Pagan Community Notes: Scarlet Imprint Swears Vengeance, Trigger93, Pagan Studies, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 13, 2010 — 63 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

Scarlet Imprint Declares War: The esoteric publishing house Scarlet Imprint, after learning of the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, has thrown down the magickal gauntlet.

“It is not enough to dither or ask What would Aleister Crowley do? We are here NOW. It is for us to confront this direct attack on our freedom. This is a critical time, and magick, if it is to prove anything at all, is the art of applying leverage at critical moments in time, as the Temple of Psychic Youth would say: To force thee hand of chance. […] We will use our art to envisage a different future. We will take magic onto the streets. We swear vengeance. And we, we are Legion.”

The publisher also suggests closing your Amazon account (because they closed Wikileak’s hosting account), closing your Mastercard and Visa account (because they froze donations to Wikileaks), and supporting the hacker attacks of Anonymous. However, they don’t suggest cancelling your Paypal account, nor have they closed theirs, even though that site has also frozen donations to Wikileaks. Then again, they also stress that the most important action is to “enchant for freedom.”

“This is a time for Witchcraft, for the birth of a rhizomatic underground of resistance. This is the Witchcraft advocated by Jack Parsons in the face of McCarthyism. This is the Witchcraft that has drunk wisdom from the bloody grail of mystery.”

The problem with all the outrage, media blitz, and no-doubt politically motivated pressure to have Assange extradited is that it is causing some reasonable people to whitewash what might have actually been rapeEngaging in some troubling victim-blaming. Perhaps these accusations are being overblown, or used as a way to “get Assange,” but they shouldn’t be erased because we support the leaking of government documents. As for Wikileaks itself, I’m generally a fan of transparency and whistle-blowers, and I’m even a fan of occasionally “crushing bastards,” but I’m not sure I’m ready to swear vengeance on its behalf just yet.

Pulling the Trigger: LAShTal points us to the launch of Trigger93: A Journal of Magic(k), Culture, and The Issues.

“Trigger93 is a radical new journal of literature, art, and the uncanny—a journal that juxtaposes magic(k)ally informed works created by established artists and academics with similar works created by established practitioners of magic(k). Our first issue, The Word, explores the relationship between language and the spirit, and includes contributions from writer and Columbia Professor, Michael Taussig; ceremonial magician, James A. Eshelman; artists Simryn Gill, Mikala Dwyer and Tamara Wyndham; and cartoonist, Seth Tobocman, to name a few. Trigger93: The Word will be available 12/17/10”

You can pre-order your copy now. Always nice to see a new esoteric/magickal publication hitting the “stands”.

The Difference Between Scholars and Practitioners: Over at Letter From Hardscrabble Creek, Chas Clifton talks about being a Pagan within Pagan Studies, and how what religion scholars do is very different from what practitioners writing for their own communities do.

So if I were revising Her Hidden Children (I have no plan to do so), I would have to take [Bron Taylor’s] ideas into account. The conversation would continue. Not that I am right and he is wrong, or vice versa, but I would have to sort out the differences and similarities, intellectual influences (e.g., he gives Henry Thoreau much more space than I do), and so on, because I think that Dark Green Religion is a significant book, and it would be a glaring omission to ignore it now.

These are just two books, against the flood of practitioner-oriented texts coming out from Llewellyn and other publishers.  And neither I nor Bron (so far as I know) are teaching workshops on “How to be a better nature-religionist,” complete with breathing exercises, movement, and song. Other people could do that much better. Audiences want to hear a speaker with a schtick.

I think some of us have fallen into the trap of labeling Pagan Studies works as “advanced” books for our faiths, when they should instead be seen as an illuminating aid towards deeper understanding of how and why we do what we do. How we got to where we are today, and what that might mean for our future. This should be separated from books that actually seek to deepen our own practices, works on practice and theology from authors like Brendan Myers or Thorn Coyle.

King Arthur Wants Reburial: The Salisbury Journal reports that Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon is seeking judicial review and reburial of cremated remains taken from Stonehenge in 2008.

