chinese government. He may be technically a traitor under law, but I think that just goes to show how completely archaic and useless laws about treason really are.

    Well, according to the Times, the Taliban is scouring these documents to try to rout out our informats over there. Not equal to the existential threat of nuclear annihilation, sure, but still very serious, and Manning knew or should have known the documents he released could be used by our enemies in this way.

    I think the broader problem people, including myself, have with Manning’s actions is that, while he may have been well-meaning, it was grossly irresponsible. This was not a case of “whistleblowing” where he knew of a discrete harm being perpetrated by the United States, and released documents speicifically relating to the wrongdoing. Rather, he took it upon himself to unload a torrent of documents on the world, and there is no way he reviewed even a fraction of them before doing so. We cannot effectively run a military or a country if every officer or agent takes it upon themself to dissimenate our secrets, with no other justification than some vague commitment to “transparency.”

  17. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 16, 2010 at 11:35 am |

    glasnost: Frnkly, nc y gt nt ths rlm whre wmn cnsnts vlntrly to smthng bcs, wll, sh sms t lk y, nd thn ny xprssn f dbt r ncrtnty t ny pnt n th prcss…blabity trolly blabity blab  

    What the fucking fuckity fuck is this shit??? One woman was HELD DOWN by her assailant, and the other was assaulted while she was UNCONSCIOUS. I don’t know if Assange committed these acts or not, but SOMEBODY did. I’m getting SICK AND TIRED of the victim-blaming and woman-hating that’s going on in these threads of late.

    Looks like another rape-apologist troll needs to be drop-kicked.

  18. groggette
    groggette December 16, 2010 at 11:41 am |

    Don’t you know GG, if you don’t specifically say “No, you cannot make sexy times with me when I am asleep” then that’s consent!

    I’ll be over here raging with you.

  19. Jadey
    Jadey December 16, 2010 at 11:49 am |

    glasnost: I read Feministe voluntarily.

    Now I’m imagining a secret lab somewhere, where captured MRAs are strapped into chairs a la Clockwork Orange with their eyelids taped open while a feminist blog feed rolls down a screen in front of them. The horror! THE HORROR.

  20. glasnost
    glasnost December 16, 2010 at 11:57 am |

    <<>>>

    One of my comments that has yet, for whatever reason, to make it out of moderation, quotes a Sweedish tabloid, allegedly quoting one of the accusers. Unless the quote is ficticious, it specifically rules out the behavior that you refer to here. Actually, you don’t know if somebody did anything like that.

    As I said, I don’t really know for sure what happened, but the situation you describe is obviously not the kind of situation i’m interested in having a conversation about.

    If you, have, you know, conversations.
    Perhaps, if my other comments get out of moderation, that will be clearer.

  21. glasnost
    glasnost December 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm |

    It will be particularly interesting and insightful to see if some of my comments were zapped for some form of incivilty while references to my nature as a rape-apologist troll suited for drop-kicking sail merrily over the dell.

  22. glasnost
    glasnost December 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm |

    Let’s try this again, slimmed down, assuming my initial point is zapped for length, and with anything remotely hostile removed, just to get to the point:

    Then there was the quote from an unnamed accuser in the tabloid Aftonbladet, clearing Assange of forcing himself on anyone: “It is quite wrong that we were afraid of him. He is not violent and I do not feel threatened by him…. The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man who had attitude problems with women.” The issue may have had to do with Assange’s willingness (or lack thereof) to use condoms, according to the Guardian.

    A lot of liberals, including me, think that what probably happened here was that Assange and his partners had an in-the-middle-of-sex-influenced discussion about condom use and they both ended up going back to consensual sex without using one. Then once both women found out about the other one they got pissed off and went to the police. I don’t know that I’m right. However, unless this tabloid is lying about the quote,
    I really doubt, since force is ruled out here, that the person who decided they really didn’t want to use a condom mounted a sustained protest against what was going on. By sustained, I mean a non-made-moot-by-later-consent-protest.

    a sequence like this is not something anyone should serve jail time for. I hate rape, but destroying a man’s life for things that seem reasonably like consent at the time and then seem to morph into non-consent later is a pretty terrible thing. I’m not sure I support jail time for anything that starts with genuine voluntary consent at all, barring the kind of terrible physical-force-behavior from the man that could probably be charged under some other type of criminal statute anyway. I’m willing to discuss it, although my expectations for civility are low.

  23. groggette
    groggette December 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm |

    rape apologism isn’t “some form of incivility”

  24. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

    As I said, I don’t really know for sure what happened, but the situation you describe is obviously not the kind of situation i’m interested in having a conversation about.

    As has been made clear, no one is assuming Assange is guilty or innocent of anything–but GG and others are getting mighty sick and tired of the “lulz it was just sex by surprise” trope going around when the actual charges are different. If the situation described is not one you are interested in having a conversation about, I don’t know what to tell you, since that’s the actual situation. Assange is charged with holding someone down and having sex with her, and having sex with another woman while she was asleep.

