The prosecutor leading the rape and sexual assault case against Julian Assange is a "malicious" radical feminist who is "biased against men", a retired senior Swedish judge has told the hearing into Assange's extradition to Sweden.
In caustic evidence on the first day of the two-day hearing, Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a former appeal court judge, told Belmarsh magistrates court that Sweden's chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, who is seeking the WikiLeaks founder's extradition, "has a rather biased view against men". "I can't understand her attitude here. It looks malicious," she said.
Geoffrey Robertson QC, acting for Assange, asked if it was her view that Ny wanted "to get [Assange] into her clutches and then arrest him no matter what?"
"Yes" said Sundberg-Weitman. "It might be her attitude to have the man arrested and maybe let him suffer for a few weeks to have him softer [for interrogation]."
Such was the hostility towards Assange in Sweden that "most people take it for granted that he's raped two women", she said. The country is seeking Assange's extradition in relation to allegations of rape, sexual assault and sexual molestation made by two women in August.
He denies all the allegations and has not been charged.
Under cross-examination by Clare Montgomery QC, for the Swedish government, however, Sundberg-Weitman admitted she had no personal knowledge of the conduct of the prosecutor in the case, basing her views instead on what she had been told.
She also acknowledged that while she believed the warrant to have been disproportionate, a Swedish district court and the appeal court, considering evidence from Assange's Swedish lawyer Björn Hurtig, had judged it both proportionate and legal. "I must say I am very concerned about the state of the rule of law in Sweden," she said in response. "It has been decaying since the mid-1970s."
The hearing is being presided over by Judge Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate. Assange listened intently from the dock, watched by supporters including Jemima Goldsmith, Bianca Jagger and Tony Benn, who had agreed to attend following an invitation from Goldsmith.
Montgomery also led the former judge to acknowledge that she was not an expert in the European arrest warrant, despite criticising its use in this case, and challenged line by line the newspaper article on which she said she was basing her assertion that Ny was a "radical feminist".
Sundburg-Weitman pointed to lectures on sexual violence that the prosecutor had made, to which Montgomery said: "But she's a rape prosecutor." The former judge maintained her assertion that the prosecutor was "a bit biased".
Robertson argued that both Ny and Claes Borgström, the lawyer representing the two women, were politically motivated. Ny had illegally confirmed Assange's identity on the charges when asked by a Stockholm tabloid, he said (accused sex offenders are customarily anonymous in Sweden).
"This man Borgström", meanwhile, had vilified Assange in the press and "would be behind bars for contempt in this country," the lawyer said.
Also called by the defence was Göran Rudling, a Swedish blogger and campaigner on the country's rape laws, which he believes are not tough enough.
Rudling said he was not a supporter of Assange or WikiLeaks, but had taken an interest in the case after finding tweets that were later deleted sent by "Miss A", one of the two women, in the hours after the alleged offences, in which she had asked if anyone was holding a crayfish party that she could attend with Assange, and in a tweet from the partythat she was "sitting outside at 2am, with the coolest and smartest people".
"It meant that the story told to police was not consistent with the tweets," he said. He had reported the tweets to police but had not heard back from them, he said.
Rudling also translated another document for the court that he had found on the internet, entitled "A seven point programme for legal revenge", apparently posted by Miss A in January 2010 but deleted in November. The last point included the admonition: "Remember, your victim has to suffer as much as he made you suffer."
Asked had he seen the police file relating to the case, Rudling said his knowledge was based on a 100-page bundle of documents faxed in November by Hurtig to Mark Stephens, Assange's British solicitor, and leaked onto the internet last week.
Earlier, Robertson, in opening the case for the defence, said that the Swedish custom of trying rape cases in secret was a "flagrant denial of justice". Assange had been subject to "trial by media", and it was "hyperbolic and irrational to suggest there was wickedness involved" in Assange's sexual behaviour, he said.
All relationships had "moments of frustration, irritation and argument", he said. "It doesn't mean that the police are entitled to slip between the bedclothes."
The act of "minor rape" allegedly committed by Assange against the second woman would not be an extradition offence in English law, he said. After three "utterly consensual" sex acts, she had objected to Assange having sex with her again without a condom, but "she let him continue". "It's not natural to call this rape."
Outside court, Assange said that since August "a black box has been applied to my life. On the outside of that black box has been written the word rape. That box has now, thanks to an open court process, been opened. I hope in the next days you will see that the box is in fact empty."
The case continues.
