Sex by Surprise? No, Just Another Attack on Democracy

On Monday, AlterNet posted "The 9 Weirdest Things About the WikiLeaks Story," which you can read right here.

The most interesting fact on the list: The charges that WikiLeaks' Julian Assange face in Sweden have changed from rape to something called "sex by surprise." At first it sounds like a fraternity drink served at Dirtbags, but no, it's an actual law:

The charges have something to do with condoms, and their lack of use, or breakage, although it’s largely unclear exactly what. The women accusing Assange have stood behind their accounts, but he believes the Swedish government's seemingly wishy-washy actions are part of a larger conspiracy to nab him for WikiLeaks. The New York Times:

According to accounts the women gave to the police and friends, they each had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual. One woman said that Mr. Assange had ignored her appeals to stop after a condom broke. The other woman said that she and Mr. Assange had begun a sexual encounter using a condom, but that Mr. Assange did not comply with her appeals to stop when it was no longer in use. Mr. Assange has denied any wrongdoing and has questioned the veracity of those accounts.

Of course, all this condom talk detracts from the real issues that should be discussed on the heels of Assange's arrest in London yesterday: Internet and its role in democracy. Glenn Greenwald, constitutional attorney and blogger at told Democracy Now yesterday:

"Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet … their funds have been frozen … media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization. What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose—which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions."