ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Barbra Streisand effect

Julian Assange’s Arrest And The Broken Condom.

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Julian Assange has been arrested on the grounds of rape.

But that might not be the full story, it makes a good headline and him a less sympathetic individual but that’s not the full story.

It seems that Mr. Assange whilst in Sweden months back had sex when a condom broke. It might be that later on he also had unprotected sex with another woman, all very consensual.

But apparently under Swedish law rape can be defined as “unprotected sex”.

This is despite the fact that the case was originally dropped by the prosecutor.

Back in Auguest 2010 according to Karin Rosander, communications head at Sweden’s prosecutors’ office:

“”The [chief prosecutor] will look into that later. She hasn’t been able to do that, but that’s not enough for being arrested. It’s not a serious enough crime.

That was back in August 2010 before the release of the quarter million documents, which have embarrassed governments across the globe and made Mr. Assange some rather thin-skinned enemies.

In my view, it seems like a pretext to arrest him and eventually deport him to America, and if he lives then he’ll probably be fitted up under some spurious espionage charge.

We have already seen how American politicians openly called for his assassination, he won’t receive a fair trial in America and at the best is destined for years and years of incarceration, for his political crimes.

His crime? Humiliating politicians, potentates, dictators, mandarins and bureaucrats across the world.

His crime? Shining a light onto their incompetency and misrule.

He should be congratulated not punished.

Update 1: Naomi Wolf has her view on the matter too.

Update 2: I missed this before but it certainly has bearing on the case and I feel it should be shown:

“For three months Assange had been waiting in vain to hear whether media statements by and for the two female “victims” that there was no fear or violence were going to be embellished so the charges might be carried forward due to greater seriousness. Such statements would stop a rape charge in any Western country dead in its tracks. Rape is a crime of violence, duress or deception. You can rape someone by deluding them into thinking you are someone else or by drugging them or by reason of their young age but essentially it’s a crime of violence.

The women here are near to and over 30 and have international experience, some of it working in Swedish government embassies. There is no suggestion of drugs nor identity concealment. Far from it. Both women boasted of their celebrity connection to Assange after the events that they would now see him destroyed for.

That further evidence hasn’t been confected to make the charges less absurd does Sweden no credit because it has no choice in the matter. The phenomena of social networking through the internet and mobile phones constrains Swedish authorities from augmenting the evidence against Assange because it would look even less credible in the face of tweets by Anna Ardin and SMS texts by Sofia Wilén boasting of their respective conquests after the “crimes”.

In the case of Ardin it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange’s honour at her flat after the “crime” and tweeted to her followers that she is with the “the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!”. Go on the internet and see for yourself. That Ardin has sought unsuccessfully to delete these exculpatory tweets from the public record should be a matter of grave concern. That she has published on the internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends ever graver. The exact content of Wilén’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Niether Wilén’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape.

But then neither Arden nor Wilén complained to the police but rather “sought advice”, a technique in Sweden enabling citizens to avoid just punishment for making false complaints. They sought advice together, having collaborated and irrevocably tainted each other’s evidence beforehand. Their SMS texts to each other show a plan to contact the Swedish newspaper Expressen beforehand in order to maximise the damage to Assange. They belong to the same political group and attended a public lecture given by Assange and organised by them. You can see Wilén on the YouTube video of the event even now.”

Interpol’s Most Wanted.

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If you take a look at Interpol’s website, amongst the most wanted you will find an entry for ASSANGE, Julian Paul.

That to me is strange.

Sexual assault, if that actually happened, is very serious, but to be put on Interpol’s most wanted list is another matter and it all strikes me as politically motivated.

Wikileaks made dozens, if not hundreds of politicians, look stupid.

It annoyed political rulers from America to Iran and most states in between. It confirmed our suspicions on how the world’s rulers act, capriciously, with stupidity, and much worse, and that is what is really behind Julian Assange’s arrest.

The worrying thing is, given the inflammatory statements from American politicians calling for his assassination, you could imagine that he might as the British police used to say “slip while walking into the cells”.

I wouldn’t put it past politicians to arrange his liquidation in the hopes of neutering Wikileaks.

On the other hand, apparently there is an encrypted file hanging around the web waiting to be released should that happen, a form of insurance policy. A smart move.

I imagine that once Julian Assange is in custody that the charges in Sweden will be dropped and other ones from the US instigated, with his deportation to America happening in short order.

I wonder if he’ll end up in a new Gitmo. Whatever happens it doesn’t bode well for him.

Wikileaks Name Change.

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After Amazon, Wikileaks’s domain name provider in the US has decided it can’t keep tabs on them any longer.

So Wikileaks.org is defunct for the moment and wikileaks.ch (the Swiss domain) is now running it.

The funny thing is, that it should be possible to work out *who*, or at least where the Denial of Service attacks are coming from…

Update 1: Elsewhere the German Pirate Party are hosting Wikileaks’s material too, see wikileaks.piratenpartei.de

Update 2: It seems that Paypal has joined forces against Wikileaks. I assume that someone lent on them too, the Beeb reports:

“PayPal said its payment service cannot be used for activities “that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity”.

