GaryD

Julian Assange - hero or villain?

78 posts in this topic

Hi,

Some people view him as a hero - some think he's a bloody nuisance - and some have suggested that he should be assassinated.

WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is currently seeking refuge in Ecuador - to avoid extradition to Sweden because he's concerned that the Swedes will hand him over to the US.

Australia's Foreign Minister claims that the US is not seeking extradition. Sweden says there's no request for extradition to the US. The US says it has no plans to extradite Assange.

If you were Julian Assange, would you believe them?

Gary

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OK, I'll bite.

He was the equivelent of a terrorist for many years of his life, hacking into Aussie business/accounts. Hackers cost billions in damage and lost production each year. The estimates vary, however the lowest are still astronomical. Somehow, through all of it, he became this self-proclaimed "Robin Hood" sort of character. He claims to be an "ethical" hacker and not to damage to persons, etc. I think he's a criminal and many seem to forget he began that career on the "wanted" list in friendly 'ol OZ. He was an outlaw at home and then took his trade globally.

As to the US issues with him, that's an interesting debate. He exposed some ugly truths, but many feel the issue is National Security. I would pose the question to other nations - Do you want your Gov't/Military business hacked and then posted on the internet for the world to see? The ramifications could get your service people killed or possibly expose your country to risk. So maybe nobody died in this case but who's to say they won't were he allowed to go on with his gig?

I believe the focus shouldn't be the individual incident, so much as the concept of hacking into and exposing sensitive material to the world. When it comes to National Security, how do you think Russia would handle it? How about Israel? China? What about Australia?

Maybe I'm missing some facts and I certainly didn't grow up with him in the news as many of you have. Personally, I have experienced the pain and lost productivity caused by viruses and hacking in business. Many have experienced identity theft and any number of crimes commited by this class of criminal.

What am I missing about Mr. Assange?

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Hi Tpilk,

OK, I'll bite.

While we have certainly engaged in spirited debate about all manner of aquaponics-related things, APHQ has never been a place for political discussions.

I thought I might "test the water" - just to see how well we coped with it.

Your passionate - but measured - response confirms my perceptions that we are a generally well-behaved lot......so far.:wink:

Thank you.

Gary

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Hi Gary,

I thought I might "test the water" - just to see how well we coped with it.

Not sure I'm a good "test of the water" as I'm not exactly of the "popular opinion" around here :)

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Hi Tpilk,

A debate can't occur if everybody has the same point of view about something.

Popular opinion rarely influences what I think......about anything.

Gary

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Hi Gary,

Not sure I'm a good "test of the water" as I'm not exactly of the "popular opinion" around here :)

I don't reckon you have to be of popular opinion Tpilk, You are respectful of people, and are not afraid to voice what you think ..can't ask for any more than that...

Cheers.

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He is nothing more than a criminal hiding behind the cloak of freedom fighter,or better put terrorist, he commits crimes such as espionage and treason. Along with apparently sex crimes in Sweden as well which must be very serious as the swedish people are fairly open about sex, so that kind of has me wondering. There are many freedoms people have in this world but what he is doing no one has the right to do. he places other peoples lives at risk for his own personal gain.

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I don't know if is he hero or not.

IMO we don't know a lot information to see how deep is rabbit hole is.

Panem et circenses.

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Hi,

He is nothing more than a criminal hiding behind the cloak of freedom fighter,or better put terrorist, he commits crimes such as espionage and treason.

The British said similar things about George Washington.

Let's deal with facts:

  • He obtained (and made public) information about the communications between several governments......which exposed their hypocritical diplomatic facades.
  • He created the circumstances for embarrassment of a number of heads of state and other senior national figures - based not on what he said about anyone but premised on what they said about each other.
  • He is not responsible for any deaths - according to the US.

I'm not defending him but rather pointing out the obvious.

A question......"If you find yourself involved in a fight, who says you have to settle for the battleground of your opponent?"

