Not In My Name: Academics Publicly Attacking Un Torture Rapporteur

| Resist!

Above Photo: From Contraspin.co.nz

I am a survivor of rape, gang rape and the abusive police process I was subjected to when I reported it and I am fed up with watching sexual violence being used as a cover for political attacks on Julian Assange, his colleagues and his supporters.

I am not alone. Numerous other survivors have reached out to me tonight expressing the same sentiment and we deserve to be heard.

Today, members of what is supposedly a women’s advocacy group published an open letter addressed to UN top brass, from the Secretary-General on down, complaining about an article written by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and attempting to call into question his suitability for his role.

Melzer has recently transformed the debate around 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Julian Assange’s situation by formally finding that Assange is a victim of state-sponsored (and publicly perpetuated) psychological torture.

The content of the open letter undermining Melzer is founded on a premise of advocating for and protecting the rights of women and of survivors of sexual violence. Yet when I self-identified as a survivor in tweets to the organisers of the open letter and dissented against their opinions, they belittled me and were dismissive of my arguments.

Yes, the very women who should have been most sincere about unpacking the experiences and feelings of a survivor of sexual assault could not muster a single shred of empathy for me, nor did they express even the mildest concern for my wellbeing or safety, despite my clearly having been triggered by the conversation.

The very women who complained in their open letter against Melzer, of “insensitivity to victims of sexual assault” and “..a profound lack of understanding…” were themselves apparently incapable of demonstrating any sensitivity or understanding when dealing directly with a survivor.

And it is thus, the issue. Too often the theory that is advanced that “we must support victims!” and “we must centre the voices of women and survivors!” doesn’t match the practice. Despite being self-styled advocates, academics and lawyers, they were simply too wrapped up in themselves to have the time of day for a lowly survivor of sexual assault who was outside of their clique. They  weren’t considerate of my right to my own opinions and weren’t prepared to consider them.

I can’t help but notice that their attitudes stand in stark contrast to that of Melzer himself. Standing in the harsh light of their accusations, he handled himself with poise, grace and more – with willingness to engage, receptiveness to their arguments, and with a concerted focus on bettering outcomes for survivors.

He even thanked them.

Twice.

The reactions of those same women to my (and others) inquiries couldn’t have been any different from Melzer’s reaction. Instead of welcoming our input or engaging in constructive dialogue, they defaulted to posturing themselves as the victims, proclaiming on social media that they were being attacked. While continually boasting of having added further signatories to their attempt to undermine Melzer’s career.

Sadly, Melzer is not a lone target of the tactic of organised mass signings of an open letter being employed against him. WikiLeaks PR Consultant Trevor Fitzgibbon was the subject of an open letter signed by 72 progressive organisations decrying him as a serial abuser of women. Their lobbying efforts against him brought down his successful business and destroyed his career and his marriage, prior to him being cleared of all charges after lengthy investigations by authorities. Fitzgibbon subsequently won a defamation case against his primary accuser, after revelations of her private text message communications with him (available on the court record) made it clear that he had never raped her. His accuser has now retracted her accusations.

Likewise the activism career of WikiLeaks advocate Jacob Appelbaum was destroyed by similar tactics. Open letters were used to de-platform him at major tech conferences and hackerspaces, including one he co-founded. The public shaming campaign against him eventually boiled down to a sole complainant of sexual assault – by a person who has since gone on to make extremely dubious allegations against two other high profile members of the tech industry and is likewise now facing defamation proceedings as a result.

As a survivor of rape, it is gutting to have to continually watch people who profess to act in defence of women attack and destroy good men in the name of protecting survivors. I can not simply sit by and allow rape to continue to be weaponised for political gain.

Therefore I am writing my own open letter in response to that penned by Melzer’s critics, both in direct response to the substance (or lack thereof) of their claims, and to draw a line. A line that says, if you take this man down, it will not be in our name.

If academics read this response and are principled and brave enough to co-sign it, that is great. However I am most interested in platforming and amplifying the voices of regular people, many of whom will also inevitably be fellow survivors, who too often are the forgotten or silent majority, while the circus of these tar-and-feather public shaming campaigns continues unabated.

It is only by speaking out that we can stop them. And it is way past time.

Not In My Name: Open letter in response to the open letter by purported women’s advocates attacking the credibility of UN Special Rapporteur for Torture Nils Melzer

To: Ms Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Ms Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; Coordination Committee of UN Special Procedures (chair Ms Anita Ramasastry, Mr Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Mr Javaid Rehman, Ms Leigh Toomey, Mr Clément Voulé and Mr Dainius Puras)

On 1st July 2019 an open letter was penned to your excellencies that has so far been co-signed by 150+ people who identify themselves as “practitioners and scholars in international law and human rights”.

