Sunday, April 14, 2019

Weekend Roundup

I don't feel up to writing much about Julian Assange, but following his arrest in London, I anticipate that I'll find a bunch of links this week and should collect them together. Assange is an Australian, a computer programmer who came up with Wikileaks, a system to collect and publish anonymously submitted documents. That's always seemed like a noble endeavor, an aid in exposing how the rich and powerful conspire in private to manipulate and profit, and for a while he seemed to be doing just that. He quickly ran afoul of those powers, most notably the US government, which set out to charge him with various crimes, and quite possibly orchestrated a broader smear campaign against him. Assange, in turn, sought asylum from criminal charges, and since 2012 has been sheltered by the Ecuadorean embassy in London. I don't know how much Assange has had to do with Wikileaks since 2012 (or how much freedom he has had to do anything), but his brand name wound up playing a role in Trump's 2016 campaign when it framed the release of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign. One effect of the DNC dump was to expand the Democratic side of bipartisan outrage against Assange, especially as Clinton's drones tried to paint him as a Putin accomplice.

I don't have strong opinions about Assange one way or the other, but I did welcome his release of leaked documents on the Iraq War and the US State Department. (See my September 2, 2010 entry, Troops, on the "Collateral Murder" video, anti-war vet Ethan McCord, and a related speech by Barak Obama -- what I said then is still pretty relevant today.) Releasing the DNC emails didn't particularly bother me either, although the timing was suspicious (immediately after the release of Trump's Access Hollywood tape, allowing the media to spin scandal on top of scandal), as was the lack of any RNC/Trump campaign emails to balance the picture.

Anyhow, the Assange links:

Let's also break out multiple links on Israel's elections:

Scattered links on other topics this week:

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