I had to take an unforeseen vacation and was unable to post for a while, but now I’m back and will have a new post today or tomorrow!
September 23, 2010
August 22, 2010
Media Democracy, Freedom, Freedom of speech, Iraq, Julian Assange, Justice, Lies, Misinformation, Power, Propaganda, Sweden, United States, Whistleblower, Wikileaks Comments Off on Something Stinks in the State of Sweden
Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange on Saturday, alleging rape and molestation, and then promptly withdrew it this morning, not even a full day later. In withdrawing the warrant, chief prosecutor Eva Finne stated that, “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”
There is something rotten about this entire affair, and I can’t help but agree with Julian Assange who called it a “dirty trick.” In fact, it does seem to have the stench of payback about it, especially since there are very few allegations more universally destructive to a person’s character than rape and molestation, and nothing would be more beneficial to the American war machine than the destruction of his character in the eyes of the world.
Julian Assange is in many ways the worst kind of enemy for the corrupt and unprincipled. He is a man of unquestionable intellect and skill who could have become wealthy by applying himself to the defence and further empowerment of the current political and corporate élite, instead he has sacrificed his life to a cause that threatens them. He has taken a very principled and ethical stand against those who are neither ethical nor principled. He has devoted his life to the values of freedom and justice and in the process put himself at much risk to see them upheld. Their only true recourse is to paint him in the same light and make him seem no better than them in the eyes of the public.
Even before Sir Francis Bacon penned the phrase, “knowledge is power,” it was well-known that those who controlled the facts, controlled the world. This has never been more true than it is today, if not more difficult since an event in a remote part of Afghanistan or Iraq can be broadcast around the world in seconds. In an effort to maintain control of the facts, the political and corporate élite resort to tactics of interpretation, otherwise know as “spin.” What information they cannot stifle, they spin, often with the implication that they are the only body with the ability to safely and accurately interpret the facts, while any “civilian” interpretation could threaten the security of the entire nation.
People like Julian Assange and his whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks are a threat to the establishment’s control and authority because they open the facts to public interpretation. What was labelled as an attack on insurgents by an American Apache helicopter is suddenly available for public consumption and interpretation. The rocket launcher that warranted the attack becomes visible as the telephoto lens of a well-known journalist. Because the government initially attempted spin the truth in the opposite direction, it might prompt some to question if the attack was not a deliberate attempt to silence a journalist. Suddenly, the political and corporate élite around the world can see their ability to control the flow information and its interpretation put in jeopardy.
Julian Assange is the most dangerous man in the world in the eyes of the powerful because he threatens their control of the facts. His release of “sensitive” documents and files to the public gives us all equal access to the same information as the so-called “élite.” It gives us all the ability to decide on the truth of things and opens democratic process to some real debate about governance and policy. Wikileaks is in this way the greatest champion of democracy. It levels the field and opens the democratic debate as was initially intended, however contrary it runs to the will of the world’s current “élite.”
And so today, we are left with what appears like a transparent attempt on the part of his opponents to discredit him and taint all his actions with the stench of these unfounded allegations. Thankfully it seems that this particular act of character assassination was aborted and hopefully unsuccessful in the long run, but it is not likely to be the last.
I just hope that Julian Assange doesn’t accept any cigars from strangers since the CIA might have some exploding ones left over from the Castro plots.
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- Swedish rape warrant for Wikileaks’ Assange cancelled (bbc.co.uk)
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August 4, 2010
Politics Canada, Conservative Party, Crime, Democracy, Government of Canada, Harper Conservatives, Justice, Lies, Misinformation, Politics, Right-wing politics, Statistics, Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day Comments Off on How to Lie with or without Statistics – Right Wing Politics 101
Today, Stockwell Day revealed to the world how all the statistics gathering organizations that have been relied upon for so long are woefully inadequate when put against the gut instincts of a single political party. The entire science of statistics has been proven a waste of time and all of those great mathematical minds that contributed to it over the centuries were nothing more than a group of numbskulled fools who, had they merely waited a few centuries, would have found their science to pale in comparison to the mystical wisdom of Stockwell Day and his fellow Conservatives. It’s a good thing then that they are scrapping the long census form since they can glean more knowledge from Canadians — possibly by rubbing Stephen Harper’s bare belly — than any statistical tool could hope to.
