Whoa! Canada

laurel l. russwurm's political musings

Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Yesterday’s Search Terms …. #SOPA

with one comment

I am not an expert on SOPA, PIPA, or American Censorship of the Internet; but I do know quite enough about the issue to be extremely concerned.  This blog got an awful lot of traffic yesterday, and it seems that there were a lot of unanswered questions about how this all will affect Canadians.

The following are many of the search queries — what people type into the “search” bar in their browsers — that brought people to this blog yesterday:

  • will sopa affect canada
  • stop sopa canada
  • does sopa affect canada
  • stop sopa in canada
  • do canadians have a lot of right and freedoms
  • bill c-10
  • stop acta canada
  • canada stop sopa
  • sopa and canada
  • how will sopa affect canada
  • sopa
  • americancensorship.org canada petition
  • sopa strike petition canada
  • stop sopa petition canada
  • protect ip canada
  • how does sopa affect canada
  • stop pipa sopa canada
  • sopa in canada
  • american censorship site blocked
  • stop american censorship canada
  • stop sopa canadian petition
  • internet censorship in canada
  • usa wants to censor internet will affect the world
  • electronic frontier foundation canada
  • sopa protest petition canada
  • stop sopa canada petition
  • millenium copyright act canada
  • will the sopa bill affect canada
  • canada sopa bill
  • bill c-11 digital lock rules
  • stop sopa and pipa in canada
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  • fahrenheit 451 and sopa
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  • how will the censorship affect the public
  • internet blacklist canada
  • sopa and pipa canadian petition
  • will the protect ip act affect canada
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  • how to stop sopa from canada
  • canadian blacklist bill
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  • did bill c-11 pass
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  • how will the internet censor affect other countries
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  • canadians against americancensorship
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  • draconian “guilty until you prove yourself innocent” libel laws
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  • censorship bill in canada
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  • is the youtube censorship in canada too?
  • can canadians do about american censorhip
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  • ameria sensoresjip of the internet effect the world?
  • is canada part of the us censorship
  • is there anything canadians can do to stop sopa
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  • americancensorship.org blocked
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American Flag

SOPA and Protect IP (PIPA) will most certainly affect Canada.  These bills assume American governance over all of the Internet used by Canadians.   Under these laws, an American allegation will result, not just in blocking Americans access to Canadian sites accused of infringement, but in Canadian website takedowns.  This is simply unacceptable.  Last time I looked, Canada was a sovereign nation.

If I haven’t answered your questions, please let me know in comments or email (click my avatar image; my email address is posted in my profile), and I’ll address any unanswered questions next week.

In the meantime, for information about the legal ramifications of SOPA/PIPA on Canada, Michael Geist wrote a pretty extensive explanation of the legalities for Canadians in Why Canadians Should Participate in the SOPA/PIPA Protest

You can find information about SOPA from http://americancensorship.org/

… and, of course, Wikipedia has clearly stepped up to the plate on this.

Yesterday, while the US portion of Tumblr was dark, I posted a fair number of screen caps of blacked out sites, as well as reblogging Tumblr SOPA protests on my Tumblr blog.

SOPA and PIPA are bad laws that will very definitely impact on Canadians and our Internet.

flag in winter

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

January 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Will “American Censorship” Impact on Canada?

with 6 comments

["American Censorship" refers to the two Internet Blacklist Bills currently enroute to becoming law. The PROTECT IP bill is currently before the American Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is in their House of Representatives. ]

Easy answer: Of course it will.

Website Blocking

The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.

Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users
It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.

Chaos for the Internet

Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.

American Censorship Day

Q: What is the DNS system?
A: The DNS or Domain Name System is the hierarchy that controls the Internet URL naming conventions. If you want to set up your own website, the current common use is to register a domain name, to make it easy for users to find your website online. In the beginning, domain name registration was free, nowadays there is an annual charge. You can get a domain through a company like godaddy or choose a privacy respecting registrar like the one I use, Register 4 Less which can be found at https://secure.register4less.com/

This means that you can easily find Google at https://www.google.com/ or Josh Woodward’s music at http://www.joshwoodward.com/ or my brother Larry’s humour blog at http://www.larryrusswurm.com/
One of the most important functions of the Domain Name registration is to ensure that there is only one of each name.

Q: How does Internet Black Listing work?
A: It doesn’t actually turn off the website, it simply removes the site’s domain name. In cases of egregious law breaking, such as child pornography or even copyright infringement, this does nothing to prevent the breaking of these laws. The blocked website still exists, and will continue to be accessed by law breakers via numerical static IP addresses.

The ineffectiveness of black listing has actually been demonstrated when the American government sought to censor WikiLeaks. Removing the domain name from the registry does not remove the IP address.

