Saturday, February 12, 2011

We are witnessing history in the making! First Tunisia, then Egypt, now Algeria, next Jordan, Yemen, Syria, etc.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

(Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told his mother from his prison cell in London that he remained committed to publishing secret U.S. cables, despite condemnation from Washington and elsewhere, Australian television reported Tuesday.

Australia's Network Seven asked Christine Assange to ask her 39-year-old son one question during a visit to his London jail: Was it worth it?

"My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them," said Assange, according to his mother who supplied the network with a written statement of her son's answer.

"If anything this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct."

* * *

(The Telegraph - UK) - Websites holding the personal data of British taxpayers could be targeted by the computer hackers who are attacking organisations seen as enemies of WikiLeaks, the national security adviser has warned.
* * *

(The Guardian)
Pfizer, the world's biggest pharmaceutical company, hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Long Live WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hit out at "abusive elements of the
United States government" yesterday.
Assange broke his recent silence after he was forced to move his
website from the US to Switzerland.
It was effectively taken off the internet when the US firm who
"translate" the address withdrew.
EveryDNS said they were forced to do so when the Wikileaks website
once again became the target of hacking attacks. This was affecting
other clients, they added.
The move will raise suspicions that EveryDNS have come under pressure
from the US government to cut ties with the site.
It comes after Wikileaks released more controverisal, secret diplomatic emails.
Assange hailed the young American soldier suspected of leaking
classified US cables as an "unparalleled hero".
He praised US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, 23, without
confirming he was the source of the leaks that have deeply embarrassed
Washington and its allies.
Assange yesterday lost a legal bid to overturn a Swedish court order
demanding his arrest for questioning over allegations of rape and
sexual assault.
The 39-year-old Australian is believed to be in hiding in England as
the latest publications on his whistle-blowing website fuel global
Scotland Yard are refusing to comment on his possible arrest.
Assange, in an online question and answer session, said Wikileaks'
actions had been dictated by the moves of "abusive elements of the
United States government" against the group since April.
Meanwhile, France has become the first country to contemplate banning
The country's industry minister Eric Besson pledged to "remove" the
whistle-blowing website from people's computers.
In a letter leaked to journalists, Besson wrote: "I ask you to
indicate to me as soon as possible what action can be taken to ensure
that this internet site is no longer hosted in France.
"This situation is not acceptable. France cannot host an internet site
that violates the secrecy of diplomatic relations and endangers
The technical problems involved would clearly be enormous. Many would
simply re-route to foreign servers so that they could read the
It took six hours to get back up and running yesterday
after the site's owners found a new provider.
But many of the internal links on the site were still not working and
were returning error messages.
Amazon have already pulled Wikileaks off their servers after coming
under intense political pressure.
Wikileaks have angered the US and other governments by publishing
almost half a million secret documents, mostly about the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Both of these videos are excellent, but the second one
'Zeitgeist: Addendum' is the most important motion picture I have ever seen, and more relevant than ever in these troubling times.
Both vids can be accessed at

