ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for April 26th, 2011

Gullible BBC News And The BNP.

leave a comment »

Anyone following the activities of the BNP would know that they are suffering from numerous internal problems, thankfully.

There has been numerous splits in the BNP leadership and a financial meltdown, yet BBC News couldn’t even get that right as HOPE not hate details:

“There are always a few in the media prepared to swallow the British National Party’s statements uncritically and talk up the racist party’s electoral prospects. But we didn’t expect the chief political correspondent of BBC Radio 4 to be one of them.

Norman Smith’s article on the BBC website today reported a claim by Simon Darby, the BNP’s media spokesman, that the BNP was “not going bust” and expects to pay off its debts of more than £500,000 by the end of the year.

“BNP officials” had told Smith that the party had instituted austerity measures including laying off staff and closing its Belfast call centre. In fact the call centre, which closed several months ago, never belonged to the party.

Smith also reported a claim that there had been an increase in donations “from the party’s 12,000 members”. Searchlight’s own sources and several disaffected former BNP officers all agree that the BNP’s membership currently stands at 6,000 maximum after large numbers of disillusioned members failed to renew or defected to rival organisations.

Darby told Smith that most of the party’s debts were the result of heavy spending on the European and general elections in 2009 and 2010 rather than on its reckless court cases and that the party was cutting back on election expenditure for this year.

In fact the BNP’s head office spent a mere £30,374 on the general election. Local party units paid for the rest and their expenditure does not contribute to the party’s current debts.

In any case, all election expenditure has by law to be paid within a few weeks of an election. Is Darby claiming that the £282,843 it spent on the 2009 European election campaign still forms part of the party’s debts two years later?”

Perhaps the BBC should take out a subscription to Searchlight?

Written by modernityblog

26/04/2011 at 17:23

Dictators’ Malware.

leave a comment »

Whilst protesters across the Middle East and elsewhere are using social media and the Internet to coordinate actions against dictators and other despots, they are not alone.

Eli Lake in the Washington Times has news of how a British company offered software to spy on protesters, or more accurately their PC activities:

“Egyptian anti-regime activists found a startling document last month during a raid inside the headquarters of the country’s state security service: A British company offered to sell a program that security experts say could infect dissidents’ computers and gain access to their email and other communications.

The discovery highlights the emerging market of Western companies that sell software to security services from the Middle East to China to spy on the kinds of social media activists who recently toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.

Amid the scattered papers, interrogation devices and random furniture found during the raid, the activists uncovered a proposed contract dated June 29 from the British company Gamma International that promised to provide access to Gmail, Skype, Hotmail and Yahoo conversations and exchanges on computers targeted by the Interior Ministry of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The proposal from Gamma International was posted online by Cairo physician Mostafa Hussein, a blogger who was among the activists who seized the ministry’s documents. “

Bickering, Assange And Wikleaks.

leave a comment »

I hadn’t realised it but apparently there is a lot of bickering behind the recent leaks on Gitmo:

“The fight over who had what when, and was supposed to use it how, is leading to some especially hard feelings, including between folks who once got along. The gist seemed to be, “Is there no decency anymore?” Over here we have Wikileaks (presumably Julian Assange), tweeting annoyance over former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s alleged sneakiness.
“Domschiet, NYT, Guardian, attempted Gitmo spoiler against our 8 group coalition,” tweeted the Wikileaks account. “We had intel on them and published first.” And over there we have Pentagon press secretary and former NBC correspondent Geoff Morrell complaining about the New York Times’ Easter offensive. “Thx to Wikileaks we spent Easter weekend dealing w/NYT & other news orgs publishing leaked classified GTMO docs,” Morrell tweeted earlier today.

That Wikileaks earns the sarcastic thanks in Morrell’s account, considering that Times executive editor Bill Keller says in Calderone’s piece that “WikiLeaks is not our source.” But I guess it’s still a bit easier and less relationship damaging for the Pentagon to go after Assange and company than Keller and his team. “

Michael Calderone at HuffPost covers it too.

TPM LiveWire seems to get to the nub of the issue:

“Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's reputation as a fighter for transparency and destroyer of secrets ought to be thoroughly demolished by today’s spectacle of the New York Times literally forcing him to give up the Guantanamo Bay files he’d been hoarding for months.

Assange has been sitting on the 700-plus Gitmo detainee files since at least May of last year, when accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning confessed in a chat session to passing them to Wikileaks along with a plethora of classified military reports and diplomatic cables. They were the final sizable arrow in Assange’s anti-government quiver, and for months we’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for their inevitable release. But Assange kept holding back.

They were published last night, at long last, only because the New York Times finagled its own copy–presumably from Wikileaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg–and shared it with NPR and the Guardian. Wikileaks, which had been working with the Washington Post and other papers on the Gitmo papers but was still keeping the information embargoed, scrambled to get its own version up. “

Update 1: Lest I forget, the NY times a good piece, a History of the Detainee Population.