Sunday, October 08, 2006

Evidence is mounting of a possible frame up

I have already commented on the problems with the accusations regarding Foley. One of the underage pages wasn't underage in any sense of the word but almost 19 at the time of the messages. Now we are learning a lot more.

The "messages" were originally given to the FBI to investigate. They looked over what was given them and determined that no crime had been committed. A mysterious group called the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington were the ones who first released these messages. But they didn't release all the messages or even full copies of the messages not even to the FBI.

CREW is attacking the FBI for not going further. But the FBI "told reporters that the e-mails provided by CREW were heavily redacted and that the group refused to provide unedited versions to the FBI... the FBI believe that CREW may have received the e-mails as early as April and that the group refused to tell the FBI how they were obtained." CREW is now saying they did release the full version.

Briaqn Roehrkasse of the Justice Department said: "The e-mails, while inappropriate, did not contain a criminal predicate to allow the FBI to move forward in an investigation."

I have complained that context is being left out already. And this is critical for any real analysis of the accusations against Foley. The anonymity of the accusers allows false claims to be made. In the Edmunds case we were told he was underage and now learn that was not the case at all only because someone exposed his identity. The St. Petersburg newspaper originally said they had this story a year ago and refused to print it if the identity of the accuser was being kept secret. They were criticized for that but that now appears to have been the right call.

Originally Edmud's attorney claimed the e-mails were not a prank but has since backed away from that and now says he can not rule the prank theory out. If you read the CNN report carefully you will see a confirmation that Edmund was not underaged as has been reported. It confirms he "served as a page in 2001 and 2002." This was not a two year stint but from mid 2001 to June 2002. With the minimum age of pages having to be 16 years old and with the e-mails being dated August, 2003 and Edmund's birthday being in February we are able to calculate that he was almost 19 when they were exchanged. But CNN has not explicitly stated that Edmuns was over 18. In fact, out of dozens of stories on Edmund's which I have read, not one single mainstream media outlet is reporting that the at least this one "underaged" page was not underaged at all. Why?

Edmund's attorney also said that concerning the emails "I don't know if they're true or they have been edited." It sounds to me like he does know. Surely he has discussed these matters with his client.

When one Congressman suggested these e-mails might be a prank one pious Democrat shreiked that he was blaming the "children" for the situation. No apologies on that either, which ought to take place since the "child" being discussed was a full grown adult. When you see this much emotion and hysteria in accusations it is precisely the time to step back and ask rational questions. And often the media generated hysteria is a cover up. Media generated heat is a substitute for concrete facts.

Gary Leupp at Counterpunch has noted "it would be naive to assume that all the male pages involved feel they were victimized by Foley, take pleasure in his downfall, or see that fall as anything other than a reflection of homophobia." Leupp also makes the point I've been making for some days: "Mr. Foley could have consensual sex with 16 year old boys in much of the country, including DC. If that's the case, you'd think it would also be legal (however 'inappropriate') for Foley to engage in sexual banter over the internet with such boys."

As the accusations against Foley unravel what will this mean for him? It might mean he escapes legal prosecution though politicians can push for prosecutions that are totally unwarranted if they wish. But in the court of public opinion the facts won't help Foley very much. People tend to believe the first story they hear regardless of whether it is true or not. There are still people convince there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq for instance. Foley will always be branded with the stigma of a pedophile even though no underage children were involved and no sexual acts took place between him an any page. And whether one agrees with his politics or not, and I don't, that is a miscarriage of justice.

Mark Brady, over at Liberty and Power, notes: "The prevailing response to the affair is surely a good example of what the sociologist Stanley Cohen called a moral panic. In this case, it is the moral panic that arises whenever the heady brew of adolescents, adults and sex, particularly homoseuxality, hits the headlines in America."]

In contrast Keisha Castle-Hughes, the young star of Whale Rider and a former nominee for a Best Actress Oscar, has announced that she is going to have a baby with her 19 year old boyfriend Bradley Hull. Keisha is younger than all the pages involved in the Foley scandal but like them is above the age of consent. While there is some discussion of her being too young to be a mother there is none of the feeding frenzy surrounding the Foley incident. Let's be honest and admit that the homosexual element is fueling a lot of the frenzy and that individuals who claim to be "liberal" are often just as homophobic as conservatives. Conservatives like Foley tend to be in the closet about their sexuality and Leftiest tend to be in the closet about their bigotry.