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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 21 August

by afew Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 04:04:47 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1911 – The Mona Lisa is stolen by a Louvre employee.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 07:58:45 AM EST
BBC News - Tory MPs urge George Osborne to curb rail fare rises

Conservative MPs are calling on George Osborne to stop rail firms increasing commuter fares by up to 11% in England.

The increases, due to come in next January, follow a spike in the rate of inflation used to set ticket prices.

But commuter belt Tory MPs say the price rises, meant to fund rail improvements, will deter people from working and harm economic growth.

Labour accused the MPs of "hypocrisy" for failing to oppose the rises in a Commons vote earlier this year.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Greek PM to meet eurozone leaders this week

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to hold meetings with eurozone leaders this week, which could help determine the fate of his country in the bloc.

Mr Samaras is expected to request more time to meet deficit cutting targets.

At issue is whether international authorities will release loans worth 31.5bn euros ($38.8bn; £24.7bn) next month.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:06:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek exit manageable but not preferable: ECB's Asmussen | Reuters

A Greek exit from the euro zone would be manageable, European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen was quoted on Monday as saying, although he would prefer it if the crisis-stricken country remained within the single currency bloc.

He also said that the Bundesbank, whose chief ECB President Mario Draghi singled out earlier this month for expressing reservations over the bank's new bond-buying plans, was not isolated in Europe.

The comments on Greece from the ECB executive board member, Germany's deputy finance minister until he took the post at the end of last year, sum up a growing debate in Berlin on the possibility of cutting Greece free.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:18:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The towns that Franco built remain reluctant to extinguish his memory | In English | EL PAÍS

On May 9, 1954, General Francisco Franco and his wife were on a tour of Salamanca and Badajoz. It was a routine journey: inaugurating tenant farmer colonies, visiting priests at war against the "moral and physical defects" of the peasantry, and christening reservoirs.

At around midday, the procession left Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca province. Some six kilometers away awaited "the mass of peasantry, grouped in the brand new square of the brand new village of Águeda del Caudillo," ready to receive "from the hands of the Generalísimo the first titles of settlement that will deliver them from the servitude of dry earth." In return for the villagers' gratitude, the dictator delivered a speech about rural values and Russian gold.

The foundation of Águeda was recorded in various newspapers of the time -- Ofensiva, Abc and La Voz de Miróbriga -- which note the presence of fascist insignia and how the local bishop sang the Salve Regina upon seeing the Caudillo. Almost 60 years later Águeda, along with other nearby hamlets, such as San Sebastián, Conejera, Ivanrey and Sanjuanejo, are still referred to as "the villages that Franco built."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 10:54:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian gold, begistert the residents of Agueda del Caudillo.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 04:14:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DutchNews.nl - Election: Reform care of the elderly to keep costs under control: minister

Reforming care of the elderly is the way to keep Dutch healthcare costs under control, caretaker health minister Edith Schippers says in Monday's Financieele Dagblad.

`Care of the elderly costs three times as much here as in Germany and twice as much as in France,' Schippers told the paper. `Everyone who works in the sector does their best but at the same time everyone complains about the quality. Drastic reforms are needed.'

The most savings can be made by moving away from large institutions to home and community-based care, Schippers said.

Long-term care in the Netherlands is currently paid for through the AWBZ insurance scheme which everyone contributes to. `The AWBZ was meant to cover uninsurable care and that is what we have to get back to,' Schippers said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 10:56:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PM plans more cuts ahead of possible bailout | In English | EL PAÍS

Statements made by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his ministers have evolved from denying that there will be a full rescue for Spain, to "let's see first what the European Central Bank does and then we'll take a decision."

Some kind of bailout, whether granted with soft or tough conditions, appears to be inevitable now, and pensions -- previously the one area in which the government wasn't willing to make cuts -- are no longer untouchable. Further tax rises may also be in the pipeline as Rajoy's administration battles to bring the deficit down to 6.3 percent of GDP by the end of the year.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 10:57:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Etiquette in Switzerland: tips and pitfalls - The Local
...while the Swiss love their rules and order, you still find places where chaos reigns. Try figuring out when to cross the road at the crosswalks known here as "zebra stripes", as the cars ignore the pedestrians and fly by.

...the orderly Swiss do not believe in lining up. Whether it's the cheese counter at the supermarket, the bus stop, or the ski lift, it's every man for himself. Do not expect that the Swiss will honour or even acknowledge a line up. Instead be prepared to speak up and tell others that it's your time to buy bread, and don't be shy about using a little elbow to get ahead when there are hordes of people.

The Swiss also aren't fussed about bumping into each other.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Terrorism trumps military taboos in Germany | Germany | DW.DE | 18.08.2012

Germany's highest court issued a ruling allowing the military to be used - in some instances - within the country. The decision is the latest chapter in a debate that stretches back decades into German history.

It was a late afternoon in January 2003 when a dormant debate was revived in Germany: What action is the Bundeswehr, the German military, allowed to take against threats inside Germany? A motor glider was circling just 50 meters (160 feet) above Frankfurt's skyscrapers with the pilot threatening to crash into one. Parts of the city were evacuated and the German Air Force scrambled two Phantom jets to hold the pilot in check. After two dramatic hours, the pilot was convinced to land. No one was hurt.

But the situation raised the question of exactly what action the jet pilots - or any German military units - were authorized to take while confronting a terrorist threat at home. What if, instead of a single motor glider pilot, al Qaeda hijacked a jet from Frankfurt's huge airport and threatened an attack on the city or a nuclear power plant?

A power glider got Germans talking about confronting terrorist attacks

The government enacted an air safety law that explicitly permitted the military to shoot down passenger jets in cases of hijacking and terrorism. The Federal Constitutional Court, however, struck the law down in 2006, deeming it illegal to weigh the lives of the innocent passengers on the plane against the potential victims on the ground in the event of a terrorist attack. The court further ruled that the Bundeswehr could support police action inside Germany but would be limited to using police techniques and equipment. The use of tanks or fighter jets remained prohibited under the judges' ruling.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:08:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Statesman - Legal myths about the Assange extradition

Whenever the Julian Assange extradition comes up in the news, many of his supporters make various confident assertions about legal aspects of the case. 

Some Assange supporters will maintain these contentions regardless of the law and the evidence - they are like "zombie facts" which stagger on even when shot down; but for anyone genuinely interested in getting at the truth, this quick post sets out five common misconceptions and some links to the relevant commentary and material.  It complements a similar post on the leading Blog That Peter Wrote.

(Please note that particularly relevant in this case are the three English court rulings which are freely available on-line: Magistrates' Court, High Court, and Supreme Court.)



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 12:50:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, Ecuador prepares to extradite a blogger it offered asylum in 2008. - Democratic Underground

Alexander Barankov sits, today, in a Quito jail awaiting extradition to Belarus. He is charged with "fraud" for blogging about corruption in the former Soviet country and angering its dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.

The leftist Die Tageszeitung writes:

"The case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has become an unbelievable example of international hypocrisy. Both of the countries involved, Great Britain and Ecuador, are blameworthy."

"Far from the world's attention, the (Ecuadorian) government is evicting an ex-government worker from Belarus who has enjoyed three years of asylum status in Ecuador. The reason is that six weeks ago, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko was in Quito to sign a number of trade agreements and applied pressure. A short time later the man, Alexander Barankov, was arrested in Quito. Against this background, the flowery words of Ecuador's foreign minister about the huge importance of political asylum don't hold much value."

Read more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/german-newspapers-comment-on-assange-case-a-850625.html


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 12:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well two things on this: First it is interesting that Barankov chose Ecuador to seek asylum in, in the first place. And he was indeed awarded asylum. Second, he has not been extradited yet, and if anything the Assange case is a strong indication that he won't be. There was apparently a renewed demand from Belarus for extradition which is being reconsidered in the local courts. I will grant you that the reconsideration is probably some sort of favor to Lukashenko, but the outcome is far from certain. So it is a bit early to call hypocrisy on this one yet.

One other thing is that he is not charged for blogging anything. The Belarussian government along with the Russian government apparently claims that he took bribes and committed fraud as a police officer, prior to his leaving the country. There was even an interpol warrant out for him. This is quite probably false but cannot be rejected out of hand without some investigation...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 06:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 05:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since it mentions Ecuador's supposedly "flawed" record on Press Freedom: I would be very, very careful about RWB and Index on Censorship's rankings and reports on Latin America, since what they consist of is a record of the Ecuadorian government's fight against a media mostly owned by the defeated oligarchs, and eager to return the country under their control. There is a similar dynamic in Venezuela, and unless one considers the oligarchs have a sacrosanct right to monopolize the Media unchallenged, due to their wealth and thus control public opinion, this is hardly by itself evidence of "restrictions on press freedom". Things are obviously not perfect, but this view might be an instructive counterbalance to the dominant narrative...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 05:48:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is what i heard too, from various sources.

media balance is all too rare.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 06:07:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RWB are bad with structural issues.
They took far too long to recognise the danger that Berlusconi posed and never really acknowledged just how dominant he was at the time when he was PM and pressuring the public TV channels as well as owning so much of the private media...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 05:39:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess he can stay in the embassy as long as he likes. Or perhaps only as long as it suits Correa?

It's hard to see an early end to the stalemate. Possible outcomes :

  1. Assange climbs down and accepts to be extradited, arrested in Sweden, charged, tried, and either acquitted or sentenced to some fairly trivial penalty.

  2. Cameron consents to allow the Ecuadoreans to take Assange out of the country.

  3. Correa gets bored with the whole thing and hands Assange over to the bobbies.

I can't see any possible basis for option 2. Assange's behavioural patterns seem to rule out 1. 3 seems the most likely, but it could take an awfully long time. The Bielorussian blogger's case indicates that Assange might become a bargaining chip, but who is interested in bargaining? The US have no skin in the game (Correa couldn't give Assange to them, even if he wanted to); the Swedish government will surely stay at arm's length; so that leaves the UK.

So I guess Assange is stuck there for a year or two, until the fuss dies down. I hope he's got good internet access.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 05:15:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or Correa looses the next or one other election, and
the new guy tries to make up with the UK. The next election in Ecuador is 2013.

One year to go !
by pi (etrib@opsec.eu) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 08:50:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that if a woman consents to have sex with you, she's consented to have your baby :

George Galloway wades into Julian Assange row - and creates a storm | Media | The Guardian

"Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100% true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don't constitute rape," Galloway said. "At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.

"Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion."

Without a condom. I don't know if attempting to impregnate a woman against her will constitutes rape in Sweden, but it's clearly a form of sexual assault.

Half truths

In a characteristically hectoring broadcast, Galloway also addressed allegations made by the second woman against Assange, over which he is wanted for questioning.

"She claimed that while she did have consensual sex with him, the condom ripped and yet he continued to do it," he said.

No, George. She alleges he ripped the condom. Difficult to prove, but... pattern of behaviour?

It gets worse:

On Twitter, Galloway reacted dismissively to the uproar surrounding his remarks.

"Oh how this 'liberal' chorus of Pavlovian reaction must delight the Pentagon!" he tweeted. "Oh my, what a lot of 'liberal' useful idiots the Empire can count on. It's about WIKILEAKS stupid...!"

No, stupid, it's about leakywicks.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 09:16:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Galloway is an idiot, but if you indulge in trial by media you should do it right. I've read that the woman stated Assange had started making sex when she was half asleep. I sympathise with her: it's really a scandal that some men don't know that sometimes the only action we expect from a man is making coffee. There are clear advantages to a one night stand, but there are disadvantages too: one has to say the bleeding obvious over and over again. From all that I have heard about the case I have got the impression that Julian Assange in a bed is about as much fun as a slug in a bed, and as a matter of fact one of the women is said to have stated that sex with him was the worst sex she has ever had (which would explain why afterwards she wasn't very happy about it). Tough, but not criminal (and neither woman claimed anything criminal had happened, mind). Have you been hiding under their bed, so that you can answer the question if the woman was awake enough to give or refuse consent? If not, claiming to know what happened is not entirely wise.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 10:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not proposing that being lousy in bed, or having bad sexual manners, should be an extraditable offense. However, I'm suggesting that attempting to make a woman pregnant without her consent might well be.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg has documented, in his book "Inside Wikileaks", Assange's view that his genes deserved to be reproduced and his boasts about how many children he had fathered around the world. In this context, I find it interesting that both Swedish complainants report that he was keen on having unprotected sex despite their refusal, and that he in fact had unprotected sex with both by subterfuge.

I wish I could say that "all this takes nothing away from the important work that Wikileaks has done"... but I'm afraid it does. Assange has made it all about himself, which is in complete contradiction with the Wikileaks project. That's why most of the inner circle left the organisation in 2010, when he refused to stand down while dealing with the sex charges.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 11:44:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 11:49:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not proposing that being lousy in bed, or having bad sexual manners, should be an extraditable offense. However, I'm suggesting that attempting to make a woman pregnant without her consent might well be

D'accord with that. Additionally you are suggesting that this is what happened, though. Were you present? In or under the bed? How do you know there was no consent?

Daniel Domscheit-Berg has documented, in his book "Inside Wikileaks"...

Inside wikileaks, but not inside that bed! Gossip, in other words.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 12:11:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If a pattern of behaviour can be established, I imagine this will interest a Swedish judge.

But this is, indeed, all gossip. However I believe it is fair to give credence to the complainants in the circumstances; laying a complaint for sexual matters is not done lightly. It is possible, I suppose, that the complainants are part of a conspiracy to sink Wikileaks; but on the evidence I've seen, it seems unlikely. It's up to the Swedish justice system to settle the matter. Do you believe it is untrustworthy in this matter?

My intuition is that he has been getting away with this pattern of behaviour for years, all over the world, leaving a trail of fatherless children. Perhaps Scandinavia is the only region where women are empowered enough to call him on it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 12:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One woman withdrew her complaint.

There is zero physical evidence

Presumption of innocence until proven guilty applies

by stevesim on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 01:25:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and the other works for USAID, a well known CIA front.
by stevesim on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 01:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a source for this, Steve?

The only CIA connection that I know about is that Anna Ardin, a democracy researcher and activist, went to Cuba several times and wrote a thesis about a future transition to democracy in Cuba. She was therefore, through her research, "linked to" various groups which were "linked to" the CIA and/or funded by the US government (it's pretty much axiomatic that any anti-Castrist group is going to be sponsored/instrumentalised/infiltrated by the CIA).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 05:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumption of innocence until proven guilty applies

Indeed, but that's hardly an excuse for evading arrest and trial.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 05:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is if you don't think  you will get a fair trial which he is fully justified in  believing
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 06:55:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They didn't lay a complaint for sexual matters, so your point is moot. The narrative of your intuition sounds unconvincing: Hundreds of women raped and only the Swedish ones stood up for their rights. One should expect that now, after the two Swedes outed him as a rapist the other two hundred would come forward too, eh? Really!

I don't rule out a conspiracy. Or what about a scenario where Assange behaved rude and selfish and the women found that their wishes were ignored? They would rightly feel wronged. The trial would then be about the different methods of giving consent, refusing consent, ignoring each other's messages, and whether the resulting behaviour is criminal. Initially the women wanted sex only with a condom. Could their reactions to Assange's attempts (if we think these attempts happened) be interpreted as consent? This would be a trial about nuances and about the semantics of non-verbal statements.

