A case of censorship and wrongful imprisonment?

This has absolutely nothing to do with Wikileaks.

Or maybe it does.

All stories like this have two sides, and it’s inevitable that we only get to see one side of it – and perhaps therein lies the Wikileaks link – it would be so nice to see both sides of this story so that the ‘truth will out’ as they say.  The story revolves around a young man called Steven Neary who suffers from an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.  The story is detailed here – ‘The Orwellian Present – Never Mind the Future’ – and it is a very sad tale.  I know from experience that the behaviours of people on the Autistic Spectrum can vary between baffling, frightening and infuriating.  Folks dealing with such people as Steven need a lot of patience and support – unlike the situation here where, through a minor illness on the part of Steven’s carer, resulted in Steven being imprisoned against his will and the will of his father ‘for his own good’.

Whether Steven will be released back to his father’s care is still a mystery.   The situation has existed for several months now – since last winter – and has received some media coverage but in my opinoon nowhere near as much as should be given to such a case.

The ‘rendition process’ that Steven has gone through is as effective at depriving him of his freedom as any that may be read of in Wikileaks.  Kafka’s Trial springs to mind to deal with the process – Steven did little wrong; his behaviour was deemed ‘bad’ by professional carers and they considered him unmanageable:

Now the Positive Behaviour Unit is a mighty politically correct place. Tap someone on the shoulder to attract their attention, and they don’t think ‘that is how Stephen has always attracted my attention since he was a child’ – they say – ‘he touched me, that is an assault’ and promptly record it in their daily log…..

When Stephen’s Father went to collect him after three days, they had logged many such ‘assaults’ – and announced that they were retaining Stephen for ‘assessment’. No! His Father couldn’t take him home.

Now, some of you may think that this is Sectioning – nope, it’s not.  It’s another piece of fun legislation bought in for our protection by those fun loving liberals called New Labour in 2005 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/12/schedule/7 – basically, it’s designed to lock people up for their own protection.

And, if you should try and get back to your own home, where you are loved and cared for, you’re in trouble because you’re showing that you need locking up for your own protection because you’re trying to take yourself to a place where you don’t need ‘protecting’.

Kafkaesque process, followed by Orwellian Doublethink and, eventually, probably becoming an un-person as you disappear form view with only your family to care about the problem.  And if you have no family?  Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Many of us in the IT profession exhibit traits of behaviour on the Autistic Spectrum – it’s almost a given that engineers, mathematicians, programmers, etc. will be there.  I wonder whether any of our own lapses of ‘socially correct’ behaviour could get us there?

Steven’s behaviour appeared normal for someone scared and wanting to go home; the behavioural issues that got him in to the Positive Behaviour Unit are much less of a problem than the behaviour we see in our city streets every Friday night.

So, why aren’t our liberal  bleeding hearts who’re having palpitations about Wikileaks and Mr Assange engaging in similar lobbying for this man?  After all, he’s detained agaisnt his will, and additionally has had no warrant for arrest issued against him.  Why isn’t the case being published by the newspapers so gallantly printing the equivalent of HELLO style gossip for the political classes?

Possibly because the chattering classes who get their kicks from reading the secret squirrel stuff on Wikileaks recognise that Neary has been incarcerated by their own kind, under laws put in place by folks just like them. 

I actually believe that little of what comes out of Wikileaks is of day to day (or even long term) relevance to the population as a whole.  Anyone with a brain knows that this sort of thing is happening; it’s nothing new.  People get vicarious thrills by feeling that they’re ‘in the loop’ whilst they may actually being fed ‘secrets’ and lies and be unable to tell the difference. 

Freedom of speech and expression is not something new; journalists have been dying and being improsoned to tell the truth for as long as there have been newspapers, and we should be grateful that people are willing to take the risks.  But for most people the issues that most affect their day to day lives aren’t whether the US Ambassador to Great Britain thinks that our government are a bunch of paranoids.  What matters is how our own national and local government beaurocracies are impacting on our day to day lives and removing the few freedoms that New Labour left us with.

Don’t allow the sparkly baubles from Wikileaks to distract you from the fact that freedom starts with being able to live in your own home without fear of wrongful or arbitrary arrest or imprisonment.  The legislation that Neary is detained under sounds awfully like the old laws of Soviet Psychiatry – if you disagreed with the Soviet Government you were clearly barking mad and so needed locking up for your own good.’

As you go through your day today, might I suggest that you take a look at your own behavioural ticks and foibles, and wonder whether any of them are enough to get you in trouble.

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