Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-26

  • Off to Church! #
  • Another old classic – 'Carry on Screaming' – hard to beat! 'Frying tonight!' #
  • Apparently people getting iPads for Christmas? Clearly more money around this economy than I'm seeing… #
  • Christmas Dr Who – some good ideas but the shark has been pole-vaulted…. #fb #
  • Back from Church – Merry Christmas everyone and God bless us, everyone! #
  • Morecambe, Wise and Previn – brilliant comedy from gentle men. ūüôā #
  • Still feeling slightly bleurgh today – muscle aches mainly. Expect grumpiness. ūüôā #
  • Sigh…another reason why Patent Law in the US sucks and why we should take care not to see it in UK / EU. http://is.gd/jmen3 #
  • via @Leeallens: http://bit.ly/eKJDB2 Maybe on both sides of Atlantic we need to stop traveling so much until common sense reigns? #
  • RT @kennyellaway: im testing out a radio station, click http://edgeradio.listen2myradio.com/ and let me know what you thing #
  • #Assange lawyers complain of document leak. http://is.gd/j3Tpx This was bought to you by the Robot Hell Ironic Punishments Division… #
  • Days like this I wish my thyroid was a bit over-active again….like having a nuclear reactor running inside! (PS – God, only kidding!!) #
  • RT @icpchad: @StarSparkle_UK TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2010 Wiki-Stinks of Cointelpro #WikiLeaks http://bit.ly/hSGbCR #
  • Damn right there! RT @icpchad: Don't lose any sleep over Assange…the machine pays him well to play his part is this pathetic little drama. #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-19

  • Off to Church – icy day in Sheffield! #
  • RT @iaindale: Read my Mail on Sunday article on Why the Left Worship the 'God' of Wikileaks http://bit.ly/i2EUbc It's, er, caused a bit… #
  • My take on Wikileaks – http://is.gd/j07xb – and @iaindale on Assange – http://bit.ly/i2EUbc #
  • RT @UKuncut: We have been FAR more effective at shutting stuff today than the snow has, but the snow gets all the coverage. #payday #
  • RT @UKuncut: Dear news: snow is boring, thousands of people hitting the streets to shut down tax dodgers is not. #payday #
  • RT @PennyRed: Tax enforcement society has now occupied HSBC on oxford street. About 150 now. #
  • RT @UKuncut: Whist the TV news gets giddy about the snow, thousands of people have braved it to shut down tax dodgers across the country. #
  • RT @PennyRed: 'This is one of fifty three occupations in high street stores across the country today. We are everywhere!' #payday #ukuncut #
  • Another reason to boycott Topshop / BHS… .RT @PennyRed: Security tells me: 'put your phone away or you will be removed from the building. #
  • Even better, Jobsy, – lets make a dent in exploitation…..RT @Iconic88: "Let's make a dent in the universe." Steve Jobs #
  • Hello @coolnewjobs Maybe your auto-reply system needs tweaking? I need a new job like a Jobs needs Windows… in reply to coolnewjobs #
  • Mark Thompson says we need a channel like Fox News. Mark Thompson needs a brain and a new job. #
  • reminded by @rosycottage – Global Warming has ALWAYS been a misnomer – it's climate change, people. Remember that. CHANGE can mean cold… #
  • OK…it's Saturday, I'm in Sheffield…where is Snowmageddon, please? If you forecasters can't be more accurate, STOP CRYING WOLF!!! #
  • RT @mysticventures: Went to the bank to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?" I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar." ~ Steven Wright #
  • #sheffield – are 95 and 123 bus services running? #
  • To all at #gistusb1 won't be making it tonight – have a great time! #
  • RT @worldtreeman: let us bring love to the rat race #
  • I have just seen a turkey joint that cost 42 quid. Gobsmacked. #fb #
  • Well done to St Mary's School in Walkley for a superb Carol service this evening. #fb #
  • Interesting….RT @chris23: Assange's Extremist Employees http://t.co/3O3G8tY #
  • US sues BP but not Haliburton…http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12005240 #
  • Given how much we're bailing the economy out, 'Time' magazine should put the US and UK taxpayer as their 'Person of the Year' #fb #
  • A no-go zone? RT @PennyRed: They've made the whole area around Scotland Yard 'sterile'. Noone allowed in. No justice, no peace. #
  • RT @PennyRed: Police officers just told me that I am not allowed to protest outside Scotland yard and must instead go to the 'holding pen' #
  • Very sad. RT @iaindale: Why I have stopped blogging and quit party politics http://bit.ly/hS7Mx3 But I'll still be on Twitter! #
  • FT claims that Coalition drafting Economy Plan B- is this "Panic, run around, screw people and keep the banks happy?" – oops, thats Plan A!! #
  • Coalition majority in Lords is only 40; Nick Clegg must be quaking in his boots… #demo2010 #
  • RT @CllrBenCurran: RT @peterlord77: Dorset gets a .25% increase in funds, Doncaster gets 8.9% cut – most definitely not 'all in it together #
  • RT @chrismurray0: RT @kasumiastra: Disturbing account from a non-violent student fees protester. http://bbc.in/faHZlz #demo2010 #
  • RT @william_summers: J.C. de Menezes shot dead, Ian Tomlinson killed, no police chief resignation. Camilla poked by stick, offer of resign.. #
  • RT @Preiskel: RT @pressgazette: No new phone-hack criminal charges because new evidence was too vague http://bit.ly/fEx0PV #
  • RT @lisaansell: RT @HSAFC: HULL UNI IS NOW OCCUPIED! Send messages of support to: occupiedhull@gmail.com #
  • RT @juliandobson: The heart of localism is making sure we get the ordinary things of life consistently right: http://bit.ly/ichsnA #
  • Sunday dinner time – chicken curry, Nan Breads, rice. Then treacle pudding and custard later on this evening…. #fb #
  • Hmmmm…Clegg a Prince? No, just a frog! RT @philo_quotes: A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise. ~ Machiavelli #

