Action for Assange: UPDATED

Action for Assange poster by AusFoWL

Action for Assange poster by AusFoWL

Being the smart, well-informed engaged citizens that readers of the ol’ raincoaster blog tend to be, you’ll no doubt be aware that at literally any moment Julian Assange’s fate is to be decided. The Supreme Court of the UK will either send him to Sweden (which will presumably roll over obediently and hand him over to the US for a lifetime of confinement and probable torture) or they will set him free after more than a year under house arrest. For review: he has not been charged with a crime in any country, although the US has a Grand Jury inquiry ongoing that leaks like a sieve. If it doesn’t, how’d I find out about it? I’ve got better things to do than hang around streetcorners in Alexandria, Virginia.

Above is a poster from the Australian branch of Friends of Wikileaks. If you’re at all inclined to support WL, go ahead and sign up for this interesting new activist network, but expect it to be significantly more IRL than most. Below, I’m posting a link to Christine Assange‘s 60 (yes, 60) talking points, as well as the full text of a letter to British MP’s Nick Clegg and Teresa May. Initially I said those letters wouldn’t have an effect, but I stand corrected; as the author reminded me, things are indeed different now. Politicians may be no less self-interested than ever, but their self-interest now lies in listening to the Will of the People; they can hear the tumbrils approaching.

Christine Assange’s 60 Talking Points: a sample:

Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, has spent many long months reaching out to supporters and urging them to contact their local political representatives. Recognising that many politicians do not even know the true story behind WikiLeaks and her son’s legal battles, she asks supporters to give them the facts as well as requesting their assistance.

Christine today used her Twitter account and the #fact4mp hashtag to post 60 important talking points for supporters to disseminate:

1. Wikileaks and Assange have not been charged with any crime in any country in the world. See

2. WikiLeaks and Assange have been recognized for quality investigative journalism with many prestigious awards. See

3. WikiLeaks has a perfect record regarding information reliability. No government has denied the authenticity of any documents.

4. WikiLeaks redacts its documents, so to date not one person has been physically harmed by its publications.

5. WikiLeaks exposes government and corporate corruption, fraud, shady deals, war crimes, torture, and kidnapping. It is in the public interest to know these things.

6. WikiLeaks partnered with The Guardian, New York Times, Der Spiegal, Le Monde, and El Pais to publish Cablegate. Why target only WikiLeaks?

7. WikiLeaks acts in accordance with traditional journalism. It publishes information given by various sources.

8. WikiLeaks acts like traditional media but protects its sources with a secure anonymous Drop Box.

9. WikiLeaks is a legal, legitimate, online news publisher, recognized as such by other journalist organizations worldwide.

10. WikiLeaks is a non-profit independent publisher funded by donations from ordinary citizens from around the world.

You can view the whole list by clicking on the link above.



If you’d like to poster or protest outside your friendly neighborhood Australian embassy for their abandonment of a citizen abroad, here is a handy-dandy roundup thereof, worldwide.

If you’d like to do it anonymously, we’ve already featured some instructions on making an Anonymous mask, but here is a great roundup of more, complete with security features eg telling you to wear gloves when sculpting clay, so you don’t leave fingerprints.

There is an Avaaz petition up to support Julian and tell Australian politicians that they have a duty to their citizens abroad. A duty they have noticeably not performed in this case.

and now, the Letter to MPs:

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Wikileaks 1: Mainstream Media, um, 1



It’s a tale told in tweets, a very Twenty-First Century tale, for lo, it is all about recycling, Wikileaks, Russia, Orwellian paranoia, US online surveillance, and the Mainstream Media vs the New Media (remember the New Media? This is it. Are we vindicated or embarrassed?).

In other words, this is what my editors over at the did NOT decide to run with my latest Wikileaks story, so I’m using it here, so there.

They took out all my wacky Cold War jokes, too, damnation! What’s an article about Russia and the US without a few tasteless Cold War jokes thrown in? Whodathunk a few references here or there to Google’s info-capitalist hegemony would get people in Silicon Valley so touchy?

Our story begins:

which comes from the head of RT, the network which has just picked up Julian Assange‘s new talk show. I repeat: JULIAN ASSANGE’S NEW TALK SHOW.

and translates thusly:

The AFP has issued a note that Assange goes with us. Are mixed there, I went to a meeting withthe explosive, and about the alpha male, and about YES:) #chistyytresh

to which we can only reply:

This might actually convince me to get cable. I’ll just let Twitter tell the rest of the story.

and from my former boss at True/Slant, now in charge of the front page of the,

Well, you KNOW there’s no way I’m taking THAT lying down.

Canuckistani Revolutionary

Canuckistani Revolutionary

American Indians reclaim Zuccotti Park at Occupy Wall Street

The Greedy Eagle Casino by IndigFlygirl

The Greedy Eagle Casino Grand Opening by IndigFlygirl

We at the ol’ raincoaster blog salute our First Nations brothers and sisters of the West Village Band of Zuccotti Indians as they proudly reclaim their ancestral territory.

And promptly put a casino on it.

“Hit me!”

“No, that comes later.”

This may be the funniest, least PC thing I’ve ever posted. Should be good for at least one flamewar with some White Liberal Guilt-Having Vegan. Hey, don’t blame me, blame the 1491’s! Blaming the Natives: we should have perfected it by now!

