WikiLeaks and other alternative news links

November 28, 2010

Why WikiLeaks matters

WikiLeaks is expected to release a substantial number of documents that seem to make the US pretty nervous: “Reports say Turkey, Israel, Denmark and Norway have also been warned to expect potential embarrassment from the leaks.” (www.bbc.co.uk)

I think it’s only fair that some politicians should feel really embarrassed: the Irak War was started, as most wars, under a pretext, there was, as always with wars, a higher good that needed to be defended, yet many people already knew at the time that it was really only about oil and influence in the region.

100 000s of people paid with their lives (en.wikipedia.org) for the greed, cowardice and incompetence of those in charge. The truth must be known. That’s the least we can do now.

I also feel that there is some real justice about to be done by these leaks: governments all over the world ignore their people’s calls for more (online) privacy and have simply become whores to big money/lobbyists: RIAA, MPAA (today better know as MAFIAA) or TSA porn scanners are just a few of the more recent and better known examples.

While the actual context is a bit different, I just need to quote again from that new Harry Potter movie when thinking of WikiLeaks: “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” Right…? Right…? I guess this is a bit like Operation Payback (torrentfreak.com) only bigger. Go WikiLeaks!

WikiLeaks links

WikiLeaks on Twitter (twitter.com/wikileaks)

WikiLeaks website (wikileaks.org)

Update 5:

WikiLeaks – Mirrors of our website (wikileaks.ch)

OWNI, Digital Journalism, is liveblogging about the events unfolding! (owni.fr)

Update 1, 28.11.10, 18:06:

WikiLeaks on Twitter:

“We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack.”

and

“El Pais, Le Monde, Speigel, Guardian & NYT will publish many US embassy cables tonight, even if WikiLeaks goes down”

davidleigh3 on Twitter: “The #guardian will publish US embassy #cables tonight, even if #wikileaks goes down”

Some other alternative news links

It’s always interesting to check out some more alternative/specialised news sites. Not only in context of the upcoming leak:

NachDenkSeiten – Die kritische Website: a critical look at (mostly but not only) German politics. (www.nachdenkseiten.de)

heise online is the alternative German tech news site. As with so many sites this is one where I just skim the articles and mostly read the user’s comments! (www.heise.de)

Fefes Blog, in German and from Berlin, is about not so well known or perceived events/facts. Recommended for news/trend hunters and critical, open-minded people. Not only, but also focus on Germany. (blog.fefe.de)

Slashdot is of course “News for nerds, stuff that matters”, a classic, tech news and more, it’s all about the discussions to those articles… (slashdot.org)

OSNews is “Exploring the Future of Computing“, this is the site that earlier this year had that MPEG-LA/H.264 story. (www.osnews.com)

TorrentFreak is about the People vs. The MAFIAA and more, in addition to the articles I also recommend reading some of those many comments. (torrentfreak.com)

Democracy Now: alternative world news from the US. (www.democracynow.org)

Update 3-4:

netzpolitik.org: in German, web, media, politics and more (www.netzpolitik.org)

TELEPOLIS: in German, politics, culture, media and more, sister site from heise online (www.heise.de/tp/)

Der Schockwellenreiter: in German, web, politics, media and more (www.schockwellenreiter.de)

Update 2:

Just one mainstreamish news link: one of the best and most comprehensive all in one news sites I know, with a wonderful layout in traditional newspaper style with columns (good to read), also has links to the most important major news sites/publications on the left hand sidebar:

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate

OWNI est un groupe de médias français et européen, ainsi qu’un “thinktank” à ciel ouvert, au sein duquel collaborent 20 éditeurs et journalistes permanents, plus de 600 blogueurs, des développeurs, des designers, des entrepreneurs, des étudiants et des chercheurs.
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18+, “looking younger”…? Depictions of your naked body may be illegal in the EU soon!

November 25, 2010

A new EU legislative proposal may well in fact turn out to be a de facto criminalisation of any kind of “erotic” depiction of adults who, in the eye of a judge, may “look younger than 18”: EU verbietet erotische Darstellungen von Erwachsenen (EU banning erotic depictions of adults) (www.pornoanwalt.de).


“David” by Michelangelo can – at this point – still be seen at the Galleria dell’ Accademia, Florence/Italy

(Source: Wikipedia)

In the near future it may not matter how old you actually are (!!!), “erotic” depictions of your naked body or any erotic material may be highly illegal to produce or possess, even if you can prove that those involved are e.g. 25!

Of course there is a very cynical pretext, this legislative proposal says it aims at child pornography. Yet de facto this is “freedom from porn” the way Steve Jobs was preaching it. This law should be a pope’s wet dream come true…

So e.g. if your partner happens to be Asian and you made some nude snapshots on the beach you may already be out of luck: if a European judge feels that your Asian partner “looks younger than 18” you and your partner may already be in serious legal troubles.

