Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shut It, Gibney

Film-maker Alex Gibney has published a deliberately uninformed response to John Pilger's criticism of both his movie - "We Steal Secrets: the Story of WikiLeaks" - and another uninformed New Statesman article by his executive producer, Jemima Khan.

Given that WikiLeaks has published a comprehesive response that demolishes much of Gibney's arguments, there is really no excuse for the New Statesman to continue publishing such rubbish. But just for the record, let's deconstruct this latest Gibney nonsense...

The first eight paragraphs are just meaningless twaddle without a single salient point.

Paragraph 9 states: "No government – including the UK – would selectively undo its laws for a particular individual." This is patently false. Sweden rendered two Egyptians to the CIA, for example, and the current Swedish Ambassador to Australia was closely involved in the cover up. The UK government has similarly manipulated laws for political purposes. Ask the Chagos Islanders about it. Para 10 is more twaddle. Pilger says Swedes “manipulate rape allegations at will” and he is damn right. Read the book "Sex in Sweden" if you don't believe it.

Para 11 is carefully worded. Lots of "if proven", "appears", may not have been" and even a "hypothetical". But then Gibney states that "The UK courts have concluded that the alleged actions by Assange – if proven – would be a form of rape in the UK or Sweden." This is a perfect example of UK law being manipulated to suit a particular case (as mentioned above). If Gibney has read the complete response on this particular issue from WikiLeaks, he certainly does not even try to address it.

Para 12 says Assange "must be given due process every step of the way". Even a cursory examination of the Swedish case reveals that due process was thrown out the door long ago. The Swedes closed the case and told Assange he could leave Sweden, only to have a small group of politically aligned officials reopen the case and leak supposedly confidential discussions with police to the media.

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny falsely stated that it was illegal to question Assange in the UK, only to later back down and admit it had happened before. The Swedes went to Serbia to question an alleged murderer and took an entire court to Rwanda. Now Ny refuses to explain why this cannot be done again, and (disgracefully) the UK and Australia refuse to demand it.

 Gibney quotes Ny: "Subject to any matters said by [Assange], which undermine my present view that he should be indicted, an indictment will be lodged with the court [after questioning]." Read that carefully: SUBJECT TO ANY MATTERS SAID BY ASSANGE. In other words, depending on his response to questioning!

But that doesn't stop Gibney leaping to conclusions in para 13: "Put another way, in Ny's formulation, he cannot be charged unless he is on Swedish soil." That is not what Ny said at all, Alex. "So long as he refuses to go to Sweden he LIKELY can never be charged," says Gibney. Likely? What nonsense. Again, read the full WikiLeaks response to David Allen Green if you actually care about the facts here.

Para 14 accuses Assange of being "silent regarding the vicious online attacks by his supporters on the Swedish women". And yet any lawyer worth his salt would advise Assange not to make any public comment about the women. This is just Gibney publicly goading Assange into saying something he might regret. Assange is not responsible for what his supporters say (myself included) and the two women have likewise failed to speak up in public: so where is the outrage at THEIR continued silence?

Para 15 states "There is no proof that any [US] charges have been filed or are even imminent." Well of course there is no conclusive "proof", nor will there be until the US government is good and ready to unseal that supposedly non-existent indictment. But WikiLeaks have continually said they don't expect things to change until after Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearings finish. I suggest Gibney pay close attention to the latest revelations.

The last three paragraphs are just more smear and innuendo.

This attempt at a logical response from Gibney is really just pathetic, misleading drivel. New Statesman readers should demand better from their writers, and much, much better from their editors.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for putting all of that in context for Alex. And a great refresher for Julian's supporters, who Julian doesn't necessarily support. They might be crazy bag ladies profiteering from his miseries. ~Shona Duncan~