On Assange.

I always welcome the thoughts (and the company) of the Palace’s loyal reader, fellow protester, and treasured commenter Mr. Born.  But, as loyal readers are all too well aware, I do suffer from an intractable case of SIWOMB (Someone Is Wrong On My Blog!) syndrome.  So when the good Mr. Born comments thusly on my post from yesterday:

Thanks for the week’s update Iris, shades of Dennis miller and Seth Meyers!

But I am surprised at the Assange comment. Maybe you were torn between freedom of speech, a feeling of annoyance about how the US govt acts, world govt acts trying to keep some things secret, etc – but, an accused sexual abuser avoiding charges? I feel that he’s creating a smoke screen, ignoring the charges against him and hiding behind a big conspiracy theory, “Sweden wants him simply so they can ship him to the US” Seriously? I think we’ve bigger fish to fry than someone who posts classified documents online. He is accused of breaking a law and he’s doing his best to avoid the consequences. And if the UK charged the embassy, I did not read that anywhere. They said “they could” but as far as I know, they did not. His stance is like me doing an illegal substance and being caught and prosecuted, then saying the real issue is the govt is coming after me because I read blogs or articles that are anti current government actions and creating a huge smoke screen, hoping people wouldn’t notice that I actually DID use an illegal substance.

Pussy Riot? The best publicity they could possibly have, to further their careers! And all the musical artists that are now crying fowl, where was Madonna on the Al Weiwei situation? I am not a fan of any religion – but am thankful for their amazing architectural gifts to the world, but if I was going to protest, I would not do it in a church. Front steps maybe, around the corner, but to go into a church and interrupt a service for a protest is a touch over the top. Maybe the sentence is too harsh, but to ignore it and claim “artistic freedom” is – like Assange, a smoke screen.

…well, it really should surprise no one that what’s about to follow is a thorough consideration, examination, and ultimate demolishment upon the rocks of reason.

Thanks for the week’s update Iris, shades of Dennis miller and Seth Meyers!

Well, gosh.  Seth Meyers?  *blushes*

But I have to add that it’s a good thing for you that I have learned through many years of therapy to take everything as a compliment—lest any comparison to the occasionally witty, but intractably conservative, Dennis Miller invoke the Palace wrath.  ;)

But I am surprised at the Assange comment.

I am surprised that you are surprised.

Maybe you were torn between freedom of speech, a feeling of annoyance about how the US govt acts, world govt acts trying to keep some things secret, etc – but, an accused sexual abuser avoiding charges? I feel that he’s creating a smoke screen, ignoring the charges against him and hiding behind a big conspiracy theory, “Sweden wants him simply so they can ship him to the US” Seriously?

Yeah.  Seriously.

First, I am not at all torn about freedom of speech, the abhorrent conduct of my own government and its allies, or the rule of law.  I think my view about all of those things is pretty clear to regular readers of this blog, and I can assure you that none of them are presently in conflict with any other.

Second, you can of course “feel” whatever you want to about Assange, or anything else—you’re entitled to your own opinion.  But!  You are not entitled to your own facts.  And your claim that Assange is “avoiding charges” in Sweden is demonstrably false:

[As] both Assange and the government of Ecuador have made clear, he is willing to return to Sweden to confront the allegations against him as long as Sweden guarantees that he will not be extradited to the United States to face other, far more grave charges stemming from WikiLeaks.

The Swedish government has refused to give this minimum assurance, and has also refused numerous opportunities to question Assange on British soil without providing a rationale why.

Third, Assange has every reason to be fearful of prosecution by the U.S.

The evidence that the US seeks to prosecute and extradite Assange is substantial. There is no question that the Obama justice department has convened an active grand jury to investigate whether WikiLeaks violated the draconian Espionage Act of 1917. Key senators from President Obama’s party, including Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, have publicly called for his prosecution under that statute. A leaked email from the security firm Stratfor – hardly a dispositive source, but still probative – indicated that a sealed indictment has already been obtained against him. Prominent American figures in both parties have demanded Assange’s lifelong imprisonment, called him a terrorist, and even advocated his assassination.