I don't claim to know what happened, or how likely the different possibilities are, and I am surprised how many people take bits of information for granted.

I wish I could say that "all this takes nothing away from the important work that Wikileaks has done"... but I'm afraid it does. Assange has made it all about himself, which is in complete contradiction with the Wikileaks project.

A person with less ego wouldn't have got Wikileaks that far. People wouldn't have paid attention if A. hadn't pushed the Wikileaks agenda in the way he did. It's an ugly thought, but I believe the unpleasant manners and the success in making things public are related.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 01:49:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"they did't lay a complaint for sexual matters"--?? I don't understand this.

The trial you describe would be an interesting one, in terms of sexual politics. I can't see any reason why that trial should not take place, can you? Sweden has a right tofix its own laws and visitors should respect them (I got a parking ticket in Austria a couple of weeks ago. I thought it unfair because there was no obvious indication that it was a residents-only zone. After much thought I decided to pay it rather than provoke an international crisis)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 04:23:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither of the women indicated in any way that there was anything wrong in the relationship to Assange for a few days after they had met him and slept with him. One let him stay on in her flat. Then they met each other and found that he was sleeping with both of them. They then went to the police, not to lodge a complaint, but to ask advice. In case that the whole process turns out to be a conspiracy the difference is important, because this behaviour does not count as a wrong accusation and can't be prosecuted as such.  

The trial you describe would be an interesting one, in terms of sexual politics. I can't see any reason why that trial should not take place, can you?

I suspect the three main characters in this play will disagree. For the yellow press it will be a godsend of course.

Sweden has a right tofix its own laws and visitors should respect them

I don't believe Sweden or any other country should be encouraged to define rape too much differently from the rest of the planet, especially if they think of extradition and EAW, but that wasn't my point. My point is more basic about communication and not about the peculiarities of Swedish law or culture. (I don't know if the latter has any bearing on the case.) Sex among strangers, as this was, seems to require a lot of communication, because actually they don't know anything about each other. This extent of communication, and precision in communication, is of course completely unrealistic. They would never have had sex at all, if they had talked about how to consent! These things are done non-verbally and are ambiguous.

I am wondering if I don't get the complexity of authorities signaling that an area is a residents-only zone or if you have led such a sheltered life, but I don't find the difficulty in conveying meaning is the same.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 05:30:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither of the women indicated in any way that there was anything wrong in the relationship to Assange for a few days after they had met him and slept with him.

The notion of consent is, as you indicate, a complex thing. The actors were strangers, but were fellow activists, which can lead to a lot of false assumptions. If a political activist offers accommodation to another activist, this does not constitute as such, in my experience, an offer of sex; but Assange seems to have acted as if it did, according to the first complainant's narrative. He initiated sex in a forceful manner. The fact that she chose not to call rape at this stage is a factor in the notion of consent, but not the only factor.

In many jurisdictions (undoubtedly not in all), obtaining sex by misrepresentation can be subsequently qualified as rape. The matter of unprotected sex is pertinent to this. Each of the complainants was very surprised that he should want unprotected sex, and explicitly refused this, yet each ended up having unprotected sex with him (we'll skip the details). This, in itself, changes the nature of the initial consent.

Even in a short-term sexual relationship, the notion of fidelity is in play. Especially in a casual sexual encounter, the notion of mutual protection against MSTs is important (I don't think it's necessary to have slept around to understand this). According to the second complainant, after unprotected sex, she sought assurance that Assange was not carrying any MSTs, and received that assurance. But he could not possibly have known that : at very least, he exposed the two women to the risk of MSTs from each other.

So once the two women heard each other's stories, it is obvious that the nature of their consent is retrospectively altered, because there has been both implicit and explicit misrepresentation. Occam's razor : there is no need to postulate a conspiracy, and/or CIA involvement, to explain why the women went to the police for advice. It's psychologically plausible. And considering Assange's apparent pattern of behaviour, had the CIA set a honey trap, they could easily have built a much stronger case against him. (In my ill-informed opinion, he will probably end up being charged with sexual molestation rather than rape, and quite likely not be convicted anyway.)

I don't believe Sweden or any other country should be encouraged to define rape too much differently from the rest of the planet, especially if they think of extradition and EAW

As it happens, the UK justice system has explicitly recognised that the accusations are compatible with UK law, which is why, at every level, they have authorised extradition. I find it unlikely that the CIA has infiltrated all four levels of courts consulted.

[With respect to the parking ticket : the only indication of a residents-only zone, which I noticed only after getting the ticket, was faded, nearly invisible blue markings on the road surface. Such zones don't exist where I lived, so I hadn't thought of it. I had missed the signal, but ignorance of the law is no excuse, so I paid up. That is all.]

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 04:18:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The narrative you hope to be true is not consistent with what we know about the facts, especially the behaviour of the women after the alleged rape which is not psychologically plausible. This behaviour is consistent both with a conspiracy and with a situation of ambiguities and a fury at seeing there was more than one woman.

Even in a short-term sexual relationship, the notion of fidelity is in play. Especially in a casual sexual encounter, the notion of mutual protection against MSTs is important (I don't think it's necessary to have slept around to understand this).

But it helps to understand (besides being fun). Do I sense some condemnation of "sleeping around" there? Come off it. There is just the problem: if you sleep with a person you have only known for a few hours, you get a person that follows people into bed although they have only known them for a few hours. Fidelity my foot.

So once the two women heard each other's stories, it is obvious that the nature of their consent is retrospectively altered,...

Bullshit. Consent cannot be altered or withdrawn retrospectively. It can only be altered or withdrawn for the future. So all narratives agree that initially the women insisted on condoms, but at some point had sex without one. If they didn't consent, it's rape. If they consented, it's not, even if now they regret it. Good luck to the court that has to decide if Assange used legitimate persuasion to make them change their mind, or illegitimate pressure. That could keep half a dozen experts on body language busy for quite a time...

And considering Assange's apparent pattern of behaviour, had the CIA set a honey trap, they could easily have built a much stronger case against him.

Possibly, but I should think the CIA wants a speedy extradition, not a strong case that would make the Swedes want to see Assange in a Swedish jail for some time. A weak case is better for an extradition.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 09:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I sense some condemnation of "sleeping around" there?

Certainly not! Sleeping around is, however, dangerous on many levels (which is part of why it's fun).  You are perhaps picking up my strong condemnation of those who don't follow the rules.

I find it somewhat interesting that you are eager to attribute to the women "a fury at seeing there was more than one woman" (which we could probably agree is human, but faintly ridiculous in the circumstances), while being apparently reluctant to accord any weight to the very real fears (and legitimate sense of grievance) that a normally constituted woman would feel in being exposed to danger of MSTs.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 09:47:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume MST means the same as STD. Tedious. Two sexual contacts at the same time don't mean a higher risk than "many sexual contacts" in general, so I don't know where the problem is. Very real fears are a reason to insist on condoms, and not to change one's mind. Did they do that? Is it possible that they now fantasise their behaviour was clearer than in reality it was? Is the interpretation of this behaviour based on wishful thinking (theirs or Assange's)? We can't know, and I am not sure that a court can find out. Or is it a conspiracy anyway? Another thing that will be difficult to find out.

As an aside: the poor kids who have grown up in the era after Aids and with the need to have aseptic sex and pricks in a plastic bag and so. It's good to be older than that.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 10:19:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, in French.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 10:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry yes, MST is indeed STD (my sleeping around, despite my advanced age, was mostly done in the post-plastic-bag era, and in France).

I imagine (since we're in the world of the imagination here) that the women experienced buyer's remorse when they realised that Assange had been unthinkably lax about basic STD security. He turned out not to be the person they thought he was. Two unprotected sexual contacts in the same time period is proof that they were dealing with a dangerous individual; each of them could, until then, at least fantasise that she was the special one, that he didn't normally behave like that.

And as for the conspiracy thing. That is only operable if there is some prospect of Assange being extradited from Sweden. It's abundantly clear that there isn't, unless we speculate that Sweden and the UK will suddenly abandon due process, having followed it scrupulously for the past two years.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 10:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are you trying to get at? Possibly they were that naïve, but that's hardly Assange's or anyone else's fault. They knew in advance that Assange is a person who, er, sleeps around. "He turned out not to be the person they thought he was." Not true. Possibly he turned out not to be the person they wished he was. Tough. I suspect you are still clinging to "retrospective consent". Forget it. It's the same as saying that there is no thing as consent.

Why do you think with due process there can't be a Swedish extradition to the US?

by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:16:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you think with due process there can't be a Swedish extradition to the US?

Because it would require the consent of the UK home secretary, for one thing (by European treaty). This strikes me as problematic. It has been widely commented that it would have been much easier for the US to extradite Assange from the UK. After all, they had two years to do that if they had intended to.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:38:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. As long as Sweden wants Assange the UK can't extradite him to the US: the EAW rules that out. Sweden  has a treaty with the US that makes extradition very easy, and I don't think the UK would object. "Special relationship" and so. They even extradite their own citizens, so what can you expect?

The Swedish government could declare that they won't extradite Assange. Why don't they do it?

by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:53:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, you can assume that you will be treated fairly.  Assange has proof that is not te case with him as the atter was examined by one prsecutor  and the matterwas dropped only to have another prosecutor takeit up
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 06:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A person with less ego wouldn't have got Wikileaks that far. People wouldn't have paid attention if A. hadn't pushed the Wikileaks agenda in the way he did. It's an ugly thought, but I believe the unpleasant manners and the success in making things public are related.

The future will tell. My opinion is that Wikileaks is dead : Julian killed it.

Why Julian Assange is Wikileaks' Single Point of Failure | TechPresident

A "single point of failure" is a part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working. Unfortunately for transparency activists, Julian Assange has become Wikileaks' single point of failure.

Assange was the trailblazer; one can only hope that the internet-enabled whistleblowing model will outlive the pioneering organisation. I have high hopes of OpenLeaks.

Here Comes OpenLeaks: How It Won't Be WikiLeaks | The Awl

Almost exactly a year ago I spoke via email with ex-WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg. He and the four or five others who'd defected from WikiLeaks in September of 2010 were already at work on OpenLeaks, a successor organization with the same basic goal: to maintain a secure platform where sensitive documents of interest to the public can be uploaded by whistleblowers and anonymously distributed to the press.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 05:25:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should not let your personal opinion of Assange cloud your judgement.

I belive that he has Asperger's, by the way, which would probably get him off the hook wrt to these charges.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why on earth would Asperger's get him off the hook? Perhaps he has poor judgement in sexual relationships. If that's the case, he would be well-advised to avoid ambiguous situations.

I mean, he's also Australian, and they're not world-famous for top class sexual manners, but I doubt that would be seen as a valid defense either.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please stop with the stereotypes.  I find it extremely offensive.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:50:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have always made jokes about Australians. It is my cultural duty as a New Zealander. You're not obliged to read them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:02:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how doesthat explain your attitude towards Latin American men?
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:43:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand why everyone keeps mixing Asperger's, narcissism and sociopathy in the same bag. They may be co-morbid but they are not the same. And believing you are entitled to impregnate every woman you meet is narcissism, not Asperger's.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a very good friendwho has Asperger's, and beleve me, she feels entitled toa lot of things.  This is why her family wants nothing to do with her.

Remember, I was asking here for help for her.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does she feel entitled to preying on other people, or just to flaunting social conventions?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She does both because she des not understand that most people find these types of behaviour unacceptable.

Her parents have their hands full

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:48:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Give me an example of "preying on other people".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:49:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She really feels like other people are put on earth to fulfill her needs so when she sees something shewants, she goes for it but there is no deviousness in her actions.  She also shares easily so it maes for a lotof paradoxes.

Her fater tried to place her under guardianship but she cannot uderstand that this is out of concern for her.  She really cannot understand human relationships.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She really feels like other people are put on earth to fulfill her needs so when she sees something shewants, she goes for it but there is no deviousness in her actions.  She also shares easily so it maes for a lotof paradoxes.

Rephrase:

when she sees something shewants, she goes for it

Therefore others interpret that She really feels like other people are put on earth to fulfill her needs

However, they also see it as paradoxical that there is no deviousness in her actions and She also shares easily.

So just like she doesn't understand other people, other people don't understand her.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:13:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't rephrase my comments for me.  You have never even met this woman!  

Do you or a loved one have  Asperger's btw?  I am asking because I sense I have strucka nerve

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not mean any disrespect by the way, and I wanted to add an apology if that was the case but this Ipad keyboard had other ideas.

As you know,there are various levels of Asperger's and the people suffering from it are considered very intelligent, so that was not ment as an insult in any way.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The "nerve" you have struck is you have found a way to concern troll.

Just stop.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:03:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, some of the smartest people I know and respect and like tell me that they probably have Asperger's to some degree.  There's a lot of it in some professions like IT and physics.  It's  just a medical condition, not a value judgement.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:25:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comments about Asperger's strongly suggest a value judgement.

For the last time, stop trolling.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:29:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.  It does not.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:52:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps reading 'emotional intelligence' would help her.

Emotional Intelligence | Daniel Goleman
danielgoleman.info/.../emotional- ...


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 09:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She needs an explanation for every human interaction.

Also external stimulus such as noise and smell drive her to distraction.  She really has it difficult in life.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:00:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is presumably why her family and friends are justified in attributing to her that she feels that other people are put on Earth to serve her needs.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:06:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like a narcissist.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:17:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that we're talking about a person with, amont other things, sensory overload issues. So I would venture that people are wrong to interpret her behaviour as narcissistic even though it may be superficially like that of a narcissist.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:21:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cause may be different but some of the behaviour is the same, in her case, I should add, as there are various levels of Asperger's.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:23:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The behaviour isn't the same, because narcissism isn't just about being demanding - it's about internalised comparisons with the apparent status, beauty, wealth, power and influence of other people, and a constant feeling of coming up short, with associated frustration and resentment.

Many right-wingers are classic narcs. 'Lesser' people are invisible to them, or only of interest as sources of attention and energy they can exploit. 'Better' people are a cause for envy.

It's the up/down social awareness and the dynamics around it - especially a need for a specific kind of monopoly of attention that compensates for the self-hatred - that defines narcs.

This is not the same as having weird brain wiring that makes you hypersensitive, slightly obsessive, and - for the more serious types - prone to occasional melt-downs.

You can certainly be either, both, or neither. But I don't know of any clinical research that links Aspergers with Cluster B traits.

Read about Ayn Rand if you want to understand narcs. The contempt for the 'little' people, the rage at not being acknowledged as unique, talented and special, and the self-serving self-mythologising are all straight out of DSM - as is the practical hypocrisy and the lack of useful non-rhetorical achievement.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 01:08:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I am very familiar with narcissistic personality disorder.  And, ou are right. It is about status.

There's a greatseies of videos on youtube about it by a man whoscores nine outof nine in the symptoms for the disorder, considered quite rare.

They do tend to identifywith authority figures, as you said.

However, in their use of other people, Aspergers and narcissists can exhibit the same behaviour.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Provide some evidence other than "I know someone who..." or "I am very familiar with..."