In all seriousness, Stockwell Day today revealed to the world that, in his party’s opinion, the entire statistical community is wrong and that crime is on the rise in Canada and that they will continue to fight against it. This is an example of the worst kind of politics, and thanks to the sensationalism of the media, it will probably work in the Conservatives favour regardless of the fact that it is based on all out lies.
Sadly, this is not really something new. Right-wing politics have always been a reactionary thing, requiring a grand inciting incident to mobilize and attack. These incidents vary only slightly, and they tend to revolve around a perceived threat to the citizens such as criminals, terrorists, high taxes, the erosion of family / religious values, or a military / economic opponent. There are others, and they all tend to be the typical fare for the conservative speech writers as they can easily incite strong passions among the population. Unfortunately, they also tend to be issues that act as a divisive force within society and tend to cause fissures between people as opposed to bringing them together. But then, that is the aim. To create fear and conflict to mobilize the troops.
There is always conflict and fear in the conservative platform, the sense that there are monsters lurking about and that someone must build a wall against them. This approach is based upon a fundamental understanding of life and human nature, since there are always uncertainties in life, and we all carry insecurities based upon our fear of them. If a person can be convinced of being in imminent danger and then offered a cure against that threat, then they become ingratiated and immensely more pliable to the desires of their saviour. This is how the right-wing platform works. The farther right you go on the spectrum, the more overt and distasteful this can be, such as the racially motivated tactics of the skinheads and neo-nazis, but the aims are the same.
Stockwell Day and his Conservative Party are attempting a two-pronged attack with this latest announcement. First, they are playing upon the fear most people have of crime and offering up their party as the great protector against the criminal hordes sweeping in from the plains, while attempting to excuse their scrapping of the long statistics form by discrediting the science of statistical analysis. The fact is that every major organization gathering crime statistics today have shown a drastic decrease in crime over the last decade, and contrary to Stockwell Day’s announcement and media sensationalism, we live in a safer society than we did twenty years ago.
The reality is this, Stockwell Day lied, and is unable to produce any kind of proof to support his position. He is simply engaging in the age-old right-wing strategy of scaring the population into the voters both.
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July 18, 2010
Today, nearly 2 billion people live in regions where fresh water is considered to be stressed and every eight seconds, one child dies of a preventable water-borne illness because their parents did not have enough money to pay for clean water. Fresh water is rapidly becoming a scarce resource, and not just in the developing world. It is in this climate that many nations of the world, including the European Union stand behind a United Nations attempt to make water and sanitation a human right. Many nations that is but Canada and the United States who are rejecting this resolution outright.
What is the official reason for their opposition to this proposal? The Canadian government is blaming the United States, saying that it would be unable to prevent our neighbors to south from “sharing” our water. You might not be surprised to learn that this is an outright lie. Canada cannot be compelled to “share” or otherwise give their water away except perhaps where they share bodies like the Great Lakes. The reality of their opposition is the same as the United States’. If water is made into human right, the ability to make colossal profits from selling fresh water to desperate nations and individuals will be practically eliminated.
Private companies around the world are already making shameful profits on the sale of water, and Canada is arguably home to the majority of the world’s fresh water. Canada’s banks as well as large private and public investors are seeing a massive opportunity to exploit a natural resource at the expense of anyone who can afford it and everyone else be damned. In 2006, bottled water alone made $100 billion for investors, a number that will only increase as the water shortage grows more critical. The only thing that Canada and the United States are opposing is the ability of private industry to make massive profits in a world desperate for clean, safe water.