If you're against overwhelming odds, why would you adopt the rules of engagement of the enemy?

Gary

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I haven't seen any evidence of malicious hacking presented. There would seem to be a difference, im my view, of those who engage in such activity for personal gain and those who seek information to expose wrongs, lies and cheating.

Assange cannot, by definition, be accused of treason, which the US definitely has been talking about doing, because he is not from the US nor does he hold US citizenship.

The revealed details of his supposed 'sex crimes' also bear scrutiny. He didn't actually commit any violence as near as I was able to ascertain - he slept with one woman while supposedly in a relationship with another. The details seem to suggest the relationship was more in her mind than in fact - he picked them up and had an affair while touring and doing shows in Sweden.

And even then, the aggrieved woman seemed ready to let it all go but an 'enthusiastic' prosecutor persuaded her to lay charges. The original reports were that the Swedish authorities were going to let it all slide, but once charges were laid it got blown up into much more than it appeared to be initially.

And there were definitely reports that the US wanted Sweden to release him into US hands - whether they still want that is up for grabs I guess, but they were talking treason charges.

And in all this, is it not strange, that nobody is shocked, horrified or even particularly interested in the details revealed of corruption, manipulation and personal gain by those entrusted with running our countries? Might it be the smokescreen has worked quite nicely thank you - we all stir around about supposed misconduct and ignore the revelations showing the depth of greed and manipulation our various officials and corporate types are using to make us dance to their tune.

This is the 2nd time in recent years they (The Powers That Be) have indulged in exactly the same tactics - the Climategate revelations caused a stir about the evils of hacking a University and ignored the massive corruption, cheating, lying and manipulation of both people and data behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming scam.

In both cases billions of dollars are involved, public monies are being used to build immense personal fortunes and the revelation of misdeeds is covered by obfuscating the issue with petty crimes being blown up as significant while the real crimes are being ignored by the Mainstream Media.

It's hard to feel sorry for the victims in all this when they line up so eagerly to be fed their daily BS diet and clamour so loudly for the castigation of those who attempt to show them the lack of sustenance in their bowls.

le sigh...

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OK, I'll bite.

How do you think Russia would handle it? How about Israel? China? What about Australia?

What am I missing about Mr. Assange?

Hi folks,

I can't say I like what I hear about this character at all.... nor do I agree with what he is said to of done.

I think Australia would just let him go, and he would just disappear in China, Russia and Israel....

As for him being a Terrorist...Well I don't know...I know I certainly wouldn't like my identity, money and whatever else was personal to be stolen. But terrorist?....

Gary said let's deal with the facts....OK

As far as I can see he has been accused of many things....

He is up on charges in Sweden of sexual harassment...

What other charges is he up on?...anywhere?...

If he is up on charges then he has an obligation to face a fair court over them...I think the Swedish courts would be fair..... so I don't think he should at all avoid them...

The problem I see is..... if the US decide to charge him with crimes against their national security, would they judge him fairly? My answer to that is.... looking at what happened to David Hicks( I don't agree with what he is said to of done either) and what is still happening in prisons like Guantanamo Bay... then I doubt it.....

What are you missing Pugo?...Don't know....maybe I'm missing the same things...

Just my thoughts...

Cheers.

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Hi Tpilk,

When it comes to National Security, how do you think Russia would handle it? How about Israel? China?

Why would you choose three of the worst examples (in the developed world) when it comes to upholding the principle of freedom of speech.

Why not choose Norway, Sweden or New Zealand?

As for Australia......the regrettable example of Australian politicians around the David Hicks affair leaves me with no option but to plead "no contest." While we remain among the more egalitarian societies in the world, we suffer the constant embarrassment of our kowtowing political leaders. One of Australia's redeeming features is that its population generally doesn't take itself (and particularly its political leaders) too seriously.

Do you want your Gov't/Military business hacked and then posted on the internet for the world to see?