    Frankly, glastnost, what erodes trust is when a woman engages in a sexual relationship with a man, who then thinks that it’s okay to ignore her when she asks him to stop, or has sex with her when she’s not conscious, or that forcing himself on her when she doesn’t want to after having sex with him in the past is okay. It’s a small number of men who do this, but they’ve done it to a lot of women and are often excused by many men, who minimize the impact of this and go on and on with scare scenarios about manipulative women totally pwning the justice system (since successful prosecutions for rapes that were even videotaped have been scattershot at best). If you want to have a conversation. Ahem. That might require you to do some listening. Something we wommenfolk are told to do, but oddly enough, don’t get the same courtesy in return.

    What gobsmacks me is that far too many people jump from “I think Assange is innocent until proven guilty” to “AND THOSE BITCHES ARE LYING CIA BACKED WHORES AMIRITE??” (I mean. We don’t know if these women are liars or CIA lackeys or whatever, but that isn’t stopping any dudebros on the left from making these kinds of smears against them.)

  25. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

    STALIN! STALIN! STALIN!

    It will be particularly interesting and insightful to see if some of my comments were zapped for some form of incivilty while references to my nature as a rape-apologist troll suited for drop-kicking sail merrily over the dell. glasnost

  26. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm |

    Sheelzebub: STALIN! STALIN! STALIN!

    I haz a rilly nice stalin uniform on RITE NAOW. Not to mention the nice gold-plated CENSORZ-BANZ-HAMMAR.

  27. Henry
    Henry December 16, 2010 at 12:32 pm |

    @little light – I’m sure he tells a great story where he’s a selfless hero, and I don’t care. It’s easy to rationalize your actions after the fact. Here’s another story: a young disgruntled intel analyst, angry at the military because the system doesn’t recognize his special and unique genius, deciding he gets to make policy decisions for the rest of us. You meet guys like this all the time in the intel community, guys who are resentful that they aren’t accorded some special status because they are (they think) smarter than everyone in the room.

    @Rkel – the information he has released has directly inhibited the ability of men in the field to get information from local sources, for fear that they’ll be exposed and murdered. It puts lives in danger and hinders our ability to conduct operations. That sounds like a pretty good example of “giving aid and comfort to the enemy”.

    @groggette – that is due process in a max security military prison. The rules are different for us, and everyone knows that going in. I can guarantee you that his security officer, during his indoc for his secret clearance, told him exactly how fucked he would be if he intentionally disclosed classified materials or data. He should have paid better attention to that when he signed his NDA and took his oath.

    Basically, I have zero sympathy. He broke his oath for whatever petty bullshit personal reasons, he knew exactly what he was doing, and now he gets to suffer the consequences. That’s the way this has to work.

  28. DavidL
    DavidL December 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm |

    There is major difference between Private Manning and Mr. Assange. Private Manning released information which he had a duty to protect, and so affirmed in writing. Whereas,. Mr. Assange had no duty to protect the information we spread.

  29. Lindsey
    Lindsey December 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm |

    No, Henry, that is never due process. “The rules are different” indeed…meaning, there are no rules for the US, they don’t have to follow due process like everyone else. Please explain to me why it’s okay to torture, humiliate, murder “prisoners” who haven’t even been convicted of anything?

  30. groggette
    groggette December 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm |

    Agreeing with Lindsey. Henry, please point me to the amendment that states the Constituotion does not apply to military members.

  31. groggette
    groggette December 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm |

    (better yet, point me to that clause in the Constitution)
    /blargh

  32. JP
    JP December 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm |

    GallingGalla: One woman was HELD DOWN by her assailant, and the other was assaulted while she was UNCONSCIOUS. I don’t know if Assange committed these acts or not, but SOMEBODY did.

    Are you actually claiming that it is possible someone other than Assange assaulted the two women who’ve accused Assange of assault? On that reading, you would be implying that the two women are either lying or are confused about the identity of their attacker – and I don’t see how that is different from precisely the sort of victim-blaming objected to (in addition to being wildly implausible).

    Or is that second sentence merely there to support the pretence that you are keeping an open mind about whether Assange is in fact guilty or not, while the first describes what you actually think he did? That sort of move certainly would explain why statements like

    Sheelzebub: As has been made clear, no one is assuming Assange is guilty or innocent of anything

    sound so prima facie implausible, as does, for that matter, Jill’s assertion she is making no such assumptions either. Surely, we do not think that Assange is like Schroedinger’s cat – both a rapist and not a rapist simultaneously, until a legal process converts him into a pure state! But if Assange is possibly innocent, then something has possibly gone awry with the two women’s accusations.

    Now, we might think that even if that is a possibility, it is a possibility that ought not be mentioned in public. Or we might think that in cases of sexual assault, it is guilt rather than innocence that should be presumed (either in the public consciousness, or by the legal system, or both). A plausible argument can be mounted for both theses, especially for the second, given current social conditions. What I think is really going on is that most of us accept the second thesis. We should not be afraid to say so.

  33. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan December 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm |

    Frankly, once you get into this realm where a woman consents voluntarily to something because, well, she seems to like you, and then any expression of doubt or uncertainty at any point in the process, even if smoothed over at the time can be used by the person to have you thrown in jail later as we can now frame it as a withdrawal of consent, makes a lot of guys extremely uncomfortable.