Or stop trolling and go away.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She needs an explanation for every human interaction.

Also external stimulus such as noise and smell drive her to distraction.

[...]

Like a narcissist.


These statements are ignorant and offensive.

Please apologize or shut up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 01:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<facepalm>

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 02:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
Also external stimulus such as noise and smell drive her to distraction.  

that sounds like a severely damaged nervous system.

the entitlement, (they're all just pawns in my agenda game, aka superiority complex') is either modelled on behaviour she perceived as 'win strategy' at an impressionable age, or an eternal plea for attention she feels a lack of.

subject needs ego redimensionising and long period of nurture to rebuild a sense of self appreciation, not as centre of attention, but as a valued member of a group.

oh, she can send me 20$ through paypal :)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 09:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Narcissism and sociopathy are both called 'Cluster B' disorders, which means they're closely related. Sociopathy is pretty much identical to extreme narcissism with an extra dose of sadistic contempt.

Aspergers is completely unrelated. Aspergers people may lack empathy in the sense of being unable to read the social cues that tell normal people to change the subject and talk about something less obsessive.

But they don't see others as prey or as unpaid staff, as sociopaths and narcissists do.

I have no idea if Assange is any of the above. He's definitely slightly messianic and doesn't necessarily mind screwing over his friends, both of which suggest narcissism.

I don't see any reason to think he has Aspergers. He could be high-functioning Aspergers, but his interests seem too publicly political to match that comfortably.

Without further evidence about his relationships with women it's impossible to say if any of this would be relevant to a court case.

I doubt it either way. There have been suggestions recently that judges sentence more leniently if they know someone has a personality disorder. But it's a long way from there to an acquittal on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Don't forget Breivik murdered 69 people, and while all the expert witness psychiatrists at his trial agreed he's probably barking, there's been no agreement whether he should be sectioned permanently or sent to prison as a 'normal' mass murderer.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aspergers people may lack empathy in the sense of being unable to read the social cues that tell normal people to change the subject and talk about something less obsessive.

But they don't see others as prey or as unpaid staff, as sociopaths and narcissists do.

Thank you.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:42:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, I have spoken to a few peope suffering from Asperger's because of my friend who suffers from it.  They tell me stories about how they forced their amilies and friendsto do all sorts of things through violence, temper tantrums, etc because they just did not understand that these things were unacceptable.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:44:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those people have interiorised the perspective of their families and friends. Such temper tantrums stem from frustration at inability to communicate, and the violence is most likely to be self-directed.

Nothing to do with Assange's alleged behaviour.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:49:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it is not self directed.  They are frustrated, that is certain.  They just don 't understand that everyone has their own will and priorities and that the world does not revolve around them. - much like a narcissist.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:58:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have time to explain it, and i hate to resort to just appealing to expertise and running, but having worked for an aspergers charity, I'd say theres very little sign of him being someone with the condition, and the idea that it's much like narcisism is absolutely wrong, Migeru's explanation is much better

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I never said it was much like narcissism only that CERTAIN external behaviour was the same but the internal pathology was different.  
by stevesim on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 03:50:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Daniel Domscheit-Berg's project apparently failed. It hasn't published anything. Wikileaks on the other hand has published quite a lot in the meantime, and with much less funds at that. We can only guess what Wikileaks would have done if the US hadn't made banks close most of Wikileaks' accounts.

I am afraid you still haven't found a moderately convincing argument. Try better.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 09:29:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you read the articles I linked?
This one, dated May 8th, 2012 :
Here Comes OpenLeaks: How It Won't Be WikiLeaks | The Awl
There are only five or six people working on the project so far, and it is privately funded by them alone. Daniel said, "There is no sponsor, there are no foundations, no corporations, there are no people paying us for what we are doing. This is all just 100% privately funded by me and the others. This is good because right now we are independent and there's no one that can tell us that we need to hurry up a little bit more.

They want to do it right; it's complicated; they don't want to be financed by anyone. They are taking their time. It's a little bit early to declare failure. However their model is fairly complex, requiring a high degree of implication for sources and for media (Openleaks acting purely as a technical intermediary), so it's an open question as to whether they will succeed in making it a going concern. I certainly hope they do, because once it's running, it's a sustainable model, designed to avoid the Wikileaks crash-and-burn paradigm.

As for Wikileaks, and what it's achieved since 2010 :

Why Julian Assange is Wikileaks' Single Point of Failure | TechPresident

When Assange stumbled in his personal life (and that's the most charitable way to put it), his response to the crisis broke the trust of his closest allies. Not only did Domscheit-Berg and Jonsdottir stop working with Wikileaks, so did the "architect," who took the software that had enabled the site to safely receive anonymous leaks. Ever since then, Wikileaks has produced little beyond what hackers reportedly connected to Anonymous have given it: The Stratfor email archive, which has proven to be of fairly little real value beyond illuminating some of the sleazier business practices of the private security industry, and most recently emails from inside the Syrian government. And last year, Assange burned what little moral capital he had left when he decided to post the full, unexpurgated State Department cable database, exposing innocent people to potential harm. It's a far cry from Wikileaks' years of constant output of vital documents exposing corporate and governmental misconduct around the world.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 10:08:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people have a vendetta going against Assange.  He sprobaly a huge asshole but he has accomplished a lot.  He as shown the world what the USA is capable of in misusing the justice system of a Western " democracy'
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:35:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then go on waiting until DBB's project starts working. Just don't be disappointed. DBB isn't exactly a guy with under-developed ego either, by the way, and what did you intend to prove?

The accusation that publishing the cables had exposed innocent people to potential harm discredits your article thoroughly. It's a lie the US government spreads and that truthful media don't repeat.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not a lie, it's an opinion. The author of the piece has a long history of supporting Wikileaks, but was appalled, as were many other supporters of Wikileaks, by the raw dump :

The Fall of WikiLeaks: Cablegate2, Assange and Icarus | TechPresident

Back in January 2011, Julian Assange said in an interview with Paris Match that he believed that,

"Transparency should be proportional to the power that one has. The more power one has, the greater the dangers generated by that power, and the more need for transparency. Conversely, the weaker one is, the more danger there is in being transparent."

I quoted this statement approvingly in my book, WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency.

It is difficult to square Assange's January statement with today's exposure of the names of human rights workers who have shared information in confidence with US Embassy staff, whatever the other important revelations about hidden corruption or suppressed atrocities that may now surface as people around the world pore over the raw files.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 08:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn. I posted my reply to this in the wrong place upthread
by Katrin on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 08:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter. I doubt if anyone else is following this discussion... ;)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 08:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Main articles: Guantanamo Bay files leak, Global Intelligence Files leak, and Syria Files

In late April 2011, files related to the Guantanamo prison were released.[155] In December 2011, WikiLeaks started to release the Spy Files.[156] On 27 February 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor.[157]

On 5 July 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files, more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012.[158]

Less than earlier but still nothing to dismiss outright. And if the architect of the leak software was really irreplaceable then he was the single point of failure not Assange. Overall reads like the author has an axe to grind.

by generic on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 01:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if the architect of the leak software was really irreplaceable then he was the single point of failure not Assange

My guess is that Wikileaks could have survived, technically, the loss of either the architect or DDB, but not of both simultaneously.

Perhaps a better analogy is a rock band. The entire group, including the songwriters, walk out on the singer (or he fires them, whatever). He gets to keep the name (and the groupies), but for anyone who's been paying attention, they walk away with all the musical cred.

The key point in the Wikileaks saga, for me (according to the narrative I'm getting, from multiple sources : I'm happy to discuss other narratives) is when the inner circle, who consider that the organisation is a collective, ask Julian to stand aside as spokesperson while he gets the personal stuff sorted out. That's when he announces that there's no collective, Wikileaks c'est moi. And they walk out on him.

I frankly don't care who's an asshole. Perhaps they all are, on a personal level. I've always considered that it was important to separate the private from the public, when considering any artist or public figure (Gandhi beat his wife, etc). But when it came to the crunch, Assange decided to politicise his personal foibles. And the rest of the collective walked out.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 03:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Replying to Generic

Exposing political and corporate malfeasance is inherently political. What would a neutral leak site even look like? Publishing anything they consider genuine no matter how important, relevant or whom it may concern? Like the cable leak but on steroids?

At the risk of repeating myself, this article from The Awl describes it pretty well :

Here Comes OpenLeaks: How It Won't Be WikiLeaks | The Awl

WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT ABOUT OPENLEAKS?

From its inception in September 2010, OpenLeaks was designed with all the painful lessons of WikiLeaks in mind.

The key difference is that where WikiLeaks itself participated in the vetting, editing and publication of leaked documents, OpenLeaks won't even be able to read them. OpenLeaks provides only the platform for submissions, which will be encrypted and visible only to publishing partners designated by the source. OpenLeaks is pursuing a course of total neutrality. This is in sharp contrast to WikiLeaks, which worked closely with major news organizations, an approach that sometimes resulted in a lot of friction.

This may or may not work, but it's an interesting approach. And it explicitly answers your question.

On the other hand what seems to have done most of the damage to Wikileaks was the decision by insiders to use the allegations to force a change in the internal structure and after that failed to take their toys and go home.

Well, in my opinion it pretty much destroyed Wikileaks as a credible or useful tool in the struggle for transparency, and it was a terrible thing for them to have to do.  As I have already written several times over in this thread, my interpretation of that showdown is somewhat different :

WikiLeaks Organizers Demand Julian Assange Step Aside - The Daily Beast

Julian Assange is facing an insurrection, with WikiLeaks supporters outraged that Assange has insisted on remaining in charge of the whistleblowing website despite the rape allegations he faces in Sweden.

A prominent WikiLeaks organizer, Birgitta Jonsdottir, a parliamentarian in Iceland, tells The Daily Beast that she has encouraged Assange to step aside as WikiLeaks' public spokesman and give up his other management responsibilities, at least until after the criminal investigation is over.

It wasn't so much a question of "using the allegations to force a change", as an attempt to prevent Julian bringing the organisation crashing down, by attempting to make it function (again, I'm repeating myself) as a collective, rather than a fan club.

But since Julian insisted it was indeed his fan club... I guess they had to leave, because frankly they weren't fans any more.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 08:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only this morning you have criticised Wikileaks for not editing the cables and now you demand they don't edit anything! Can you please make up your mind?
by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:06:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you read and understood the Openleaks model?

OpenLeaks provides only the platform for submissions, which will be encrypted and visible only to publishing partners designated by the source.

So, what would have happened if the cables had been leaked to Openleaks? The source (not DDB) would decide which media would get access to which documents. Then the designated media would extract the information they are prepared to take responsibility for publishing. e.g. the Guardian or Mother Jones or whatever would have trawled it for politically interesting stuff to publish, and would have avoided putting any innocent individuals in danger.

If the source decided they wanted the whole raw dump to be available to anyone, they would authorise some web site (not OpenLeaks) to publish it. It would be between the source and the publisher.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:30:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I have understood it, but have you?

This morning you criticised very much that right-wing media used one of the cables as ammunition in their defamation of an Israeli NGO. Under DBB's concept they would have had the chance to do that, too.

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:40:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... then no, you haven't understood it.

They could have this opportunity, but only if the original source, the whistleblower, authorised a specific medium to publish the raw unredacted cables.

Yes, OpenLeaks could have been the intermediary leading to such publication, but in that case, the criticisms of those, such as myself, who disapprove would have been directed toward the publisher who took that responsibility. (and to the anonymous whistleblower who authorised that).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 10:10:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... then no, you haven't understood it.

Sigh.

Let's imagine Private T.P. Arty who has got hold of a report on the outrageous political views of a somewhat lefty employee of a NGO and who hands this report to Openleaks with a list of Israeli or US right wing media. You have told me that you would be perfectly relaxed with that, but you feed me with quotes condemning Julian Assange for almost everything he has ever done, especially publishing all the cables with little edits.

And on top of that you say I hadn't understood.

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 01:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You said

Under DBB's concept they would have had the chance to do that, too.

which indicates to me that you didn't understand; because although it's theoretically possible that Manning, if he had leaked to Openleaks, would have authorised a list of right-wing media to access the raw file of cables, I think it rather unlikely.

Then you introduce a hypothetical, where this information would have come from a right-wing whistleblower. Yes, we're agreed about the fact that I am relaxed about a politically-neutral platform, because, like DBB, the architect and others, I believe in the value of transparency for its own sake, and not only as a political tool toward specific ends (I believe that, overall, it overwhelmingly favours the left, but I am willing to live with the exceptions).

Following this, you throw in a looping non-sequitur : apparently you imagine that my politics, philosophy and general world-view are shaped and dominated (for the last forty years at least?) by my supposed hatred of poor little Julian. Sorry, no.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 04:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been talking of bias, and you twist that into "supposed hatred". Funny how what I say morphs into something else, and something ridiculous at that. No, actually I have never said your politics, philosophy and general world-view are shaped by any emotion, I just note a discrepancy between what you find just fine in one person/organisation and outrageous in another.

Sorry, it was you who introduced the supposed damage to one person's career and the constructed nexus to what you call the "unredacted" publication of the cables as evidence that Wikileaks just doesn't work satisfactorily while Openleaks, which has never ever facilitated the publication of anything, works just fine.

I believe in the value of transparency for its own sake, and not only as a political tool toward specific ends

Do you demand neutrality about crimes? Are there two valid opinions at the sight of a helicopter crew shooting at a van with a family inside who try to rescue a wounded man? If not, where do you demand political neutrality from a whistleblower site? Isn't the idea that citizens have a right to information that someone wants to withhold political in itself? I really don't understand how Wikileaks could be apolitical. As far as I know the accusation wasn't raised when Wikileaks published Kenyan scoop. It wasn't raised when Wikileaks operated in Iceland. It wasn't raised when they published embarrassing military secrets of Germany. It was loudly raised when Wikileaks exposed US American war crimes.  

by Katrin on Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 05:46:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah I forgot that I never got around to reading the second article, sorry. So neutrality by not publishing anything at all. While this might work and is certainly better than nothing it is vastly less ambitious than the original Wikileaks was.
I don't share the assumption running through the TechPriest article that the original model failed. In fact it was wildly successful up to compromising the cable leak. And as far as I know it's still not clear how that happened.
United States diplomatic cables leak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In August 2010, Assange gave Guardian journalist David Leigh an encryption passphrase and a URL where he could locate just the encrypted, full unredacted Cablegate file. In February 2011, shortly before Domscheit-Berg's book appeared, he and Luke Harding, another Guardian journalist, published WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy via Guardian Books. In it, Leigh revealed the passphrase Assange had given him.[6]

It wasn't so much a question of "using the allegations to force a change", as an attempt to prevent Julian bringing the organisation crashing down, by attempting to make it function (again, I'm repeating myself) as a collective, rather than a fan club.

Obviously they, like everyone else in human history believe they had the best intentions. But DDB was clearly uncomfortable with what WL was and had always been. So its not just a question of saving the organization but changing its orientation.

by generic on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 11:23:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's clear that Leigh messed up by publishing the password, even if, as he claims, Assange had assured him it was a temporary one which would expire in a few hours... If Assange gave such an assurance, then it's 50/50. But Assange's subsequent decision to publish the unredacted cables, on the basis that "the bad guys already have it anyway", was a major blunder too. The damage done, for example in Israel (as discussed on this thread) where the right clearly got their info from the Wikileaks publication, not from decoding the binary with the published password, is a case in point.

