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Posts Tagged ‘Wikileaks’

I’m thinking I want to talk about the weather today. It always amazes me how much dialogue can center around a topic so far out of human hands and often … especially here … so benign, but “Is it hot enough for ya?” can usual light a conversational fuse that may go on for quite a while.

I really don’t want to immerse myself in all today’s news about the horrific shootings in Arizona, although I can’t help but wonder WTF is happening in the country I called home up until 1994.

It’s not that I’m shocked by deadly violence from the business end of a gun, as that happens all the bloody time … bloody being a British expression, not an American descriptive term, although it fits that way, too … and well-armed nutjobs are a dime a dozen in the US.

No. It’s the idea that the us/them thing has inflated to the popping point without peeps seeming to care much about anything other than winning … although what it is they want to win evades my grasp.

I get that crushing universal health care is a rocks off goal and that some are pissed off about the demise of DADT and other such rights being offered to fellow humans … hence the term “human rights” … but how such issues end up on the “must do” list is beyond me, especially when “must do” translates to “must kill” to make it happen.

I don’t want to think about mass deaths of all those animals either. Not tonight.

Sure, I could dig around the info on how this sort of thing has been going on for yonks and how it’s only a wee bit odd that it’s raining dead birds and the world is awash in dead fish and dead crabs and … well, loads of dead stuff in many shapes and sizes … and there is entertainment value in considering the possibilities both conspiratorially-minded and other-worldy, but I’d really rather not be freaked out right now about the end of the world.

If I had more energy, I might actually get off on sinking my teeth into the Twitter story on how the US gov’t is strong-arming social media into bellying up and handing over info on ANYONE who might know someone who knows something somehow about Julian Assange.

The thought that they want to dig into the communications of an Icelandic official is appalling, and the fact that it’s the Obama admin doing this … Democrats, FFS … not a Bush/GOP/Tea Party mega-Nixonesque thing … is freaky and has me thinking we most likely have NO idea who is really running any show anywhere.

Quite frankly, I don’t even want to dwell on the condition of the Anse Soleil road as the Keystone Konstruction Kompany turns it into 4×4 only access, having … according to Radio Bamboo, the local version of the grapevine … pissed away Sheik Rattle&Roll’s tarmac bucks on Whoknowswhat.

Since I’ve been working all day and just now getting around to putting a blog post together … just now being 7:08 pm on a Sunday with one glass of wine down … I don’t have it in me to blather on about any of that heavy shit, thankyouverymuch.

So …

Hot/cold/windy/wet/dry enough … whatever … for ya?

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In a move that was so predictable most would have thought it didn’t warrant actually happening, the Swedish police report on Julian Assange has been “leaked”.

Hilarious!

Can’t we all just hear the frustrated strains of “That’ll show the fucker!” oozing from slime lubricating the machinery haphazardly constructed to pull Julian in, chew him up, then spit out something much more digestible to the masses.

Here’s a bit of what the conversation leading to this might have sounded like:

Slimeball: Okay, Peeps, we’ve found him, got him to turn himself in on the bullshit sex charges, but can’t get a handle on the spin. Ideas?

Fuckwad: We are squirming through every possible loophole we can find, but until the Espionage Act gifts us something we can’t charge him. Poop!

Jerkoff: And now that that Aussie bitch has fucked us, they’ll be no help from down under.

Slimeball: This isn’t helping.

Fuckwad: Hey! How ’bout we turn the tables on him and LEAK the Swede’s police report? He’ll at least look like a jerk that says he’ll call, but never does. You know how that pisses women off.

Slimeball: Maybe that will get Biana Jagger to back off … hm. Great idea, FW!

Jerkoff: Can we do that?

Slimeball: Of course we can do that! We can do anything we want!

Jerkoff: No … I mean, does anyone here know how to leak stuff?

Group head scratching ensues …

Apparently, however, someone was found to pass the info along to newspapers:

The British newspaper The Guardian broke the news of the report on Saturday, and quoted extensively from what it said was an unredacted copy. The New York Times later obtained a redacted form of the report from another source in Swedish. It is a preliminary summary of the evidence taken by investigators when they met with the two women and with Mr. Assange, who left Sweden for Britain in early October but subsequently refused to return to Sweden for further questioning.

A “preliminary summary” … hm. That must mean further evidence that caused dropping of the charges and the further further evidence that saw that charges reinstated are not included. Tidy.

Read all about it at the link above for details on the two women who sought him out, fucked him gladly, then changed their tunes. No need here to go into possible reasons for going after the guy, but consideration should be made of the fact that charging him with anything real has proven difficult.

Michael Moore’s letter to the government of Sweden today gives a very clear picture of what’s up with the crap there:

… In fact, they say that all over Scandinavia, including in your country, rapists “enjoy impunity.” And the United Nations, the EU and Swedish human rights groups have come to the same conclusion: Sweden just doesn’t take sexual assault against women seriously. How else do you explain these statistics from Katrin Axelsson of Women Against Rape:

– Sweden has the HIGHEST per capita number of reported rapes in Europe.

– This number of rapes has quadrupled in the last 20 years.

– The conviction rates? They have steadily DECREASED.

Axelsson says: “On April 23rd of this year, Carina Hägg and Nalin Pekgul (respectively MP and chairwoman of Social Democratic Women in Sweden) wrote in the Göteborgs [newspaper] that ‘up to 90% of all reported rapes [in Sweden] never get to court.'”

Let me say that again: nine out of ten times, when women report they have been raped, you never even bother to start legal proceedings. No wonder that, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, it is now statistically more likely that someone in Sweden will be sexually assaulted than that they will be robbed.

Message to rapists? Sweden loves you!

So imagine our surprise when all of a sudden you decided to go after one Julian Assange on sexual assault charges. Well, sort of: first you charged him. Then after investigating it, you dropped the most serious charges and rescinded the arrest warrant.

Then a conservative MP put pressure on you and, lo and behold, you did a 180 and reopened the Assange investigation. Except you still didn’t charge him with anything. You just wanted him for “questioning.” So you — you who have sat by and let thousands of Swedish women be raped while letting their rapists go scott-free — you decided it was now time to crack down on one man — the one man the American government wants arrested, jailed or (depending on which politician or pundit you listen to) executed. You just happened to go after him, on one possible “count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape (third degree).” And while thousands of Swedish rapists roam free, you instigated a huge international manhunt on Interpol for this Julian Assange!

Time spent investigating him in Australia ended up with zip, zero zilch there:

Police in Australia have concluded that WikiLeaks and its Australian-born founder Julian Assange have not broken any laws in his home country by publishing classified U.S. documents, the government said Friday.

Wonder how many other countries wasted time and resources trying to figure out if Julian had, by any possible chance at all, done anything worth charging over.

Singapore might get him on that ‘chewing gum in public’ infraction. Quick! Someone call Interpol!

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I began the day thinking a soft post on life in Seychelles might be a good weekend time-filler, especially after all the attention yesterday’s post got, thanks to WordPress sending readers my way by the thousands. I even started putting one together, a little ditty about how somethings translate here, specifically the fact that many Seychellois think the terror on the high seas in our neck of the Indian Ocean is perpetuated by “smiley pirates”, but that will have to wait.

Yet again something shiny fluttered by … ooooh, pretty … and I’m tripping after it with some hope of figuring out what it’s all about.

Okay. Maybe Julian Assange isn’t everyone’s idea of pretty fluff … or anyone’s, for that matter … but we have already established that I think he’s cute and have extended a blogitty invite to share my view.

Turns out such an eventuality could get me in BIG trouble.

No doubt I’m right pissed off that the US Homeland Secutiry Committee could be messing with my chance for a date for New Year’s Eve, but that unwrapping an Assange under my Christmas tree would see me prosecuted under the Patriot Act! WTF?