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Wikileaks – ‘Heat’ magazine for the Political classes?

Hear me out on this one.

I’ve been a political animal for over half my life; for me it came with the turf of being working class boy, avoids going down the pit by going to university, comes home and sees the five pits that I could see from my bedroom window as a kid closed down within a few years.¬† I was active in ‘Old Labour’ – Chair of Ward, vice Chair of Constituency, District Labour Party, etc. before quitting in disgust at the direction New Labour was taking the party.¬† Since 1995 my politics have been with a small ‘p’ – they’ve been about community building – bottom up helping people create their own solutions, a little writing, a little online community building, whatever.

So, you might be surprised to read this item, in which I am going to argue that many of the ‘big leaks’ of US Military and Diplomatic Information from Wikileaks have been ultimately pointless, organisationally egotistical and distracting from the issues at hand.¬† The lack of US security, the possibility that some of the information is ‘black propaganda’ and the personal life of Mr Assange are matters for another day and probably another writer.

Going back to the first time that Wikileaks hit the headlines, the release of papers showing that there had probably been war crimes in Iraq perpetrated by Allied troops, that torture took place and other stories associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was undeniably valuable and the sort of traditional ‘investigative journalism’ that we might expect from the Fourth Estate.¬† These¬†were relevant¬†and important leaks in any number of ways –¬†wrongdoing by US and UK¬†citizens, possible war crimes, lies in Government about the prosecution of a war – possible further indications that the wars themselves were illegal.¬† They removed the last shreds of the idea that these were ‘just’ wars being legally and effectively prosecuted.¬†

Now, the October/November 2010¬†release.¬† More of the same to some degree, with added diplomatic cables – what embassy staff said about world leaders, stuff like that.¬† And stuff going back 20 or 30 years.¬† Here’s where I start having misgivings – the Diplomatic leaks.

Diplomacy has been defined as the art of saying ‘What a nice doggy, here doggy, have a biscuit, cute doggy…whilst looking around for a large rock with which to hit said dog.’¬†¬† A great deal of diplomatic traffic is ‘private’ – a concept that many people in Wikileaks and who believe that ‘all information wants to be free’ have problems with.¬† Does it benefit anyone in the world to find out that British sailors were released from Iranian detention after possible involvement by the Pope?¬† Or that a US Diplomat regards the British Government as having slight paranoia about the so-called ‘Special Relationship’?¬† I’m not sure it does – to me it genuinely appears to be gossip on a par with that published in Heat about the status of the marriages of people in the public eye – but I’m sure that it gave the chattering classes a great deal of vicarious pleasure by apparently¬†letting them in to what CS Lewis called ‘The Inner Circle’ – a group of people who know something that most other people don’t…¬† But ultimately, I’m reminded of the story from World War II surrounding ‘Enigma’ intelligence.¬† Messages were decrypted that often gave lots of useless personal details about German officers – like one chap constantly complaining about gout.¬† Whilst it was amusing it was also pointless to the allies, and potentially dangerous to the Enigma decoding project, as were it to get back to the enemy that the allies were having a good laugh at the General’s throbbing toe, it would soon lead to a review of policy and procedure that might shut down the Enigma source for good.

There are other diplomatic leaks that should be kept secret – simply because they deal with ‘work in progress’.¬† Diplomacy is not a spectator sport.¬† Those of us of a certain age can remember that the Camp David agreement was greatly facilitated by ‘back channel’ diplomacy where people could speak to each other in secret without knowledge of these meetings, which would have probably scuppered political careers at the very least, getting out until after the event.¬† This sort of ‘get lots of data, apply no self-censorship, dump the lot on the Internet’ approach from Wikileaks will undoubtedly make any diplomats think twice about what they say in such situations in future.

