Assange Truthers and The Death of Progressive Compassion

julian assange truther

Even though women lean towards the Democrats more than any other party, a small minority of the left has become embroiled in a conspiracy theory regarding the accusations of sexual assault against Julian Assange. This radical group has sought to trample decades of Democratic Party advocacy on behalf of women by smearing the two possible victims of Assange. These Assange Truthers believe that the women are not victims but part of an international conspiracy to bring Assange down.

In the December 18, 2010 NY Times, Assange himself floated the conspiracy theory that powerful forces were out to get him, “Mr. Assange told the BBC that he did not know “precisely who is behind” the “conspiracy” against him, although his supporters have flooded the Internet with charges that the C.I.A. is working to discredit him. But he added, “It’s the case of any organization that’s exposing major powers, and has major opposition, that they will be attacked.””

If this sounds a little familiar to American audiences, it should. Progressives, say hello to the right wing conspiracy theorist you love to mock.

Glenn Beck:

Once Assange planted the conspiracy theory, parts of the left went wild with conspiracy theories claiming that the US government wants Assange dead. Their claim is that Obama and the Pentagon have drummed up the sexual assault allegations against Assange to punish, or gasp, even silence him. To these Assange Truthers, it doesn’t matter that the Wikileaks founder walked back the conspiracy rhetoric a few days later, or that previously Assange had no time for conspiracy theories. Since these Assange Truthers can’t psychologically reconcile the divergent notions that Assange might be both a hero for his work on behalf of transparency and a deeply flawed or troubled person, they had to find a way to blame the two women who might be victims.

These lefty truthers have accomplished this by turning the women into evil co-conspirators who are out to bring their hero down. According to the Times, the two women went to the police, not too file a complaint, but because they, “wanted to get some advice” and were “unsure of how they should proceed.” It was the prosecutor who decided to pursue the matter, not the women. The Assange Truthers also ignore the time line. These are allegations that date back to August, they are nothing new.

The new twist is the willingness of some on the left to embrace a conspiracy theory, and throw an entire gender under the bus. Many of the same people who celebrated the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act are now alleging that at best these women are whores, at worst they are co-conspirators. You have to hand it to these Assange fan boys and girls. They sure know how to put a creative spin on blame the victim. The Republicans could learn a lot from these Assange supporters. The question is why would members of a movement that has supported women’s rights unjustifiably demonize these women? The answer is that if these women aren’t in on the conspiracy then the whole theory falls apart. (I am not suggesting that every Assange supporter believes this, just the ones who have embraced the conspiracy theory).

What fascinates me about this story isn’t Assange’s personal behavior. He may be innocent. He may be guilty. That’s for other people to decide. What interests me is how some on the left have managed transform themselves into a Tea Party like movement that comes complete with their own conspiracy theories about the evil that is the United States government. What has happened to the left’s ability to see nuance, critically think, and examine? Many of these individuals who are blindly championing Assange are exhibiting behavior that is no different from the far right.

The comparison between the left and right also stretches into the media. The far right has Glenn Beck as their source of truth. The far left has Keith Olbermann, who in this matter has been Assange Truther # 1. We have already seen the behavior of the Olberbaggers in action when they betrayed the traditional Democratic value of taking care of the less fortunate, in order to throw an ideological hissy fit over the Bush tax cut compromise, which it turns out they were completely wrong about. These people are extremists who guided by a sense of self-righteous entitlement, and they have found their hero in the self-righteous Julian Assange. Traditional liberal values need not apply anymore. The fringe left has become just as selfish as the right. They will stomp on women and tell the unemployed to starve all in the name of ideological purity.

As a counter to the Assange Truthers, here is a bit of reality. The US government is not trying to bring down Assange with sexual assault charges. Frankly, given the size of the government it would be nearly impossible to keep such an international conspiracy a secret. What is most likely going on here is that the US government would like Assange held because they are building a case against him for conspiring to steal state secrets. They want to keep tabs on him until they are ready to charge and extradite him. The end game isn’t the sexual assault allegations. What Julian Assange has to truly fear is the possibility of being convicted and spending the rest of his life in US federal prison.

President Obama is leading a nation that has been at war for almost a decade now. The economy is still bad, and people need jobs. In short, Obama has enough to do without giving Assange a second thought. Get over yourselves Assange supporters, you aren’t that important.

Those on the left who are working every day to discredit the two women at the center of these allegations should be ashamed. They have betrayed a proud movement and turned it into a farce, not by supporting Assange, but by being so willing to neglect those in our society who need our advocacy the most.

