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A facebook friend has sent me this link 'Want to Know Julian Assange’s Endgame? He Told You a Decade Ago' (by Andy Greenberg, that appeared in WIRED in Oct 2016) and I couldn't resist bringing it to your attention.

To read it click on this image from the article:

 Assange t
Image (cropped): MARK CHEW/FAIRFAX MEDIA/GETTY IMAGES

 

Assange is an Australian who has already featured in several articles on this website:

 

As a founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange has been seen as a prominent supporter of journalistic and personal freedom. He's has won many awards on these grounds and attracted support from many politicians and public figures, mainly associated with the political left.   On the other hand in the US he has been described as a cyber-terrorist and is alleged to be the subject of a 'sealed indictment' relating to a secret Grand Jury.  Perhaps in consequence of this he has attracted considerable support in Russia, including hosting a television show on Russia Today, Russia's English language news service.

He has now been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since August 2012, where he sought asylum after jumping bail imposed by a British court relating to extradition to Sweden to answer rape allegations. During this time the British public have spent over £13 million to keep him there.  As a result he has become a major celebrity.

Current allegations against him in the US relate to WikiLeaks exhibiting bias against Hillary Clinton in the recent US Presidential election by publishing her secret emails and those of others in her group while not doing the same to Trump or the Republicans.  It is alleged that these damaging documents were passed to WikiLeaks by state sponsored Russian hackers.  In his defence Assange admits to disliking Clinton and making disparaging remarks, particularly relating to disastrous US involvement in the Middle East during her period as Secretary of State, but claims to dislike Trump too, saying the choice was between 'cholera and gonorrhoea'.

Julian Assange is obviously very bright.

According to Wikipedia, when he was 20 years old and living in Melbourne, Assange was discovered to be a notorious computer hacker.  After being caught he was recruited by the authorities and began assisting the Victoria Police Child Exploitation Unit to catch paedophiles.  When his case was eventually heard in 1994 he pleaded guilty to twenty-five charges of hacking and related crimes, was ordered to pay reparations of A$2,100 and was released on a good behaviour bond.  Leniency was granted due to the absence of malicious or mercenary intent and because of his disrupted childhood. For more details go to his Wikipedia entry: Here...

By 1994 Assange was already gaining a reputation as an expert on cyber-security. While he was assisting corporations tighten up their cyber-security and writing encryption tools he seems to have began to crystallise rather contrary ideas about the evils of such secrecy.  These ideas are set out in his 2006 paper Conspiracy as Governance, published soon after WikiLeaks was established.

This paper is revealing and I argued in Six degrees of separation, conspiracy and wealth that his views about conspiracy are akin to extreme market economics, more Ayn Rand than Karl Marx. 

Maybe that's why they like him in today's Russia?  Or is it that the enemy of my enemy is my friend?

These contradictions make Julian Assange one of the more interesting celebrities of our age.  So do we know his endgame?  I don't think even he knows that!

I can't wait for the next instalment. 

 

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Travel

Taiwan

 

 

 

In May 2015 four of us, Craig and Sonia Wendy and I, bought a package deal: eleven days in Taiwan and Hong Kong - Wendy and I added two nights in China at the end.  We had previously travelled together with Craig and Sonia in China; Russia, India and South America and this seemed like a good place to do it again and to learn more about the region.

Taiwan is one of the Four Asian Tigers, along with Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, achieving the fastest economic growth on the Planet during the past half century. Trying to understand that success was of equal interest with any ‘new sights’ we might encounter.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Recollections of 1963

 

A Pivotal Year

It appears that the latest offering from Andrew Lloyd Webber: Stephen Ward, the Musical, has crashed and burned after four months in London.

On hearing this I was reminded of 1963,  the year I completed High School and matriculated to University;  the year Bob Dylan became big; and Beatle Mania began. 

The year had started with a mystery the Bogle-Chandler deaths in Lane Cove National Park in Sydney that confounded Australia. Then came Buddhist immolations and a CIA supported coup and regime change in South Vietnam that was the beginning of the end for the US effort. 

Suddenly the Great Train Robbery in Britain was headline news there and in Australia. One of the ringleaders, Ronnie Biggs was subsequently found in Australia but stayed one step of the authorities for many years.

The 'Space Race' was underway with the USSR holding their lead by putting the first female Cosmonaut into obit. The US was riven with inter-racial hostility and rioting.  But the first nuclear test ban treaties were signed and Vatican 2 made early progress, the reforming Pope John 23 unfortunately dying mid year.

Towards year's end, on the 22nd of November, came the Kennedy assassination, the same day the terminally ill Aldus Huxley elected to put an end to it.

But for sex and scandal that year the Profumo affair was unrivalled.

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Opinions and Philosophy

The Prospect of Eternal Life

 

 

 

To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream:
ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause:
… But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

[1]

 

 

 

 

When I first began to write about this subject, the idea that Hamlet’s fear was still current in today’s day and age seemed to me as bizarre as the fear of falling off the earth if you sail too far to the west.  And yet several people have identified the prospect of an 'undiscovered country from whose realm no traveller returns' as an important consideration when contemplating death.  This is, apparently, neither the rational existential desire to avoid annihilation; nor the animal imperative to keep living under any circumstances; but a fear of what lies beyond.

 

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