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The London Expat American Meetup Group Message Board › Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Afghanistan - US Citizen in Guantanamo

Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Afghanistan - US Citizen in Guantanamo

Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,083

Net neutrality debate needs a reset, says former FCC head Powell‎ - 25 minutes ago
With net neutrality policy coming to the forefront of the FCC's agenda in just a matter of days, it's only fitting to hear how former Chairman Powell
BetaNews -

At the next open FCC meeting on December 21, the first order of business will be the Open Internet Order, a revision to the FCC's Net Neutrality policies that have sprung from the nearly seven-year old doctrine on preserving internet freedoms by former FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

With net neutrality policy coming to the forefront of the FCC's agenda in just a matter of days, it's only fitting to hear how former Chairman Powell assesses the state of net neutrality.

At a symposium held by the Internet Innovation Alliance in Washington DC Tuesday, Powell aired concerns that regulation has simply taken far too long.

"I have to say, right after President Obama's election, there was moment of great opportunity in which the public and the industry were galvanized in commitment to public and private partnership to drive broadband availability and access, and to drive increases in adoption. This took the form, of course, of the National Broadband Plan, for which I really do give great compliment to Chairman Genachowski and the FCC," Powell began.

"In my opinion, unfortunately, we seem to have fallen off the track in the last year, and I think that for the better part of the year, regrettably...we have been stuck in a neverending debate over net neutrality. Rarely in my time in communications have I ever seen so much time and energy spent on so modest a gain."

Powell says it's time for a reset, and that it's time to reconsider how lightly the Internet is regulated, if at all.

"I think we should go back to a commitment that the presumption should be against regulating an Internet ecosystem without clear and compelling justifications for doing so," Powell said.

Powell had to clarify that he wasn't pandering to "some kind of Tea Party ethos," and it wasn't just haughty political discourse, but that it is necessary in the fast-moving reality that is the high-tech economy.

He pointed out that it's taken just fifteen years for giant telecommunications companies to completely dissolve and be supplanted by companies offering newer technologies.

"When I first started in the FCC, fear of the market power of long-distance [telephone] companies was much more significantly percieved than any other types of company. Where are those companies now?" Powell asked. "Killed. Creatively destroyed."

Furthermore, Powell said that existant telecom policy can simply not be applied to the Internet, which is a "system of ever-evolving, organic undulation," not the easy-to-follow telephone system, which had 60 years of regulation behind it when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was laid down. Therefore, Powell said he considered the potential reintroduction of Title II regulations to be the "most fatal of errors."

In the end, Powell concludes that it's undoubtedly positive that the regulations are coming up for review in the FCC soon, but progress toward an actual resolution can unfortunately not be assured, given the strong disagreements regulators still have.

What do you think about net neutrality?
Published: Tuesday 7 December 2010

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), last week made a speech in which he set out his proposals on net neutrality ahead of a meeting of the commission on 21 December. The FCC’s five commissioners will use the meeting to debate and then vote on the issue. Net neutrality is obviously a key piece of regulation for mobile as well as fixed operators in the US. Genachowski’s proposals, which would enable operators to introduce usage-based pricing, received some positive comments from operators, probably relieved that he had not gone further in his regulation. Internet companies were more critical.

But the harshest criticism for the FCC chief, who is appointed by the Obama administration, came from political opponents. “If last month’s election told us anything, it’s that Americans are exasperated by the explosive growth of government,” said representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, a leading Republican in the House of Representatives, in an e-mailed statement, quoted by Bloomberg. “Imposing net-neutrality requirements would significantly harm a key industry by shackling it with unnecessary and anti-competitive regulations.”

An even stronger reaction came from Marsha Blackburn, another Republican from the house, who accused the FCC of an “hysterical approach”. She said the commission was aiming to place a “chokehold” on the internet, according to an interview on Bloomberg Television. And Genachowski faces opposition from other commissioners too. “I strongly oppose this ill-advised manoeuvre,” Robert McDowell, one of two Republican commissioners, said in an e-mailed statement, reported by Bloomberg. “Such rules would upend three decades of bipartisan and international consensus that the Internet is best able to thrive in the absence of regulation.” Strong stuff.