Fourth, with respect to extradition, Sweden has an unfortunate track record:

[T]hat country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

Fifth, it used to be that the American judicial system was not a Kafkaesque horror show, but it certainly is now:

One need only look at the treatment over the last decade of foreign nationals accused of harming American national security to know that’s true; such individuals are still routinely imprisoned for lengthy periods without any charges or due process. Or consider the treatment of Bradley Manning, accused of leaking to WikiLeaks: a formal UN investigation found that his pre-trial conditions of severe solitary confinement were “cruel, inhuman and degrading”, and he now faces capital charges of aiding al-Qaida. The Obama administration’s unprecedented obsession with persecuting whistleblowers and preventing transparency – what even generally supportive, liberal magazines call “Obama’s war on whistleblowers” – makes those concerns all the more valid.

So yeah.

Seriously.

I think we’ve bigger fish to fry than someone who posts classified documents online.

I really wish you were right about that.  But unfortunately for all the reasons I noted above you are wrong.

He is accused of breaking a law and he’s doing his best to avoid the consequences.

An opinion, unsupported by facts.

And if the UK charged the embassy, I did not read that anywhere. They said “they could” but as far as I know, they did not.

Well, you read it hereThey did indeed charge the embassy, in flagrant violation of the Vienna Conventions.  (There is even a picture of the police action at that link.  Which took me two seconds on Google to find.  Ahem.)   An interesting question is why you did not read that “anywhere,” especially since I consider you well-read as far as current events are concerned.  But that is another topic for another day.

His stance is like me doing an illegal substance and being caught and prosecuted, then saying the real issue is the govt is coming after me because I read blogs or articles that are anti current government actions and creating a huge smoke screen, hoping people wouldn’t notice that I actually DID use an illegal substance.

It is not clear to me whether, in your analogy, your “doing an illegal substance” is meant to stand in for the sexual assault allegations against Assange, or for his activities in connection with Wikilieaks.  If the former, your analogy breaks down because you are confessing to breaking the law whereas Julian Assange is not.  (And this should go without saying:  Assange should—like everyone else—be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a fair trial.)  If the latter, then your analogy breaks down because Assange and Wikileaks have done nothing more than Daniel Ellsburg did, or The New York Times does.  In that case, your analogy fails because no crime has been committed at all.

Shorter Iris:  evidence for the claim that Assange’s asylum request is a “smoke screen” is nonexistent, at least as far as I am aware.  I could of course be wrong about that, and you need only present some compelling evidence and sound reasoning in order to convince me that I am.  On the other hand, my claim that Assange’s fear of extradition to the U.S. is entirely justified and a superior explanation for his actions has a ginormous mountain of compelling evidence to back it up.

Seriously.  ;)

Next:

Pussy Riot?

Yes, Pussy Riot.  Don’t you love it?  I fucking love it.  PUSSY RIOT!!!!  So far, the best thing about this story for me is imagining the head fuckweasel of the Russian Orthodox church Patriarch Kirill—yes, Patriarch, and with a capital P no less—having to actually say these words: “PUSSY RIOT.”

The best publicity they could possibly have, to further their careers!

Yes!  Because serving two years in a (literal) Soviet-style gulag is TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!  These women OBVIOUSLY do not love their husbands, their friends or their families.  They clearly have no principles whatsoever beyond money and fame.  What lucky dogs, amirite?

And all the musical artists that are now crying fowl, where was Madonna on the Al Weiwei situation?

Absolutely!  Because major music stars that call out one injustice are obligated to fight every injustice, at all times, ever!  Madonna, as I noted in my original post, recently called out anti-gay legislation from the stage of her concert in St. Petersburg, and is now being sued for $10m for doing so.  But never mind.  FUCK MADONNA!  What has she done to free Bradley Manning!

Jeezus.  With reactions like this, it’s a wonder celebrities ever bother to support any cause at all.  Ever.

I am not a fan of any religion – but am thankful for their amazing architectural gifts to the world, but if I was going to protest, I would not do it in a church. Front steps maybe, around the corner, but to go into a church and interrupt a service for a protest is a touch over the top.

Then I am certain you will be able to promptly provide the Palace with some evidence that Pussy Riot interrupted a church service.  As opposed to, say, shooting a 40second long, flash-mob style video near the altar of a church, the leader Patriarch of which institution had just made a deal to use his considerable clout to support the election of a despised tyrant.

That I would unconditionally respect your decision as to where you would or would not protest in or around a church is a view that is 100% supportive of artistic freedom, by the way.

Maybe the sentence is too harsh, but to ignore it and claim “artistic freedom” is – like Assange, a smoke screen.

OMFG!  These “smoke screens” are apparently everywhere!  Aptly named, too, because as soon as you look at them, they vanish into thin air.

For good measure, here’s Pussy Riot’s new single:

Always a pleasure, Mr. Born.

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