Wikileaks themselves have admitted that their approach to releasing documents without review or ‘redacting’ (blacking out text, for you and me) could mean that the site would ‘one day have blood on it’s hands’.¬† To say that and still persist in the same publication method is arrogant and ego-driven.¬† Amnesty International have already raised the issue of redaction of the names of Afghan civilian workers from released documents – i.e. people helping the Coalition forces in Afghanistan who’re now at risk of death (as are their families) because of the leaked documents.¬† There is also information about techniques and equipment used to tackle ‘roadside bombs’ in the leaked documents.¬† Whilst it’s likely that anyone with reasonable technical knowledge could work a lot of this stuff out, there is no point in making the task easier.¬† I am forced to wonder how much blood will be spilt on the backs of these two stories alone?¬† Afghan civilian and bomb disposal officer?¬† Feeling queasy yet, Wikileakers?¬† People on the liberal left quite rightly decry the waste of life of these wars; I’m not hearing the same voices decrying the waste of life caused by the release of documents by Wikileaks.

And the whole Wikileaks business has been a massive distraction here in the UK.¬† Whilst a fair number of mainstream media outlets have been publishing leaked Wikileaks documents, running stories on them, and then most recently getting in on the personal stuff about the Wikileaks founder, Britain has had a number of student protests and ‘bottom up’ political protests that have received either biased or no coverage at all.¬† To people in Britain, Wikileaks will have :

  • Academic / prurient¬†interest for journalists, the chattering classes and teh wannabe ‘heroes of open data’.
  • Serious interest if you’re serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, or have family or friends there, from teh point of view ¬†of your own life or the lives of others being put in greater jeopardy by the data released.
  • Political impact (probably negative) in terms of diplomatic negotiations
  • Very little impact at all on the vast majority of people in the UK.

That’s not to say people are not interested and concerned about leaks that deal with wrongdoing at a personal, governmental or corporate level. That’s what organisations like Wikileaks SHOULD be doing, but with a degree of care, and not with teh arrogance and narcissism that they currently display.

But things like the Student Protests and the protests against unpaid tax made against High Street shops and businesses such as BHS, Vodafone and Top Shop are relevant to people on  day to day basis Рthey will be paying for that unpaid tax, their children will be paying more for education.  Their children are getting their heads broken (literally) by Police batons.  And these stories are only getting out to the public slowly and with great effort. 

Wikileaks is a distraction to these stories and activities that are more relevant to the British people.¬† But, I guess they’re not as sexy as things with ‘CLASSIFIED’ written on them that smell, ever so slightly, of spilt blood.¬†¬†

Like I said, ‘Heat’ magazine for the¬†Political classes, ¬†political porn for the poseurs.

If it ain’t on your machine, it ain’t yours.

Yesterday I found out that Yahoo had pulled the plug on the Delicious application, amongst a few other APIs and services.  There will no doubt now be a spate of articles about how to move your content from these applications to somewhere else, and it may be that new services spring up out of the Internet eco-system to fill the gap.  But hopefully the users of these systems will have learnt a valuable lesson:

If it ain’t on your machine, you cannot rely on it being there.

This isn’t rocket science for those of us who cut our computing teeth in a pre-Cloud, pre-WWW world, but it was pointed out to me the other day that there are now large numbers of children and teenagers who have never lived in a world without the WWW.¬† Scary.

A couple of years ago a Forum that I was an occasional contributor to shut up shop in a sudden and pretty final manner – the owner simply closed the shutters with little warning.¬† For me this was vaguely annoying but no biggie, but for other users of the Forum who’d committed some pretty large articles and intellectually robust commentary over a period of time, it was almost the equivalent of Edmund Blackadder having his novel burnt by Baldrick.¬† Of course, the site owner was perfectly within his rights to do this – free forum and all that.¬† But the general feeling was that a form of social contract had been broken.¬† However, one could easily say that the authors had not taken backups of their content…

I mothballed a forum myself a year or so back – it’s still online, all content there, but posting has been disabled.¬† I have to say that in these times of almost limitless server space and cheap hosting it almost seemed churlish to pull the work of others.¬†

But there may well be a point at which I let the domain go or re-use it for something else.¬† It’s perfectly within my rights to do so, and that content will then exist only as a zipped up backup on a DVD somewhere, and anyone who posted anything there, who wants it back and didn’t take a copy will have to whistle.

And there is the issue; the ‘universal availability’ offered by browser based applications, the Web and the Cloud means that many people no longer own their own data, in anything but an intellectual property sense.¬† They don’t know where it is stored, they don’t know who gets to look at it, search it or¬†mine it.¬† They don’t know how often it’s backed up, and have an assumption that ‘smeone’ will be taking care of it.¬†¬†The increasing focus of Operating Systems on hiving off document and data storage to servers ‘out there’ in the Cloud or on the Internet (like Google’s new Chrome OS) is regarded as a great positive for those involved in Internet service related businesses – after all, it could well be the next big thing in what you can be charged for – always something folks like. ūüôā

There is something rather neat, in my opinion, about having your data on your hardware, under your control.¬† Yes, it’s your responsibility, but we need to start regarding¬†personal or household data in the same way previous generations have looked after¬†old letters and photographs.¬† If you need to work on stuff whilst away, then why not just put the files in question on USB sticks?