So its not just a question of saving the organization but changing its orientation.

There had already been at least one major change in orientation : when Assange started explicitly politicising it. I'm not saying that it's a good thing or a bad thing, but it wasn't the original orientation, and it was done against the will of a certain number of the key players (including those who left to form OpenLeaks). It can be argued that they wanted to bring it back on course.

I think there is certainly room for both explicitly political and "apolitical" whistleblowing operations (the apolitical ones are the ideologically pure, focusing on transparency). I'm thinking that these are separate and complementary functions, and it was the mix of genres which was one of the major reasons for the Wikileaks blowup.

On the technical level, there is no question about it, Wikileaks is broken. Go to the site and look. You want to submit something? You can't.

Ideally, Wikileaks could partner with Openleaks (just like any other media or content provider could partner with Openleaks). A whistleblower submits material to Openleaks, specifying Wikileaks as the authorised publisher. Voilà, everyone's happy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 12:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Assange's subsequent decision to publish the unredacted cables, on the basis that "the bad guys already have it anyway", was a major blunder too.

If I understood the situation correctly then everything was already in the whoever really wanted to know could know category. Might as well publish everything yourself before too many people start inventing fake cables.

Looking on from the outside I didn't notice Wikileaks becoming more politicized. More flashy certainly. More the focus of media attention. But there is no way to be both truly apolitical and to publish leaks yourself.

by generic on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 02:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I understood the situation correctly then everything was already in the whoever really wanted to know could know category.

Not so, as discussed in this rather lengthy sub-thread. I think even Katrin implicitly conceded that harm was caused to civil rights workers in Israel by the publication of the indexed, browsable, unredacted cables by Wikileaks. Note the dates of publication, if you are unconvinced.

Yeah, in theory, the information was already "out there". In practice, Wikileaks spoon-fed it to the lazy media. Error of judgement.

But there is no way to be both truly apolitical and to publish leaks yourself.

We agree on that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 09:26:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't deny that Wikileaks was the immediate source here, but more likely than not they would have found out about it anyway. The Israeli right wing surely has the information shifting capabilities.
We'd also have gotten even more of this:

United States diplomatic cables leak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On 9 December 2010, major Pakistani newspapers (such as The News International, The Express Tribune and the Daily Jang) and television channels carried stories that claimed to detail U.S. diplomats' assessments of senior Indian generals as "vain, egotistical and genocidal", also saying "India's government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists", and that "Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan's tribal belt and Balochistan."[105] However, none of the cables revealed any such assessments. The claims were credited to an Islamabad-based news service agency that has frequently run pro-Pakistan Army stories in the past.[105]
by generic on Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 12:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DBB was interviewed by Der Spiegel in September 2010. He told the news of his break with Wikileaks and offered all their dirty linen for inspection (Julian Assange copied this move a few hours later). DBB had the concept of Openleaks ready in this interview, so it is fairly clear that he had decided on an own project before the publication of the cables.
by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 01:53:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT ABOUT OPENLEAKS?

From its inception in September 2010, OpenLeaks was designed with all the painful lessons of WikiLeaks in mind.

The key difference is that where WikiLeaks itself participated in the vetting, editing and publication of leaked documents, OpenLeaks won't even be able to read them. OpenLeaks provides only the platform for submissions, which will be encrypted and visible only to publishing partners designated by the source. OpenLeaks is pursuing a course of total neutrality. This is in sharp contrast to WikiLeaks, which worked closely with major news organizations, an approach that sometimes resulted in a lot of friction.


This may or may not work, but it's an interesting approach.

It won't.

That design has an obvious, crucial, inbuilt flaw: "Leaks" are far more often used by governments and corporations to damage people who attempt to hold them accountable than to hold governments and corporations accountable by publishing confidential documents which are in the public interest.

A leak platform therefore needs to act as gatekeeper between the anonymous source and the newsies. Otherwise, you're just providing a platform for "anonymous sources close to the government" to cloak their partisan hack jobs in the imprimatur of whistleblowing.

And the editorial functions it doesn't provide are not incidental to, let alone detracting from, the mission. They are crucial core functions.

A whistleblowing platform really does need to select the publishing houses it leaks to with some care. It really does need to vet the material and present it in digestible soundbites. And it really does need to spin it properly. At least if what it wants is for the leak to actually change policy, improve transparency or give the public a greater insight into the inner workings of governments and corporations.

None of which the whistleblower can be expected to do himself - it's not his area of expertise, and the more time and effort he spends editing the material, the greater the risk that he fucks up and blows his cover.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 05:26:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, my understanding of the Openleaks approach is that the whistleblower delegates the vetting of the material, selection of sound-bites etc to their designated publishing house (or houses). I imagine that the organisation would be active in matching up leakers to publishers.

I agree that the platform needs to exercise great care in the selection of the publishing houses it partners with (which are the only accessible outlets for whistleblowers using the platform). This would probably mitigate the misuse by governments and corporations : I could imagine Openleaks going as far right as the NY Times or the Guardian, but no further. Probably no right-wing Israeli papers, for example.

This, obviously, compromises the "apolitical" nature of the platform (in a satisfactory manner), but crucially, keeps the organisation out of detailed editorial decisions.

On the other hand, I suspect the repeated delays in launching are related to recruiting a credible number of publishers.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 08:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Replying to Katrin

It's funny then that you recommend a project that is designed to serve Daniel Domscheit-Berg's ego

As documented in my reply to Generic, the project is explicitly designed to serve nobody's ego : there are no editorial decisions, just a sort of "market place" where whistle-blowers can make content available to media. If it works, and DDB gets recognition for it, then good for him... but that's explicitly not what the organisation's about, in fact it's one of the Wikileaks design faults that they are intent on not repeating.

It's not true that all people left Wikileaks, by the way

No, only all the key people. Jonsdottir, the (anonymous, apparently egoless) Architect, the other tech people... it certainly was far from being a mere showdown between Assange and DDB as you would like to portray it.

I note that you consistently blame Assange. How will you react if the US manage to get hold of him?

I have repeatedly paid tribute to his ground-breaking vision, energy, etc... but from the point when he let his inner demons take control, I part company with him. There comes a point where it just becomes grotesque, and very damaging to the whole notion of transparency and internet neutrality.

If the US manage to get hold of him, I will be sad and angry. And surprised. If the US manage to get hold of him through the Swedish allegations, I will admit I was wrong about the integrity of the Swedish justice system, and in particular, that I was wrong to imagine that the spotlight of public opinion would keep it honest. And I will be very surprised if that happens.

He's put himself in this position by explicitly politicising the whistleblowing process, and personalising it : for example, it's clear that he personally made the decision to release the unredacted cables. This is not a sustainable model in the long term; if he's going to release information which harms important interests, he's obviously going to be a target.

It's interesting that the design of the Openleaks process makes this sort of thing impossible.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:20:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Birgitta Jonsdottir most emphatically didn't take DDB's side and I don't know anything about the architect and tech people leaving, except what DDB says about it. The Wikileaks site has financial problems because the US have made banks cut the funds, but it's up and running. You've got the timing wrong too: DDB had the concept for Openleaks ready before Assange was accused in Sweden.  

The whistleblowing process is automatically political, and the USA didn't mind as long as it was other countries' criminal policies that were exposed.

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:51:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Birgitta Jonsdottir most emphatically didn't take DDB's side

That's an interesting affirmation. Do you have any source for that, or is it private privileged information? You haven't brought anything but your own opinions to the discussion so far. iPad?

I'm only repeating sources I've already linked, but :

WikiLeaks Organizers Demand Julian Assange Step Aside - The Daily Beast

"Somebody needs to say this," she [Jonsdottir] continued. "If it means I get banned, I don't care. I really care very much for WikiLeaks and I do consider myself to be Julian's friend. But good friends are the people who tell you if your face is dirty. There should not be one person speaking for WikiLeaks. There should be many people."

Another WikiLeaks organizer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Assange had been resisting efforts over the last two weeks to push him off the public stage as a result of the criminal investigation in Sweden, and that his insistence on "staying in charge of everything" was creating "a mess for everyone" as the website prepares to release an additional library of 13,000 classified American military reports from the war in Afghanistan. The website outraged the Pentagon in July when it released more than 70,000 other classified reports from the war.

This WikiLeaks organizer said that internal protests directed at Assange resulted in a temporarily shutdown of the WikiLeaks website several days ago, nominally for mechanical reasons. "It was really meant to be a sign to Julian that he needs to rethink his situation," the organizer. "Our technical people were sending a message."

I imagine the anonymous source in question was DDB, but if it wasn't, that really only makes it look even worse for Assange.

You've got the timing wrong too: DDB had the concept for Openleaks ready before Assange was accused in Sweden.

I haven't asserted anything about the timing. It's clear that DDB had been thinking about the problems in the Wikileaks model for a while. Do you find that sinister or something?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 10:22:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not iPad ;), I got that from her tweets at that time (which are difficult to produce now). She no longer supported Assange, but did not want take DDB's side in the dirt flinging match either (which I find wise). I don't know if you had followed the events then, but the venom on both sides was enormous.

It's clear that DDB had been thinking about the problems in the Wikileaks model for a while. Do you find that sinister or something?

No. I just want to make clear that he wasn't reacting to the publication of the cables, his disagreement with Assange was much older.

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 02:21:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're wondering why I seem so obsessive about the wikileaks business... It's because I am.

I started writing a novel using the themes of whistleblowing and sex. I wasn't happy with it. Perhaps I'll have another try.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:36:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even more fiction. I see.
by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:53:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's something that has been excessively claimed, but never substantiated.

The author of your article cites the Israeli who holds political opinions that don't go well with the establishment there and has shared those opinions in confidence to, of all people, a US embassy official. And now Micah Sifry claims that this person's career was put in danger by Wikileaks. That can be called "potential harm" too, but how likely is it? Common sense says that this person must have aired his or her views on other occasions too, if s/he told even someone from the US embassy. I note that this person becomes "human rights workers" (plural) in this highly biased article.

And the US government claims that Afghan collaborators were put in danger. This has never been substantiated though, and for a simple reason: the Afghans who collaborate with the occupation forces do so openly. They leave their homes in the morning, translate (or whatever) from 9 am to 5 pm, and go home again, and all the neighbourhood knows it. They are in danger, but this danger isn't caused by the wikileaks publication.

The only exception are the people who sell their neighbours as alleged taliban for a bounty, to have them locked up and tortured. They do that in secret, but I have no issue with exposing them.

The people who raise the claim--that publishing the cables "expos[ed] innocent people to potential harm" have been unable to cite a single person where this was the case. They are stating a falsehood as if it was a fact, and I call that lie, not opinion.

by Katrin on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 08:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a falsehood, but an apparently unverified assertion. In any case, the author of the piece never talked about danger to Afghans, so you've built yourself a strawman there...

Don't you find it amazing how many people have succumbed to US propaganda? The author, after years of supporting Wikileaks, dares to criticise it! I guess he must have been paid off by the CIA.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 08:53:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the author of this particular piece didn't. The danger to collaborating Afghans was the standard complaint when the publication was still fresh though. No, I don't find statements like those in your article amazing: the more Wikileaks stepped on the US' toes, the more people in the US and its allies switched sides. Wikileaks is harming the war efforts. We can't have that.
by Katrin on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 09:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the author of this particular piece didn't.

Well, you were using the author's opinion on the cable dump to discredit him, in order to discount his other opinions. Therefore yes, the Afghan business is nothing but a strawman.

So, you think Micah Sifry switched sides because Wikileaks is harming the war efforts... I think that's an uninformed opinion. Here's his book WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency, here's what Cory Doctorow thinks of it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 09:26:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, do you think I am treating that author unfairly because he echoes accusations of US militarists without saying exactly the same? Possibly, but then the accusation that Wikileaks had endangered people in Afghanistan is such a standard piece. If Micah Sifry isn't the standard militarist, he could try not to sound like one, couldn't he?

He still hasn't substantiated his claim that the publication had exposed innocent people (note the plural) to potential harm. He cites one person, the Israeli who chose the US embassy to air an opinion that the Israeli establishment doesn't like, and says publishing this cable had endangered that person's career (but actually he is only guessing). Does that sound reasonable to you? Who would choose the embassy of the US for such a statement? Possibly someone who has made that opinion known everywhere, but who else? Does the Israeli establishment depend on Wikileaks, or do they get reports from the US anyway? If someone is raising a strawman, it's Micah Sifry.

by Katrin on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 10:00:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's not echoing anyone's opinions. He has ample credentials on the subject. Perhaps he should apologise to you personally for expressing an opinion that triggers a kneejerk reaction in your head.

So, let's examine the cable in question, shall we?

Cable reference id: #10TELAVIV439

New Israel Fund (NIF) Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radovanitz, who manages grants to 350 NGOs totaling about 18 million dollars per year, told PolOff on February 23 that the campaign against the NGOs was due to the "disappearance of the political left wing" in Israel and the lack of domestic constituency for the NGOs. She noted that when she headed ACRI's Tel Aviv office, ACRI had 5,000 members, while today it has less than 800, and it was only able to muster about 5,000 people to its December human rights march by relying on the active staff of the 120 NGOs that participated. Radovanitz commented that the NIF was working behind the scenes through many NGOs to prevent the NGO legislation from passing in its current form. She commented that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic. She also said the NIF was currently re-evaluating its strategy and was hoping to create a movement rather than just a lot of NGOs. She said the NIF had no plans to build a human rights constituency within the right wing of Israeli society, though she believed politics had shifted to the right for the foreseeable future.

This was in the context of Israeli legislation that would require individuals and NGOs to register any funding received from foreign political entities. An attempt by the Israeli right to shut down human-rights oriented NGOS. In my opinion, talking to a US consular officer in this context is legitimate for someone like Radovanitz, because the the State Dept is more likely to be an ally than an adversary. And I think it likely that Sifry actually contacted Radonavitz, seeing as how he's a serious journalist and author. So you're only guessing that he's guessing.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 10:22:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not asking if talking to a US consular officer is legitimate or not, but if it's plausible that someone would tell anything to a US embassy that Israeli officials mustn't know.  Why do you think the context of NGO's and human rights makes the State Dept rather an ally than an adversary? How is the plural ("human rights workers") justified?
by Katrin on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 11:05:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Send Sifry an email.

Yes, in the context of Israel, where the militant right is in government, I can perfectly well imagine sharing views with US consular officers which one wouldn't want the government to know. Perhaps you imagine that Obama/Clinton's state department automatically shares all sensitive information with Netanyahu's government? I think not. And yes, when Bibi is your Prime Minister, Hilary Clinton may well look like an ally.

As for the plural : most likely Sifry researched several cases, but published only one.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 11:36:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I won't send him an e-mail, I am asking you! :)

I find the information disclosed not very sensitive or exciting and anyway, R's employer wasn't her government, but an NGO. As to the plural, you are guessing.

