He Called Himself a Journalist – UPDATED

The Independent got a black eye today from a former editor who shamelessly confessed to being an authoritarian.

Blackhurst, in explaining why he would never have allowed his newspaper to publish any of the documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, actually wrote:

If the security services insist something is contrary to the public interest, and might harm their operations, who am I (despite my grounding from Watergate onwards) to disbelieve them?”

Most people, let alone journalists, would be far too embarrassed to admit they harbor such subservient, obsequious sentiments.

Greenwald sums up:

But it does still surprise me when people calling themselves “journalists” openly admit to thinking this way. But when they do so, they do us a service, as it lays so vividly bare just how wide the gap is between the claimed function of establishment journalists and the actual role they fulfill.

Caution about The Guardian*. While they may be publishing Greenwald right now, I don’t expect that to go on forever. Blackhurt gives a clue as to why:

The former Labour cabinet minister was incandescent with rage. [...]
I was puzzled as to why she would be so angry – normally she and The Guardian would be of one mind.

Continue reading

Social Media Intelligence

I’m so sick of the government reading all of my Facebook status updates, and never liking any of them.
(Seen on a graphic going around Facebook)

SOCMINT
“It had been used, in one case, to arrest ten people who threatened to protest in front of UK Prime Minister David Cameron after organising a meet-up over Twitter.”

Holy, that’s disturbing. Majority Report, anyone? Protesters arrested for planning to protest? Newsflash: Protesting isn’t illegal in a ‘free’ country like England. I guess that rules England out as being free.

“It almost acts like CCTV on the ground for us really,” he said. “When there’s a protest, people go out and record video and we know 2 minutes later they’ll be on YouTube and because people on the internet are very silly they’ll say ‘that’s my mate Joe Bloggs’.”

Police are not supposed to care about free citizens airing grievances against political leadership. It makes the country unfree, if they so much as care to monitor innocent people.

“A lot of newspapers out there report on are we becoming a police state, are the police monitoring everything out there,” [Mr Ertogral] said. “It’s kind of finding the balance and using that information to our advantage, but also staying ethical.”

No shit, NDEU Sherlock. You’re doing a bloody awful job of staying ethical in your police state.

PRISM: Prepared for Exposure

More details are out on PRISM, Tempora, and other illegal spying schemes by the NSA and friendly intelligence agencies, apparently even in Germany.

The NSA even has a special department for such cooperation, the Foreign Affairs Directorate, he says. He also exposes a noteworthy detail about how government decision-makers are protected by these programs. The partnerships are organized in a way so that authorities in other countries can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” in the event it becomes public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy,” the former NSA employee says.

Interviewer [Jacob A. @ioerror]: Are German authorities or German politicians involved in the NSA surveillance system?

Snowden: Yes, of course. We’re in bed together with the Germans the same as with most other Western countries. For example, we tip them off when someone we want is flying through their airports (that we for example, have learned from the cell phone of a suspected hacker’s girlfriend in a totally unrelated third country — and they hand them over to us. They don’t ask to justify how we know something, and vice versa, to insulate their political leaders from the backlash of knowing how grievously they’re violating global privacy.

This is how it’s obvious that what’s happening is illegal, because populations don’t consent to it if politicians fear retribution when the truth is out.

Data Remains Buffered for Three Days

The scope of this “full take” system is vast. According to Snowden and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Tempora stores communications data for up to 30 days and saves all content for up to three days in a so-called Internet buffer. “It snarfs everything in a rolling buffer to allow retroactive investigation without missing a single bit,” Snowden says.

Asked if it is possible to get around this total surveillance of all Internet communication, he says: “As a general rule, so long as you have any choice at all, you should never route through or peer with the UK under any circumstances.”

In other words, Snowden says, one can only prevent GCHQ from accessing their data if they do not send any information through British Internet lines or servers. However, German Internet experts believe this would be almost impossible in practice.

The UK government has a complete backup of all Internet traffic through its countries, for 3 days? Wow.

Penis, Man, and Vagina Argue on UK Street

Here’s a story you don’t hear every day. That’s the fun of costumes, and prudery. A man threw a dick head onto the ground, and the vagina tried to calm the situation down.