It took this from Tom Hayden to make that point in a letter he wrote to Rep. Peter King:

I am hoping you will reconsider your call to place WikiLeaks on the list of foreign terrorist organizations. I would hope that as chair of the Homeland Security Committee you would take a more responsible approach than many of your Republican and conservative colleagues who are calling for the assassination of Julian Assange.

You and I remember the time a few short years ago when there were extreme voices opposed to a visa for Gerry Adams and calling for the designation of Sinn Fein as a terrorist organization. And you and a bipartisan coalition were willing to take a risk for peace and conflict resolution, a process that is still ongoing and regarded as a great success.

The comparison, you may say, is incorrect. In one respect, there is a huge difference, which only strengthens my point: Sinn Fein was leading a republican movement that included years of armed struggle, with thousands of British and Irish casualties. WikiLeaks is a nonviolent whistleblower organization whose only weapon is the Internet. Despite weeks of dire warnings, the WikiLeaks disclosures have caused no deaths or suffering so far, nor provoked any terrorist attacks anywhere. The organization, and its media intermediaries, have made conscious efforts to redact any references to individuals which might cause harm.

The current controversy is less about national security than about securing the official reputations of officials conducting secret warfare. As a result of the WikiLeaks documents, the American public has learned, for example, that:

* our government is deceiving the public and Congress by denying our secret bombing of Yemen;
* our Special Forces are in Pakistan;
* the CIA has directed a secret army in Afghanistan;
* there is a secret Task Force 373 conducting assassinations in Afghanistan.

These revelations do no damage to our national security. Instead, they helpfully add to public and Congressional awareness of improper and arguably illegal behavior undertaken under the cover of secrecy.

If your proposal to list WikiLeaks as a terrorist group is adopted, my understanding is that anyone offering nonviolent “material support” to WikiLeaks could be prosecuted under the Patriot Act. As you told MSNBC on Nov. 28, “we’d be able to stop anyone from helping them in any way, whether it’s making contributions, giving free legal advice, or whatever.”

Do you remember when you stood up again and again for lawyers in Northern Ireland trying to defend republicans in court? Do you remember those lawyers like Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson being assassinated as a result of their brave legal advocacy? Are you seriously recommending that any American lawyers “giving free legal advice” to Julian Assange should be prosecuted?

The New York Times has provided page upon page of coverage of the WikiLeaks materials over a period of months. Is the Times “assisting in terrorist activity” because the information is “being used by Al Qaeda”, as you put it?

Where does this end? If thousands of Americans join in the legal defense of Julian Assange or WikiLeaks will they be defined as accessories to terrorism?

I urge that you and your colleagues not overreact, not turn to scapegoating, not contribute to a climate of violence, but instead respect freedom of the press, freedom of dissent, and the right to due process under a system of law. We all need more light shed on our secret policies, not greater limitations on the public’s right to know.

Sincerely,

TOM HAYDEN 

Bravo, Tom, and I’m happy to see he’s still around even though I lost track of him way back when. Seems those years with Jane keeps him mindful of how a girl likes the idea of a date now and then without the threat of treason hanging around … or maybe his point is a bit broader. Yeah … we’ll go with that thought.

I know I’m by far not the only one appalled by the reaction to Wikileak’s latest offerings … thank the gods for that! … but although outrage is wending its way around the globe and popping up in a lot of reasonable publications, I subscribe to the Arlo Guthrie theory that says: If ya wanna end war and stuff, ya gotta sing loud.

La, la, la, la LA!

Here’s another voice, hopefully preaching to more than the choir, James Moore:

Secrecy tends to lead to disaster and there are several object lessons to study as a result of American adventures abroad. Saddam Hussein was Donald Rumsfeld’s and Ronald Reagan’s secret friend as long as he was bombing and gassing Iranians to the east. Secrecy led to Iran-Contra and back door dealing in arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, who did not have the support of the country’s population and were eventually defeated. There are, of course, countless other examples ranging from the Gulf of Tonkin to the Bay of Pigs and the information contained in the Pentagon Papers, and, uh, of course, the lies about WMD that propagated our current misadventure in Iraq. Democracy ought not be bribing and lying in the name of democracy.