The authors of the article assert:

  • They “are deeply disturbed by the way [Melzer] approaches the allegations of sexual assault in this case.”
  • that Melzer’s “tone is unbecoming of a UN mandate holder
  • that Melzer “dismisses the allegations on the basis that they do not “have the ring of rape in any language other than Swedish”. Mr Melzer’s statement is incorrect.”
  • that Melzer “grossly misunderstands the realities and legalities of sexual assault when he dismisses the allegations against Mr Assange on the basis that they “do not involve any violence”.
  • that “Allegations against powerful or high-profile men such as Julian Assange are routinely dismissed as attention-seeking or part of a conspiracy to bring them down. Mr Melzer’s “op ed” perpetuates this dangerous narrative

They concede:

  • that Melzer’s “overarching argument may merit attention
  • that in their arguments, they will be “leaving aside whether this isan accurate summary of the events of the case”
  • that “Mr Assange has fundamental rights to freedom from torture, a presumption of innocence, and a fair trial.

The crux of the assertions of the authors of the open letter hinge upon a portion of an interview Melzer gave to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges on his show On Contact. They quote Melzer as having said:

“I think it is also important to point out what is called a “rape” allegation is not by any stretch what would be called “rape” in English or any other language other than Swedish, and I know what I’m talking about because I do speak Swedish. What this “rape” allegation refers to is an offence that doesn’t involve any violence (…) [Assange] is being accused of having ripped a condom during consensual intercourse (…) this is something no one will ever be able to prove.”

But here is what Melzer actually said word for word:

I think it is important also to point out that what is called a rape allegation is not by any stretch what would be called rape in English or any other language than Swedish in the world and I know what I’m talking about because I do speak Swedish. So, what this rape allegation refers to, an offence, that doesn’t involve any violence.” 

In the interview, Melzer stresses the words “an offence”. This can be heard precisely at 10:57 in the interview. It is the offence itself, stipulated in the Swedish law books, that was specifically designed for when violence was not used in the course of the action.

The English translation of the law is insufficient to explain the precise wording of the definition of the charge. The original Swedish law text makes implicitly clear that it applies only to instances of lessened violence than a forced penetration. That is why it is usually reported in English-language media as “lesser rape”. In the Swedish language, the implied lessening of the level of violence is even more pronounced. Which is why Melzer was explaining that he is fluent in Swedish. Because of that, he was able to interpret the full meaning of the wording of the laws, and therefore the nature of the allegations, in a way in which English speakers cannot.

Therefore the accusation that Melzer was trying to depict rape as a non-violent act is completely false. This invalidates the core premise of the original Open Letter of complaint against Melzer.

Melzer was simply describing an offence as it existed in 2010 on the Swedish law books. That law has since been changed in 2018. The 2018 interpretation appears to be closer to what the authors of the Open Letter wish to ascribe; however it simply was not relevant to Melzer’s credible and learned assessment of the original 2010 offence invoked against Assange.

The signatories to the Open Letter are signing it on the understanding that it contains an accurate depiction of Melzer’s actions. However, as evidenced above, the letter does not. Therefore it is a fundamentally flawed document, a misuse of the network being employed to amass signatures, a potential risk to the academic reputations of the signatories and a disservice to those on whose behalf it seeks to advocate.

Although the above sufficiently nullifies the allegations of professional impropriety falsely levelled at Melzer there is another issue which I wish to briefly cover off.

The open letter seeks to posture itself as being unbiased and objective, as well as to distance itself from any potential debate about the specifics of Assange’s case. Despite the fact that Melzer’s cited commentary was entirely specific to Assange’s case.

Unfortunately, even the most rudimentary research has unearthed that the primary organisers of the open letter have, in public, been far from unbiased towards Assange.

Out of respect, I will not name names at this point, as the purpose of this letter is not to engage in public shaming, however I am in possession of screenshots of multiple past statements published by the top proponents, organisers and signatories of the open letter making false, defamatory and biased statements about Julian Assange from their professional social media profiles and platforms.

Those statements echo some of the precise wording exhibited by state actors who have ultimately been responsible for the psychological torture of Assange that Melzer exposed.

Likewise, there is evidence of direct ties between the authors of the letter and some of the most voracious and defamatory critics of Assange that exist in the mainstream media sphere. The biases are deep and the relationships clear for all to see, with a few simple keyword searches.

It needs to be recognised and understood, that when Melzer exposed the public “mobbing” and psychological torture of Assange, that many professional human rights and legal advocates who had failed to act on Assange’s behalf or in solidarity with his plight across a number of years, themselves became tacitly implicated in his persecution. Whether it be because they had fallen victim to malicious mainstream reporting about his case, or whether it was due to their own ties to the states that have been and are actively persecuting him, they have been shown in action to have not lived up to their professed principles. That hypocrisy is publicly embarrassing. There are many professionals who would project themselves as being against torture, who have one way or another in this case, become complicit in it. Whether deliberately, or by their silence.

