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December 8th, 2010


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03:09 am - Musing from inside a villainous nation
Here's an excellent Salon magazine article by Glen Greenwald about wikileaks and the US response, here's another excellent article by Greenwald about the response to wikileaks, and here's a quite good piece about wikileaks by SF author Charles Stross. I have no idea whether or not Julian Assange is guilty of rape or not, but I do know that wikileaks performs an invaluable service and the attacks by the US government and the far right media on wikileaks and the people involved with it are vile and wrong. The effort by the US government to block donations to wikileaks is particularly disturbing: "Moneybookers, a British-registered internet payment company that collects WikiLeaks donations, emailed the organisation to say it had closed down its account because it had been put on an official US watchlist and on an Australian government blacklist."

Much of the public and many government officials are openly pro-torture, pro-censorship (which covers both the attacks on wikileaks and this vile bill), and there is widespread support for invasive and dangerous searchers like the new TSA x-ray scans - the US looks less like a free nation and the driving force is a mixture of far-right authoritarians who find freedom and dissent to be problematic and elected Democrats who are far more afraid of looking "weak on terror" or insufficiently "anti-terrorist" if they are insufficiently authoritarian and another terrorist incident occurs than they are of tossing away important civil liberties. To those of you 30 and older, consider what the portrayal of various nasty and oppressive fictional and real nations looked like in media from the 70s, 80s, and 90s - the US looks likes it's fallen into that range, and that's both sad and scary.

Worst of all, I can see why no federal-level elected Democrat is willing to stand up and say that the freedoms of US citizens is more important than fear of terrorism - they would be attacked by much (and perhaps most) of the mass media (especially Fox News) and given the current political climate, their effectiveness and perhaps even their career would be over. I will be very glad when the US get's the hell over 9/11. On September 12, 2001 I was far more worried about the response of the government and the general public than I was about terrorism, and that remains just as true today.

In any case, I see a lot of people blaming the government for these excesses, and while they are definitely to blame, it's not just their fault. We have a mass media doing its best to breed fear and a large section of the US public who is actively voting for fear, oppression, and xenophobia. It's perhaps most frightening of all to realize that our government does fairly well represent the attitudes and beliefs of most of the US public on issues of freedom and oppression.

Edit: If you are interested - here's a fairly clear article about the rather confusing sexual assualt charges brought against Assange.
Current Mood: angryangry

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:roseembolism
Date:December 8th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
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I will be very glad when the US get's the hell over 9/11

Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Once a societal mindset becomes generally established, especially one of fear and paranoia, it takes a high degree of effort and the assistance of authority to change. Frex the red scare hysteria of the 50s. These days the public voices that might oppose creeping authoritarianism are themselves in favor of the security state. And when we would say "No that's enough" another security incident will happen to inflame the fear.

So we're going to see continual nibbling around the edges of our civil rights in response to incidents. All of them will seem more onerous than menacing, and in 20 years, when we have internal travel passes and public strip searches are routine, the situation will seem if not reasonable, normal and justifiable to our children. And worse, the security state won't stem from villainous intent, but from agencies and lawmakers who want to be seen doing something.

I don't think its likely that our civil rights will be eliminated entirely, but they will be limited in the name of security for generations.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:December 8th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
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I don't think its likely that our civil rights will be eliminated entirely, but they will be limited in the name of security for generations.

I'm not at all certain that I buy that. I imagine that in 1954, when McCarthyism had been in full force for a number of years, many people who opposed it excepted it to go along for many more decades, and yet as a widespread phenomena, it was dead in 5-6 years. Consider the fact that Rupert Murdoch is likely to kick the bucket in a few years, and he may well be succeeded by people who focus solely on money rather than money+ideology, or simply wish to try something different to attempt to make even more money.
[User Picture]
From:antayla
Date:December 8th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
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"And worse, the security state won't stem from villainous intent, but from agencies and lawmakers who want to be seen doing something."

I agree with this; these people want to justify their jobs.
[User Picture]
From:tlttlotd
Date:December 23rd, 2010 06:18 am (UTC)

Playing devil's advocate for a moment...

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...during a time when landing another job isn't a certainty, can you blame them? It's getting harder to land government contracts, let alone SBIRs to limp along doing pure research.
[User Picture]
From:china_shop
Date:December 8th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC)
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For some additional irony, the US is hosting World Press Freedom Day next year. (Also, why is there so much retaliation against wikileaks and apparently none against the Guardian, which has been releasing the leaked cables on their website? That makes no sense, other than "go after the amateur journalists, because they're more vulnerable and easier to vilify.")

I worry about how much influence the States' security-over-liberty slant will have on the rest of the world. :-/
[User Picture]
From:tlttlotd
Date:December 23rd, 2010 06:20 am (UTC)
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The Guardian is not a USian newspaper. People like you, I, and everyone else who might be reading this discussion thread know of it and read it, but people who are not quite so plugged-in might not. All things being equal, the best strategy might be to do nothing about the Guardian because kicking up a fuss would draw even more eyes to it.
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From:seika
Date:December 9th, 2010 12:15 pm (UTC)
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Worst of all, I can see why no federal-level elected Democrat is willing to stand up and say that the freedoms of US citizens is more important than fear of terrorism - they would be attacked by much (and perhaps most) of the mass media (especially Fox News) and given the current political climate, their effectiveness and perhaps even their career would be over.

This. It's like, we couldn't get a more liberal politician elected, and it's no use complaining about this or that person not doing enough because if they did more they'd just be replaced.
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From:krinndnz
Date:December 14th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
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I personally think that Assange's response, the bit about "undermining authoritarian conspiracies," is a good one - and an important step on the road to making nations-as-we-know-them irrelevant.
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From:rjgrady
Date:December 16th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
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A sobering, statistical look, at the case against Assange:

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/15/a-bayesian-take-on-julian-assange/
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From:heron61
Date:December 16th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
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Interesting, and sadly completely unsurprising.

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