Tuesday, December 28, 2010
A short collection of clips from the movie about the government lies the mainstream media pumps out, decade in and decade out, to mindwash people into believing war is not only, repeatedly, necessary, but utterly patriotic :
'The War You Don't See' doesn't have an Australian cinema or TV airing release date, which seems strange. Surely the million or so Australians who marched against the War On Iraq in 2003 would be exactly the kind of audience who'd want to see a movie like this.
Plus the millions more who have since learned the truth of the Australian government & Murdoch media lies, myths and deceptions about the Iraq & Afghanistan wars over the past seven years.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Very interesting. Seemingly out of the blue, but long overdue :
Check the incredible growth of Australia's six (official) intelligence agencies since September 11, 2001 :
The ballooning powers and funding of Australia's spy agencies will be interrogated for the first time in six years, with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announcing an independent review of their role."The review will ensure Australia continues to have a well-coordinated, appropriately resourced and adaptable intelligence system that supports our national interests," Ms Gillard said.
...ASIO has undergone a 535 per cent increase to its funding since 2001...its budget appropriations have grown from $69 million to over half a billion annually since 2001.
The Full Story Is Here
...ASIS and ONA have experienced growth rates of, respectively, 344 per cent and 443 per cent.
Budget cutbacks are obviously on the cards. The intelligence agencies have to prove, presumably, they are vital, useful and cannot afford to have their budgets and staff numbers cut. But how will they go about convincing the Gillard government?
One to watch.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
UPDATE : Julian Assange has been freed on bail, but with some incredibly restrictive conditions :
£200,000 in security, surety from two people, a curfew, daily reporting to police and surrender of his passport.Good round up today's events in London, and background on the charges Assange still faces here.
UPDATE : Correction. Julian Assange has not been freed on bail. He has been returned to solitary confinement at Wandsworth Prison while British and Swedish prosecutors plot to keep him behind bars until the extradition hearing scheduled for February.
Julian Assange is probably the most famous man in the world right now. Surely the most famous journalist. And isn't it good to see someone reaching such a level of prominence for speaking the truth and trying to educate the public, instead of only getting so much media attention because of some sex scandal...oh, right.
Assange has had his life and his son's life threatened. American politicians have called for his execution. He has been accused of being a terrorist. Incredibly, a new term has entered the vocabulary of some politicians and media commentators. "Information terrorism." Assange is an InfoTerrorist. Think about that for a moment.
Distributing Truth Is Now Terrorism.
Assange, at the time of this posting, is in a London court to find out if he will be granted bail, after turning himself into police for questioning over charges he faces in Sweden for "sex by surprise." He has offered to wear an ankle monitoring device, and bail sureties numbering in the tens of thousands of pounds have been offered by journalist John Pilger and documentary maker Michael Moore.
It's interesting that the hammer really came down on Assange within hours of his announcement that he had documents exposing corruption in one of the United States' biggest banks and he was preparing its New Year release.
If he is set free today, Assange will be straight back into preparing that release.
Julian Assange's mum flew to London to see her son. She was refused entry to Wandsworth prison and offered only a 10 minute phone call instead.
The Sunshine Coast Daily has a reporter 'embedded' with Julian Assange's mum in London, while her son faces court, and probable further, suspicious, detention. Assange used the phone call with his mother to issue a statement to supporters :
“My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have always expressed.’Assange said his cell was under 24 CCTV monitoring due to fears of an assassination attempt.
“These circumstances shall not shake them. If anything, this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct.
“We now know that Visa, Mastercard and Paypal are instruments of US foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before.
“I am calling on the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral acts.”
David Frost interviews Assange's lawyer, who warns the United States may be preparing a grand jury investigation, and may seek to extradite him to the US :
Michael Moore :
WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.Fellow Australian journalist John Pilger :
"That mindset that only authority can really determine the 'truth' on the news, that's a form of embedding that really now has to change."There's no question about the pressure on it to change coming from the internet and coming from WikiLeaks -- it will change.
"Authority has its place, but the skepticism about authority must be ingrained in people."
This is a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, prepared by The Walkleys Foundation, and signed by dozens of prominent journalists, radio news producers and newspaper editors :
Dear Prime Minister,
STATEMENT FROM AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER EDITORS, TELEVISION AND RADIO DIRECTORS AND ONLINE MEDIA EDITORS
The leaking of 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables is the most astonishing leak of official information in recent history, and its full implications are yet to emerge. But some things are clear. In essence, WikiLeaks, an organisation that aims to expose official secrets, is doing what the media have always done: bringing to light material that governments would prefer to keep secret.
In this case, WikiLeaks, founded by Australian Julian Assange, worked with five major newspapers around the world, which published and analysed the embassy cables. Diplomatic correspondence relating to Australia has begun to be published here.
The volume of the leaks is unprecedented, yet the leaking and publication of diplomatic correspondence is not new. We, as editors and news directors of major media organisations, believe the reaction of the US and Australian governments to date has been deeply troubling. We will strongly resist any attempts to make the publication of these or similar documents illegal. Any such action would impact not only on WikiLeaks, but every media organisation in the world that aims to inform the public about decisions made on their behalf. WikiLeaks, just four years old, is part of the media and deserves our support.
Already, the chairman of the US Senate homeland security committee, Joe Lieberman, is suggesting The New York Times should face investigation for publishing some of the documents. The newspaper told its readers that it had ‘‘taken care to exclude, in its articles and in supplementary material, in print and online, information that would endanger confidential informants or compromise national security.’’ Such an approach is responsible — we do not support the publication of material that threatens national security or anything which would put individual lives in danger. Those judgements are never easy, but there has been no evidence to date that the WikiLeaks material has done either.
