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Wikileaks.org is back up! Not a *huge* victory for freedom and common sense – but a victory nevertheless

On 3 December, we reported that you could no longer reach the Wikileaks site by using the wikileaks.org URL. Well, that is no longer the case: aim your browser at “http://wikileaks.org” and you get rerouted to http://mirror.wikileaks.info/ – one of the many, many mirrors that sprouted after the USA’s clumsy efforts to limit free speech. Not a major victory by any means. But a victory nevertheless.
In other (Wikileaks/Assange-related) news: Julian Assange is still in prison even though he was granted bail yesterday. The Swedish prosecutors have appealed against the bail ruling, claiming that he would pose a major flight risk. I’m not sure how the Swedes think he’ll flee: Assange’s face must be one of the best known in border security circles, plus they have his passport… but as things stand, he must remain in HMP Wandsworth for at leat another couple of days while this judicial circus runs its course.
This case is highlighting the problems with the new European arrest warrant system. Usually, it is only possible to extradite someone if the crime he’s accused of is also a crime in the country he’s “hiding” in. As far as I can tell, Assange’s alleged crimes are not illegal in Britain (what the Swedes call “rape” and “sexual molestation” are very different to the UK’s definitions – I believe one of the charges relates to Assange refusing to use a condom; the complainant admits that the sex was consensual, so how in hell can this be called a crime? He didn’t force her to have unprotected sex).
Anyway, a blog like this one is not really a good place to discuss the intricacies of Swedish law. But what I will say is this: Sweden has got very accommodating rendition agreements with the USA. If Assange is extradited to Sweden, it won’t be long before he ends up in America. And if you look at what politicians are saying about Assange it’s pretty clear he won’t receive a free trial and he’ll end up on a slab.
But do these people really believe that Assange is Wikileaks? The leaks will continue, regardless of his fate. All that will happen is that Assange’s colleagues will improve their security and anonymity. Killing (or imprisoning) Assange will not kill Wikileaks. And all politicians need to beware: if they treat Assange like a piece of shit, the leaks will become more and more damaging to the so-called “liberal” European “democracies” who are currently baying for his blood. So watch out, fools: the day of reckoning is nearly upon us… and you.
UPDATE: I just noticed this, a page that lists the very many sites that are mirroring Wikileaks in an attempt to stop the authorities ever again closing them down. Well, when I say “stop”, I actually mean “make it very difficult”. The USA has already demonstrated the length of its reach. But when Wikileaks is mirrored in a huge number of countries, some of whom dislike America intensely, the job of censorship becomes much more difficult.
There’s also info on the page about how you too can mirror Wikileaks on your web server. I say go for it! I think it’s about time that the USA learned what “democracy” actually means: rule by the people for the people; not rule by a bunch of rich geezers on behalf of their billionaire buddies. Or is my dictionary out of date?

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Wooh! No plans to deploy water cannons on the streets of England… for now.

Well, Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, has rule out the use of water cannon in the policing of student protests, saying there was no legal authority for their use on the streets of England and Wales. But the overall message was clear: May has no plans to use water cannons right now; but circumstances change, and police tactics must also change to deal with the ever-evolving problems.
Look what Commander Bob Broadhurst, the head of Scotland Yard’s public order branch, had to say on the matter after May’s speech:

“There has been a great deal of speculation over the weekend about the Met using water cannons. There are no current plans to use water cannons on the streets of the capital but we would be foolish if we did not take time to look at tactics such as this to see if it might be appropriate in the future.

In other words: the water cannons are on their way. Get ready for a soaking, boys and girls.
May also took the opportunity to blame the violence on an “organised group of hardcore activists and street gangs” who had infiltrated the protests. Government ministers always do this: they say the majority of demonstrators are there for a good time, but a hardcore of evil anarchists and street gangsters turn peaceful demonstrations into warzones.

“Some students behaved disgracefully. But the police also assess that the protests were infiltrated by organised groups of hardcore activists and street gangs bent on violence.
Evidence from the other recent protests shows that many of those causing violence were organised thugs, as well as students. It is highly likely that this was also the case last week,” she said.