When it comes to Government "business" I'm of the view that the more transparent things are, the better. The more that the world knows about the machinations of the military/industrial/political elite in our countries, the greater the likelihood that government will be democratic, accountable and acting in the general interests of their nations.

Gary

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Hi Gary,

A couple of points I'd like to address from your rely.

Why would you choose three of the worst examples (in the developed world) when it comes to upholding the principle of freedom of speech.

You hit it on the head exactly - Australia not included, the countries I mentioned would squash someone like Julian Assange like a bug. People die when they cross those gov'ts. The US is ALWAYS under the microscope, in this case they have told Sweden and the world they won't attempt extradition. But that's not good enough for many of us - we're still looking for a conspiracy or ulterior motive or something.

As to the sexual charges in the J.A. case, it is sounding more and more like there was a "setup" of some kind. I believe there is no punishment severe enough for sexual predators, but the facts I've read in this case would warrant much furthur investigation. The last I read, the Swede's aren't pressing charges - they are simply "detaining" Mr. Assange. I believe this is partly why the US "conspiracy" comes into play. People are connecting the lack of charges and his detention with some extridition theory.

Time will tell - I'm sure Julian's compadres will mine whatever data they need to prove one way or another.

When it comes to Government "business" I'm of the view that the more transparent things are, the better. The more that the world knows about the machinations of the military/industrial/political elite in our countries, the greater the likelihood that government will be democratic, accountable and acting in the general interests of their nations.

The point I wanted to stress in my previous post is that it's not the specific incident that's the issue. It's a hacker's ability and willingness to break into classified Gov't information. Previous case aside (where no one was hurt), the precident is potentially dangerous. Once again, service people, not to mention citizens in foreign countries (or in their own country) could be at risk if certain information is hacked, especially involving national security.

I think your statement is great in theory, but the world is much more complex than that. There are too many people in this world willing, hoping and praying for the opportunity to take down Western countries/citizens by exploiting any critical information aquired by hacking or any other means. Both of our countries have lost inocent people, just because some radical group had the info and wanted to make a point.

Edited by tpilk (see edit history)

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Hi,

The US is ALWAYS under the microscope, in this case they have told Sweden and the world they won't attempt extradition. But that's not good enough for many of us - we're still looking for a conspiracy or ulterior motive or something.

I think most people would assume that China and Russia would get up to all sorts of things.....including torture, false imprisonment and the denial of natural justice......because they have a bad track record for such stuff and they've also been traditionally secretive. Israel has been a bit more clever but we know (for example) that they dealt very harshly with the scientist that revealed the existence of their nuclear program - about which most of the world has been curiously silent - while condemning every other country with similar aspirations.

On the other hand, we know that the US has engaged in torture, false imprisonment and the denial of natural justice......because they've been outed (by their own citizens) and it has resulted in court cases and subsequent publicity. While it might be cold comfort to some, the fact that the US holds itself up to such scrutiny offers a glimmer of hope that democracy might one day again underpin the rule of law

As to the sexual charges in the J.A. case, it is sounding more and more like there was a "setup" of some kind. I believe there is no punishment severe enough for sexual predators, but the facts I've read in this case would warrant much furthur investigation. The last I read, the Swede's aren't pressing charges - they are simply "detaining" Mr. Assange. I believe this is partly why the US "conspiracy" comes into play. People are connecting the lack of charges and his detention with some extridition theory.

I agree with the notion that something's on the nose about the sex charges......so what's the reason that they don't just get dropped?

I'm rather less convinced by the US government's response to the question of extradition. I agree that they've said that they have not (yet) pursued extradition - but a quickly convened grand jury will change that......anytime it suits a federal prosecutor. Weasel words from politicians are the rule rather than the exception......and the devil is always in the detail.