King Arthur said: ‘This is not just a Druid or Pagan issue, and we have the support of thousands of people from all walks of life from nations around the world and all the major faiths, who have signed our petition demanding that the remains be re-interred at what should have been their final resting place. ‘The remains will never go on display and they should just be reburied.’ The remains were removed from the site for tests to be carried out as part of The Stonehenge Riverside Archaeological Project.

This move was sparked by Sheffield University asking for an extension to retain the remains for five years, something Pendragon vociferously opposes, calling for the “timely return of our ancestors.” As I’ve noted several times before on this site, there is no consensus among British Pagans on this issue, with many, most notably Pagans for Archeology, opposed to the reburial of ancient human remains. Other groups, like Honouring the Ancient Dead (HAD), only call for the reburial of remains that “have no scientific or research potential”.

Reminder on Operation Circle Care: I’d just like to end with a quick reminder that it’s not too late to donate towards Operation Circle Care, which sends care packages to Pagan military personnel serving in war zones.

“For the fourth year in a row, Circle Sanctuary is honoring and supporting active duty Pagan service members through Operation Circle Care. This year, we are widening our focus and sending Yuletide care packages to active duty Pagan troops serving in any overseas theater of operation, including Germany, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, or on board Navy ships. The success of this program is due to the generous support and donations from Pagan community members from many paths and places. With your continued support, it is our goal to honor and remember each and every Pagan US military service member we can with a special personalized gift for Yule, just as we have in years past.”

You can find a list of donation suggestions, and ways to help, at their web site.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Richard Norris

    Supporting Wikileaks can be seen as a seperate thing from supporting Julian Assange. WikiLeaks will more than likely continue even if Assange is truly guilty of rape and is convicted by a jury of his peers. But it will need the support of people who oppose the oligarchs and authoritarians of our times to actually thrive. It would actually be better for WikiLeaks to present no leader to the public. It makes it harder to have your head cut off if no one knows where that head is, or if it even exists.

    • I agree with this. The project is absolutely worthwhile regardless of Assange's possible crime. Wrapping up a project of this nature with one public persona makes it easier to undermine or destroy, which is the ultimate goal of government and corporate interests.

      • Anna

        I agree. I understand that the organization may split off into two groups, one that distances the functions of WikiLeaks from its problematical head.

    • Thriceraven

      Agreed. Wikileaks has taken over the role the investigative journalism that the mainstream media has declined to do — bringing things to light to allow them to be debated in the public sphere. If Assange sexually assaulted someone, he should be prosecuted for it. But that is a separate question as to the value of Wikileaks.

      If the charges are trumped up, I only hope Assange has retained excellent legal council.

    • sarenth

      I'm with you on this. I think that Wikileaks is a worthy endeavor, but if Assange is guilty he should be prosecuted under the law like anyone else. If we truly want to have justice established, it needs to be with everyone, not just those not in the spotlight.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I'm not as enthusiatic as the others about WikiLeaks. I don't care if foreign heads of state find out that American diplomats have called them napoleonic twerps or handsome echo-chambers. But this kind of massive disclosure can put American discrete operatives in mortal danger, and interfere with our efforts (none too brilliant at best) to set up autonomous native security forces within Afghan villages.

      • sarenth

        Agreed…however, a good chunk of what was released wasn't top secret.

        • Leea

          Agreeing with Baruch also. and Sarenth…most of what I read, I already knew in one sense or another. That said, there is still a lot out there, so..time will tell. Although I do believe that clarity is important in a democracy, the question is-how much clarity?, to me. There are operatives out there who could be endangered, in the name of-freedom?I remember the outrage that resulted when Cheney released Valerie Plame's name to the public for political payback-and I do tend to question Assange's reasons for doing all this. He's not a citizen of this country, yet appears to target the US. Would we be so happy to support him if he was Middle-Eastern as opposed to Australian? I wonder….

          • sarenth

            First off:
            1) Most of the files released were scrubbed for operative names, troop movements, etc. Things that would endanger troops, operatives, etc. This is Wikileaks M.O. insofar as I have seen.