And finally, data ‘out there’ is under the legislation and jurisdiction of whatever country the servers lie in.¬† You might want to look at things like the US PATRIOT act before saving your data anywhere¬†that crosses US jurisdiction.¬† Whilst you might not think you’re a terrorist or a troublemaker, the definitions these days are flexible.

Ultimately, there is something rather reassuring about having your data at home, under your roof, where the only way it can be seized or searched is when the stormtroopers kick the door in.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-12

  • Advice for @vodafone – difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion is traditionally a few years inside… #mademesmile #
  • Re. Contact being made between Camilla and protester – it's ok – protester was fine after trauma counselling… #demo2010 #
  • RT @robkelsall: RT @tertiary: Probably the most important wikileaks document, to date: http://tinyurl.com/2vw9f2g #
  • #Labour – perhaps you could also reach out to those of us on the left you dumped a decade and a half ago? http://is.gd/iBpTP #
  • #Labour must start providing coherent, firm and reasoned opposition. No more sound bites, hand-ringing or platitudes. We're watching. #
  • RT @agnt_orange: RT @Charlesm186: #labour now decides it opposes #hs2 – it is a party of cynical protest not real opposition #
  • Met Chief offered to resign over royal car damage. Guess that means he thought that beating up folks was part of the job? #demo2010 #
  • Police release pictures of people they want to interview re. #demo2010 can I ask that they ID their bad eggs as well, please? #
  • RT @madeinsheffmag: Venue in Sheffield? Send us your upcoming events so we can make sure we list them! Please Retweet (C) #
  • RT @StevieWise: Wow. A student in a Sheffield co-op just greeted Nick Clegg with "hello you cunt" according to reliable sources. Brilliant. #
  • Bigots from Westboro Baptist Church protest at Elizabeth Edwards Funeral – http://is.gd/izlAv – must read a different Bible than I do… #
  • RT @PennyRed: Also, for all who didn't see it, here's my writeup of Thursday's kettle. Please RT and disseminate. http://bit.ly/flIPPl #
  • RT @PennyRed: Charlie Gilmour is nothing to do with the student movement. He turned up for a party and caused trouble from the start. Twat. #
  • So…Chuck and Cam end up in #demo2010 after either being sent there or after security failure. Conspiracy or cock-up? You choose…. #
  • re. Royal Wedding. It's a Bank Holiday…we could all take the day off and go and cheer…and stuff….and…more stuff… #
  • Bugger….a domain I registered has fallen through the cracks! #
  • Eeek…really need to check my Twitter account for spammers, etc. today – been ages since I did that! #
  • Insurance companies charge more if you fit winter tyres…sigh…why bother? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11969958 #
  • Strange days. A postal delivery before I get up in the morning? Not had one of those for years! #
  • The term kettle comes from 'kessel' – German for Cauldron. In other words you're chucking folks in a pot to boil…. #demo10 #demo2010 #
  • Not good with follow Fridays, but today – #ff @StarSparkle_UK, @PennyRed, @tonycarroll in reply to tonycarroll #
  • RT @CllrBenCurran: Petition to protect Sheffield Children's Hospital from LibDem/Tory cuts? You can do it here: http://tiny.cc/b18v3 #
  • A view of #demo10 / #demo2010 from a Marxist perspective… http://www.marxist.com/britain-the-student-revolt.htm #
  • From local sources…There are about 10 students outside nick cleggs office and about as many vans of riot police. tv too. #
  • RT @MediaActivist: RT @emmawass: Want to talk to any #sheffield students who went to the protest yesterday #demo2010 #
  • Photographs of #demo10 #demo2010 http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/12/london_tuition_fee_protest.html #
  • RT @PennyRed: My report from yesterday is up now: http://bit.ly/flIPPl #
  • Beautiful sky this evening….new weather forecast saying 'Red sky at night, Whitehall's alight…' #demo2010 #
  • We've now hit the punchline of the old joke – Whoever you vote for, the Government always gets in. None fit for purpose. #
  • #Coulson case – quelle surprise…no charges. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11930168 #
  • Useful alternative viewpoint of the protests from The Guardian. http://is.gd/iv34x #fb #
  • RT @PennyRed: One of the injured students who came back to @ucloccupation last night. Baton wounds visible http://twitpic.com/3emrgv #
  • RT @PennyRed: Have woken up ill. Am going to push through and finish this article, the story needs to be told. Don't believe the news. #
