Saturday, October 29, 2011

London “Cyberspace” Conference. USA, Sweden and UK foreign ministers meet on Assanges' extradition verdict day

However, regarding real threats in "Cyberspace", Dagens Nyheter and Wall Street Journal report that Visa and Mastercard companies secretly plan to register the detailed shopping of all their card-users for further selling such personal information to the rest of the commercial corporate world. No wonder Visa & Mastercard have declared transparency champion Wikileaks their archenemy, seeking its economic strangulation.  

After the publication of this article it was communicated that State Secretary Hillary Clinton had, for sad familiar events, to cancel her trip to London to attend to the meetings at the Conference mentioned here. However, USA Vice President Joe Binden according to last notice replaced Hillary Clinton at the meeting. Previously, UK Foreign Affairs Minister William Hague had himself confirmed the participation of Secretary Hilary Clinton on Twitter 14/10 2011. As Secretary of State Clinton and Vice President Binden represent the same official stand of their government, these developments do not alter the political issues or inferences referred here in this analysis.
By Marcello Ferrada-Noli

The decision from the Judges in London on Sweden's extradition request of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been announced for November the 2nd. This occasion coincides with a Cyberspace conference in London hosted by the Foreign Office [1] where the Foreign-Affairs ministers of USA (at last moment replaced by USA Vice President), Sweden and UK shall meet. Coincidentally?

The London conference will gather only four foreign-affairs ministers, among the participants: Hillary Clinton (USA), Carl Bildt (Sweden), William Hague (United Kingdom) and a minister from Holland. The signalled ministers represent exactly the countries that  apparently are chiefly involved - by foreign-policy interests or by “legal” involvement - in juridical efforts concerning Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing and cyber-active organization Wikileaks. (ml, ml2

 In matching colours: Carl Bildt and Hillary Clinton
State Department photo by Michael Gross

As advanced in a previous analysis on the multiple-front contra offensive against Wikileaks [2], Wikileaks withstand these days a formidable and belligerent contra offensive. In one front, multinational corporate institutions or international banks continue strangle the funding from supporters around the world. Visa, Mastercard or PayPal have blocked fund-transferences (private donations) towards Wikileaks in an operation that could eventually shut down Wikileaks. [3]

Although - strategically considered - the political survival of both Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange is historically symbiotic, the funds crucially need by their organization are not meant to serve Julian Assange’s defence budget. As Wikileaks pointed out recently, the financing is aimed to sustain the cybernetic struggle of Wikileaks for government transparency and against corruption and power abuse. This opus has already inspired historically relevant political revolutions in favour of human rights in the Third World.

“Operation Deferment”

In another front, the attrition war posed by the long lasting “legal process” initiated by Sweden against Wikileaks front-figure Julian Assange, have contributed with seemingly “artificial delays” to the tactical aim of exhausting Wikileaks in resources and manpower. For one thing is to acknowledge that legal appeal procedures do take their due time. But another is to explain why so different dates or delays, have been consecutively announced for such verdicts, or why, from the part of Sweden, it has been neglected a sooner interrogation of Assange (in London or by other means). This “Operation Procrastination” would also explain why the technical possibilities for the interrogation of Assange while he was in Sweden’s soil were not explored in fully by the local prosecutors.

Could this apparently synchronized strategy of procrastinating several steps in the "legal" procedures against Julian Assange (further appeals are expected) aimed ultimately to strangle Wikileaks also economically and organization wise? And vice versa, to which extent the weakening or designed abating of Wikileaks through decimation of material resources was meant to the waning of Julian Assange international support? To this add the highly belligerent front "Trial by the media" exercised in Sweden ad hominem against the Wikilekas founder, as I analysed previously in Newsmill. [4]

The event, gathering the foreign ministers of Sweden, USA and UK has been announced as a London Conference “on Cyberspace” and with the following manifested agenda: "How can cyber crime be prevented and pursued more effectively?"

One question is, what is "cyber crime" for those governments, what is the including, respective excluding criteria in defining cyber crime? We already know that - as seen by those governments - main cyber “criminals” of this very epoch are such type of cyber-experts organizations, the commonly named "cyber hackers". Also are regarded, as committing criminal acts, are those young people, economically disadvantaged, which have occasionally downloaded a song from the Internet.

One other thing we seriously regard is that terrorism, as crime or behaviour, should and has to be fought by all of us in society. And every decent person has a clear notion of what terrorism is. But, is terrorism the cyber whistleblowing intending to disclose aggravating illegal infringements on human-rights from the part of governments? Has not Julian Assange been referred as "Cyber terrorist" [5] through highly publicized reports and TV programs?

Looking at the program of the Cyberspace conference I found some undoubtedly positive initiatives, and the organizers provide a discrete list to fill the cyber-crime concept, such as "steal identities, ideas and designs” or “defraud government", etc.

Yes, "defraud government", but NOT "protect citizens from government, corporation or institutional defraud"!