Republicans argue that Congress, and not the FCC, should set the rules for net neutrality. Unsurprisingly, Democrats think differently. A group of Democratic senators wrote a letter urging Genachowski to act on net neutrality regulation this year to ensure “that the Internet remains an open network”, according to Bloomberg. The letter was signed by senators John Kerry, Byron Dorgan and Ron Wyden.

The issue of who has jurisdiction over net neutrality has every possibility of ending up in court. At the very least, it is now the subject of public debate rather than being limited to a technocratic community of regulators and interested parties, as is usually the case with telecoms regulation. When a debate occurs within the confines of the telecoms or internet industries then its parameters are narrower since all the participants define their positions in terms of commercial interest. A wider political debate throws the boundaries much wider. Politicians bring their own beliefs or prejudices to the argument. They are also aware of how their decision-making might play with the wider public: that’s their job. These considerations make the net neutrality discussion less predictable, particularly in the current political climate in the US where compromise has gone out of fashion.

Don’t rely on this debate reaching any predictable, or rapid, conclusions.
Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,084
Wikileaks' struggle to stay online­

For rolling news outlets Wikileaks has been a dream come true with thousands of US embassy cables dribbling out titbits of sensitive information and providing new headlines on a daily and even hourly basis.

But for the US government, the revelations are less welcome.

The site has become its bete noire and after making its displeasure clear, US firms that have dealings with it have been quick to turn their backs.

The troubles began for Wikileaks when Amazon which hosted its servers in the US, withdrew services saying the site was breaking its terms and conditions.

They continued when EveryDNS, the domain name firm which allowed the address to be translated into an IP address, withdrew services.

Without it, the .org site was effectively shut down.

EveryDNS said that it had terminated services because web attacks aimed at Wikileaks "threatened the stability of the infrastructure which enabled access to almost 500,000 other websites".

But despite losing many links in its supply chain, Wikileaks remains defiantly online.

So how has it avoided the noose that the US government seems determined to make for it?

"It has moved stuff to Europe where things are out of the reach of the US government," said Paul Mutton, a security expert at internet research company Netcraft.

It has created additional IP addresses, the raw information internet routers use to find content.

And it now has some 14 DNS servers which do the same job that everyDNS refused to do.

"It will be harder to take Wikileaks down because they are using so many domain name servers. Anyone wanted to shut them down would have to target companies in 14 different countries," said Mr Mutton.

Within hours of having its .org address cut off, Wikileaks moved to a Swiss address .ch, which pointed to an IP address in Sweden with servers located in France.

Wikileaks has effectively weaved itself a complex web of suppliers and it seems even the domain name companies are confused.

Who owns the Wikileaks domain names?
There is some confusion over who runs the domain, the organisation's main address that was taken offline on 3 December.

Even some of its providers admit they do not know who owns the addresses, including its new home

The .org name was registered by a third-party organisation, which specialises in masking the identity of the owner.

The organisation owns many more addresses, whilst volunteers have also set up their own wikileaks site.

However, some names, including, and, are owned by Wikia - a company founded by Jimmy Wales but separate from Wikipedia.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, told BBC News, this was because of a technicality.

"When Wikileaks first started they issued a press release describing themselves as 'the Wikipedia of secrets'," he said.

To protect the name, Wikia registered a series of Wikileaks addresses, which were sold to Wikileaks a few years later.

However, Wikileaks has never completed the transfer, said Mr Wales.

"We've been bugging them to do it since they hit the news," he said.

"We try to tell people we have nothing to do with Wikileaks everyday.
One of its providers, easyDNS, issued the following statement.

"There is some confusion around control over the domain and who has it. To be honest, it turns out we are not dealing with actual Wikileaks people on the backend, but third-parties who are co-ordinating a DNS effort for them, including the initial fallback domain,," it said.