But what it will do is make it easier to block competition and innovation while making it more difficult for users to find the websites they want.

Q: How will Website Blocking affect Canada?
A: The Internet is all over the world.

If Websites are only blocked within the United States, American customers will find it difficult, impossible or perhaps illegal to access these blocked websites. If A Canadian website is accused of infringement, whether real or imagined, this blocking will mean the loss of American customers.

If blocking is done by DNS domain name removal, this will affect websites the world over.

Q: How will the Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users affect Canada?
A: Richard O’Dwyer, a British University Student is currently facing extradition to the United States to face charges of copyright infringement under existing laws.

Need I say more?

Q: What do they mean when they warn about “Chaos for the Internet?”
A: Different laws exist in different countries.

The Internet is comprised of networked connections all over the world.

USA

American Flag hangs downCurrent American law provides for “safe harbors” which protect sites like Facebook, Flickr, and G+ as well as independent blogs and comments from legal liability in the event a third party posts illegal material.

Without this, the Internet will cease to be an interactive medium, because no one, whether independent bloggers or Internet giants like Wikipedia will have the luxury of allowing third party posting.  A malicious edit in Wikipedia could spell the end of the fifth largest website in the world.  YouTube can’t afford to screen every video for potential IP violation.  Most Independent bloggers don’t have legal departments.

Canadian innovation

The Maple Leaf part of a Canadian FlagCanadian law is different than American law. Although Canadians are some of the most active people online, we seem to be users rather than pioneers. Recently Michael Geist appeared before Canada’s Standing Committee on Industry and explained the legal barriers that existing Canadian law has thrown up before innovative Canadian startups that might have become a YouTube, a Google, a Facebook or a Skype.

Canadian free speech

Recently the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the land, established that Canadian Law should “Avoid restricting the free flow of expression.”

Yet it seems that elements of the proposed Protect IP and SOPA laws seek to make hyperlinking potentially a criminal act. Search engines would be compelled to remove links from search results.

existing Canadian copyright law

IP lawyer Howard Knopf shows that Canadian Copyright law is currently far stronger - and more restrictive to creativity – than American Copyright Law is currently.   In Canada we have slightly shorter copyright terms than they have in the United States. I don’t believe Bill C-11 will increase this term if it passes.

Under existing law, Wikipedia is considering removing this photograph of Ontario’s Elmira District Secondary School ~ the school I attended ~ even though it is legal to use this image in Canada, if it is not legal under existing American Law.

This tinted photo of the original school building ~ Canadian history uploaded to Wikipedia by Dconlon268 ~ hung in Elmira District Secondary School when I was a student there more than 30 years ago.

This Canadian work is in the public domain in Canada because its copyright has expired for one of the following reasons:

1. it was subject to Crown copyright and was first published more than 50 years ago, or

it was not subject to Crown copyright, and

2. it is a photograph that was created before January 1, 1949, or

3. the creator died more than 49 years ago.

The media description page should identify which reason applies.

This file is only in the public domain in the United States if it entered the public domain in Canada prior to 1996. This image can only be kept if it is also in the public domain in the US. If it is in the public domain in both Canada and the United States it may be transferred to the Wikimedia Commons.

Note: If this image is in the public domain in the US, modify the end of the copyright tag from “}}” to “|commons}}”. This will replace the preceding US copyright notification with a nomination for this image to be moved to the Wikimedia Commons.

Wikipedia

Canada is a sovereign nation

Canadian DMCA

It is bad enough that the American government has brought pressure to bear against our government in an effort to compel passage of a Canadian DMCA with Bill C-11 the so-called “Copyright Modernization Act.”

If these American Censorship Laws pass, like ACTA, they will be used to impose American Law on Canada and the rest of the world.

This will affect Canadians, and everyone else.

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

Image Credits:
Map of the Internet – photo by the Opte Project released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 1.0) License

EDSS Old School” Canadian Public domain image, posted to Wikipedia by Dconlon268

The Canadian DMCA logo freed into the public domain CCO 1.0 by laurelrusswurm

Ding Dong Bill C-32 is Dead

with 4 comments

Canadian DMCA

I am happy that the writ was dropped before Bill C-32 was passed.

Is that a bad thing?

Of course it mans we have another federal election.

Copyright Reform Apathy

Not so long ago, Jesse Brown did a Search Engine podcast called So Bored of Copyright. He wasn’t alone in thinking that Bill C-32 was likely to be pushed through no matter how atrocious simply because everyone is tired of arguing about copyright. The thinking, shared by many other Canadian activists was that our elected representatives just want it to be over. I understand how difficult it is to fight the same fight over and over again. But still, there was a disturbing willingness to settle for bad law just because everyone is tired of it.

copyright symbol over a red maple leaf

That’s wrong.