The point I wanted to stress in my previous post is that it's not the specific incident that's the issue. It's a hacker's ability and willingness to break into classified Gov't information. Previous case aside (where no one was hurt), the precident is potentially dangerous. Once again, service people, not to mention citizens in foreign countries (or in their own country) could be at risk if certain information is hacked, especially involving national security.

I'm inclined to be guided by the motivation of the hacker. If they are attempting to secure evidence of criminal acts on the part of public officials, for example, I would judge them differently than if they were looking to extort money from a small business operator.

I struggle to find sympathy for banks, corporations and others who perpetrate misery on the general populace.....when some anti-social geek creates a little mayhem for them. There are times when I'd like to have the knowledge and skills required to repay some of their misdeeds, in a similar way, myself.

The occasional Wikileaks-style event may serve as a warning to corrupt politicians and corporations that they're not going to get it all their own way when it comes to screwing the ordinary citizen.

The best way for governments to avoid community-minded hackers off their backs is to keep their hands out of the public purse, their noses out of other countries' affairs and industry lobbyists out of their offices......then they wouldn't accrue secrets that need hiding......and revealing.

Gary

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Hi Gary,

You make some valid points. No doubt the US has engaged in some very aggressive techniques when dealing with terrorists. I guess the best I can do is try to convey the shock and devestation the country faced at the time. When you lose so many people is such a way, people find ways to justify extreme actions. Many of us who remember watching those events happen had/have little sympathy for those on the waterboards, etc. Right or wrong, extreme action create extreme reactions....Sort of goes to your statement below as to hackers.

I'm inclined to be guided by the motivation of the hacker. If they are attempting to secure evidence of criminal acts on the part of public officials, for example, I would judge them differently than if they were looking to extort money from a small business operator.

I struggle to find sympathy for banks, corporations and others who perpetrate misery on the general populace.....when some anti-social geek creates a little mayhem for them. There are times when I'd like to have the knowledge and skills required to repay some of their misdeeds, in a similar way, myself.

My issue with your statement and attitude toward the hackers is along the lines of at what point are they crossing the line? Or maybe who qualifies as a "deserving" target of such attacks? Of course our discussion is theoretical, but that's a bad can of worms to open and then try to manage.

There are folks plotting away today as we speak, both inside and outside of our countries trying to make a similar decision....who should we blow up today? Who is deserving?

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I don't think that because of Assange will be more terrorist attack. It's more like this:

1. When good guys is attacked by small group of bad guys it's terrorism, I agree.

2. When bad is attacked by small group of good guys it's freedom fighters, I agree too.

In 1. if I was bad guy , I think for my self that I'm freedom fighter.

In 2. if I was bad guy , I think that they are terrorist.

Unfortunately , we are all right and not at the same time.

So, nothing good can't came up of this who is right and who is not.

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There are folks plotting away today as we speak, both inside and outside of our countries trying to make a similar decision....who should we blow up today? Who is deserving?
There certainly are such folks. And Wikileaks has made it clear many of them are those we have placed in positions of trust to run our own countries. Others are heads of business whom wikileaks makes quite clear are predatory psychopaths with zero interest in behaving in a civilised fashion or respecting the rights and lives of others.

Assange may not be a Jesus figure (& who amongst any of us would be?) but as near as I can tell he has never made his work about personal gain and wikileaks has been VERY careful to not release things that might get innocent people killed. I would say, based on what I have seen come out, as well as the few facts I've managed to glean from the hyperbole and outright smear campaign being waged in the media, that Julian and wikileaks have the moral high ground - in fact I doubt you can SEE the US Govt and Corporate grounds from where wikileaks is standing.

By what right are these 'leaders' (I think I just got a little vomit in my mouth at calling them such) killing people, destroying country's economies and ripping off anyone with even a shred of rights to a resource? How is it at all a moral thing to make up stories, accuse innocents of terrorism and assassinate leaders of other countries just so they can maximise their own profits?