The company has been savvy enough to do dealings with firms which are likely to be sympathetic to its cause.

So in Sweden, for example, its web hosting firm is PRQ which describes itself as committed to free speech.

"If it is legal in Sweden, we will host it, and will keep it up regardless of any pressure to take it down," it said on its website.

In France, Wikileaks is hosted by provider OVH and in recent legal wrangles the web provider revealed that it only realised it was doing business with the whistle-blowing site after reading press reports.

It also revealed how easy it is to get a web service up and running.

"Wikileaks ordered a dedicated server with protection from cyber attacks through OVH's website using a credit card to pay the 'less than 150 euro bill'," managing director Octave Klaba said.

Web attacks

As well as having the official net channels it needs to function online closed down, Wikileaks has also been the victim of so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Such attacks bombard the site with requests for information making the site hard to access.

Some have speculated that the US government could be behind the attacks.

It would be very difficult to find out where they emanated from, said Ian Brown, of the Oxford Internet Institute.

"Unfortunately it can be virtually impossible to identify the actual source of a DDoS attack because the attack itself is mounted by tens or hundreds of thousands of computers.

These "bots" are ordinary computers that have been commandeered without their owner's knowledge or consent, often through a computer virus," he said.

Mikael Vibrog, head of Wikileak's Swedish service provider PRQ, said that such attacks are not uncommon.

"We have been suffering DDoS attacks for years, not just against Wikileaks but against our other customers too," he said.

But while they may be an effective way to take a site down they are unlikely to emanate from national governments, thinks Mr Mutton.

"Most governments would stick to legal methods for dealing with websites," he says.

So if a government was hell-bent on stopping Wikileaks, could it simply block access?

In France it seems the attempt is not running that smoothly.

French industry minister Eric Besson called for Wikileaks to be banned from French servers after the site took refuge there last week.

But a court in Lille has declined to force web provider OVH to shut down the site.

The site itself is only part of the problem for those determined to silence Wikileaks.

One of its biggest allies in the wake of it losing its .org address was micro-blogging site Twitter.

Wikileak's Twitter page responded immediately by publishing the site's IP address and alerting people to the mirror sites that popped up quickly after .org went down.

To date, there are over 500 of these mirror sites.

The site it seems is literally getting bigger by the day.

Even the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in London on Tuesday will have no impact on services.

Secret file

"Wikileaks is operational. We are continuing on the same track as before," said Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.

It will be run by a group of people from London and other locations, he said.

But perhaps most importantly the information at the heart of the controversy is also already in the hands of downloaders.
Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,085

"Wikileaks has released an encrypted file containing all of the embassy cables," said Dr Joss Wright, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. "The information is already out there."

Thousands of copies of that encrypted file have been shared using peer-to-peer networks, like BitTorrent. "Once the information is there, it's virtually impossible to stop people sharing it," he added.

One of the biggest lessons that can be learnt from the Wikileaks affair is that in an internet-age where information can be disseminated virtually in the flick of an eye, secret information needs to be better protected.

Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law at Harvard Business School and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society predicts there will be a sea-change in how governments handle information.

"They may have to rethink how they treat secret material," he said.

Trip to Sweden that put Assange in the firing line‎ - 2 hours ago

His first accuser, who cannot be named in Sweden for legal reasons, is a feminist academic in her late thirties who worked as an official with Sweden's Social Democratic Party. She was in regular contact with Mr Assange before his move to Sweden, helping to organise his appearances at lectures as well as agreeing to let him use her flat while he was in Stockholm.

They first met in person on the afternoon of 14 August, when she returned to her flat after a few days away from the capital. According to her testimony, which was leaked to the Swedish media, the pair went out for dinner and returned to the flat, where they had sex. At some point a condom broke, a fact that neither side denies, although the woman alleges that it was broken deliberately by Mr Assange.