    Just curious — do you count “keeps going, ignoring protests” as “smoothing over”? ‘Cause… uh huh. Maybe guys who believe that really should feel uncomfortable. (Or are you just making up random shit now, regardless of the actual clearly-not-“smoothed-over” nature of the accusations?)

  34. Henry
    Henry December 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm |

    @groggette – the military imposes all sorts of restrictions and penalties on service members under the UCMJ that would be considered unconstitutional when applied to civilians. Don’t we have a JAG officer that posts here from time to time? Perhaps she could offer more insight than I can.

  35. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin December 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm |

    We have to raise these issues. Because once and for all, we need to confront and decide for ourselves if the levels of secrecy that govern official US diplomacy are really as necessary as they have been argued to be. Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter what any President campaigns upon in order to get elected, we’ve seen now that the real decisions are made in secret, behind closed doors, then locked away under the pretense of national security and classified information and never released to the public.

    That is not democracy.

  36. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 16, 2010 at 4:12 pm |

    JP: Surely, we do not think that Assange is like Schroedinger’s cat – both a rapist and not a rapist simultaneously, until a legal process converts him into a pure state! But if Assange is possibly innocent, then something has possibly gone awry with the two women’s accusations.

    Here’s the thing. We will never know, and no court will ever determine whether Assange is a rapist. A court may determine whether he will be held criminally liable for rape…but that’s as far as it goes. The victims statements may be entirely accurate and he may still not be held criminally liable for rape.

    His liability or non-liability, his culpability or non-culpability is NOT RELEVANT to the institutional problems raised by every rape apologist on earth raising the same defense that they always raise: Ze is lying. Ze was asking for it. Ze is just regretting it the next morning.

    In a perfectly balanced world there would be no institutional consequences to saying X may be lying or Y may be lying. Because, well, people do lie for all sorts of reasons or for no reason whatsoever. Acknowledging that fact shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is in the context of rape accusations because their is an institutional framework that shames and blames victims and reinforces the relationships of dominance that help to perpetuate the rape in the first place.

    As an example, if you accuse someone of stealing your stereo, they may counter by saying that the stereo was never stolen, you sold it and now want to collect the insurance money. (It’s a very expensive stereo and you have no deductible on you homeowners insurance.) But that counter argument is rarely going to involve calling you a “whore”, telling everyone that you’re worthless, and saying you deserve to have all your stereos stolen because your house was painted a sexy red. And even if someone did say those things….we’d all laugh…because having your stereo stolen doesn’t mean that society perceives you as a bad or less-valued person…but being raped does.

  37. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm |

    Surely, we do not think that Assange is like Schroedinger’s cat – both a rapist and not a rapist simultaneously, until a legal process converts him into a pure state! But if Assange is possibly innocent, then something has possibly gone awry with the two women’s accusations.

    You know, I’m going to use a lot of “if’s” and “let’s assumes” in my reply to you, since my main issue is with the rhetoric regarding rape (and the double-standard about smearing and hysteria when it comes to attacking women) coming from the left. So, let’s assume away. . .

    Look–let’s assume that the benign version of the story that is often cited–that the women went to the cops to see if they could compel Assange take an HIV test since he didn’t tell them his condom broke (and let’s assume that the women agreed he didn’t know it broke until after the fact and so didn’t know to stop and put another one on). OK? We’ve got that down for the background? Fine. This doesn’t exactly paint these women as lying CIA lackeys. Yet that’s what they’re being accused of. Their personal information has been spread all over the internet, they’ve been smeared on thin evidence by some very questionable people (Israel Shamir? REALLY? Pul-eeze) that they are CIA lackeys and radical feminists who have it in for all men. They are whores who had second thoughts, they are scorned women, lying sluts with CIA ties, blah, blah, blah. (So much for the presumption of innocence.)

    I mean, look–if the story that is now making the rounds is true–the women wanted him to get an HIV test and the cops went all Dragnet for nothing–then there is no need to vilify the women. In fact, you’d think that people would be standing in solidarity with them–it would suck to have this complaint be blown up to a huge charge. It would suck to be used this way, and then be vilified and pilloried and smeared. Especially since, from what I understand, these women are Wikileaks supporters. And they are pretty damn leftist, despite what some random Holocaust-denying, Nazi-sympathizing douchenozzle on the internet claims. And IF this version of events is true, it’s fucked up that people then assume the utter worst about these women. It’s fucked up that progressives (I’m looking at you, Keith Olbermann) have uncritically parroted Israel Shamir’s smears. It’s fucked up that people are now deciding that the women are the ones who insisted on rape charges as a way to railroad Assange. And there is a lot of that drek out there. If I bought into that story (and I’m agnostic on the whole thing, so I don’t “buy into” anything regarding this whole clusterfuck), it wouldn’t lead me to believe that the women are liars or “false rape accusers.”

