Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sex Crimes (Or Not)

by Dick Mac

Not enough sexual predators are apprehended and punished. One might say this is because most sexual abuse takes place in families or among those who know each other. As a society, we turn a blind eye to the uncomfortable topic of sexual abuse of children within families, and the rape of women and girlfriends by their husbands and boyfriends. One might say that these incidents likely account for a massive percentage of sexual abuse among human beings. The sensationalist media will not discuss incest in any discernible way and local law enforcement agencies generally avoid intervention, even when the abuse is generally known in the community.

Most of the sex crimes in the world go unreported, uninvestigated, and unprosecuted.

Sex crimes and their ensuing publicity are generally reserved for political media campaigns. Rounding-up homosexuals during elections, fabricating sex rings for the media, and producing after-the-fact heart-tugging docudramas about the small percentage of children actually abused by strangers, are generally the sum-total of law enforcement's efforts in this arena.

When an individual is indicted of an alleged sex crime, and it is splashed all over the media, chances are it's a publicity stunt to either distract viewers from a bigger problem or create hysteria used to discredit the person.

Yesterday's arrest of Julian Assange for alleged sex crimes in Sweden is probably a little bit of both. The media can turn his efforts at WikiLeaks into an old story on the back burner by waving the flag of his terrible sexual activity, and at the same time destroy his credibility among the general public, who hate sex offenders and whistle-blowers in the first place.

I do not agree with Assange's decision to leak the information; but I think the important story is not that he is a bad guy, but that there is a lack of transparency that Western Civilization (if it can be called that anymore) needs to discuss.

There are no secrets in the political world anymore. Governments cannot keep illicit or immoral behavior from the public, and lies told to excuse bad decisions are eventually exposed.

George Bush didn't have to lie about weapons of mass destruction to convince most Americans to invade Iraq; but he is old-school and lying is what guys like Bush have always done when put into positions of power. When it became clear there were no weapons of mass destruction, the story became another lie, a tale of restoring Democracy to Iraq (a nation and a culture with absolutely no interest in democracy).

The establishment of secret prisons, and the refusal of the Bush Administration to categorize its prisoners as Prisoners of War (thereby denying them the protections we all agreed upon in the Twentieth Century) seem to be just the tip of the iceberg that is our immorality.

That people like the Bush family want the American working person to fund their international power grabs for profit also deserves to be out in the open. The secret relationships between businessmen, their lackeys in the government, and foreign powers (some of whom are quite unsavory, like Saudi Arabia) should be a public dialog. Since these powers choose to keep all of their dealings secret, the American people are turned into international pariahs, without knowing the extent of our immorality.

There are many people who think this sort of information should be in the public discourse. I am one of those people. Conservative paternalism that insists we should be kept ignorant for our own good is invalid, and the arguments against transparency no longer hold water.

Come now, WikiLeaks.

Like Daniel Ellsberg during the Vietnam War, Julian Assange believes that current wars are being carried-out in a manner dissimilar to the manner in which the American people are being informed.

So, Assange has been leaking classified and previously-classified government documents that highlight (expose?) some of the more unsavory elements of our government and the way we operate internationally as a people.

I think Assange should have been, like Ellsberg, more discerning in the methodologies used in the release of the information. Actually, it seems there is no methodology, just a sort of diarrhea-like explosion of an overwhelming amount of data that most people could never hope to absorb. Ellsberg was very careful, downright analytical, about the presentation of the Pentagon Papers, and although he angered a lot of people, he made his point and will likely be seen historically as more hero than cow.

The WikiLeaks project just feels ineffective, and Assange is throwing himself under the wheels of injustice for a poorly-executed mission. It almost seems as though he is an employee of the US government, because I'd think only they could fuck-up-a-free-lunch the way Assange has.

Yes, the information should be in the public purview.

Yes, Assange has done a lousy job trying to reach his ends.

Yes, the corporations that have mounted a cyber-war against WikiLeaks are as despicable as they come.

So, where does our government go? They didn't go to damage-control and development of a plan for better transparency; they went to the tried and true sex-crimes tactic, despicable in its own right, and ultimately ineffective.

That Interpol participated in this charade should highlight to all of us how scared the powerful have become. They are not really afraid that we are exposed to terrorism, they are afraid they will lose their business opportunities.

If there are lessons to be learned in all this, two of them would be (1) that our governments' activities should be more transparent, and (2) never believe the story of an international sex scandal when a politically unpopular person is the target.

Julian Assange Captured by World's Dating Police

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