Mr Assange's first accuser made no immediate attempt to contact the authorities.

Instead the first woman arranged a "crayfish party" – a traditional Swedish summer get-together – for the following evening in honour of the WikiLeaks founder in her flat. In an entry on the woman's Twitter account, which she later tried to erase, Mr Assange's first accuser described her joy at hosting a party for the world's most famous cyber activist. "Sitting outside nearly freezing with the world's coolest people," she wrote. "It's pretty amazing."
Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,097

Julian Assange Denied Access to Lawyers - 1 hour ago
Lawyers Win Battle To See Assange In Prison‎­

Mr Assange's legal team had voiced their frustration they were not able to speak to him over the phone and would not have access to him for another five days.

"We've been told we can't get to see our client in Wandsworth Prison until the 13th as they say they don't have the capacity to facilitate a legal visit until then," his solicitor Mark Stephens told Sky News.

Mr Stephens claimed he did not know if Mr Assange wanted him to appeal against the bail ruling, saying he would not find out until they met.

He also said the legal team had still not seen the evidence against him.

Consular aid to Assange‎ - The Hindu
They are looking to deport Assange one way or another

Australia “intends” to provide “consular and other forms of assistance” to WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange “without fear or favour,” according to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday. The promise has drawn attention because of Australia's close ties with the United States.

On the WikiLeaks saga, Mr. Rudd said: “The core problem lies with the U.S. protection of its own diplomatic communications. … And, the Australian Federal Police will investigate whether Mr. Assange has committed or not committed any possible offence against Australia. [However] the key thing now … is about Mr. Assange's legal rights in terms of the matters he is facing both in the U.K. and in Sweden. … We will be providing him with a letter soon which indicates we will be prepared to provide consular visits and any other level of consular support concerning his wellbeing and his legal rights.”

Wikileaks Julian Assange figures in Christmas nativity‎ - 1 hour ago­

Arrested Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been honoured in Italy by being featured in a traditional Christmas nativity scene.

A miniature statue of Mr Assange, clutching a laptop computer, stands alongside figures from the story of the birth of Jesus.

Its creator, Gennaro Di Virgilio, said Mr Assange was the man of the year.

He is the latest in a long line of public figures to feature in a nativity scene in the city of Naples.

"I included him to poke a little fun at the world and have a good time," said Mr Di Virgilio, who each year chooses at least one contemporary character to sculpt.

So far he has made only one copy of the 6in (15cm) statue, which cost 130 euros (£110), but says he will make more if asked.

Neapolitan nativity scenes traditionally include others besides the Biblical characters.

Mr Di Virgilio's family has been making nativity statues since 1830.

He's one of dozens of sculptors who make them in the southern city's narrow Via San Gregorio Armeno street, and who traditionaly use them to portray the signs of the times.

Julian Assange: 'don't shoot the messenger' - Telegraph
Governments around the world must not "shoot the messenger" by attacking disclosures by WikiLeaks, Julian Assange said on Tuesday

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Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,098

Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,099
Is Julian Assange Europe's Nelson Mandela?‎ - 20 hours ago­

BBC News - Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has few places to hide
2 Dec 2010 ... Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had a reputation for being suspicious and paranoid even before everyone was out to get him.­04
Whatever country you are in, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are acting for you. They need help now but you don’t have to risk anything. Just put some banknotes in an envelope or get a postal order (you might need a name and address) and send it to Mr Assange’s London solicitors:

Mr Paul Millett
Managing Partner
Finers Stephens Innocent LLP

179 Great Portland Street

 W1W 5LS
United Kingdom

Enclose a note to say something like: Please use the enclosed donation of £ according to the instructions of your client, Mr Julian Paul Assange or, at your discretion, for his benefit.

Assange and Wikileaks need your help­
By Christopher King

8 December 2010

Christopher King urges everyone who cares about justice and the truth to stand by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with donations to help him defend himself against politically-motivated, vexatious prosecution by criminal governments and their lickspittles anxious to hide their dirty secrets.

