I'm posting from a Pirate Party party (no, not a typo) at the Amsterdam de Dam sim in Second Life in support of Wikileaks, where we are all declaring, "Hello, my name is Julian Assange."
Some good news and some bad news today on that story -
THE GOOD NEWS
Julian Assange was released on bail finally.
A hilarious yet very newsworthy machinima by NMA World Edition was disseminated on YouTube.
The US's reaction to the Wikileaks story is doing a lot more harm to America's reputation than the information itself [The Economist].
Today, the House Judiciary Committee held the first hearings on the Wikileaks issue and some surprisingly-hopeful things happened - most of the debate was actually about how the US Govt© was abusing the classification system to make things secret [The Hill] which should never have been placed in that category - exactly what Wikileaks has maintained is the basis for their release of this information.
Chairman John Conyers, Rep. William Delahunt, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Rep. Bobby Scott, Thomas Blanton and others in government appear to remember what the First Amendment and the American promise is all about and said so in sane and measured words - kudos, gentlemen; America needs your voices now.
THE BAD NEWS
The US© continues to show just how asinine, paranoid and juvenile it is as it has been doing since it hijacked the Sept. 11 catastrophe for its own craven and self-serving political agenda.
After locking up Bradley Manning in solitary confinement for 7 months (a condition most of the rest of the world views as torture), they are now aiming for crushing his mind with a plea bargain if he attests that Julian "conspired" with him to get him to obtain the documents and films Bradley gave to Wikileaks. Here's the info on that [The Independent] and a story from Wired.
The USJusticeDept© is also attempting to charge Assange under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) with conspiracy. It would be hard for the USGov© to press charges against Assange/Wikileaks under the Espionage Act (according to the Congressional Research Service [pdf link]) without seriously compromising diplomatic relations and legal precedent and also dragging the 800-lb gorilla NY Times into a wikked First Amendment fight. Instead, they are now angling to pressure Manning into stating that Assange actively conspired with him. This makes prosecution under the CFAA much easier and helps the Fedz© avoid those nasty ethical and Constitutional complications.
So, the release of millions of documents detailing the systemic abuse and misrepresentation of information to me by my government is somehow a conspiracy to commit computer hacking and steal classified documents?!?! Surely that is a clear example of the use of an empty "boogeyman" triggerword to generate hysteria and emotional response; it is the black art of psyops and classic agitprop.
This blog is ostensibly about art; it so happens that my art intersected with life last spring in 'State of Mind [SLurl]," an installation at Four Bridges Project [weblink] which has become more relevant since its opening. It is also a study and critique of art; namely, that of using the media as a propaganda machine and Delphi method to gauge the public social barometer as to what is "acceptable" and a prime example of the Overton Window effect, a sophisticated method of manipulating a debate.
These are certainly valid grounds for examination of the artistic merits of this issue, as this is the outcome of the first generation raised on mass media and television and is strictly McLuhanesque in its conduct and theoretical underpinnings. We can study not only the story but how the story is being manufactured and delivered.
We are seeing the real connections between government and media without the usual soft-focus and Aural Exciter-enhanced spin and masking. We know now who Amazon, Paypal, Mastercard and Visa bow to and why Wall Street can bathe in champagne and swill 300USD-a-bottle single-malt Scotch while eviscerating the US economy. We know a Swedish prosecutor can be bought or pressured by the USGovt©, and so can the British Crown Prosecution Service.
We know the Crown Prosecution Service lied to Julian's attorneys and told them it was Sweden who asked them to ensure Julian be held in prison and not released on bail. We know that certain Senators and Congressmen calling for extra-legal means of dealing with Julian Assange are a shameful insult and traitorous to the ideals and aspirations of the founders of this country.
We also know much more about the shadow politics behind most news outlets by their stance, factual reportage and rumor/op-ed fulminating on this issue. I mean, we always knew who Fox News was beholden to, but some surprising informational links have surfaced in this story.
We're seeing the attempts to discredit Wikileaks as "not a legitimate journalistic outlet" and therefore not subject to the protections of the First Amendment by old-guarde media, who are scared poopless by the net. We're watching the responsibility of an organization being shifted to one individual because it's easier to prosecute/persecute an individual. We're watching informational overload used to shift a debate from issues to personalities. We're watching the production of a cover story.
This is the Information Revolution and you are smack-dab in the middle of it. This is not a textbook case study or a "what if"; this revolution is right where you are sitting now.
"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" [youtube]