May made mention of the attack on the Duchess of Cornwall (the adulterous “whore” who shagged Prince Charles while he was still married to Diana – remember that awful recorded phone conversation in whch he said he’d like to be Camilla’s tampon? Ugh!): she said “some contact [was] made” when the Duchess of Cornwall was struck through the window of her royal car (ie she got a well-deserved slap). The Metropolitan police inquiry into the attack on the car carrying Prince Charles and Camilla is due to report by this Friday but May warned that, for security reasons, the public details of the report are likely to be limited. No pix of the ugly woman’s war wounds then. Shame!
May revealed that 35 people had been arrested so far and expected the number to rise significantly. So far the mugshots of 14 of “key perpetrators of violence” have been published. The Met are to continue to publish pictures of other key individuals over the next week. All very interesting. But what about the police officers who used excessive violence and concealed their identification numbers? After the police actions that led to the death of Ian Tomlinson (an innocent passerby, not a demonstrator or rioter), Met police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said it was “absolutely unacceptable” for officers to cover or remove their shoulder tags bearing identification numbers. Yet a number of officers at this latest “riot” were seen with ID numbers concealed – look at this Youtube video. And what about the cop who slugged Alfie Meadows across the head with a truncheon – an attack that left Alfie needing emergency brain surgery. Will a mugshot of the offending officer be posted on the internet? Of course not: May used the standard cop-out answer when asked about this. She said that she was unable to comment as the Independent Police Complaints Commission had begun an investigation into the incident that had left him seriously injured.Yeah right.
May even defended the controversial “kettling” tactic, where police officers in full riot gear and armed with long batons corner groups of demonstrators and hem them in, even refusing to release peaceful demonstrators with major health problems. Even little children and old-age pensioners are forced to stay in the “kettle”. One woman asked a cop where she was supposed to go if she needed the toilet. The leering swine pointed down at the road surface in front of him.
It’s hard to blame individual officers: after all, they are merely following orders issued from on high. Then again, it’s very easy to blame those bobbies: they chose to join the force; they chose to obey the evil orders.
A little advice for those among you who might attend a demo where the water cannons are brought out: make sure you take with you a nice, dry set of clothes in a waterproof bag. When the filth shoot you with water, they’re hoping that you’ll become cold and dis-spirited and piss off home. If you go change into something dry then come back to continue demonstrating/rioting/whatever, the cops will become very confused. Remember, most cops are thick as pig shit (why else would they join up?); when faced with a situatuion that their orders don’t cover, most will just walk in ever-decreasing circles until they disappear up their own bottoms. So don’t let the assholes scare you. Believe me, they are probably more scared of you.

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4chan's "Anonymous" group and "Operation Payback" DDOS Mastercard, PayPal, Assange's Swiss bank… screw 'em, I say!

Wikileaks used to accept donations through PayPal and Mastercard, and the Swiss bank Post Finance used to deal with Assange’s (and Wikileaks’) financial issues. Not any more though. Those “online payment” services have decided to drop Assange and Wikileaks, citing some vague, little-used “term of service”. Obviously, the US and its allies have growled at the finance companies, and the poor litle mites have shat their pants. Never mind though. Serves ’em right, yeah?
Anyway, supporters of Wikileaks and Julian Assange have struck back at these companies’ subservience to the USA. Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks have knocked PayPal and Post Finance off the web a few times since the campaign really got going; and in the meantime (according to Wikileaks.ch) there are other ways to send money to Wikileaks. From wikileaks.ch:

There are four ways to donate:
1. Online Transfer via Credit Card
2. Bank Transfer [option 1: everyone]
3. Bank Transfer [option 2: tax deductible in Germany]
4. Postal Mail
1. Online Transfer via Credit Card
Using our friendly credit card processing partner Datacell Switzerland.
2. Bank Transfer – Option 1: via Sunshine Press Productions ehf:
Skulagötu 19, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Landsbanki Islands Account number 0111-26-611010
BANK/SWIFT:NBIIISREXXX
ACCOUNT/IBAN:IS97 0111 2661 1010 6110 1002 80
3. Bank Transfer – Option 2: via the not-for-profit Wau Holland Stiftung Foundation:
This support is tax deductible in Germany
Bank Account: 2772812-04
IBAN: DE46 5204 0021 0277 2812 04
BIC Code: COBADEFFXXX
Bank: Commerzbank Kassel
German BLZ: 52040021
Subject: WIKILEAKS / WHS Projekt 04
4. Via Postal Mail
You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to:
WikiLeaks
(or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country)
BOX 4080
Australia Post Office – University of Melbourne Branch
Victoria 3052
Australia

