Friday, October 12, 2012

Whistle Blowers and Condoms, and a Young Man in Prison

given my current depression--lessening now, thank heaven!--i have deliberately not been watching conventions [what! they're nominating mitt romney?] or debates, and read about them only as much as i feel i need to. sad obama apparently blew it last week, glad biden did well this week.  but i'm trying, till i feel stronger, to avoid politics.

 sometimes, though, you can't avoid it.  glancing through the metro news a few weeks ago [ like to read the astrology page at night to find out what i did that day] i came across a reminder of a long-lasting, still upsetting situation: the attempt to get wikileaks founder julian assange kicked out of every country till he ends up extradited to the US, where he'll be at best imprisoned for years, at worst, executed.

i am even angrier at the use of the anti-rape legislation of sweden.  while anti-abortion politicians in the US are trying to convince us that rape is confined to attacks in alleys from demonic strangers, the anti-assange crew is trying to convince us the sweden's idiosyncratic inclusion of sex without condoms in their definition of rape is valid in the rest of the world.   in two separate reported incidents, assange was involved in consensual sex with adult women, and his condom broke. he didn't immediately stop the intercourse, and both women reported this to the police. neither claims to have been in any way coerced into the sex itself.  need i point out that once sex has begun it's pretty ...involving?...and your mind isn't necessarily working at its most logical.  he should have stopped, yeah. could he have stopped? maybe.  a sexologist could probably tell you.  maybe he's just a sleaze.  sweden deserves much praise for its serious attention to abuse of women, but they may want to consider some of their definitions of sexual abuse.

if he really had raped these women, frankly i'd be glad for the pursuit he's gone through, even knowing that it had nothing to do with the rapes and everything to do with the fact that he's revealed secrets to the people of countries whose politicians would rather the public didn't know.  but using a highly questionable definition of rape is something else.  If anyone really considers him some sort of sexual predator, flood the internet with warnings not to date this guy.  and then start investigating all the swedes whose condoms have broken.  better yet, include the swedish definition of 'rape' in our own laws, and start investigating american men.  one wonders how that would affect the demographics of american prisons.

meanwhile, almost ignored by the US press, a young army private has lived in a series of American prisons for the past four years, some appallingly brutal, because he got hold of and sent to wikileaks a large number of classified documents.  among liberals and leftists, bradley manning has been seen as the daniel ellsburg of our era.  various processes leading up to trial have taken place, with manning still ensconced in prison for being a whistle blower.  he may well end up spending the rest of his life incarcerated. maybe some truly dangerous information is getting out.  but i'm  more concerned about the rights of the public to be informed about where its tax money is going, what toxins are being used in wars declared and undeclared, and many other things we don't think about because we don't know about. and i don't believe either assange or bradley is as dangerous to our country as any of the conservative politicians dedicated to keeping the poor ever poorer and enlarging the population in poverty, in constricting women's rights to control their reproduction decisions, and in destroying the environment for the benefit of big business.  let's investigate their sexual habits: i'm betting we could find a few busted condoms in their backgrounds.

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