Copyright law will impact on every Canadian. Our existing copyright law may not be perfect, but it isn’t as though we are a lawless nation of pirates, no mater what the USTR says to get a trade advantage. So I’m happy Bill C-32 is off the table, even if it does mean we’re having another Federal election. And I’m sure it will be back, but the longer it takes, there is less chance that we’ll end up with a copyright law benefitting special interest groups to the detriment of Canadian Culture.

Some people are tired of elections.

We’re having them too frequently, apparently.

Yet there are places in the world where there are no elections. Or where the election results are preordained.

Other people are unhappy because elections are expensive.

If we have a minority government, it stands to reason that we will have more elections. It is much harder to run a minority government because the government can’t operate in a vacuum.  They have to build a consensus. And sometimes even listen to what the citizens want.  And if they want to do something that the people think ill advised, we have some possibility of preventing it.

a pile of canadian money

Then some people think majority government is a good thing.   Talk about an expensive proposition.

Say what you want, our run of minority governments has meant very little in the way of patronage spending.   While majority governments are always awash in patronage.   That’s got to be worse.

Even with a minority our federal government managed to find a billion dollars for the G20.

Acryllic on Illustration board painting by Aviation Artist Lance Russwurm

The AVRO Arrow ~ painting by Lance Russwurm

Can you imagine? How many fighter jets would we have bought if there was a majority government? Wait a minute… fighter jets? Excuse me? If we want fighter jets, why don’t we build our own, shall we? You know, like the AVRO Arrow?

Citizens can’t afford NOT to have elections. We need as many as it takes.

I’ve heard some people are saying they will vote for the Conservative Party of Canada just to give them a majority, just to be done with this election business.

the NoProrogue rally in Guelph

You know what?

If you want to vote for a political party you don’t support, that is your democratic right.

You can use your vote to improve this great nation of ours, or you can waste your vote. You get to decide.

You can vote for the candidate you believe will do the best job for you, or you can vote the way someone else tells you to vote. It is entirely up to you.

You can vote strategically and vote for someone you don’t want to elect. It seems to me that strategic voting is always about voting for someone else;s candidate, never your own. That seems to me just as big a waste. But still, it is your right to choose.

You can spoil your ballot, which won’t count. Or not cast a vote at all.

Andrew Telegdi

A great many of us are frustrated because we’ve been ignored for so long. Many of us have given up because the people we vote for are never elected. In the Conservative stronghold where I live, Liberal candidate Andrew Telegdi lost his seat in the last Federal election by 17 votes. And one of the most powerful members of the incumbent government “tweeted”:

Minister of Industry Tony Clement

On Twitter, Tony Clement said:
@TonyclementCPC I use my 28 vote margin in 2006 all the time as an example of “every vote counts!”

The thing to remember is that when we abstain from voting, our voice, however small, is completely unheard. Abstaining from voting doesn’t “teach them a lesson,” it gives them our power. It makes it easier for fewer people to determine our government. All voter apathy does is to make electoral inequity worse.

You have the right not vote. But every vote not cast means that fewer votes hold greater sway. I am well aware Canadian votes count for more or less depending on geographical location. That’s bad enough. If you, like me, live in a place where your vote only counts for a fraction, blowing it off makes it worse. What government does affects all of us.

Debate and Democracy

GPC leader Elizabeth May with nearly a million constituents, not a seat in the House

This election will impact on us all too. Although we are desperately in need of electoral reform, we have to do the best we can with what we’ve got. So although it is your right to vote or not, I hope you decide to vote, and more, to vote the way you believe is best.

I’ve been trying to get the final proof of my novel done, so I’m spread a bit thin. Still, there’s been a flap about the proposed televised Federal Leadership Debate. The decision (by who?) has been made to exclude Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

The story they are trying to sell is that her exclusion stems from the fact no Green party member has yet been elected. Naturally this speaks to the issue of Electoral reform, since nearly a million Canadian citizens cast Green votes in the last election without electing one.

The thing is, we might have bought that argument had Elizabeth May not participated in just such a debate in a previous election. Excluding her now is not only grossly unfair, but a sign of just how well she did last time.

Unlike our American Neighbors, Canada is a multi-party country. So long as our nation subscribes to party politics, I’m inclined to think that any leadership debate ought to include the leaders of every registered political party. The point of an election is that the slate is wiped clean. No one has been elected yet for the 41st Parliament. So all the candidates – and leaders – ought to be treated as equals. I’m sure that former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney would be happy to tell you what a difference an election can make.