And what about art…? Caravaggio’s nude boy in “Amor Vincit Omnia”…? Will it have to be moved from the museum…? Could Michaelangelo’s David not seem (too) erotic and look like he was under age…? Careful if you are a film maker and planing a coming of age drama! I guess Larry Clark’s “Kids” could already be highly problematic in this context…

Of course a whole generation of Xtube, Porntube etc. (young) adults of 18+ will face a serious problem: if someone thinks you “look (!!!) under 18” it will be enough to criminalise you and your fans. Your ID card will not help you here! And once e.g. a news paper writes that you have produced or possessed child porn it will be almost impossible to defend your good name.

“Amor Vincit Omnia” by Caravaggio can – at this point – still be seen at the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin/Germany

(Source: Wikipedia)

This really is simply how censorship starts. Just take a delicate topic like CP, broaden the definition and once the laws are put in place it will be easy to use this to get rid of anyone you wish to target. An art book with nude paintings or a David Hamilton photography book may be enough. And an erotic Manga style comic book may be even more dangerous to possess… Also be sure to get rid of that old sex education book or your parent’s naturist guide from the 1960s, it may well get you in serious trouble!

I wonder if those “looking younger than 18” or those possessing “erotic” depictions of those “looking younger than 18” will at one point have to wear some kind of label…? I suggest a star. Pink should do. This worked before and should work again.

As the lawyer linked from that article above says: this legislative proposal does not help children at all, actual victims of CP. What it does is possibly criminalise any “erotic” depiction of those who are 18+ and it also potentially criminalises a whole generation of teens/young adults. The only legal porn in Europe then would be one for and with old people. I’m sure there is a market too. Yet all youngsters and couples who might share nude pics and videos among one another or anyone using sites like Porntube could easily face jail time. So if you are a parent beware of your teenage kids: their naked bodies are about to be declared “illegal”. Be prepared to visit them in prison.

Europe beware. It looks like a storm is coming. (Corporate) Fascism is definitely just around the corner. This one is about censorship and the pretext is as cynical as it could possibly get.

And what a coincidence that at the same time the TSA porn scanners, that are according to experts not helping with safety at all, but as Americans found out are only there to humiliate you, are being installed at an airport near you. This is all about intimidation and control. “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.”

ACTA is on the way (EU-Parlament begrüßt Anti-Piraterie-Abkommen ACTA/EU parliament welcomes Anti-Piracy-Agreement ACTA) (www.heise.de), “terror warnings” make the round and lobbyists are trying to pass laws that will bring us back to the middle age. That’s real “freedom from porn”. By all means do enjoy your iPad – while you still can…

It’s so good to know that young people will still be sent to fight wars and while they may drive a car and buy alcohol at (around) 18, “erotic” depictions of  their bodies and their sexual practices may soon be illegal and could destroy their and their loved one’s lives.

I also wonder if those very young, semi-nude boys with wings in all those Catholic Churches around Europe will then have to be removed one day too…? Probably they will be exempt from censorship for “religious” reasons – now that the pope has allowed condoms for male prostitutes it looks like these are going to be good times indeed for those highly respected moral guardians of our society. Think of the children…!

Witches will be hunted. Books will be burned. Again.

 

18+, “looking younger”…? Depictions of your naked body may be illegal in the EU soon!

 

A controversial EU legislative proposal may well in fact turn out to be a de facto criminalisation for any kind of “erotic” depiction of adults who, in the eye of a judge, may “look younger than 18”.

 

In the near future it might not matter how old you actually are (!!!), “erotic” depictions of your naked body or any erotic material may be highly illegal to produce or possess, even if you can prove that those involved are e.g. 25!

 

Of course there is a very cynical pretext, this legislative proposal says it aims at child pornography. Yet de facto this is “freedom from porn” the way Steve Jobs was preaching it, this law really should be a pope’s wet dream come true.

 

So e.g. if your partner happens to be Asian and you made some nude snapshots on the beach you may already be out of luck: if a European judge feels that your Asian partner “looks younger than 18” you and your partner may already be in serious legal troubles.

 

And what about art…? Caravaggio’s nude boy in ““Amor Vincit Omnia”…? Will it have to be moved from the museum…? Could Michaelangelo’s David not seem (too) erotic and look like he was under age…? Careful if you are a film maker and planing a coming of age drama! I guess Larry Clark’s “Kids” could already be highly problematic in this context…

 

Of course a whole generation of Xtube, Porntube etc. (young) adults of 18+ will face a serious problem: if someone thinks you “look under 18” it will be enough to criminalise you and your fans. Your ID card will not help you here! And once e.g. a news paper prints that you have produced or possessed child porn it will be almost impossible to defend your good name.

 

This really is simply how censorship starts. Just take a delicate topic like CP, broaden the definition and once the laws are put in place it will be easy to use this to get rid of anyone you wish to target. An art book with Caravaggio paintings or a Larry Clark photography book may be enough. And an erotic Manga style comic book may be even more dangerous to posses… Also be sure to get rid of that old sex education book or your parent’s naturist book from the 1960′, it may well get you in serious trouble!

