Yet again Wikileaks has come good by exposing just how much we are being spied upon in this brave new digital world – the Vault 7 release has provided the proof for what many of us already knew/suspected – that our smart gadgets are little spy devices.
Here are a couple of interviews I did for the BBC and RT on the subject:
The 27th European Media Art Festival began this evening in Osnabrueck, Germany. In the wake of all the global intelligence whistleblowing that has gone on over the last few years, the theme for the artists of 2014 is “We, the Enemy“.
Do visit if you can – a lot of interesting and political art installations are on display, as well as films, music, and talks. I shall be doing a talk on speaking on Friday afternoon.
I had the pleasure of making a short speech at the opening ceremony this evening, and did an interview for national German TV channel ARD last night to publicise the festival.
Now I'm not a huge follower of US political theatrics. Give it a few years and the US of A will probably exit from the world stage pursued by a bear (or panda). So why waste your time on a dying beast? All you can do is try to avoid the death throes as best you can.
But this did pique my interest, purely from the Hollywood-blockbuster schlock value. The new Chair of the US Homeland Security Committee, Republican Congressman for New York Peter King, has opened a hearing called “The Extent of Radicalization (with a "z") in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.”
Now isn't it wonderful that esteemed politician Peter King has woken up to the dangers of "the enemy within" – or not? Over the last last few months he has flagrantly displayed his profound ignorance vis a vis the concept of terrorism. Last December he called for the designation of Wikileaks, the high-tech conduit extraordinaire for public-spirited whistleblowers around the world, as a "terrorist organistion".
And this from a politician who is reported to be a life-long supporter of the political wing of the Provisional IRA – another religious minority group that fought for its self-proclaimed ideals – and was for decades the "enemy within" the UK.
In fact, until 9/11 the US Irish community was by far the biggest funder of PIRA terrorism for decades – so don't believe everything that is written about Colonel Gaddafi of Libya.
I suppose it still holds true that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and Rep Peter King is clearly adhering to that point of view…..
Looking at the above video, I can't get out of my head that it's a bit like putting the fictional organised crime boss, Tony Soprano, in charge of a government committee investigating organised crime.
But it gets worse. King even mentions the dread phrase "despite what passes for conventional wisdom in certain circles, there is nothing radical or un-American in holding these hearings". Wasn't that also what a certain Senator Joe McCarthy said in the 1950s about the Communist witchhunts?
Such moronic statements would potentially be amusing – if it were not for the fact that Peter Chair is the King of the Homeland Security Committee of the world's dying and desperate super-power, the USA.
Oops, silly me, I muddled the words…..
But sadly he is, and no doubt the whole world will feel the repercussions of this. The morphing of the fictional Tony Soprano and paranoid Joe Kennedy has spawned a hellish brat – let's call him Emmanuel Goldstein, for ease of reference.
OK, so I'm not sure if my concept of Bleats (half blog, half tweet) is being grasped wholeheartedly. But so what – it makes me laugh and the Black Sheep shall perservere with a short blog post…..
So I'm a bit puzzled here. UK Prime Minister Dave Cameron is quoted in today's Daily Telegraph as saying that:
"It is not acceptable to have a situation where Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people using aeroplanes and helicopter gunships and the like and we have to plan now to make sure if that happens we can do something to stop it."
But do his American best buddies share that, umm, humane view? First of all they have the CIA assassination list which includes the names of US citizens (ie its own people); then those same "best buddies" may well resort to assassinating Wikileaks's Julian Assange, probably the most high profile dissident in international and diplomatic circles at the moment; plus they are already waging remote drone warfare on many hapless Middle Eastern countries – Yeman, Afghanistan, Pakistan…..
Oh, and now the UK government seems poised to launch covert spy drones into the skies of Britain. Even the UK's most right-wing mainstream newspapers, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, expressed concern about this today. Apparently these drones have yet to be weaponised…..
It's a slippery slope down to an Orwellian nightmare.
George Orwell is just so old-world, retro and quaintly British. Gone are the days of simple DoubleThink. The Americans inevitably had to supersize the concept.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was last week speaking at the George Washington University about political activism and freedom of expression:
Now we appear to have entered the realm of TrebleThink.
At the meeting Ray McGovern, army veteran, long-term CIA analyst, and now internationally-renowned peace activist chose to exercise his right to freedom of expression by standing up and silently turning his back on Clinton during her speech.
For his pains 71-year-old McGovern sustained painfully injuries while being forcibly removed by nameless "security personnel", before ending up in a tiny police cell. On his eventual release he had to take a taxi to hospital for treatment.
Hillary Clinton did not even stumble over her words during McGovern's arrest.
The startling hypocrisy of Clinton's speech is clear on three different fronts:
1) She is defending the rights of activists in the Middle East to speak out against corrupt governments, while ignoring the brutalisation of a fellow citizen for silently using those very rights in America.
2) She's doing so while speaking out about the vital role of internet freedoms – indeed standing behind a podium with the words "Internet Freedom" written on it – in informing citizens and spreading democracy. Yet at the same time a secretly-convened US Grand Jury is frantically scrabbling around for any pretext whatsoever to prosecute Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. And yet another is investigating attacks against the collaborating US corporations that pulled the plug on Wikileaks support last year. Ironically, on the same day as Clinton's speech, Twitter was in court fighting US government attempts to obtain personal information of alleged Wikileaks supporters. No doubt Clinton would condemn the former Egyptian government if it had done the same thing.
3) And let's not forget that the USA is hosting the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day this year too. This was announced on the very day Julian Assange was arrested in the UK.
The hypocrisy is flagrant. As I said, welcome to the world of TrebleThink. You read it here first….