Monday, August 20, 2007

The secret of Wikipedia's phenomenal success is that anyone can edit the millions of comments, facts and statistics published on the pages of the world's most popular online encyclopaedia. But that of course is also its greatest weakness. The chance to rewrite history in flattering and uncritical terms has proved too much of a temptation for scores of multinational companies, political parties and well-known organisations across the world. If a misdemeanour from a politician's colourful past becomes an inconvenient fact at election time then why not just strike it from the Wikipedia record? Or if a public company is embarking on a sensitive takeover why should its investors know of the target business's human rights abuses? Now a website designed to monitor editorial changes made on Wikipedia has found thousands of self-serving edits and traced them to their original source. It has turned out to be hugely embarrassing for armies of political spin doctors and corproate revisionists who believed their censorial interventions had gone unnoticed. Some of the guilty parties identified by the website, such as the Labour Party, the CIA, Republican Party and the Church of Scientology, are well-known for their obsession with PR. But others, such as the Anglican and Catholic churches or even the obscurely titled Perro de Presa Canario Dog Breeders Association of America, are new to the dark arts of spin.
The website, Wikiscanner, was designed by Virgil Griffith, a graduate student from the California Institute of Technology, who downloaded the entire encyclopaedia, isolating the internet-based records of anonymous changes and IP addresses. He matched those IP addresses with public net-address services and helped uncover the world's biggest spinning operation.
Mr Griffith says: "I came up with the idea when I heard about Congressmen getting caught for white-washing their Wikipedia pages. Every time I hear about a new security vulnerability, I think about whether it could be done on a massive scale and indexed. I had the idea back then, I've been busy with scientific work so I sat on it until a few weeks ago when I started working on the WikiScanner." Wikipedia says Mr Griffith has found something they had long suspected. A Wikipedia spokes-man said: "Wikipedia is only a working draft of history, it is constantly changing and so relies on volunteers editing the pages. But deliberate attempts to remove facts or reasonable interpretation of facts is considered vandalism. We are dealing with this kind of thing all time, so that our volunteer workers are changing edits back when we think they should be changed. But it's not perfect, it is just more transparent than some people realise." Wikiscanner has analysed a database of 34.4 million edits performed by 2.6 million organisations or individuals since 2002. Although it is not known who made each individual edit, or how senior that person was within any organisation, Mr Griffith says it is fair to link the change to the owner of the computer's IP address.

Exxon Mobil and the giant oil slick
An IP address that belongs to ExxonMobil, the oil giant, is linked to sweeping changes to an entry on the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. An allegation that the company "has not yet paid the $5 billion in spill damages it owes to the 32,000 Alaskan fishermen" was replaced with references to the funds the company has paid out.

The Republican Party and Iraq
The Republican Party edited Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party entry so it made it clear that the US-led invasion was not a "US-led occupation" but a "US-led liberation."

The CIA and casualties of war
A computer with a CIA IP address was used to change a graphic on casualties of the Iraq war by adding the warning that many of the figures were estimated and not broken down by class. Another entry on former CIA chief William Colby was edited to expand his cv.

The Labour Party and careerist MPs
An anonymous surfer at the Labour Party's headquarters removed a section about Labour students referring to "careerist MPs", and criticisms that the party's student arm was no longer radical.

Dow Chemical and the Bhopal disaster
A computer registered to the Dow Chemical Company is recorded as deleting a passage on the Bhopal chemical disaster of 1984, which occurred at a plant operated by Union Carbide, now a wholly owned Dow subsidiary. The incident cost up to 20,000 lives.

Diebold and the dubious voting machines
Voting-machine company Diebold apparently excised long paragraphs detailing the US security industry's concerns over the integrity of their voting machines, and information about the company's chief executive's fundraising for President Bush. The text, deleted in November 2005, was very rapidly restored by another Wikipedia contributor, who advised the anonymous editor, "Please stop removing content from Wikipedia. It is considered vandalism."

The Israeli government and the West Bank wall
A computer linked to the Israeli government twice tried to delete an entire article about the West Bank wall that was critical of the policy. An edit from the same address also modified the entry for Hizbollah describing all its operations as being "mostly military in nature".

The dog breeders and fatal maulings
A dog breeders association in America removed references to two fatal maulings of humans by the Perro de Presa Canario dogs in the US. In 2001 a woman was attacked and killed by two Presa Canario/Mastiff hybrids in the hallway of her apartment building in San Fransisco. Last year a pure-bred Presa Canario fatally mauled a woman in Florida.

The gun lobby and fatal shootings
The National Rifle Association of America doctored concerns about its role in the increase in gun fatalities by replacing the passage with a reference to the association's conservation work in America.

Discovery Channel and guerrilla marketing
A source traced to Discovery Communications, the company that owns the Discovery Channel, deleted reference to company's reputation for " guerrilla marketing".

MySpace and self-censorship
Someone working from an IP address linked to MySpace appears to have been so irritated by references to the social networking website's over-censorial policy that they removed a paragraph accusing MySpace of censorship.

