Friday, December 03, 2010

Here's what the charge against Assange of Wikileaks actually is/He may be a cad, but he's no rapist

Arrest Warrant for "Sex Crimes" Against Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Is for "Sex Without a Condom", NOT Non-Consensual Rape Using Force

Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for "sex crimes".
Everyone assumed it was for rape.
But it turns out it was for violating an obscure Swedish law against having sex without a condom.
As Newsweek wrote in August:
A Swedish lawyer representing two women whose allegations triggered a sexual-misconduct investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has given [Newsweek column] Declassified the first on-the-record confirmation of the allegations that led to the issuance—and then rapid cancellation—of a warrant on a rape charge and to a parallel investigation into alleged “molestation." Claes Borgstrom of the Stockholm law firm Borgstrom and Bostrom, who is representing two women who said they had sexual relationships with Assange, said his clients complained to the police of Assange's reluctance to use condoms and unwillingness to be tested for sexually transmitted disease.
Borgstrom said that specific details about the the allegations had not yet appeared in Swedish media. But he acknowledged that the principal concern the women had about Assange’s behavior—which they reported to police in person—related to his lack of interest in using condoms and his refusal to undergo testing, at the women’s request, for sexually transmitted disease. A detailed, chronological account of the women’s alleged encounters with Assange—which in both cases began with consensual sexual contact but later included what the women claimed was nonconsensual sex, in which Assange didn’t use a condom—was published on Tuesday by The Guardian; a Declassified item included a more explicit reference than The Guardian to Assange’s declining to submit to medical tests.
Similarly, the Daily Mail reported in August:
'When they got back they had sexual relations, but there was a problem with the condom - it had split.
'She seemed to think that he had done this deliberately but he insisted that it was an accident.’
Whatever her views about the incident, she appeared relaxed and untroubled at the seminar the next day where Assange met Woman B, another pretty blonde, also in her 20s, but younger than Woman A.
The [second] woman admitted trying to engage her hero in conversation.
Assange seemed pleased to have such an ardent admirer fawning over him and, she said, would look at her ‘now and then’. Eventually he took a closer interest.
What he did not tell her was that the party was being hosted by the woman he had slept with two nights before and whose bed he would probably be sleeping in that night.
***‘The passion and attraction seemed to have disappeared,’ she said.
Most of what then followed has been blacked out in her statement, except for: ‘It felt boring and like an everyday thing.’
One source close to the investigation said the woman had insisted he wear a condom, but the following morning he made love to her without one.
This was the basis for the rape charge. But after the event she seemed unruffled enough to go out to buy food for his breakfast.
Today, a former attorney for Assange - James D. Catlin - has confirmed that the charges are for having sex without using a condom. He notes that:
The consent of both women to sex with Assange has been confirmed by prosecutors.
He also accuses the prosecutors of "making it up as they go along", and said that Sweden's justice system is destined to become "the laughingstock of the world" for pursuing the case against Assange.
And Assange's current London attorney - Mark Stephens - told AOL news that he doesn't even know what the charges against Assange are, but that they are not rape:

Stephens, told AOL News today that Swedish prosecutors told him that Assange is wanted not for allegations of rape, as previously reported, but for something called "sex by surprise," which he said involves a fine of 5,000 kronor or about $715.
"We don't even know what 'sex by surprise' even means, and they haven't told us," Stephens said, just hours after Sweden's Supreme Court rejected Assange's bid to prevent an arrest order from being issued against him on allegations of sex crimes.

"Whatever 'sex by surprise' is, it's only a offense in Sweden -- not in the U.K. or the U.S. or even Ibiza," Stephens said. "I feel as if I'm in a surreal Swedish movie being threatened by bizarre trolls. The prosecutor has not asked to see Julian, never asked to interview him, and he hasn't been charged with anything. He's been told he's wanted for questioning, but he doesn't know the nature of the allegations against him."

The strange tale of Assange's brief flings with two Swedish women during a three-day period in mid-August -- and decisions by three different prosecutors to first dismiss rape allegations made by the women and then re-open the case -- has more twists, turns and conspiracy theories than any of [Swedish novelist] Stieg Larsson's best-sellers.
So Assange might be a cad for sleeping with 2 women within a couple of days, and he might be irresponsible for having sex without a condom and then failing to submit to HIV tests afterwards.But he has not been accused of rape under any traditional meaning of that term.
Of course, if numerous people hadn't publicly called for Assange's assassination (and see this and this), this wouldn't be so surreal.
As Reuters notes:

Stephens said Assange was willing to meet Swedish prosecutors but they did not want to meet him.
"We are in a very, very surreal situation at the moment it's like a Swedish fairytale."

The Fed "Used The Vagueness In The Wording Of The Law To Weasel Out Of Fulfilling Their Duty To The American People"

The Fed released a lot of data yesterday.
But as Bloomberg points out, the Fed still held back a lot of information:
The Federal Reserve withheld details on individual securities pledged as collateral by recipients of $885 billion in central bank loans, denying taxpayers a measure of the risks they faced from its emergency aid.