Recently, Sarah Jones was baselessly attacked for daring to suggest that Julian Assange might be a hypocrite and that it would be possible for Assange to do great work, and maybe not be such a great guy. Julian Assange is not an infallible god. He is a human being. Not only is this post a statement of support for Sarah Jones, but it is a statement against the behavior of this new radicalized left.

These people don’t represent the left, and as we get together with friends and family this holiday season, it important to remember our true liberal/progressive values. We can support both government transparency and the rights of women. As I sit down to Christmas dinner my thoughts will be with the scared girl or woman in the emergency room having a rape kit done, or the girl waiting at the walk in clinic waiting in line to get an HIV test. Those are the real people who used to matter to the left as much as ideological principles. The far left has lost its compassion. Today, Tea bags and Revolutionary War costumes are the only things that separate the far left from the far right.

29 Replies to “Assange Truthers and The Death of Progressive Compassion”

  1. I hope your message is heard, Jason, by those who need to hear it. What the Left is doing to women’s rights by the way they are holding this discussion and the hate lobbed at these women is beyond words. They make Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich look like feminists who care about women’s rights and advocacy for women. And as an aside, not all rape victims are women, either. So this disservice ,while mostly aimed at women, is actually impacting some males as well. I realize that women’s rights are pretty low on the totem pole right now, and not many people care about them enough to read a post on them, so I thank you for writing what you feel is important over what you think your audience wants to hear (as you always do).

    I’m a big girl, and while I was shocked by the hate lobbed at me by fellow “liberals” (most bizarrely the “charge” of being a feminist which is now a bad thing on the Left apparently), I licked my wounds and got over it. But I am not in crisis mode. It’s those people who are in crisis mode watching this go down who concern me. It’s about the WAY we discuss this, not about the guilt or innocence of any of the parties.

    It’s encouraging to see men take this issue seriously and showing it the proper dignity and respect.

  2. Good post, Jason, and it exposes the hypocrisy of those on the far left who have chosen to take Assange’s side without being party to any inside information. One of the problems that I’m seeing more and more among the far leftists is the tendency to jump on an issue and take a side without having access to all of the evidence. That some on the far left have decided to take Assange’s side on the issue of the rape allegations and totally discount the statements these women made about the allegations and smearing them without cause says to me that they’re no better than Beck and the other conspiracists who have closed their minds off to the possibility that they could be wrong, not only about the president and our government’s role in the latest wikileaks event, but also the rape allegations and Manning’s detention. I always like to get as many of the facts that I can before making a decision because it keeps me from making a screaming, howling fool of myself.

  3. Thank you for putting yourself out there and on the line by writing about these issues. You are really helping and inspiring women with your writing. You are speaking for those who have no voice. You are what a liberal should be. I wanted you to know that you always have full weight of myself, and this website supporting you and your writing. Although it feels like it to any writer, myself included, when the slings and arrows start coming in, you are not alone.

  4. Let’s avoid binary analysis of the situation until the facts are in.

    We can at once applaud Wikileaks and Assange for Journalism, criticize those who want to damage our first amendment rights, and at the same time, affirm the rights of the alleged victims while considering the possibility that what the prosecutor has alleged (but not charged) is not so.

  5. An excellent article, Jason. I concur entirely with your analysis “Today, Tea bags and Revolutionary War costumes are the only things that separate the far left from the far right.” Kind of an eye-opener isn’t it? And more than a little discouraging. Not only is a sense of moderation lacking, but also a sense of proportion.

  6. @majii

    Thank you, but what I find troubling is that Sarah made many of these same points in her own post and she was vilified by some. This episode has really opened my eyes to the sexism of the left, and especially the sexism that female political writers face when they dare to make their voices heard. It makes me even more outraged by and ashamed of many of these so called progressives.

  7. @Hraf

    I was nearly driven up the wall, by the left’s treatment of the unemployed, but I was driven over the edge by the way they treated these two women and Sarah. When anyone messes with a writer here, they mess with me, and messing with me is not a good idea.

  8. When we allow a woman to be vilified for charging rape against a famous man, it’s like she is being raped all over again. The least, the very least, that we should be doing is giving the women involved in the charges against Assange the benefit of the doubt.

    Instead, Assange’s supporters are so blind in their hero worship, they have attacked not only these women, but any woman who so much as suggests that there might be something to the charges.

    I am disgusted by those men and women who have joined in the gang bang of Assange doubters, including those who went after Sarah Jones after her thoroughly researched and thoroughly balanced piece.

  9. I can see your quibble with that, but in this case it is true. The idea of powerful forces has long been a way for the charismatic to attract and keep support.