One illustration of the above is given in a report by Andrew Hough in the Daily Telegraph with the heading “Wikileaks: Swedish government ‘hid’ anti-terror operations with America from Parliament”.[6] It referred to an intelligence-gathering operation with regard to personal data of Swedish people and requested by USA. Such collaboration program would require by law the approval of the Parliament. However, the Swedish officials (not the USA officials, who instead wished a formal, legal agreement) proposed a formula for such collaboration devised to avoid the scrutiny of such important matter by the Swedish Parliament, directly elected by the Swedish people. I have previously developed on this issue in the Newsmill article “The Swedish political crusade against Assange and Wikileaks”. [7]

The protection of the people against such governmental wrongdoings is a crucial item missing in a Conference. That is the kind of disclosures we have had thanks the whistleblowing cyber-active organization Wikileaks, and this is a Cyberspace-crime conference organized by initiative of the same governments that actively work for Wikileaks decimation and the extradition and punishment of his founder Julian Assange.

Other participants, among the relatively few chosen to be in the said conference, are Joanna Shields, President of Facebook UK and Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President of the World Bank Institute. As a matter of fact, Wikileaks disclosures or statements from the organization have targeted as well both Facebook and huge world-bank institutions.

Wikileaks is to war what war is to politics and politics to economics.  Clausewitz revisited

On the other hand, Wikileaks has given to the modern world the best answer to war. Deflate conflicts by making international politics more transparent. It is not about an armed Deterrence, and it is not only about civil disobedience. It is about active alerting on corrupted politics, on covering-up journalists, on subservient or marionette governments. But is also about pointing to the core of the belligerent conflict, i.e. its origin: corporate profit and profit development, the corporate-establishment's greed lebensraum.

During the first times of the Wikileaks spectacular disclosures, the public tended to associate those exposed wrongdoings exclusively with governmental political behaviour or/and in maters of foreign policy, occupation wars or revolutions.  However, corruption and power abuse are not to be viewed only as a political or military enterprise, indulged by governments, ambassadors, or military commands, nasty dictatorships aside. In fact, a main political corrupted behaviour is to protect the power abuse of the multinational corporate world against the single, private interest of the modest citizens of the world.

Reflecting in what Carl von Clausewitz once formulated, that war is the continuation of politics “by other means”, it would be as correct to state that politics – certainly international politics and “foreign affairs” - has become “by all means” the continuation of the economic agenda serving the multinational corporate establishment. 

And appointed modern politicians, who perform an aggressive defence of those corporate interests, are called to exercise this endeavour. In a given moment politicians are a financial part in such corporate enterprises and interests. From the oil industry to international banking, from banking to credit-card operations.

Dagens Nyheter, the news of the day

What is however less known, at least in Italy or Sweden, is what Visa and Master card are up to as ad targeting is concern. Visa and Mastercard are planning in secret to register all card-users detailed shopping in order to sell such personal information to the rest of the commercial corporate world.

As revealed in a brief report by Juan Flores in Dagens Nyheter, 29 October [8], based in a publication by the Wall Street Journal, [9] Visa and Mastercard companies have found a technique consisting in the following: The shopping and the place where the customer uses the card is then connected to commercial advertising which is activated at the customer’s computer screen at the moment he/she is on-line.

The information is cashed as shopping behaviour or customer preferences. The article in the Wall Street Journal informs that a report prepared by Mastercard sums up the concept,  “after all you are what you buy".

But what we buy is not always what we need, certainly in the information front. Advertising aside.

No wonder Visa and Mastercard have declared transparency Wikileaks their archenemy, and seek its economic strangulation.

In the context above, the London “Cyberspace” Conference - conveying the foreign ministers involved in the extradition process against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – shall study as principal theme (Part I of the Conference
), "Economic Growth and Development - Realizing the benefits of a secure cyberspace for international economic growth and development and use of cyberspace as a prosperity multiplier."

More Visa, more Mastercard, more business, more Lundin oil, more war, more profit, more greed. Nada Wikileaks! 

La lotta continua

Marcello Ferrada-Noli
Stockholm 29/10 2011

1. Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London Cyberspace Conference.
2. M. Ferrada-Noli, "Swedish psychological warfare against Wikileaks and Assange".
3. Timoty Lawson, "WikiLeaks threatened by bank blockade, seeks to resist".
4. M. Ferrada-Noli, "Professor: Medierapporteringen om Assange är osaklig och likriktad". Newsmill, 20 February 2011.
5. Jason Charles. Pentagon Labels Journalist Julian Assange a 'Cyber Terrorist' Forces Interpol Warrant.

6. Andrew Hough, “Wikileaks: Swedish government ‘hid’ anti-terror operations with America from Parliament”, Daily Telegraph, 15 December 2010
7. M Ferrada-Noli, "The Swedish political crusade against Assange and Wikileaks", Newsmill 11 January 2011. 
8. Juan Flores, "Kortköp ska registreras", Dagens Nyheter, 29 October 2011
9. Emily Steel, "Using Credit Cards to Target Web Ads", Wall Street Journal, 25 October 2011.

Other articles in the Professors blogg on the Swedish case against Wikileaks founderJulian Assange

Labels & links Wikileaks, J Assange, Assange, yttrandehefrihet, intressant  


economic blogger said...

The Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt will also meet Edward Lucas - International editor of the Economist according to his Twitter account.

Anonymous said...

'Reflecting in what Carl von Clausewitz once formulated, that war is the continuation of politics “by other means”, it would be as correct to state that politics – certainly international politics and “foreign affairs” - has become “by all means” the continuation of the economic agenda of the multinational corporative establishment.' Well put.