 

I wonder if those “looking younger than 18” or those possessing “erotic” depictions of those “looking younger than 18” will at one point have to wear some kind of mark…? I suggest a star. Pink or yellow should do. This worked before and should work again!

 

As the lawyer linked from that article above says: this legislative proposal does not at all help children, actual victims of CP. What it does is possibly criminalise any “erotic” depiction of those of 18+ and it potentially criminalises a whole generation of teens/young adults at the same time. The only legal porn in Europe then should be one for and with old people. I’m sure there is a market too. Yet all youngsters and couples who might share nude pics and videos among one another or anyone using sites like Porntube could easily face jail time. So if you are a parent beware of your teenage kids: their naked bodies are about to be declared “illegal”. Be prepared to visit them in prison.

 

Europe beware. It looks like a storm is coming. (Corporate) Fascism is definitely just around the corner. This one is about censorship and the pretext is as cynical as it could possibly get.

 

And what a coincidence that at the same time the TSA porn scanners, that, according to experts are not helping with safety, but are really only there to humiliate you, are being installed at an airport near you.

 

ACTA is on the way, “terror warnings” make the round and lobbyists are trying to pass laws that will bring us back to the middle age. That’s “freedom from porn”. By all means do enjoy your iPad – while you still can.

 

I also wonder if those very young, semi-nude boys with wings in all those Catholic Churches around Europe will then have to be removed one day too…? Probably they will be except from censorship for “religious” reasons – now that the pope has allowed condoms for male prostitutes it looks like these are going to be good times indeed for those highly respected moral guardians of our society. Think of the children…!

 

It’s also good to know that young people will still be sent to fight wars and while they may drive a car and buy alcohol at (around) 18, “erotic” depictions of their bodies and their sexual practices may soon be illegal and could destroy their and their loved one’s lives.

 

Witches will be hunted. Books will be burned. Again.


Harry Potter, the deadly ads, still great and the timing for this is eerie indeed

November 19, 2010

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” is my favourite quote from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Pt.1) and pretty much nails our Zeitgeist. Eric Schmidt could not have said it better (yro.slashdot.org)!

Specially the beginning of the “Deathly Hallows” is quite eerie since right now here in Germany we have to endure government “terror warnings”: as you might have guessed, those in favour of more restrictive (on-line) surveillance laws could not have hopped for a better occasion.

Who is trying to scare whom and for what purpose one might ask? Surely the financial crisis that the Euro/Europe is facing has nothing to do with it. And there is also no currency war as our papers, our “Daily Prophets” let us know.

Harry Potter fans will also find it too easy and inappropriate to replace “half-blood” with the latest minority scapegoat: Niedersachsens Innenminister fordert Handy- und PC-Verbot für “Gefährder” (Niedersachsen’s Minister of the Interior asks for PC and mobile phone ban for “endangerer”) (www.heise.de).

Meanwhile, also in real life, we have a new “Enemy Undesirable no. 1″, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, now there is even an international arrest warrant for him. Like before the charges are rape. Whatever the truth turns out to be, the whole story surely must be extremely inconvenient for some…

The timing for the release of the “Deathly Hallows” could not have been better, the only real downturn today were those 45 min. (!!!) of ads before the movie started. But not even they could ruin it for me. You just might want to be really late if going to see the “Deathly Hallows” at the Cinestar/Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. 45 min. of ads that’s half a feature film! They really try very hard to make you not wanting to go you to the movies these days and then even insult you with state television ads (for ARD, ZDF): I don’t have a TV, I don’t watch TV, yet I have to pay my GEZ fees since I own an “internet ready PC”. And when I go to the movies and pay for seeing a film I now have to watch ads for some crappy TV shows that I surely don’t want to see yet even had to finance with my GEZ fees for that “internet ready PC”… I’m just glad we still live in a Democracy, have free media and fair competition in the TV/media world!

Oh well, back to film life. There is a really quite wonderful and also beautifully edited moment/scene in the “Deathly Hallows”: Harry/Hermione dancing in the tent… This movie works because the film makers trust their own story, the pacing is very good, the music subtle and never over the top till the very end of the credits. J.K. Rowling’s story telling power totally pays off, I’m really looking forward to the last part of the series now.

While certainly not an indie movie, I’m writing here about the “Deathly Hallows” since the (hidden), what I’d call subversiveness of the story/the books (I’ve read them all) is really well captured and should be inspiring for anyone interested in (what I believe is great) story telling.

“Deathly Hallows” is told in darkish, almost pastel style colours *) (similar to the previous one from the series, also directed by David Yates who now did three in a row), the young heroes are on their final journey through a post-time England, London, small towns, (snowy) landscapes and forests, on the run and searching for those Horcruxes that need to be destroyed... *) After a second viewing: the colours are maybe better described as somehow desaturated, blue/grey and brown pastelish, the overall mood of the film being dark.

Having read the books I know of course how it all will end, yet I wonder, where a real life Harry Potter type hero would be looking for a Horkrux and what they might look like…?

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.” That’s a good one, really.

Will we be hearing more of those type of quotes in the not so distant future…?

Check your “Daily Prophets” to find out…


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