”Remember that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned as a terrorist by a criminal government. South Africa was changed by citizen action. Keeping your head down is not an option. Send a donation for Julian Assange right now, feel good about yourself and tell your children and grandchildren that you were in the resistance against organized government crime.” (Christopher King)

I’ve sent a donation towards Julian Assange’s legal expenses and feel good about it. He’s entitled to a legal defence against obviously false, despicable Swedish criminal charges. It’s my right to support him in getting one. In future years I’ll boast to my grandchildren that I did more than just write about America’s wars. The WikiLeaks revelations are the first effective non-violent action so far against the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sweden’s false charges against Mr Assange are not the first time that country has collaborated with aggressors. When the Nazis wanted to seize Norway’s heavy water production plant for their nuclear research, Sweden announced that it was neutral and allowed the Germans to roll straight through the country to Norway. Just ask the Norwegians at the present time about their opinion of Sweden. Those were the days when Britain fought armed aggression rather than supported it.

Every Christmas, Norway sends a Christmas tree to stand in London’s Trafalgar Square in thanks for Britain’s help during World War II. Our present crop of cowardly, traitorous, warmongering politicians and their collaborators have no right to pride in that. If you’re in London go and look at it and reflect for a moment on what it means. I wonder, will the Iraqis and Afghans send the UK a gift every year for liberating them? Probably not.

“Mr Assange has exposed the inner workings of America’s crimes against humanity, wars of aggression and world-wide subversion as any good journalist would do and every good man should do.”

After invading Iraq for its oil, Afghanistan to build a pipeline to contain China or whatever, with associated mass murder, devastation, drone assassinations, death squad assassinations, uranium pollution, kidnapping, torture, rape, lies, bribery, fraud and every crime imaginable on a massive scale – not to mention decades of subverting sovereign governments all around the world – America has discovered law. America says Julian Assange has broken some law or other. It’s not clear what, exactly.

I can’t see it myself. Mr Assange has exposed the inner workings of America’s crimes against humanity, wars of aggression and world-wide subversion as any good journalist would do and every good man should do. This is the terrorist state which is in breach of the Nuremburg Principles and gives safe haven to the worst mass-murderers of the present century, notably George Bush and Barack Obama with their paid running dog Anthony Blair. That’s not to forget Gordon Brown. These people are the only mass murderers of the 21st century. Anyway, America is passing new laws, specifically to criminalize WikiLeaks and Mr Assange, just to make sure that they’re breaking the law.

We are at a point where we must consider what action good men can take when criminals run our governments and make the laws as they did in Nazi Germany. If they succeed in imprisoning Julian Assange, it will be a blow against the rule of law in the UK and Europe as well as many other countries. We will be living under an American dictatorship. Ask the Iraqis or Afghans what it feels like.

Whatever your country, Julian Assange is acting for you and your children. Our criminally-led governments have loaded us and our children with debt while enriching their banking paymasters and industrial partners with our money. America, Britain and American-controlled NATO are killing children in foreign countries as you read this.

You’ll notice that the people who are screaming for Julian Assange to be arrested, imprisoned for life, given the death penalty, assassinated etc are those who are paid by governments that collude with or benefit from American government crimes. That’s how dictatorships are created and maintained. Men who think they’re good citizens say to themselves: “I have to feed my family”, or “If I don’t do it someone else will”, or “What I do is within the law”. Well, right now the law is administered by criminals. This is how you get a police force to act against its own citizens and an army of mercenaries who will kill whoever they’re told to kill and say, “It’s not my responsibility.”

The WikiLeaks document dump doesn’t harm America or anyone else. It’s an excellent start to cleaning out the filth that is United States foreign policy. If anyone is harmed it’s because he’s doing something he shouldn’t be doing. If anyone is embarrassed, that’s collateral damage. Negligible collateral damage. It’s better than being blown to pieces by a hellfire missile and reported as a terrorist kill because a drone controller in Arizona suspected that your walking stick might be a rifle or because you live next door to a suspected terrorist.

