Kathleen Maltzahn writes: Re. “Rundle: ringside for Assange’s court appearance, in all its gory detail” (yesterday, item 1). In a free society, whistleblowers would be protected, not threatened. In a fair society, women alleging r-pe would have their allegation heard fairly in court, not be slandered.  These principles are not in conflict. It is perfectly possible to be a defender of open government and to have committed a crime against a woman. It is perfectly possible to be a defender of open government and not to have committed any crimes at all. None of us can know if Mr Assange is guilty of the charges brought against him.

For Guy Rundle to suggest we can dismiss three of the four charges is ridiculous. To write off the Swedish legal system is even more ridiculous. To suggest, as others (not Mr Rundle) have done, that these women have set a “honey trap” for Mr Assange is to demonstrate the same contempt for fair process that supporters of WikiLeaks rightly denounce when it is displayed by governments in the context of war.

Are these allegations being used by enemies of WikiLeaks to persecute Mr Assange? Most probably. Does this mean that the women must be lying? That they must have made these accusations as part of a grand conspiracy? That they should be slandered and exposed? No.

The failure of our government — or those of the US or Sweden or many others — to denounce threats against Mr Assange and his family is deplorable. The willingness of multinational businesses to use their might to censor WikiLeaks by taking down their website is disgraceful. The bullying of WikiLeaks by governments that are not brave enough to take on the newspapers that also published the cables is hypocritical.

The fact that justice systems routinely ignore violence against women by prominent men is dismaying. None of these are the responsibility of the two women who have made allegations against Mr Assange.

The fact that world powers may use a rape allegation to allow Assange to be extradited to the US does not mean the women involved are not making genuine accusations, or that they — or Mr Assange — are not entitled to due process.

Blake Murdoch writes: British supergroup Muse played its first Sydney stadium gig at the Acer Arena Thursday night. About the only one complete sentence uttered by lead (everything) Matt Bellamy was a dedication to a “real Australian, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.”

What was the song? This relatively new Muse fan wasn’t quite sure, so asked some younger fans. They had no recollection of any dedication or what I was talking about. Wiki what? Julian who?

Bad sound? Absolutely not. Acoustics were amazing.

No idea from the younger generation? Probably. Unfortunately.

Brilliant stage show though. I’ll probably never need optic lasering for at least 20 years.. Thanks anyway Mr Bellamy -I’m sure the band’s sentiment wasn’t lost on the many other thousands upon thousands chanting along. Happy to be told which song it was though!

Jim Forbes writes: Re. “Welcome to the internet wars” (yesterday, item 2). Bernard Keane mentioned 4chan in his WikiLeaks/internet war bit yesterday. 4chan is a wild old spot, the internet’s version of the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars — tatty to look at, inhabited by some real oddbods, and full of potential dangers.

Significantly, it’s  peppered with child p-rn, sometimes behind links that may not indicate anything untoward — land mines for the unsuspecting, curious or those with clumsy fingers.  Extreme browsing caution warranted, whether at work or home.

An errant click of the mouse might well result in a knock on the door from law enforcement authorities.

Justin Pettizini writes: It is not true that WikiLeaks has done nothing illegal. In whatever western countries it has published US cables it has breached copyright law.

This mightn’t be a criminal offence in most jurisdictions but it is still illegal. The owner of the copyright (the US Government?) could take action under copyright law.

Insofar as WikiLeaks has published the cables in Australia (and I admit that where something is published when it is published to the internet is problematic) it has breached S.36(1) of the Copyright Act 1968 and by publishing whole items in full without analysis it would seem to have forfeited any right to claim the fair dealing exemptions for news reporting under S.42.

I’m not opposing what WikiLeaks has done and I abhor the anti-WikiLeaks action by Visa, Amazon and others (whether under state pressure or not) as well as the apparent criminal prosecution of J Assange on what appear to be trumped up charges, but let’s not our support for the cause lead us into sweeping and incorrect generalisations.

Niall Clugston writes: One of the major Australian casualties of WikiLeaks has to be Kevin Rudd.

Let’s go back five years to the much-reviled Latham Diaries where “Iron Mark” described him as a “prima donna” with a “public standing among people who have never actually met him” (p 364), and a “commentator, not a political advocate”, whose foreign policy flagship was an “empty vessel” and who “doesn’t write books or policy material, and never will” (p 357). Harsh words from a bitter loser, you might have thought.

Fast forward to June this year when, as a first-term Prime Minister, he called a leadership spill and then, after crunching the numbers, didn’t even bother to stand.

Now we learn the American Embassy, whom the former Australian diplomat courted, didn’t think much of his foreign policy ability.

What a bizarre political career, apparently a mirage created by the Sunrise program. At least we know that, to use the term coined (and dismissed) by Latham, he was not a “Maryland candidate” owned by the American government (p 212). That’s Mark Arbib!

Jim Hanna writes: Can’t wait for the WikiLeaks movie. Like the other great reality film of our time, The Social Network, the WikiLeaks movie will tell you how it all unfolded in a couple of hours. But which story will it focus on? Surely every country now has enough material to do its own film version — with sequels!


Johanna Botman writes: In the late 1990s many in the IT industry were involved in ensuring that their computer systems did not fail with the ticking over of the clock to 2000. And we did that successfully, so successfully that we were ridiculed for even thinking that there was a problem.

Within those processes were great attention to detail to ensure that nothing failed. Software and hardware were updated. Risk assessments were undertaken.  Business continuity plans were hatched, tested, refined and confirmed.

In the intervening years since then,  in the scramble to deliver dividends, anything that does not create income for a business has not been given much of a priority. Information systems do not ‘make money’ for organisations and are seen as a drain on resources.

For both the NAB recently, and Virgin earlier in the year, backups failed and business continuity was affected for unacceptably long periods of time. When was the last time either company tested their business continuity plans? They will not be the only companies finding themselves in difficult and embarrassing situations. Who else amongst our largest companies have not provided adequate resources for their information systems?