    If they did make charges as stated in the Guardian, if their statements to the police did reflect those charges, then I still don’t think it’s helpful to go off half-cocked on these women. (And I don’t think it’s helpful to then snark about “sex buy surprise” hur hur hur.) Because here’s the thing–we don’t know if Assange is guilty of rape and we don’t know if these women are guilty of making false charges. So fine, focus on the suspicions that these charges are only being taken seriously because of Wikileaks. Kate Harding, Jill, Melissa McEwan, Sady Doyle, and countless others have pointed this out. But it would be nice if people could be a little more nuanced in their thinking–if Assange is found innocent it does not mean the women are lying, man-hating CIA whores, and if he’s found guilty, it doesn’t mean that Wikileaks is evil and doesn’t deserve support.

    And yes–you can say, “I don’t know if he’s guilty or not” and leave it at that. When I hear of someone being charged with say, burglary or embezzlement or drug-dealing or assault or something, I can think that without my head exploding. Or I can think, “I wonder if/I am sure there is more to this story” without then jumping to the conclusion “The person who says they were victimized is a liar!” Yet in the case of rape or sexual assault charges, people feel free to jump to those conclusions.

    And that is the source of all of this outrage. Not that people are saying, “Well, I don’t know if he’s guilty, I’ll assume innocent until proven otherwise, let’s focus on Wikileaks now.” It’s “He’s been railroaded by the lying bitches! Rape victims don’t act that way! CIA connections! Hysteria over a broken condom! Sex by surprise, lulz!!1! It’s so easy to get rape convictions!!”

  38. JP
    JP December 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm |

    Kristen J.: Here’s the thing. We will never know, and no court will ever determine whether Assange is a rapist. A court may determine whether he will be held criminally liable for rape…but that’s as far as it goes. The victims statements may be entirely accurate and he may still not be held criminally liable for rape.

    Exactly! And this is precisely what makes claims (by GallingGalla, Sheelzebub, Jill, etc.) that nobody here is making assumptions about his guilt or innocence – as opposed to his eventual legal fate – so disingenuous. From the looks of it, we won’t be getting any further evidence upon which to base our assessment of him and his actions; we might at best hear the accusations and the denial repeated under oath in a courtroom. So we’ve all, as much as some would want to deny it, done the reasonable thing and decided, based on what we know now, whether we think it is more probable that he’s a rapist, or more probable that he isn’t. Those of us who think it’s more probable that he is will probably get no grounds to change our opinion, for the very reasons you mention, even if the case flounders or there is a “not guilty” verdict. We should just come out and say so.

    Kristen J.: Acknowledging that fact shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is in the context of rape accusations because their is an institutional framework that shames and blames victims and reinforces the relationships of dominance that help to perpetuate the rape in the first place.

    This is the first option I gave in my last paragraph: that we ought to deem the fact unmentionable. There are compelling arguments for this; you’ve made one just now. (Incidentally, I think there are also good arguments to be made for the second option: that in cases of sexual assault, there should be, as a matter of social policy and law, a presumption of guilt.) Unfortunately, that’s not quite the argument people have been making. We need to say very plainly: we support the women who are making the accusations and we believe they are telling the truth. We can’t say that without sounding insincere as long as we try simultaneously claiming that we’ve not made our minds up about Assange. How could our minds not be made up, if we believe the women? Paying lip-service to the presumption of innocence here is just bunk.

  39. GRITtv » Blog Archive » The F Word: Forgetting Bradley Manning

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  40. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm |

    JP: How could our minds not be made up, if we believe the women? Paying lip-service to the presumption of innocence here is just bunk. JP

    See, I think there is a huge chasm between calling someone a liar and believing their perceptions to be reflective of the truth. One option is withholding judgment, which is what I believe many people are doing here. A second option is accepting the perceptions of the victims while simultaneously accepting that those perceptions may not be entirely reflective of the perpetrator’s perceptions. This is typically what I do…but since in this particular case the women have not come forward publicly with their stories I’m still on option one.

  41. JP
    JP December 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm |

    Kristen J.: A second option is accepting the perceptions of the victims while simultaneously accepting that those perceptions may not be entirely reflective of the perpetrator’s perceptions.

    I would think in all such cases we have a prior commitment to thinking that the victim’s perceptions are the veridical ones (it being improbable that one could be confused about whether they are consenting, or misremembering it). That a rapist may fail to perceive himself as such is irrelevant. So this option collapses into the presumption of guilt.

    Kristen J.: but since in this particular case the women have not come forward publicly with their stories I’m still on option one [withholding judgement].

    I doubt that this is the position of very many people, since it seems to me that the outrage (where there is outrage in the first place) directed at those who think Assange is innocent and blame his accusers for the (in their opinion) false charges has been commensurate with the outrage directed at those who think that Assange is innocent but blame the prosecutors, not the women, for his predicament and at those who are undecided between the two defences.

  42. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 16, 2010 at 10:40 pm |

    JP: I would think in all such cases we have a prior commitment to thinking that the victim’s perceptions are the veridical ones (it being improbable that one could be confused about whether they are consenting, or misremembering it). That a rapist may fail to perceive himself as such is irrelevant. So this option collapses into the presumption of guilt.

    Accepting a victim’s perception is about deconstructing power dynamics and helping them (if they need it) to reintegrate into society. Accepting the possibility that a perpetrator may have had a different perception is about limiting the exercise of social control to the role of protecting people from harm. These are two goals that often operate at cross-purposes. The only way to achieve both is by accepting that there are different perceptions of what happened that can simultaneously be true.