            We need as much clarity as we can, given how much obfuscation and outright lies there have been in the last ten years around both operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need some clarity, we need to see what is actually being done, and the sentiments as well as reality, surrounding what has been going on.

            Cheney performed an outright act of treason when he release Valerie Plame's name and exposed her cover. This is not the same whatsoever.

            I would be happy to support him regardless of his nationality; I've no time for racism or racists. I have time, however, for the truth.

            As to your assertion "appears to target the US" well, actually, if you check out Wikileaks you'd see there are plenty of other leaked sources for a wide variety of countries….just check out some mirror sites, like this one:

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            This is the first I've heard that WikiLeaks vetted its disclosures in any way. But let's pass over the covert-agent problem anyway.

            I'm concerned with the ground game in Afghanistan (and, potentially, Pakistan, if we can ever get elements of that government to give up covert support for terrorists). Standing up an Afghan army reporting to Kabul out in the villages doesn't seem to be working so well. What does have a chance, according to what I've read, is village-based militias ready to resist a Taliban comeback at that level. US troops are, of course, essential in standing these guys up, and the troops are tied both to American diplomats and the Karzai government. If the locals learn that the diplomats don't respect the government, the whole effort could collapse. And it doesn't matter if no villager has the Internet — people who want to defeat us would make sure they know.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker


            I care about this effort because this is where 9/11 came from as well as the USS Cole attack and the African embassy bombings. Uniquely, in all the shooting we are doing, this is where people with the will and resources to do us massive harm are hiding. Bush took his eye off the ball and Obama has to juggle them all at once. We don't need Assange feeding devastating psy-war material to where we might have a chance to turn the tide.

  • Pitch313

    Pagan Studies with Pagans right there doing it is, so far as I can see, a playfully paradoxical indicator that Paganism these days is thoroughly and deep-rootedly postmodern. We have witched, hexed, and conjured the Other, and They is Us!!!

    • Don

      "is thoroughly and deep-rootedly postmodern."

      I hope not.

      • I pray not.

      • I suspect you're confusing being postmodern (that is, existing in a particular historical matrix) with espousing postmodernism (that is, a specific philosophy that attempts to establish itself as the "dominant cultural logic of late capitalism").

        Being postmodern does not mean that one has to buy into postmodernism. Modern paganism *is* postmodern, in that it is clearly responding to the postmodern situation. However, none of the approaches that are common in modern paganism are remotely "pomo".

        For the record, recon paganism is substantially more postmodern than neopaganism, which is more rooted in the Romantic movement than recon is.

        • Don

          The very notion that we live in a "particular historical matrix" called the "postmodern" is a formulation of postmodern philosophy, no?

          I'd argue Germanic recon paganism has roots in the Romantic movement as well, from which later 20th century recon movements modeled themselves.

          • Robin Artisson

            You'd argue correctly, Don.

          • Jonathan

            Yes, but post-modern philosophy tends to go much further than this.

            It places very strong emphasis on eliminating "binary concepts". It also takes a disparaging view of any attempt to construct narratives or to make syncretic generalizations of any kind. It is essentially a philosophy of snobbery that pretends to be "above it all". It claims to be objective even as it asserts the subjective nature of reality. It started out as a revolutionary theory, but it has since become an entirely meaningless and empty philosophy that criticizes any attempt to challenge authority. It has been used by the World Bank et al to justify corporate globalization.

        • Jonathan

          How is Paganism more "post-modern" than Recon? Wicca for example is very strongly influenced by extant folk traditions, agrarian rites, and personal interaction with nature. The notion that it was just thought up one day by some silly romantic idealist is a tired old stereotype that denies the experience documented by its practitioners. Tracing everything back to the Romantics is a tendency among those who except the typical elite narrative of cultural history.

          Also, Recon relies heavily on textual information that documents courtly entertainments as well as the mythologies of the warrior class. These mythologies likely reflect nothing about the religion of the vast majority of the people within those societies.