  • After #demo2010 shows the ability of the police to control protest, perhaps just as well we didn't get World Cup…. #
  • Student trying to leave demo whacked with truncheon, awaiting brain surgery. http://is.gd/iudKk #demo2010 #
  • Maybe rioting is the NEW Politics?? RT @Paulscriven: Ha ha just stood down from @tobyfostershow as they want to do rioting not politics!!!! #
  • BBC reports 43 students in hospital, other reports 114 – what's the true figure? #demo2010 #dayx3 #
  • What a big, fat, freakin' surprise. RT @Daily_Telegraph: Andy Coulson phone-hacking investigation to be dropped http://tgr.ph/dKcchu #
  • RT @worldtreeman: the balance needs to be adressed here….yes, the violence was bad at protests, but the police WERE violent too! #
  • RT @davidallengreen: Only mere 'restraint' prevented shooting and killing students. Is that where we now are at? #R4Today #
  • RT @davidallengreen: Police Commissioner: cops showed 'restraint' in not killing students. Dear god. #R4Today #
  • RT @MaeveMckeown: Police still kettling ppl on westminster bridge. Reports of ppl passing out. Pls retweet. The media aren't reporting. #
  • RT @leashless: RT @losttourist: This will surely become an iconic photograph: http://goo.gl/tHE0V #dayx3 #demo2010 #
  • Sky can show picture of tw@t swinging from a flag on Cenotaph – TOTALLY out of order – but not of man hauled from wheelchair? #demo2010 #
  • Europhiles should be happy – we're embracing various European habits…like rioting….. ūüôā #
  • Top Shop windows trashed on Oxford Street – I wonder why…oh yes…TAX! #demo2010 #demo10 #
  • RT @edn1970: @JoePritchard @Wendy_Wells @omnivorist The protesters should photograph all the police on the way out… #
  • RT @StarSparkle_UK: RT @littlefishey: Charles and Camilla thought they'd been driven to a showing of 'Poor People-3D'. #
  • RT @LollapaloozaLol: A car was kicked. A car. A man was dragged out of a wheelchair earlier by a policeman and injured. Report on that. #
  • Someone kicks a car carrying a middle aged couple to the theatre – hardly an 'attack'. #demo2010 #
  • RT @Wendy_Wells: RT @omnivorist: Police seem to be insisting that everyone leaving Parliament Square is photographed #demo2010 #
  • Hmmm….demo#2010 – protesters have attached the Monarchy, Executive, Judiciary…almost a lesson in constitutional matters! #
  • RT @robkelsall: You know how they say "don't believe everything you read on wikipedia"? How about that applies with wikileaks? #
  • Guys, there is no point in breaking in to Treasury building…there's no money left in there after the last lot…. #
  • RT @Wendy_Wells: interesting map http://j.mp/dayx3 #
  • Might be entertaining if Police used CS Gas at the Treasury protest…if wind shifted we might get gassed politicians… #demo10 #demo2010 #
  • RT @VizTopTips: CONVINCE people that you're a Lib Dem MP by just leaving the room when asked to make an important decision. /via @Birdflaps #
  • Attacks on Government buildings do NOT help the protester's cause – pack it in, guys. #demo10 #demo2010 #
  • Apparently a group of 13 year olds caught in the kettle were turned back in to kettle by police. Damn tough, these kids. #demo2010 #demo10 #
  • RT @StarSparkle_UK: RT @crapital: just been dragged out by police, next to me they're dragging @pennyred. police extremely violent #demo2010 #
  • #VinceCable – why do you say you're going to listen to people AFTER you've voted? #
  • RT @PennyRed: They're crushing us on Whitehall. A woman behind me is screaming. #
  • The #libdem dictionary: Pledge – furniture polish. Principles – shop in High Street. Scruples – Russian currency. #
  • That probably puts the tin hat on AV as well…. #
  • The fuckwits with the fences need dealing with – they're not representative of most protesters at all. #demo2010 #demo10 #
  • RT @davidallengreen: RT @Markfergusonuk: Liberal Democrats – time of death, 17.41 – December 9th 2010 #
  • Government win by 21 votes – close enough to make the Government worried? #demo2010 #demo10 #
  • Hope folks don't lose it after the vote – kicking off would play right in to the Government's / Police's hands. #demo2010 #demo10 #
  • That woman from the Met is on TV again…I STILL don't believe a word she's saying… #demo2010 #demo10 #
  • Simon Hughes rushed to hospital with splinters in arse. 'That fence is bloody rough,' he complained. #demo2010 #demo10 #
  • ROFL!!!! RT @davidallengreen: Brilliant, in 200 years our protests have progressed from Peterloo to Portaloo. #demo2010 #
  • Just watched the female senior Met Officer give a statement. I am usually supportive of the Police; why don't I believe her? #demo2010 #