How can we stand and watch such things happen and get all bothered about what is at best a very minor pecadillo (& one repeated by almost every male if he gets the chance) when such evil exists as is being shown VERY clearly by the content of the wikileaks revelations?

Where are the outraged columns in the media about the scams run by Govts to make sure we go to war on the people with the oil?

Where is the indignation that al Qaeda are such evils that we all have to be afraid of them and then the US puts them in charge of Libya?

Why are we not upset that the US had zero issues with the Taliban until they reneged on an agreement and gave the oil pipeline contract to a French company?

How many column inches have been spent trying to make Assange look like an arsehole so the Joe-in-the-street will ignore what wikileaks is trying to show them?

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You've summed it up quite well Journeyman. You've got all of the facts and listed all of the dynamics involved - makes me pity poor taliban and al qaeda. Of course Assange is not a "Jesus" figure - he's a common, convicted criminal. Here is a little clip out of the "other" wiki:

In 1987, after turning 16, Assange began hacking under the name "Mendax" (derived from a phrase of Horace: "splendide mendax", or "nobly untruthful").[2] He and two other hackers joined to form a group they named the International Subversives. Assange wrote down the early rules of the subculture: "Don't damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don't change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information".[2] The Personal Democracy Forum said he was "Australia's most famous ethical computer hacker."[52] The Australian Federal Police became aware of this group and set up "Operation Weather" to investigate their hacking. In September 1991, Mendax was discovered in the act of hacking into the Melbourne master terminal of Nortel, the Canadian telecommunications company.[2] In response the Australian Federal Police tapped Assange's phoneline and subsequently raided his Melbourne home in 1991.[53] He was also reported to have accessed computers belonging to an Australian university,[2] the USAF 7th Command Group in the Pentagon[54] and other organisations, via modem.[55] It took three years to bring the case to court, where he was charged with 31 counts of hacking and related crimes. Nortel said his incursions cost them more than $100,000. Assange's lawyers represented his hacking as a victimless crime. He pleaded guilty to 25 charges of hacking, after six charges were dropped, and was released on bond for good conduct with a fine of A$2,100.[2][56] The judge said "there is just no evidence that there was anything other than sort of intelligent inquisitiveness and the pleasure of being able to—what's the expression—surf through these various computers"[2] and stated that Assange would have gone to jail for up to 10 years if he had not had such a disrupted childhood.[54]

He was basically "enabled" to go on to bigger and better things. What I find interesting is the "Robin Hoodish" persona he has established. Even the Aussie courts let him off lightly. Maybe in your world what he does is ok. Turning over some dirt or discovering some hidden truth does not justify hacking and the damage and invasive nature of the crime. Once again, billions of dollars are lost each year because of it. Maybe you are a business owner? Some of these members are. They can have 100% of their business grind to a halt just because some 19 year old kid has the skills to do so. They don't just single out the big corporations, banks, gov't, etc. Their viruses don't discriminate. To someone who sits on a couch all day gaming andenjoying their playstations, these guys are heros. To those of us trying to make a living, well, he doesn't want me on his/her jury.

How many column inches have been spent trying to make Assange look like an arsehole so the Joe-in-the-street will ignore what wikileaks is trying to show them?

I differ with your opinion - Assange IS an ass_ole (we spell it differently).

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Hi Tpilk,

Even the Aussie courts let him off lightly.

Australian jurisprudence is less influenced by vested (political and economic) interest than it is the US - largely because judges are not elected to office and therefore are less beholden to partisan interests.

While many Australians are less than impressed with the leniency of some court decisions, there seems to be general acceptance that a harsh society perpetuates harsh crimes.

Capital punishment has not been part of the judicial process in this country for 50 years and our judges don't seem to see the value in formula-based sentencing.....like the mandatory lifetime sentences for repeat offenders.

The more egalitarian the society, the less perceived need to control the citizenry.

Gary

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One man's freedom fighter....is another man's terrorist.