The horror over WikiLeaks, which is being expressed mostly by inept diplomats, is disingenuous in the extreme. The consistent claims that lives are being endangered by the information borders on the hilarious. How many lives have been lost to erroneous, yet secret information that led to our invasion of Iraq? If WikiLeaks had been around in 2003 the public might have been well armed with information to create political resistance to W’s folly in the ancient deserts. It is, of course, of equal absurdity to suggest there is no need for clandestine operations. But taxpayers and voters tend to acquire their information after the consequences of secret government endeavors, and, obviously, that is a bit late to be of preventive value.

This debate on Democracy Now over whether or not Julian is a hero is an interesting exchange between Steven Aftergood from the “Secrecy News” and constitutional and civil rights litigator Glenn Greenwald that illustrates how even those touting transparency decide to fog the glass when it comes to Julian Assange.

The hunt is on for the man, his website is under attack, anyone helping him in any way may end up facing grave consequences … and what has he done to set the dogs on him as or more assiduously than the hounds of Bin Laden? Words. He did words. Not his words, but those written by people in positions of power now embarressed too have them read.

From the presenter of the debate:

University students are being warned about WikiLeaks. An email from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, that we read in headlines, reads—I want to do it again—quote, “Hi students,

“We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

“The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

“Regards, Office of Career Services.”

… and …

Democracy Now! has obtained the text of a memo that’s been sent to employees at USAID. This is to thousands of employees, about reading the recently released WikiLeaks documents, and it comes from the Department of State. They have also warned their own employees. This memo reads, quote, “Any classified information that may have been unlawfully disclosed and released on the Wikileaks web site was not ‘declassified’ by an appopriate authority and therefore requires continued classification and protection as such from government personnel… Accessing the Wikileaks web site from any computer may be viewed as a violation of the SF-312 agreement… Any discussions concerning the legitimacy of any documents or whether or not they are classified must be conducted within controlled access areas (overseas) or within restricted areas (USAID/Washington)… The documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or stored on your USAID unclassified network computer or home computer; they should not be printed or retransmitted in any fashion.”

That was the memo that went out to thousands of employees at USAID. The State Department has warned all their employees, you are not to access WikiLeaks, not only at the State Department, which they’ve blocked, by the way, WikiLeaks, but even on your home computers. Even if you’ve written a cable yourself, one of these cables that are in the trove of the documents, you cannot put your name in to see if that is one of the cables that has been released. This warning is going out throughout not only the government, as we see, but to prospective employees all over the country, even on their home computers.

If nothing else about the persecution of Assange scares the shit out of you, that should. ANYONE can be a target. And what directs the aim? Words.

As Captain Jack Sparrow said: Sticks and stones, Luv.

Or … for a bit more gravitas, how about this:

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Julian Assange … pallid and silver-haired … ‘shiny’ and New Year’s Eve go so well together, and before that he’d look great under my tree!

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I admit that my post on the hotness of Julian Assange was tongue-in-cheek … his tongue/my cheek sounds good. Yeah … I think he’s cute, so shoot me.

True, he’s not my type in the physical sense, but I’ve always been flexible when it comes to looks. It’s brains and panache that reel me in, and he’s steeped in both. Although his élan is apparently not effusive, Julian’s reserved manner only serves to make him more attractive. That he grates, and grates so effectively, helps, too.

Stealing, as he does, from the rich (powerful movers-and-shakers running the show), and giving to the poor (the rest of us slobs who are supposed to be happy being spoon-fed cud predigested by the former), there is a temptation to brand him a Robin Hood. Although I would SO love to see him in green tights … and little else … that image doesn’t sit well with a whole lotta folks and I’m staying away from it out of a hesitation to stir this pot in that direction.

And speaking of pots … there seems to be a tempest in the one with the leaks, and the reaction to oozing goo is over the top.

