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Bad/good people can do good/bad things.

This post from MAYA at feministing navigates the apparently difficult conflict inherent in the desire to support the whistleblowing of Wikileaks, and the rape accusations leveled at the public face of Wikileaks.

In  doing so,  I think that she neatly takes apart Naomi Wolf’s conflation of support for Assange as a whistleblower and with Assange as a rape defendant:

There is very little disagreement that Interpol’s aggressive pursuit of Assange is politically motivated…

And yet it’s entirely possible to believe that and still avoid acting like an anti-feminist asshole! It’s possible to point out that rape accusations are rarely taken seriously when the accused isn’t an internationally wanted man, without automatically dismissing the charges as “personal injured feelings.”

It’s possible to lament the lack of justice for the many other victims of sexual assault, without assuming that the accusers in this case are lying. As Jill at Feministe said, “we can chew gum and walk at the same time.”

This shouldn’t be that difficult. It is not that hard to separate the two things: Roman Polanski may have made good films, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t a rapist.

Assange has arguably done some good things in bringing into question the tendency of governments to suppress information that shows what they are actually doing. At the same time, he has been accused of rape. He deserves the presumption of innocence in this case, as in any, but the allegations of sexual assault need to be considered, and considered with respect. That’s not really that hard, is it?


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In case you forget …

… here is a quick reminder from The Australian that, in Australia, rape is often considered to be a female problem. Should you subscribe to this view, women should remember not to get raped over the holiday season.

If, on the other hand, you thought that responsibility for rape lies in the lap of the perpetrator, you probably don’t have much of career as a journalist or a policeman, by the sounds of things. However, you do probably pass a common sense test.

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Where’s my ‘bulwark against tyranny’?

I am am perplexed as to why nothing more has been made of the treatment of Izhar ul-Haque. There is so little little discussion of this case (or lack of it) both in the traditional media and in the blogosphere*, that I have actually felt like starting my failed blog again.

Izhar ul Haque is an Australian who was, at one stage, charged with receiving training from a ‘terrorist organisation’. The organisation with which he may have trained with was not deemed a terrorist organisation at the time that he trained with them, but that is not the reason why the charges were eventually dismissed in the Supreme Court of NSW. Rather, the dismissal of the case against Ul-Haque is about the unlawful conduct of the ASIO and AFP officers investigating the case against Ul-Haque.

Justice Adams concludes that the case against Ul-Haque can’t be sustained in light of the unlawful frightening and intimidating behaviour of the agents involved. Indeed, the focus shoud be on the conduct of the agents – Justice Adams says;

‘I am satisfied that that [B15] and [B16] committed the criminal offences of false imprisonment and kidnapping at common law and also an offence under s86 of the Crimes Act 1900. It follows, a fortiori, that they committed the tort of false imprisonment. Their conduct was grossly improper and constituted an unjustified and unlawful interference with the personal liberty of the accused…[B15 and B16’s] conduct … also constituted an unlawful trespass.’

He goes on to quote Justice Michael Kirby, who emphasises the importance of mandated powers and judicial checks on these powers:

‘Any officer of the Commonwealth executive who, without judicial warrant, purports to authorise or enforce the detention in custody of another person is acting lawfully only to the extent that his conduct is justified by clear statutory mandate…It cannot be too strongly stressed that these basic matters are not the stuff of empty rhetoric. They are the very fabric of the freedom under the law which is the prima facie right of every citizen and alien in this land. They represent a bulwark against tyranny.’

Pretty strong stuff, hey? I find it interesting and perplexing that I can’t find any record of them being charged with these offences. I am not sure whose domain it would be to charge them, or whether it would be possible to suppress reporting of those charges.

But I don’t understand why it seems to have just disappeared …

* For example, Jeremy Sear has nothing, and neither does LP

update: Going back to 2007, there is more on the Ul-Haque case by Clare Macken here. And the case is also mentioned in the Monthly more recently.

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Why are Macs so bloody expensive in Australia?