  • RT @StarSparkle_UK: RT @journodave: Think this may makes the papers. Police face off with man in Wheelchair http://twitpic.com/3ed5tq #dayx3 #
  • RT @sheilascoular: Why have the police dragged a man out of his wheelchair and beaten him up? Don't they know their job is to protect public #
  • RT @PennyRed: Horses just charged on protesters who are jammed and can't go anywhere. Kids now throwing paint at horses. #
  • #demo2010 #demo10 – Met. Police has confirmed that kettle to be established around Parliament Square. #
  • RT @PennyRed: The crush is awful. I just got trampled, in lots of pain. Cops still beating ppl, kids going mental. #
  • #demo10 #demo2010 – media being asked by police to ensure they film the abuse they're experiencing. Awww…diddums. #
  • #demo10 #demo2010 – media definitely pushing the 'wounded policeman' angle and ignoring the injured protesters. #
  • #demo10 – can the paintbombs being thrown be used at all to mark police officers who're being heavy handed? #
  • Funny how I get the 'good natured' bloocks from the news and a whole different picture from people on the ground… #
  • RT @PennyRed: Guardian journalist @shivmalik just got beaten bloody by police baton #
  • Any helmet numbers here? RT @PennyRed: They're beating up a guy they just dragged out of a wheelchair! #
  • Micro companies invited to apply for innovation funding by UK Gov. http://is.gd/irrVV #
  • RT @davidallengreen: Let's stand up for the freedom of the internet by, er, closing down websites… #EndsJustifyMeansMyArse #
  • re. cages – maybe they could be used to keep the MPs in? Like a jail…… ūüėČ @PennyRed in reply to PennyRed #
  • #OperationPaybak – Twitter next?? So…freedom of speech is fine if you agree with what we say? #
  • Apparently the #Wikileaks hackers have warned Twitter – 'You're next' – I await the reaction of the hacker's supporters when that happens.. #
  • Where the Hell do we in the UK start? RT @anticorruption: Today is Anti-Corruption Day. Look out and let us know what you are doing. #
  • RT @ZiggyKinsella: The future of writing: stop being sel-published and become an indie http://fecklessgoblin.blogspot.com/ #
  • Red, Blue or nothing? OR – Community, Principles and Values vs Opportunism, Greed and Selfishness? @Art_Li @StarSparkle_UK #
  • Joe's Jotting post on Steven Neary case – http://is.gd/io4IW – detained without trial? #
  • Taking down sites to protest about #Wikileaks being taken down is like 'fighting for peace' or 'fucking for virginity' as folks used to say. #
  • Before wetting yourself with excitement at #Wikileaks – look closer to home at the case of Autism sufferer Steven Neary. http://is.gd/inDZY #
  • RT @stuffiwrote: "What's the capital of Ireland? About ‚ā¨5. That concludes today's budget announcement." @artied @aspoireland #collapsonomics #
  • #wikileaks / Assange. Calm down. the sky is not falling. Wikileaks will continue. Journalists get busted / killed EVERY DAY. #
  • RT @metofficeYorks: FLASH Warning of Heavy Snow for Yorkshire & Humber valid from 1300 Tue 07 Dec to 2359 Tue 07 Dec http://bit.ly/eh3onl #
  • According to BBC Breaking News, #wikileaks Assange has been nicked. #
  • RT @realchrisdowson: RT @thedailymash: TRAPPED SCOTTISH DRIVERS FORCED TO DEEP FRY EACH OTHER http://bit.ly/eLfSzi #
  • Any weather experts in #Sheffield – are we expecting more snow today or is the sky just bluffing right now? #
  • agreed – @davidallengreen @suzannemoore197 not at all convinced of his motives. More egotistical anarchy than open information. in reply to davidallengreen #
  • Via various! – version incorporating "coughs" http://bit.ly/go7laX #CuntGate #
  • RT @davidallengreen: And finally, #CuntGate on YouTube (though without the "coughing fit") http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1G6osCnsbA #
  • I love the spam I get… 'A healthier way of smoking'…that's today's winner so far! #
  • Was cool to see Venus in the Southern sky when I got up this morning…actually, was COLD to see Venus…. #
  • RT @shanegreer: Wikileaks has gone 2 far with publication of facilities vital to US nat security. Assange is doing terrorists' work for them #
  • RT @Pierre_Paperon: Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. John Lennon #
  • RT @jamesgraham: Every time a Lib Dem goes on the radio and denies voting to raise fees breaks a promise, the baby Jesus cries. Stop it. … #
  • RT @davidallengreen: Whoopsie, Jim Naughtie has just said Jeremy Cunt (not Hunt) and affected to have a coughing fit… #r4 #today #
  • Temp. below zero, James Naughtie uses the bad 'c' word, I'm not leaving the house today and I have strong tea. Excellent start to week! #

