With economic and military force, in the last decades the United States has attained sole superpower status in the world. The legacy of the US empire carries a dark history: genocide of natives, slavery of blacks and criminalizing immigrants from the South.
None can deny that much of US hegemony and economic might is built on the exploitation and suffering of millions.
On Saturday evening, what appeared to be a New York Times op-ed piece by Bill Keller supporting WikiLeaks emerged on twitter. For WL supporters, this was too good to be true, as someone who had shown much animosity toward WikiLeaks appeared to be speaking in their defense. This turned out to be a well crafted hoax. The stunning prank was believed by almost everyone as the only difference was the URL. The article borrowed words from Keller's emails and mimicked New York Times' home page. It fooled journalists and embarrassingly even the Time's tech writer Nick Bilton. It was surreal, as Keller, someone who had come to represent a 'journalism' that bends over for the US government, now appeared to stand behind WikiLeaks. This lasted for hours before it was finally debunked. Later in the day, WikiLeaks released a sequence of tweets that admitted they were involved in the production of this fake Bill Keller op-ed.
The Minister of Public Safety in Canada, Vic Toews, recently made comments about Omar Khadr's potential transfer to Canada from Guantánamo Bay, where he has been incarcerated since 2002 when he was just 15 years old. The comment by Toews comes after the US formally requested a transfer in April of 2012, and after months of silence and inaction. Omar Khadr pleaded guilty in Guantánamo in 2010 to five charges. Under a plea deal, Khadr had his sentence reduced from 40 to 8 years. Such a transfer would allow Omar Khadr to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canada.
King Louis XV is widely credited with the phrase “Après moi, le déluge” (after me, the deluge), although it may have been spoken by Madame de Pompadour, his official mistress (the title was by appointment at the time: she divorced her husband after assuming the position). In any case, it was prophetic: Louis XV was the last monarch before the French Revolution. Louis XVI, his grandson and successor, was guillotined in 1793 at the Place de la Révolution.
I bumped into Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the train yesterday. I mean, literally bumped. I was lurching towards the last available seat on the 4:45 pm from Central when I tripped and collapsed over the armrest beside her, momentarily dislodging the blonde wig she was wearing as a disguise. The glossy red hair was a giveaway, and there was no hiding that nose.
A few words at the end to all those who've helped.
This started a few weeks ago when one of the WLC reporters suggested doing something for Julian's birthday. The idea took off by itself.
We had many more ambitions but this is what we got.
We'd like to thank all those who contributed both via mail and with #JA41.
Now a word about inspiration.
We didn't know what to expect but your letters and tweets moved us. We really liked what we saw. It wasn't work to put this all together - it was a labour of love.
We're all very tired now. We've all worked overtime. And now we shall sink into dreamland and hope there's good food on the table in Knightsbridge this evening.
Thank you to all.
- The WLC Team
I'm delighted that people are enjoying the Geek song and Great Aunt Sophie's midsummer spell.
My publicist Emma asked Aunt Sophie to share with you the letter she had written to her MP. Sophie was happy to oblige.
Julian Assange celebrates his 41st birthday Tuesday 3 July 2012. The celebration may be at 3 Hans Crescent in Knightsbridge, or in a Swedish remand prison, or in the custody of the United States, or in Ecuador. But we want him to know, wherever he'll be, how much we all appreciate what he's done for us. Send your birthday greets to Julian at firstname.lastname@example.org - or with the Twitter tag #JA41.
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and backgrounds. Some, like the Buddha, are born into luxury but abandon it all for the pursuit of truth. Others, raised as paupers, later attain wealth and fame that ultimately spring from their vision quests. Heroes hail from all over the globe, from New Guinea to New England. Because of such variation, it's not always easy to know when you're in the presence of one.
There is no greater gift than the opening of one's eyes, and that is precisely what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have given to me. As a U.S. citizen and military veteran, I cannot fully express how important this has been in my life.
It is not easy to change someone, but I can say I became a very different person upon discovery of WikiLeaks. I was changed from someone with a rather nihilistic point of view on the world to someone increasingly interested in current events and the well-being of others. My interest in WikiLeaks quickly grew to the North African revolutions, the Occupy movement, privacy laws, due process, and so much more.
Ben is journalism student at Edith Cowan University in Perth Australia. One in a series.
A couple of weeks ago, travelling south toward Perth under foreboding grey skies with a good wingman of mine, conversation turned to WikiLeaks, and in particular Julian Assange.
"The thing I am worried about", my wingman explained, "is how can I trust WikiLeaks to filter information?"
"Assange has become the new gatekeeper!"
It was, I thought, a very good question.
I didn't have an immediate answer to it. Some matters require a bit of thought and, though I tried to waggle my tongue around it, it is only in hindsight that the answer has properly articulated itself.
After a debate with a colleague about WikiLeaks, I was told "Assange stole our Graham".
Assange didn't steal me, nor did he steal a host of others who stand firm on their belief systems of truth, justice, and holding governments to account. I happen to have a moral compass that aligns with those people, who would also seem to share my beliefs: that the state can be wrong, that the state can commit crimes, that the state can lie and get away with it and that laws do not necessarily serve to protect their people but incriminate them, and that such laws should be changed.
I'm one of four people currently running WLC. We took over about four months ago. Several members of the current team were in at the beginning and helped launch WLC. That was back on 17 November 2010. Going on two years ago.
There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, through all of the year 2010 when our lives and our world were turned topsy-turvy.