I can’t find a satisfactory explanation for this other than that Apple Australia are a bunch of uncompetitive, profit-gouging, monopolistic extortionists.

I was reminded last night about how good Apple computers can be, when I got my 7 year old iBook to start sending podcasts and photos to my phone. I didn’t need to install any software – just plug in the little USB dongle thing, and away we go. This was after over 2 ½ hours of trying and failing to get my 2 year old PC to recognise that the hardware even existed.

This compelled me to have a look at the iMacs on the net, and despite them being all nice and shiny, the thing that struck me was the disparity between Australian and American prices for these babies.

Trying to be conservative, I was looking at the 24”, 2.4 Ghz iMac with a 500GB hard drive. The Australian price was $A 2490 (sans GST), whereas in the US it was going for $US 1919. 

At the current exchange rate ($A 1 buying $US 0.89), my reckoning says it should cost about $2135. 

Basically, Apple Australia are trying to extract an extra 17 per cent from me, just because I am Australian.

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Australian parrots.


What a remarkable coincidence!

George Bush was reported in the Age today, asking for people to give the surge a chance.

On the same day, you have Alexander Downer and Howard Government mouthpiece ‘Editor-at-large’ of the Australian, Paul Kelly, asking for … exactly the same thing!

Good Australian choirboys singing from an American songsheet!

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deep breathe

No killing anyone. That’s my aim for today. To help me fulfil this goal, I am going to outline my strategy for coping. Coping with what?

I don’t know. I can’t stay on topic for more than 20 seconds, at best.

What’s this about?

One and a half days without a cigarette and I am not finding it that easy. At the same time, I am feeling light-headed, dizzy, tired, wired, having hot flushes and am seriously pissed off. At everything.

I think I am menopausing or something.

I know that I am whingeing, and can be a bit of a drama queen. But I DARE YOU to tell me that.

I am still pissed at the cameraman yesterday who tried to film me not smoking. How about I come in and shine a bright light in your face, while you are trying to relax (hah!), watch the football, and not abuse the fuckheads from Adelaide next to you. We won – without Captain Judd, the Spiritual Leader, (two Brownlow medallists, mind you) our centre-half forward, and the man with 9.5 fingers. So FUCK YOU, you poncy Adelaide bitches — I hope that one day you can fulfil your dream of being on TV. And another big FUCK YOU goes to the cameraman and his reporter — a pox on both your houses.

Back to the topic. Yes I remembered it, again. How am I going to deal with this?


1. Remind myself that it is hard, but that’s what I expected. Well, yes it is. But it will (supposedly) get easier.

2. Clench my jaw a bit more.

2. Deep breathe. I find am almost hyperventilating at my desk at the moment. That is why I thought that I would write this. If this doesn’t get posted, then I have probably passed out.

3. Drink water. Yeah, well, I am but I am going to the loo like there’s no tomorrow. Probably all the coffee that I have had hasn’t helped. Note to self: drink less coffee.

4. I need some programmed responses for when I feel like just running down and buying cigarettes. I mean, I feel like it at the moment, but when I seriously feel like it. And am planning on doing it. DELAY – just wait for a bit. Ride the wave, enjoy the rush of desire, and the intensity of it all. It is quite psychoactive, really. Maybe I need to hyperventilate a bit more.


5. Call Stash. He said he will help me. He knows how I can get angry really quickly, and for no good reason. A good piece of advice he gave me yesterday was: Quitting smoking is hard. Only do it once. I think that is a good idea.

6. Chew that god-awful gum. Wear the patches. I am not sure that they are doing much. Even a little placebo effect would be good.

7. Walk around. That’s what I am going to do now.

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just you remember …

… guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

Boston police have questioned a seven-year-old boy who shot and killed his eight-year-old cousin with an illegal gun, the latest example of the toll of gun violence in US cities.

Of course, in keeping with what everyone was saying saying after Vtech, everything would have been OK if the other kid had been packing heat, too.

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