It is in our own best interests to stand up for our democracy. The leader of Canada’s fledgling Pirate Party hit the nail on the head when he tweeted:

pirate party of canada

@mikkelpaulson

A vote for anyone other than your first choice undermines democracy. We should vote for,
not vote against

I don’t know about you, but as inefficient as our system is, and as badly as we need electoral reform, I’m rather partial to democracy.

And elections are a really good time to get out there and find out what the candidates think.

Or at least what they say.

Vote.

Canadian Political Party Logos

Registered Federal Canadian Parties include neorhino, Christian Heritage, Communist Party of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador First, Libertarian, Work Less Party, People’s Political Power Party, Green Party, First Peoples National Party, Bloc Quebecois, Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party, Marijuana Party, Canadian Action Party, Marxist Leninist Communist Party, and the NDP



Image Credits

AVRO Arrow, painting by Lance Russwurm

Andrew Telegdi photo by Chris Slothouber

Tony Clement, Twitter account image (fair dealing)

Elizabeth May photo by Grant Neufeld, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.5) License

All political logos reproduced as fair dealing.

All other images created by laurelrusswurm and released CC by-sa

Journalism Should Not Be Fiction

with 2 comments

Freedom's Journal graphic reproduction newspaper cc by lothlaurien.ca

I just read a very disturbing Haaretz article, An inside look at the WikiLeaks revolution, in that the author assumes facts not in evidence.

Bradley Manning has been charged but not heard. The word “alleged” is traditionally used in real journalism to describe charges laid but unproven. Under American law, that means that Bradley Manning is innocent– it’s called “The Presumption of Innocence.”

fiction

As a fiction author, when I am writing a script or a novel, I can ascribe emotions and feelings to the characters I write because they are my creations.

journalism

When I write a news article, however, I stick to recounting only what is factually known.

It is not appropriate to describe emotions and feelings and exact actions of others as facts, particularly respecting events at which I have not been present, when writing a news piece, or even an opinion piece.

reality

The sum of the case against Bradley Manning seems based on an alleged confession to a potentially unreliable witness. No evidence has been proven in a court of law. The case has not been heard. Allegations and hearsay are not facts.

The same actually holds true for the Swedish charges brought against Mr. Assange. There the facts of that case are equally unproven. He has not been convicted of anything, yet like Private Manning, Assange has been deprived of his liberty. [Although there is a world of difference between the two, deprivation of liberty is serious business.

perhaps a career change is in order?

Haaretz’ writer Yossi Melman should consider writing novels where flights of fancy are acceptable, even admirable. Writing fictional accounts in the guise of reportage is certainly not admirable, and in fact is generally considered unacceptable. Fraudulent, even. The point to remember is that the news is generally about real people. What one says or writes can have real repercussions.

I recommend reading Cynthia Bazinet’s more in depth look at this dreadful excuse for ‘journalism’ here. This goes well beyond the watch dog press being dead.

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

February 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm

La Quadrature du Net on Censorship

with 3 comments

Net Neutrality is necessary to the Internet, for the good of us all. The La Quadrature du Net group continually impresses me with their thoughtfulness, commitment, dedication and focus. [As a mono-lingual Canadian living in a pseudo bi-lingual nation, I find it thrilling to see they operate so beautifully bilingually too!]

the Pi symbol enclosed in a circle on a blue field captioned La Quadrature du net

Internet blocking is a form of unacceptable censorship, and I believe it will do far more harm than good. Censorship inevitably does. But it’s a thorny issue, particularly when it comes done to some heinous perpetrators. It may seem like a good idea, but blocking a domain does not pull the plug, it simply turns out the light. The bad stuff keeps on in the dark. But LaQuadrature Du Net did a much more amazing job explaining the issue than I can, so I share it here:

The letter sent today to LIBE MEPs

Dear MEP,

black and white graphic of a man's face with hands covering his eyes and mouth.

La Quadrature Du Net on Internet Censorship

As the LIBE committee prepares to discuss the Angelilli Report regarding the blocking of child abuse websites, we call on you to go further than the rapporteur and reject any measure instrumentalizing the protection of children in ways that would install a censorship infrastructure on the Internet. Whether it is implemented at the EU or national level, blocking is a false solution to a very serious issue that deserves effective and resolute action:

