Posts Tagged ‘Julian Assange’
Today is Julian Assange’s birthday.
Assange thinks human beings have a right to privacy, but democratic governments owe their citizens transparency.
Julian Assange isn’t an ordinary guy, but an innovator. Not mired in preconceived notions, he is a prime architect of WikiLeaks, the first Stateless news organization. WikiLeaks was designed to anonymously accept, vet and publish information that the public should be privy to.
It appears that elements of the United States government prefer to operate without citizen oversight. Some decades past, US government leaks given to Woodward and Bernstein brought criminal behavior in the Nixon government out of the shadows and into the open. For this service to their government and their nation, Woodward and Bernstein were lionized.
Although Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks were well thought of for their efforts in support of freedom in repressive regimes, the U.S. government attitude changed abruptly with the release of the the “Collateral Murder” video where military personnel cavalierly used unarmed civilians for target practice. As far as I know, no attempt has been made to address this problem. The war criminals implicated in the video don’t even appear even to have been reprimanded.
However, Bradley Manning, the young intelligence officer accused of being the WikiLeaks whistle blower, (the modern day equivalent of Bob Woodward’s “Deep Throat”) has been isolated, incarcerated, and held in conditions that suggest attempts to “break” if not “brainwash” the young man. It must be noted that Bradley Manning’s extreme loss of liberty has been effected even before he has been convicted of anything.
Wikileaks, and anyone associated with it, has also come under fire.
Julian Assange, as “the face of WikiLeaks,” has drawn the lightning. Various powerful people have leveled threats against Mr. Assange, including Canada’s own Tom Flanagan, reputedly a friend and mentor of our sitting Prime Minister, who advocated assassinating Julian Assange on Canada’s national public broadcasting network, CBC Radio-Canada. The video of Flanagan’s crime (counselling to commit a crime is in itself a criminal offense in Canada) has been seen around the world. Yet in spite of citizen complaints, petitions and public pressure, no Canadian police force will even bring charges against this well connected Canadian.
Currently, Mr. Assange is being held in the United Kingdom under house arrest, with an electronic surveillance ankle bracelet and draconian terms of “bail.”
Ostensibly, this is because Mr. Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors wish to question him. They had previously questioned him, and declined to bring charges. Many people believe the real agenda for Mr. Assange’s extradition is simply a sham to keep him “on tap” until the American government manages to find laws under which to charge him. Failing that, existing American laws, which currently allow protection to news media when publishing material that may have been obtained illegally by whistle blowers, may be changed.
So today, on his birthday, Julian Assange remains a prisoner.
House arrest may not be as bad as incarceration in an actual jail, but it is, nonetheless, a deprivation of liberty.
In spite of this, I hope Julian Assange can have a good 40th birthday, and take heart that many ordinary people around the world support the cause of freedom, and we do appreciate his efforts.
Julian AssangeThis photo by New Media Days / Peter Erichsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Free Bradley Manning photo by Steve Rhodes released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No derivs License
Thanks to my brother, humor columnist, Larry Russwurm, for spotting and photographing the graffiti below in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and releasing the image under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
In my initial outrage about the death threat domain names, The other day I dented:
“Corporations aren’t human; if they were, the word would be “Sociopath” as in @GoDaddy is a sociopathic corporation”
Well, seems I was right the first time.
As promised, here’s the email response from GoDaddy, verbatim:
Dear Laurel L. Russwurm,
The domain killassange.com is directing to the IP of 184.108.40.206, which is not an IP allocated to Go Daddy. According to an IP whois it is allocated to Hoosier PC SBC. Go Daddy is not hosting the content. We have neither access to, nor jurisdiction over the content on this site. The web hosting provider for this website is the company responsible for policing any content that appears on this site.
There is no content currenlty resolving on the domains killjulianassange.com and julianassangemustdie.com.
As your complaint addresses the issue of wording of the domain name itself, we are unable to take action at this time. The complaint either needs to be taken up with the domain name owner directly, or should be filed in a UDRP or court proceeding.
If you find that you are unable to contact the registrant because the contact information given in the Whois database is invalid, please write to email@example.com and let us know.
Spam and Abuse Department
GoDaddy is off the hook for killassange.com because it isn’t one of theirs.
And without content, julianassangemustdie.com could argued to be ambiguous; after all, barring immortality, we all must die sooner or later.
But there is no ambiguity about:
‘Kill Julian Assange’ is a three word grouping that is short, sharp and to the point.
Whatever anyone thinks of the man, Julian Assange is a real person.
A human being.
Prefacing the proper name of a real person with the verb “kill” is most certainly a death threat.
Or at the least, a directive.
Of course, I am not a lawyer. And as a Canadian, I’m not sure if death threats are protected by free speech or qualify as a crime south of the border.
GoDaddy thinks it isn’t an issue.
Does that mean GoDaddy would issue a killpresidentobama.com or a killsarahpalin.com domain name?
emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 11 January, 2011
I was very disturbed to discover some very offensive death threat domain names that are in currently in use through your service.
is hosted by
I’ve also been told the same is true for
I want very much to see these terrible websites to be removed.
Please let me know the outcome of this terrible situation as soon as possible.
Laurel L. Russwurm
[Thanks @jwildeboer & @evgenymorozov]
The disturbed young woman who registered the julianassangemustdie.com domain name is Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) acording to her Twitter Profile:
Frazzled mom, alternative health doc, conservative libertarian blogger, columnist, podcaster, radio host, iPhone & Mac lover, fantasy reading geek, #TCOT”
As a mother myself, I have difficulty understanding a mind set that would allow a mother to advocate killing anyone. Is this not also a criminal offense?
Is this woman a socipath? Or is it that she just lacks any shred of empathy?
Or perhaps Ms. Clouthier lacks the imagination to realize that Julian Assange has a mother too?
Sadly, it’s beginning to look as thought there’s a whole culture that thinks advocating the assassination of people who disagree with you acceptable.
Incredibly, the most bizarre thing is that @MelissaTweets believes herself to be a “libertarian”.
Libertarianism is the advocacy of individual liberty, especially freedom of thought and action. Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power [either "total or merely substantial"] from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals”, whether “voluntary association” takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. David Boaz, libertarian writer and vice president of the Cato Institute, writes that, “Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others” and that, “Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property–rights that people have naturally, before governments are created.”