The correct action would be of course for them to acknowledge their error, atone for it and pick up the baton that Melzer has bravely carried thus far. Not to attack Melzer, undermine him, shame him, use social media to “mob” him as Assange was subjected to for so many years,  or seek to distract from the severity of the implications of Melzer’s findings.

It was bad enough that a publisher went most of a decade being tortured in the heart of a major Western capital city with so few in the professional class daring to speak against it. Let us not see those same tactics now be allowed to be wielded against a UN Special Rapporteur too. We cannot allow those who, be it purposefully or inadvertently, contributed to the torture of a publisher, become the public prosecutors of the Special Rapporteur who exposed the torture.

What Melzer has done, in thoroughly researching in minute detail the case of Julian Assange, is historic and lends great credence and weight to the reputation of the United Nations as a whole. I know of many who had frankly lost faith in the organisation, only to have it restored by Melzer’s courage, tenacity and attention to detail. His is a significant achievement, undertaken in good conscience and in the face of overwhelmingly powerful and hostile forces, and for that he should be rewarded and not punished.

My 2018, 24,000-word research tome about the Assange case, called Being Julian Assange was read by over 140,000 people on this website alone, not including the multiple other locations and countries in which it was republished. In that piece, which was tweeted by Julian Assange shortly before he was silenced, as well as by WikiLeaks, Christine Assange and countless others, I wrote an important piece of testimony, about what it feels like as a survivor to watch the allegations against Julian Assange bandied about as “rape” all these years. I feel compelled to quote it in full:

The apparent inability of self-styled defenders of women to differentiate between the physical and deliberate violence of actual rape, such as Bill Clinton’s rape of Juanita Broderick, compared to disagreements over condoms or in the case of Appelbaum, non-consensual back-washing, kissing someone in a bar, propositioning someone or making bad jokes, undermines and is frankly depressing to, those of us who are survivors.

Sexually harmful behaviours and other aspects of rape culture can and should be denounced and deplored, without having to equate it to rape. The proclivity of the liberal set for doing so waters down and diminishes the experience of rape victims, and the seriousness of it. It seems to be yet another function of privilege, to bandy about terms such as “rape”, “rapist”, and “serial rapist” without understanding the repercussions of doing so.

Rape is an assault on all five senses. For a protracted period of time thereafter, it renders you almost unable to live inside your body, to live inside your life. Unable to preserve your sensory perceptions or restore them to how they functioned before the rape.

To falsely describe sexually problematic behaviour common amongst the entire population as “rape” belittles and undermines survivors, as does unfairly expanding the definition of what constitutes a rapist, or branding every man a rapist by affiliation. Doing so causes many men who are not rapists to recoil from confronting what does need to change. It dissuades them from meaningfully engaging on legitimate issues. It encourages an inevitable and counterproductive backlash, that needn’t have occurred.”

This reflects a broad societal trend to blur the lines of what rape is, to expand its definition by using terms like “rapey“, a term often invoked in relation to Assange. I addressed the use of that term also.

“The term “rapey” is itself, offensive. With its use, the definition of rape is being willfully expanded into borderline meaninglessness and obscurity. As if there can be “racisty” or “sexisty” or “homophobicy”. There cannot. Rape is an absolute, and a serious crime against humanity. The term should not be callously invoked; watered down for the social convenience of he or she exercising the privilege inherently wielded when bastardising the language of the violated.”

Given that the eyes of many who believe themselves to be defenders of women are likely to read this letter, I felt it important to highlight those passages. Because foremost in the minds of those who advocate for survivors must be a concerted effort to understand how we feel, our wish to preserve the words which describe our experiences, and to retain ownership of them much as any marginalised or vulnerable group does with language used to describe them. Rape is a word that should be used with respect for the price those of us who have experienced it paid. It should never be callously bandied about, its definition should never be allowed to become meaningless, and the accusation of it should never, ever be used as a political weapon.

It is possible that in his research, Melzer read the above quoted passages and was affected by them. If so, I am grateful, and if not, I know that others were and will be.

But if Melzer is to now have rotten fruit thrown at him in the town square for breaking taboos to defend a victim of torture who others did not, then it will not be in my name.

