I can’t wait for the WikiLeaks movie

Crikey readers have their say.

WikiLeaks: 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! Computers: 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?

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7 comments

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7 thoughts on “I can’t wait for the WikiLeaks movie

  1. Michael R James

    [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.]

    Next time Justin, spend a few milliseconds on checking your own incorrect “sweeping generalizations”; Googling copyright AND Assange would have turned up this yesterday: (the article is probably the most detailed treatment of this issue you will find).

    [nytimes.com/2010/12/08/world/08leak.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a22
    Justice Department Studies WikiLeaks Prosecution
    By CHARLIE SAVAGE Published: December 7, 2010

    Intellectual property law criminalizes the unauthorized reproduction of certain kinds of commercial information, like trade secrets or copyrighted music, films and software files. But those categories do not appear to cover government documents, which by law cannot be copyrighted and for which there is no ordinary commercial market.]

  2. Michael R James

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

    Get a grip, Niall. The publicity (if it has been noticed anywhere outside Australia) will do Rudd no harm whatsoever. We cannot say the same about Gillard and Macfarlane who look like right prats. Rudd, presumably by being outside the party mind control, is one of the few government ministers speaking some sense on Wikileaks and this cable nonsense, by correctly laying it at the feet of the hapless dumb Americans who allowed more than 2 million citizens to read 250,000 diplomatic cables.

    And do you seriously believe the arbiter of smart diplomacy or analysis are those same Americans? Anyone willing to buy into an American opinion on any of this, or world events, is beyond help. Just like most Americans they must be in an irony-free zone.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    Heaven’s Niall you are odd. The comments were made by two of Dubya’s best buddies who were pissed off because Rudd kept saying Iraq was the most dangerous foreign policy since Vietnam.

    If Dubya’s mates hated Rudd he gets my vote.

    And he has defended Assange when the gutless cowards McClelland and Gillard will not.

    Funny that just last month our high court said they were acting unlawfully locking up refugees outside the law.

  4. Michael R James

    Oops, in my 1.38 pm comment I meant Robert McClelland the AG, not Macfarlane.

    Good post Marilyn. I also believe that unlike the others, Rudd has looked a bit into the future and seen where this is leading: freedom to Assange and vindication of Wikileaks. Any embarrassment is mostly American, which they richly deserve.

  5. Guy Rundle

    Kathleen I didn’t dismiss three of the four charges. Based on the expert opinion of Mary Heath, whom I quoted at length, I suggested that three of the charges looked very difficult to get a conviction from (as would the fourth charge of rape, involving physical force).

    Secondly I pointed out that two of the charges were ‘ofredande’ – annoyance charges, a misdemeanour in Swedish law. These were the only accusations that were left in place when the initial charges were dismissed.

    Thirdly, I did argue that a law that takes a situation as ‘he said, she said’ as a morning glory tackle rub between two adults in a bed in a sexual relationship pushes the law so far into the fluid relations of everyday life that it is repressive to such a degree that it amounts to a net social negative

    Fourthly, I agree that character and sexual history should play no part in assessing a case. But we’re not required to leave our brains at the door. When you have a complainant who has:
    – been a gender equality officer at university
    -published a how-to revenege guide on lovers, including ‘lying’ in order to get the law involved
    – has attempted to delete tweets from the week after the alleged incidents occurred
    – has made a statement to the press saying there was no physical coercion involved in her accusations, and then producing a charge – the only charge that might guarantee extradition on its own – that suggests violent coercion.

    together with a process that is being run by a former Swedish political heavy, and proceeeds without publicly available evidence everytime Wikileaks hits a new stage in its ‘cablegate’ release, then I suggest that with Naomi Klein and many others, we are allowed to think critically about what is going on. It is not the complainant’s sexual etc behaviour that causes serious doubt about the charges in a charged political atmosphere – it is her juridical behaviour, the celebration of lying and revenge, and the attempt to destroy potential evidence.

    I wouldn’t get involved in it either, normally. But the fact that it may make it possible for Assange to end up for fifty years in a US supermax prison prompts many of us to wade into such matters and make an assessment.

  6. Guy Rundle

    actually an emendation – it is not the mere fact of being a gender equality officer that raises suspicions – it is that in combination with the publication of a revenge guide that uses all the knowledge that a gender equality officer would ordinarily have at hand to pursue legitimate cases.

  7. zut alors

    Rudd is looking like a level-headed statesman in relation to Assange. Unlike Gillard and McClelland who, in addressing the situation, engaged their mouths prior to their brains. Frankly, I’d LOVE to see them move to cancel Assange’s passport, what a nasty shock they’d get.

    Gillard hasn’t been savvy at judging the mood or focus of the Oz electorate and she’s not getting any better at it.

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