NOTE: BELOW IS THE PLATFORM OF THE FEMINIST INITIATIVE PARTY IN SWEDEN
Feminist Initiative Has a vision of a world in Which All Humans Have The Same potential and portability to live a full and complete lives. This vision not does correspond to our Lived reality. Women ARE systematically subordinated to but. This is something we want to change. Feminist Initiative Continues The Struggle and hardwork during ceilings by women throughout history to Improve Their Lives, a Tireless Labor, Which still takes place in homes, workplaces, streets, and schools, in literature, in music, at the theater and into the media.Feminist Initiative plaster Feminist Issues and Concerns at the top of the Political Agenda.
Feminist Initiative turns to women WHO want to abolish the Patriarchal Order and to Those but WHO join this Struggle in Solidarity.
Feminist Initiative not does believe "thats all women Can Agree on everything. Women differentiated from one another. Our not been raised, Hope, and wishes ARE Different. Our Circumstances, prospects, and resources divided us. We are ascribed Different societal position based on our Economic CONDITIONS and our class identity, our degree of education, our country of birth, our sexual preference, our skin color and our cultural Belonging. We also "differentiation in our values and our ways of Constructing value system. But beyond the Difference lies one similarity: Women's Lives, Choices, and Opportunities ARE restricted by the Patriarchal power structure.Patriarchal society allows, but to define, subordinate, and Discriminator Against Women. The Power Relations Between Women and Men May Take Many Forms and expressions, But Do They always work to the disadvantage of women.
Feminist Initiative makes demands from the point of view of a feminist analysis, Which Shows That although women speak with Different voices, Are situated in Different locations, Have Different experiences, and Live Different Lives in Different Conditions, we are all confronted by the power structure That plaster but the position of superiority and women into positions of inferiority. Within this structure, the Things That Men are, Do and Say take on a higher value Than The Things That women ers, do, and say. This order is a social problem and a problem of justice; Above all it is a problem of democracy.
Feminist Initiative Sees the CONDITIONS under Which women live. Images of women as sexual objects confront us every day. But women subject to violence on a daily basis. But rape women and girls.Women WHO transgress the Social Boundaries of gender and sexuality ARE harassed and discriminated Against. Many Single Mothers live in Serious Economic duress. Trafficking in women occures daily around the world, as well as in Sweden. The global labor market exploits the labor of underprivileged women. In Sweden, the gender-based Income Gap is Increasing. Female-Dominated Professions consistently Have Low Salaries. Much of the Work Performed by women is still bothering Invisible and Unpaid. Women Carry Out the Majority of domestic chores and take Responsibility for Providing Care, In The Public as well as domestic spheres. Women ARE discriminated Against professionally, with the motivation That we bear children-Regard less of whether we do Actually. Women Receive A small retirement pension Than but. Women ARE underprioritized in medical research and healthcare. Elderly women ARE subjected to poor treatment. Women Who do note Fit Into a white Western standards ARE ascribed an "other" ethnic identity and marginalized. Disabled women ARE discriminated Against. Women's Lives ARE put at risk because "Swedish refugee policy Lacks Consideration for Women's Reasons to seek asylum. The judicial system With its courts of law acquits but WHO Have perpetrated rape and abuse, the while women and girls Suffer The Consequences. Women ARE less variable than option but to take up space, husband Themselves Heard and ask ceilings Seriously Within the educational, professional, corporate and judicial structures, as well as in the realms of culture, politics, & the media. We want to change all this, and much more.
Feminist Initiative "also Secs thats the global Patriarchal Power System, Which Operate and Sustain Itself through violence and warfare, leads to an unequal distribution of the world's resources as well as Ruthless exploitation and destruction of the environment. The regime of violence forces large parts of the world's population, Especially Women and Children, Into lives in extreme poverty. Girls are denied the right to education. Children ARE Forced Into child labor and prostitution, and ARE recruited as child soldiers. Feminist Initiative Sees International Solidarity and an anti-militaristic stance as fundamental Aspects of ITS work.
Feminist Initiative ice Devoted To The Thought Of Freeing women from gender-based inequality and Injustice. We turn to the Patriarchal order with our demands. We Can not permit Decisions That sometime allow women to Liberate Themselves from the inequality at the expense of others. We Strive for the liberation of all women. This is how we create Solidarity Among women, this is how we continue the Feminist Struggle.
Feminist Initiative speed Grown tired of Insufficient Measures.Nearly all Swedish Political Parties Call Themselves Feminist, But Women's Lives Remain Unchanged, day in and day out, year after year. Despite Many women's Tireless effort Within party politics, women's Interests Have Never Been Adequate given priority. Swedish gender politics Have Been hitherto based on a view of equality as a non-zero sum game, Meaning That women's CONDITIONS cannabis Improvement Without affecting Those of Men. Feminist Initiative builds upon ITS politics than analysis, Which makes it clear That women's subordination results from the privileging of Men. There Forester, but must Agree to relinquish Their privileges. We share this analysis with contemporary women's networks and Organization, as well as with the women's movement, Which speed throughout history fought for the human rights of women.