  43. JP
    JP December 16, 2010 at 10:55 pm |

    Kristen J.: The only way to achieve both is by accepting that there are different perceptions of what happened that can simultaneously be true. Kristen J.

    That seems rather wrong. People can certainly be sincere in their reports while disagreeing on a matter of fact, but that doesn’t negate that there is a matter of fact. Whether I’ve been raped depends on whether I was in fact consenting to a sexual act; my lack of consent is constitutive of rape. So unless I’m mistaken about my own state of mind (which is unlikely in most cases), if I perceive myself not consenting while my attacker proceeds, rape has in fact occurred. “X has been raped and not raped” is not a plausible dialetheia.

    I don’t see how rejecting such simple realism in favour of relativism, or sceptical anti-realism, or dialetheism about rape can be conducive to justice (or whatever one’s normative ideal may be). It seems like a recipe for political paralysis, especially if widely applied.

  44. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 16, 2010 at 11:07 pm |

    JP: People can certainly be sincere in their reports while disagreeing on a matter of fact, but that doesn’t negate that there is a matter of fact. Whether I’ve been raped depends on whether I was in fact consenting to a sexual act; my lack of consent is constitutive of rape. So unless I’m mistaken about my own state of mind (which is unlikely in most cases), if I perceive myself not consenting while my attacker proceeds, rape has in fact occurred. “X has been raped and not raped” is not a plausible dialetheia.

    Two points (1) from the perpetrator’s perspective (and the ethic/criminal justice perspective) you are not ascertaining whether rape occurred, but rather whether the perpetrator committed rape. Fundamentally different inquiries and why two different perspectives may easily be true. (2) The “fact” of a matter (and you and I often end up back at this argument about truth which we should probably discuss elsewhere as it tends to annoy the crap out of others) is not necessarily reflected in either person’s perceptions.

  45. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 16, 2010 at 11:38 pm |

    JP: Exactly! And this is precisely what makes claims (by GallingGalla, Sheelzebub, Jill, etc.) that nobody here is making assumptions about his guilt or innocence – as opposed to his eventual legal fate – so disingenuous

    Oh, for the love of cheese and crackers. I am saying that doubt or questions about Assange’s guilt or innocence doesn’t make these women liars or sluts or whores or CIA tools or any of a whole bunch of misogynistic bullshit that’s being trundled out that would never be trundled out if a couple of men accused Assange of robbing their homes.

    If you do not see the difference between how these scenarios get treated: (1) dude X accuses dude Y of, let’s say, burning down dude X’s home, and there’s some doubt of dude Y’s guilt; (2) woman X accuses dude Y of, let’s say, raping her, and there’s some doubt of dude Y’s guilt; that in the first scenario most everybody is perfectly capable of acknowledging that dude X was harmed while at the same time having some doubt about Y’s culpability and that in the second scenarios it’s all “WHORE! MANHATER! RADFEM! SLUT! CIA MOLE! BITCH!” woman-hating shit – If you will not acknowledge that distinction and the utter woman-hating behind it, you are either utterly obtuse, or more likely using tl;dr masses of words to hide your own woman-hating shit.

  46. JP
    JP December 16, 2010 at 11:40 pm |

    Kristen J.: The “fact” of a matter (and you and I often end up back at this argument about truth which we should probably discuss elsewhere as it tends to annoy the crap out of others) is not necessarily reflected in either person’s perceptions.

    We really should – it’s a rare privilege to meet an actual sceptical anti-realist about everyday life (if I’m not reading too much into what you’ve said)! :)

    I still think you’re missing the asymmetry between the victim’s perception and the attacker’s perception. Sure, both of those perceptions may track truth imperfectly, just as I perceive my laptop much more imperfectly when I take my glasses off. But the victim is in an epistemically superior position to determine whether a rape is occurring. She just has to consult her own mind (and while I don’t think, as many have argued here, that introspection is infallible, I do think failures of introspection are very rare). The attacker must also perceive, from listening to and seeing the victim, whether or not she’s consenting. This would be a harder task, even in the absence of all the social factors that will skew men towards seeing signs of consent where there are none. Intent of the attacker may in some jurisdictions have a bearing on the outcome of a case; perhaps it is a legitimate factor to consider during sentencing. But it doesn’t change the fact of the matter – either a rape has occurred, or it has not. The subjective fully fixes the objective here.

  47. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 17, 2010 at 12:11 am |

    to return to Bradley Manning — sure, if he leaked to Wikileaks he broke the law, military regulations, what have you. Henry & friends are arguing that if the law and the military say you have to shoot puppies in the head, and you signed up for the military, then you have to shoot puppies in the head gosh dang it!

    What the U.S. military is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq is *wrong*. They are also lying about it. Uncovering their lies — even if by illegal means — is the right thing to do. Governments and militaries sometimes do bad things, and sometimes the only way to get them to stop is by being disobedient. Duh? Signing up for the military doesn’t have to mean leaving your moral sensibility at the door.