I think we have now established that your case of the human rights workers facing terrible dangers because of the publishing of the cables is mainly based on guesswork and very very weak. You have perhaps a point that I judged Sipry a bit rashly (although I don't retract that he is biased).

by Katrin on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 01:18:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I won't send him an e-mail, I am asking you! :)

Well, I consider him reliable, based on his past publications, and so my answer to you is that I trust him to have done his homework. We certainly have not established that he has indulged in guesswork. Since you're the one casting doubts, you could perhaps try to back up your assertions?

But no, I'll do your research for you, this time... a quick Google of "New Israel Fund (NIF) Hedva Radovanitz" gives, among many other things :

New Israel Fund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In September 2011, the contents of a United States diplomatic telegram were revealed via Wikileaks, stating that Hedva Radovanitz, then Assistant Director of NIF Israel, said "she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic."[57] NIF stated that these comments "do not reflect the policies or positions of the New Israel Fund". Its CEO responded, "New Israel Fund's dedication to an Israel that is both Jewish and democratic could not be clearer."[58] Radonavitz later released a statement complaining that her comments had not been accurately reported, but also confirming that she resigned from the NIF due to disagreements with their policy directions and guidelines.[59]

i.e. she lost her job, and we can imagine that she was replaced by someone "less controversial". It seems probable that the organisation lost funding over this, but I can't be bothered doing the research.

A hysterical blog post, which demonstrates how dangerous it can be to hold such eminently sensible opinions as those she expressed :
Le « New Israel Fund », ou la trahison purulente, Pat Quartier

Selon Hedva Radovanitz, la co-directrice de la branche israélienne du New Israel Fund (NIF), celui-ci gère des subventions totalisant quelque 18 millions de dollars par an, distribués à 350 ONG.

Mais bas les masques ! Leur haine d'Israël est tellement vivace qu'ils se hâtent d'abandonner le langage trompeur pour annoncer les véritables motivations qui les animent : l'anéantissement d'Israël, et au diable l'égalité, la fraternité, la justice sociale pour tous et... les idiots utiles.

Ainsi, Hedva Radovanitz confie à l'ambassade américaine en Israël qu'elle croit - et elle s'en réjouit

que dans 100 ans, Israël sera majoritairement arabe et que la disparition d'un Etat juif ne sera pas la tragédie que les Israéliens craignent, car le pays sera plus démocratique. 

Pour cette passionaria du NIF, être Arabe est une garantie de démocratie.

Ce cynisme est sidérant, mais en fait la révélation ne surprendra personne.

From a conservative magazine :

Wikileaks Bombshell: New Israel Fund Official Endorses End of Jewish State « Commentary Magazine

Then there is a cable about a draft Knesset bill (since extensively modified) that seeks greater transparency for foreign-funded NGOs:

B'Tselem Director Jessica Montell...estimated her 9 million NIS ($2.4 million) budget is 95 percent funded from abroad, mostly from European countries.

Here Montell is giving credence to what B'Tselem's critics, such as NGO Monitor, have been saying for years: that the group is essentially an arm of European foreign policy, more interested in condemning Israel than in promoting human rights.

And then there's the bombshell:

New Israel Fund (NIF) Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radovanitz, who manages grants to 350 NGOs totaling about 18 million dollars per year, [said] that the campaign against the NGOs was due to the "disappearance of the political left wing" in Israel and the lack of domestic constituency for the NGOs. She noted that when she headed ACRI's Tel Aviv office, ACRI had 5,000 members, while today it has less than 800, and it was only able to muster about 5,000 people to its December human rights march by relying on the active staff of the 120 NGOs that participated.

She commented that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic. [Emphasis added]

The reasoning behind NIF's multi-million dollar donations to Arab groups such as Adalah and Mada al-Carmel that seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State suddenly becomes clear: In the words of a high-ranking NIF official, the group believes Zionism itself -- that is, Jewish national self-determination -- is anti-democratic and should eventually yield to an Arab state where Jews will once again live as a minority. It seems the "New Israel" envisioned by NIF will not be a Jewish state. Has NIF made this clear to its American Jewish donors?

Yes, it seems perfectly clear to me that in Israel alone, a number of people and organisations who work in favour of human rights for Palestinians and Israel Arabs have been, visibly, damaged by the unredacted cable dump. Perhaps put in physical danger, perhaps not. I imagine that the author knows of other cases which he has chosen not to publicise : if harm has not yet come to the people involved, drawing further attention to them is not going to help.

Would you like to concede this point now, or are you going to do a detailed rebuttal?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 03:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All this shows that the publication of the cables gave right wing organisations additional ammunition in their ongoing defamation of that particular NGO and one person resigned from her job because of these attacks on her political opinion that she had chatted about with an official. What Sifry had claimed was this, though:

And last year, Assange burned what little moral capital he had left when he decided to post the full, unexpurgated State Department cable database, exposing innocent people to potential harm.

today's exposure of the names of human rights workers who have shared information in confidence with US Embassy staff,

It's not the same. Sifry doctored the facts for sensational effect. He is biased.

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 05:01:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
exposing innocent people to potential harm.

I think that I have, independently of Sifry, demonstrated that the unredacted cable dump has exposed multiple innocent people to potential harm (and at least one to actual career damage, as it happens).

In particular, by providing additional ammunition to right wing groups.

This is entirely consistent with what Sifry has written. No doctoring of the facts is involved. It just happens that the facts are inconvenient with respect to your defense of Assange's decision to dump the cables.

You are entitled to conclude that Sifry is biased, but perhaps you should define what you mean by that. For my part, I believe he is entitled to his conclusion that Assange the celebrity has become largely a sideshow, at best largely irrelevant to the ongoing struggle for transparency:

Why Julian Assange is Wikileaks' Single Point of Failure | TechPresident

The cause of transparency is far, far bigger than the legal troubles of one brilliant, courageous but ultimately flawed individual. Britain ought to let Assange flee to Ecuador, because there's little chance he can get a fair trial in either Sweden or the United States. But then let's be done with him. Those of us who want freedom of information to thrive should learn a key lesson from Assange's case. For information to flow freely, there can't be any single point of control.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 05:28:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's what I mean by biased, just look at the quote YOU chose:

"The cause of transparency is far, far bigger than the legal troubles of one brilliant, courageous but ultimately flawed individual."

Would he rather have an individual that isn't flawed at the helm of Wikileaks? Where does he suppose such an individual exists? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? I assume he doesn't mean flawed, he means "guilty of rape".

"Britain ought to let Assange flee to Ecuador, because there's little chance he can get a fair trial in either Sweden or the United States."

Hey, wait, have the US a case against him? Sweden accuses him of criminal behaviour and we can discuss if they can guarantee a fair trial or not, but the US accuse him of journalism. How can this man talk about the chance for a fair trial in the US without mentioning that the only thing the US can accuse Assange of is the act of publishing information, aka journalism?

"But then let's be done with him."

Guilty because not proven innocent. It's really not important to try him and lock him up as long as it's clear daring to publish leaked material ends with exile.

"Those of us who want freedom of information to thrive should learn a key lesson from Assange's case. For information to flow freely, there can't be any single point of control."

Sounds nice, but it just doesn't work. I suspect information flowing freely is not so much Sifry's concern.

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 05:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would he rather have an individual that isn't flawed at the helm of Wikileaks?

No. The whole thrust of the article is that he thinks that Wikileaks should have been a collective, not a dictatorship. This means that any individual's flaws are less likely to endanger the work.

Sounds nice, but it just doesn't work.

That's an interesting affirmation. Do you think this site doesn't work? I have the impression that it's a collective. Would a dictatorship be better?

As for your suspicions about Sifry, I really can't help you unless you state them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 06:13:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting that you name dictatorship as the only alternative to collective. This site works admirably for a limited number of users. It doesn't reach millions of readers. Assange's overdeveloped ego worked very well for Wikileaks until these allegations were raised. One can now discuss if a more collective way would have managed to get as much attention, but without the risks. One cannot claim to be concerned about that while cavalierly speculating if Assange can get a fair trial in the USA. The whole thrust of the quotes you have spoonfed me with is preparing the ground and preventing solidarity for this event.

By the way, Kristinn Hrafnsson has stepped in and is doing most of the things for Wikileaks that Assange used to do. Shouldn't Sifry focus on him, if he really was concerned about running, not preventing, a whistleblower-site?

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 06:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Assange's overdeveloped ego worked very well for Wikileaks until these allegations were raised.

Just like nuclear reactors work very well until they explode. If there's a fatal design flaw, it'll show up in the end.

Until that crisis arrived, the other people deferred to him because he was the founder, leader, guru, and an effective high-profile spokesperson. This isn't actually incompatible with a collective, as long as each individual is prepared to defer to the collective when it comes to the crunch. Assange proved unwilling to do so... so the other key people all left. Don't you wonder why they did that? Perhaps they were all biased, just like Sifry?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 07:31:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny then that you recommend a project that is designed to serve Daniel Domscheit-Berg's ego. It's not true that all people left Wikileaks, by the way, but he did, and loudly at that. I find it difficult to decide who of these two guys showed the more unpleasant and damaging behaviour.

I note that you consistently blame Assange. How will you react if the US manage to get hold of him?

by Katrin on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 08:03:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Replying to you higher up...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 09:21:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even usually insightful people can let their judgment be clouded by personal animosity.

Why Julian Assange is Wikileaks' Single Point of Failure | TechPresident

"We had ... conceived of ourselves as a neutral submission platform, pure technology, and not a political agitator with a Twitter account," writes Daniel Domscheit-Berg,

Why Julian Assange is Wikileaks' Single Point of Failure | TechPresident

the famous "helicopter video" that first signaled Wikileaks turn from neutrality towards explicit political agitation

Exposing political and corporate malfeasance is inherently political. What would a neutral leak site even look like? Publishing anything they consider genuine no matter how important, relevant or whom it may concern? Like the cable leak but on steroids?

I can't read those quotes without assuming bad faith.

Now I agree that after the allegations first surfaced Assange was probably on the way to becoming more of a liability than an asset. Even though everyone who replaced him would probably just end up being faced with an unending stream of questions about what kind of asshole he was, like Leftwing politicians and the Berlin Wall, he should have stepped back.
On the other hand what seems to have done most of the damage to Wikileaks was the decision by insiders to use the allegations to force a change in the internal structure and after that failed to take their toys and go home. From what little I have read of Domscheit-Berg he claims to already have been unhappy with Assange's leadership style so his handling of the allegations was only the trigger not the fundamental cause of the schism. So putting all the blame for WL's problems on Assange's shoulders seems, even disregarding the US' escalation of its war on Whistleblowers, rather excessive.

by generic on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 08:16:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For reasons of formatting and coherence, I prefer to answer this here.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 08:50:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DDB is also known as an asshole btw
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sources?

Other than "Assange fired him for disloyalty"?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:45:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Google is your friend.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is an unacceptable response on this blog.

You don't tell people to do your research for you.

If you can't back up what you're saying, don't say it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:06:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been posting for two weeks now that I cannot do a cut and asteon this damned Ipad so cannot provide links...
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So realize you've wasted your money on an iPad, and don't get assertive in a discussion.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:57:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not mine.  I do not buy things made by slave labour.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 04:13:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You just use them?

You know that might be called hypocrisy?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 04:14:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's for my job.  But I give it a lousy rating which it fully deserves.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 04:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you all think that this discussion about Ipads and the merits of internet cafés is even more off-topic and derailing then the Asperger derailment?

And if Assange has a condition that is a mitigating circumstance, he should plead that in Sweden.

by IM on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 02:21:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

The reason is stated above: ET is, and always has been, a forum where people are expected to produce references when asked. "Go and Google it for yourself" isn't acceptable here.

Though I didn't put up the [ET Moderation Technology™] tag, I'm speaking as an editor.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2012 at 03:00:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Almost in tears with compassion. Do you know what an internet café is?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 04:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm.  I am not in an area that has any.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 04:12:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Holyrood: George Galloway: A statement from the editor (22 August, 2012)
I had always felt that in an increasingly bland and corporate political world, he added some colour and was often an effective thorn in the side of the establishment. If nothing else, he provoked debate which is healthy. However, his recent outpourings about definitions of rape have left me, frankly gobsmacked. There is no excuse, ever, for sex without consent and regardless of the details of the Assange case, Galloway's comments and inappropriate language about rape per se are alarming. I had hoped he might have taken the last 24 hours to reflect on his judgement and perhaps make some kind of public apology but that has not been apparent, far from it. So, it is with some very genuine regret that I have asked him to no longer write his column for the magazine.


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 02:48:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Julian Assange sex claims not a crime in Latin America - Ecuador president | World news | guardian.co.uk

"I don't want to judge allegations that have not been proven and would not, in any case, be considered a felony in Latin American, too," he said. "It has never been the intention of the Ecuadorean government or Julian Assange not to respond to those allegations."

Ecuador has proposed interrogations by Swedish investigators on embassy property and has said it would support Assange going to Sweden if it could get reassurances from the UK government that he would not then be extradited to the US.

Perhaps European legislation should be aligned on that of Latin America, which has long been considered a shining example in matters of relations between the sexes.

Critics say this is grandstanding for domestic political reasons. Correa - already Ecuador's longest serving president for a century - will contest an election early next year. Although his support rates are high, one of his least popular moves has been to assert greater control over the media through lawsuits, referenda and closures of radio stations. Providing a haven for Assage - a champion of whistleblowers - may be designed to offset these negative perceptions.

No comment.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 05:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please do not resort tothe vilest stereotypes wrt Latnos just because you disagree with the Ecuadorian preident's decision.  I have met many peope from Ecuador who are perfect gentlemen.

I think you believe that these women were really vctims of a sex crime whereas I believe that there are too many cloudy areas to make an uninformed judgement and one must therefore stick to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have met many peope from Ecuador who are perfect gentlemen.

And I have personal experience of Latin american males who impregnate various women and don't feel they have any obligation to care for their offspring, and of the fact that the social mores are such that even the women involve think it's all a-okay (or at least that that's the way things are).

The plural of anecdotes is bullshit, but social mores are well documented, in Latin America and in Sweden. And in Australia, presumably, where Assange is from.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:37:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And these people who aandon their children are exclusively from Latin America?

Last timeI looked that happened in Africa, China, North Ameica, and geez, in all the countries of the world!

I thought this was a progressive blg so why do so any of you resort to such racist beaviour?  It looks like Little Green Footballs.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:03:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it "racism" to point out that Berlusconi having bunga-bunga parties with 16 year olds makes him more popular with his voters?

I don't know of similar behaviour being a political plus in Scandinavia, though I am open to being corrected on that point.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:10:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are populists in every country.  I don't know why youthink Sweden is heaven on earth.  I have a good friend whose brother is disabled from a beating he got from a gang of youths in Stockholm for being a foreigner although he is half Swedish and half Peruvian.  Sweden can be extremely violent and xenophobic and populist.  The right wing government is privatising everything, including schools
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:32:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Get off your high horse.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:10:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is the use of such blatant stereotypes okay with you?  You always seem ready for a fight too.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:33:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Get off your high horse" means stop adopting exaggerated moral attitudes and attempting to hand out lessons to others.