Interpol issuing a “red notice” for him, smacks of sour grapes, harassment and a grasp at straws since actually coming up with something he could be arrested for seems beyond the realm:

The red notice does not amount to an arrest warrant. Instead, it asks people to contact the police if they have any information about his whereabouts.

Yes, Sweden wants to “detain him for questioning” on allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, all denied by Julian, but don’t have enough to issue a warrant for his arrest, while Australia is trying to figure out whether or not he’s broken any laws there.

If Mr Assange were arrested he could face extradition to the United States, although analysts say that because the US Espionage Act carries the maximum death penalty, nations that do not have the statute might refuse extradition.

But that assumes he’s done something to be arrested for AND that the US Espionage Act has anything to do with him.

Smear campaign? Mega-bullying? Cart-before-horse? Guilt-before-innocence? Shut him the fuck up before he releases any more shit?

Sure, some peeps are right pissed off. After all, Wikileaks has given the world a peek up the bowels of power. And how ’bout that French president chasing a rabbit around the office?

The incident is described in one of the 251,287 classified cables the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks says it has obtained and shared with several newspapers.

Gasp!

If that’s not horror enough, how about the revelation that Silvio Berlusconi is considered to be “feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader.”

OMG!

Russia has mafia issues? Nyet shit …

No doubt there’s embarrassment … and well there should be. Some of these people are disgusting, some are morons … AND they’re in charge of stuff!

Rolling out the big guns, accusations of dire consequence are bouncing all over the place, but are these real concerns … or nothing more than ramping up the ante?

After the release of an enormous haul of US defence department documents in August, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told the Washington Post: “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.”

… After this latest release a Pentagon official, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the material involved, told the McClatchy newspaper group that even three months later the US military still had no evidence that people had died or been harmed because of information gleaned from Wikileaks documents.

A bit of historical perspective on hysterical reactions to letting people in on what actually happens in the world might help a bit, and who better to pull into the mix than Daniel Ellsberg, the man who gave us the Pentagon Papers back in 1971 and let us know what a fucking mess was happening:

The release of these papers was politically embarrassing to not only those involved in the Johnson and Kennedy administrations but also the incumbent Nixon administration. Nixon’s Oval Office tape from June 14, 1972, shows H. R. Haldeman describing the situation to Nixon:

[then cabinet-member Donald] Rumsfeld was making this point this morning. To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing…. It shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong. John Mitchell, Nixon’s Attorney General, almost immediately issued a telegram to the Times ordering that it halt publication. The Times refused, and the government brought suit against it.

Although the Times eventually won the trial before the Supreme Court, an appellate court ordered that the Times temporarily halt further publication. This was the first successful attempt by the federal government to restrain the publication of a major newspaper since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln during the US Civil War. Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers to 17 other newspapers in rapid succession. The right of the press to publish the papers was upheld in New York Times Co. v. United States.

As a response to the leaks, the Nixon administration began a campaign against further leaks and against Ellsberg personally. Aides Egil Krogh and David Young, under the supervision of John Ehrlichman, created the “White House Plumbers”, which would later lead to the Watergate burglaries.

So … what’s that thing about forgetting history and being doomed? And if I recall correctly, the White House Plumbers ended up in jail for doing shit that really was against the law.

Ellsberg’s take on Julian Assange and the present fracas:

He told the BBC’s World Today programme that US officials made that same argument every time there was a potentially embarrassing leak.

“The best justification they can find for secrecy is that lives are at stake. Actually, lives are at stake as a result of the silences and lies which a lot of these leaks reveal,” he said.

“The same charges were made against the Pentagon Papers and turned out to be quite invalid.”

For sure Julian is, unlike Ellsberg at the time, an unknown quantity and … relevant to ethnocentrics … not American, therefore out of grasp and very likely sub-human and of suspecious intent … all the more reason to tweak Interpol into Red Carding him.