A hard street performance to pull off.

A hard street performance to pull off.


(Photo care of central somerset gazette)

That man, and that cop who broke up the street performance, sound like they are both wankers (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

WikiLeaks: Major Revelations Is What Journalists Do – See @carwinb

There’s some crow to eat this morning, for anti-Assange, anti-Wikileaks people.

Last year we got confirmation in the form of a WikiLeaks-Strafor leak of all things, that Assange had been secretly indicted in the US, for his journalism.

On January 26, 2011, Fred Burton, the vice president of Stratfor, a leading private intelligence firm which bills itself as a kind of shadow CIA, sent an excited email to his colleagues. “Text Not for Pub,” he wrote. “We” – meaning the U.S. government – “have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.”

The news, if true, was a bombshell.

Well, it’s true. It’s not unexpected if you follow people who actually care about journalism and the truth. And it’s led to Assange being trapped in various prisons in and near London, while the UK, Swedish, American, and Australian legal and political systems toy with his freedom.

The American admission that they are still seeking to charge Assange with crimes, despite his activity falling under First Amendment protection for journalists, demonstrates the reason he’s opted to stay out of a Swedish jail.

The Swedish prosecutor who refused to travel to London to interview Assange in order to proceed with the case they want to build against him, has LEFT the case.

AA’s lawyer has been fired, and a new one has been chosen and approved by the court. AA is one of Assange’s accusers in Sweden.

And more shocking, a Swedish judge is set to speak publicly about what he’d do if he was directly handling Assange’s case! Just this week, Toronto’s Mayor Ford ended up in hot water for making radio comments about an active case in the Canadian justice system.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Mr Assange condemned Judge Lindskog’s planned discussion of his case.

“If an Australian High Court judge came out and spoke on a case the court expected or was likely to judge, it would be regarded as absolutely outrageous,” he said.

“This development is part of a pattern in which senior Swedish figures, including the Swedish Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, have all publicly attacked me or WikiLeaks.”

Justice Lindskog is chairman of the Supreme Court of Sweden, the country’s highest court of appeal. In announcing his forthcoming lecture, Adelaide University observed that “as one of Sweden’s most eminent jurists, he is uniquely able to provide an authoritative view of the Assange affair”.

… which is precisely why it’s not supposed to happen in public, until at least the accused has been acquitted if charged. Assange has still not even been charged with a crime in Sweden, so he can’t even formally defend his innocence in the matter. If he submits to the politically motivated extradition to Sweden, he’s justified in knowing that Sweden will eventually send him on to face political charges in the United States. Continue reading

WikiLeaks: Hollywood Hatchet, Swedish Swindle

The problem with how Sweden, the UK, and the United States have been treating Julian Assange of Wikileaks, has dragged on for years. It’s left the foremost journalist in the world stuck in a London apartment building that houses the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange is trapped as a political prisoner. He sought asylum from the Swedish extradition order, and Ecuador granted him that request. Assange’s home country of Australia has sided with the United States in wanting him imprisoned and taken offline, because they’ve failed to negotiate his safe return to Australia or Ecuador where he could be free.

In February there was a great response to a New Statesman article by a former Assange supporter who has now betrayed him by working for Hollywood/CIA who is set to smear him in a widely distributed film.

Khan complains that Assange refused to appear in the film about WikiLeaks by the American director Alex Gibney, which she “executive produced”. Assange knew the film would be neither “nuanced” nor “fair” and “represent the truth”, as Khan wrote, and that its very title, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, was a gift to the fabricators of a bogus criminal indictment that could doom him to one of America’s hellholes. Having interviewed axe-grinders and turncoats, Gibney abuses Assange as paranoid. DreamWorks is also making a film about the “paranoid” Assange. Oscars all round.

