Innocent until guilty
Wikiwatchers fully support the principle of innocent until proven guilty for criminal proceedings.
While we will point out errors and omissions in public statements, this should not be taken as an indication of either guilt or innocence. The verdict itself should be based on the evidence itself (accurately represented) and is the domain of the Swedish courts if the matter progresses that far.
Please check "Site Rules" before commenting.
- “Getup” campaign video
- An open letter to Sweden
- Assange and Human Rights
- Attacks on Wikileaks forum
- Brita Sundberg-Weitman
- Claims and Counterclaims
- Comment moderation policy
- Common misconceptions
- Death threats directed at Wikiwatch
- Has Assange been “charged”?
- Myths: an illustration
- Review guidelines
- That Rixstep link
- The Assange extradition conspiracy theory explained
- Tweet and message submission
- Twitter blocking policy
- Vivienne Westwood
- What happens now?
- Why Julian Assange Needs To Man-Up and Return to Sweden – The Facts His Celebrity Lawyers Wilfully Ignore.
- Wikileaks Supporter Updates
- Wikiwatch reviewed
- Will Hackernews please get the facts right?
- Witness Statuses
What next, after Wikileaks? What lessons can we draw? Up under Viewpoints. http://www.wikiwatch.org.uk/what-happens-now/
Leaked emails from Assange expert witness: if genuine, they are very insightful.
Ms Sundberg-Weitman has not replied to confirm or deny their authenticity.
A puzzle: why did @Rixstepnews link to a neo-Nazi website? Under “Assangistas” menu.
Originally posted on the Objectiviser blog 17th July 2012.
The case of Mr Assange gets increasingly curious.
On 15th July the @Wikileaks twitter feed posted this tweet:
Despite not even being charged, Assange is the most rape-smeared man in modern history. 2x to 4x that of DSK, depending on how you measure.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 15, 2012
followed by this tweet :
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 15, 2012
I’m going to leave aside the interesting phrasing, which has generated a lot of comment, because the intention is clear. I also covered elsewhere the “not yet charged” statement, which is highly misleading. Wikileaks have now claimed that Jullian Assange has been wrongly accused of rape more than any other person in modern history.
The comparison is by google searches. Is this reliable?
Those searches return pages which contain the word “assange” and the word “rape”, which is a bit like walking into a library and asking to see every book which has those words in, starting with the books that contain both. Also, the second search contains the word “sex”, which is hardly comparable to rape.
The results themselves do not even support this theory: the very first page of the first search links to this article, which uses some of the common mistakes around this case to claim that Mr Assange is completely innocent – hardly a smear (it also seems to misunderstand how Google works, by the way).
The numbers for the searches are as follows:
Assange Rape 4,960,000 results
“strauss kahn” rape 2,300,000 results
“assange” sex 3,290,000 results
“strauss kahn” sex 690,000 results
In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 792 already displayed.
For Strauss Kahn, the number is 597. Which is a lot less than the almost five million that the first-page summary would suggest.
Extending the results shows, as expected, less relevant results being returned later on, and on the last page of (extended) results for Assange linked to an article which is about a totally different person, and doesn’t mention Mr Assange at all as far as I can see. Update: the article I found no longer exists so I have removed the dead link.
So not only are the numbers including articles claiming Mr Assange’s innocence, but also totally unrelated articles.
I wondered if I could find a name which returned more results on the summary page. This took about thirty seconds.
Clinton rape 45,900,000 results
Blackadder rape 4,030,000 results
So Wikileaks’ claim that Mr Asssange is the most smeared man in modern history is dwarfed (using the same method) by President Clinton, and comparable to a fictional character from a British situation comedy.
What conclusions can be drawn from this? Not a lot really, other than whoever posted the tweet has very little idea of how Google works, and can’t be bothered to do some very simply verification of their working before announcing it to the world as if it was fact.
I conclude that the tweets and the links mean absolutely nothing at all. What it does do is damage the credibility of the (already quite dubious) official Wikileaks feed – and hence the credibility of Wikileaks itself.
One has to wonder who is doing this sort of thing on the official Wikileaks channel – and why.
Note: I have linked directly to pages of google searches. These pages are likely to return different results in future, as web pages are added, removed, and Google tweak their algorithm. They are accurate at the time of writing.
Under “Viewpoints”. http://www.wikiwatch.org.uk/the-assange-extradition-conspiracy-theory-explained/
New article up, with help from Heather Brooke gratefully acknowledged.
Under the “Assangista” menu.
There are a few comments on our article about the attacks on Wikileaks Forum by Wikileaks supporters from the admin of the Forum. We have verified that it was the Admin who posted the comments.
The comments say (in chronological order, links go to original comment):
This article was written against the wishes of the forum admin !!
this article was written AGAINST the wishes of the Forum !!
please take this page down immediately. You are putting people at risk for the sake of propaganda.
admin of the wikileaks forum
Please take these attacks down. YOU are endangering staff members !
awaiting some kind of answer.please respond
The comments came in overnight. When they were seen, we sought verification of the author before publishing.
We did not seek permission from Wikileaks Forum either to write or to publish the article. All the information was in the public domain. We are unsure why the Admin is stating that we published without his permission. While that is true, we didn’t need his permission – or anyone’s.
We did, as a courtesy, pass Forum a pre-release draft and ask if they had any quotes or could spot any errors. Forum did give us a quote, but made it clear that they would prefer that we did not publish. When we stated that we were going to publish, they retracted the quote and asked us not to use it. It was removed in accordance with their wishes.
One correction they requested was that we originally stated that the threats were violent; they told us this was not the case. However, when they retracted their quote (which was in part about that fact) we no longer had a reliable source to attribute the non-violent assertion to – so we felt we had to remove a firm claim either way.
Once again: our article simply gathered tweets already in the public domain, put them together, and commented on them. We did not need permission. While we were aware of the wishes of the Forum Admin that we did not publish, we strongly felt that the public interest was the overriding concern, especially in light of the fact that we were told that the threats were not of a violent nature.
But whoever is behind the threats towards the Forum has done what abusive governments, corrupt politicians, and law-breaking companies love to get away with: they have silenced criticism using strong-arm tactics. And they have scared the administrator of a leaking forum to such a degree that he is now – with not even a hint of irony – asking for sites not to publish information which was always in the public domain by saying that we did not “have permission”.
We trust that those responsible are well pleased by their actions, and the result that their tactics have given them. Abuse and threats are a tried and tested model, but one that we at Wikiwatch oppose on principle. We wonder if Wikileaks will join the condemnation of those who attacked the Forum and those who issued threats? We will be watching their twitter feed with interest.