Feminist Initiative, a formulator politics, Which into everythin area and aspect of life poses a challenge to patriarchy. We anticipate a large degree of resistance, But expect an even Larger and Strong feminist desire for change.
Gudrun SchymanAll men are like the Taliban! - just ask Gudrun!
© Zak Keith, 2010
Gudrun Schyman, Swedish politician, Marxist, feminist former member of Parliament
Gudrun Schyman, the former Swedish Member of Parliament, once proposed a special “sexual harassment tax”—a tax on all males to compensate for gender-based inequalities and the sufferings of all women in general. Incredible, but true!
In 2002, the Swedish Marxist Member of Parliament Gudrun Schyman, suggested a bill to collectively tax all Swedish men for violence against women. In a speech that followed, she posited that all Swedish men are just like the Taliban: “The discrimination and the violations appear in different forms depending on where we find ourselves, but it is the same norm, the same structure, the same pattern, that is repeated in the Taliban’s Afghanistan, as well as here in Sweden.”
Not surprisingly—if you know anything about Swedish society—male columnists from several newspapers such as Dagens Nyheter and Aftonbladet and even the Swedish Ombudsman for Equal Opportunities, Claes Borgström, chimed in, saying that Schyman was right: All men are indeed like the Taliban.
The feminist former Swedish Left Party leader, Gudrun Schyman, had no problem cultivating a culture of Victimhood for Economic Gain. She wrote the motion which reads, in part:
“When the costs of this aspect of socially-destructive male behavior are added up, it becomes clear how much money men’s violence costs society—money which could be used to increase women’s income, for healthcare, better working environments, and so on. It’s then only natural to ask how men collectively should take economic responsibility for men’s violence against women.
READ THE REST AT HIS WEBSITE
NOTE: TRANSLATED FROM SWEDISH
"It is strange that not all women hate men" MAY PROVOKE the former Minister for Gender Equality, Margareta Winberg, write the controversial words in a column in the shelter the National League of Journal of Women's Press. "It could probably be provocative, especially for men," she says.Photo: PETER KJELLERÅSMargareta Winberg: I'm no man haterThe Government is working closely with the extreme feminists who think that "men are animals".
It is revealed in part two of SVT's documentary "Sex War".
The film, which is broadcast on Sunday, shows a strong link between government policies on gender equality and women's shelter the national organization, Roks.
In Roks Journal of Obstetrics Press writes former Minister for Equality Margareta Winberg in a column:
- Sometimes I'm amazed that more women really hate men.
What do you mean by that?
- When you look out over the world the way women are treated, you can be surprised that they still have patience with the men, "says Margareta Winberg.
Militant feminism.. How do you think such a statement is perceived?
- Yes, it can probably be provocative, especially for men. I pursue the idea in the Chronicle. But I do not belong to the group man-hater, I would just make it.
What is included in the group?
- That you should not ask me. I belong to no such group and do not know anyone who hates men.
Rok is one organization that according to TV documentary pays tribute to militant feminism. Through skillful lobbying, they managed to obtain the assistance of Margareta Winberg transforming extreme feminist views into truths.
- The direction in which Rok is radical feminism, which some regarded as extreme, never got into government policy, "said Margareta Winberg.
Rok got last year SEK 11.7 million in grants from the National Board and organizes two-thirds of Swedish women's shelters.
"Men are animals'2006, women's shelters to share at 100 million, according to an agreement in principle between the government, the Left and Green parties.
In Roks Journal hailed extreme feminist Valerie Solanas in a review.
She writes in his manifesto: "To call a man an animal is to flatter him, he is a machine, a walking dildo, a biological incident."
The documentary Chairman of Rok, Ireen von Wachenfeldt, whether she agrees with Solana.
- Yes, men are animals. Do not you? says Ireen von Wachenfeldt to the reporter.
When Aftonbladet asks what she means by that says Ireen von Wachenfeldt:
- I personally do not think men are animals, but from Solana, I can understand women who think so.
A government investigation into the cost to society of male violence against women. And a tax against men to settle the account. Those were two suggestions put forward by the Left Party's feminist council, led by colourful former party boss Gudrun Schyman.