WikiLeaks shouldn’t bother with redacting the files. They get no credit for it. The files should be dumped as they are, collateral damage and all. That’s what the United States did in Fallujah, but with artillery, tanks, air strikes, white phosphorous and uranium munitions and totally indiscriminate destruction and killing. Who are they to bitch about a document dump and whine about their national security when they behave like this and trample over the national security of every other country in the world? It’s blowback guys, and like 9/11, you can’t predict it.

Our legal profession was infamously silent during Anthony Blair’s lies about the urgency of invading Iraq. We know now that he was the paid mouthpiece of America. We know now from Wikileaks that Gordon Brown promised Obama that the Chilcot Inquiry would keep America clean. Chilcot is discredited before he reports.
Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,100

It was nice of the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, to brand the Iraq war illegal years later after he retired. It would have been nicer if he had done it at the time – but after all, he was in the pay of the government. Too late doesn’t count. Where was Lord Bingham when we were marching through London in protest before the invasion? It’s time for the legal profession to look beyond its pay cheque and participate in the real world. We need some prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Whatever country you are in, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are acting for you. They need help now…”

Whatever country you are in, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are acting for you. They need help now but you don’t have to risk anything. Just put some banknotes in an envelope or get a postal order (you might need a name and address) and send it to Mr Assange’s London solicitors:

Mr Paul Millett
Managing Partner
Finers Stephens Innocent LLP

179 Great Portland Street

 W1W 5LS
United Kingdom

Enclose a note to say something like: Please use the enclosed donation of £ according to the instructions of your client, Mr Julian Paul Assange or, at your discretion, for his benefit.

No need to sign it. When I drafted this piece I gave Mr Assange’s Swiss bank details but the Swiss government has since then frozen the account. Well, Switzerland also did well from its neutrality during World War II.

But you can see how America, our governments and banks now have their hands around our throats. It’s not only materialization of Kafka’s The Trial with arrest, imprisonment, torture and execution without evidence. It’s George Orwell’s Animal Farm as well, with self-defence labelled terrorism and lawlessness becoming the law.

We need to start thinking about a better system of government. Someone wrote: “Don’t vote – it only encourages the bastards.” Good and amusing, but we need to develop something better. A useful start while we think about it is to support a man who demonstrably has the courage and intelligence to do something about government crime.

Remember that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned as a terrorist by a criminal government. South Africa (And everywhere else) was changed by citizen action. Keeping your head down is not an option. Send a donation for Julian Assange right now, feel good about yourself and tell your children and grandchildren that you were in the resistance against organized government crime.­
Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,101

U.S. Will Briefly Stop Persecuting Reporters to Host World Press Freedom Day

The State Department just announced that Washington, D.C., will host the United Nations' 2011 World Press Freedom Day celebration, which honors the capacity for states to criminally prosecute and relentlessly seek to silence web sites that publish illegal information.

At a time when Attorney General Eric Holder is pursuing an active criminal investigation into Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange for publishing State Department cables, when Sen. Joe Lieberman is bullying companies into refusing to do business with them, and when the entire federal bureaucracy has lapsed into a childish conniption designed to prevent government employees from becoming contaminated with the information contained in the cables, the U.S. is inviting governments and reporters from around the globe to celebrate press freedoms.

Someone forgot to read the press release before sending it out, because we're pretty sure State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, whose colleague was warning Gawker last week that no Americans should be "propagating" the cables by writing about them online, is really "concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information." Nor is he really that excited about how "new media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals' right to freedom of expression."

Or maybe they just hope Assange will be stupid enough to show up?


"You can find examples of the right hand not knowing what the left hand's doing in any moderately dysfunctional organization, but for one hand to not know what its self is doing from one moment to the next is some world-class dysfunctionalism."

"It's not actually clear that what Wikileaks itself is doing is illegal, even under American law."

Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,102
An online criticism of me was made by one of our members called me "Ultra~ Left". This person had a lot of other ridiculous things to say about me, which I will not dignify with a reply. (This person called me a "retard", ....which I suppose is fair enough smile )

But the charge of ultra left brings up, however unintentionally on her part, the opportunity to discuss what is genuinely left and what is ultra left (and to clarify my position).

I think what was meant was "really" left/ or "very" left. Ultra left does not mean any of these things; it means something very specific~ namely Stalinism. Which is a very specific ideology (Whom there are proponents for in Europe and right wing North American politics, believe it or not) and one which I do not subscribe to.

It means the Communism of the former Soviet Union, and the current governments in China and North Korea, which I have taken strong public stands against.;­­

I'm very open about being left~ I certainly have no reason to be ashamed. My view is known~ as I have posted on this site many times over many years.

There is nothing incongruous about being an American, even a proud American and defending the interests of ourselves, the working classes. If we do not take to public discourse on important issues of the day, as citizens of the worlds only revolutionary democracy what does that say about our responsibility?

The difference between the two ideologies being respect for our class and for real public discourse as a means to this end. This means open discussions, such as the ones on this site and when we meet. This means informed discussions using real information sources, such as from Wikileaks and accurate historical analysis from peer reviewed academics. I think the difference can be best highlighted by American socialist, Micheal Albert in his 1977 book "What Is To Be Undone";
­What is to be undone
By Michael Albert

Commenting on the ultra left Weathermen Movement of the early 1970's:
What I stand against in "The Ultra Left", and why.....
As quoted from the above book:

"The Weatherman Movement was a kind of aberration, but also a logical extension of the sixties. If the Weathermachine was moved by pathology, it was also moved by the most impressive commitment to fight injustice, to whatever extent conditions demanded, that the very conservative Sixties America produced"

"Their strategy was based on the [false] premise that most Americans are too tied up in their relative advantages to be willing to take revolutionary risks [A plank of Stalinism]. The Weatherman's approach to people made these expectations rather self fulfilling."

"To gain Weatherman praise one essentially had to give all for the welfare of the Third World, and then act like some sort of a guerrilla facsimile of John Wayne. Weatherpeople saw themselves as a kind of Vietcong front functioning within the United States. They were the NLF, except of course they lacked the NLF's integrity, discipline, patience, or preparedness, and certainly little of their dignity nor empathy for other peoples perspectives."

"Weatherpeople were just too out of touch to know what would bring people to the left or push them to the right. [Intentional lack of engagement~ultra left ailianation. As an activist one has to go to where the workers are~ This means both mentaly and physicaly~ Where they are actualy located]"

"The "exemplorary action" idea always gains sway amoungst the more perserving parts of any "epoch [read that as ultra] leftist" movements. A sort of "Revolutionary catharsis".[Another Stalinist tendency] The [crazy] idea that bombings or "events" could detonate favorable public feelings towards thier group with the public who viewed them."

"Certainly pointlessly bombing bathrooms didn't impress too many people nor did emulating a toughed up James Dean impress many others with the Weatherman's potentials for living well or creating a better world. At worst the Weatherman, at the cost of a few bathrooms gave the government ample reason to extend it's oppresive apparatus to clamp down on real social movements in almost all major cities."

The waste of talent, emotion and lives unlived that was the Weathermans's result is a crime for which everyone in the "New Left" [rather than the left social movements of the day~ ie.: The Civil Rights movements] of the 1960's is partially responsible.
The United States has a strong tradition in the left going back to and before our revolutionary founding as a country, and very specifically to dawn of our modern economic times in the 1870's. I'm very proud to be a small voice for that tradition.

I also respect anyone else's right to voice their view.

This group is about building community, mutual support and having fun. and it has been for the last 8 years it has been active. I personally feel that to also actively ignore the important issues of our time as they happen is a negation of our public responsibility as citizens of the worlds most important democracy

Wilber W.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,104
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