Authored by: Suzie Dawson

Co-Signed By:

SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT WHO CLAIM THEIR RIGHT TO BE RECOGNISED AS SUCH AND HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD:

  • Suzie Dawson, Journalist and activist
  • Ariyana Love, Journalist and Human Rights defender
  • Beth Wendy Grundfest-Frigeri, Disabled activist
  • Grayden Shelley, Artist
  • Kitty Hundal, Retired, Ontario Civil Liberties Association, Author
  • Rachel Collins, Housewife
  • Lilain Duffy, Sociologist
  • Caitlin Johnstone, Journalist, Poet
  • Sarah Freeis, Activist, Artist
  • Sandra Hewett, Unemployed
  • Halo Benson, Mom
  • Reverend Elisa Standridge Howell, Minister and Spiritual Advisor
  • Sarah Jane Brennan, Independent Journalist, Human Rights Activist
  • Sarah Taylor, Researcher
  • Caressia Blair, Unemployed
  • Pema Than, Parent, Scientist
  • Christine Dopf, M.Sc, Activist
  • Helena Jennie, College Professor
  • Raine James, Forklift Operator, Mother
  • Joanne Maree Le Mura, BA – Community Services, Community Development, Human Rights Advocate
  • Sharon K. Raum, Retired
  • Louise Bennet, Media Advisor
  • Nicki Myers, Musician
  • Carrie Ellsworth, Student
  • Meaghan Walker, Researcher, Writer
  • Teresa Marshall, Massage Therapist
  • Diane Friedman, Retired Health Professional, Peace Activist, Mother, Grandmother
  • Hope Kesselring, Writer
  • Dr. Christine DeCarlo, Disabled Activist
  • Taurean Benson, Husband and Father
  • Annabelle Hodge, Mother
  • Courtney Imholt, Homemaker
  • Danielle J. Dunkley, Student
  • Carmen Powers, Grandmother, Activist
  • Doug, Retired Musician and Teacher
  • Lily Torres, Engineer, Mother
  • Tam Brewer, Retired, Activist
  • Jayne Jackie Brown, Mother, Peace and Human Rights Activist
  • Carol Watt, Chinese Medicine Practitioner
  • Nadia N. Kira, Painter, Art Therapist
  • Bella Magnani, Researcher
  • Lorese Vera MA., Teacher, Writer, Editor
  • Joanne Doran, Lecturer of Health Sciences
  • I. E., Writer
  • Vivian Kubrick, Composer, Filmmaker
  • Irene Potashner, Project Coordinator
  • Kat Irvine, Self-employed
  • Alice Bergot, Artist
  • Cleonarda da Venezia, Carer, Artist
  • Kim McMahon, Student
  • Patricia Call, Human Rights Activist
  • V. V. R., Disabled Activist
  • Eloïse Vanhouteghem, Illustrator
  • Jill P. Michaels, Retired
  • Siobhan Cawson Mooney, Musician, Activist
  • Leslie Stein, Retired
  • Kyra Moore, M. Ed., Teacher
  • Wiesje Slot, Activist
  • Jude Fleming, Human Rights Defender, Writer
  • Sandra Hill, Researcher/Analyst, Mother, Student
  • Madeleine Love, Independent Scholar, Senate Candidate (AUS)
  • Ally Cordingly, Educationalist
  • Animae Jones, Retired, Activist
  • Marti Babb, Small Business Owner
  • Stephanie Marsilia, College Lecturer, Licensed Psychotherapist
  • Leanne Ramirez, Retired US Military
  • Shari Nolder, Activist, Artist, Caregiver
  • Eul Liester, Sales Worker
  • Melinda McCracken, Retired
  • Graham Elwood, Political Comedian, Filmmaker
  • Ann Garrison, Journalist
  • Dr. Marni Sheppeard, Unemployed Theoretical Physicist
  • Julie Meyer, College Access Professional
  • Lauren Ellis, Case Worker, Artist
  • Cynthia George, Advocate for the Elderly
  • Rosie Ingram, Mother, Grandmother
  • Kristin Bright, Truck Driver, Humanitarian
  • Quinn Petersen, Activist
  • Deborah Hendry, Educator, Counsellor, PhD Candidate
  • Hali Cespedes-Chorin, Technical Writer
  • Susan Neece, Art Therapist
  • E. Schemer, Artist
  • Lorraine Tipton, Co-founder, American Mothers Party
  • Esther Hendriksen, former International Policy Advisor
  • Martin K. O’Connor, Unemployed
  • Rosita Allinckx, Activist, Artist
  • Ken Black, Entrepreneur
  • Mairi Nicola Morrison, Legal Scholar
  • Nel Lane, Activist, Writer, Social Justice Advocate
  • Kylie McCrimmon, Intensive Care Nurse, Mother
  • Elpo Damianou, ex-UNHCR Congo
  • Kristine Rael, Piano Teacher
  • Yvonne Holzmayer, Teacher, Mother
  • Hamed Pakatchi, Graduate Student
  • Elise Tak, Artist
  • Kit Jones, Licensed Psychotherapist/Mental Health Counsellor
  • M. Mayermiar, Veteran
  • Johanna Harman, Supporter
  • Lauren B. Wilson, Disabled Activist, Artist
  • Pamela Anderson, Activist
  • Deepa Govindarajan Driver, Lecturer, Trade Unionist, Mother
  • Adele Margaret Goldie, Artist, Peace Activist, Worker
  • David Denton, Government Worker
  • Carol Hale, Retired Federal Public Defender, Investigator
  • Dr. Lilliana Corridor, Marine Biologist, Oceanographer, Human Rights Defender
  • Charmaine Jones, Chef, Grandmother, Activist
  • Barbara Kim Thigpen, Grandmother, Consumer advocate, Teacher, Activist
  • Tamara Otello, Retired Social Worker
  • Ania Nowakowska, Graphic Designer
  • Ginger Beeler, Operating Room Sterilizer
  • Kara Seboldt, Data Analyst
  • Marirose Walker, Disabled Activist
  • Magda Hassan, Psychotherapist, Educator
  • JoAnn Maschè-Daane, Activist, Artist
  • Dr Carol Mackenzie, Urban Social Scientist
  • Susan Chandler, Disabled Activist
  • Arturo Íñiguez Yuste, Principal Administrator, European Economic and Social Committee
  • Rasili O’Connor, Musician, Copyeditor
  • Steve Jimenez, Journalist

