Emma Goldstein writes:
I received an email asking me to write a letter in defence (that’s how they spell it) of Julian Assange to my Member of Parliament. But MPs are only responsible to people who live in Great Britain.
My Great Aunt Sophie lives in West Yorkshire. She used to be quite a rabble-rouser; in her university days she was known as the Mother Jones of north Suffolk, or was it south Norfolk? I emailed her to ask if she would write a letter to her MP.
Yesterday morning a letter arrived in the post.
Crone Cottage, Wormhill, near Ducksbury, Ilkley Moor, W. Yorks.
31 May, 2013
To: Mrs. Linda Riordan, MP, Halifax, W. Yorkshire
CC: Mr. David Cameron, MP, Prime Minister; Mr. Nick Clegg, MP, Deputy Prime Minister; Ms. Theresa May, Home Secretary; Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe
Dear High Muckety-Mucks:
I am an eighty-five-year-old woman living in a cottage at the foot of windswept Ilkley Moor. My only companions are my chickens, the guinea fowl, and Nigel the iguana; my nearest neighbors the farmers across the way, whom I see each day herding their cows and repairing their dry stone walls. The closest pubs are The Inseminator’s Elbow in Farmington, twenty kilometres, and The Cracked Code in Hackerdale, thirty-five kilometres – neither, it goes without saying, an establishment suitable for a lady.
Life would be bleak indeed were it not for my Internet connection. Once I spent many the long night watching Monty Python re-runs, The Tudors, and Sex In The City. To keep my mind sharp I listened to those TED talks. One evening I watched an interview with a nice young man with white hair.
Three minutes into the talk, his mobile goes off. “Goddamn it,” he says, giggling, all legs and elbows as he reaches into his pocket to retrieve the fiendish thingie. The host ad libs. “It must be the CIA, asking about the code for a TED membership.”
I was charmed. I was not the only one.
This Swedish politician, for instance – right piece of work. Styles herself a Lesbian, runs a Lesbian nightclub called Fever. For eight months, her blog features SEVEN LEGAL WAYS TO GET REVENGE ON A CHEATING BOYFRIEND.
She invites the nice man to give a talk, tells him she’ll be gone, he can stay at her flat. Comes back a day early and invites him to dinner. Afterwards, she says, he can share her bed or sleep on the floor. Not the most difficult choice he’s ever had to make.
At some point they get into The Tussle Over The Condom. We’ve all been there. Most of the time you give in, because it’s a turn-off to fight before you f – make love.
The next day he gives his talk. That night she throws him a party. Journalists ask if they can they take him off her hands. No, she says, he can stay with me. For three nights she says this.
And the girl who shows up at his talk in a pink cashmere sweater. She insinuates herself into the journalists’ lunch and sits next to him. By the end of the meal she’s eating off his plate. She invites him to spend the night with her.
She later tells police he instigated sex with her while she was asleep. That’s a crime under Swedish law. So why did she text her friends , after the two of them ate breakfast and got back into bed, she was “half asleep” or “drowsy”?
Neither of the women used the word rape. The police used it, and leaked the story to the tabloids. They wanted to stick it to the nice young man because he said they weren’t holding governments and corporations accountable. Expressen outed him – and the women.
Two clicks, I found his testimony, those of the women, and nine witnesses. Why don’t reporters read the testimonies and summarize them? They could include a link to the site so readers could analyze the data themselves: Assange’s “scientific journalism.”
I showed Gertie and Maud a video of the nice man speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum. He hopped onto the stage in jeans and a white shirt, carrying a laptop with a Pi symbol and a sticker reading FREE TIBET. He shifted from leg to leg as he bent down to the microphone. His hair flashed silver against the deep blue curtains.
“Archives of information have been centralised on computers. So when something disappears, it (has) not only ceased to exist, it has ceased to ever have existed.
“Orwell said, ‘He who controls the present, controls the past.’ He who controls Internet servers, controls the intellectual record, (which) controls our perceptions of who we are. In some cases one classified video can stop a war. Maybe fifty definitely can.”
Afterwards, an old man came up to him. “You are the only one which is sounding like a pure angel.”
“A pure angel – me? No, it’s just the hair.”
Gertie laughed and laughed. “That man never had to rape anyone. That man is fighting them off with a stick.”
If you are determined to put someone in prison, how about that fish-faced Yank hacker who turned in the gay bloke? Tells the kid he’s a minister, rats on him, hands him to the Feds to be tortured, and claims it’s the fault of the nice young man.
Who’s paying him, I wonder. They should put him in a cell with the Swedish revenge blogger. He’d be a puddle on the floor in three days.
I beseech you to listen to your conscience. You are going to have to live with this decision for the rest of your lives. U.S. government officials say the nice man has “blood on his hands” – talk about pots and kettles. I pray you won’t end up with blood on yours.
I remain your most humble and obedient servant,
Sophie Goldstein, MSW, RN (ret.), DSFA