A former UK ambassador to the UN adds an interesting spin:

“I don’t think it has been proven that this is dangerous to US troops, for instance. I haven’t seen that case made very clearly,” he said. “What I think this means is that we need to look at our own mechanisms for democratic accountability and foreign policy. We need to be much, much better.”

In what way is that a bad thing?

And, how about the statement from Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations”

At the very least, they will make governments like Pakistan and Yemen and others, which are collaborating with the US in the battle against terrorism, more reluctant to co-operate.

Huh? Excuse me, but would it be rude to point out that Pakistan and Yemen collaborate with EVERYONE, including terrorists? If it takes Julian Assange to make that point … well … that’s just fucking sad, and scary.

Look … I don’t presume to know much at all about any of this shit other than what I read in the news, and maybe Julian is a total dick out to subvert a wonderful working model of civilization that protects us all without lowly peasants like me and you having to know anything about how that happens. Perhaps global leaders are benevolent heroes diligently striving toward peace and freedom with no hidden agenda and no thought toward personal gain, and exposing foibles … with attribution … should be considered a mortal sin.

Yeah, right. Pull the other one.

No matter. I’d still like to have him try that thing with the green tights, and although it’s raining today the view from my bed is still fab, Jules.

For further reading, check out Andy Borowitz’s take today, this from the BBC on what happens when you piss off the big guys, and this lame move from the Swedes covering their asses.

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Wiki Image

Yeah, yeah … I know hearts are all a pitty-pat and thighs a’quaking for the new Hawaii Five-0 guys, and that Daniel Radcliffe has grown up enough to be considered luscious these days … but REALLY! … is anyone in today’s world anywhere near as flat-out hot, as sweat-inducingly titillating, as compellingly arousing as Julian Assange?

Not in my book, Babes! And not in yours, either, if your gauge of wanna-slather-him-in-custard-and-slurp-up-sumdat-spotted-dick runs anywhere near where mine takes its turn around the dial.

Okay, he doesn’t have Jason Statham’s body and I’m pretty sure he can’t pitch like Brian Wiison. He’s got no full dark mane, but is rather sparsely coiffed and gray in that premature-cute-as-a-bug sort of way, looks like he’d lobster up after fifteen minutes on my beach, isn’t particularly tall and probably can’t play a mean guitar, but … ooooooooh! does he do it for me!

Assange advocates a “transparent” and “scientific” approach to journalism, saying that “you can’t publish a paper on physics without the full experimental data and results; that should be the standard in journalism.” In 2006, CounterPunch called him Australia’s most infamous former computer hacker. The Age has called him “one of the most intriguing people in the world” and “internet’s freedom fighter.” Assange has called himself “extremely cynical.” The Personal Democracy Forum said that as a teenager he was “Australia’s most famous ethical computer hacker.” He has been described as thriving on intellectual battle.

Pant. Pant.

That he’s smart certainly appeals, and he is whiplash smart. An international man of mystery? Well, duh! The guy is harder to nail down than the Scarlet Pimpernel, a reluctant star, a man long disinclined to step into the slimelight he would rather focus than hog. He is also brave, irreverent, cocky, demanding, uncompromising … and looks enough like Bill Maher to set me aching down under. (Yeah … right … that’s a reference to him being Australian … )

The fact that he is all about transparency ups my longing exponentially, as susceptibility for bullshit doing any sweeping off the feet has ebbed while fondness for exposure, and exposure of stuff that’s hard to come by — as opposed to easy (sure … that’s what I meant) — can set me to sway in breeze factor zero.

Although some accuse Julian of over-exaggeration when it comes to threats and dangers to his adorable person, the idea there could very well be a “manhunt” on for him fits and brings out the come-Sweetie-I’ll-take-care womanly stuff in me that wants to hold him to my breast and soothe his worried brow.

Whew … pass that towel over, will ya, please …

So … Mr. Assange … Julian … Jules …

If some time on a tropical island where no one … but me … will have the foggiest who the hell you are appeals, there’s an amazing view from my bed.

Oh … and bring wine.

One more thing … I don’t cook, so you’ll be doing that, too.

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