The increasing prevalence of 'sharing' on the InterWebs gave birth to new social media such as Twitter and to the emergence on 5 April 2010 of the natural force known as Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
A BBC radio reporter in Stockholm this morning reporting on the Assange case said that Assange left the country not knowing there was an arrest warrant issued for him but managed to avoid bringing up the 5 weeks he waited in Sweden beyond his planned visit to be questioned, only leaving when the Swedes said he could.
The UKSC has the luxury of answering one simple question, whilst the world around swirls with complex issues. Leaving aside the possibility that the case against Assange seems to be politically motivated, that the Americans may want to extradite him, and that the women in question have never claimed that they didn't willingly have sex with Assange, there is still the exploitation of this situation by some powers that be.
"We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was 'legal.'"
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Did you read Bonfire of the Vanities?" George asked me. I nodded, and he continued: "Do you remember that scene where he's getting out of the car, and there are all these people screaming his name, women throwing themselves at him? I mean, here's this guy who's in a terrible situation, but he's like a big celebrity."
Aussie publisher and Assange family acquaintance George Hirst had met me at the law school's cafe, so we could confer on ideas for helping the WikiLeaks leader. George and I both worried about Assange's potential extradition to the U.S., where harpy Hillary Clinton and other government vengefuls could use the EU's lax extradition laws to prosecute Assange, torture him, or worse. Now, months later, on the eve of the UK Supreme Court's final decision, we are all about to learn whether or not the embattled publisher will be extradited to Sweden, and then perhaps to the United States.
Sunday 27 May 2012 Stockholm: Swedish state radio attempted early this morning to lay the blame for difficulties in the ongoing investigation of an unrelated Swedish murder case on Julian Assange.
Their article published online attempts to claim Assange is obstructing the course of justice by appealing his case before the UK Supreme Court and that killers pursued by Swedish authorities might go free as a result of a ruling in his favour.
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" This familiar philosophical question came to my mind in response to a friend's challenge of my support for WikiLeaks and call for investigation into the recent shooting of a black teen in Florida. She said, "How do you know what the truth is? How do you know that George Zimmerman didn't act in self-defense? How do you know that Julian Assange didn't sexually assault women in Scandinavia? ... Unless you get on an airplane, go the scene of the action, and see for yourself, you can't be absolutely certain. You can check and crosscheck multiple different sources and you can draw reasonable inferences, but you still have to inject a certain amount of faith unless you conduct your own personal investigation".
It is true. We were not there at the moment of Trayvon Martin's death. Someone pulled the trigger and as a result the young man was dead. At the moment of his death, the neighbor's 911 call recorded someone crying for help. Someone was being threatened. Was it Zimmerman or Martin? We don't know if this was a murder or an act of self defense by Zimmerman. When the tree fell down, we were not in the woods to hear it.
Later I contemplated my friend's perspective and realized how it represents a psychological condition prevalent in American society. It is a kind of social disease, which perhaps explains the public silence around many problems in the world. This is a kind of belief system that says; I wasn't there. I don't know the truth, so I withhold judgment and remain aloof.
Authored By: Nadim Fetaih
As Edmund Burke once wrote, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” It is time for Canada to shed the shackles of apathy and rise.
I have long been a proponent for a revolution in Canada. I have written many blog pieces to try and inspire the Canadian people and have stuck with my belief that Canada has the potential to once again become a leading force in the world, to inspire freedom and prosperity for people around the globe.
With recent events though, this belief has begun to chip away. My once strong resolve for hope has begun to decompose with the filth I have seen in not only the political spectrum, but the social spectrum as well. Within the past year alone we have seen so many repugnant acts by our political elite. Harper — our near dictatorial Prime Minister — has stepped beyond the bounds of his political mandate far too many times.
The most internationally known aspect of popular Canadian sentiments has been its exit from the Kyoto Protocol. This was not only a defeat to all those who have been fighting the oil tar sands development, but also to any Canadian who once believed we were leaders in the world. No, instead we boldly stated that we are nothing but puppets, selling our souls to international corporations at the expense of our health and environment.
In the process, we proved once more that we are nothing but a side-kick of our neighbors to the south — that unless our master, the United States of America, enters into an endeavor, neither will we.
When Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade was booed by hundreds of voters as he cast his ballot Sunday in an election the controversial incumbent hopes will elect him to serve a third term in office, it capped more than a month of popular protests by opposition candidates and their supporters against what many have called a "constitutional coup" by supporters of the corrupt regime.
Right now in Australia, the governing Labor party is embroiled in a leadership contest that 'is shaking the nation'. Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd face off for the Prime Minister of Australia tomorrow, Monday, by internal caucus vote. The media commentary is homogenous: Australians are tired, of all things, endless infighting in the Labor party. We are tired of 'faceless men' who decide party leadership. All 'we' want is 'stable government'.
Let us consider for a moment what is meant by this stability. By stable government, the media and politicians mean an orthodoxy, a government in power, delivering legislation 'on behalf of the Australian people', a government with a mandate, free to carry out an agenda, without contests in the media, in the open. What they mean by a stable government is what government in Australia has looked like for 20 years or so.
The line in voxpops on the evening news and opinion in the media is consistent: This 'leadership battle' has 'us' the Australian people as its 'casualties'. Us poor middle-class Australians.
Perhaps if we are strong Labor supporters, or slightly left of centre, we might despise this contest for what it is doing to opposition leader Tony Abbott, making him seem like a stable pair of hands, when he is likely to deliver a government to the right of even former Prime Minister Howard.
The ability of the media to provide an analysis that gives us what we think that we think is insidious. It's at the point where any reasonably intelligent person can read a major paper provided by Fairfax or News Limited and we have a list of ready stocked political positions that will be aired at middle class dinner tables across Australia. Is that really what you think or did you read it in the Herald?