Update 3: PandaLabs has more on the Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks on Wikileaks.

Amazon And Wikileaks.

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CNN has more on Amazon and Wikileaks:

“Amazon, whose servers have been home to WikiLeaks since earlier this week, has quit hosting it, the website behind a massive disclosure of controversial documents said Wednesday.

WikiLeaks confirmed the move on its Twitter feed Wednesday afternoon.
“WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted,” read a post from shortly before 3 p.m. ET. “Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.”

The site wasn’t accessible early Wednesday, but appeared to be reactivated by Wednesday afternoon.”

Written by modernityblog

02/12/2010 at 01:18

Imagine, President Sarah Palin

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Imagine President Palin.

If that thought doesn’t send a chill down your spine then I know what will.

Imagine someone who can’t differentiate between North and South Korea, as the leader of the world’s only hyperpower.

Imagine President Palin’s finger on the nuclear button.

Imagine the idiocy of allowing such a person to obtain the highest office in the land.

Now think on her latest comments, the Torygraph has more:

“Writing on her Facebook page on Monday, Mrs Palin questioned why the US authorities were not looking for him in the same way that it had hunted suspected terrorists.

“The latest round of publications of leaked classified U.S. documents through the shady organization called Wikileaks raises serious questions about the Obama administration’s incompetent handling of this whole fiasco.

“First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop Wikileaks director Julian Assange from distributing this highly sensitive classified material especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months?

“He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”

She went on: “What if any diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt Wikileaks’ technical infrastructure? Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle Wikileaks? Were individuals working for Wikileaks on these document leaks investigated? Shouldn’t they at least have had their financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations?”

I suppose a President Palin would want to nuke the Internet, if she actually knew where and what it was.

Frightening.

Update 1: President Putin is none too happy either.

Wikileaks And Its Importance.

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There is quite a disagreement over the significance of the Wikileaks’ new material and I confess I am not a Guardian reader so did not manage to absorb their take on matters, yet.

Political Betting is rather dismissive of the whole matter, suggesting that it has displaced other more important items from the political agenda, and whilst that might be true, it seems to me to be taking a rather parochial and limited view of the many connected issues.

I do not think we fully appreciate how the Internet has changed our grasp of world events, power relationships and the control of the news agenda.

As I have argued before, national governments have made a concerted effort to restrict and control the Internet and they do so not because they are concerned particularly with pornography or downloading of films.

No, one of their prime concerns is controlling the flow of information and what people know about issues. That approach applies to dictatorial states across the world, such as China, Burma and parts of the Middle East, but not exclusively so, it also happens in Western countries, just in a far more subtle form.

Governments are, by their nature, in power, very literally. They want to control things, influencing how people perceive the world, how they perceive government policies and more critically, politicians.

The Wikileaks’ material makes it all the more harder for politicians to lie, fudge issues and mislead their constituents and the wider public, which is why it matters.

Nowadays we view world events in a completely different light than we did, say 30 years ago. We can obtain information and opinions from around the world, with a few exceptions. Aided by automatic translation tools we can read foreign media and gain insights into different countries, customs and attitudes.

So in all of that, we are less dependent on governments and media groups to feed us their predetermined agendas or shape how we see the world.

That is why the Wikileaks’ release has great significance.

On top of that we must not forget history, these documents provide a real insight into the shady world of governmental dealings. They confirm what many of us had suspected, and in doing so they are important, providing solid confirmation of how governments and politicians really work, beyond the public gaze. If we truly wish to hold politicians, political leaders and our rulers to account then we should welcome the released material.

Wikileaks’ work is a way of helping us to keep tabs on politicians and understand the underlying motivations behind the public face of governmental actions, behind the bland press releases, behind the fake smiles, which is why we should welcome it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by modernityblog

30/11/2010 at 19:22

Governments, Transparency and Wikileaks.

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Political leaders will often talk about transparency when they are in opposition, should they achieve power and become the Government then they will change.

All the talk about “open government”, power to the people and other such vacuous phrases are quietly dumped.

In the past governments could rely on subtle and not too subtle pressure to contain unwarranted attention into their activities, in Britain the D notice was often used, or just a quiet word with the editor might suffice.

However, the advent of the Internet has changed all of that, stories can be published and taken up across the world. Geographical limitations and local political pressure count for very little as the unwanted story often accelerates around the globe courtesy of the Barbra Streisand effect.

Governments have realised this, so in repressive regimes such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Burma and many others traffic has to go through government approved servers, content is filtered and the location of anyone publishing supposedly “subversive” material is then passed to the State authorities.

Governments until recently have not coordinated their efforts, but that seems to be changing in light of Wikileaks, according to the Daily Beast:

“The Obama administration is pressing Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allied Western governments to consider opening criminal investigations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to severely limit his nomadic travels across international borders, American officials say.

Officials tell The Daily Beast that the U.S. effort reflects a growing belief that WikiLeaks and organizations like it threaten grave damage to American national security, as well as a growing suspicion in Washington that Assange has damaged his own standing with foreign governments and organizations that might otherwise be sympathetic to his anti-censorship cause.”

Written by modernityblog

10/08/2010 at 23:02