  • Robin Artisson

    Assange is a hero, and I don't think he raped anyone, for the obvious reason that anyone who whistle-blows on the most powerful nations on the planet will always be thought innocent of any sudden "warrants" or troubles that pop up on them.

    The powers that be can do whatever they want- absolutely whatever they like. I'm very surprised that Assange hasn't "committed suicide" in his cell already, or "got killed in a fight" with a random inmate who just "decided" to assault him in jail.

    Yep, the man could be a real serial killer, and no one who understands the powers that be and how they work would believe a word of those charges. Amazon, Paypal, Visa, American Express- all these big money barons all decided to pull away their support for Assange and his organization? And that's a shock to ANYONE at all? What's more shocking? That these capitalist super-giants are in the pockets of the capitalist giant chiefs, or that the chiefs of our world can just shake their iron rod and get corporations to tap dance at will?

    How is any of this a surprise? If anything, this is another thing we should thank Assange for- for exposing, up front and in the news, how wired together and powerful the Oligarchs that rule this planet really are, and what they're capable of. They can't just hide this one under the "business as usual" drapery. People's awareness is sailing to new heights. And all over a bunch of cables, most of which weren't even marked "top secret".

    And those cables? What great, shocking revelations did the whole world get from them? Oh no! Apparently the government, along with other governments, are saying mean things in private, back-biting one another, arranging for obviously unethical and illegal things to take place, and working selfishly towards their own agendas! I almost fell over and died of a heart attack from the shock of those revelations!

    Assange did nothing illegal, but the powers that be will find a way to prosecute him anyway, as soon as this sham rape charge is blown off. He'll be prosecuted for some new charge they'll invent and pass into law, or through some loophole-language that they'll "presto manifesto" overnight, and the fair and impartial judge he gets will hit him with the maximum sentence. Wait and see. There are no rules for the powers above; just for us below.

    • Crystal7431

      "And those cables? What great, shocking revelations did the whole world get from them? Oh no! Apparently the government, along with other governments, are saying mean things in private, back-biting one another, arranging for obviously unethical and illegal things to take place, and working selfishly towards their own agendas! I almost fell over and died of a heart attack from the shock of those revelations!" That was my reaction to the "leaked" info. Nothing shocking, new, or top secret about it. Just stuff that everyone already knew if they had an ounce of gray matter between their ears.

    • stillhere1966

      I'll offer a alternate assessment, Robin.

      Given this whole Wikileaks thing, not just the State Department leaks, Assange seems to have a narcissistic personality. I can see him having a hard time taking NO for an answer from a woman.

      That said, I think that this is retaliation for the leaks more likely than not. We'll see what the court case proceedings uncover.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I have not the slightest doubt that the movement of these rape charges to the front burner was political. Whether the charges themselves are political is another matter altogether, and I'm not joining the Leaks mob in brushing them aside.

    • Stephen A.

      I'm also amused by the gossipy nature of the cables. One is tempted to say "big deal" and let it go, but when a foreign agent has a piece of intelligence to share in the future, and he has no way to get to the US embassy because his nation has shunned them because of their leaking, that's a problem. That, and the fact that SOMEONE (many, actually) gave info to our embassy staff and will now be in fear for his/her life because of the leaks.

      As for the allegations of rape, one of the women allegedly literally wrote the book on "getting revenge on men" but even she didn't have a problem with the sex – even throwing a friendly party for him among his other friends the day after – until she found out about the OTHER woman who had sex with him the same week she did. That's a problem.

      • Robin Artisson

        A very large problem. I hope they sort this nonsense out.

  • caraschulz

    There is confusion about the rape charges because of a difference in US and Swedish law.

    Both alleged rape victims agree that the sex was consensual. What's being contested was did Assange know the condom broke, and if he did, did he then continue having sex against the female's wishes? (For the other woman she says the evening sex was consensual, but the sex the next morning that started while she was still asleep was something she did not consent to) What the Swedish law says is that if a couple agree to have sex with a condom, and the condom breaks, consent is automatically withdrawn *if the male knows the condom broke* or consent is automatically withdrawn if no condom is used. No consent = rape.