It’s also worth reading this summary by WikiLea’s J. Farrell, of Assange’s present legal and political problems:

Over a lunch you [, Khan,] questioned this fear of extradition to the US, and when I asked you what you would do in his position you refused to answer the question. I asked you more than six times what you would do in his shoes. Having offered to cooperate with the Swedish investigation non-stop for the past two years and been refused with no proper explanation, and believing that you would end up in an American prison for decades, in solitary confinement and under SAMs, what would you do? You never gave me a concrete answer. Instead, you skirted the question with another question and discounted the numerous legal opinions out there, favouring instead an article by David Allen Green. I reiterated that Julian had never said that it would be likely in practice that he would face the death penalty, although the Espionage Act permits this. But more to the point, and one that everyone always ignores, there was (and still is) the fear of being extradited to face life imprisonment and almost certainly torture or other inhumane and degrading treatment for his publishing activities.

I told you that the Swedish authorities could, if they wanted to, charge Julian in absentia. Even if they were to do that, they should, according to their own procedures, conduct an interview with him before requesting his extradition. I repeated that he remains available even in the embassy for questioning by the Swedish authorities should they wish to employ the standard procedures they use regularly in other cases.

I think it was David Allen Green who I was arguing with once on Twitter about WikiLeaks. He’s clearly not very objective, and is out to present the situation in a way that will result in Assange ending up imprisoned.

In response to the sexual assault allegations, here are people who recognize what is going on:

Khan is rightly concerned about a “resolution” of the allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. Putting aside the tissue of falsehoods demonstrated in the evidence in this case, both women had consensual sex with Assange and neither claimed otherwise; and the Stockholm prosecutor Eva Finne all but dismissed the case.

As Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote in the Guardian in August 2012, “. . . the allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction . . .

“The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will . . . [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step to their investigation? What are they afraid of?”

They are afraid of Skype, or a plane flight to London. Here’s a fricken map for them to find Julian Assange for that interview they claim to want on behalf of Assanges’ accusers.

ReThink Meat

Meat fraud is taking place all around us. Most people probably can’t tell the difference between similar looking meats sold in stores, were it not for the labeling.

Fish fraud is apparently common in the USA.

Safeway recalled big and juicy E.coli burgers. “Must be cooked” is right on the box, and they weren’t kidding, were they?

I’m not above eating horse meat. I’ve never done it, however. At least, I don’t think I have. Many French and Italians didn’t have a choice if they bought from a mega-meat distributor who decided for them.

What all this brings to our attention, is how vital it is to cut down on overall meat consumption. You don’t have to eliminate meat from your diet to make a huge difference. Have it at half as many meals as you typically do today if you’ve not made a previous effort to cut back.

“Unless action is taken, increases in pollution and per capita consumption of energy and animal products will exacerbate nutrient losses, pollution levels and land degradation, further threatening the quality of our water, air and soils, affecting climate and biodiversity.”

Over consumption of meat, leading to higher than optimal demand in the food supply chain, leads to suffering in even rich countries:

Suzanne Salami, a single mother of three, subsists on just £30 a week and is angered by the way the horsemeat scandal is hitting the poorest hardest. “When you can’t afford to buy anything to eat, [or] ask where meat comes from and if it’s sustainable, it is not fair,” she said. “I am being made to eat stuff I don’t know about and I am being let down. It’s like we’re being told to eat and shut up.” She was particularly worried about the potential health impacts of traces of equine painkillers found in horsemeat in the food chain by the Food Standards Agency this week.

When I buy meat, I prefer it come from a source I know, such as a farmer near Wood Mountain or Ormiston; if I’m in the city, then a local meat shop like Fellinger’s. I’ll still take chances and buy meat from elsewhere, but I don’t feel comfortable with doing that.

More Power Blows

There are recent solar electricity records set in Germany, and Spain has recently seen a huge increase in wind power production. Meanwhile, SaskPower has solar power research from 13 years ago on its website, claims solar isn’t viable in the northern hemisphere, and is eyeing up more coal fired generation. The U of R has 0 solar panels in productive research (or otherwise), while my parents have 15 solar panels in productive research for the Sask. Research Council. Canada, and Saskatchewan are lagging behind, we’re becoming the technological 3rd World of G8 nations.

Here’s what a Brit thinks about their country, which apparently is ahead of Canada:

The Spanish average output is 60% higher than our highest ever peak output. That’s embarrassing.

