As the power elite continue to struggle to re-gain control of an increasingly rabid populace, we will continue to see all manner of bizarre suggestions. From Senator Conroy’s “Filter The Internet” initiative here in Australia to this one from New York:
Legislation is pending in Albany that would make illegal anonymous online commenting, City & State tweeted this morning. Looks like Wired was among the first to report on the measure.
The bill’s backers, according to the mag, want to curtail “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” and “spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.”
The legislation would make New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”
Personally I’ve always been more than happy to attach my name to my online opinions (which is why my ID is always “cameronreilly”), but I can fully understand why some people would like to be more cautious – people like Bradley Manning, etc. In this current era of “Kill The Whistleblower”, we need to provide anonymous avenues for concerned citizens to leak what they know about the workings of the power elite. And, of course, it stands to reason that the elite will want to destroy those avenues as much as they can.
Personally I don’t think they are going to succeed. For every website they shut down, for every piece of pseudo-fascist legislation they erect, there will be one hundred tools and channels invented by people like Assange that route around the control mechanisms.
Show notes for this episode:
Yesterday I received this letter from the Attorney-General’s office. It was sent to my work address. It says “Thank you for your recent correspondence…” but I never sent them any correspondence. The only thing I can think of that might have spawned this mealy-mouthed reply was a tweet I sent to Julia Gillard a week or two ago, admonishing her for her pathetic lack of support for Julian Assange – an Australian citizen who is being harassed by several governments of the world although he has not been charged with any crime. And the Federal Government sends me a LETTER to my WORK as a response??
This raises a couple of interesting thoughts.
1. They are listening.
2. They know where I work.
3. Instead of tweeting a reply, the went to the trouble to send a long, nonsense letter.
I assume this is a form letter and that many of you have received one just like it?
PDF Doc: AG Dept 1
As for the content of the letter, I take issue with quite a few of Annette’s statements.
“… the large scale distribution of …. classified United States Government documents is reckless, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.”
But not illegal.
“Being informed of government related matters does not entail an automatic right to every document within the government’s possession.”
Who is talking about automatic rights? This seems like an attempt to spin the argument away from Assange and Wikileaks. Nobody has argued that anyone has automatic rights to government documents. An American whistleblower handed the documents to Wikileaks who, in turn, has published some of them. What’s that got to do with automatic rights? Either Wikileaks’ actions were illegal or not. If they were, why hasn’t Assange been charged by the USA? If not, then the Australian government should say so and speak out in his support.
“Certain information must remain confidential in order for governments to carry out their role of protecting the national interest.”
How do we know the government *is* protecting the ‘national interest’ (whatever that is?!?) if they keep what they are doing a secret? Are we supposed to trust them implicitly? That doesn’t sound like democracy to me.
“… a commitment to strengthen laws to protect whistleblowers.”
What commitments are those? In March 2010, the government intended to ‘introduce legislation implementing the Government’s response (to the report “Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector”) this year’ (i.e. 2010).
But did it happen? I don’t think so. I’ve been searching for any more news on it but haven’t found any.
But anyway, this isn’t about Australian laws to protect whistleblowers. This isn’t about automatic rights. This is about the Gillard government supporting an Australian citizen who, whether they agree with his work or not, has become a very high profile character on the international geopolitical stage and who has been threatened by a range of high profile American politicians and influential media personalities. As yet he hasn’t been charged with a crime and the Australian Federal Police have advised that Assange has broken no Australian laws.
So why isn’t he getting at least verbal support from the Gillard government? Is it because she is, as the diplomatic cables suggest, in bed with the US government?
Last night Chrissy & I chatted for an hour about Wikileaks. We point out the mistakes a lot of people on Twitter (mostly Americans) are making when it comes to Wikileaks. We talk about the major stories that Wikileaks have broken with Cablegate, as well as the truth behind the Assange “rape” allegations. Chrissy also talks about how her perspective of US politics has changed in the 18 months she’s been living in Australia.