  10. “Powerful forces” …yes, I’ve heard Beck use that formulation, and Assange too. And I agree it is a formulation that describes a conspiracy. I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility. And I don’t think one has to necessarily deny the possibility that some or all of what the victims allege might be true in order to consider the possibility Swedish authorities are using these charges for another purpose.

    Is there some space in a just world to respect the alleged victims and examine the facts to understand all that is going on here?

    You chose also to discredit those who would investigate the possibility of people conspiring to arrest Assange as truthers and that’s where I think you’ve gone too far. Create light. Talk about how what we know and what we need to know to settle the two questions. Assange’s guilt as to charges leaked but not made, and the possibility that Sweden and maybe the US are using the arrest of Assange on these charges to take him out of the game.

    -He says he has already spoken with Swedish law enforcement about this and they released him. True?
    – He said he will speak with them ahain and answer their questions but fight his extradition to Sweden

  11. That’s funny because I love the articles here on Politicus; yours, Jason’s and Sarah and as long as I’ve been reading them, I’ve considered the authors here “the far left.” Moreover I agreed with most of what you’ve had to say about the extremism of evangelists in the Republican party.

    I think it’s 100% appropriate to counter people who discredit victims without direct facts. So please do so without equating them to Glenn Beck or the far right. You too end up doing harm.

  12. Just one more thought about conspiracy per se. The US gov wants to build a criminal case against Assange to damage him and/or his organization and/or his ability to publish leaked classified material – some of which has clearly brought foreign government malfeasance to account: Their srtategy is to gather facts that demonstrate a CONSPIRACY between him and Manning.

  13. “I’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.” — Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, 2nd U.S. President and noted co-author and signatory of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
    I consider myself a member of the Left because I’m a thinking individual. And I believe that, in its best moments, the practice of thinking through issues and acting on the evidence differentiates the Left from the Right — as much as their liberal and conservative philosophies.
    It’s disheartening to see how, in this instance, members of the Left have abandoned this critical practice. Party ideology and blind thinking brought this country to its present divisive state. We had the foresight in ’08 to elect a thinker. We won’t improve until we again become a nation of thinkers first, and then doers.

  14. “the only things that separate the far left from the far right”

    I get that you’re angry about people who make a political argument that unreasonably discredits claims made by potential rape victims.

    What I don’t get is why you cant identify that specific aspect of their argument as repugnant without also 1) dismissing them as extremists and 3) comparing them to Glenn Beck and 3) the far right.

    In the same way, people who think Obama made a bad deal on taxes and are willing to force further debate do not deserve to be put in the same category as conservatives who would fight against UI benefits as a matter of conviction.

  15. “It’s about the WAY we discuss this, not about the guilt or innocence of any of the parties. ”

    More of this please and Jason take note, “not about the guilt or innocence of any of the parties” ..including those engaged in the debate? People who discredit the claims of the potential rape victims without direct facts should be criticized for that.. Maknig the case that they are extremists, Beckian or no better than the far right, clouds the debate rather than moves it forward. It also divides the left.

    Show the way forward rather than your anger in defense of a colleague, who I also respect greatly.

    I love your passion and dedication to liberal values. Don’t throw the others overboard with an overboard critique, please.

  16. Hi Jason,
    Nice article and I admire the way you stood up for Sarah J.
    What is puzzling to me when did the Us V Them mentality become such a stranglehold on practically all Americans?
    If I dare voice my opinion on virtually any topic I am instantly attacked with comments like Oh you Libs, oh another leftie, oh you poor stupid.. you get the point.
    Anne Coulter said Conservatives give more than Liberals. Really? Where is anyone registered as a Conservative or a Liberal? More importantly why does it matter?
    Same thing with the point of your article- why is it all of a sudden OK to attack the victim? No one has the full details but that doesn’t stop some for voicing their opinion as fact and slam those who don’t agree.
    Merry Christmas Jason- Hope you have a good one.

  17. Great article and being the liberal progressive that I am, I have wondered how my liberal comrades reach this conclusion that Julian is a hero for leaking states secrets? I have and will alwasy stand on ground and principal that the US government should pursue charges against Julian otherwise we are hypocrites. But when you throw in the added mix of the two women who allegedly accuse Julian of rape and yet my liberal comrades are defending that well that is complete hypocrisy.

    The left vs. right paradigm then becomes blur because in essence that makes us no better then the Republicans who were against protecting women in the work place for which every single liberal was for and the right wasn’t.

    Granted their are extremist on both sides of the spectrum but the bottom line is that in both groups; they hate the government.

    So is the far left any different then the teabaggers no but I deplore anyone who defends rape no matter what side of the spectrum they are on.

