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In the end, my critique isn’t really about the stories themselves, but about consistency in the ways in which power is understood and confronted by the news media. We now know a great deal about the life, motivations, finances and peculiarities of Assange. Fine. But if we keep the lens there, and do not interrogate, in a similarly critical fashion, other actors with far more economic and political power than Assange (including those exposed by WikiLeaks), then we see only one small component of a much larger, complex picture. And that’s a disservice to WikiLeaks supporters and opponents alike.
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— Regarding the alleged sexual assault committed by Peter Ludlow and the sudden targeting of activists online.
Disclosure: I have never met Peter Ludlow in my life.
I have been cautious to stay as far away from this issue as possible after witnessing a series of personal attacks aimed at activists and journalists online. These attacks came against anyone who will not be bullied or conform to the opinions of others. As matter of fact, I first learned about the lawsuit against Northwestern University when I was threatened by someone for not speaking out against Peter Ludlow. At that point, I became afraid to even bring it up in conversation.
Later, after seeing numerous accusations of rape on Twitter, I learned the word “rape” had not been used by the alleged victim in this case. After reading the court filings, I found out that the case did not involve any mention of intercourse, consensual or otherwise, anywhere. When I asked about this, I was accused of trying to diminish the importance of sexual assault.
The conversation I observed taking place online about the case seemed highly speculative and opinionated. Anytime someone mentioned that the word “rape” may not be appropriate, even while acknowledging a grievous assault may have occurred, they were accused of defending their “pal,” including others who never met Mr. Ludlow.
First, I’d like to talk about the notion that people should somehow be *required* to get involved in anything, including accusations of rape. As I’ve stated, I have no connection to Mr. Ludlow, other than the fact that I’ve shared a few of his Barrett Brown articles in the past. We’ve never had a personal conversation and to my knowledge, we’ve never even been in the same state at the same time. It’s confusing to me why I was being told I’m a bad person if I don’t say something. There are countless sexual crimes committed every day. I couldn’t begin to address them all. No one has ever attacked me for not condemning a particular sexual assault. I assumed it was generally understood that I’m against all forms of sexual assault and rape, forever.
I discovered that the idea that I’m somehow required to engage Mr. Ludlow is predicated on the notion that both Mr. Ludlow and myself are apart of the same “community”; that we’re connected by default through our mutual interests. To my knowledge, Mr. Ludlow and I do not actually share a membership in a political group, nor are we both affiliates of the same organization. Where does that line of logic begin? Where does it end? Should every student at Northwestern University who hasn’t gone online and issued a personal statement be likewise attacked?
I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. If the quarterback sexually assaults someone (Sorry, Romo) and I don’t tweet about it, am I fucking cover-up artist? This line of thinking is bullshit.
Nevertheless, there have been several people who have told me it is my duty to investigate the cases mentioning Mr. Ludlow’s alleged actions — Correction, I have not been encouraged to investigate or read anything. I’ve been told what my opinion should be and that if I have any other opinion, or question the opinion, I deserve to be labelled a “rape apologist.”
Many of the people who read this may know, some of you may not, that over the past year I have been involved in a number of actions advocating for charges to be filed in cases of alleged sexual assault. In each of these cases there was clear material evidence to support the claims of the victims, and in fact, charges were eventually filed. Last year, I organized an online drive for a town that had suffered a particularly unspeakable incident of gangrape. The funds went to survivor counseling and assault prevention, which included presentations at local schools teaching young men (and yes, women) what their parents should have: no means no, and an inebriated person cannot provide consent.
I also feel no shame whatsoever in admitting that as a young child I was betrayed by an adult member of my family who I have not seen in over 25 years. I have never put any of this in writing, but at this moment, I think it is necessary that you understand why I am so furious that some fucker has accused me of trying to cover up an assault. They didn’t even have the balls to do in full view of the public.
I’m not here to call out anyone, but instead, to exhibit overall how crooked I find this entire situation to be. That there are marauding bands of assholes currently flooding Twitter, attacking any activist that has not taken the time to learn Mr. Ludlow’s name and personally condemn him, is vile. No one is responsible to do what you say. This is not your personal army.
I am especially disgusted to learn that these particular assholes have no fucking concept of what the alleged victim’s wishes are. To my knowledge, this young woman, a journalist, has not once called upon the Internet to attack anyone on her behalf. It’s appalling to me that anyone would launch personal attacks against uninvolved parties online, while claiming they are righteously doing so in the name of a victim.
You can speculate that she is benefiting from the attention, I’m going to speculate that she might be appalled by your presumptuousness. Has no one thought to ask what impact might the repeated, numerous accusations of rape — again, a word the victim has not used herself — have on the lawsuit she filed just yesterday?
I would like to point out that many of the accounts who previously used the word rape have now combed through their tweets and deleted those statements. Again, I’m not here to name names, but if challenged, I can easily prove that this is the case.
Over the past 24 hours I have also been made aware of two things:
First, that a few misguided bastards have held a little secret meeting to decide whether or not they should launch coordinated personal attacks against other activists, including myself, in the name of this alleged victim. Bear in mind, these proposed attacks were not against individuals who have defended Mr. Ludlow at all. They were to target people who had not issued any public statement regarding the case, individuals with which they coincidentally have bad blood.
Second, I was made aware — and this is particularly disgusting — that if I were to bring up the topic of rape, rape culture, or sexual assault, in the immediate future, that I would be attacked by so-called activists, or a so-called activist, with the charge that I am a “hypocrite.” I hope you’ll pause to think about that just for a moment. I was warned not to talk about rape online.
I don’t know what the fuck happened to you people, but from now on, the words “activism community” is expelled from vocabulary. If I am a part of this community, I will personally like to take a flamethrower to it before my evacuation. We are not members of the same community. You are not my neighbor. We are not allies. We are not friends.
I have taken care to avoid accusing any one person or group in this letter. It’s not important who did what. I am not here for vengeance. This is about asking people to be conscious of their behavior, and stop letting themselves fall victim to the loudest voice in the room. You are not sheep-people. You do not eat grass. There is no authority here and I would be suspect of anyone that tries to dominate you, or attack you simply for asking questions. In the immortal words of Lord Infamous, fuck that shit.
And for the record, if everything that Mr. Ludlow is accused of doing happens to be true, fuck him too. I wasn’t there. I only know what I read in the papers.
Regardless of whether it is true, that doesn’t excuse anyone taking advantage of the situation to engage in personal vendettas. Don’t for one fucking second think you’re protecting victims of sexual assault or keeping your, whatever, “community” clean. You are not the activism police and you are not attacking rape culture, you’re disgracing every person before you that has campaigned to end it, by using it as a weapon against innocent people.
Again, this letter is not an attempt to slander anyone. I’m not interested. Everyone is doing a good job fucking themselves up. But, I have a feeling after I publish this that there will be personal attacks in the near future. I don’t give a fuck. I don’t negotiate with terrorists. And you will all know exactly who they are when you see them come my way.
P.S. Excuse my french.
Dell Cameron on Peter Ludlow
The giant replica is of the first issue of The Tatler.The Tatler was a British literary and society journal founded in 1709 by Richard Steele, who used the nom de plume “Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire”.
Bittorrent Advert. I really like what they are doing here :) Getting people aware is great :)
When a politician answers all my questions by insulting me
It’s Dan Gordon!
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The Securities and Exchange Commission has banned former Sun-Times owner Conrad Black from acting as a director of a U.S. company and said he must pay $4.1 million in restitution in a settlement that ends a long-standing lawsuit over Black’s dealings as the head of the Hollinger media empire. [note his own paper used the Reuters report]
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