Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Rebellion Counter Attacks.

It seems a number of big corporations that have sided with the establishment and recently withdrawn support for Wikileaks were targeted by hackers today.

This has to be the first time I can remember an online battle of such ferocity between what we regard as the establishment and those who stand against it. But this goes further as the battle occupies real as well as cyber space: not only is Julian Assange in jail, but his assets have been seized and the wikileaks site has had its domain name pulled (although its still available via its raw IP address of PayPal terminated its connection with Wikileaks and so prevented online donations to the site. These are just some of the moves made by the establishment to silence what is an embarrassing site.

However, Julian Assange isn't wikileaks. He's on the board, but there are a number of less public people on the board, all dedicated to continue the open principles of wikileaks and the internet as a whole. Even now as the establishment tries to silence it, wikileaks stays steadfastly available thanks to it's many mirror sites.

I'm sure this battle isn't over.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Establishment Strikes Back.

After stirring up a hornets nest over the past few months, It seems the establishment dogs have been let loose on the Wikileaks owner Julian Assange.

Yesterday a warant for his arrest was handed in to New Scotland Yard and his assets were frozen in Switzerland.

I assume the first is to curtail his movements so the establishment know where he is and the second is to limit his access to sufficient funds to mount a credible defence.

I had hoped he wouldn't hand himself in, as once he's in the grip of the establishment, its all to easy for things to worsen for him. Most likely a new, worse charge brought against him, probably in relation to the US leaks or conspiracy to allow those leaks. I expect an extradition to the US will be asked for.

The bad news is he did indeed go to the Police who had to fulfil the arrest warrant and arrested him. Of course being obedient servants of the establishment they curtailled his movement by refusing to allow bail
despite promises from a number of famous, trustworthy individuals. I'm actually disappointed in his actions, because I thought a former member of the hacking community would understand that the knives were out for him and that he was at serious risk of incarceration. He may see himself as some sort of martyr, but in the end he'll be portrayed as some American-hating nutter with an anti-establishment leaning thrown in. Probably as a result we'll see tighter legislation regarding the internet in the US and eventually here as well.

He now remains in custody, primarily to serve the Swedish arrest warrent, but you just know the Americans, already baying for blood, will not be satisfied by him being convicted in a foreign court. He will have to be tried in a US court in order to see that partcularly US version of justice to be served.

Monday, 6 December 2010

An Autistics Place in Society?

If you haven't already, please follow this link to Anna Raccoon's place.

I have a grown-up autistic son and understand really well how someone can misunderstand the actions of someone with higher functioning autism or aspergers syndrome. After all, you can talk to them as a normal person, they can converse quite well, but its only once you get to know them you notice the holes in their personality, the things that are lacking that make a whole person.

It may be the lack of social graces, or the liking for repetitive tasks or clinging to familiar patterns or places, it may be the fantastical goals they set themselves, it may be their wish to withdraw, or their irrational anger at being unable to express their emotions. But if you spend time with them, you will eventually understand what makes a higher functioning autistic different.

I have experienced first hand the grey area that such people fall into, the same one the authorities are using to incarcerate Stephen Neary and the same one the authorities use to wriggle out of providing support. Its a win-win situation for the local authority busy-bodies: on the one hand they can deny support until something bad happens and then use that grey area to remove the same person from society.

Having not been born "Normal", means the higher functioning autistic is denied the support a a normal person who later on in life develops a recognisable medical mental illness receives. Not being "sub-normal" means the higher functioning autistic, who has an IQ above the arbitrary limit defining learning disabilities is also denied the support a person with a learning disability gets.

Of course if those local authorities become engaged at the start and provide minimal but essential light-handed support (all that most HFAs need), then it would vastly improve the lives of higher functioning autistics allowing them to live decent lives and avoid the high-cost option of locking them up.

I know there are many HFAs either homeless or in prison. Homeless because they can't see the importance of paying bills or in prison because their behaviour doesn't conform to "normal" social behaviour.

In an age where inclusion is a supposed hot topic, the mandatory legal inclusion of many racial, disability, sexuality and social groups still refuses to include higher functioning autistics. They still have to step onto the first rung of the ladder to full inclusion in society and their exclusion is our loss and shame.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

In Europe, but not run by Europe.

Remember that phrase? Its been chanted as a mantra by the Conservatives for decades. The concept being to fool the public into thinking we're still only loosely connected to the EU.

Of course the reality is different, with thousnads of directives spewing forth from Brussels an d Strasbourg, all of which directly affect our lives and none of which our government can oppose. Of course if you start do rail against the great United Europe project, you're met with the phrase above. If you look closely and provide proof that we are in fact run by Europe, the secondary line of we're better off in the EU than out of it gets trotted out. Immediately you get tales of dire consequences: of barriers to trade being put up, of increased costs due to dissimilar currencies, etc, etc.

But lookm at Switzerland: they are in Europe, but are not in the European Union. Yet, even surrounded on all sides by members of the EU, they continue to survive and thrive economically. They have no need to hand over their governmental powers to the EU, as they're doing alright thank you very much.

In fact just a few days ago, US based firm Kraft announced that a number of key jobs would be moved to Switzerland, effectively moving the head office offshore in order to gain a tax advantage. How can this be? How can a company with its manufacturing base in an EU country save money by moving outside the EU? Isn't this exactly what we've been told would increase costs? Isn't this the sort of thing we are constantly warned against every time a vote comes around to increase or tighten EU powers in this country?

So, given that one company at least thinks its better off trading across EU borders rather than trading within them, would we really be worse off outside the EU?

Would we increase costs by extracting ourselves from the EU? I seriously doubt it as we can save the cost of EU membership immediately. Subsequent to our extraction we can repeal some of the stupid directives from the EU that indirectly add costs to our lives. Would trading with EU countries be more difficult? I doubt it, as China continues to trade huge volumes with the EU from outside EU borders.

I really can't see a downside. All I need is a chance to vote on it. Fat chance of that while Parliament is filled with EU yes-men. Where's the democracy in that? Its about time an anti-EU voice was heard there.