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No News

I've been posting about the WikiLeaks soap a bit, also to see what I personally think about it. If you take down all rhetorics, the whole enchilada boils down to:

"Diplomats, and government institutions, overestimate their own importance."

We all know the game and the players. The general public is not stupid, and shouldn't be sheep-herded into dumb flocks. The strikingly simple reaction by the Russian government was the correct one: "We don't care, and will just ignore whatever is leaked." They have their own problems and the dealings of the US government are just well-known by the players even if never stated publicly until now. What probably will be found in the US cables is the extension of a nationalistic company-interests-driven policy. At worst, it will cause some embarrassment. Where's the news exactly?

The question is what the US will do in response. More secrecy, or more transparency? As a citizen of this world, I'ld hope for more transparency. There are just not that many interesting secrets a government can, or should, hold.

CIA Launches WTF to Investigate Wikileaks

In an hilarious move, the CIA has launched the WikiLeaks Task Force (WTF) to investigate, possibly handle, the damage done by the leaked diplomatic cables. Hilarious probably only to Internet-savvy people, since WTF is the common acronym for "What the F*ck?!," which nicely summarizes some of the US government's reaction.


Handshake Solutions

A spin-off of Philips, named Handshake Solution, has recently been buried. I am rather surprised at this. Handshake Solutions designed clockless asynchronous integrated circuits with low power consumption. Normal ICs spend a lot of their space budget on forwarding the clock signal, and clocked chips dissipate a lot of heat and noise just to keep everything in step, even when doing nothing that clock just ticks away.

I thought this was difficult but revolutionary technology with a bright future given the coming "Internet of Things" and multi-core machines with hundreds of cores. The spin-off was terminated but NXP still manufactures the chips.

Looks like a case where too early in being right means being wrong.


Wikileaks and Bank of America

The Bank of America has decided that it will follow in the footsteps of PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa, and halt all its transactions that it believes are intended for WikiLeaks, including donations in support of the organization. 'This decision, is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.'

Please don your tin-foil hat for the following analyses from Slashdot.
  1. Wikileaks is supposedly in possession of the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.
  2. Wikileaks may become subject to criminal charges on terrorism. The bank may be avoiding future heavy fines for supporting 'terrorists'.
  3. Wikileaks/Assange are hindered in gathering funds for lawyers. 
But, true, it certainly looks like The Bank of America acts as an extension of the US government, being collaborative, or even pressured.

To me, Wikileaks is journalism, not terrorism. Is the US giving up on principal democratic rights under the flag of ultra-nationalistic, or even outright fascist, tendencies? By extension, can we expect a more aggressive nationalistic US in the future, with possible China-like monitoring of the Internet as to avoid thought-crimes by its citizens? The overall effect on me, as a European, is roughly: 'If the US feels like, let them dig their own nationalistic grave.'

(Note that fascism has little to do with Jews and such, that is national-socialism, but has everything to do with suppression and organizing a society in a military manner.)

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Wikileaks in Court

A Dutch judge made a strange move today. In the decision to send back Afghanistan refugees, the judge decided to take the statements by the ministry used during due process less into account. Instead, given information supplied by Wikileaks, the refugees may stay.

The relevant part of the decision:
" (...) De rechtbank is er niet langer van overtuigd dat het feitencomplex waarop de ambtsberichten zijn gebaseerd voor juist moet worden gehouden."
"(...) The court is no longer convinced that the complex of facts on which the  official messages are based can still be seen as valid."
In short, the judge thinks governments may be lying.

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DDoS, Teenagers and Laws

In my country, the police arrested two teenagers for their part in the DDoS of sites by the flock Anonymous in response to the arrest of Assange, the freezing of accounts, and the denial to host Wikileaks. It's a bit of a bullshit game with an ignorant police showing their muscle against cyber-game playing teenagers. I find it laughable to pick on teenagers for what can only be considered silly pestering games and am a bit appalled by the media coverage of it.

What interests me is whether a DDoS 'attack' is actually a crime or can be seen as a valid means of cyber protest. Despite the war-games like rhetorics such as "Low Orbit Ion Cannon," "Operation Payback," and "Fire in the Hole!", there is no breaking and entering of digital goods, no theft of information. Instead, a machine is hindered in doing its job, the processing of information.

But that is pretty normal in a democratic protest. It's entirely equivalent to laying in front of train moving nuclear material, taking part in a picket line in front of a bank, or bothering office employees by protesting through making lots of noise.

I am not sure about (Dutch) law here. But, it seems ridiculous to condemn teenagers to jail for normal democratic processes.

(One of the kids was on the radio; of course, he claimed a similar defense.)




Free (Condoms for) Assange?

Apparently Wikileaks founder Assange is in a British jail, for a week, since his condoms broke on two separate occasions of consensual sex and the horny guy didn't know when to quit.

Malicious intent? Seems more like bad luck. Or rather, maybe someone should explain to the guy to clip his damned dirty fingernails before applying the rubber to his bazooka. Whatever, give the guy a reprimand, a sex education and a cigar and the women two bunches of flowers.