Sweden will soon hold the Stockholm Internet Forum to discuss global development and global surveillance. The forum will open on 26 May and will be held in the famed Stadshuset, site of the annual Nobel banquet. The motto of the conference will be 'Internet Freedom for Global Development'.
Daniel Matthews offers a furtive thought in the context of his resignation
on behalf of pure democracy:
Welcome to the age where copying and pasting a link can land you in jail. In a case that threatens the future of information sharing and journalism, Barrett Brown is facing up to 105 years in prison for sharing a link from one chatroom to another in the course of research he was doing as a journalist.
Harper's published an insightful interview with Glenn Greenwald yesterday on the evolving PRISM story. It's very much worth a read.
As I type these lines, on June 3, 2013, Private First Class Bradley Edward Manning is being tried in a sequestered room at Fort Meade, Maryland, for the alleged crime of telling the truth. The court martial of the most prominent political prisoner in modern US history has now, finally, begun.
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.