Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Julian Assange’s Political Honeytrap

By Stephen Baskerville The impending extradition of Julian Assange on obviously trumped-up sex charges brings the new politics of sex into vivid relief. As with the tribulations of Silvio Berlusconi, there is more here than meets the media’s eye. The Swedes call such ordeals sexfalla, or “honeytraps,” where women use sexual charms as a weapon […]

By Stephen Baskerville

The impending extradition of Julian Assange on obviously trumped-up sex charges brings the new politics of sex into vivid relief. As with the tribulations of Silvio Berlusconi, there is more here than meets the media’s eye.

The Swedes call such ordeals sexfalla, or “honeytraps,” where women use sexual charms as a weapon against men who wrong them. The men who succumb to such wiles may deserve what they get, but when such a sexual drama becomes ensnared with law and politics, the rest of us have an interest in the matter. Assange, in his public and private life, may be far from admirable. But conservatives eager to cast the first stone might consider how Assange’s experience is becoming the experience of us all.

Assange’s biography reads like a textbook of the sexual revolution. Even sketchy accounts of Assange’s life illustrate how extensively his ordeal has been shaped throughout by the new sexual order.

First, Assange’s freewheeling and sexually liberated mother, through divorce, deprived him of a father and a stable home, thus ensuring him his share of the problems now well known to accompany such upbringings. In Assange’s case, this seems to have set him on the course of a kind of global nomad, lacking firm attachment to family, home, community, country, or God. His own marriage likewise turned out to be another honeytrap, as marriage has become for millions of men, with the government confiscation of his own son and a prolonged legal battle with the Western democracies’ most corrupt and authoritarian machinery—one designed to neuter, eliminate, and criminalize “male chauvinist” fathers. By several accounts, this was the defining moment in his adult life, leaving him (like many other men) intensely embittered against all government. His experience with the feminist divorce apparat also seems to have diverted his leftist upbringing into a more libertarian distrust of all authority.

We can dismiss this with standard euphemisms about a “nasty divorce” and “ugly custody battle” and smear him, as some conservatives seem eager to do, with sneers about his “failed marriage.” But there is no need for armchair psychology to see that Assange is yet another product of our great experiment with single parenthood.

Nor do we need conspiracy theories to realize that Assange’s current prosecution is very political indeed, though less in the way the left wants to see it than in the way the left itself has made it. Once again Assange has fallen into the clutches of the sisterhood. Indeed, if his arrest did not involve US pressure, its politicization is all the more serious.

For it is not a conspiracy, but a vindication of an ancient truth. Men fool themselves that their high political machinations determine the fates of nations. Meanwhile, “the hand that rocks the cradle”… Here as elsewhere, feminists have not eliminated gender “stereotypes” so much as they have politicized them.

It is hardly conspiratorial that American officials and Swedish prosecutrixes have entered a marriage of convenience using the silver bullet of political prosecutions: fabricated sex charges.
How do I know they are fabricated? Anyone familiar with the politics of the feminist rape industry can immediately spot the setup, and the New York Times, one of the mouthpieces of that industry, makes it very plain.

“When Julian Assange…asked two Swedish women out on dates in August, he may not have known that Swedish laws protecting women in their sexual encounters include wide-ranging definitions of sexual assault and rape.” Translation: Laws against “rape” have nothing to do with actual rapes. Repeatedly the Times bends over backwards to disguise the reality that rape law is political, its purpose to criminalize men regardless of actual culpability. “Swedish prosecutors who want to question him on whether separate sexual encounters he had with each of the women became nonconsensual after he was no longer using a condom.” Translation: The women clearly consented, but feminist prosecutors are charging him anyway.

As if to emphasize the politics of rape prosecutions, the Times adds that “female empowerment – economic, social, and also legal — has a different quality in Sweden than in other countries.” In other words, rape law is so politicized that it can convict innocent men with no fear of scrutiny by journalistic watchdogs. The Times admits that “Sweden’s current criminal code is not much stricter on sexual offenses than those of other European countries” or the US, where miscarriages of justice over rape are routine, if not out of control. One need only glance at the cases of various innocence projects (or a daily newspaper) to see that almost all consist of rape trumped-up charges.