OTHER CARING HUMAN BEINGS STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH NILS MELZER:

  1. Louise Bracken, Retail Cashier
  2. Niki Konstantinidis, Barrister and Solicitor
  3. Lohan Gunaweera, Visual & Performance Artist, Translator
  4. Dr. Thomas Harvey, Honorary Research Associate in Philosophy, University of Auckland
  5. Clinton David Hohneck, Engineer
  6. Laura Genovese, School Secretary
  7. Marijke Hultzer, Retired journalist
  8. Taylor Hudak, Journalist and activist
  9. Rasmus Sylvester Forsberg Outzen, Intelligence activist
  10. Paula Iasella, Broadway Costume Design/Wardrobe
  11. Paul Neville, Retired
  12. Laura Killian, Unemployed Academic (Science and Engineering), Pirate Party Australia
  13. John Anthony Giles, Retired
  14. William Hogan, Professor
  15. Linda Hagge, Retired University Instructor
  16. Nicholas Woodward, Painter
  17. Stacy O’Neill, Teacher
  18. Mary-Ann Jones, PhD, Retired Scientist
  19. Julie Milicevic, Educator
  20. Vivek Nayak, Data Entry Office Worker
  21. Cassandra Fairbanks, Journalist
  22. Patricia Perlo, IT Business Analyst
  23. Jessie A. Kim, Small Business Owner
  24. Roger Close, Unemployed, Former DJ, Student
  25. Tyler McMillan, Consultant
  26. Lorilee House, Retired Editor
  27. Bruce Turnbull, Pensioner
  28. Deborah Thomas, Hand Therapist
  29. Flavia Westerwelle, Self-emplyed Artist
  30. Kendra Christian, Sales Manager
  31. Michele Cochrane, Retired University Administrator
  32. Clare Smith, Self-employed
  33. Mary Naylor, Retired Teacher, Poet
  34. Jason Brinkman, Retired
  35. Marie Apap, Teacher
  36. Laura Eckert, Artist
  37. Joslyn Erica, Social Worker, Herbalist, Mother
  38. Michelle Wood, Activist, Mother, Naturopath
  39. Concerned Citizen, Portland Activist
  40. Alex Hills, Activist
  41. Marty Cook, Teacher
  42. Chris Lonsdale, Psychologist, Linguist, Educator, Entrepreneur
  43. Lorraine Harvey, Retired
  44. Gordon Dimmack, Independent Journalist
  45. Ann Batiza, PhD., Retired Academic
  46. Chris Leising, Photographer
  47. Daniel Wirt, Medical Doctor
  48. Fabel Arostegi, Teacher
  49. Celia Moore, Carer, Swimming Teacher, Activist
  50. Dave Donnellan, Peace Activist
  51. Dragos Savu, Accountant
  52. Lynne Bon de Veire, Artist
  53. Stephen Boni, Essayist, Editor, Storyteller
  54. Ian Colville, Product Manager
  55. Nic, Retired Mental Health Worker
  56. Lorese Vera, MA, Teacher, Writer
  57. Anna Moras, Executive Assistant
  58. Shaista Salam, Peace Activist
  59. Lucinda Manning, Activist, Archivist, Feminist, Librarian
  60. Noah Baslaw, Student
  61. Kristin Scott, Therapist
  62. Humberto Arturo Reaza Jr., Teacher
  63. Odette Louise Stevens, Artist
  64. Monique Jolie, Unemployed
  65. Rob Trimmer, Security Guard
  66. Nina Cross, Teacher, Writer
  67. Mehdi Taileb, Activist
  68. Shona Davidson, Retired
  69. Tatiana Schild, Mother, Activist
  70. George Szamuely PhD., Author
  71. Charlotte Gracias, Project Manager
  72. Elizabeth Hamilton, Grandmother, Disabled Activist
  73. Somerset Bean, Graphic Designer
  74. Julie Collier, Homemaker
  75. Bradley C. Hughes, former Greens Counsellor and Deputy Mayor, Randwick, NSW
  76. Judy Driggers, Mother, Grandmother
  77. Pierre Studler, Plumber
  78. John Hayward, Pensioner
  79. Stephen Perrett, Small Business Owner
  80. Christian Larsson, Student
  81. Jose Rivera, Builder
  82. Belinda Curtis, Support Worker, Accomodation Manager
  83. Spring Grace Eselgroth, Copy Editor, Activist
  84. Theodore W. Altmeter, Retired
  85. Elizabeth Mueller, Activist, Researcher
  86. Jenni Hall, Investigative Research and Screenplay Writer
  87. Paula Murphy, Supporter
  88. Jean B. Palmer, Supporter
  89. Serena Ferrario, Unemployed
  90. Francois Guesdon, Unemployed
  91. Jennifer Lyon, Clinical Librarian
  92. Sasha Mitrovich, Retired
  93. Annika Dahlbäck, Acupuncturist
  94. Lissa K. Johnson, Clinical Psychologist
