Wednesday, February 21, 2024

FREEDOM FIGHTERS - Illusions of Safety The Baffler


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team told the High Court in London they have proof there was a CIA plot during Donald Trump’s presidency to kidnap or assassinate him when he lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the BBCreports. Lawyer Mark Summers alleged senior CIA officials requested plans, Trump requested ways to do it and “sketches were even drawn up”. A court in Spain is looking into whether a Spanish security firm spied on him during those seven years. Assange’s team also warned of “extra-legal attack elimination” in the US, as The Guardianreports, particularly if Trump becomes president again. Assange didn’t attend court, or appear by video, because he was too mentally and physically sick. His team is appealing his extradition to the US to face espionage charges — if rejected, his legal options in the UK are exhausted. But only a limited number of people were able to witness the proceedings, the Beeb notes, and journalists got a dodgy audio feed.

Meanwhile, Chinese-Australian democracy blogger Yang Hengjun’s family says he will not appeal his suspended death sentence, the ABC reports, because he’s too sick and Beijing’s court system isn’t “capable of remedying the injustice of his sentence” anyway. He was convicted of espionage in closed court after five years of incarceration, and his sentence could become life in prison after two years of good behaviour. But his friend said he was hoping for medical parole or humanitarian release because Yang has a large kidney cyst. The family also noted “harsh conditions in the detention centre, including enforced sleep deprivation, erratic medication and being strapped to a tiger chair“. Foreign Affairs Minister PennyWong said she understood the difficult decision not to appeal, and that we’ll continue to fight for him in the “harrowing” ordeal. Finally, the ABC has published a fascinating and gutwrenching story about the Arctic “Polar Wolf” penal colony where former Russian opposition leader AlexeiNavalny died.

Timofey Bordachev: Western Europe could become the new Ukraine RT


After TRT World failed to post my interview on the death of Navalny…. Gilbert Doctorow

Bluesky and Mastodon users are having a fight

TechCrunch – that could shape the next generation of social media: “People on Bluesky and Mastodon are fighting over how to bridge the two decentralized social networks, and whether there should even be a bridge at all. 

Behind the snarky GitHub comments, these coding conflicts aren’t frivolous — in fact, they could shape the future of the internet. Mastodon is the most established decentralized social app to date. Last year, Mastodon ballooned in size as people sought an alternative to Elon Musk’s Twitter, and now stands at 8.7 million users. Then Bluesky opened to the general publiclast week, adding 1.5 million users in a few days and bringing its total to 4.8 million users.

 Bluesky is on the verge of federating its AT Protocol, meaning that anyone will be able to set up a server and make their own social network using the open source software; each individual server will be able to communicate with the others, requiring a user to have just one account across all the different social networks on the protocol. But Mastodon uses a different protocol called ActivityPub, meaning that Bluesky and Mastodon users cannot natively interact. Turns out, some Mastodon users like it that way. Software developer Ryan Barrett found this out the hard way when he set out to connect the AT Protocol and ActivityPub with a bridge called Bridgy Fed…”

 Illusions of Safety The Baffler

Zoozve — the strange ‘moon’ of Venus that earned its name by accident

Maker of Tinder, Hinge sued over ‘addictive’ dating apps that put profits over love NPR

New York City sues social media companies for negligence, public nuisance Axios