Welcome to Wall Street

Welcome to Wall Street

Welcome to Wall Street

For far too long Wall Street has been occupied by hostile forces.

For about 220 years, in fact.

In March, 1792, twenty-four of New York City’s leading merchants met secretly at Corre’s Hotel to discuss ways to bring order to the securities business and to wrest it from their competitors, the auctioneers. Two months later, on May 17, 1792, these merchants signed a document named the Buttonwood Agreement, named after their traditional meeting place, a buttonwood tree. The agreement called for the signers to trade securities only among themselves, to set trading fees, and not to participate in other auctions of securities. These twenty-four men had founded what was to become the New York Stock Exchange. The Exchange would later be located at 11 Wall Street.

Born and bred to exclusivity, raised in full view of the public, and propped up by a taxation system that relies on an affluent bourgeoisie that the system itself seeks to extinguish, it’s no wonder that when the American People exercised their Constitutionally protected freedom of assembly on sidewalks that they’d paid for and built, The System struck back.

Having its servants (I thought they were Public Servants? Silly me) net and then mace a group of peaceful women protestors:

Conducting eldritch legal seances to resurrect long-dead statutes for all the world as if their own identical suits and Goldman Sachs haircuts weren’t the ne plus ultra in depersonalization and the very basis for this:


Anonymous has no comment at this time

Sooner or later, New York City will run out of cops, or perhaps the budget burden will become so steep that Billionaire Bloomberg will petition the President to bring in Erik Prince and his Band of Bloodthirsty Bros.

Some are already writing the eulogy for #OccupyWallStreet, somewhat prematurely. But all voodoo devotees know you have to write it down before you draw the pentagram and cast the spell to make it come true.

Editors at Adbusters, a Vancouver-based magazine (mission: “topple existing power structures”) wanted to see if they could spark demonstrations just by posting the idea using social media. It created a Twitter topic with the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet, asking people to come to New York’s Financial District to join what they said would be tens of thousands in a “leaderless resistance movement” objecting to banks, capitalism and other perceived evils. Egypt’s Tahrir Square was cited as precedent.

The protests last week were a bust, but perhaps the young protesters learned a lesson: Just because it’s on social media doesn’t make it true.

The article goes on to say that the reports of violence were completely overstated. Scroll up on this post. Or, if you prefer, scroll down.

Yes, Noam Chomsky is a tiresome windbag, but every now and again he’s just…right. Like now (alternate G+ link in case Cusack’s retweet has still crashed the website):

Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”

The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.

And now, if you still aren’t sufficiently riled, I suggest you put this on repeat, then follow these instructions to create your own shield of relative invulnerability. And if that doesn’t work, get a haircut, a briefcase, and a blue suit, and enjoy the sight of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave on its knees to you.

For the visual learners among us, here are some instructions from those total slackers and hippies at MIT:


In related news, the Vancouver Philospher’s Cafe this Monday is on whether or not violence is a valid form of expression.

Is violence an appropriate medium of expression?

Our city recently witnessed a display of violence as an expression of disappointment over a lost hockey game. We also have seen societies unleashing collective violence to (presumably) contain further violence. So let’s talk about the morality of violence.

As always, I am hopeful our engagement would reflect the fundamental creed of our Café: any idea worthy of conception, is worthy of reflection, of examination, of analysis, of critique (and of even being laughed at, poked at or mocked provided of course if we can manage to do it respectfully or as deliciously as the late George Carlin would do.)

Many thanks. See you TOMORROW at the CAFÉ AMICI.

Comment of the Day: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Worry Anymore

I can’t really add anything to this; it is a perfect comment, from a hero who prefers not to use his real name, for obvious reasons. This man has my total respect, and I’m very, very glad that Canada hasn’t had such a nefarious policy as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:

I spent twenty years in the military and every day I feared being found out. Yet, every time I had the opportunity to get out, I did not until I completed enough time to retire. It sounds like bullshit, I know, but I really felt the need and desire to serve our country. My civilian gay friends always kidded me about being in the service (trust me in my case anyways being at sea was no sexual picnic – think 2 months without leaving your office and co-workers). They chided me as well for being in an environment that didn’t want me. But I truly felt the need to stay and serve as a good example for others. I survived at least three investigations that I knew of along as a couple of security clearance checks, including one for top secret clearance.

I like to think that I survived because I was a good trooper, a patriot. But I also survived because I was surrounded by officers and non-coms who believed in me. One day when I was a junior petty officer on Governors Island, my boss, a lieutenant commander pulled me aside and said, Look, you are probably gay, but my advice to you is this: don’t eat where you sh*t. We both laughed, but I took his point to heart. In or out of the military, gay or straight, you don’t fool around at work, period, and I carried this with me until the end of my career.

I had numerous gay friends throughout my military career. I wish I had been able to connect with others to commiserate, but the fear of being seen with any of those guys… I couldn’t get over it. And now, on the eve of the end of DADT, I don’t know what became of so many of those guys. Several are dead, dying from AIDS in 80s and 90. The others, I hope they are like me tonight, thinking of the groundwork we laid all those years.

Right now, a friend of mine in the Army is celebrating his engagement to his partner of many years – a partner who had to keep his relationship secret while my friend was in Afghanistan and Iraq on multiple tours. This day is a great victory for them and for all of us who love our country and want to serve in its defense.