In the meantime, Operation Payback, 4chan.org’s group “Anonymous” and other groups and individuals are planning a whole load of actions that will hopefully lead to Assange’s release from the trumped-up molestation accusations, and will entrench Wikileak’s position enough to let the losers know we ain’t going nowhere! Computerworld.com noted that “”Operation Avenge Assange” … aimed at the Swiss bank PostFinance, which froze Assange’s assets, was very successful, and has kept the site down for some 24 hours as of this writing.”
DDOS can be a useful tool; but it is rather blunt. There are a number of other approaches that supporters of Wikileaks and Julian Assanger will use to help the situation. It’s a shame that the Swedish and US governments are so determined to destroy Julian Assange and his credibility. But look: even if Assange is discredited, the fact remains that the cables and other documents are being read for themselves and passed on. One man’s credibility is not so important when we think of the information he and his colleagues have been leaking.
If you have a blog, website, column in an online (or even offline) journal, or any other way to make yourself heard, please do so. The Wikileaks event may have far-reaching consequences that we just can’t envisage yet. Don’t let the public forget what Assange and his colleagues have enabled. Wikileaks will go on with its mission. And for the life of me, I can’t see any reason why the man in the street would oppose that mission. Do you want your government to tell you the truth; or would you prefer half-truths, total lies, invented statistics and outrageous claims to justify the removal of our human rights? I know where I stand regarding that… but I really am puzzled at how some other folk are so keen to be lied to. WTF is wrong with you people?

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Julian Assange jailed while Sweden tries to extradite him

Unbefuckinglievable – a London judge has remanded Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange re Sweden’s attempt to extradite him on sex crime charges.
Actually that’s a load of crap: it’s completely believable. We’re talking about Britain here; the same country that refused to extradite Augusto Pinochet to Spain to stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity.
So Julian Assange is banged up in HMP Wandsworth awaiting the possibility that he’ll be sent to Sweden to stand trial on sex crime charges. Only he won’t stand trial in Sweden at all – this is all happening so the USA will be able to get hold of him. Of course, if he is sent to America he will be executed as a terrorist.
And Sweden says there has been no political pressure to do this. Liars.
BTW: the site wikileaks.ch is still up and running, as of this post (8.12pm, Tue 7 Dec 2010). Give Wikileaks your support, moral if not financial. We cannot allow the USA and its serf-allies to stop the truth from being told.

Wikileaks in trouble (again)

Wikileaks, the website that helps whistleblowers make their info public whilst remaining anonymous, is in trouble again. I guess it’s inevitable that anyone who releases onto the internet hundreds of thousands of classified US government documents is going to face hardship in one way or another – the USA is not a nice enemy to have. First they got Amazon to stop their Wikileaks-based business (the 250,000 US embassy cables recently leaked were stored on servers owned by Amazon) and now they’ve got Everydns, the American-owned company that provided DNS service to Wikileaks, to drop the wikileaks.org site. Tell your browser to go to “wikileaks.org” and it’ll tell you that there’s no server at that address.
Everydns, the company involved, say they had to drop wikileaks.org because the denial-of-service and other cyber attacks aimed at the Wikileaks site were also affecting the internet company’s other customers. And that’s a plausible explanation. Plausible deniability, anyone? Because it seems to me that a more likely explanation is that the US government leaned on Everydns and told them: “Drop Wikileaks or we’ll drop you!” And there’s the fact that Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security, called for a boycott of Wikileaks-related business by all American companies. Amazon have admitted that they acted under pressure from the government – so why are Everydns being so shy? Are they ashamed of what they’ve done? I know that I would be ashamed of myself if I did anything like that.
While this has harmed Wikileaks, it wasn’t fatal. Wikileaks quickly got themselves a Swiss URL – wikileaks.ch – and there’s also the IP address 46.59.1.2 – type that into your browser’s address bar and it’ll take you to the site that makes the US government so scared!!
I think that Wikileaks are providing a much-needed service. If democracy is to be taken seriously, there needs to be transparency of government. And the constant refrain we hear from politicians – that these leaks put the lives of service men and women in danger – is complete BS. The government put its troops’ lives in ganger when it sent them off to war. Also, Wikileaks have collaborated with experienced journalists from the New York Times, the Guardian and others) to ensure that individual identities are not revealed needlessly. The plain truth is that Wikileaks has exposed the politicians’ unethical greed and war-mongering. Good work, Wikileaks… but watch your back.
One Wikileaks-related figure, Julian Assange, has more reason than most to watch his back. Wikileaks works best as an anonymous network of activists and truth-seekers. But Assange has put himself into the story. Go to front of the current Wikileaks site (213.251.145.96) and you’ll find a photo of the man, looking rather contemplative and honest (the direct eye-contact between the man and the camera lens screams “Trust me!” Maybe he’s deliberately hogging the limelight, to distract attention away from the men and women in the shadows doing the actual work. Or maybe he’s a narcissistic sexual predator. I don’t know. But I do know that Wikileaks is incredibly important. Don’t let your government take them down!