If you don't want to understand, you can go elsewhere.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:10:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know very well what it means.
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 03:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, narcissistic males exist everywhere, but I would stress the fact that the social mores are such that even the women involve think it's all a-okay, which is definitely not the case in Scandinavia.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
please!  Now it's the women's fault.

I exected a little thoughtful analysis not half digested stereotypes from this place.

I did see the interview Assange did with Correa.  I think Correa is enjoying this opportunity to stick it to the colonial powers and is doing the rest of the world a favour.

The Swedish authorities and the British are showing the American overreach wrt Assange and are shaming themselves.

It's too bad that so many women have jumped on board of this dubious case as they are not doing rape victims any favours by calling for the prosecution of a case where the definition of rape des not seem to apply.

Oh, and Assange himself says that he is probably autistic.

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:25:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, when you have a case of a mexican wife, mother, sisters and lovers of a certain latin american man with entitlement issues justifying his having 4 children with 3 different women and lying to everyone involved then it's either Stockholm (heh) syndrome or "cultural mores" of latin american women getting the better of them.

I have more anecdotes. If you don't force me to enumerate them all, it won't become bullshit.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:09:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't you the one who is always excluding personal narrative as just that, personal?  

And, I know penty ol Latinos who think that the Spaniards are the most macho in the world....  

See how that personal narrative thing works?

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About macho Spaniards, one thing that has been happening for the past few years is that domestic violence and gender violence cases are publicised and tracked with the same government and media attention as, for instance, road deaths used to be when the latter were considered one of the most pressing public safety issues in the country. So machismo (and the associated acceptance of victim status by women) is being strongly challenged through what could be described as social engineering.

[Why do you bring up Spaniards, by the way? Because I'm one, or because Garzón is now Assange's lawyer? I'm neither patriotic nor nationalistic so I am personally not concerned about what you may say, positive or negative.]

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To show how trite these stereotypes are.

They can serve a purpose but I personally do not think progressive minds should resort to them as any sort of a logical argument

by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well,
"I don't want to judge allegations that have not been proven and would not, in any case, be considered a felony in Latin American, too," he said.
is not a stereotype about Ecuadoreans, it's a sourced quotation of the Ecuadorean President. Similarly, this
"Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion."
is a sourced quotation by George Galloway. The difference is that Galloway is not making a legal statement in an official capacity, he's just being an asshole.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 12:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that what any of us believe matters an iota, but I see no reason to change my assessment from two years ago:
That account reads like a case of two groupies meeting a visiting pop star who behaves like an asshole with a sense of entitlement and then gets sued for rape by said groupies.
I don't know whether an extradition is warranted on that basis, though, but I personally don't feel any sympathy for Assange or any of the two women. All three are at fault. However, being infatuated by a pop star is definitely not a crime, whereas overstepping certain boundaries in sexual relations might be.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:40:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What happens to what freedom of expression we have if the US get their chance of revenge? That's why I find Assange must be protected from an extradition to the US at all costs.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:30:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He must be protected from extradition to the US, by due process. Being transferred to the UK to Sweden improves his protection from extradition to the US. Which is why his frantic resistance to due process, however trumped-up the charges may seem to him, is frankly bizarre.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:43:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No it doesn't.  What I have been reading indicates the opposite
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:58:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not impugning the character of any individual. But it's no exaggeration to say that the cultural ethos tilts towards machismo and misogyny, much more so than in western and northern Europe. That's why Correa's implication that Sweden should learn from Ecuador in this respect is so comical.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 07:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh please.  The Swedes had to legislate incentives to have their males spend time with their offspring.  How macho to be bribed to have to take care of your own children!
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:06:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden does social engineering to increase sexual equality... and this is a sign of machismo?

Can you, even for a second, envisage the idea that certain groups of people may exhibit virtuous behaviour which is worthy of being emulated by others? Or is this idea inherently racist to you?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cultural relativism gone bunga-bunga.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 08:17:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Social engineering because their  men are too macho to care for their own children!!
by stevesim on Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:15:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French mother in custody battle with Saudi prince falls to her death - Telegraph

Police are still investigating what caused the death of Candice Cohen-Ahnine, 35, who fell from her Paris apartment window on Thursday night.

Investigators reportedly had been leaning towards an accident as cause of death, but by Sunday reports in the French media suggested Ms Cohen-Ahnine had slipped and fallen to her death "as if she was escaping something dangerous".

Police refused to confirm the reports when contacted by The Daily Telegraph.

Ms Cohen-Ahnine's lawyer, Laurence Tarquiny-Charpentier, said the death "seemed to be some sort of accident," and did not know whether foul play was involved. She said witnesses had been at the scene of the crime, and more information about the circumstances of the death is expected Monday.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 03:29:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: A debate between Germany and Germany
Jorg Asmussen and Jens Weidmann disagree openly on the principle and remit of ECB bond purchases; ECB yesterday denied Spiegel story of interest rate thresholds, but indicated that the idea may be discussed at the next governing council meeting; Asmussen confirms in an interview that the ECB is ready to endorse unlimited bond purchases; said ECB wants to take out any doubts among market participants about the future of the euro, he said; the Bundesbank's monthly report highlights the risk of bond purchase to price stability; the various comments and rumours led to wild gyrations in financial markets; Italy's industry ministry sharply criticised the Bundesbank over its position; a majority of German economists are fiercely opposed to interest rate/spread thresholds; Holger Stelzner writes that the idea is to create an interest rate command economy where the bureaucrats determine money market, as well as capital market rates; Jacques Cailloux says spread guarantees are unlikely - most likely action would be bond purchases focusing on the short end; the Spanish media are discussing contingency plans for a eurozone exit; populist politicians are exploiting the mood of anger in Spain; the latest consensus forecasts point to lower growth prospects in France; the government has only one month to prepare its austerity budget; Le Monde calls on Francois Hollande to overcome his complacency, and to start to act on the crisis; Greece finalises €13.6bn in budget cuts; Mohamed El Erian, meanwhile, says EU leaders need to think up something innovative, or the crisis is going to deteriorate again.


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 03:32:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FAZ writes in another article that German economists have roundly condemned the idea of interest rate thresholds. Manfred Neumann said such a decision would be the end of an independent monetary policy and would subjugate the central bank to the interests of southern European member states. Volker Wieland is quoted as saying that the ECB is going too far in the direction of fiscal policy. Jorg Kramer of Commerzbank recalled that the ECB is legally not allow to fund governments. It would destroy the confidence in the euro. One of the few who argued in favour of interest rate thresholds is Holger Schmieding at Berenberg, who call it a big step to reduce the tensions. The article contains lots of other reaction, almost exclusively negative.

Holger Stelzner says markets rates are now determined by committee

It is not really surprising that the conservative economics editor of FAZ, Holger Steltzner, condemns the idea. He said after the failure of Big Bertha - the LTRO - the ECB is now considering the Big Bazooka. His main prediction is that once the ECB embarks on this route, the bond purchases will become permanent. In this regime, the ECB not only determines the money market interest rate, but also the interest rate for loans in capital markets. He calls the interest rate command economy. The goal is that the creditors are footing the bill, and that the debtors get bailed out.

Jacques Cailloux says interest rate thresholds very unlikely

Jacques Cailloux of Nomura, according [to] FT Alphaville, has written a very sensible comment in which he dismissed the possibility of spread targets. Instead, he argue that most likely course of action would be a yield levelling at the short end to produce a real one-size fits all monetary policy - something that would be akin to the creation of a common euro T-bill market.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 03:39:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, [Torygraph Alert] , but Ambrose Evans Pritchard has been consistently good in his analysis of the crisis.

Ambrose Evans Pritchard: Germany backs Draghi bond plan against Bundesbank (Telegraph, 21 August 2012)

The choice of wording is crucial. If it can be shown that the ECB is acting to avert EMU break-up - known as "convertibility risk" - bond purchases would no longer be deemed a bail-out for Italy and Spain.

...

Mr Asmussen was appointed to the ECB by Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, in January and is close to her inner circle. He was on holiday when the ECB council - 17 national governors and six board members - backed the Draghi Plan earlier this month. It was unclear at the time whether he would acquiesce or join the Bundesbank in protest.

His support for Mr Draghi is crucial. While the ECB can, in theory, enforce its policy by majority vote, it would be hazardous to do so against German opposition. "This is a significant turning point," said Raoul Ruparel from Open Europe. "Asmussen was hand-picked for the role by Merkel. It means that Draghi has managed to crack what seemed like a solid German wall."



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:57:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This would seem to hold out hope that we are going to get past the short term crisis.

I'm not sure I can take the hoping though, given how many times European leaders have let us all down.

Of course, then the battle moves to the long-term crisis, stepping away from the austerity precipice...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 07:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 
Ambrose Evans Pritchard has been consistently good in his analysis of the crisis.

That has certainly been my experience over the last couple of years. The most objectionable thing about him is the smug, superior look on some of his photos. I don't consider an alert in order for him.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 09:11:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 07:59:08 AM EST
Eurozone crisis live: Germany and Finland take tough line over Greek aid | Business | guardian.co.uk

Germany's deputy finance minister, Steffen Kampeter, has taken to the airwaves to insist that Greece must meet its commitments.

In a sign that Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras faces a rough ride in Berlin on Friday, Kampeter told Deutschlandfunk radio this morning that Greece is behind schedule in its fiscal targets, it must make amends itself.

The full transcript is online here in German, but here's a rough translation of some of Kampeter's remarks:

It is important that both sides should keep to what we agreed...

We have agreed that we will see what the Greeks have done, based on the troika's analysis. If, as we all assume, there are any deviations then the Greece side will compensate for them...

We will decide in an orderly, fair and transparent procedure in Europe. The key to this lies not in Berlin, but in Athens.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:12:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Twitter / Marthakearney: Euro crisis: senior German ...
Euro crisis: senior German politician tells us that it is now necessary for Greece to cut costs by 40% or to leave the Euro #WATO


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:15:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone crisis live: Germany and Finland take tough line over Greek aid | Business | guardian.co.uk

Michael Hewson of CMC Markets:

Given that the Greek government is already struggling to agree a budget of €11.5bn worth of cuts, it is likely to be impossible for them to reach a target of €14bn, and could potentially bring down his fragile coalition.

If these figures are accurate this week's meetings are likely to be very challenging... With other senior policymakers due to have series of meetings this week, we could well find that the European rumour mill is a little more fertile than normal.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:16:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The mirage of youth unemployment | European Voice

The problem stems from how unemployment is measured: the adult unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals in the labour force. So if the labour force comprises 200 workers, and 20 are unemployed, the unemployment rate is 10%.

But the millions of young people who attend university or vocational training programmes are not considered part of the labour force, because they are neither working nor looking for a job. In calculating youth unemployment, therefore, the same number of unemployed individuals is divided by a much smaller number, to reflect the smaller labour force, which makes the unemployment rate look a lot higher.

In the example above, let us say that 150 of the 200 workers become full-time university students. Only 50 individuals remain in the labour force. Although the number of unemployed people remains at 20, the unemployment rate quadruples, to 40%. So the perverse result of this way of counting the unemployed is that the more young people who pursue additional education or training, the higher the youth unemployment rate rises.

While standard measures exaggerate youth unemployment, they likely understate adult unemployment, because those who have given up their job search are not counted among the unemployed. As the Great Recession drives up the number of such `discouraged workers', adult unemployment rates appear to fall - presenting a distorted picture of reality.

Fortunately, there is a better methodology:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 10:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This seems just wrong to me. How is it overstating youth unemployment to exclude those in education? It's a simple fact that x% of the youth who are looking for work can't find it. I wonder what the author's agenda is in trying to obscure this?

All the more agenda driven since if the numbers are small it would take only a small job guarantee scheme to improve matters.

All the more agenda driven since most education schemes these days don't pay living expenses, so these youth in training or education are living off either savings or relatives.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 05:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What the author seems to me to be saying is something like I and others have often said here: that the unemployment rate metric is not the most useful, yet it is at the same time the star featured metric in the media, and much abused.

How many times (and still counting) have we seen journalists do the "one in four young people is out of a job", "almost half of young people are looking for work", etc?

Further, I'm convinced this metric is flawed by different country-by-country reporting of the "inactive" youth population. Almost every Danish student is reported as having a job, which hugely increases the labour force and reduces the unemployment rate; meanwhile, the French statistics institute appears to me to massively under-report student part-time jobs (with the opposite effect). In other words, useless for cross-country comparisons - yet the media love 'em some of those.

This is interesting:

The mirage of youth unemployment | European Voice

During the 2006 French student protests, France's 22% youth unemployment rate appeared to compare unfavourably to rates of 11%, 12%, and 13% in the United Kingdom, the US, and Germany, respectively. But the Financial Times showed that only 7.8% of French under-25s were unemployed - about the same ratio as in the other three countries. France simply had a higher percentage of young people who were full-time students.

IIRC, we pointed that out to the FT...

As to under-reporting of "disappointed" would-be workers in the older age groups, that is a standard complaint.

The article also suggests that the unemployment ratio - percentage of the entire age group looking for a job, which is the way the unemployment rate is wrongly media-interpreted - would be a more useful metric, and I agree.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:18:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On cross-country comparisons - yes, absolutely correct that there is no consistency in the counting.

But I don't agree on the youth unemployment ratio.

To me the youth unemployment ratio massively underestimates youth unemployment in a recession. There's a reason that it doesn't vary much in a recession (as the original author makes great play of) - it's that the hardcore of youth unemployment is constant - these are the people who have low social capital.

In boom times they struggle into work, past lack of education, lack of money to travel for work, etc. In hard times, they don't get into education and training schemes for much the same reason.

What we see in a recession is a large involuntary transfer of youth from work into education and training. Youth unemployment rate (as opposed to ratio) reflects this - imperfectly, but at least it reflects it.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a fair point, but if the reporting on education and training and part-time jobs is wildly different from one country to another, the ratio permits cross-country comparisons where the rate does not.

Within one country, more sensitive tracking than the unemployment rate can be provided by the variation in numbers in education and training, and the NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) numbers. It's quite possible for the media to discuss those, but they rarely do.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 09:04:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In this connection, see this presentation by Bill Mitchell (from a recent open thread):



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:23:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No more growth miracles | Dani Rodrik | New Europe

CAMBRIDGE - A year ago, economic analysts were giddy with optimism about the prospects for economic growth in the developing world. In contrast to the United States and Europe, where the growth outlook looked weak at best, emerging markets were expected to sustain their strong performance from the decade preceding the global financial crisis, and thus become the engine of the global economy.

Economists at Citigroup, for example, boldly concluded that circumstances had never been this conducive to broad, sustained growth around the world, and projected rapidly rising global output until 2050, led by developing countries in Asia and Africa. The accounting and consulting firm PwC predicted that per capita GDP growth in China, India, and Nigeria would exceed 4.5% well into the middle of the century. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company christened Africa, long synonymous with economic failure, the land of "lions on the move."

