Oh to be a fly on the wall as the competing shibboleths fought to the death in the wreckage of Wikileaks last week.
Our modern main stream media have adored the Wikileaks. They have long given themselves over to regurgitating press releases rather than vouching a (potentially libellous) opinion on current affairs. What passes for news these days is in fact a signed and dated piece of paper from ‘someone’ – invariably the publicity agent of some celebrity – that can be referred to in the event of Carter Ruck rearing their head yet again. Even the scandal of MPs expenses owed its emergence into the world of main stream news to a stolen CD with signed and dated copies of expenses rather than journalistic integrity.
The latest Wikileaks were nothing more than 250,000 signed and dated pieces of paper – signed by Ambassadors mostly – that allowed the media to gorge itself on mentions of such wildly disparate and yet topical items as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the equally mysterious reappearance in the world at large of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi without so much as ruffling a hair on the legal department’s immaculate heads.
The left wing press, in particular, was cock-a-hoop at being handed an undefended goal in the form of American embarrassment, and sated themselves daily on Yank bashing.
None more so than the Guardian; Nick Davies, Cock of the Walk as the chosen mouthpiece of Julian, DemiGod of the underground army of hackers, anarchists, and agitators. With every publication, a rousing cheer went up from the dispossessed and the pyjama-hideen. The Internet army moved swiftly to extract retribution from those who dared to oppose their all conquering hero.
There might not have been such cheer had Wikileaks embarrassed the North Korean government, or poked at Putin, but he didn’t; his aim was steadfastly on that icon of capitalism – the United States of America. What could go wrong?
Protected within the bubble of on-line anarchists, and computer geeks, precious little. Julian’s idea of foreplay – a tad violent, less than gentlemanly – was not condemned by those who populate the late night Twitter waves, the muscular world of on-line anarchism. It is the sexual behaviour of teenage male imagination. Women who throw themselves at you, panting, mouth parted and glossed just so, that you can use and abuse at will. Julian’s idea of responsible sexual relationships was positively admired within the world of those confined to a computer screen decorated with ‘hot chicks’ and ‘Asian babes’.
Out in the real world, in the Guardian editorial offices, another shibboleth was rearing its head. Women’s rights. A shibboleth invoked by certainly more than 50% of its readership, and they were not amused.
Women’s Rights, or Anti-Americanism – which way to go? A terrible predicament for a left wing newspaper. I would love to have heard the ideological arguments. More fascinating than any discussion of competing Human Right’s theses.
Unnoticed by many, the great ship Guardian shuddered to a halt on Friday, the Captain ordered full astern, and Nick Davies, no less, was lashed to the helm and ordered to steer the vessel in the direction of Equality for women.
Accompanied by the sound of mass choking on principles, he dutifully reported the leaked – oh the irony – details of the so called ‘trumped up’ charges against Julian.
We heard of a woman, no doubt slightly heady from the position bestowed upon her as chief organiser of a conference at which her idol was to speak, offering him accommodation during his stay in the Swedish capital.
She claims that on returning to the flat they went for a companionable meal together. She must have felt honoured to be in such august company, flattered even. The initial leg stroking taken in good humour, the price of appeasing male ego. How many women read that account, as it turned from leg stroking to clothing ripped off, to arms and legs pinned to the bed, to realising that ‘it was too late to stop Assange as she had gone along with it so far’ – and remembered their own past encounters? Perhaps a boss who had taken them home after the New Year’s Eve party, perhaps the ‘famous celebrity’ they had met as part of their work?
Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens makes much of the fact that Assange stayed on in that flat for another week after this encounter. In male eyes this amounts to ‘condoning’ anything and everything, notwithstanding that she had sought advice from several work colleagues as to how best to persuade her nemesis to move on to other accommodation. Perhaps it does in legal terms, but a shiver would have passed down the spine of the Guardian’s many female readers, as they were reminded of their own ideological arguments – not best conducted as someone scrabbles at your nipples and breaths hot beery breath in your face – do I kick him in the balls now and lose my job or keep quiet? Having kept quiet, do I go on keeping quiet – even when someone else comes to me a few days later with a similar tale and fears of having contracted a disease from this transient male?
I have little doubt that the army of testosterone enriched admirers that little Julian has clutched to his bosom will go on supporting him, believing his lawyer’s insinuation that this is a ‘honey-trap’ sprung by the CIA; Jemima Khan will go on believing that ‘this is about free speech’; but in the real world, there is an army of women who will find the tale of egotistical male believing that women are there to be used by the successful warrior more than distasteful and entirely believable.
It is a total mystery to me that Julian should fight so hard not to be extradited from a country with a despicable record of handing people over to the American authorities – the UK – in order to answer a ‘trumped-up’ charge in a famously neutral country – Sweden. What could he be worried about? Perhaps only that Sweden’s juries will not turn out to be comprised of Internet Geeks and late night Twitterers…Julian prefers the court of bellowing on-line opinion, something his army of admirers are only too good at.
It is to the Guardian’s credit that they have belatedly realised this – but lashing Nick Davies to the helm as they went full-astern and buried Julian – that was cruel!