    This isn't whitewashing or downplaying sexual assault, but I think many people are seeing just how easily a charge of rape could occur with those vague of guidelines as to what is rape and what is legal sex.

    This gives a run down of what the complaints are and when they happened.

    • Robin Artisson

      I've read the complaints, and heard months ago that the sex was consensual. This is how stupid and trumped-up these "charges" are. It's an outrage, actually, and it's only following him around because he ticked off the wrong people.

      And, as much as I hate condoms, I have to insist that these beastly things don't come with a microalarm that beeps to tell you it broke. If you're sunk (quite literally) in the heat of passion, you probably aren't going to realize what's happened until you've finished dipping your wick, as it were.

      What legal criteria are in place to "prove" whether or not a man knew that his condom broke? What criteria aside from a confession could ever prove that he didn't know? It's absurdity, first class.

    • I can absolutely see sex started when someone is asleep, regardless of consent to a particular sex act the night before, being rape. I would regard it as such because I wasn't awake to consent, and to wake up to someone having sex with me would be an incredibly traumatic experience, given my personal history. Even the idea creeps me out.

      • caraschulz

        Sex started while I'm still asleep is my favorite Sunday morning activity.

        • I certainly have no problem with the idea if both parties understand it's okay. I could never be okay with it for myself.

          • caraschulz

            Totally. And our conversation shows why this is such a … subjective area with all kinds of built in expections. Sex is an area where communication is so important and it's also an area where humans tend to not have clear communication.

            All said – I'd not want to be on a jury in Sweden on a case like this. I do firmly support that consent can be withdrawn at any time. But cases where consent hinges on condom use/breakage or 'surprise sex' – how could you decide? Especially since both parties could be 100% telling the truth.

          • Swede

            Okay, let us get this straight once and for all. There is NO Swedish law whatsoever about any “sex by surprise” (What on earth is that and who came up with it? It sounds completely ridiculous.) There is also NO Swedish law that makes a man a rapist if a condom breaks (WTF? We are not complete idiots.)

            You are correct that this is bizarre, but what is absurd is not the laws concerning rape, but the crappy journalism and complete made up stuff that gets published by media. Here’s an article in English concerning this nonsense:

          • caraschulz

            I've read similar break-downs on this and I think you are going to find that many Americans still will be…a bit cautious about how rape is classified in Sweden.

            We understand the issue is *consent* and withdrawal of consent – but we may (or may not) look at this differently. So yes, there is a question of consent when someone engages in what we call 'surprise sex' – usually when a partner gets amorous in the morning before the other partner awakes to give them a surprise. Others call it a 'wake-up call.'

            Can a partner be abusive and claim, "I thought s/he'd like it" as a way to cover for their abusive behavior? Yes. But the reverse is also true.

            Human relationships and sexuality – tricky stuff.

          • Anna

            Okay, I see this argument a lot and I think it is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the charge is.

            This issue isn't the sexual practice itself. Lovers consent to all kinds of things, including the intentional infliction of pain. The issue is not just that the condom broke. That's not rape either.

            What is rape is the condom broke AND she said, I want to stop, AND he said, no I will not stop, AND then prevents her from disengaging by holding her down his body weight while he finishes.

            THAT is what is meant by withdrawal of consent. In Illinois. Dorky, square, Midwestern Illinois.

            And it should be. It's a violent crime. It's NOT the same as just surprising your lover on a weekend morning … unless she says, hey quit it, and you hold her down while you keep going.

            Rape laws in the US are intensely strange on the issue of consent, and vary from state to state. In some states, a consent simply requires a good faith attempt on the part of the victim to say she wants to stop. In others, you can rape your wife at gunpoint and she can't charge you because marriage establishes permanent legal consent.

            And it is fiendishly hard to bring a legal charge. Usually you need something other than a simple assertion … medical evidence, pelvic bruising, a pattern of multiple victims, a witness.

