December 12, 2010 archive

Demonstrations Worldwide To Demand WikiLeaks’ Founders Release

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports today that online supporters of Julian Assange working through the Spanish-language website Free WikiLeaks called for worldwide demonstrations Saturday to press for the release of the founder of WikiLeaks from a London jail where he awaits possible extradition to Sweden, and called for the restoration of the domain, which Amazon shut down after WikiLeaks began publishing secret US Embassy Diplomatic Cables two weeks ago.

Mirrors of the WikiLeaks site state that “On Sunday 28th November 2010, Wikileaks began publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into the US Government’s foreign activities.”

The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret.

The embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months. The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.

The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in “client states”; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington – the country’s first President – could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today’s document flood would be a mere embarrassment. Instead, the US Government has been warning governments — even the most corrupt — around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures.

The full set consists of 251,287 documents, comprising 261,276,536 words (seven times the size of “The Iraq War Logs”, the world’s previously largest classified information release).

The Spanish language site urged rallies at 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) in eight Spanish cities, including Madrid and Barcelona, while similar demonstrations were planned in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogota and Lima, says AFP.

Meanwhile BBC News Europe also reported today that “Protests have taken place across Spain calling for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is facing extradition from the UK to Sweden for alleged sexual offences” and that “The crowd outside the British embassy in Madrid wore Julian Assange masks as they called for his release”, and that the Free WikiLeaks site demanded that Visa and MasterCard restore credit card services because “no one had proven Mr Assange’s guilt”.

Saturday’s protests were some of the first street demonstrations in support of Wikileaks, although there has been a worldwide outpouring of online support shown for Mr. Assange.

The Free Wikileaks site said protests were also planned for other Spanish cities, including Valencia and Seville.  

Which Side Are You On?

I’ve been accused of specializing in oversimplification. And of ranting. So be it. This is probably a prime example of those twin failings.  

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders spoke in the Senate for 8 1/2 hours to remind us that while millions of people in the United States are suffering, others are doing quite well, thank you.  Those doing spectacularly well represent 1 or 2 per cent of the population.  The rest of us, well, we’re not doing so great.  Those who are doing so well, of course, don’t need the government’s assistance, but they’ve bought and sold this government, so it’s only natural that their investment in politicians should be rewarded in the current tax deal even if there is no rational reason for doing so.  These people have power and money and they get what they want, even if they don’t need it; everyone else, not so much.

Making Enemies Of The State

People suggest that we live in a time when access to information and the ability to freely speak has advanced to a point where constraint of these freedoms barely exists. Actions taken by various governments over the last 20 years might prove you wrong.

China, North Korea and the other repressive governments are quite well known due to actions taken by them to suppress any dissent which questions their right to rule be it denial of civil and human rights or the censorship of information. Those governments aren’t the only ones working to prevent the free flow of information. Supposed nations that call themselves democratic and or democracies have instituted laws which authoritarian governments would have embraced with a full and loving heart.

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