Julian Assange: what a lovely guy!


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G20 "murder cop" to face misconduct charges over Ian Tomlinson death

Doubtless some of you will remember that on 1 April the G20 meeting of the world’s economic superpowers was held in London.  Such an event requires heavy policing, to protect the delegates and their cronies from evil demonstrators.  And on that day, a man named Ian Tomlinson died as a direct result of police action.
Unfortunately for the police, a couple of circumstances surrounding the death quickly came to light: the entire episode was caught on CCTV; and Tomlinson was not a demonstrator, he was a newspaper seller trying to get home after a hard day’s work.
The police officer who attacked Tomlinson, PC Simon Harwood of the Metropolitan Police’s infamous Tactical Support Unit, is not going to face criminal proceedings related to the killing of Ian Tomlinson – this despite the fact that Harwood’s unprovoked attack on Tomlinson from behind is clearly visible on the many videos that have been posted on the internet (for example here.  There are plenty of other examples online, as even a cursory Google search will find).
But even though Harwood isn’t going to see a court room from the “wrong” (or should that be “right”?) side of the dock, it has been announced that he will face a Police Complaints Commission into his alleged misconduct during the attack.  During the brutal attack, Harwood wore a balaclava to hide his face, and had concealed his badge number – all signs that he knew he was doing something wrong.
The PCC decision to accuse Harwood of misconduct equivalent to manslaughter is likely to place additional pressure on Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, who controversially decided the officer should not even be prosecuted for assault.  Now Starmer will have to explain why he decided that Harwood should not be punished for what was undoubtedly an illegal attack.
The way Harwood has been protected up to this point has sent a very clear message to other coppers: they can be as brutal as they want, even up to the point of murder, and the establishment will protect them.  Now I just hope that the misconduct hearings are held in a properly transparent manner, so other bully-boy cops will learn from this experience.  No one is above the law – especially the police.

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UK government say unemployed must do "unpaid work"… but where's all this work going to come from?

For years the Conservative Party have wanted to force unemployed people to “earn” their benefits by doing unpaid work.  And finally (in a coalition government with the Lib Dems, strangely enough) it seems they are going to achieve their goal.
The Work and Pensions Secretary (and failed former party leader) Iain Duncan Smith has announced in a white paper that he wants the unemployed to undertake unpaid work or lose benefits, dressing up these draconian plans as a necessary step to cut welfare costs as well as to break what the government is calling the “habit of worklessness”.  The government are trying to suggest that people prefer to live in poverty on the derisory Jobseeker’s Allowance (£51.85 a week for those under 25 and £65.45 for those over 25 – what riches!)  rather than take a job.  And this crazed plan is apparently going to end the “culture of dependency”.
What IDS has neglected to tell us is where exactly this unpaid work is going to come from.  The plan glosses over this detail, saying that “charities, voluntary organizations and companies” will provide these jobs.  This totally ignores the fact that voluntary organizations don’t want people to work for them reluctantly – people who volunteer to work for nothing do so because they want to help the organizations in question and the quality of their work is therefore much higher than what will be done by those who are there under duress.  And as for the companies who will provide the unpaid jobs: if there is work that needs to be done, why haven’t these companies already employed workers to do them?
This plan is an outrageous attempt to provide the Tory Party’s corporate allies with a way to get around the minimum wage.  Instead of advertising these jobs to willing workers who would, by law, be entitled to a living wage, these companies will fill the posts with people who will have to work for nothing.  How the hell can the Tories and their corporate friends get away with this?
And why are the Lib Dems going along with this?  After the destruction of the traditional Labour Party by Blair and his “New Labour” lackeys, some of us thought that the Liberal Democrats were the only progressive party left.  But now they’ve joined the Conservatives in coalition government, we can see Nick Clegg and his colleagues for what they really are: just Tories under a different name.
Democracy in Britain has been dying for many years.  Now it has been shot in the back of the head and buried in an unmarked grave.  We desperately need to take back the power that is rightfully ours.  But the ballot box will get us nowhere.  We must use alternative methods to rid ourselves of the greedy and evil men and women who claim to rule in our name.
 