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A case of censorship and wrongful imprisonment?

This has absolutely nothing to do with Wikileaks.

Or maybe it does.

All stories like this have two sides, and it’s inevitable that we only get to see one side of it – and perhaps therein lies the Wikileaks link – it would be so nice to see both sides of this story so that the ‘truth will out’ as they say.¬† The story revolves around a young man called Steven Neary who suffers from an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.¬† The story is detailed here – ‘The Orwellian Present – Never Mind the Future’ – and it is a very sad tale.¬† I know from experience that the behaviours of people on the Autistic Spectrum can vary between baffling, frightening and infuriating.¬† Folks dealing with such people as Steven need a lot of patience and support – unlike the situation here where, through a minor illness on the part of Steven’s carer, resulted in Steven being imprisoned against his will and the will of his father ‘for his own good’.

Whether Steven will be released back to his father’s care is still a mystery.¬†¬† The situation has existed for several months now – since last winter – and has received some media coverage but in my opinoon nowhere near as much as should be given to such a case.

The ‘rendition process’ that Steven has gone through is as effective at depriving him of his freedom as any that may be read of in Wikileaks.¬† Kafka’s Trial springs to mind to deal with the process – Steven did little wrong; his behaviour was deemed ‘bad’ by professional carers and they considered him unmanageable:

Now the Positive Behaviour Unit is a mighty politically correct place. Tap someone on the shoulder to attract their attention, and they don‚Äôt think ‚Äėthat is how Stephen has always attracted my attention since he was a child‚Äô ‚Äď they say ‚Äď ‚Äėhe touched me, that is an assault‚Äô and promptly record it in their daily log‚Ķ..

When Stephen‚Äôs Father went to collect him after three days, they had logged many such ‚Äėassaults‚Äô ‚Äď and announced that they were retaining Stephen for ‚Äėassessment‚Äô. No! His Father couldn‚Äôt take him home.

Now, some of you may think that this is Sectioning – nope, it’s not.¬† It’s another piece of fun legislation bought in for our protection by those fun loving liberals called New Labour in 2005 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/12/schedule/7¬†– basically, it’s designed to lock people up for their own protection.

And, if you should try and get back to your own home, where you are loved and cared for, you’re in trouble because you’re showing that you need locking up for your own protection because you’re trying to take yourself to a place where you don’t need ‘protecting’.

Kafkaesque process, followed by Orwellian Doublethink and, eventually, probably becoming an un-person as you disappear form view with only your family to care about the problem.¬† And if you have no family?¬† Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Many of us in the IT profession exhibit traits of behaviour on the Autistic Spectrum – it’s almost a given that engineers, mathematicians, programmers, etc. will be there.¬† I wonder whether any of our own lapses of ‘socially correct’ behaviour could get us there?

Steven’s behaviour appeared normal for someone scared and wanting to go home; the behavioural issues that got him in to the Positive Behaviour Unit are much less of a problem than the behaviour we see in our city streets every Friday night.

So, why aren’t our liberal¬† bleeding hearts who’re having palpitations about Wikileaks and Mr Assange engaging in similar lobbying for this man?¬† After all, he’s detained agaisnt his will, and additionally¬†has had no warrant for arrest issued against him.¬† Why isn’t the case being published by the newspapers so gallantly printing the equivalent of HELLO style gossip for the political classes?

Possibly because the chattering classes who get their kicks from reading the secret squirrel stuff on Wikileaks recognise that Neary has been incarcerated by their own kind, under laws put in place by folks just like them. 

I actually believe that little of what comes out of Wikileaks is of day to day (or even long term) relevance to the population as a whole.¬† Anyone with a brain knows that this sort of thing is happening; it’s nothing new.¬† People get vicarious thrills by feeling that they’re ‘in the loop’ whilst they may actually being fed ‘secrets’ and lies and be unable to tell the difference.¬†

Freedom of speech and expression is not something new; journalists have been dying and being improsoned to tell the truth for as long as there have been newspapers, and we should be grateful that people are willing to take the risks.¬† But for most people the issues that most affect their day to day lives aren’t whether the US Ambassador to Great Britain thinks that our government are a bunch of paranoids.¬† What matters is how our own national and local government beaurocracies are impacting on our day to day lives and removing the few freedoms that New Labour left us with.

Don’t allow the sparkly baubles from Wikileaks to distract you from the fact that freedom starts with being able to live in your own home without fear of wrongful or arbitrary arrest or imprisonment.¬† The legislation that Neary is detained under sounds awfully like the old laws of Soviet Psychiatry – if you disagreed with the Soviet Government you were clearly barking mad and so needed locking up for your own good.’

