The prosecution of Julian Assange.
John Lyons spent nine hours in a room with six AFP officers — who were unfailingly polite and respectful — but who were doing something he believed attacked the very essence of journalism.
In almost 40 years in journalism — and having myself been on an AFP warrant after I received and wrote stories based on leaked defence intelligence documents — I had never seen a warrant this all-encompassing.
The power to delete official documents reminded me of George Orwell’s book 1984.
Remember Winston Smith, who worked in the records department of the Ministry of Truth?
Part of his job was to delete documents or newspaper reports of wars which his government wanted to pretend never happened.
But this was Australia in 2019 — not George Orwell’s Oceania in 1984.
As Cory Doctorow argues in a separate piece:
The Australian authorities insist that the raids were not coordinated and that it’s all a coincidence. As Caitlin Johnson points out, that’s a hell of a coincidence, and if it’s true, it’s even scarier than the idea that the raids were coordinated — instead, it means that Australia’s cops and prosecutors have gotten the message that it’s open season on public interest journalism and are acting accordingly, with lots more to come.
Rebecca Ananian-Welsh argues that the raids are a threat to democracy:
One of the most disturbing outcomes is not prosecutions or even the raids themselves, but the chilling of public interest journalism. Sources are less likely to come forward, facing risk to themselves and a high likelihood of identification by government agencies. And journalists are less likely to run stories, knowing the risks posed to their sources and perhaps even to themselves.
In regards to 1984, Dorian Lynskey argues that we have gone beyond the vision painted by Orwell.
By the time Morrison entered a jubilant party room on May 28 to address his fellow MPs, his language was tinged with an undeniable evangelical fervour. He seemed to be falling into prayer as he promised to “govern humbly” and place Australians “at the centre of our thoughts, each and every day”. “We must burn for the Australian people,” he told them. At this point, I felt myself burning too. I was tired of Morrison’s paternalism and the utter banality of so many of his protestations in defence of the “quiet Australians”, the people he patronisingly described as “too busy” to take an interest in politics, those who either couldn’t be bothered or preferred to cling to their disdain for politics and bed down with the eternally disaffected. “But they turn up every three years at elections and they take a good, close look at what the options are.” And then, like sleepwalkers, they vote for the Coalition or the more extreme parties that send preferences its way. It’s an old recipe in a faintly new guise, but its dangers for our body politic and for Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party are clear.
Author Bill McKibben on how industry lobbying created 30-year barrier to tOil firms are said to have known for decades of the link between burning fossil fuels and climate breakdown. Author Bill McKibben describes how industry lobbying created a 30-year barrier to tackling the crisis.ackling crisis.
Caleb Cain was a college dropout looking for direction. He turned to YouTube, where he was pulled into a world filled with conspiracy theories, misogyny and racism.
In a year’s time, if it has put the stench of one of the most inept campaigns in Australian political history behind it, Labor may be empowered to ask some pointed questions – and possibly dream of a reversal in its fortunes.
It may even be in a position to “burn’’ Morrison politically, if not biblically.
Naturally, Labor’s shock loss has left the party reeling. But Scott Morrison, too, should heed the warning it sends for his party’s third term.
Brian Eno discusses the body and character of speakers and instruments on space and sound. In the process he summarises his work with generative music. The conversation soon moves to politics, capitalism, neo-liberalism and taking action.
You cannot do technology now without a political position.
Eno ends by sharing an interesting idea of a developing a backwards calendar to plan your life based on how long you think you have left to live.
via Austin Kleon
The New Yorker asked five designers to design book covers for the Mueller Report in the event that it’s eventually published. Here
Samuel Beckett’s work challenges us to open our eyes and see the mess of our modern political situation, writes author of Beckett’s Political Imagination Emilie Morin,
Giridharadas sardonically remarked of the UK: “They’re having a fight about the wall except the wall is the English Channel: half of these people want to turn the English Channel into a wall to keep out their version of the Mexicans.”
All this would give the writer great satisfaction. But though feted and exploited by questionable allies, Solzhenitsyn should be remembered for his role as a truth-teller. He risked his all to drive a stake through the heart of Soviet communism and did more than any other single human being to undermine its credibility and bring the Soviet state to its knees.
These are complicated ethical questions. As builders of software on the modern internet, we have to know that there are potentially serious consequences to the design decisions we make. Facebook started as a prank by a college freshman and now has a measurable impact on genocide in Myanmar. While it’s obvious to me that everyone having unhindred access to knowledge is a net positive that particularly empowers disadvantaged communities, and that social media has allowed us to have access to new voices and understand a wider array of lived experiences, it has also been used to spread hate, undermine elections, and disempower whole communities. Decentralizing the web will allow more people to share on their own terms, using their own voices; it will also remove many of the restrictions to the spread of hatred.
In America, we’re unfortunately used …
I’m holding on to hope for a strong counter message happening with the mid-term elections. It did seem to materialize with so many events up to now, where in a zone of reality and normal forces of physics and reason, should have toppled the mad man egging on the rallies.
I’m not considering running for office because I have always dreamed of being an MP – although I don’t deny it would be interesting. I am thinking about it because I see it as a civic duty. I was brought up by parents who had lived in Manchester and London through World War II. They were adolescents at the time and have vivid and disturbing memories of the Blitz and of the revelations about Nazi death camps in the immediate aftermath of the war. It affected them profoundly. They brought me up to believe that bad things happen when good people stand by and do nothing.