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First thing’s first – here’s Assange’s address from last night: http://wikileaks.org/Statement-by-Julian-Assange-after.html

Secondly, while I’m aware some of you follow this blog more regularly than others, I should probably say that I won’t be blogging as regularly as I usually do for the next few months. That’s because ‘crunch time’ has finally arrived – I have run my last study, analysed the data, and now I must go into the self-imposed solitary confinement I’ve promised myself I will, I must, go into, to finish writing my thesis.

Writing my thesis.

It has a funny ring to it when you say it out loud. I’ve been doing the field work, the desk work, the paperwork for this thing for two and a half years; there’s so much work piled up that’s been done. Everything’s done, and just waiting around to get written up. I terrifies me.

Come March, I must have the full thesis written, complete, reviewed, edited, formatted, and ready to go. I am in a state of disbelief that this could even be possible. And yet, I know, it can and must be done.

And if you are working on your own thesis right now, take heart, and keep working with the faith that you too will reach your goal in the end! A PhD is a long and lonely journey. That’s what my supervisor warned me at the very beginning, when I was first considering putting an application in to grad school. But I said I’d take the hit, and so, here I am. I have come this far, and now I am going to give it one last shot to make the home run. And so are you! We will accomplish this, all together.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go write my thesis.

Onwards and upwards!

David Cameron has once again shown the world the extent of his policy of double standards by agreeing that Syrian head of state Assad should be given safe passage out of Syria should he ask for it.

Safe passage for Assad, who has openly failed to put an end to state violence against civilians across the country for almost 2 years, but not for Assange, who has been unlawfully detained without charge or trial also for almost 2 years.

Why so selective about whom you protect, Cameron?

Why is it that you would go to such extreme lengths to negotiate escape for a president accused of heinous war crimes against his own people, but not for an ordinary man who showed the world that many of its governments are corrupt with double standards like yours?

Assange has always maintained he will face allegations of sex offences in Sweden provided he is protected from persecution by the US – persecution which has nothing to do with sex offences but with the way WikiLeaks has revealed, and continues to reveal, the increasingly unethical and inhumane activities conducted by US governments past and present. If you are so concerned about justice, Cameron, why don’t you lobby Sweden for protection for Assange?

Why do you instead agree to safe passage for Assad? Do you think that is fair, even if Assad is sent to The Hague? Is it fair that the man responsible for the murder of so many of his own citizens, in what is one of the longest-running Arab Spring revolutions yet seen, should be allowed safely out of his country to trial, while the man partially responsible for inspiring the Arab Spring in the first place, through the revelations of WikiLeaks, is awaited day and night to just dare to step out of the Ecuadorian Embassy so that he can be arrested and extradited to Sweden without guarantee of protection from unlawful persecution from the US?

Is it fair?

If you think it is fair, Cameron, it is clear that you pursue a politics that is rife with the corruption of double standards. If you think it is fair, it is clear that you value the silencing of threats to your own government but not the growing revolution of open governance. It is clear that you value all that suits you, and nothing that does not.

One of the most honourable qualities of a political leader is the ability to pursue liberty impartially. Too often, though, political leaders choose liberty for themselves, for their secrets and their lies, for their allies and their partners in crime, for their donors and their friends, but not for those who try to reveal this unjust liberty to the rest of the people. If you were a leader who pursued liberty impartially, Cameron, you would recognise that Assange deserves liberty from persecution and surveillance and that Assad does not.

…it turns out Lady Gaga is friends with Julian Assange.

One of those ‘WTF?!’ moments…

UN permanent representatives yesterday received an address by Assange in relation to human rights and the legitimacy of diplomatic asylum. The address came not long after both Assange and the wider WikiLeaks community were declared enemies of the state by the US, putting them on the same list as well-known ‘terrorist’ organisations like Al-Qaeda.