Because water is currently an enforceable human-right, the for-profits are clamoring for investment opportunities. CIBC, one of Canada’s largest banks has released a report citing the inadequacies of Canada’s first nations water supplies as a good opportunity for private investors. The World Bank and the World Trade Organization are promoting privatization as the solution to the world’s water crisis, opening the door for massive multinational profit ventures who will benefit from the misery of the others. Anyone who believes that the for-profit approach will benefit anyone but the wealthy and end up exerting undue influence over large swathes of the world’s population is seriously naïve.
There will be those who will buy into the message of the Canadian government in some misguided nationalist pride, but will seriously miss the point. Canada’s refusal to recognize the world’s human rights to clean fresh water and sanitation affects its own citizens as well as there are no such protections for Canadians in their own laws. This means that our government’s stance could see Canada’s own citizen’s denied the right to clean safe water and sanitation based on economic circumstance or place of residence. Canada’s first nations are already living in such as situation with over 100 reserves under water-boiling orders and large scale inadequacies in their infrastructures. Furthermore, incidents such as the Walkerton contamination remain only marginally punishable and definitely repeatable since we have no inalienable rights to fresh water.
Canada’s refusal and outright opposition to the United Nations attempts to recognize the human right to fresh clean water and sanitation is a move to protect the wealthy profit seekers. It is a shameful example of how the rights of even its own citizens pales in comparison to its unshakable connections to the corporate and banking communities. If the United Nations is unable to provide this basic human right, people everywhere will have their access to water turned into profit ventures and eventually only those with the money and influence will have access as prices steadily increase. We cannot allow water to become another division between the have and have-nots, the rich and the poor.
July 2, 2010
Politics Black Bloc, Canada, Civil and political rights, Democracy, Freedom, Freedom of speech, Justice, Police, Protest, Public inquiry, Toronto Comments Off on Toronto Appeal: No More Police State Tactics!
Check out this petition in the Socialist Voice and sign it if you are concerned about the police action that took place at the G20 meetings in Toronto and join in the call for a public inquiry.
Many Canadians are concerned about the affair as it constitutes an overall shift in the role and powers of the police. The first few lines of the petition say it best:
The police response to the protests against the G8/G20 in Toronto was the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, surpassing the 1993 Clayoquot Sound logging blockade.
It constituted the most far-reaching single assault on political rights in the Canadian state since the War Measures Act of 1970…
On Saturday, June 26, the mass arrest of protesters began. The pretext for this crackdown was the limited property damage in protests that day, which was similar to recent hockey riots in various cities but treated very differently, as pointed out by journalist Linda McQuaig.
Here is a link to the petition: Toronto Appeal: No More Police State Tactics! Please sign it if you share the concerns of many other Canadians and people around the world who are also concerned about the increasingly heavy handed tactics used by police to segregate the leaders of G20 from the peaceful protesters who are simply exercising their democratic rights to free assembly and free speech.
Peaceful protests have always been considered a part of the democratic process, but in recent years there has been a concerted effort to curtail those rights through nondemocratic and covert means. Canadian police were caught at Montebello, Quebec a few years ago dressed as “Black Bloc” members with rocks in hand. No doubt their aim was to discredit the protests by inciting violence. This time it is not clear if they managed to infiltrate the “Black Bloc,” but again the violent actions of those few idiots was used to shut down all demonstration even though their violence was far from the main body of the peaceful protesters. They could have targeted the rioters alone, but they have hidden behind poor rhetoric and lies to justify their attack on the peaceful crowds.
If you want to an inquiry into the matter of the police action, please sign the petition, here is the link again: Toronto Appeal: No More Police State Tactics!
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June 22, 2010
Manning: well, it was forwarded to [WikiLeaks] – and god knows what happens now – hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms – if not, than [sic] we’re doomed – as a species – i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens – the reaction to the video gave me immense hope. . . – i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.