TONIGHTS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
Thursday 18th October 2012. 7-9pm.
Wikileaks seemed to expose the secret workings of Western governments in international affairs, on the battlefield, and at home. Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange subsequently found himself the subject of accusations of rape and an extradition order to Sweden. He and his supporters claim that the accusations are based on a flimsy definition of rape, and are an attempt to remove him to a country where it will be easier to extradite him to the USA, where he may end up facing life in prison. His critics, however, claim variously that Assange has put international relations back decades, has put lives at risk, and that his defenders are 'rape apologists'.
But did Wikileaks shed any light on global politics? Did the release of conversations between fighter pilots in Iraq and the leak of diplomatic cables tell us anything about war and diplomacy that we didn't already know? Why did liberal and left commentators end up distancing themselves from the man they had earlier celebrated as a hero? Should the critics of War on Terror and western military interventions take the Wikileaks project at face value? Are the charges of rape and demands for Assange's extradition the result of a conspiracy to silence criticism, or as George Galloway puts it, merely 'bad sexual etiquette'?
Assange has surely kicked up a storm of comment, much of it highly emotional. Discussion about the rights and wrongs of war, international relations, extradition processes, and even the definition of rape now all seem to be about Julian Assange rather than criticism of governments. Martyr? Hero? Myth? Or self-indulgent troll? The next Oxford Salon will be a 360-degree discussion on the Assange affair.
Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked-Online will introduce the discussion which will begin with a presentation of his analysis - some links to which can be found below -- followed by some Q&As. Discussion will continue less formally with some drinks at the bar after 9. All are welcome.
More views and perspectives from Brendan O'Neill and others:
Assange is not really a rebel but a product of modern society - Brendan O'Neill.
The fallen angel of the radical set - Patrick Hayes.
The rise and fall of Julian Assange - Patrick Hayes.
The leaky weirdo was never a hero - Tim Black.
The assault on Assange is an assault on liberty - Wendy Kaminer.
Some topical debates:
7-9pm 18 October in the 'Living Room' at the Oxford Hub.
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