‘It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks’

So it’s a huge shame for that so-called ‘cradle of democracy’ that any American military personnel serving in the armed forces who should decide to express solidarity with the WikiLeaks movement by helping classified information be published in the public domain will now be at risk of indefinite detainment, charge, torture, and capital punishment for treason.

The same as Bradley Manning.

And it is amazing to watch the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people around the world rallying (for almost 2 years) for freedom for Assange, freedom for WikiLeaks, and freedom for all individuals in the pursuit of progressive change who act as their sources, and it is amazing to see how their screams continue to fall on deaf ears:

Protest in cyberspace

Protest in Melbourne

Protest in London

Protest in New York

Protest in Sao Paulo, Sydney, Amsterdam, and Lima

It’s amazing to think about the intellectually narrow, never-changing politics that continue to shape the way government authorities bind themselves rigidly to the ‘law’, even when the law is morally wrong. And at other times, it’s equally amazing how they ignore the law, even when the law is morally right.

It’s time to free not only Assange from his political persecution of over 600 days, but the truth from its forsaken grave deep in the classified vaults of world governments.

Assange will speak to the United Nations via videolink today. RT apparently has exclusive rights to stream the talk live:

http://rt.com/news/assange-speech-un-assembly-952/

One only hopes he will be free.

He must be set free.

The libertarian left (of which I have been an ardent supporter for several years) is either making the best of a bad situation (by merging into the two-party system that exists in many Western nations, most notably the US, the UK, and Australia, to have a say in things for a change) or is a complete political sell-out (by merging into the two-party system that exists in many Western nations, most notably the US, the UK, and Australia, to have a say in things for a change), and I can’t decide which.

These days, as the US presidential election campaigns reach the climatic period before November, I’ve been re-watching some speeches of my favourite libertarian-turned-republican, Ron Paul. He’s said some great things about WikiLeaks, like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpc_HXx5bjE&feature=related

And this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soF2uIe8GPk&feature=related

Although these speeches were made some time ago, I think a lot of what he says stands even more strongly today. The US government’s pursuit of Assange is futile (just like Jesse Brown reiterated last week) and, moreover, its logic is faulty. There is no question of treason, nor of threats to national security. No one has been killed as a result of WikiLeaks’ revelations. There has been no question of fabrication of the published material. In other words, the US government implicitly accepts the truth of what has come to light: That it has acted with unethical ulterior motives, and that it continues to do so, now pursuing Assange and other whistleblowers as ‘traitors’ with the effect of distracting both the press and the general public from its unethical activities.

So kudos to Ron Paul for defending WikiLeaks, Assange, freedom of information, and all anonymous whistleblowers who supply classified information for release.

But, Dr Paul: Would you still be defending these fundamental freedoms if you were president of the United States today?

Because it’s hard to imagine that you would, given that you might be considered a political sell-out for turning to the Republicans when your stated beliefs are clearly libertarian. Why did you leave the libertarians? Because they have little real chance of having a say, in power or even in presidential debates, because of the overwhelming dominance of the two-party system. Practically since the establishment of American democracy, competition for political power has been a two-horse race between Democrats and Republicans, and smaller parties have had little weight, or voice, in influencing policy. Many libertarian politicians have felt compelled or coerced to leave genuinely liberal parties to join traditional ones simply because of the political leverage of such parties. Given the little leverage the US Libertarian Party has, it isn’t suprising you changed teams years ago, Dr Paul. For better or worse, you’re a political sell-out. You’re power-hungry, or at least hungry to have a say that people will actually hear. You’re sleeping with the enemy. Whatever you want to call it.

Of course, the type of sell-outness expressed by the small parties currently holding up the UK and Australian coalition governments is a whole different issue not to be discussed here; though I would argue their dilemmas are similar to yours, Dr Paul.

Moreover, at least in the UK, that small party isn’t doing enough to support these fundamental freedoms of people. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, infamously further left than Labour, might be expected to have their noses deep in the cause to campaign for an individual’s right to political asylum, and to be subject to a law that applies equally to all people. But they don’t, at least not enough. And why not? Because they, too, are formerly feasible leftist/liberal politicians, supporting civil rights and liberties, education and green living, press freedom, peaceful foreign policy, and social equality. And they, too, are now sell-outs, power-hungry, sleeping with the enemy.

