23 December 2010

Pollitt on Assange

"WikiLeaks is revealing information citizens need to know—it's a good thing. Assange may or may not have committed sex crimes according to Swedish law. Why is it so hard to hold those two ideas at once?" ~ Katha Pollitt
Pollitt, of course, is correct. And as she also notes, there is a real possibility that the prosecution of Assange is being pressed as assiduously as it is for political reasons. There are after all, well documented pressures from both the U.S. government and individual commentators to retaliate against Assange specifically and Wikileaks generally.

All that in no way means he should not have his day in court; or, that his accusers, should not have theirs. (By that I mean that both parties in what is an adversarial process should be able to avail themselves of all their legal options.) But - and here Pollitt is off the mark - it is a mistake to draw an analogy between Assange and Roman Polanski, who also has fought extradition in a rape case. After all, Polanski confessed to drugging and raping a 13 year old. In that sense, he has had his day in court. And, of course, Assange's accusers are both adults. In a complicated case like this it is important not to inflame issues by making far fetched comparisons. Pollitt is typically much more careful than that.

Not only that, but not all Assange's defenders are easily characterized as clueless men. He has had his thoughtful defenders too. It turns out to be pretty complicated (not impossible) to keep all the balls in the air on this matter.

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2 Comments:

Blogger noto said...

Please, document yourself on the Polanski case. You've been writing assertions that do no adjust to the facts. And always forget to explain that Polanski did serve his sentence in the US.

28 December, 2010 18:00  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

N

I am unsure just what you find objectionable. Polanski confessed to rape and ran away. He never served a sentence for the crime. Read some newspaper accounts.

Here, from The Guardian (hardly a conservative or obscure source):

"But here is what happened on the particular night in question in 1977:

1. Polanski, then 44, was taking photos of 13-year-old Samantha Gailey for a magazine.

2. He took her back to Jack Nicholson's house and gave her champagne and, according to her, the recreational drug Quaaludes.

3. He then, it's been alleged, sodomised her.

4. He pleaded guilty to sex with a minor, served 42 days, and then fled the country before the final sentencing.

5. The end."

And here is a summary from The NY Times:

"Mr. Polanski was initially indicted in 1977 on six felony charges that included rape, sodomy and providing a controlled substance to Ms. Geimer. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of having sex with a minor but left the country after becoming convinced he would be sent back to jail after having a 42-day psychiatric evaluation in state prison."

So, RP indeed went to jail But He did not serve anything like the appropriate sentence for forced sex (rape) of a 13 year old girl. He ran away prior to sentencing.

What am I missing?

Best
JJ

(1)http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/dec/04/roman-polanski-film

(2) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/movies/28polanski.html?_r=1

28 December, 2010 21:41  

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