Saturday, February 6, 2016

How Orwellian : Julian Assange's "confinement"

The PR statement from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
The Working Group considered that Mr. Assange has been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty: initial detention in Wandsworth prison which was followed by house arrest and his confinement at the Ecuadorian Embassy.  Having concluded that there was a continuous deprivation of liberty, the Working Group also found that the detention was arbitrary because he was held in isolation during the first stage of detention and because of the lack of diligence by the Swedish Prosecutor in its investigations, which resulted in the lengthy detention of Mr. Assange.  The Working Group found that this detention is in violation of Articles 9 and 10 of the UDHR and Articles 7, 9(1), 9(3), 9(4), 10 and 14 of the ICCPR, and falls within category III as defined in its Methods of Work
Getting arrested while having a warrant filed is being arbitrarily detained? Then he was let out on bail with terms requiring he have a permanent address is not the same as house arrest and not the same as being arbitrarily detained.  The euphemism "his confinement at the Ecuadorian Embassy" to describe the claim of arbitrary detention elides that he confined himself there. Pity all the fugitives from justice who can't move freely without fear of being arrested.

The full report including the dissent is here (.docx file)

Who is the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention?
Members of the Working GroupMr. Seong-Phil Hong
Republic of Korea, since 2014
Mr. José Guevara
(Mexico), since 2014
(First Vice-Chair)
Mr. Sètondji Adjovi
(Benin), since 2014
(Second Vice-Chair)
Ms. Leigh Toomey
(Australia), since 2015
Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky
(Ukraine), since 2010
A five member group with the majority of the group having a variation of the title "chair." Presumably, the other two have to stand.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Obama on the space program, 2016 "Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there."

Obama on the USA losing its AAA credit rating, 2011 : "Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America.  No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a AAA country. "

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Erasing the Past : North Korean TV News

From the documentary movie "The Propaganda Game"

Narrator : "When we went to the North Korean  TV to get  archive footage, they told us they needed to erase the traitor Jang Song-thaek first."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Erasing the past : Ian McKellen

from a Details Magazine interview with the actor Ian McKelllen :

Details: Is it true that when you stay at hotels you tear out the Bible page that condemns homosexuality?
Ian McKellen: I do, absolutely. I'm not proudly defacing the book, but it's a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible. And I'm not really the first: I got delivered a package of 40 of those pages -- Leviticus 18:22 -- that had been torn out by a married couple I know. They put them on a bit of string so that I could hang it up in the bathroom.

I'm not sure exactly what this petty censorship accomplishes.  Although he says "I'm not proudly defacing the book" it kind of sounds like that is exactly what he's doing.  Both he and the married couple aren't keeping it a secret but bragging about it. It isn't as if he was replacing them with bibles with the offending passage edited out : people will notice a page missing; especially one torn out by an angry censor.

Totalitarianism one page at a time.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

movie notes : Dark Star H.R. Giger's World

as seen in the movie Dark Star H.R. Giger's World (2014)

H.R. Giger, designer from the movie Alien and painter of the weird and macabre,  at home

Yeah, that's H.R. Giger in a selfie with his cat