* Blocking fails to give proper incentives for the removal of content, which is only way to actually tackle sexual abuse of children. As the example of Germany suggests, only measures tackling the problem at its roots (by deleting the incriminated content from the servers; by attacking financial flows) and the reinforcement of the means of police investigators can combat child pornography.
* Blocking is ineffective, since Internet blocking measures can be easily circumvented by people and criminal organisations exploiting child pornographic content.
* The Commission’s proposal ignores the risk of over-blocking – i.e the “collateral censorship” of perfectly lawful websites -, which will appear regardless of the filtering techniques that are chosen at the national level.
* The Commission’s proposal omits to specify that only judicial authorities should be entitled to allow Internet blocking measures to ensure that they are proportionate and respect the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Short of this crucial insurance, core principles of the rule of Law in the European Union will be undermined.
* The Commission’s proposal lacks protection against “mission creep”, i.e the extension of Internet blocking to new fields, such as copyright. Such severe measures could be extended to new fields in the near future, thereby further calling into question Europe’s fight for freedom of expression on the Internet and undermining its moral legitimacy at the international level.

We trust that you will protect the fundamental rights of EU citizens by expressing a clear refusal of filtering and blocking measures. We remain available for any inquiry you may have.

Sincerely,

Phone with the circle of EU stars captioned Click to Call Now

La Quadrature du Net, Net Censorship Comes Before the EU Parliament

This letter was written because the issue is coming before the EU parliament. If you live under the jurisdiction of the European Parliament, i can’t ask you strongly enough to visit the La Quadrature du Net site so you can find out what you can do to help prevent bad law but instead work for good.

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

January 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

#DDoS and Internet Freedom

with 11 comments

A black & white remix of the UN Globe surrounded with a laurel wreath, an "invisible man" with a question mark where the head should be

Both participation and activism are very necessary to healthy democracy.

Along with all the other confusing things that are happening in the world because of the digital evolution is a new way of protesting. The first I heard of DDoS attacks was when it has been employed in the copyfight. On both sides, I might add. Although I’m not a tech person, I’ve necessarily been learning a lot from many who are for my StopUBB blog, but this DDoS business is something we all need to understand.

So I’m reprinting the comment I made on the Guardian’s Richard Stallman article The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control

Internet Freedom may well be the most important issue of our time.

First,

When the DDoS attacks began I spent days arguing against the Anonymous protest, but I’ve come to understand it is no different than any other peaceful protest. Amazon operates in digital space, so too must the protests.

How I arrived at this conclusion is detailed in my StopUBB blog post DDoS?

And Amazon has the right to not host a company.

Just as the public has the right to picket Amazon.
Like any peaceful protesters, the digital protests are using the same techniques employed by civil rights activists forever.

Please note: these protesters are behaving more ethically than the forces deployed in the DDoS attacks against WikiLeaks. We should be calling what “Anonymous” does Civil Rights Denial of Service protests, or CRDoS

Using digital means to do it does not change the fact that they are engaging in peaceful protest.

Second,

Corporations are NOT branches of law enforcement.
Corporations are immortal artificial constructs that are not accountable to citizens.
Corporations don’t operate on a level playing field with humans,
Corporations exist to make a profit. Nothing else.
Under no circumstances should corporations EVER be allowed to dictate morality or ethics to human beings.

As @FarrenWide points out, the blockage of electronic funds transfer is by far more dangerous.
Why should a banking institution be allowed to tell the citizens of any democracy how they may spend their money?”

That should NEVER happen.


The originating article by Richard Stallman can also be found at Defective By Design: Kettling Wikileaks
a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

IRONY: “You’re either with us, or you’re with WikiLeaks”

with 3 comments

American Flag hangs downBob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the intrepid young reporters working for The Washington Post when they broke the Watergate scandal which brought down the Nixon administration.

Today, that same newspaper published an op-ed piece by Marc A. Thiessen called:

You’re either with us, or you’re with WikiLeaks

Thiessen starts out by saying,

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got one thing right last week – she described WikiLeaks’ disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified documents as “an attack.”

You’re either with us, or you’re with WikiLeaks

He runs with the attack theme, likening the current war on WikiLeaks with the so called “War on Terror.”

Mr. Thiessen doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that, to the Nixon administration, the Watergate Leaks were equally an attack.

As @jayrosen_nyu pointed out, WikiLeaks is a stateless news organization. Like any other responsible media outlet, they gave the United States the option of input:

On 26 November, Assange sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State, via his lawyer Jennifer Robinson, inviting them to “privately nominate any specific instances (record numbers or names) where it considers the publication of information would put individual persons at significant risk of harm that has not already been addressed”.[19][20][21] Harold Koh, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State, rejected the proposal, stating: “We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials”.[21] Assange responded in turn by writing back to the State Department that “you have chosen to respond in a manner which leads me to conclude that the supposed risks are entirely fanciful and you are instead concerned to suppress evidence of human rights abuse and other criminal behaviour”.[22][23]

Wikipedia, Cablegate



No Bail #freejulian #freebyron

with 5 comments

I’m pleased to report that Tom Flanagan has been charged for calling for the assassination of Julian Assange on CBC. Apologies. A complaint has been filed, I have no word that charges have been made at this time. All manner of threats have been leveled at Julian Assange, including a threat to kidnap his son.