Today, such talk has been displaced by concern about what The Economist calls "the great slowdown." Recent economic data in China, India, Brazil, and Turkey point to the weakest growth performance in these countries in years. Optimism has given way to doubt.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 10:49:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No more growth miracles | New Europe

Moreover, rich countries are unlikely to be as permissive towards industrialization policies as they were in the past. Policymakers in the industrial core looked the other way as rapidly growing East Asian countries acquired Western technologies and industrial capabilities through unorthodox policies such as subsidies, local content requirements, reverse engineering, and currency undervaluation. Core countries also kept their domestic markets open, allowing East Asian countries to export freely the manufactured products that resulted.

Now, however, as rich countries struggle under the combined weight of high debt, low growth, unemployment, and inequality, they will apply greater pressure on developing nations to abide by World Trade Organization rules, which narrow the space for industrial subsidies. Currency undervaluation à la China will not go unnoticed. Protectionism, even if not in overt form, will be politically difficult to resist.

A good article, that identifies the role of mercantilism in the growth strategies of East Asian "tiger" economies.

I'd add that the slowdown around the developing world is the downside of mercantilism - someone has to be the buyer, and with the 1st world economies struggling, there are fewer buyers than before.

And this needs to be a lesson for the Euro too - without buyers on the world stage, mercantilism policies as advocated by Germany are doomed to failure.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:00:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wege aus der Schuldenkrise: EZB und Bundesbank driften auseinander - Wirtschaft - FAZWays out of the debt crisis: ECB and Bundesbank drift apart

Im Kampf gegen die Schuldenkrise wird die Europäische Zentralbank bei künftigen Anleihekäufen möglicherweise in die Vollen gehen. ,,Das Volumen könnte unbegrenzt, soll in jedem Fall aber ausreichend sein", heißt es in dem am Montag veröffentlichten Monatsbericht der Deutschen Bundesbank mit. Die konkrete Ausgestaltung und die Entscheidung im EZB-Rat solle in den Ausschüssen des Eurosystems aus EZB und nationalen Notenbanken vorbereitet werden.

In the fight against the debt crisis, the European Central Bank may pull out all the stops in future bond purchases. the monthly report of the German Bundesbank includes the statement, "The volume could be unlimited, but should in any case be sufficient." The report adds that the concrete structure and the decision of the ECB Council are to be prepared in the committees of the Euro System consisting of the ECB and the national central banks.
Schon mit der Ankündigung unbegrenzter Käufe könnte die EZB Spekulationen gegen hochverschuldete Euro-Staaten eindämmen, sagen Experten. Die Märkte dürften davor zurückschrecken, gegen die unbegrenzte Feuerkraft der Zentralbank zu spekulieren. Spaniens Wirtschaftsminister Luis de Guindos hatte am Wochenende unlimitierte Anleihekäufe der EZB gefordert, nachdem die Kurse zehnjähriger Bonds in der vergangenen Woche zum ersten Mal in diesem Monat auf Wochensicht wieder gestiegen waren. Experts say that the ECB could derail speculation against the highly indebted euro countries simply by announcing unlimited purchases. The markets are likely to shrink from speculating against the unlimited firepower of the central bank. Spain's economics minister Luis de Guindos called for unlimited bond purchases over the weekend after ten-year papers climbed again last week for the first time this month week-on-week.
Die Bundesbank äußerte sich skeptisch zu einem neuen Programm zum Ankauf von Staatsanleihen. ,,Die Bundesbank hält an ihrer Auffassung fest, dass insbesondere Staatsanleihenkäufe des Eurosystems kritisch zu bewerten und nicht zuletzt mit erheblichen stabilitätspolitischen Risiken verbunden sind", heißt es im Monatsbericht weiter. Entscheidungen über eine möglicherweise noch deutlich umfassendere Vergemeinschaftungen von Risiken sollten bei der Finanzpolitik beziehungsweise den Regierungen und Parlamenten angesiedelt sein und nicht über die Notenbankbilanzen erfolgen.The Bundesbank responded with skepticism to a new program of bond purchases. "The Bundesbank remains convinced that sovereign bond purchases in particular are to be viewed critically and are associated, among other things, with significant risks with respect to stability policy," the monthly report says, and asserts that decisions regarding considerably more extensive communitizations of risks lie within the realm of financial policy, respectively with the governments and parliaments, and not be taken by way of central-bank balance sheets.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:26:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Testosterone Pit - Home - Former Central Bankers Speak Out Against Central Banks

Krysztof Rybinski was deputy governor of the central bank of Poland between 2004 and 2008. He started his career as computer scientist. As opposed to modern central bankers, he does not seem to follow economic theories that cannot be proven scientifically .

"Krzysztof Rybinski - formerly of Poland's central bank - launches the Eurogeddon fund to profit should the worst predictions for the eurozone come to pass. It sounds a bit late to the game, but Rybinski thinks current policies assure worsening conditions. He'll be shorting European index futures and sovereign paper like Italian bonds, while going long gold, greenbacks, and Treasurys." (source)

We have posted an illustrated wrap-up of Rybinski's thoughts here. According to Rybinski the european leaders and central bankers do the following mistakes:

1) treating an insolvency problem as a liquidity event
2) wasting two years only to take a useless medicine with bailouts
3) using the central bank to do a job that belongs to government
4) allowing cheap loans to increase the risk of collapse of the banking sectors in Spain and Italy
5) wasting time on impractical ideas at crucial moments when time cannot be wasted
6) conceiving a banking union which will not cure but rather spread infection (source)



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 04:55:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Siemens seeks thousands of job cuts: paper (August 21, 2012)
The report comes amid growing signs that Germany's economy, which remained relatively robust through large parts of the euro zone crisis, is losing steam.

Siemens, Germany's biggest company by market value, in July reported a big drop in new orders as customers put off investments due to Europe's crisis, saying full-year goals would be hard to meet.

In Germany alone, orders were down by 43 percent in the first nine months of its financial year.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:06:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Sharp may add 3,000 workers to planned job cuts: source (August 21, 2012)
Embattled Japanese TV maker Sharp Corp (6753.T) may cut a further 3,000 jobs on top of the 5,000 already announced by selling two television assembly plants to Taiwanese partner Hon Hai Precision Industry (2317.TW), according to a source familiar with the discussion.


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the extra horrors of the European crisis is that unemployment is a lagging indicator - you get the job losses some time after the crisis has begun.

As such, we have to wait even longer for Germany to realise that destroying the European economy isn't a good idea.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 07:59:27 AM EST
BBC News - Burma abolishes media censorship

Burma has abolished pre-publication censorship of the country's media, the information ministry has announced.

The Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD) said that as of Monday, reporters would no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication.

However, strict laws remain in place which could see journalists punished for what they have written.

Burma has kept tight control over all aspects of its media for some 50 years.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:05:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Striking S Africa miners' deadline extended - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Striking workers at the world's number three platinum producer in South Africa where 44 people were killed in a week of violence, have been given until Tuesday to return to work.

The company initially ordered its employees to return to work on Monday or face possible dismissal if they do not report for duty.

Thirty-four strikers at Lonmin's mine were gunned down by police on Thursday in what has been described by some analysts as one of the worst displays of state violence since apartheid ended in 1994.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Striking South African miners defy Lonmin ultimatum | World news | guardian.co.uk

Lonmin has given its striking miners one more day to return to work before it says it will follow through with its threat to sack them.

The London-listed company, which is still reeling from the deaths of 34 of its workers in the worst police violence since the end of apartheid, said 30% of its 28,000 strong workforce reported for duty on Monday.

Lonmin said it would give the striking workers until Tuesday to report for duty before dismissing them. "Those illegal strikers who did not return to work this morning will not be dismissed and have been allowed an extra day in light of the tragic events of last week," the company said in a statement.

Local media reports suggested most of the striking miners will continue to refuse to attend work. Miner Kaizer Madiba told the South African Times newspaper: "People have died already so we have nothing more to lose ... We are going to continue fighting for what we believe is a legitimate fight for living wages. We would rather die like our comrades than back down."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 02:03:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somalia to swear in new parliament - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Somalia will move one step closer to a new government on Monday, as 225 members of the country's committee-selected parliament are set to be sworn in.

The parliament will eventually have 275 members, but the committee tasked with approving MPs has said 225 are enough to hold crucial votes for speaker and president by secret ballot.

About 24 candidates are running to become Somalia's first post-transition president who, once elected sometime in the near future, will then choose a prime minister.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A parliament appointed by committee sworn in at an airport base under protection from foreign soldiers (that would be the AU troops) will elect a president. I am uncertain as to how this is supposed to be a step forward, is it that they are gathering in Somalia instead of some other country?

Meanwhile, the civil war rages on:
Kenyan soldiers kill 73 Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia - Xinhua | English.news.cn

Chirchir said more than 1,000 Somali militants attacked a strongly defended location occupied by the Kenyan soldiers but were repulsed. He said six Al-Shabaab lorries were recovered during the battle.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 05:18:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sudan officials killed in plane crash - Africa - Al Jazeera English

A cabinet minister was among 32 government officials killed in a plane crash in Sudan, according to state media.

The group was an official delegation to Southern Kordofan, a war-torn state where the Sudanese army is fighting rebel groups. They were travelling to attend a function marking the Muslim Eid holiday, state news agency SUNA said.

The plane went down in mountains around Talodi, a town in South Kordofan, on Sunday.

SUNA's report blamed the crash on "bad weather conditions" but did not give further details.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ebola outbreak claims more lives in DR Congo - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Nine people have died from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo, the country's health minister has said.

The deaths announced on Saturday were among 11 "probable or confirmed" cases detected in the town of Isiro, Felix Kabangue was quoted as saying in a statement released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Teams of doctors from the health ministry, the WHO, aid group Doctors Without Borders and the US-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention were treating those infected, the statement added.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney still can't shake income tax controversy | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- In a year when a sputtering economy might be expected to give him the upper hand in the presidential race, Mitt Romney finds himself on the hot seat on income taxes, fighting perceptions over whether he's paid enough and how much he'd tilt future rates to benefit the rich.

Democrats again hammered the former Massachusetts governor Friday over his steadfast refusal to release more than one completed and one draft tax return. They also hit him over his disclosures that he and his wife, Ann, paid an average 14.6 percent of their $42.5 million in income to the U.S. Treasury in 2010 and 2011.

More than half of Romney's income during that time came from capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than income.

Their taxes over the last two years exceed the 12.8 percent tax rate for the average American, as cited in a Congressional Budget Office study.

However, they lag far behind the 24 percent average federal taxes paid in 2009 by others among the 1 percent of Americans with the highest incomes, according to the Internal Revenue Servic



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:09:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Bo Xilai scandal: Gu Kailai jailed over Heywood murder

The wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been given a suspended death sentence for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Gu Kailai did not contest charges at her one-day trial that she poisoned Mr Heywood in November 2011.

Suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment in China.

Mr Bo, the former party chief in Chongqing, was once seen as a contender for a national leadership position in a top-level reshuffle later this year.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 12:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to go with that

Bo Xilai's former mistress on display in Body Worlds: Boxun|Politics|News|WantChinaTimes.com

One of the displays in Body Worlds, a world famous exhibit showcasing the parts of the human body through plastinated, preserved corpses, may look too familiar to Chinese audiences.

So familiar, in fact, that netizens suspect the pregnant woman's body in the current display might belong to Zhang Weijie, Bo Xilai's former mistress and the missing Dalian Television's well-known anchor woman, according to Boxun, a news website written by overseas Chinese which often makes claims difficult to prove.

According to reports, Zhang was Bo Xilai's mistress in 1998, and she challenged openly challenged Gu Kailai after she was found pregnant. Gu, at trying to bring down the news anchor from behind the scenes, eventually called upon China's national and public security forces to threaten Zhang into leaving her job. After she left television, Zhang had taken to promoting a petition against Gu Kailai until she collapsed into a state of hysteria.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 01:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China's leftists dig in for fight over Bo Xilai | Reuters

Leftist supporters of China's toppled politician Bo Xilai are digging in for an unusually defiant defense of their hero, arguing that he and his wife are victims of a plot that has opened a dangerous schism between them and the Communist Party.

A Chinese court handed Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, a suspended death sentence on Monday after finding her guilty of murdering a British businessman, Neil Heywood.

But no amount of propaganda about Gu's misdeeds appears likely to persuade Bo's supporters that the case was anything but a conspiracy to derail him and discredit his mix of populist economic pledges and Mao Zedong-inspired socialist revivalism.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:41:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment: Not a misstatement, but a worldview.

Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, the Republican candidate for the Missouri Senate race, told a St. Louis news station on Sunday that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

He later took it back, but this wasn't a misstatement. It wasn't a gaffe or a stray bit of medical misinformation that could have attached itself to any one of us. The statement was a crystallization of Akin's worldview: sexist, blame-shifting, and profoundly ignorant.

In case anybody missed this dig at the "no means no" crowd, "legitimate rape" is a coded phrase meant to distinguish between a stranger attacking you in a parking garage, or, say, your date or your youth pastor doing the same. If you're tipsy or wearing a short skirt, it's not rape-rape, etc.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 01:13:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CHART: Number Of Americans Near Or Below Poverty Level To Reach All-Time High In 2012 | ThinkProgress
The number of Americans who live within 125 percent of the federal poverty level is expected to reach an all-time high of 66 million in 2012, the Associated Press reports. A family of four at 125 percent of the poverty level -- the threshold for legal aid and other government assistance programs -- makes $28,800 a year, according to government data. Faced with stagnant wage growth and high unemployment, the number of Americans near the poverty line has skyrocketed since the Great Recession began in 2008, as the chart from Zero Hedge shows below, contributing to America's rising levels of income inequality:


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 01:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A.T.O.: The US may be facing across a huge setback to its robust efforts to influence Morsi's presidency. The letter that Burns carried a month ago apparently contained an invitation from Obama to Morsi to visit Washington.

And Morsi is instead travelling to China and Iran.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:43:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 07:59:51 AM EST
Shell spending millions of dollars on security in Nigeria, leaked data shows | Business | The Guardian

Shell is paying Nigerian security forces tens of millions of dollars a year to guard their installations and staff in the Niger delta, according to leaked internal financial data seen by the Guardian. The oil giant also maintains a 1,200-strong internal police force in Nigeria, plus a network of plainclothes informants.

According to the data, the world's largest company by revenue spent nearly $1bn on worldwide security between 2007-09: if it were a country Shell would have the third highest security budget in Africa, after South Africa and Nigeria itself.

The documents show that nearly 40% of Shell's total security expenditure over the three year period - $383m (£244m) - was spent on protecting its staff and installations in Nigeria's volatile Niger delta region. In 2009, $65m was spent on Nigerian government forces and $75m on "other" security costs - believed to be a mixture of private security firms and payments to individuals.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:10:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shell spends $383m on security in Niger Delta : TBIJ

Oil giant Shell has spent almost $400m in three years guarding its installations in the Niger Delta, including maintaining its own 1,200-strong internal `police' force, running a network of plainclothes informants and supplying government forces with equipment, according to Platform, a campaign group.

Platform combed through leaked internal documents and WikiLeaks diplomatic cables to unpick Shell's $1bn security spend between 2007 and 2009 - of which almost 40% was spent protecting its Nigerian facilities. The group also looked at Shell's close relationship with government forces dating back to 2003. The Observer reported on the organisation's findings yesterday.