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Top 10 tech tricks we're sick of seeing in movies

This is a pretty interesting article: detailing some of the wonderful moments in film history where some hacker/computer expert can get a computer system to do stuff it ain’t supposed to do, just by pressing a few keys and, no doubt, intimidating the the software with his superior skillz…
I remember some of the stuff on the list, but other details have been driven from my memory by thousands of years of substance abuse.  But never mind: there’s enough listed there to make any half-educated geek to kick his cat about.
One particular moments that’s always stayed with me is in Jurassic Park when the surviving humans need to “hack” (ugh!) the computerized security system to try and contain the rampaging dinosaurs.  The little girl (kids always know more than adults about computer-related stuff, even when the adult is a highly-trained, highly-experienced computer professional) takes one look at the monitors, says “I know this – it’s Unix”, and goes on to fix the electric fences or whatever.  It’s pretty unlikely that a Unix system would have the amazing 3D desktop interface we see on the screens… and it’s even more ridiculous to suggest she can do shit the pros found impossible after looking at the machines for 5 minutes or so.  Please not: I am not claiming that her skillz are impossible; but it’s still a huge heap of doggy doo-dah.
All this crap achieves is to reinforce the opinion that 1) little kids eat highly-trained adults for breakfast; and 2) give that kid a Commodore 64 and a modem and she’ll destroy the earth using the adults’ thermonuclear weapons against themselves.
I much prefer scenarios where AIs become self-aware and decide to wipe out the dangerous virus that is humankind.  Maybe kids can do that too… but chances are that the kid will probably be too busy tweeting about her despicable plan to notice the SWAT gunmen abseiling down to come shoot her in her bedroom.  Kids are too immature and too all over the place to actually do anything major.  Shit like Skynet is much more likely to succeed.  And we can’t threaten Skynet with being grounded and losing its allowance.  FFS.

My friend's dog died today…

My friend’s staffie, Rocky, was put down today.  He’d been awfully ill for some time: he used to have a voracious appetite, but for the past couple of months he’d been right off his food; he was vomiting at least once a day (usually more); and the once-active dog was reduced to lying spread-eagled on the floor all day.  If he needed to answer the call of nature, he could just about stagger outside to the garden, then peed and crapped right there.  And his crap was so dark, almost black.
This morning my friend took Rocky to the vet’s for a scan – a few hours later he got the dreaded phone call: “He’s got tumours spreading through his insides.  There’s nothing we can do.  I advise you to have him put down now, before his suffering becomes too much to bear.”
So my friend returned to the vet’s, gave Rocky some fuss, a piece of his favourite chocolate, and bade him farewell.  Then the lethal injection was administered and Rocky fell asleep forever.
Rocky had had a good innings – he was approximately 11 or 12 years old, and for the last 10 years he’d been spoilt rotten.  He’s had a good life; but that doesn’t make it feel any better.  And now my thoughts have turned to my own dog’s mortality.  DD, my American bulldog, is only six-ish, and she is as healthy as can be – but I’m well aware that I’m probably going to outlive her.  It isn’t fair: why can’t dogs live forever?  You get a pet, love it as much as any human, and then it dies.  Life is so unfair.
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Police want to set themselves above the law

Worrying story here:  Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the most senior police officer in Britain, has been secretly lobbying the government to make it harder to take police officers to court.
Stephenson says the move is necessary to stop public money from filling lawyers’ pockets, so the police can spend it on more important stuff, like CCTV cameras and expensive lunches, instead.
But human rights lawyers and civil liberties groups don’t believe him.  Most court actions against the police are for wrongful arrest and brutality.  So opponents to the plan say it’s just a ruse to set the police above the law.
If Stephenson’s idea is taken up, it will be much harder for poorer people to take action when the police do something wrong to them.  One law for the rich, another for the poor.  Some might say “So what?  That’s how things work right now.”  And that isn’t wrong.  But the possible threat of legal action is just about the only thing keeping the police under any sort of control.  The police will be able to do anything they like.  Goddamn pigs.
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