  95. Elizabeth Hawke, Retired
  96. Jean Chevrier, Self-employed
  97. Mike Hurt, Web Developer
  98. Göran Stål, Osteopath
  99. Roseanne Martorana, Physical Therapy Driver, Dog Walker
  100. Tristan Roch-Desparois, Hardware Store Worker
  101. Anna Palczynska, Nurse
  102. Brad Lacke, Freelance Artist
  103. Satu Hiitola, Supporter
  104. W. Hall, Supporter
  105. Christa Oberwalder, Activist
  106. Freyja Inanna, Nurse, Midwife
  107. Michael Inanna, Engineer, Healing Retreat Manager
  108. Eleanor Boyd, Retired Teacher
  109. Claire Lowe, Complimentary Therapist
  110. Jane George, Author, Illustrator
  111. Lyndsey Young, Receptionist
  112. Wilson Mpalweni, Journalist
  113. Juan Rebes, IT Consultant
  114. Dennis Revell, Property Management, Technical Research
  115. Karina Fernandes, Self-employed
  116. Andreas Schwarzmeier, Engineer
  117. Karen Sprowl, Rehabilitation Counsellor, Nurse
  118. Davena Turvey, Retired Actor
  119. Barry J. Fleming, Consulting Director, Technologist, Activist
  120. Tricia Rajabipour, CT Tech
  121. Nozomi Hayase, PhD, Author
  122. Danielle Wood, Artist, Activist
  123. Donna Piranha, Anthropologist, Activist
  124. Elvira Ferreira, Activist
  125. J. Bogoeva, Supporter
  126. Miguel de Sousa Pires, IT Worker
  127. James Miller, Carpenter
  128. Irene Heitsch, Housewife
  129. Sherry Clayton, Musician
  130. Jeanie Schmidt, Nurse, Mother
  131. Pete DeLorenzo, Musician, Restaurant Worker
  132. Vanessa Byrne, Mother, Homemaker
  133. Chris Whitside, Writer, Producer
  134. Donna Moon, Home Healthcare Provider
  135. Tom Pappalardo, Uber Driver
  136. Jon Krampner, Activist, Author
  137. Colin Goodayle, Retired Public Servant
  138. John McEvoy, Journalist
  139. Calvin Benson, Whistleblower Advocate
  140. Cory Twinney, Pharmacist
  141. Yvonne Langlois, Retired Administrator
  142. Frank Hopewell, Network Rail
  143. Desiree Assaad, HR Specialist
  144. David Sutton, Unemployed Engineer
  145. Isabel Oliveira, Supporter
  146. Jenny Trigg, Retired Health Worker
  147. Magnus Mickelsson, Software Developer
  148. Kimera Muwanguzi Anthony, Photographer, Farmer, Small Business Owner
  149. Shannon Shipley, Lead Organizer for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  150. Arianna Marchionne, Scientist
  151. Bjørnar Simonsen, Sociology Student
  152. Mary Kostakidis, Journalist
  153. Carl Clarke, Human Resources Manager
  154. Michael Fitzgerald, Commercial Real Estate Broker
  155. Fionnuala Hendrick, CEO
  156. Liesbeth Nieuwenweg, Webmaster
  157. Anne Ridgley, Translator
  158. Tresilla Wood, Homemaker
  159. Lauren Richardson, Investor
  160. Maria Mollenkopf, Disabled
  161. Greg L. Bean, Information Systems Architect
  162. Kate Hecimovic, Higher Education Administrator
  163. Patrick Coss, Unemployed
  164. Tom Heron, Recording Engineer, Teacher
  165. Sandra Lewis, Child Carer
  166. Raphael Steele, Engineer
  167. John Mayall, Software Professional
  168. Lorine Brice, Supporter
  169. Andrew Mcguinness, Lecturer
  170. David Macilwain, Independent Writer, Activist
  171. Dane Owen, Supporter
  172. Jim Kavanagh, Former Professor, Political Analyst
  173. Elissar Hanna, Student
  174. Bjørn Danielsen, Systems Architect
  175. Maarten Vos, Student
  176. Tuan Tran, History Teacher
  177. Linda Hanakova, Healthcare Worker
  178. Paul J. Zickler, High School Teacher
  179. Tony Ansell, Sales Worker
  180. André Forsberg, Medical Student
  181. Mary Henning, Filmmaker
  182. Kathleen Cain, Supporter
  183. Sylvia Bennet, Retired Theatre Professional
  184. Zeina Farah, Political Scientist
  185. Sue Worp, Speech Language Pathologist
  186. Kent Kingsley, Self-Employed
  187. Roy David, Writer
  188. Carol Barnes, Former Domestic Abuse Coordinator/Advisor
  189. Alex Tiedemann, Supporter
  190. Jacqui Ham, Musician
  191. Emily E. Hamilton, Cook
  192. Lianne Rowe, Artist, Psychologist
  193. Alex Mazey, Poet, Essayist
