Today Spotrick and I missed out on our Social Media Adelaide Christmas Picnic to attend the local rally in support of Wikileaks on the steps of Parliament House, Adelaide. Spotrick took along is camera, so this is what it looked like:
There were around 300 people there in a very peaceful rally. Several Green politicians spoke, plus other representatives of various interests, such as the perennial Socialist Alliance. There were a few good slogans, eg. “Wikileaks and the Chamber of Secrets”, and the Quakers were there as usual with their wicker broom and placards promoting Peace and Free Speech.
Everyone agreed that Wikileaks is a good thing and Julian Assange, as a facilitator of open information, should not be hunted down and pilloried for any reason. The issue of sexual assault or other charges against him in Sweden seem an annoyance and nothing to do with Wikileaks the organisation. There is speculation about Swedish deals to allow the USA to extradite Assange to face charges of goodness knows what, but there are many possibilities about bringing charges of any sort against him- conspiracy? creating a diversion? trying to malign him in the eyes of the public? stopping him from speaking out because he’s locked up? He doesn’t generally speak much himself about anything, so it’s difficult to narrow down the motives that might exist.
We all agree that the accusations of Sarah Palin are the rantings of an underpowered intellect and that there ought to be a law preventing her from inciting intercultural conflict by calling for his capture or assassination like Osama bin Laden. Imagine if people said this about Bill Gates because he released a pile of information someone didn’t like? Sheesh!
Australia’s Labor Prime Minister [Labor is similar to Democrats in the USA], has made herself very unpopular with members of her own party by saying that Julian Assange has broken the law in leaking internationally sensitive information. However, it’s unclear whose laws and which particular laws may have been broken- none, we guess. Our new Attorney General has also put his foot in it by declaring that he IS NOT impartial about the correct administration of justice in our country after all! He wants the Federal Police to take 18 months out of their valuable public service time to hunt down crimes of which Julian Assange could be considered guilty- although he can’t think of any right this minute. I want a NEW NEW Attorney General- one who stays out of any particular dispute and only looks at the way in which justice is administered- not doling it out himself!
The business about Wikileaks releasing the list of sites in Australia that might be strategically important to the USA is a terrible Furphy- who doesn’t know where the trans-ocean cable comes ashore in Sydney? It’s pretty obvious to anyone except the blind and I’m sure someone would tell them if they asked nicely. But who cares if there is an open-cut bauxite mine in northern Australia? Is a terrorist going to blow it up the same way the miners blow it up every day? Huh?? Where’s the problem? Bauxite is the commonest substance mined from the earth’s crust and costs a small fortune to smelt, making rich profits for suppliers of electricity and virtually no one else! As for where Midazolam is manufactured, eg. a Fauldings laboratory in Victoria- it’s made all over the place- I’m sure the US could get plenty from other places to make Australians forget stuff they didn’t want them to remember if they really wanted to! We might be grateful to forget if it’s really that bad!
The business with Visa, PayPal, Mastercard etc is pretty smelly. We have let these monster private companies take over governance of the world’s monetary transactions. We should have kept a publicly operable back-up system so they didn’t grab the power inherent in the role. Silly humans- it actually worries me quite a bit now. We don’t want companies to hold onto OUR money instead of paying people they don’t like! Maybe it’s a good thing that these companies showed their hand, giving us a chance to get a reserve cash system in place for a real global emergency. How would it be if my bank decided it wouldn’t pay my phone company’s bill because that company was making a takeover bid for my bank?? Whose money is it then? Very dodgy state of affairs for the world.
When we had a scratch dinner with friends tonight it felt like the old student days- we sat there drinking wine (not me), eating and talking politics and ethics for hours!We are in a real quandary about how to get good government. We’ve just re-elected our Labor government by the slimmest of margins, against a Liberal Party [like Republicans, Conservatives] that appeared to have no policies of its own, except to reverse the policies changed during the old Labor regime. They have NOTHING new to offer and basically believe “user pays”. They want to cut down social services, cut taxes to the rich, make health as private as they can and make economic conditions favourable for big companies who give most of their profits to their CEOs. The Greens seem committed to doing something about Climate Change, but their other policies are non-existent or too simplistic to work in the current complex social environment- so we can’t have a parliament dominated by them. So who are we going to elect?
Anyone for yet another new political party in Australia? What will we call it- how about the Australian Democrats? Hmmm… now that sounds familiar, and NOT very promising.
PS. What would our Aboriginal Australians say is our best national option? Anything new on that front?