Just like so many other things in life....it all comes down to which side of the fence your on.

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Hi Shane,

Just like so many other things in life....it all comes down to which side of the fence your on.

I think you hit it on the head.

Hi Gary,

Interesting thought:

While many Australians are less than impressed with the leniency of some court decisions, there seems to be general acceptance that a harsh society perpetuates harsh crimes.

Might be a cultural thing, or maybe just the "chicken or the egg" debate, but I would think the severity of the crime would drive the punishment. Perhaps I am interpretting your message wrong, but it sounds to me like you're saying "if we don't punish harshly, the criminals will commit lesser crimes" or something to that effect?

The more egalitarian the society, the less perceived need to control the citizenry.

Another great thought, though unrealistic...Also not related to the discussion. An egalitarian society would treat it's citizens fairly and "equally." That society however, is still capable of producing criminals. A murderer, a thief (white collar or street thug) makes no difference and, they exist in most all societies. Punishment means many things to those societies. To a victims family, maybe revenge or vindication. To the state, maybe a deterent or chance to rehabilitate?

Whatever the motivation, to believe that offering lesser or lighter sentencing will reduce the severity of crimes is a very hard sell to me.

Regardless, it's pretty clear the Julian Assange issue means very different things to us all. I find it interesting that a rebellion of sorts occured when Ms. Gillard spoke out against him/them - saying "he is a criminal." From the outside, it makes one wonder if they love and support Assange so much or is it really just another opportunity to kick Julia Gillard in the you-know-what?

I'm curious Gary,

Now that it's developing a bit, do you feel this kind of discussion is good for the forum?

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IMO I think having wider ranging discussions is a good thing. We get to know each other a little, we get some stimulus from things other than AP and we spend more time on these forums rather than being off in other places for other topics.

While some hackers cause damage, I would dearly love to see Nortel's costs listing. Unlike burglars, hackers don't destroy property trying to get in. They don't destroy locks nor break doors.

In Assange's instance, he didn't even cost the companies by selling their secrets to others. I think THAT is why the court was lenient; with no actual and demonstrable harm done it is difficult to justify ruining someone's life.

And I would trust Nortel about as far as I can kick their biggest building.

I work in computers and have done since 1987. I can't see how trying to lump all hackers into a bundle is going to benefit anyone. Many hackers go on to become IT Security experts and many never harm those they hack. The media likes to make out how bad these people are, but in many instances the harm done is only a potential and not an actual.

Climategate was made out to be some nasty work by subversive types, but if you know what you are looking at it is very clear the info was leaked by systems admins - nobody else would have had the multi-access levels needed to pull the data together from multiple servers and accounts.

Like Wikileaks, Climategate exposed criminal, unethical and manipulative acts; if we treat those who would expose the greed and corruption as terrorists and high-security criminals, who will we blame when we lose our freedoms, our society and our lives? Wikileaks proves beyond doubt that those who tell us how to live, who make our laws and who restrict our behaviour are among the worst humans produced in our society.

We would not know the depths of their depravity if it wasn't for those who risk their freedom to get the information and show it to us all. What they do is qualitatively different to the cracker who busts your shop security to steal your banking information.

Like GDubya with his 'you are with us or against us' trying to clump different peoples together into extremes is a dangerous habit to get into. We make careful distinction between those who kill for greed and those who kill for self-defence or protection of others; how can we do less for those who hack to expose the evil taking control of our society?

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The fact remains that the Australian Government is doing very little to assist Assange. he has not been charged with any crime and contrary to what Julia Gillard has said has not broken any laws.

Compare the support given to two Australians found guilty of possession of illegal drugs in Indonesia. Corby has had her sentence reduced while the 14 year old who bought dope in Bali was brought home to avoid further detention in Indonesia.