July’s Dodd-Frank law required the Fed to disclose the names of borrowers, the size and interest rates of loans, and “information identifying the types and amounts of collateral pledged or assets transferred.” For three of the Fed’s six emergency facilities, the central bank released information on groups of collateral it accepted by asset type and rating, without specifying individual securities. Among them was the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, created in March 2008 to provide loans to brokers as Bear Stearns Cos. collapsed.
“This is a half-step,” said former Atlanta Fed research director Robert Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at Cumberland Advisors Inc. in Sarasota, Florida. “If you were going to audit the facilities, then would this enable you to do an audit? The answer is ‘No,’ you would have to go in and look at the individual amounts of collateral and how it was broken down to do that. And that is the spirit of what the requirements were in Dodd-Frank.”
*** It is “specifically impossible” to know how much risk taxpayers were taking by looking at pools of collateral grouped by asset class and rating, said Sylvain Raynes, a principal at R&R Consulting in New York and co-author of “Elements of Structured Finance,” published in May by Oxford University Press.
“I need to know the individual composition because a $2 billion pool can be one asset of $2 billion, which would be very risky, or 2,000 assets of $1 million each, and that’s not risky at all,” Raynes said. “The spirit of Dodd-Frank was not respected, and they used the vagueness in the wording of the law to weasel out of fulfilling their duty to the American people.”

The central bank also omitted details on individual securities pledged as collateral under its Term Auction Facility and its Term Securities Lending Facility, which was announced on March 11, 2008, as the first program under which the Fed planned to lend to non-bank dealers.
And the Economic Policy Journal notes:
[The Fed released] no data [concerning Maiden Lane] prior to Sep 30, 2008 (ML was funded in June, 2007). It remains to be seen, then, if BlackRock was simply stuffing the SOMA.

What's the Fed hiding? Why no purchase and sales numbers for the Maiden Lane transactions? Why no Maiden Lane data at all for the period June 2007 to September 30, 2008?

From the "Wealth of Nations" to the "Debt of Nations"

As everyone from Paul Krugman to Simon Johnson has noted, the banks are so big and politically powerful that they have bought the politicians and captured the regulators (and see this).
But it's not just a question of regulatory capture and corruption. It's actually a loss of sovereignty.
As Damon Vrabel wrote in July:
It seems ridiculous to point this out, but sovereign debt implies sovereignty. Right? Well, if countries are sovereign, then how could they be required to be in debt to private banking institutions? How could they be so easily attacked by the likes of George Soros, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs? Why would they be subjugated to the whims of auctions and traders?
A true sovereign is in debt to nobody and is not traded in the public markets. For example, how would George Soros attack, say, the British royal family? [Vrabel is presumably referring to Soros' currency speculation against the British pound and other currencies.] It’s not possible. They are sovereign. Their stock isn’t traded on the NYSE. He can’t orchestrate a naked short sell strategy to destroy their credit and force them to restructure their assets. But he can do that to most of the other 6.7 billion people of the world by designing attack strategies against the companies they work for and the governments they depend on.
The fact is that most countries are not sovereign (the few that are are being attacked by [the big Western intelligence services] or the military). Instead they are administrative districts or customers of the global banking establishment whose power has grown steadily over time based on the math of the bond market, currently ruled by the US dollar, and the expansionary nature of fractional lending. Their cult of economists from places like Harvard, Chicago, and the London School have steadily eroded national sovereignty by forcing debt-based ... currencies on countries.
We long ago lost the free market envisioned by Adam Smith in the “Wealth of Nations” [the book widely considered to be the foundation of modern economic theory]. Such a world would require sovereign currencies.... Only then could there be a “wealth of nations.” But now we have nothing but the “debt of nations.” The exponential math of debt by definition meant that countries would only lose their wealth over time and become increasingly indebted to the global central banking network.
An obvious example of a nation which has lost it's sovereignty and gone from the "wealth of nations" to the "debt of nations" is Ireland. The Irish bailout won't really help the Irish people, but will help the big banks which invested in Ireland. See this and this. Ironically, German banks may actually be more at fault for the Irish crisis than the Irish banks themselves. See this, this and this.
And the EU is now arguably trying to tell Ireland what to do (while using pleasantries and niceties to appear not too pushy), and somewhat ignoring Ireland's status as a sovereign nation. See this, this and this.
Similarly, Americans - without their knowledge or consent - are bailing out banks all over the world . See this, this and this.
Of course, there is no bright line between private and central banks, since big banks own the Fed, and the world's central banks - in turn - own the BIS.
Central bankers are not elected by - or accountable to - the people of the nations in which they sit, nor are the IMF or World Bank. The IMF often loans money to countries and then imposes draconian austerity packages.
Sure, Irish and American politicians were irresponsible and corrupt, and both peoples were spendthrifts.
But - as I've repeatedly pointed out - the game has also been rigged in favor of the banks and against the sovereign nations.
For example, economist Michael Hudson points out that debt grows exponentially, while the economy only grows in an s-curve. So the amount of debts will always surpass the size of the real economy. If private banks have the power to create debt, then the biggest banks will always eventually win out over the sovereign nations, especially when the amount of credit which can be created (i.e. the size of the monetary base) is not limited by real assets, but is simply based on a system of fiat currency.
As I wrote in October, in a post entitled "The Founding Fathers' Vision of Prosperity Has Been Destroyed":
The ability for America and the 50 states to create its own credit has largely been lost to private bankers. The lion's share of new credit creation is done by private banks, so - instead of being able to itself create money without owing interest - the government owes unfathomable trillions in interest to private banks.
America may have won the Revolutionary War, but it has since lost one of the main things it fought for: the freedom to create its own credit instead of having to beg for credit from private banks at a usurious cost.
And see this.

But - whatever one thinks about public banking or paper currencies - one thing should be clear to everyone: the giant banks are rapidly chipping away at the sovereignty of virtually all of the world's nations.

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