Wikileaks and Julian Assange

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen that has recieved many awards for journalism and peace (see the full list in wikipedia) just this month he won a peace medal from the Sydney Peace Foundation and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize see reuters article here

On Friday I watch the video below

High tech terrorist
In an article in the The Huffington Post Vice President Jo Biden was reported as calling Julian Assange a high tech terrorist. The Uk’s Daily Mail quotes potential US presidential candidate Sarah Palin as demmanding that Julian Assange is hunted down like Osama Bin Ladin.

The court case
Julian Assange is fighting a court case that could see him be extradited to Sweden (and then the fear is extradited to the US on some terrorism charge). He is only required for questioning. This is very unusual for an individual in the EU to be extradited just for questioning on a crime – especially unusual where no charges have been laid. The case has been widely missreported in the media but is actually about is him having fully consensual sex with two woman on different occasions whilst not wearing a condom (this is against the law in Sweden) . The case was started after one of the women went to the doctors to be tested for STD where she explained she had consensual unprotected sex with Julian after which the police started proceeding against Julian. The offense is of “minor rape” where the accused can be found guitly of rape even of the the person raped consents (?). This does not have an equivilent in the UK or Australia, an article explaining this was published in The Australian newspaper.

To hear two feminists on the radio station Democracy Now debating the charge and whether a charge of consenting rape is approprate click here.

The US strategy to contain Wikileaks
In an ironic twist of fate the US strategy to contain wikileaks was leaked to wikileaks. Democracy Now recorded an interview about 12 months ago with Julian Assange where he discussed this leak (unfortunaltly I cant find the episode please add a comment to this article if you can find it) . The key components of the strategy were

  • Link the organization to one person specifically
  • Assassinate the persons character
  • Lay down the importance of the leaks
  • Attack its source of funding for the organisation

Any of that sound familiar?

About the video screening on Friday
The video at the top was screened in the Federation square in the centre of Melbourne buy the Australian journalists Union ACTU during the presentation a number of Australian journalists praised Julian Assange for his work. After that at the Melbourne State Library a guy called “Robert Foster” from the juice media made an impromptu performance on the steps. After a bit of digging I found this video

EXTERNAL SOURCES

Little heard speeches of Martin Luther King

I have been listening to a podcast episode on Democracy Now where they played two speeches from Martin Luther King.

Nearly 48 years ago Martin Luther King (wikpedia page) delivered his optimistic and hopeful “I have a dream speech“. I’ve heard part of that speech before but never any others. The podcast played two other remarkable speeches from Martin Luther King. The speech “Beyond Vietnam” is still very relavant today. The second “I have been to the mountain top” is from a man who know his time on this earth is limited.

“Beyond Vietnam”

Exactly 1 year prior to his assasination he made a speech “Beyond Vietnam”
calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”. He also spoke about international aid “true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar….it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring”. It was slammed in the media and Time Magazine called the speech “Demagogic Slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi” and time The Washington Post declared that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”

“I Have Been to the Mountain Top”

In April 3, 1968 he made a speech called “I Have Been to the Mountain Top”. Towards the end of the speech he talks about the time he was stabbed and almost died. In hospital he received many letters of support and out of all the messages he received there was one that he’ll never forget. The excerpt below is from the end of that speech starting with that letter. In the speech he seems to foresee his own early death.
The next day he was shot dead.
[Read more…]

Banks need no money to lend you money

I went to my bank to get some money to by my new car the other day. I needed $4000. They told me that officially I needed to give 24 hours notice for cash withdrawl over $2,000 however they had enough today so they could give me my $4000. Now my bank is probably a bit smaller than ANZ but I found this quite startling. It got me wondering about how much money banks have in reserve.

A note about Reserve banking . Banks don't need $100
dollars to lend you $100.The US has a requirement that
the banks have to at least own equity worth 10% of the
total loans outstanding. So if Citibank only actually
owned $10 then the sum of all the loans they could
make could not exceed $100.

So I did a little investigation and what I found (with a quick look on wikipedia) concearned me somewhat. I knew that the US had a 10% requirement I didn’t know though that the UK and Australia does not require any reserve requirement whatsoever. So they can make money loaning money they don’t have. I wish I could do that. A tabe showing the reserve requirements by country can be found here wikipedia.

Free Documentaries

A friend of mine send me a link to a website that lists hundreds of documentaries and links to where you can watch them for free.  I’ve tried read “The truth about good and evil” by Friedrich Nietzsche but struggled with reading it. There was a documentary about it here. Well at least I know kind of what he was about now. And all for free.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/watch-online/

Australia to Double Population

Politicians (both labour and opposition) have been talking about immigration policies that would see the Australian population to almost double from 22 to 36million by 2050. Australia currently has the fastest growing population in the world.

The Australian citizens have never been asked about this.