The Times account is an open admission that feminist rape laws constitute a standing miscarriage of justice designed to criminalize men, as is now on full display. Not content with this, the feminist gestapo “contend that the definition of rape should be expanded to include situations in which a woman does not explicitly say no to sex, but clearly signals her opposition in other ways.” This manipulation of law to debase the language and create criminals already operates in the US.

Accounts of Assange’s experience bear out the politics very clearly: His first accuser is a professional feminist. “While a research assistant at a local university she had not only been the protégée of a militant feminist -academic, but held the post of ‘campus sexual equity officer’,” according to the Daily Mail. “Fighting male discrimination in all forms…was her forte.”

Along with the other accuser, she enlisted a prominent “gender lawyer” and “leading supporter of a campaign to extend the legal -definition of rape to help bring more [alleged?] rapists to justice.” Her website offered “7 Steps to Legal Revenge,” advising women how easily they can use trumped-up accusations to punish men for personal hurts. After the “rape” the woman had sex with her “rapist” again and threw a party for him, while the other accuser cooked him breakfast.

In short, there is not a shred of evidence that Assange raped anyone and very clear indications that he did not. Assange himself sees into whose trap he fell: “Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism,” he tells the Sunday Times. “I fell into a hornets’ nest of revolutionary feminism.”

Even some feminists are embarrassed. In a satirical piece in The Huffington Post, Naomi Wolf writes, “As a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That’s what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!”

Wolf’s sisters responded by castigating her for “trivializing rape,” another confirmation that the trumped-up charges against Assange are nothing exceptional but part of the standard feminist modus operandi against men without the publicity or leftist support Assange enjoys.

Indeed, what Wolf is trivializing is not rape but men imprisoned for crimes not simply that they did not commit, but that everyone knows did not happen. The women are not using only “feminist-inspired rhetoric”; they are using the criminal charges, which imprison the innocent for decades.

There was no rape, and everyone knows there was no rape. Yet everyone involved from the left to the right has political reasons for implying there might have been, for pretending to see the emperor’s clothes, for blurring the distinction between innocence and guilt, between truth and falsehood.

Thus we all become part of the brave new post-modern world where words can be deconstructed to mean whatever we want them to mean, where there is no objective truth and we all — prompted most likely by political motives — follow the truth that is “right for us.” It is hardly surprising if our governments follow our lead and legislate the meaning of words and “findings of fact” to create their own reality and make us all criminals. As usual, one deconstructed reality (what used to be called a “lie”) necessitates another, until our political agendas require that we remain silent as we watch innocent men being led away in handcuffs.

Thus we all trade virtue (literally, one hesitates to point out, “manhood”) to become operatives of the servile state. And then we all have the hubris to claim we are defending freedom.

But this is the disposition of lackeys and tyrants, where brave men are cowed into abject silence by feminists wielding government power, and where everyone finds it handy to have a criminal charge available to pin on anyone who hurts our feelings or threatens our power.

This is more than a sideline to national security. National secrets are kept ostensibly to protect our freedom. But servility cannot sustain freedom. A society that averts its eyes and holds its tongue as criminal charges become political weapons will not maintain freedom long.

Do the ends here justify the means? Perhaps, but in that case it is much healthier to be straightforward about it. If the US government determined that Assange truly threatened national security, methods exist to deal with him quietly. The international political environment is lawless enough that eliminating nuisances is often the only option, without the sanctimonious pretence that principles other than power and self-interest are in play.

That is part of international espionage, and anyone in Assange’s business knows the risks. (Assange’s prototype may not be the glamorous James Bond, as some suggest, but Alec Leamas, the spy manipulated by forces beyond his control.) Such expedients may or may not have been appropriate in this case, but they are less threatening to freedom than kangaroo courts that mock and debase justice. Expressions of outrage would follow, precipitating a morally elevating public debate about whether assassinating foreign troublemakers is ethically acceptable.

But such unpleasant realities do not accord with the new gender sensitivity. So instead impotent men hide behind Swedish women and indulge in the high-minded pretence that we are employing the rule of law (defending wronged women, no less), when what is occuring is just as much the naked exercise of power as if Assange were quietly snuffed out in a corner. And thereby we cheapen the rule of law, not only internationally (where it cannot be expected to operate), but also within that fragile balance we call free societies. This is the honeytrap which catches us all.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.

The American Conservative needs the support of readers. Please subscribe or make a contribution today.