          • caraschulz

            "And it is fiendishly hard to bring a legal charge. Usually you need something other than a simple assertion … medical evidence, pelvic bruising, a pattern of multiple victims, a witness. "

            You got that right! Here's why this case would be difficult to try in the USA.

            1. You'd have to establish that sex happened (or was attempted) – both parties agree that sex happened so lets move forward.

            2. Now you have to look at if the sex was consensual? Did it start out that way (this does have a bearing, on nothing else than the degree of sexual assault) Both parties agree that sex started as consensual.

            3. Was consent CLEARLY withdrawn? Here's where it gets sticky. One party says yes, the other party says no. One party says consent was given until the condo broke, the other party says that wasn't the case. One party says she was held down, the other party says he did no such thing.

            4. Which means the court (and jury) will look at other evidence – was there any bruising? How was the behavior of the two towards one another afterward? What did the victim say in statements to the police? Did that change? Does the alleged perp have a history of violence?

            The whole area of #4 is exceedingly messy and difficult for a jury – especially a jury that is supposed to begin from a position that the person is presumed innocent and if there is a reasonable doubt that the person is guilty of the crime, you have to find them 'not guilty'

            (BTW – the morning sex thing is from the second alleged victim who says she consented to sex the night before, but didn't consent to sex that started while she was still asleep the next morning)

          • Anna

            All true. True in any legal case, actually, and especially true in any kind of rape case. I don't know how presumption of innocence works in Sweden. That's a specifically US thing.

            Should be noted that finding someone not-guilty does not mean innocent, and in the US you can find someone innocent, for example using DNA evidence. Not-guilty means you cannot prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and reasonable doubt is so easy to achieve in rape cases that most never come to trial at all.

            What is not true is what a lot of people are saying: that this charge isn't really rape, or if it is, it isn't rape-rape, or is only rape by some esoteric politically-correct standard that applies only in Sweden.

            Or, even more seductive, that we support the WikiLeaks movement and therefore the allegations cannot be true. (Michael Moore pretty much said this in so many words.) That's simply crap.

          • Anna

            This came up because a Washington Post reporter seems to have misunderstood a slang term for date rape as an actual legal charge and it got into the mainstream media.

            Then a Slate reporter asked Assange's lawyer to explain the charge and the lawyer said, there is no such thing. He's charged with 1 count of rape, two of sexual molestation and I can't remember the third charge. Since this was coming from Assange's lawyer, I assume he knows.

    • Anna

      Actually the state of Illinois has the same law regarding withdrawal of consent as Sweden. It's not some weird legal aberration.

  • Tairis

    Re: King Arthur: "Self-styled Druid leader," surely?

  • It's odd, isn't it, how people just insist upon being human? And some people have it within them to be brave heroes/heras in some situations and bounders in others. It doesn't fit neatly into a nice narrative, but it's more often than not the way things are. Everyone deserves to be considered innocent until proven guilty. I agree with Erynn's statement above that "[t]he project is absolutely worthwhile regardless of Assange's possible crime. Wrapping up a project of this nature with one public persona makes it easier to undermine or destroy, which is the ultimate goal of government and corporate interests." If Assange is found guilty, he should pay for his crime. But I will do magic to support Wikileaks, just as I would have done magic to protect printing presses centuries ago. When the powerful can hide what they do, it's never good for the people that Kipling celebrated in A Pict's Song.

    • northernsea

      I agree with you Hecate that wiki-leaks is important, but as a feminist I so abhor how women's issues are taken over by the patriarchy and divide women. I see this as exactly the same game played when Laura Bush said we need to go to Afghanistan to liberate the women there and it was used for Iraq too. Guess what? The women in both places are worse off than they ever were and we did that for them. Now it is the issue of rape being redefined and used by token careerist women to get back at guys for a personal affronts. They are being used and they are stupid. As Mary Daly said the most unaware women is a professional one in a male career who thinks she is smarter than the rest of us. There is no guilt or innocence in a patriarchy. There is only who has the power.