Yesterday I watched a video from Dick Smith that basically debunked most of the widely used reasons for a “Large Australia”. He is campaigning to have the politicians actually consult the the people about the population strategy and come up with a sensible plan.

Intro Video

Long Video


Dick Smith is one of Australia’s most recognised individuals. After a successful business career in retailing and publishing, Dick has become well known as a restless adventurer, making many pioneering and record breaking flights by helicopter, aeroplane and balloon.” More info and complete text on Dick Smiths full website here.

World Growth
Dick also broaches the subject of world population growth and the predicted increase in population from 6.7 to just over 9 billion by 2050. World food production over the last 9 years has remained flat and is looking likely to decrease as more soil becomes infertile. Concern about food availability in the future is one of the drivers that got me interested in permaculture. To see more about me and permaculture go to my permaculture page.

Man to jump off building over from my office

We had someone threatening to throw themselves of the build over from us yesterday. We could see it all from our kitchen window. I watched it unfold for for a bit from our kitchen window on the 31st floor.There were 6 police officers and a negotiator trying to talk him down. Burke St outside our office was shut down. After about 5 mins of nothing really happening I decided that either nothing was going to happen for ages or he would jump. I decided I didn’t really want to see either so I stopped and went back to work. When I went out for lunch there was a huge crowd of onlookers on the street. Above is a picture of my office (its the big grey building on left). The “jumper” was on a building opposite.

Details below
UPDATE 2.25pm: ONLOOKERS cheered as man talked down from a building’s rooftop after CBD streets blocked for more than two hours.

Negotiators brought the incident to an end about 1.20pm today, after tense scenes on the rooftop of the seven-storey building today.

Emergency crews raced to the scene near the corner of Hardware lane just before 11am.

The incident brought traffic to a standstill between Hardware lane and Queen St in both directions, forcing trams, motor traffic and pedestrians to be diverted around the scene.

About five police officers, including negotiators, were seen on the roof of the building as they talked to the man.

At least four police cars blocked the streets at the height of the drama as hundreds of office workers watched the scene with bated breath.

Their relief was obvious as cheers erupted from neighbouring buildings as the man was taken into protective custody.

He is understood to have been treated by paramedics a short time later.

Social networks were buzzing with the incident this afternoon, with office workers taking pictures of the scene, and alerting their colleagues. Source the Herald Sun

Read the US Constitution

I like to read source texts that are talked often but not read. Some of these I have read include the religious text like bible, the qaran and now I have moved on to read the US constitution and bill of rights- full text here.

As texts go it is actually pretty succinct. Like my other experiences it was quite enlightening and really makes you question the “consensus opinion” when so many people who have an opinion about it have never read it. It lays down a number of limitations of government powers. The current US Government ignores parts of the constitution even though it is supposed to be bound by it. Recently the government has been passing bills to gain more government power. Below is an example of yet another bill that moves power to the Government and out of the hands of the citizens.

I was going to write this but then I thought I’d just use the source

I’ve copied this everything below straight from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/03/a-detention-bill-you-ought-to-read-more-carefully/37116/
It quotes the US government bill that I have read on which can be found on govtrack

“Why is the national security community treating the “Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010,” introduced by Sens. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman on Thursday as a standard proposal, as a simple response to the administration’s choices in the aftermath of the Christmas Day bombing attempt? A close reading of the bill suggests it would allow the U.S. military to detain U.S. citizens without trial indefinitely in the U.S. based on suspected activity. Read the bill here, and then read the summarized points after the jump.

According to the summary, the bill sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning.

(There is no distinction between U.S. persons–visa holders or citizens–and non-U.S. persons.)

It would require these “belligerents” to be coded as “high-value detainee[s]” to be held in military custody and interrogated for their intelligence value by a High-Value Detainee Interrogation Team established by the president. (The H.I.G., of course, was established to bring a sophisticated interrogation capacity to the federal justice system.)

Any suspected unprivileged enemy belligerents considered a “high-value detainee” shall not be provided with a Miranda warning.
The bill asks the President to determine criteria for designating an individual as a “high-value detainee” if he/she: (1) poses a threat of an attack on civilians or civilian facilities within the U.S. or U.S. facilities abroad; (2) poses a threat to U.S. military personnel or U.S. military facilities; (3) potential intelligence value; (4) is a member of al Qaeda or a terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda or (5) such other matters as the President considers appropriate. The President must submit the regulations and guidance to the appropriate committees of Congress no later than 60 days after enactment.
To the extent possible, the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Team must make a preliminary determination whether the detainee is an unprivileged enemy belligerent within 48 hours of taking detainee into custody.
The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Team must submit its determination to the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General after consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  The Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General make a final determination and report the determination to the President and the appropriate committees of Congress.  In the case of any disagreement between the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General, the President will make the determination. Note that the president doesn’t make this call