  194. Vincent Abinet, Self-Employed, Teacher
  195. Tamara Thomas, Property Manager
  196. Juliet Smith, Teacher, Mother
  197. Brett Smith, Naturopath
  198. Pete Hallpike, English Teacher
  199. Mara Modesto-Wrobel, Retired
  200. Peter Thomas, Team Manager
  201. Teresa Bear, Certified Public Accountant
  202. Mehrzad Mahmoudian-Geller, College Professor
  203. Mark Brooks, Writer, Retired Business Person
  204. Jodi Thomas, Housewife, Former Senior Physiotherapy Assistant
  205. Colleen Whittemore, Retired
  206. Brian Robinson, Retired
  207. Gary M. Lord, Activist
  208. Paul Mansfield, Civil Servant
  209. Dr Lawrence Taylor, Activist, Retired Chiropractor
  210. Fiona Hansen, Supporter
  211. Lisa Cardon, Retired Nurse
  212. Rob Skinner, Supporter
  213. Mara Kupka, Screenwriter, Performer
  214. Fletcher Lenz, Auditor
  215. Manfred Pürro, Software Architect
  216. Cathy Raats, Supporter
  217. Victoria Husemeyer, Fund Manager
  218. Claus Bang, Mathematician
  219. Amin Talha, B Arch, PMP
  220. Christine Assange, Mother of persecuted journalist Julian Assange
  221. Susan Inman, Retired
  222. Karen Lawson, Supporter
  223. Elmarie van der Merwe, Activist
  224. Valentina Flex, Archivist
  225. Olga Christensen, Graduate
  226. Hans Jørgen Kjærnet, Supporter
  227. Kelly Kolisnik, Web Developer
  228. Jack Yan, Publisher
  229. Stephanie Wilson, Supporter
  230. Sonia Soares, Supporter
  231. Omer ElSouri, Journalist
  232. Gadi Nisenholz, Programmer
  233. Deborah Meyer, Retired, Artist
  234. Uschi Schueller, Artist, Human Rights Activist
  235. Michael Joyce, Supporter
  236. Anna L. E. Price, Administrator
  237. Manuela Alava, Lab Technician, Student
  238. Alan L. Stewart, Author, Activist
  239. Chris Whittington. Retired Programmer, Publisher
  240. Cheryl Browne, Supporter
  241. Charlene Parsons, Entrepreneur
  242. Anne Hinde, Supporter
  243. Nabil H., Disabled Activist
  244. Sue Stathoris, Supporter
  245. Dan Smith, Analyst
  246. Brenda Bonnici, PhD., Pharmacist
  247. I. Zvonko, Supporter
  248. Michael Zakko, Student
  249. Spyros Marchetos, Historian, School of Political Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  250. Sergio Mauro, Engineer
  251. Alison Hunter, IT Systems Analyst
  252. James Fields, Supporter
  253. Tania Yegdich, Retired Mental Health Educator
  254. Judith Tanner, Supporter
  255. Caspar Nørgaard, Photographer
  256. Bernie Cunningham, Supporter
  257. Cristina Mérchante, Supporter
  258. Katrina Watson, Researcher
  259. Currie Dobson, Supporter
  260. Kimber Maddox, Graphic Designer
  261. F. P. Turner, Self-Employed
  262. John Read, Interpreter
  263. Yukari Miyamae, Translator
  264. Mercy Wolf. Activist, Mother, Marriage Celebrant
  265. Jie Wang, Customer Service
  266. Abby Brickler, Supporter
  267. Jeff Bunsell, Software Developer
  268. Jerome Davis, Accountant
  269. John Thomson, Real Estate
  270. Jim Moore, Engineer
  271. Gera Shumaker, Supporter
  272. Daryl Snow, Retired Firefighter (FRNSW)
  273. Rodney Lomax, Disability Pensioner
  274. Nick Bruechle, Writer
  275. Ian Caruana, Engineer
  276. Shaun Davis, Geologist
  277. Raul Ilargi, Writer
  278. Kathy Fannin, Retired Informatics Manager
  279. Dominique Lorec, Translator
  280. Ronnie Mitchell, Supporter
  281. Alain Schenkel, teacher
  282. Karyn Hemming, Mortgage Broker
  283. Christiane Reuthner, Supporter
  284. Thushara Wijeratna, Software Engineer
  285. Rachel Markoff, Unemployed
  286. Matthew Prockter, Investment Adviser
  287. Oana Halla, Housewife, former IT Systems Administrator
  288. Julian Tol, Tech Entrepreneur
  289. Daeha Ko, Web Developer
  290. Dominique Michel, Artist
  291. Christopher Dawson, Cybersecurity Architect
  292. Miriana Demas, Supporter
  293. Mark Crispin Miller, NYU Media Professor
  294. Catherine Curtis, Actor, Stuntwoman, Coach
  295. Mike Gajda, Retired
  296. Cynthia Pryce, Investments
  297. Karen Logan, Artist