The first idea is not so controversial. A number of countries, including USA, Canada and Finland have undertaken similar exercises and Schyman feels it's time Sweden did the same:
"It's a huge social problem [violence against women], which very few people want to discuss. It's about time we put a price on it."
Schyman wants the two proposals to be adopted by her party as motions to be put forward for debate in Parliament during the current session. That shouldn't be a problem for the first, but the idea for a male tax, supported by six Left Party members of parliament, has yet to be approved by the full parliamentary group.
Figures from the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority show that in 2003, one woman a week was murdered in Sweden, with 5 attempted murders a week, 62 incidents of physical abuse every day and six rapes a day.
The text of Schyman's proposal reads:
"When the costs of this aspect of socially destructive male behaviour are added up, it becomes clear how much money men's violence costs society - money which could be used to increase women's income, for healthcare, better working environments, and so on. It's then only natural to ask how men collectively should take economic responsibility for men's violence against women."
Schyman believes that just as the tax system evens out the playing field between the classes, it can perform a similar job between the sexes:
"We know that women have significantly less money than men. Men have some kind of willy bonus in that they earn 10% to 20% more."
Representatives from other parties were not slow to come forward to voice their opinion. Nalin Pekgul, chairman of the Social Democrats' women's association, said:
"Women who have been beaten and are on sick leave represent an important social problem... But a tax wouldn't change men's behaviour. It would also mean that innocent men are punished."
SvD spoke to a number of other female politicians who were critical. The chairman of Conservative women, Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, said:
"I'd very much like to see what the price tag is [for the costs for violence against women], but it's no solution to ask men as a group to pay just because some can't behave."
Eva Larsson of the Green Party's women's committee said:
"I'd rather see more men getting involved and leading the campaign against violence."
The Liberal Party are putting forward their own motion calling for tougher penalties for violence against women and violations of injunctions.
Meanwhile, on Monday there was a potentially interesting development on the European front of the battle for equality. The EU is set to issue a directive in December calling on member states to ensure equal treatment of men and women in the purchase of goods and services.
Countries can opt out if they wish. In Sweden, this could affect the so called 'women's tariff' (tjejtaxa) traditionally operated by insurance companies, taxi companies, pub and nightclub owners and hairdressers. It isn't clear at the moment whether the government intends to implement the directive in full.
Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Göteborgs Posten
Animal Comment Triggers Equality Debate in SwedenBy Jerome Socolovsky
Friday, August 19, 2005
Sweden was recently ranked the most gender-equal country in the world. But feminists there say there's been a backlash. They're forming a new political party to put women's issues high on the agenda.
Subhead: Sweden was recently ranked the most gender-equal country in the world. But feminists there say there's been a backlash. They're forming a new political party to put women's issues high on the agenda.Byline: Jerome Socolovsky
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (WOMENSENEWS)--A new graffiti has appeared on the streets of this city.
"Men are animals," it says.
The slogan has become a symbol of a heated debate in this country over why full gender equality has not been achieved despite decades of legislation promoting it.
"There is an anger," says Hanne Kjoller, a columnist for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. "The things we have achieved, we achieved them years ago."
The "'men are animals' controversy," as its known here, exploded onto the front pages of newspapers in May, after Ireen von Wachenfeldt, a government official who is one of Sweden's best-known feminists, was featured in the Swedish Television documentary, "The Gender War."
At the time, von Wachenfeldt was head of ROKS, the national network of shelters for abused women, which is a government institution. A reporter on the program noted that the organization had printed excerpts of the "SCUM Manifesto."
The "SCUM manifesto" was published in 1983 by Valerie Solanas, a radical U.S. feminist previously known for attempting to assassinate Andy Warhol in 1968. In the book's title, SCUM stands for the Society for Cutting Up Men. Within its covers, Solanas calls on women to "destroy the male sex," arguing that medical science made it possible to give birth only to females and without the aid of males.
The Swedish TV reporter, Evin Rubar, asked von Wachenfeldt about the statement from the manifesto: "To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo."
"Is that your standpoint?" Rubar asked.
"Yes, it's my standpoint," the director said.
"That man is an animal?" the reporter said.
"Man is an animal," von Wachenfeldt said. "Don't you think so?"
The documentary sparked fierce reactions across the country. Some women's shelters have left the national network in protest, and von Wachenfeldt resigned in the midst of the controversy. But her remarks opened a national discussion on the topic of women's equality.
A Model of Equality
The assertion that "Man is an animal" might seem out of place in Sweden--a country that has been a model of sexual equality--where society sees it as an integral part of the egalitarian ethic of its welfare state.