  48. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 17, 2010 at 1:20 am |

    Kathleen: What the U.S. military is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq is *wrong*. They are also lying about it. Uncovering their lies — even if by illegal means — is the right thing to do.

    I agree completely, but in doing so I also believe you have an obligation to limit the harm to third parties. I don’t debate this much. I know I’m coming from a place of anger and fear because I have friends and clients in that region who have been put in physical danger as a result of the recklessness with with Manning and Assange went about blowing the whistle. They could have redacted the documents to protect people and still call attention to what they saw as our ethical/moral failings in Afghanistan, but they didn’t. They could have only released relevant documents, but they didn’t. This doesn’t feel like whistle blowing, it feels like grandstanding.

  49. anonymous
    anonymous December 17, 2010 at 3:01 am |

    If he’s found to have broken laws, he does deserve punishment, as you said, after due process. The problem is he’s spent months in solitary confinement without being convicted. The kind of confinement that numerous studies found to be torture and resulting in lasting damage.
    It may actually prove counter productive, if by the time he finally is brought to trial, he’s too far gone to be declared competent.

    Henry: I was a member of the intelligence community(although in the Marines, not the army), and I know exactly the job that Manning was doing. Because of that, I can say this: Manning is a traitor, in the traditional sense, and he deserves whatever punishment he receives as the result of due process. When you take the job he took, you swear an oath (both written and verbal) not to reveal the information you are given access to, and the penalties for infractions are clearly explained. He brought recordable media into a secure area, unlawfully removed classified information, and knowingly disseminated that information to parties unauthorized to receive it for the express purpose of harming the United States during a time of war. He should be thankful that he is only being charged under Title 18 and not with actual treason.  

  50. anonymous
    anonymous December 17, 2010 at 3:17 am |

    Eggs Maledict: No, he’s charged with rape.  

    He has not been charged with anything yet. He is sought to be interviewed as part of the investigation.

  51. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 17, 2010 at 4:58 am |

    No, JP, I’m not being disingenuous. I haven’t heard the evidence, therefore I cannot make a judgement if he’s guilty or innocent. It would be nice if the folks who have been spreading around smears about the women in this case would take the same tack about them, but I don’t see much concern with the presumption of innocence, etc. when it comes to women.

    But whatever. Look, if you insist on being so simplistic in your thinking that’s your issue. It’s really not my problem if you refuse to even read my reply to you and instead insist on either/or thinking. I outlined quite clearly where the outrage was coming from on the part of a majority of the feminist community online–and it is not from some hang him high sentiment.

  52. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 17, 2010 at 9:43 am |

    Kristen J — you have been misinformed. Wikileaks *asked* the U.S. military to redact the documents before posting and they refused. If you think your clients and friends are in physical danger in the region because of Wikileaks and not because of U.S. policy, you are willfully misinformed.

  53. Henry
    Henry December 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm |

    Henry & friends are arguing that if the law and the military say you have to shoot puppies in the head, and you signed up for the military, then you have to shoot puppies in the head gosh dang it!

    What the U.S. military is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq is *wrong*. They are also lying about it. Uncovering their lies — even if by illegal means — is the right thing to do. Governments and militaries sometimes do bad things, and sometimes the only way to get them to stop is by being disobedient. Duh? Signing up for the military doesn’t have to mean leaving your moral sensibility at the door.

    Ridiculous example aside, what I’m arguing is that if it is known policy that we’re shooting puppies, and you sign up and then sign a document that you will faithfully execute your duty of shooting puppies or risk prison time, then you should do your job or suffer the consequences. This kid allegedly used the phrase “information should be free” in correspondence. Um, no dude. Your job is in intelligence; your whole function is restricting access to sensitive information, which you agreed to in writing. Nowhere in the NDA does it say, “unless you decide, in the infinite wisdom of a 22 year old junior enlisted, that you have a moral issue with how we prosecute national policy”. I know this to be true, I administered these documents to Marines personally.

    What the United States is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is a matter of national policy under the control of the CinC and civilian leadership. A fucking PFC doesn’t get to decide the morality of the entirety of US foreign policy. The military provides a method for dealing with moral issues, in that you are not required to obey an unlawful order. “Don’t download damn near everything on SIPRnet and send it to some douchebag” doesn’t meet that criteria.

    As far as his conditions, I would agree that there is an issue with the length of his pre-trial condition. But holding him in isolation is what happens when he is a proven security risk. They’re not going to let someone who has had access to classified information and shown a willingness to disclose it mix with other prisoners.

  54. Liz
    Liz December 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm |

    Do we recognize a valid need for confidentiality between journalists and sources? Why do we recognize the right of a journalist to protect a source? What social benefits does that type of confidentiality provide? How does journalism, as a profession, balance the need for this type of confidentiality with a broad sense that the public has a need to know certain information?

    Why do commentators seem so thrilled that the confidentiality between diplomats and sources has been breeched? Why would a diplomat compiling the annual Trafficking in Persons report want to protect the identity of a source? When LGBTQ activists and opposition candidates provide information or insight to diplomats with the understanding that those diplomats provide a relatively safe means of publicizing their concerns in a repressive environment, what benefits are realized? When the State Department provides reporting on human rights issues and international religious freedom (reporting often cited and built upon by a variety of institutions and organizations), how do they balance the public’s need to know with the protection of sources?