      • Beautyseer

        Without a trial or any due process, Pay Pal, Visa and Mastercard all summarially decided Wikileaks is guilty of a crime and now refuse to process donations to that organization. Because these companies are violating essential freedoms of expression, on Wednesday, Dec.15, there will be a 24-hour international strike against the use of those cards by all freedom-loving people. If you would like to join this action, please copy this message to your friends, refrain from using those payment services on Wednesday, and post the photo linked below as your profile picture on Facebook and elsewhere on Wednesday! Photo:

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Beautyseer, I won't try to talk you out of being mad at these folks, nor from taking action against them. But I must point out that they are private entities, not branches of government, and thus are not bound by trial or due process restrictions. What they may be are spineless gits who rolled over when some government entity leaned on them; we don't know that.

          A 24-hour strike against use will quickly be made up in the preceding or next 24 hours or so by people making the purchases early or late that they would have made on Wednesday, so the monthly business done by Visa et all will be pretty much the same.

      • Anna

        Um … the women of Iraq are worse off. The women of Afghanistan are a different matter. In the late 1990s the only ones who gave a shit about Afghanistan were feminists. I've met Afghan refugees. Women there don't want us to leave. They will be slaughtered if the Taliban takes back over.

        Rape is not being "redefined" in the Julian Assange case, as I explained up-thread.

        I think it is important to recognize that someone might be admirable in one area of life and a criminal in another at the same time. But we're used to this in Illinois: like George Ryan, nominated for a Nobel Prize while in jail for corruption, a brave governor who stopped executions in my state when it was shown that innocent people were being killed … but also a crook who accepted bribes in office.

        It is sooo seductive to try to make the world simpler than it is.

        • northernsea

          What the hell are you talking about? You have to support what the women in a certain country need and want and not what a white western woman thinks they need and want. They are already being slaughtered and raped by our soldiers and then persecuted by their own men. It is called Feminism 101. Do a Google search. Yes, the initially wanted westerners there and then they saw we were exactly the same patriarchy they were fighting. Stupid is as stupid thinks. They know what they need and not white western women. Have you been educated in POMO? How depressing.

          • Anna

            a) What makes you think I'm a white western woman? Because I speak English? Because you assume one must be a white western woman to be on this Web site? Because I live in Illinois? Check your assumptions.

            2) I've met Afghan refugees, interviewed them in refugee camps in Europe in fact, so possibly I know a little more about what they want, need and fear than what Google will tell me.

            #F) calling me stupid and other names doesn't exactly support your point.

          • northern sea

            Grow up

          • Anna

            Yes, I believe you should.

          • Leea

            Thank you, Anna, for replying with dignity. As opposed to Northern Sea.

  • chuck_cosimano

    If Assange is found guilty it will be because someone did not explain to the jury what it means to have all those hackers mad at them.

    • Robin Artisson

      For the win!

  • Rombald

    For what it's worth, I think Assange is lucky to get extradited to Sweden.

    Many senior US figures have been calling for his execution, and the UK would allow his extradition to the USA regardless of the validity of the charges – look at that autistic UFO-obsessive recently extradited because of hacking the Pentagon computers.

    Sweden is a more honourable country than the UK, and he'll get a fair trial for the rape charges. He also won't get extradited to the USA, and, if he goes to jail, he'll probably be decently treated there.

    I do think that, at first glance, based on no knowledge, Sweden's rape laws do look biased against men. I suspect that it would be best for there to be degrees of rape, as there are for murder in the USA. If a man has sex in the evening, and then initiates sex the next morning while the woman is asleep,, that is certainly an objectionable thing to do, but I don't put it quite in the same category as dragging a stranger into a car park at knife point. However, this is kind of separate from the above issue.

    I also agree with Hecate that people can be honourable in some respect, and cads in others.

    • Robin Artisson

      If he's so lucky to be sent to Sweden, why is he fighting it so? I agree with the other things you said.

      • I've seen many posts here about the wikileaks guy but the only one I want to address is the human remains. Hawaiians have had and still have problems with our people's bones and even bodies being taken from their resting place. If there's consent and it's done in a respectful way then returned on time as promised science and cultures can work together.