“German wind energy industry association BWE said it expects developers to add between 3GW and 3.5GW of capacity this year”

Again, comparing to your figures of UK installed capacity of 7.77GW – Germany might install 45% of our entire wind capacity in 2013 alone.

It’s about time we became serious as a country and stopped dithering.

The UK is dithering? Oh, my. What are Saskatchewan “leaders” thinking? Are they even living on this planet? When those of us who are, attempt to talk to them about it, they’re more likely to arrest people than listen, apparently.


Here’s what the UK grid looks like right now.

Why is Julian Assange Trapped in Ecuador’s Embassy

People may not know exactly why Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange has been detained in the UK, then trapped in Ecuador’s embassy. The short answer is, because he embarrassed the US military intelligence community, they’ve waged a character assassination war upon him using his casual sex with women against him.

The US wouldn’t extradite him directly from the UK, because they win more discretely by pulling on Sweden’s strings. The US can continue to deny they’ve secretly indicted Assange for something like espionage, for Wikileaks having obtained the Cablegate secret files. If Assange did go to Sweden for questioning, they’d lock him up, without outside communication, charge him, jail him, then deport him to the US who at that time would reveal their sealed indictment. Australia, Assange’s home nation, would stand idly by, continuing to fail to protect him, so Gillard can protect Australia’s submissive intelligence relationship with the US.

“Assange conveniently left [Sweden] before [an interview with the prosecutor] could happen.” Not quite; his lawyer asked if he was wanted for questioning, and the prosecutor declined at that time. He left, after weeks, then was inconveniently called back. He’s been detained by the UK, or under the protection of asylum of Ecuador since 2010, and so the Swedish prosecutor should have gone to where her suspect was since she knows Assange can’t/won’t leave without ending up in a Swedish hole. The prosecutor has travelled abroad in such unusual cases before. She won’t this time because their game is won if Assange is detained and credulous people accept their bogus story.

The big picture is that the US is aiming to shut down Wikileaks through tying up Assange in a compromised justice system that detains people without trial for years (Manning), and hounds hackers to death with the threat of charges and financial ruin if they fight back (Swartz). That’s if their censorious proxy financial blockade doesn’t manage first. Without Wikileaks or similar journalistic organizations, it will be virtually impossible for the people to have intelligence required to subvert authoritarians in our governments and financial-fascist banking systems.

That’s why there are so many good professionals and resources going to defending Assange over these bogus, trumped up allegations of Swedish “rape”. One doesn’t need to know the intricacies of Swedish (or US, or UK) law to see the game afoot. Assange’s sexual habits are not what got him into this mess, they are a side show played up by dangerous parts of the American and related governments. If he’d have abstained from sex, they would have concocted a different plot along these same lines, the truth is not important to those in government seeking the ruin of Assange and Wikileaks. They are quite literally the enemies of truth, and open information.

Evade Censorship of Pirate Bay Block

Worst Part of Censorship is, [Redacted]

Children learn how to use computers and work around restrictions by experimentation and reading. So too must adults when they are confronted with restrictions. It’s a good idea to learn how to evade censorship before the flow of information is shut off, otherwise working around the problem becomes much more difficult because you must work from your own ingenuity rather than from experts’ reports and examples found on the Internet.

Slashdot reports that citizens of the UK are being cut off from The Pirate Bay, an internationally famous Bit Torrent sharing website. Torrents, which point to files of all sorts, including free operating systems, leaked political documents, copyrighted TV, movies, books, programs and music are available at The Pirate Bay. UK courts have ordered Internet Service Providers in the UK to block access to the Swedish/global site. The local UK Pirate Party has provided a proxy site to work around the censorship, but this too will probably be attacked by the ruling government and courts. Sharing is a political, and even a religious act.

It’s very important that people know how to evade censorship, because the skills are as crucial to defending liberty as the Americans’ Second Amendment. The government doesn’t only want to control your guns anymore. In the Information Age, people should have a right to a free Internet without censorship firewalls like the Great Firewall of China, or the UK’s Pirate Bay Browsing Ban. Without evasion techniques and anti-censorship software like Tor, the Egyptian people may not have been able to overthrow Mubarak, or interest/involve the world in their struggle last year.

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Originally posted at BackoftheBook.ca