[This page is being continually updated.]

CC: The 150+ academics engaged in signing their names to the open letter to complain about Melzer, named here, and:

Prof. Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

H.E. Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Ms Beatriz Balbin, Chief of Special Procedures Branch

Mr Coly Seck, President of the Human Rights Council

Mr Christophe Peschoux, UN Chief of Section for mandates on torture, religion and belief, and human rights and counter-terrorism

Ms Peggy Hicks, Director, Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division

  • ANTONIO

    BRAVO! I remember the flower hippies of the 60s. One man kissed me on the lips (I am a man) and I was captivated. It was not sexual, just flowers and love of all humans (and animals). It make me sick with fury that such enchanting attitudes have been taken over by the totalitarian right and turned into their opposite. I am talking about post-modernism and politically correct. You can say queer but not faggot. You can say bitch but not whore. you can say African American but not nigger. on and on. Suddenly you language is enough to get you fired, and as the author points out, ruin your life and destroy your family. I remember a man was fired because he said “niggardly”, which has nothing to do with black people. The right wing Evangelicals have had a field day with this gift handed to them so they can control people. These women who scream “rape” when they mean “settlement” are beyond contempt. We, the flower children who have now turned to seed, must fight back still. The struggle continues.

  • Jadeveon Clowney

    “have been taken over by the totalitarian right and turned into their
    opposite. I am talking about post-modernism and politically correct.”

    These are leftwing projects, not rightwing. It’s the far left who are so god-almighty politically correct, who are happy to destroy people’s lives and careers over the wrong pronoun and other language policing. They’re no better than the idiot MAGA crowd.

  • mwildfire

    Yes, but the attacks on Assange, and on Melzer because he defended Assange, are rightwing in origin. And all about defending the status quo, the right of those in power to hide what they do from the public, while they spend the public’s money, and while they spy on members of the public constantly. It’s been pretty obvious all along that the Swedish rape accusations were intended to discredit Assange and Wikileaks, and to to arrange for getting him into US custody. It’s also notable that when these sexual harassment charges are leveled against Democrats in Congress, for example, it pretty much immediately ends their career. But scandals with Republican Congressmen or televangelists end with them making a public mea culpa, wife at his side, and then it’s all good.

  • Jadeveon Clowney

    I agree with all that. Was just commenting on Antonio’s contention that it’s the rightwing that’s promoting all this pc nonsense, when it’s not. It’s the left.