Shell's colossal Niger Delta facility has come under frequent attack from armed insurgents, who are frustrated by the local population's exclusion from the Delta's incredible oil wealth and by pollution. Kidnappings of oil workers, robberies and attacks on pipelines were frequent during the period covered by the documents.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 01:09:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conservative Group Plans to Push Republicans Toward Action on Climate, Cleaner Energy - Coral Davenport - NationalJournal.com

In a campaign season where energy and climate change have become partisan lightning rods, a small but growing group of Republicans are pushing back against their party's orthodoxy on both issues.

Leading members of the Christian Coalition and the Young Republicans on Monday will launch nationwide the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, a grassroots group aimed at engaging Republicans on the goals of cutting oil use, backing alternative energy and clean-air regulations, and fighting climate change.

The announcement comes less than a month after the rollout of a new conservative-run campaign and think tank, the Energy and Enterprise Institute, aimed at winning Republicans over to the idea of using the tax code to cut carbon pollution and fossil fuel use.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First Indian tanker to take state cover for Iran load - The National

The first Indian oil tanker company to accept state-backed insurance cover to carry crude from Iran will load its first cargo this week.

Mercator is so far the only tanker company to take up the Indian government's offer of insurance, introduced after the European Union imposed a ban on EU-based insurance cover as part of its sanctions regime against Iran.

Since last month, the state-run United India Insurance Company has been offering a cover of US$50 million (Dh183.6m) per voyage against pollution and personal injury claims, also known as protection and indemnity (P&I) insurance, as well as cover for hull and machinery to protect ships against physical damage.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:58:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
John Mashey | George Mason University's investigation of Edward Wegman incompetent, at best

The "Wegman Report", led by Edward Wegman of George Mason University (GMU) got criticized in 2010's Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized.  Experts called it "obvious" even "shocking" plagiarism.  GMU's incompetent handling, mistreatment of complainants and flawed rulings were mostly documented in March, but recent FOIAs expose more untruths.

Is the harsh title fair?  Read on, then study the 69-page attachment.

GMU Provost Peter Stearns' February letter to GMU faculty made claims of non-plagiarism that contradicted not only experts, but themselves.  The process consumed almost two years to assess four (4) pages of text.  

Stearns' letter was even more untruthful than previously known.  It  fabricated an imaginary second investigation committee, seemingly to somehow excuse crucial contradictions.   This seemed an attempt to defend the Wegman Report at all costs, even with potential problems from Federal agencies who expect schools to handle misconduct properly.  They fund much of GMU's actual research, done by faculty that to the best of my knowledge are normal, credible researchers.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What on earth is the conflict actually about, originally?  What act of plagarism is at the heart of it?  A cursory google search failed to inform me.
by Zwackus on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 04:19:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Former FDA Reviewer Speaks Out About Intimidation, Retaliation and Marginalizing of Safety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is often accused of serving industry at the expense of consumers. But even FDA defenders are shocked by reports this week of an institutionalized FDA spying program on its own scientists, lawmakers, reporters and academics that included an enemies list of "actors" and collaborators.

The paranoid and retaliatory email monitoring program, which sought to suppress the safety opinions of those hired to give their safety opinions, has provoked swift action from Capitol Hill. "I am writing to express my disappointment and disbelief with the way the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has retaliated against whistleblowers who expressed concern to Members of Congress and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) regarding safety concerns about medical products," wrote Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, the day after the breadth of the surveillance was reported in The New York Times.

---

For reporting the safety risks, the scientists became targets of the now-disclosed spy program and some lost their jobs. "It has been brought to our attention that FDA management may have just recently ordered the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) to investigate us, rather than the managers who have engaged in wrongdoing!" wrote the FDA scientists in a follow-up letter a few weeks later to President Obama. "It is an outrage that our own Agency would step up the retaliation to such a level because we have reported their wrongdoing to the United States Congress."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Annual hunt to cull 300 brown bears in Sweden - The Local
Sweden's annual bear hunt begins Tuesday, with over 300 of Sweden's brown bears to be killed over the next two months in an effort to control the predator's population figures.

The 312 bears, a figure which equates to roughly 10 percent of Sweden's bear population, will be professionally hunted in the period between August 21st and October 15th.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:01:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In an environmental exchange, some ancient trees are killed to help others | McClatchy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Like a steeple, the Jeffrey pine towers over conifers and aspen in the Tahoe National Forest north of Truckee.

Nearly 13 feet around at its base and believed to be about 250 to 300 years old, it has weathered every threat to come its way, including wildfire, drought, storms and logging.

Now it is slated to fall to a modern force: environmental restoration.

As part of a Forest Service effort to return Sierra forests to their pre-settlement glory, this tree is one of many conifers - large and small - the agency has designated for logging to help the aspen, another species officials say is in danger.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:09:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like Popeye got it right:-)

Carcinogens Linked To Cancer Stem Cells, But Spinach Can Help

Researchers at Oregon State University have for the first time traced the actions of a known carcinogen in cooked meat to its complex biological effects on microRNA and cancer stem cells.

The findings are part of a growing awareness of the role of epigenetics in cancer, or the ways in which gene expression and cell behavior can be changed even though DNA sequence information is unaltered.

The scientists also found that consumption of spinach can partially offset the damaging effects of the carcinogen. In tests with laboratory animals, it cut the incidence of colon tumors almost in half, from 58 percent to 32 percent.

The research at OSU's Linus Pauling Institute was recently reported in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, in work supported by the National Institutes of Health.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 04:36:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lapka Turns Your Phone Into an Organic Food Monitor [VIDEO]

The words "all natural," "organic" and "raw" are not hard to find in grocery aisles these days, but actually finding completely chemical free products isn't so easy.

More and more research has proved that manufacturers and food retailers are jumping on the "green" bandwagon without actually working to stock their shelves with food that's been properly treated and tested for synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Lapka hopes to be the whistleblower on that problem.

This iPhone accessory and app is a "personal environment monitor" that works like a lie detector on food wrappers that claim the grub is healthy. The user spears the food in question with one of the sensor attachments and Lapka tests for "organicity."

If Lapka finds a nitrate concentration -- a chemical found in non-organic fertilizers -- it will alert you that the food is a fraud.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 04:50:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

With respect to Davis Besse it seems like a flashback to the 2002 hole in the reactor head incident documented here, as part of the history of this Nuclear Nightmare between Toledo and Cleveland on the western Lake Erie basin. In 2003 the NRC's commissioner resigned after the General Accounting Office found the agency guilty of collusion with plant operator First Energy in their attempts to cover-up the seriousness of corrosion issues that brought Davis Besse within 3/16ths of an inch of a core containment breach and catastrophic release of radioactivity.  Then congressman Dennis Kucinich led the call of the Inspector General's office as he is once again after First Energy and the NRC have colluded to downplay the seriousness of widespread cracking that has been discovered over the past year throughout the concrete shield building that houses the Davis Besse reactor.

According to some alarming revelations found in NRC documents revealed through a Freedom of Information Act filing by Kevin Kamps at Beyond Nuclear found here, NRC investigators have serious reservations as to whether the Davis Besse shield building could withstand even minor seismic activity and admit that even before the widespread cracking was discovered that the shield building was never designed "for containment accident pressure and temperature."

This means that, even when brand new and un-cracked, Davis Besse's shield building was not capable of preventing catastrophic radioactivity releases during a reactor core meltdown. An inner steel containment vessel, a mere 1.5 inches thick when brand new, would thus be the last line of defense.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:53:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:00:12 AM EST
New Wave of Deft Robots Is Changing Global Industry - NYTimes.com
DRACHTEN, the Netherlands -- At the Philips Electronics factory on the coast of China, hundreds of workers use their hands and specialized tools to assemble electric shavers. That is the old way.

At a sister factory here in the Dutch countryside, 128 robot arms do the same work with yoga-like flexibility. Video cameras guide them through feats well beyond the capability of the most dexterous human.

One robot arm endlessly forms three perfect bends in two connector wires and slips them into holes almost too small for the eye to see. The arms work so fast that they must be enclosed in glass cages to prevent the people supervising them from being injured. And they do it all without a coffee break -- three shifts a day, 365 days a year.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:22:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Four-Fingered Robot Can Replace Flashlight Batteries [Video] | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

A robot that can reproduce the dexterity of the human hand remains a dream of the bioengineering profession. One new approach to achieving this goal avoids trying to replicate the intricacy of the bones, joints and ligaments that produce our most basic gestures.

A Sandia National Laboratories research team has adopted just such a strategy by designing a modular, plastic proto-hand whose electronics system is largely made from parts found in cell phones. The Sandia Hand can still perform with a high level of finesse for a robot, and is even capable of replacing the batteries in a small flashlight. It is expected to cost about $10,000, a fraction of the $250,000 price tag for a state-of-the-art robot hand today.

The researchers were able to scrimp in a number of clever ways. "One was scouring the globe for the least expensive, highest-performing components like motors, gears, etcetera," says Curt Salisbury, the project's principal investigator. "Another was to build the entire electronics system from commodity parts, especially those found in cell phones. We also moved from metal structural elements to plastic, being careful to design the structures so plastic would provide adequate strength."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you can feel that 'leisure society' just around the corner, n'est ce pas? just a few innovation cycles away now!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 06:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK discusses online porn block | New Europe

More than a third UK citizens (37%) would support the Government's plan for ISPs to block adults websites, according to a survey published by mobile phone website Recombu.com.

About 2,000 adults participated in the poll, which also found that just under a quarter of people would not support the strategy.

Also, 13% of people would not actively opt in to see porn sites if their ISP blocked access, while 6.7% admitted that they would.

The Government's consultation offers three different options to restrict access to pornographic sites: an automatic block on pornographic websites that adults could deactivate; an "active choice" making users to choose whether they want to have access to this content; and an "active choice extended", under which some categories are blocked by default.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 10:51:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, just over a third support it?  So, two thirds don't support it, then?  I wonder why they didn't phrase it that way.

Why, with overwhelming 37% support, it's amazing the government hasn't already acted.

by Zwackus on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 09:08:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
E. Coli Strain Linked to Cancer in Mice: Scientific American

The trillions of microbes in the human gut contribute to obesity and to the risk of diseases such as diabetes. This microbial menagerie -- the microbiome -- also has a role in cancer, researchers report today in Science1.

Mice with inflammatory bowel disease contain higher proportions of toxin-producing bacteria that may lead to colorectal cancer, the researchers say. Moreover, people with colorectal cancer were found to be more likely than healthy people to harbour these bacteria.

The findings suggest a broader avenue of cancer research. The microbiome found elsewhere in the body could also initiate tumours, so tinkering with it might help to prevent cancers, says Jeffrey Pollard, a microbiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the latest study.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 11:10:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stellar Crime Reporting Doesn't Come for Free | Mother Jones
Two years ago, Laura Amico and her husband Chris created Homicide Watch DC, a website that reports on every homicide in the nation's capital that the two can track down. Visitors can easily look up any recent homicide victim or suspect in the DC metro area, locate incidents on a Google Map, track cases through RSS feeds, and read public records associated to each case. The site gets 330,000 pageviews a month, and its commenting system has been particularly valuable for family and friends of homicide victims looking to ask questions, offer additional information, or simply express their grief.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 01:17:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Military Developing Anti-Suicide Nasal Spray as Deaths Hit Record Numbers

s the suicide rate among soldiers climbs to the highest levels in history, the Army is hoping Americans might one day treat their mental health woes with a single sniff.

The Army has just handed a $3 million grant to researchers at the University of Indiana's School of Medicine for the creation of an anti-suicide nasal spray. The project, to be led by Dr. Michael Kubek, an associate professor of neurobiology, is arguably one of the more unusual military efforts to thwart a record number of suicides among active-duty personnel and veterans.

"Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army," Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the Army's vice chief of staff, said this week in announcing new suicide numbers. Austin is spearheading his service's efforts to find ways to halt the surge in suicides.

"That said, I do believe suicide is preventable," Austin added. "To combat it effectively will require sophisticated solutions aimed at helping individuals to build resiliency and strengthen their life coping skills."

According to Kubek and his colleagues, a snort of their suicide-stopping neurochemical - a naturally occurring compound called thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH - could be the solution.

Suicide among American troops has increased steadily since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In July, the number of suicides among active-duty soldiers reached 26 - more than double the number in June and the highest for any month since the Army began keeping such statistics.

The Pentagon reported in June that suicides among soldiers have averaged one per day this year, an 18 percent increase in suicides during the same period last year, and have now surpassed the rate of combat fatalities.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 04:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Study: suicide rates fall when states legalize medical marijuana | The American Independent

A University of Colorado economics professor has co-authored a study, just released by the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, that concludes that suicide rates among young males decline markedly after states legalize medical marijuana. Professors at Montana State University and San Diego State University were also involved in the study. The study is titled "High on Life: Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide."

CU economics professor Daniel Rees is co-author of a study which concludes that passage of medical marijuana laws leads to a decrease in suicides among young men. (Image: CU Denver)

CU Denver professor Daniel Rees and his coauthors don't say conclusively why suicide rates fall. They offer evidence that marijuana acts as an antidepressant when used moderately, but also note that using marijuana in larger amounts can actually lead to depression.

They also note that the sale of alcohol to young males declines in states that legalize medical marijuana and note that alcohol is a known depressant the use of which can lead to suicidal thoughts.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:00:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Financewatch: One year on... what has Finance Watch achieved? (14 August 2012)
Finance Watch's staff, most of whom have financial industry backgrounds, have so far published six technical consultation responses and position papers covering bank capital (CRD4 / Basel III), shadow banking, bank structure (Liikanen), financial markets (MiFID), short selling and uncovered CDS, credit ratings agencies (CRA3) and a seventh on retail investment products (PRIPs) coming soon. Finance Watch's Members have used these as technical ammunition for their work on financial reform.

Finance Watch's staff also does direct advocacy. The team has held more than a hundred meetings with policymakers, given evidence to six formal parliamentary hearings in Brussels, Paris, London and Washington and spoken at dozens of public events.

It is too early to know the effect of all this on legislation, although we have seen a few improvements to legal texts after interventions from Finance Watch and its Members.  Unfortunately, due to resource constraints, Finance Watch has only been able to intervene in a handful of legislative dossiers.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 06:12:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel reports that Former SPD economy minister Wolfgang Clement is advocating retirement at 80.

With Social Democrats like these...

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 10:40:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:00:44 AM EST
BBC News - Hollywood director Tony Scott jumps to death from bridge

Hollywood director Tony Scott, famous for films including Top Gun, has died after jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles, authorities have said.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said Scott's death was being investigated as a suicide.

British-born Scott, brother of Alien director Ridley, shot to fame in the 1980s with a string of action films.

The 68-year-old's films included Crimson Tide, Days of Thunder and True Romance.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 08:02:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Judge dismisses Armstrong's case against USADA

A federal judge in Austin, Texas, threw out Lance Armstrong's lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Monday, a decision that allows the agency's drug case against the seven-time Tour de France winner to move ahead.

Armstrong, who repeatedly has denied doping, claimed in his lawsuit that USADA lacked jurisdiction and its arbitration process violates his constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the lawsuit as speculative.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 at 01:34:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a real killer smile



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 21st, 2012 at 08:06:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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