        However taking a person's bones because there might be some value in them–scientific or otherwise–then never returning them to their rightful resting place is disgusting. The only way to make people wake up to that fact is to ask, "How would you feel if your loved one, your Father, your Wife, your Child was dug up experimented on then shoved in some drawer never to return to where they were laid to rest?" I respect those who are respectful to me and grave robbing is NOT respectful.

    • Anna

      And, btw, there are degrees of rape in US law. At least in Illinois.

  • Whenever I hear talk of "Pagan scholarship" or "the serious academic study of Paganism", etc, I am reminded of the apocryphal story about the time someone asked Mahatma Gandhi for his opinion on western civilization, to which he (supposedly) replied, "I think it would be a good idea."

  • gidget commando

    If a man has sex in the evening, and then initiates sex the next morning while the woman is asleep,, that is certainly an objectionable thing to do, but I don't put it quite in the same category as dragging a stranger into a car park at knife point.

    I have to disagree with you there, Rombald. If the woman didn't consent previously to that sex, or if she withdrew consent as she awoke, and the man continued, it's rape. The "dragged into the car" victim may get more sympathy, but the woman who's treated as a…well, a ***-rag by someone she trusted? She's going to feel just as violated, be just as damaged, with the additional damage of doubting her own judgment about whom to trust, being disbelieved by most authorities and most people she thought cared about her, and doubting her own sanity. I walked that path, and I'm hardly the only one.

    Assange may or may not have raped the women. The hyped up prosecution of the case is most certainly politicized; that does not preclude that the charges may be true and Assange may be a narcissistic, privileged butthole who thinks nobody else's boundaries apply to him.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I have to back Rombold inasmuch as having one's life threatened by a knife and being abducted are worse than not. In fact in a court case those would probably be the premises for additional charges.

      That last is assuming the system is doing its job, which can be quite an assumption. We've got a case in Cleveland that's straight out of "Criminal Minds" and the city is being sued for police incompetence.

      • Anna

        Okay, Baruch, let's discuss the mechanics of force involved here.

        You have a woman who probably weighs about 125-130 pounds on average, maybe more like 150 in the US (Americans are statistically heavier than average). You have a man who is at perhaps 50 pounds heavier, more like 75 in the US. He is using his body to hold her down. He is physically already inside her so he's also leaning on her pelvis, meaning she has limited leverage. You can't exactly kick someone in the balls from that position.

        There's no weapon … but does he *need* a weapon? Is this "better" than being held at knife-point?

        (Actually, it is better for the rapist … because introducing a weapon makes it an automatic first degree rape charge.)

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          I never said either situation is a walk in the park, just that one is worse than the other.

          • Bookhousegal

            I wouldn't be so sure, there: unarmed assaults, especially from people consented to once, or just let into your own space kind of violate other senses of trust and security where the archetypal armed rapist is a bit of a psychologically- simpler situation, just as it seems to be, perhaps, judicially.

            I'm not personally in the habit of letting armed assailants get that close to me, so it'd have to be 'the kind of thing that could happen to anyone.' ie, someone getting the drop on one. ( A single assailant approaching with a weapon for that purpose is already starting off with two dangerous things to try and control: his weapon and *me.* Not to say that it wouldn't be serious as a heart attack, hopefully just for *him,* (Pay attention to your self-defense instructors, ladies: in my case if anyone comes after me I'm probably already in a fight for my life, or at least try telling my nervous system otherwise. From maybe too much street experience, I know a lot of the profiles out there seem to find a generally ''too hard a target to be worth it' thing going on in me, and on the odds, that mostly leaves rage and hate crimes unless there's a group of assailants or something else at play,) Basically, though, in a lot of ways that sort of thing can be a lot simpler than to get fooled and have your trust violated, *then* end up overpowered, so there are ways it can be just as bad as something opportunistic at knifepoint.

            If it's really about condoms breaking during otherwise consensual sex, it's maybe not on the same level anyway, not that it exactly shows much character or responsibility.

  • Jason: thanks for the honourable mention of my books in this article!