Julian Assange, wikileaks logo and planet earth titled KEEP US STRONG

#freejulian – WikiLeaks

I am not happy to report that Julian Assange has today been arrested and is being held without bail in London. Julian Assange will be remanded in custody till 14 December, charged on behalf of the Swedish authorities with of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape. He denies the charges.

The charges against Julian Assange were originally brought in August of this year and then withdrawn.

Considering the vast array of government and corporate attacks being leveled at both Assange and WikiLeaks since the beginning of the release of the Cablegate cables, it is difficult to view these charges with anything beyond skepticism. I am working on an article examining that issue for my personal blog.

#freebyron – G20

Rather like our own Byron Sonne.

Byron’s not as famous as Julian Assange, but he’s just as much a political prisoner. I don’t believe Byron’s name even came up yesterday when Canada had the last day of our mini G8/G20 inquiry, probably because Byron was arrested and charged before the G20 summit even began.

Byron hasn’t been convicted of anything, and it is unlikely that he will be after he has his day in court. The problem is, that he has been denied bail, and it may be years before his case comes to trial. That is an awfully long time for a citizen to be stripped of his liberty in answer to an unproven accusation. The traditional reasons for denying bail are danger and risk of flight, neither of which applied in this middle aged businessman’s case.

Byron Sonne’s bail was denied as a punitive measure.

This an unacceptable abuse of power in a democracy. Stifling dissent is a giant step toward the loss of democracy.

Free Byron

what now?

Neither of these men have had their day in court, but both have been deprived of their liberty. It’s hard to say whose situation is worse.

Julian Assange is under concerted attack from governments and corporations. If he lives through the incarceration, he’ll come out the other side at least a hero.

What about Byron Sonne? In many ways Byron is all but forgotten by everyone but his family and community. I only learned of his situation by accident. After two years of punitive incarceration, even assuming full exoneration, I guess there will be little or no chance that his life will still be intact.

I believe that both of these men were working for the good of society. To make the world a better place than it was.

Both cases represent a serious miscarriage of justice.

“We live in a democratic state, we do not live in a police state. We live in a country that’s supposed to be governed by the rule of law, not the rule of force,” Davies said. “(A public inquiry) is about getting at the truth, holding people accountable and defending our constitutional rights. They are worth fighting for.”

–MP Don Davies, Ottawa Sun: NDP renews call for G20 inquiry

Yesterday marked the last day of the woefully underfunded committee looking into the G20. The conclusion drawn by the committee investigating G20 security malfeasance is that a Public Inquiry is necessary.

It can’t come too soon.

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Loose Ties make WikiLeaks Strong

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I can’t get over the fact that Tom Flanagan didn’t understand suggesting assassination was inappropriate.

Tom Flanagan thought assassinating Julian Assange was reasonable.

Canadians are becoming angry at the arrogance of our elected officials and their unelected advisors.

Canadian Flag

Democracies around the world are facing calls for electoral reform. Coincidence?

Like Wikipedia, democracy can be altered in a heartbeat.

If we don’t protect our democracies, we’ll lose them.

The other night I stayed up far too late because I wanted to know that WikiLeaks was alright. Because I think WikiLeaks is important,

WikiLeaks shines a light on important issues– issues that the powerful and the self important want to keep dark.

Which is why powerful forces are arrayed against WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange is facing charges that I think even the most naïve schoolchild would realize are trumped up, along with both cyber and economic attacks, topped off with death threats. Wonder if that’s enough jeopardy for Malcolm Gladwell, who made the argument that real activism requires jeopardy in his New Yorker “Small Change” article, which prompted my rebuttal Tie Theory.

WikiLeaks is kind of a hybrid activist/news media. It is a truly international organization. Its only country is the Internet. That was the other fault Gladwell had with Internet activism: he thinks that activism requires people to be closely tied. WikiLeaks depends on being a “loose tie” network. You don’t get much looser than total strangers. Total strangers opt to host or mirror WikiLeaks on their computers. Because the more copies there are, the more spread out the network is, the looser the ties, the more difficult it is to shut it down.

In my post yesterday I called on the Pirate Party of Canada to be a Canadian host of WikiLeaks. I don’t know if they’ll do it or not, all I know is what I’ll do.