Assange's mistake was to rattle the cage of the US military-industrial empire. The present Labor Prime Minister has demonstrated she will go all the way with the USA unlike Rudd, who she backstabbed and replaced, quite likely for the same reasons that the US orchestrated the coup against Whitlam in the seventies. Rudd as PM or Rudd as foreign minister was not acceptable to US interests, especially given his popularity with voters in Australia.

Those who read beyond the mainstream press and have an awareness of the history of interference by the US in Australian politics will not dismiss this as conspiracy theory.

the elctronic media is the new battleground for hearts and minds, especially as we are now seeing the blatant takeover of the Australian Press, including the ABC by right wing forces.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/politics/australia-betrays-its-own-citizen-journalist/

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Hi Journeyman,

I agree with what you say about lumping various groups in together. In most instances, it shouldn't be done.

I don't agree with your position on hackers. What they do with the information isn't the point. Citizens, business and gov't SHOULD all have the right to keep and manage their own data internally. There will always be some who engage in illegal activitiy, but that is for a court and the legal process to approve invasive action. When someone breaks in (hacks) and steals, views, copies, sells or whatever, is criminal.

As I mentioned, Assange has a certain hero/celebrity status. He's also a great way to take a poke at the current gov't and of course, the US. That's fine and it's certainly nothing new. There are many, many conspiracy theories people love to kick around on the underground news outlets. I'd invite them all to shop around a bit - I'm sure China would like a new best friend. Wonder how that would work out for the conspiracy theorists?

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Hi Tpilk,

Might be a cultural thing, or maybe just the "chicken or the egg" debate, but I would think the severity of the crime would drive the punishment. Perhaps I am interpretting your message wrong, but it sounds to me like you're saying "if we don't punish harshly, the criminals will commit lesser crimes" or something to that effect?

That's no different here.....but it does appear to be a question of degrees. As I said in an earlier post, we don't have capital punishment - and one possible implication is that criminals may not feel quite so compelled to get rid of witnesses if their lives don't depend on it.

The other thing is that Australia has a very different culture around firearms - there are far fewer of them (on a per capita basis) and they are limited in terms of the types of firearms that can be owned (no assault rifles, handguns limited to gun clubs, etc).

Another great thought, though unrealistic...Also not related to the discussion. An egalitarian society would treat it's citizens fairly and "equally." That society however, is still capable of producing criminals. A murderer, a thief (white collar or street thug) makes no difference and, they exist in most all societies. Punishment means many things to those societies. To a victims family, maybe revenge or vindication. To the state, maybe a deterent or chance to rehabilitate?

The death penalty is the ultimate deterrent (one would think) but where has that got those states that sanction it.

From what I see, I believe that Australia is a bit less arbitrary in its application of justice.....probably because there's no direction connection between the election of politicians and the appointment of judges.....so there's nothing to be gained by a politician beating the law and order drum.

Also our society is (generally speaking) less marginalised. Australians are less likely to be driven to crime arising from poverty.

Regardless, it's pretty clear the Julian Assange issue means very different things to us all. I find it interesting that a rebellion of sorts occured when Ms. Gillard spoke out against him/them - saying "he is a criminal." From the outside, it makes one wonder if they love and support Assange so much or is it really just another opportunity to kick Julia Gillard in the you-know-what?

Looking out for the underdog is something of a national trait among Australians....and it wouldn't have mattered which political leader was around at the time.

It's part of the national psyche to take the part of those who have their backs to the wall.....particularly if there's a perception that the crime is a victimless one.

A healthy contempt for misplaced authority is also a prominent feature of our national mindset.

I'm curious Gary.....Now that it's developing a bit, do you feel this kind of discussion is good for the forum?

Given that no-one is calling anybody any names....and in the absence of any apparent tension.....I'm fine with it......but then I'll never be accused of being unduly sensitive.

How are you feeling? That's the more important question.

As Journeyman said, this sort of lounge room discussion may help us to get to know each other a little better but, if it turns out hat it diminishes our members' experience of the forum, we'll stop it.

Gary

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