Boeing and a threat to its supremacy
Boeing has made it clear that it is not just one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers, but is in fact the leading company in this field.

The church's child abuse cover-up
Barbara Alton, assistant to Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison, in America, deleted information concerning a cover-up of child sexual abuse, allegations that the Bishop misappropriated $11.6 million in trust funds, and evidence of other scandals. When challenged about this, Alton claims she was ordered to delete the information by Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori.

Amnesty and anti-Americanism
A computer with an Amnesty International IP address was used to delete references accusing the charity of holding an anti-American agenda.

Dell computer out-sourcing
Dell removed a passage about how the company out-sourced its support divisions overseas.
Nestle and corporate criticism
Someone from Nestle removed criticisms of some of the company's controversial business practices, which have all subsequently been re-added.

The FBI and Guantánamo
The FBI has removed aerial images of the Guantánamo Bay Naval base in Cuba.

Scientologists and sensitivity
Computers with IP addresses traced to the Church of Scientology were used to expunge critical paragraphs about the cult's world-wide operations.

News International and the hypocritical anti-paedophile campaign
Someone at News International saw fit to remove criticism of the News of the World's anti-paedophile campaign by deleting the suggestion that this amounted to editorial hypocrisy. The original entry reminded readers that the paper continued to "publish semi-nude photographs of page three models as young as 16 and salacious stories about female celebrities younger than that."

Oliver Letwin and his great disappearing act
An edit linked to the Conservative Party IP address expunged references to The MP Oliver Letwin's gaffe during the 2001 general election when he reportedly said he wanted to cut "future public spending by fully 20 billion pounds per annum relative to the plans of the Labour government" . The accompanying paragraph, explaining that when his own party failed to support the move he took a low profile on the election campaign, was also removed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The number of Czechs opposed to siting a radar in their country as part of a US missile defence shield has risen to nearly two thirds, according to a poll published on Thursday. Some 65 percent of Czechs are opposed to the tracking radar, according to the CVVM poll of 1,013 people between June 4 and 11, up from 61 percent in a similar poll in May. Forty percent of those questioned in the latest survey said they were "decisively opposed" to installing the US radar in their country, compared to only six percent who said they were "decisively in favour" of the move.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The chief suspect in the killing of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko today claimed that British intelligence services had a hand in the poisoning – an assertion likely to further damage relations between Moscow and London.

Andrei Lugovoy told a news conference he had evidence to back up his claim but would only give details to Russian investigators. Lugovoy, himself a former KGB agent, met with Litvinenko in London hours before he fell ill in November.

Britain has requested Lugovoy’s extradition to face murder charges. Russia refuses to hand him over.

Lugovoy described the British accusations as an attempt to divert attention from Litvinenko’s contacts with Britain’s spy services.

He said Litvinenko had tried to recruit him to work for MI6 and gather compromising materials about Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that he had refused.

“It’s hard to get rid of the thought that Litvinenko was an agent who got out of the secret service’s control and was eliminated,” Lugovoy said. “Even if it was not done by the secret service itself, it was done under its control or connivance.”

The Foreign Office declined comment.

Oleg Gordievsky, a former top KGB spy who worked for MI6 and defected to Britain, dismissed Lugovoy’s claims as “silly fantasies”.

He said Litvinenko had worked for a domestic intelligence agency in Russia and was of no interest to British intelligence.

“Litvinenko was not needed,” Gordievsky, who was Litvinenko’s friend, said on BBC television.

Lugovoy’s allegations seem certain to further split Moscow and London over the sensational murder case. Litvinenko died on November 23 in a London hospital after ingesting radioactive polonium-210.

In a deathbed statement, he accused Putin of being behind his killing.

Konstantin Kosachev, the Kremlin-connected head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower parliament house, said on Russia Today television that British authorities should help investigate the “very serious accusations against British secret services”.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s office said it would investigate Lugovoy’s statements as part of its own probe into Litvinenko’s killing, and was already checking similar claims he made under questioning.