I am Hosting #cablegate

[Disclaimer: No, I don't actually know how to set up something like this myself; I had help. :) ]

You can peruse the cables at will on my Cablegate page,
or if you prefer to download or torrent You can do that here.

The thing is, I’m not alone. Here’s another list of WikiLeaks mirrors.

It isn’t much for one person to have to do, but there are rather a lot of us.

People connected through loose ties. We aren’t tied together by geography, ethnicity, family or religion, Malcolm, but only loosely connected by intangibles.

Ideas like:

#democracy,
#accountability,
#human rights,
#privacy…

That’s how “loose tie” networks work. And it’s also why loose tie networks can be superior.


WikiLeaks: Keep Us Strong


We all do what we can

You can just read the WikiLeaks Cablegate cables online. A new batch is released daily.

threethirty rt @WikiLeakMirror: Cables available at http colon slash slash bit dot ly slash ht6HqE semicolon includes LATEST cables bracket 12/4 bracket. Support free speech wikileaks #cablegate

Or, you can add your computer power to help, by seeding the WikiLeaks material that you have yourself downloaded via torrents.

rom1v  http colon slash slash 88 dot 80 dot 16 dot 63 slash torrent slash cablegate slash cablegate dash 201012041409 dot 7z dot torrent #wikileaks #backup #cablegate #statelogs

Or, last but not least, you can jump into the WikiLeaks network with both feet. Because the more spread out the network is, the more difficult it is to wipe out. This option is a bit more risky, particularly as it is lawmakers who want this stopped. Consider it carefully; remember you may wake up one morning to discover they have made this illegal.

jwildeboer  Are you brave enough? http colon slash slash 213.251.145.96 slash mass-mirror dot html #wikileaks #cablegate

Further Reading: Reporters Without Borders: WikiLeaks Hounded

Robert Redford, the Newsmedia and the WikiLeaks’ Cablegate

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2009 portrait of the actorI fell in love with Robert Redford in The Sting when he was young and I was younger. Redford is one of the cinema’s greatest undervalued comedians; his timing is flawless as showcased in early work like “Barefoot In The Park” or later “Legal Eagles”. He even brought humour to his portrayal of “the Sundance Kid,” for whom his film festival is named.

But Redford has put in some brilliant performances in political films over the years.

He turned in a brilliant performance in a cautionary tale called “The Candidate,” which demonstrates clearly how degraded democracies can become.

But there are two movies I was reminded of when I read about today’s WikiLeaks story.

At the end of the movie “Three Days of the Condor,” the inadvertent hero Redford plays achieves freedom the only possible way:

by releasing the classified information to the media.

Because we know that even though he is a whistle blower, once the world knows he will be safe.
And we know the news media will ensure that the story gets out.

We know that.

WikiLeaks "hourglass leaking earth" logo
Robert Redford also played Bob Woodward in “All The President’s Men,” the film version of the true story of the “Watergate” scandal that brought down the Nixon administration.

There are countless stories of the bravery of reporters who risked, and in many cases lost– their lives in pursuit of a story that was important to them and the public. And it still happens.

But that doesn’t alter the fact that the world has changed a lot in the last few decades. In many cases, the News Media is not doing the job we believe it is. Citizens around the globe have NOT been told about the dangers of ACTA or the importance of Net Neutrality to free speech and democracy.

Part of it is, I am sure, that technological advances, in particular the Internet, has caused great upheavals in the Media business. As ownership has been increasingly centralized, downsizing, “dumbing down” and decimation of staff has left many newsrooms in very reduced and weakened states. The agendas of the corporate masters more often determines what is reported and how.

So we are very fortunate to have WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks was gifted with a heap of really important information. In order to ensure dissemination, they passed them around to five major news outlets located in 5 different countries. Each were aware the others had the story, so they ALL had no CHOICE but to publish, with or without corporate or government approval.

In this way, WikiLeaks guaranteed that the story broke and spread.

UK: The Guardian US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis

SPAIN: El Pais The greater infiltration of history reveals the secrets of American foreign policy (Google translation to English)

USA: New York Times: Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

FRANCE: LeMonde WikiLeaks: Behind the Scenes of American diplomacy (Google translation to English)

der Spiegel: Greatest Data Leak in US Military History

Now that it is out, there is no stopping it.

Al Jazeera: Secret US embassy cables revealed

Perth Now: Australia on WikiLeaks ‘cablegate’

boingboing: Wikileaks secret US Embassy cable site live

Mobile Tribune: 1128-“When the Head is Rotten, It Affects the Whole Body” WikiLeaks Cable Quote from Saudi King Abdullah

ANTIWAR.com: State Dept: FDP Makes Germany a ‘Difficult Partner’ in Terror War -Cable Says FDP Too Interested in Personal Privacy to Be Responsible Partner

This will go on for months. Maybe years.