As you go through your day today, might I suggest that you take a look at your own behavioural ticks and foibles, and wonder whether any of them are enough to get you in trouble.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-05

  • Off to Church – beautiful, but icy, morning in Sheffield #
  • Beautiful cold, crisp, sunny morning in Walkley! #
  • RT @simonprideny: Anywhere you have chemistry and an energy gradient, you're going to find life. Here, Titan, Jupiter: it's going to happen. #
  • RT @Kitsonian: Well said Graham Taylor: "Fifa is an organisation that doesn't have to answer to anyone. What did we expect?" #
  • RT @glenoglaza: IF Panorama and Sunday Times are being blamed, I know who's side I am on. Let's really blow the lid off disgusting FIFA … #
  • RT @DCPlod: FIFA awarding #WorldCup to Qatar is a big fuck you to gay sportsmen. How can we make it easier for them to come out now? #
  • Re. Qatar 2022 – climate, political stability, homophobia, alcohol-free fans. Just what WERE the decision making criteria? #fb #
  • RT @5tevenw: Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not just surrounded by assholes. #
  • World Cup 2018 Dreams – I dream we won't get it… ūüėČ #
  • Interesting alternative view on #wikileakshttp://is.gd/i3821 – agree with quite a lot of it, I'm afraid. #
  • RT @yorkhannah: Request on Radio Sheff for a lift from Gleadless Common to Charnock to help a mother who needs dialysis get to her machine. #
  • RT @PennyRed: http://bit.ly/gSKzIE RT: videos of a copper repeatedly punching a protester at yesterday's demo. #
  • Differentiating between a SnowZombie and a normal Zombie – Zombies say 'Braaaaiiiiinnnnnssss', SnowZombies say 'Breeeaaaaaadddddd'…. #
  • It's not a conspiracy – it's a plot! (Think about it…) @StarSparkle_UK @DCPlod: RT @BBCWorld: Lee Harvey Oswald's coffin up for sale #
  • Errr…shouldn't LHO be in it? RT @DCPlod: RT @BBCWorld: Lee Harvey Oswald's coffin up for sale http://bbc.in/f5ITAh #
  • RT @gistwire: RT @NHS_Sheffield: For Sheffield school updates follow @SCCPressOffice , for travel updates follow @TravelSYorks #
  • Quick! Phone the cops and report them as a student demo! RT @robkelsall: "David Beckham, David Cameron and Price William walk into a bar…" #
  • A punch or two needed…RT @RadShef: Ugh, fuck off entitled idiots on the SF wanting refunds on bus passes. At least you're home. Wankers. #
  • Neither does chocolate! RT @Ednakrabappe: RT @carolvorders: I believe crumpets have no calories when it's snowing x #
  • My God…12" here in Walkley and still coming…. #
  • #wikileaks – ..diplomats feared Pakistan nuclear material could get to terrorists – FFS – most thinking folks have had that worry for years! #
  • Hmmm…I think this is the most snow I've seen on my street in 25 years of living here! #
  • Hmmm… If #wikileaks release stuff that is detrimental to Putin and the Russian Government, I would not like to be Julian Assange… #
  • RT @DCPlod: ..left needs reminding that not all national security measures are military-industrial scams http://bit.ly/fyjHfF #p2 #wikileaks #
  • RT @StarSparkle_UK:RT @PennyRed:PLSE RT: this was an entirely peaceful protest. I saw not one thing broken, no violence or vandalism at all. #
  • RT @CllrBenCurran: Police ban students from protesting outside Nick Clegg's office http://goo.gl/uoQJY #
  • RT @NewHumanist: Why are there not more ppl saying "If having a free press stops you hosting the World Cup, then I don't want the World Cup" #
  • RT @StarSparkle_UK: Good one! "@BorowitzReport: US Calls WikiLeaks "Worst Invasion of Privacy Since Facebook"" #
  • Maybe for future reference a set of hashtags – like #schoolclosed #roadclosed – @SCCPressOffice in reply to SCCPressOffice #
  • Watching folks wander down our road towards the bus stop. Like Napoleon's retreat from Moscow… @liencam in reply to liencam #
  • Fucked up world? RT @mashable: Google May Acquire Groupon for $6 Billion, and It Would Be Worth Every Penny – http://on.mash.to/fMjFCh #
  • RT @Alvin691 This entire Wikileaks event seems "odd" . The message is too controlled. The response is too controlled. Gut feeling #
  • RT @billt: What will we do when the next #wikileaks hoard is every Twitter DM or Facebook chat transcript? Whose friendships would survive? #
  • RT @tscholesfogg: Phoned Lib Dem Head Office and asked for copy of manifesto. They said they'd sold out. I said "I know, but can I have .. #
  • SO depressing that the Banks are looking for contractors to develop trading systems…more fuckups coming soon? #
  • Snow and slow broadband – looks like "I picked the wrong day to give up sniffing glue!" #
  • RT @Erica_Jane_MP: Know any good Sheffield bands/singer songwriters that tweet & wld want to get involved w/ a #jokesontrial benefit gig? #
  • Bugger. Leslie Nielsen dies at 84. Thanks for the laughs – "Just think; next time I shoot someone, I could be arrested." So long, Frank! #fb #
  • RT @DCPlod: RT @seanpaulkelley:If @wikileaks believes in this radical openness agenda, they'll release their internal deliberations as well #
  • #wikileaks ddos – pointless if Guardian has docs, and simply draws attention to the docs. So…DDOS or inadequate bandwidth at wikileaks? #

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