    Trafficking in Persons report, which for the first year also evaluates the US government response to trafficking issues:
    http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/

    Human Rights Report:
    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/

    International Religious Freedom Report:
    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/

  55. Jim
    Jim December 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm |

    little light: Except, by Manning’s own account, Henry, Manning’s express purpose was not indeed to harm the United States but to encourage its best self,

    That has no legal bearing. He basically swore away his individual judgement in the matter, and that is a very, very important principle if you want to manage the actions of people and organizations entrusted with massive lethal force. That’s the point Henry was making.

    I happen to think that these actions are going to turn out to good for the US, if you look at them separate from the actor. But Manning sacrificed himself, and knowingly, to perfomr what may ultimately turn out to be a patriotic action.

    groggette: OK, then let’s work on that due process bit. Bradley is currently being held, in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, in torturous conditions. And he hasn’t been found guilty of a damned thing yet.

    Thank you, groggette, for pointing this out. It’s important, he is being punished before conviction.

  56. Naomi
    Naomi December 18, 2010 at 11:02 am |

    It didn’t go down that way. The women didn’t accuse JA for rape. They told their story to the police and the procecutor decided to start an investigation. Here in sweden rape is a not a complaint between persons but rather the state against a person who might have comitted a crime. As a woman all you have to do is tell your story and the officials decide if they are going to start an investigation and press charges. There are benefits for women in this since many women who suffer abuse often retract their statements because of fear or other pressure, such as being labeled a “lying bitch”. Rape is a serious crime and the law here in Sweden is focused on consent rater than acts of violence.
    I guess it is difficult for people from other cultures to understand this.

  57. William
    William December 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm |

    A fucking PFC doesn’t get to decide

    Say he wasn’t a PFC. What if he was a Sergeant Major? Does being a CO change things? Could a Second Lieutenant? Say he was Major, does that change things? What if he was a Colonel? A Brigadier General? Could a General of the Armies make that call? At what rank does one get to make a decision?

    See, aside from the fact that you’re talking about a country rooted in the idea that what is right is what is right regardless of law or duty and human beings have the right to shoot people in order to protect what is right, the problem your argument faces is that I don’t think you’re angry about what you say you’re angry about. There is a tone of “who does that kid think he is?!” in your posts suggesting that you’re less angry about what he did than about why he did it. You’re reacting more to the arrogance you perceive than the leaking of documents. I find that disturbing.

    The bottom line is that the military had the chance to redact and passed. Any damage done to sources and folks on the ground doesn’t come down to Bradley but to the military. All Bradley did was embarrass some people. Should he get a dishonorable discharge? Sure. Should he go to jail? I don’t think so. Is he a hero and a patriot? You bet your ass.

  58. Jadey
    Jadey December 18, 2010 at 1:35 pm |

    Kathleen: Kristen J — you have been misinformed. Wikileaks *asked* the U.S. military to redact the documents before posting and they refused. If you think your clients and friends are in physical danger in the region because of Wikileaks and not because of U.S. policy, you are willfully misinformed.

    That doesn’t mean Wikileaks couldn’t have redacted portions of the documents themselves. Absolutely the US government has culpability and responsibility in this, but so does Wikileaks. Hell, that was the point – they made a huge decision, and of course it has a number of consequences, positive and negative. This isn’t a game of heroes and villains.

  59. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm |

    William — thanks for dispensing with Henry.

    Jadey — really? You can watch that video of Afghan civilians trying to help someone being shot like skeet and NOT SEE VILLAINS? You can think about a 23 year old kid in solitary confinement for bringing that to light and NOT SEE A HERO?

    You are right about one thing: it is certainly not a game.

  60. Lindsey
    Lindsey December 18, 2010 at 8:07 pm |

    The only dangers that will come from Wikileaks are dangers that the US foreign policy and the military are ultimately responsible for. This is their own fault for acting shady.

    William: The bottom line is that the military had the chance to redact and passed. Any damage done to sources and folks on the ground doesn’t come down to Bradley but to the military. All Bradley did was embarrass some people. Should he get a dishonorable discharge? Sure. Should he go to jail? I don’t think so. Is he a hero and a patriot? You bet your ass.  

    Agreed 100%. He is a hero.

    Henry: As far as his conditions, I would agree that there is an issue with the length of his pre-trial condition. But holding him in isolation is what happens when he is a proven security risk. They’re not going to let someone who has had access to classified information and shown a willingness to disclose it mix with other prisoners. 

    No, holding him in solitary confinement is torture. He hasn’t been convicted of anything. We’re not stupid, we know that the reason you stated isn’t the real reason he is being held in solitary confinement. When, exactly, is the US military going to stop acting like they are the gods of the universe and just arbitrarily deciding when they don’t feel like following the rules? This isn’t even about Bradley Manning, it’s the bigger picture we need to look at. This is about the disaster that is US foreign policy and the military that just decides it can oppress whichever people they feel like that week.