@glynmoody

US ambassador to the UK complains about the loss of *privacy* of those writing the cables – http://bit.ly/eHlQWC #wikileaks

Guardian: US diplomats spied on UN leadership

There is a huge amount of information, and it will take time to digest, but at least it has gotten out. That’s a good thing.

Der Spiegel also has an interactive map.

@DougSaunders

Have you noticed that you can hit the “play” button on the Spiegel map and it shows the cable-bubbles appearing year after year?

– Doug Saunders, European Bureau Chief, The Globe and Mail

The map shows Canadian cables for:

  • Vancouver 44
  • Calgary 14
  • Ottawa 1948
  • Montreal 82
  • Quebec 52
  • Halifax 136

Of course, no Canadian news outlet was selected as a recipient of any of these WikiLeaks cables.

@kady

I mean, at least if there was a Canadian media partner, there would be someone to bully/entreat over upcoming Cdn coverage. #wl

–Kady O’Malley, CBC reporter

Canadian Coverage

red maple leaf graphic

CBC: WikiLeaks reveals undiplomatic U.S. critiques

Canada’s government funded public broadcaster, the CBC, uses an American “Licensing” scheme which doesn’t allow even purely non-profit fair dealing reuse of their publications by Canadian citizens. So why would WikiLeaks even CONSIDER releasing this story to CBC?

Clearly, just like in “Three Days of the Condor,” WikiLeaks wants to spread the story as far and wide and as fast as possible. So that it can’t be stopped.

Globe & Mail: Released WikiLeaks documents shed light on diplomatic dispatches

The Globe likes to call itself “Canada’s National Newspaper,” but like that other television broadcaster, the Globe is owned by Bell Canada Enterprises. I assume that this corporate connection would be the reason why the Globe has been first so quiet and about the  fact  Canadian Internet rates are shortly to go through the roof due to Usage Based Billing.  It is only recently that it’s been possible to find UBB on their website at all.  Now  that they are, the bias is thick enough to cut with a knife.

As a blogger I prefer not to link to Globe articles because in the past they’ve broken links by placing articled behind a paywall.

So I can’t imagine the Globe standing up to government pressure to suppress the WikiLeaks story.

Having a Canadian Government in the process of pushing through Bill C-32 in the face of Universal opposition to appease the American Government, it’s easy to imagine our government buckling at the first sign of American disapproval.

So WikiLeaks released the Cables to 5 dispersed news outlets as a strategy to ensure that the story will break.  Because that is the reason for the very existance of WikiLeaks: to get the story out.  Even if it means the end of WikiLeaks.

Which is, of course, why WikiLeaks is so incredibly dangerous to governments who want to act without oversight or scrutiny.  And why Wikileaks is the destination of choice for whistleblowers with politically sensitive leaks go.  Because WikiLeaks is in it to get the story out.  Period.

Last Hurrah?

Even so, WikiLeaks has been down every time I’ve attempted to visit their site today.

I saw an unsubstantiated report that they were suffering a DDoS attack. And it isn’t hard to imagine where such an attack may have originated.

Of course, their servers may simply have gone down under the onslaught of un-official media outlets (like me).

Of course there have been tales of military personnel wishing for the demise of WikiLeaks. If they didn’t like WikiLeaks before this…

This story is out. It can’t be put back in the bottle. And that’s good.

If WikiLeaks is targeted, or taken down, what I worry about is the next story.

we are ALL in this together

Fortunately, I’m not alone in my concerns.

When Iceland’s Modern Media Initiative gets referendum approval, they are aiming to be good to go by 2012.

ICELAND TO BECOME INTERNATIONAL TRANSPARENCY HAVEN

“I am proud to advise the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative’s proposal to create a global safe haven for investigative journalism. I believe this proposal is a strong way of encouraging integrity and responsive government around the world, including in Iceland. In my work investigating corruption I have seen how important it is to have have robust mechanisms to get information out to the public. Iceland, with its fresh perspectives and courageous, independent people seems to be the perfect place to initiate such an effort towards global transparency and justice.”
—Eva Joly MEP – Icelandic Modern Media Initiative

That will be good for us all. Lets keep our fingers crossed that WikiLeaks can last that long.

Just In: WikiLeaks is Live!

Now you can peruse the Secret US Embassy Cables yourself.

Get ‘em while they’re hot.

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Image Credits:
Robert Redford photo by Public Citizen published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Thanks @nomalab, @satipera and Glyn Moody and Jérémie Zimmermann

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