There is no evidence, either, that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have broken any Australian law. The Australian government is investigating whether Mr Assange has committed an offence, and the Prime Minister has condemned WikiLeaks’ actions as ‘‘illegal’’. So far, it has been able to point to no Australian law that has been breached.
To prosecute a media organisation for publishing a leak would be unprecedented in the US, breaching the First Amendment protecting a free press. In Australia, it would seriously curtail Australian media organisations reporting on subjects the government decides are against its interests.
WikiLeaks has no doubt made errors. But many of its revelations have been significant. It has given citizens an insight into US thinking about some of the most complex foreign policy issues of our age, including North Korea, Iran and China.
It is the media’s duty to responsibly report such material if it comes into their possession. To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks, and to pressure companies to cease doing commercial business with WikiLeaks, is a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free and fearless press.
See the full list of who signed the letter here.Finally, here's some interesting thoughts from Julian Assange on privacy, in 1994 :
''Privacy is relative. 'We run perhaps the most private multi-user computer system in the country. Nearly every piece of information can be obtained, depending on how many resources and/or time you want to expend obtaining it. I could monitor your keystrokes, intercept your phone and bug your residence. If I could be bothered.
''As one who's has [sic] one's life monitored pretty closely, you quickly come to the realisation that trying to achieve complete privacy is impossible, and the best you can hope for is damage control and risk minimisation.''
The Guardian has one of the best daily blogs on Wikileaks-related news. Hopefully the focus will soon shift back to the important, history redefining revelations of the diplomatic cables themselves, and away from Julian Assange.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The grindingly predictable media gatekeepers will insist yesterday's 1pm protest was full of "the usual instacrowd" aging hippies, ferals and anarchists, but that's what they have to tell their mindwashed readers, because the truth is so much harder to absorb.
If anything, "the usual crowd" was in the tiniest minority.
Longhaired hippies and black bloc rioters were all but impossible to find.
Instead, hundreds of young people who work in city offices and businesses gave up their lunch breaks to attend. Hundreds more were middle-aged, or elderly, Australians from the inner city, from the outer western suburbs and from wealthy enclaves like Hunters Hill.
Throughout the crowd there were echoes of the same conversations. "How can they do this to him? Who did he kill?", "Look how they react when we find out what they're really saying to each other. They start jailing people!", "they call him a terrorist for exposing unvarnished truths", "this feels like something big", "Wikileaks will change history, it already has" and my favourite, "How old is too old to become a hacker?"
Julian Assange said the release of more than 250,000 classified US embassy cables will change history, maybe even the world as know it. So far, only about 1000 cables have been released, and clearly some major changes are already underway.
Like the people who gathered at Town Hall, like those who marched in Brisbane and Melbourne, and like the Gillard government, nobody knows yet just how sweeping, how historical, how paradigm-shifting these changes will actually be.
And right now, that unknowable short and long-term fallout is making the Gillard government, and those in the corporate sector with some very nasty secrets they wish to keep hidden, very, very nervous indeed.
And the cables keep coming.
I'll try to find some time next week to dive into the early history of Julian Assange's 'look-see' hacking adventures. It's fascinating stuff.
Photos from today's rally at Town Hall.
Okay, there was one guy in the crowd who you could call unusual, or something of a freak if you had to be so boring. And the man in the middle of the below image just spotted him.
His name is Glen, and he's wearing a Celtic war bonnet.
He believes the true war for control of the internet and digital freedom of speech has now begun.
Photos by Darryl Mason
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Australian journalist & publisher Julian Assange :
"I am an Australian citizen and I miss my country a great deal. However, during the last weeks the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, and the attorney general, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return is impossible but that they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people. This brings into question what does it mean to be an Australian citizen - does that mean anything at all? Or are we all to be treated like David Hicks at the first possible opportunity merely so that Australian politicians and diplomats can be invited to the best US embassy cocktail parties."Prime Minister Julia Gillard :
Attorney General Robert McClelland :
"(The Australian Federal Police) are assessing the implications for us, so we will work through that.""I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website - it's a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do."
"The release of this information could prejudice the safety of people referred to in the documentation and, indeed, could be damaging to the national security interests of the United States and its allies including Australia.Most law commentators appear to agree that there is nothing the AFP could nab Assange for, no matter how much Julia Gillard would like them to.
"A whole of government taskforce had been commissioned to see what action could be taken to reduce any adverse impact arising from the leaks.
"There has previously been a specific defence taskforce looking at defence documentation. But obviously the documentations relate to issues broader than simply our defence strategy."
The first of the big #CableGate releases related to Australia (almost 1000 cables) hits in late January, and it's blindingly obvious some members of the current and former governments, and their staffers, are shitting themselves at what may hit the headlines.
Something on the Balibo 5 inquiry, plenty on Israel's frauding of Australian passports and the expelling of the Israeli ambassador, some not so nice opinions on current and former government ministers and cables written by US diplomats, APEC 2007 and the viability of John Howard's prime ministership, and some eye-opening revelations about the approx. five month long window between when John Howard told the White House he had committed Australian troops to fight the Iraq War, and when he told the Australian people.
That's my wishlist anyway, but looking at the clusters of cables around certain dates, there's a good chance all the above will get a mention, some more heavily discussed and detailed, than others.
"Information terrorism" "infoterror" "infoterrorists", three terms I've seen in use, mostly in comments to mainstream media blog sites.
Strange days indeed.