  61. victoria
    victoria December 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm |

    Being that it’s Shameless Plug day, I wanted to put in a good word for Courage to Resist, a group that’s helping coordinate the legal defense for Manning (in addition to their primary work of supporting war resisters). They have links to other support sites for Manning and you can also donate to his legal fund.

    http://www.couragetoresist.org

  62. William
    William December 19, 2010 at 1:19 pm |

    That doesn’t mean Wikileaks couldn’t have redacted portions of the documents themselves

    Sure they could have but what responsibility did Wikileaks have to redact anything? Thats the thing about journalism, journalists aren’t a branch of a government. They have no responsibility to protect a government, it’s policies, or it’s agents. Journalists exist to make information available. The more your deviate from that the closer you get to regurgitating press releases like the Washington press core or whining like Fox or MSNBC.

    Also, let not pretend that there isn’t a level of national arrogance here. Wikileaks isn’t an American company, it isn’t run by an American, and one could make a very good argument that Wikileaks holds no national allegiance as an organization. Wikileaks doesn’t owe the US, or the people who signed on to serve it in times of war, a damned thing. As a community we support our troops because they are our friends, family, and neighbors; it is a good idea to strengthen our community by treating one another with compassion and kindness even if we disagree with them. Wikileaks has no such constraint. They exist to gather and disseminate information, not to make our community and nation stronger, safer, or more effective.

    Absolutely the US government has culpability and responsibility in this, but so does Wikileaks.

    Wikileaks is only culpable for damage done if you work from the assumption that journalists have a responsibility to protect life, maintain national security, and promote policy. The difference between a journalist and a spy is that a journalist is allowed to exist out in the open and given special protections in exchange for agreeing to make what they uncover available to everyone.

    What we’re talking about here is a competing social values. You seem to value life and security more than transparency. You believe in this value so deeply that you have trouble seeing it as a value and instead see it as an objective truth. A lot of people, however, don’t hold that same value. I believe that information is good and I’m not comfortable saying that saving lives is worth withholding information. If data was that sensitive then it shouldn’t have been in a position to be leaked. Again, before Wikileaks even had access to the data the military made a mistake by giving Manning the keys to the kingdom. A big part of the backdrop of this story is that a private had access to all kinds of information they didn’t need for their job and that the computers he used to get it had no means flagging that activity.

    Hell, that was the point – they made a huge decision, and of course it has a number of consequences, positive and negative.

    Positive and negative to whom? As a journalist Wikileaks isn’t required to be a cheerleader for a nation or policy. They exist to further information, to uncover, to hurt the parts of government that shock or offend the community. The consequences you’re referring to might be personal tragedies or operational challenges, but thats pretty much a problem for the government.

    This isn’t a game of heroes and villains.

    Nor is it a game of shared culpability and cooperation. Welcome to the global community, for some people its not about being a citizen of the world but about being a stateless person beholden to none, guided only by one’s sense of right and wrong without regard for the consequences. There will always be civilization and it will always have it’s discontents. All Wikileaks did was provide a forum for an idea in the face of overwhelming opposition, I can’t think of anything much truer to the principles America was founded on, even if we seem to have lost track of them today.

  63. Jadey
    Jadey December 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm |

    Kathleen: Jadey — really? You can watch that video of Afghan civilians trying to help someone being shot like skeet and NOT SEE VILLAINS? You can think about a 23 year old kid in solitary confinement for bringing that to light and NOT SEE A HERO?

    Yeah, actually, I can – rather, I can see people: real, complicated people with real, complication motivations that have real, complicated consequences. That doesn’t mean that I can’t agree with one side more than another, but I don’t have to construct things in essentialist cut-outs to do so. Is this really so contentious? I have trouble believing that. I think it’s obvious that WikiLeaks doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be important. Manning doesn’t have to be perfect in order to deserve justice. And no one needs to be ‘evil’ to have their actions condemned and repudiated. The same person can do something awful, reprehensible, and repulsive as well as inspiring, revelatory, and courageous (and sometimes even where people disagree on which is which), and it doesn’t make them any more or less a perfectly normal human being.

  64. makomk
    makomk December 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm |

    There’s a slight practical issue here. Bradley Manning is a soldier. That means he has few rights. (Yes, seriously. This is true not just in the US, but also in other countries.) What’s more, his imprisonment falls almost entirely outside the jurisdiction of the civilian courts. For some weird reason, no-one wants to challenge or question this parallel legal system under which soldiers get very different treatment from civilians, so you’re not going to hear much about Bradley Manning in the mainstream media.

    This was just as true back when the draft was in effect and signing up to military service was not a voluntary decision (at least not if you were male).

    groggette: the only think that explicitly excludes members of the military is part of the fifth amendment, but in practice a lot more of the Constitution doesn’t apply. Can’t remember exactly why; I think the different treatment for members of the military pre-dates the constitution and may be one of those things that was so obvious to the framers that they didn’t even bother to write it down clearly.

    Henry: under the US constitution, what counts as treason is deliberately very limited. This may even apply to members of the military.

  65. Jadey
    Jadey December 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm |

    @ William

    Don’t conflate my opinions with Kristin J.’s. There wasn’t enough content in my comment for you to make the confident assertions you have about what I do and do not believe.

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