  18. Anne Coulter said Conservatives give more than Liberals. Really? Where is anyone registered as a Conservative or a Liberal? More importantly why does it matter?

    Look who you are talking about. In a sense though, Anne is right. Think about it for a second. ;-) Take Ann versus our own Sarah J. Ann is worth millions, so of course she can give more, if she so chooses. Sarah J. on the other hand isn’t worth millions, so she can’t give as much. But then we know what the bible says about all that, don’t we? ;-) And I think we all know, according to the Bible, who God would look upon more favorably.

  19. One can, believe it or not think the charges against Assange are pure bullshit and not “throw an entire gender under the bus”. Even if these two women are liars it does not reflect on all women anymore than any other false accusation of rape does.

    Yes, it’s possible he did what he’s accused of, yes the timing and the way it was handled by the authorities is suspicious… It’s hardly comparable to Glenn Beck’s wild ramblings to point these things out. But you would see it as sinister because you seem quite convinced Assange is guilty and are willing to treat him the way you accuse his defenders of treating his accusers.

  20. You’re usually a reasonable person. I can’t imagine why you think you can assume that jason thinks he’s guilty. That isn’t the point at all and no one else got that from this post. Maybe you need to chill for a few minutes and think about the point of the way the media and progressives threw women under the bus.

  21. This really is upsetting but it doesn’t surprise me. The far left doesn’t understand some other issues either ( like every aspect of the Palestinian-Jewish) conflict and they jump to conclusions based on emotion and racial hatred. The way the president was verbally assaulted last week is another example. what I see is that some far left always need a issue to be up in arms about. And instead of slowing down and researching facts, they quickly assign who is victim and who is attacker and pounce. It’s black and white with no shades of gray thinking. There is a lot of ego thrown in as well.
    This hurts the left in many ways but vigilantes tend not to care about things like that.

  22. What if your malfeasance was conspired against you and your best friend leaked that information for whatever reason, would you not want some type of justice or retribution for their actions against you?

    I just find it odd that Assange is being held a hero, when in fact, he isn’t at least in my eyes and I’m as liberal as apple pie.

    Manning isn’t a hero either no if he is being tortured or his rights are being violated then that’s where I draw the line as he still has rights.

  23. I think it’s gotten past the point of being ludicrous when it cannot be suggested that someone may be lying simply because of their gender. I genuinely do not understand why it seems so ‘anti-woman’ and/or incredible to suggest that a woman may lie about being raped by a man…, whether he’s famous or not. I’m a male, it’s happened to me twice over my 68 years. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone…., and probably does, more often than we know. In my case, it wasn’t actually ‘rape’ that was accused, it was that I’d had sex with and impregnated the women when nothing of the sort occurred.
    If it’s seriously being suggested here that a woman or women can not or will not lie about such things, then I’m afraid I also have to suggest that men will not lie about such things as well…., and I expect to have it believed.

    It’s gotten ridiculous; are we suggesting that women are incapable of wrongdoing?

    Lord help us.

    Duncan

  24. See, this is what’s wrong with this debate. You bring your personal experience to it and then color the entire thing from that prism, unable to hear the points being made.

    No one suggested women don’t lie. No one suggested that rapes do not happen either. That said, would you say it is possible for you to either hold off coming to a conclusion until the evidence presents itself or if you must conclude that they lied (there is no proof of this, by the way, and I would put forth that since they didn’t want this in the first place, it’s probable that they didn’t go to the police with a lie but you seem to have skipped that part of the post) it would be possible to suggest that without using tired old rape denier talking points and rape apologisms?

    Rape is a serious crime. I am unclear why some people do not want to treat it as such. If you can’t remove your personal experience from this, then what is to stop every rape victim out there of thinking every accused person is guilty? And I don’t hear the rape victim advocates suggesting that at all.

    They are merely asking to treat these women with the same innocent until proven guilty protection as accused would like. Does that sound fair?

    They merely ask that people not tweet out their home addresses, threaten them, or smear them until the evidence is heard. And again, these women did NOT WANT Assange charged. Can you explain why you are stuck on the meme that women lie when in this case, they did not even want this?

  25. Jason totally agree with your post and your reply to Sarah. You are totally right when you say “You are speaking for those who have no voice”
    If you are a victim of rape, you may not have a voice, you might have been slugged in the mouth or stunned in silence.
    You are unable to verbalize what you feel. If you are lucky enough to be a hospital it might be a cold clinical situation of nurses or CSI gathering evidence from your body taking pics etc.
    And this is if you are lucky to BE ALIVE after your rape.
    Its disguising how the left is functioning like the right in Attacking the messenger.
    We NEED Brave people like Sarah Jones to speak up for womens rights!

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