After the women's liberation movement took off in the 1970s, the Swedish government passed laws mandating equality in every aspect of public life and even some aspects of private live. The government prohibited violence against women, required salary parity for men and women in similar jobs and gave men and women the right to equal parental leave. In the 1990s, Sweden's government became the first in the world where half the ministers were women.
Earlier this year, Sweden was ranked the most gender-equal country by the World Economic Forum.
But being first in the rankings is not enough, say feminists. Women still earn on average only 71 percent of what men earn, and some studies--though these are disputed in feminist circles--suggest that domestic violence is a larger problem than widely believed.
"There has been a strong women's movement here that has achieved a lot," said Lotten Sunna, Stockholm-based spokesperson for Feminist Initiative, a new empowerment movement that is focused on putting feminism even higher on the political agenda. "But that has also led to a false belief that we have reached equality, that we are there, and as a result of that things are starting to back up again."
Women Not Prioritized
Sunna argues that the current Swedish political establishment does not prioritize women's issues.
That's the case, she says, even though Prime Minister Goran Persson has labeled himself a feminist, 45 percent of Swedish parliament members are women and most national political parties have made feminism part of their political platforms.
"It's the politically correct thing to say, that I'm a feminist," Sunna said.
In its gender-gap ranking, the World Economic Forum praised Sweden's liberal society and welfare provisions. It said that because of them, Swedish women "have access to a wider spectrum of educational, political and work opportunities and enjoy a higher standard of living than women in other parts of the world."
Nevertheless, Feminist Initiative's platform describes Sweden as a country that is dominated by a "patriarchical power structure." It says women are discriminated against, subjected to violence, exploited in the labor market, under-prioritized in health care and receive a smaller proportion of welfare benefits.
"We grew up believing that we would actually be equal to men," said Sunna, who was a teen in the 1970s. "Swedish women get very angry when you discover that that is not the case."
In a recent survey directed by Eva Lundgren, a sociologist at Uppsala University in Sweden, 46 percent of women say they've been victims of some form of gender violence in their lifetimes. Lundgren's methodology has been criticized, however, for having too broad a definition of gender violence. Government data puts the number at around 12 percent.
Still, Sweden's leaders have long made efforts to achieve equality, at least on paper. Back in 1974, the government officially renamed "maternity leave" as "parental leave," and gave both parents the "right" to share in a government benefit that now guarantees 13 months of paid leave. Since 1975, abortion has been legal, and quotas striving for equal representation in local and national government and public institutions have been around since the 1980s.
Men Have Changed
What can hardly be disputed is that Swedish men have changed. Men now take on average 17 percent of the government-guaranteed parental leave, according to the national statistics bureau. In 1974, men took zero percent.
Nowadays, it's not at all unusual to see men pushing baby strollers along the sidewalks and playing with their children in the playground during working hours.
Stephan Mendel-Enk is author of a book on masculinity, "With an Obvious Sense of Style," that has been praised by feminists. He says Swedish men take parental leave because the government has made it economically feasible. Societal prejudices remain, he says.
Still, the question remains why full equality remains so hard to achieve in a country like Sweden, particularly in the workplace.
Rebecka Edgren, who writes for Stockholm-based Mama Magazine, says most Swedish feminists--like their counterparts in other countries--have long put the burden of empowerment on women themselves. But several years ago, things changed.
"When the feminists started to look at men instead of women . . . a lot of men got upset," she said.
Edgren says many MEN feel particularly threatened because the demands now being made by feminists, such as requiring parents to take equal amounts of parental leave, will force them to make even more drastic changes to their lifestyle and career.
Comments out of Context
After the "Gender War" documentary, von Wachenfeldt denied the assertion in the show that the government agencies dealing with women's issues are dominated by radical feminists, and accused Rubar of taking her comments out of context.
But other feminists questioned her and the domestic violence numbers put forward by Lundgren, who was also interviewed in the program.
Hanne Kjoller wrote in one of her columns that "the group of feminists that Lundgren belongs to have an ideological and economic interest in portraying abuse of women as normal male behavior."
Author Mendel-Enk says the result of the documentary was to reinforce notions that Swedish government agencies dealing with women's and equality issues are led by people with extremist ideas.
"Many men had this idea all the time, but now they got some supposed proof for it," he said.
One man who didn't feel that way is Michael Ericsson, who on a recent Sunday was biking along the Gota canal in rural Sweden with his teen-age son.
When asked about the "men are animals" controversy, he said it doesn't affect his happiness with the "50-50" arrangement he and his wife have regarding cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids.
"It's not my problem," he said, then mounted his bike and continued on the 30-mile trip that he and his son take every weekend.
Jerome Socolovsky is a journalist based in Madrid.