Monday, December 6, 2010

Julian Assange Threatens To Strike Back

The redoubtable Julian Assange has fired back against the unrelenting attacks against him by threatening that if he were to be brought to trial on the rape accusations he faces in Sweden, or for treason charges that have been suggested by some U.S. politicians, he will release the encryption key to the 1.3-gigabyte file protected with an unbreakable 256-bit encryption key that contains the full versions of all the U.S. documents received by WikiLeaks to date. This includes those that have been withheld from publication or have had names and details removed in order to protect the lives of spies, sources and soldiers.

 Mr. Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens said, “WikiLeaks has been subject to cyberattacks and censorship around the world and they need to protect themselves ... This is what they believe to be a thermonuclear device in the information age.”


While the regular cadre of American wankers (Gingrich, Palin) have been calling for Mr. Assange's arrest or even his death, U.S. charges against Mr. Assange are unlikely as ...he is not a U.S. citizen and, because he did not steal the documents himself, but only participated in their publication, he would likely be protected under the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech provisions.

Continuing WikiLeaks Fallout

Some of the WikiLeaks information that has come to public attention has been amusing, as for example the apparent obsession with Canadian prime time shows shown by American diplomats who warn of our creating insidious American stereotypes. Where would we get the idea that they were war-mongers, torturers, violators of  international treaties and bullies? We must be crazy!

 As far as Canada is concerned, real embarrassment should come from the revelation that while France pressed the US on the matter of Omar Khadr, Stephen Harper and the Tories did nothing to repatriate a Canadian citizen swept off a battlefield at the age of 15.

 Some of the information has been both embarrassing and troubling for the US as in the case of Hillary ordering officials to spy on Ban Ki-moon as well as steal his credit card and gather other personal data in direct contravention of US and international law. As a result the Americans are busy overreacting by trying to clamp down on access to the WikiLeaks cables engaging in censorship claiming, as always and without proof, "...damage to our national security."

Some of the more interesting stories contained in the cables get scrupulously ignored by the media as in the case of the New York Times (the paper of record) and the Washington Post deliberately not mentioning how ...Russian specialists on the Iranian ballistic missile program refuted the U.S. suggestion that Iran has missiles that could target European capitals or intends to develop such a capability. That would be interfering with a war-mongering narrative. Can't have that.
The New York Times and Washington Post reported only that the United States believed Iran had acquired such missiles – supposedly called the BM-25 – from North Korea. Neither newspaper reported the detailed Russian refutation of the U.S. view on the issue or the lack of hard evidence for the BM-25 from the U.S. side.
So instead of this WikiLeaks document resulting in stories that call into question the direction of the Obama administration’s ballistic missile defense policy in Europe based on the alleged Iranian missile threat, it produces stories in the media supporting the existing Iranian threat narrative. Since we have always been at war with Eastasia, this perfectly okay with the various media. Well, most of them.

The BBC does its' best to bring a modicum of reportage to the story and talk about their real meaning and importance. The truth of course is we wouldn't need Julian if the media just did its damned job! Since they don't or won't or are all in thrall to the military industrial complex we should all give thanks and do what we can to support him and his cause. Make no mistake about it, what he is doing is not all that remarkable but his courage in the face of the attacks on his character and threats to his life and personal freedom are. He was even threatened by a Canadian wanker, the former advisor to PM Harper, the coward Tom Flanagan. Right wingers always talk so tough until they actually have to fight for themselves.

So now the entire world seems perfectly happy to fall into line with the Americans and do what they can to thwart WikiLeaks who are only guilty of doing what reporters won't. Amazon dropped their contract as service providers, and governments and hackers continue to hound the organization. PayPal cut off the WikiLeaks account used to collect donations and so as of now we are engaged in a boycott of PayPal and Amazon.

For all these peripheral issues, which are important as they are about freedom of speech, it's key that everyone remember that the fundamental issues here are the massive amounts of misinformation and outright lies that have surrounded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.