Whatever you want to call it, really.

The bottom line is that I’m still skeptical of any support for WikiLeaks and other non-governmental movements fighting for freedom of information that comes from either governments (perhaps with the exception of Ecuador and Latin America) or politicians of major opposition parties, because the source of that support seems as likely to be politically convenient as it is to a reflection of a genuine concern for progressive change.

The thing is, as much as so many people – so many of us – have been applauding Dr Paul’s support of freedom of information, I remain skeptical of his motives, and I won’t be convinced of them until and unless he expresses the same support in presidential office, and acts in support of such freedom. For now, his support is still questionable; it is a convenient criticism against the Obama administration, and it suits his position as a member of the main opposition.

So what support can we count on?

The support we can count on for WikiLeaks, and for all whistleblowers, is support that comes from those who have nothing to gain. Support that comes from people who are risking their welfare or their lives to inform the public of what it does not yet know, and yet who have no direct personal reward – no income, no recognition, no guarantee of safety. People who are willing to lose – to be pursued by governments, to be arrested, to receive contempt from people who want everything to stay the same, stay the same – in order to get information out into the public domain. It’s the support of those people you can count on, because that support has no direct personal rewards; in fact, it can cost them their lives.

People like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq5D2NepOpo

Let’s keep the pressure going on governments to stop this ridiculous persecution and step up to their neglected responsibility to be fully and permanently transparent.

Jesse Brown’s great commentary on the futile persecution of ethical hackers, posted yesterday, is probably one of the most decent pieces of journalism I’ve read for a while:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/09/04/from-assange-to-the-pirate-bay-the-hacker-witch-hunt-is-only-creating-martyrs/

I think the point made about the persecution of ethical hackers being futile in silencing the publication of classified material because of the vast, ‘uncatchable’ nature of digital technologies is fair enough, but in addition to that, the persecution unfortunately distracts the general public’s attention from the real issues: The real issues being those surrounding the content of the published materials and the demanding of accountability from those responsible, not a “What Julian Did Next” saga created by the mainstream press, which has lured the majority of the public into watching the captivity of a lone man like some kind of reality soap opera. So, mainstream press: Get off your complacent arse and start asking questions about the real issues, not this futile, not-enough-guts-to-take-sides trash.

Questions about Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, and the self-serving motives of governments participating in the bloodshed occurring there. Questions about individuals detained indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay, with neither charge nor trial. Questions about mass surveillance of everyday individuals and auctioning of intelligence to the highest corporate bidder. Questions about the senseless pursuit of individuals who dare to show us, the public, that we are being deceived by ‘our’ governments. Questions about the wrongness of obeying the law unquestioningly, and of celebrating the ‘neutrality’ of the press as if neutrality were some great virtue on behalf of society, and of shying away from radical progressive change because to stay the same is always ‘safe’.

Questions about whether it isn’t about time all people, everywhere, came together to put strong, decisive pressure on governments to immediately make far-reaching legislative changes declaring their responsibility to practice open governance, including the absolute and immediate transparency of all government decisions.

Assange must be allowed safe passage to Ecuador, and the sooner the better. Because then it will be time for the press to face the real issues: To investigate what has been published, to fulfil its responsibility to inform the public, to explicitly criticise state censorship, and to demand accountability.

Here’s to all those taking huge risks to reveal the shocking extent of today’s unethical governance.

Well, I’ve finally got round to putting up my WikiLeaks support page. If you support freedom of information and freedom of the press and want to see more transparency and accountability in your government, please get informed and involved!

https://happyseptember.wordpress.com/wikileaks/

Friend of WikiLeaks

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The Final Countdown

Submission of PhD ThesisMay 1st, 2013
The big day is here. Joy to the world!