Australian Politician Compares Attempts To Silence Assange With Catholic Church Silencing Galileo

from the and-thinks-it's-a-good-thing dept

Via Glyn Moody we get this absolutely bizarre quote from an anonymous Australian Parliament Member who wants to have the Australian government help try to shut down Julian Assange and Wikileaks. When the reporter Ross Cameron pointed out that shutting down Wikileaks wouldn't work, the politician responded:
"The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange.''
This statement is both bizarre and ignorant. It's bizarre in that it seems to think it was a good thing that the Catholic Church hid from and denied reality for a century and condemned those who helped reveal reality. It's not often, these days, that you hear a politician speak out in support of the Catholic Church's treatment of Galileo.

It's ignorant in that it assumes that Julian Assange is all that needs to be "shut down." This is a mistake that many are making. Even if you think that Assange is an egomaniac with serious issues, focusing on Assange is missing the point of what's happening. There are a lot of people and a growing number of new operations, who are stepping up to do more of what Wikileaks was doing. This is not a one man show, and the simple fact is that such leaking of information is going to keep happening. Targeting Assange may stop Assange, but it won't stop the basic idea of Wikileaks, even if the functionality moves elsewhere.


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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Hahaha really? I've been seeing this headline in the crystal ball for a few days and, of course, I assumed it was an anti-censorship politician making a (perhaps slightly hyperbolic) comment in condemnation of attempts to silence Assange.

    Never in a million years could I have anticipated this. It almost has to be a joke...

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Whats next calls for an inquisition with hot pokers and racks?

     

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    sam, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    nobody expects the inquisition.

     

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    Slappy Squirrel, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Is this dude a sinner?

    This guy has a real bright future in PR, any position within the financial industry and even within "New Media" such as blogging.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Went you start looking at Assange's methods and his bizarre claims, you start to understand that he isn't about anything other than the cult of Assange.

    My favorite is the claim that wikileaks is losing $600,000 a week:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503983_162-20028090-503983.html

    The other is his methods of threatening those who oppose him with scandal. Like Rupert Murdoch:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/12/wikileaks-rupert-murdoch

    Or threats against Bank Of America after they stopped transfering funds:

    http://blogs.forbes.com/tjwalker/2010/12/23/bank-of-america-prepares-for-worst-as-wikileak s-threatens-damaging-document-release/?boxes=financechannelforbes

    Assange will likely be easy to shut up only because he continues to poke people aggressively, and at some point, he will have crossed a line and the results will be clear. It won't be long before he is locked up for a very, very long time, or has a horrible auto accident. Or both :)

    What I wonder is why TD doesn't address these issues, and continues to show Assange as a victim rather than an aggressive preditory type that he appears to be?

     

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      Kevin (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      You missed the point of the post completely. He was pointing how how likening Assange to Galileo was foolish and a rather stupid as well.

      Secondly Assange will take himself out of the game. If you make enough threats and never follow through then people will see it as a bluff, and they will stop listening. If he actually has the documents then he should bring them forward if he wants to continue his little threats.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      Address what issues? The fact that everyone is scrambling because they have something to hide and know that Assange is crazy enough to show what they are hiding?

      It's funny that you say that the BoA and Rupert are being "threatened". It seems more like Assange is playing a game of "You squeeze my balls and I'll squeeze yours back".

      It all boils down to this: if they weren't pulling off anything illegal or unethical, they wouldn't be worried. The only reason Wikileaks had the impact it did is because there is something "leak-worthy" after all. That's not Wikileak's fault and, despite disagreeing with Wikileak's methods, I think it is a good thing they are putting the squeeze on many people that once thought they could get away with everything with total impunity.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

        Re: Re:

        "It's funny that you say that the BoA and Rupert are being "threatened". It seems more like Assange is playing a game of "You squeeze my balls and I'll squeeze yours back"."

        No, it's ACTUALLY funny that he mentioned the BoA example because he announced he'd be releasing the documents BEFORE they stopped taking payments for the site. I've already corrected this silly little AC in the past on this point, but he keeps repeating it anyway.

        Oh well, such is the way of the disingenous....

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I have correct your ignorant ass in the past, knowing that Assange has made private contacts with many before going public. Since Assange doesn't think transparency applies to him, there is no way to confirm this situation.

          He threatened them before they stopped taking payments, and has threatened them again and again after they stopped.

          So, don't be silly DH, you are smarter than that, even if you live sort of half way up TD's rectum at times.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

        Re: Re:

        > It all boils down to this: if they weren't pulling off anything illegal or unethical, they wouldn't be worried.

        "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -- Cardinal Richelieu

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > It all boils down to this: if they weren't pulling off anything illegal or unethical, they wouldn't be worried.

          "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -- Cardinal Richelieu


          Yes, when the "finding" is done by the authorities. This is the opposite.

           

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      Oh come on please at least finish reading the post:

      Even if you think that Assange is an egomaniac with serious issues, focusing on Assange is missing the point of what's happening. There are a lot of people and a growing number of new operations, who are stepping up to do more of what Wikileaks was doing. This is not a one man show, and the simple fact is that such leaking of information is going to keep happening. Targeting Assange may stop Assange, but it won't stop the basic idea of Wikileaks, even if the functionality moves elsewhere.

      THAT is the point here. Everyone agrees that Assange is at best questionable and at worst a complete egomaniac - just about every single Techdirt post on him points that out. But this has nothing to do with Assange.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

        Re: Re:

        If TD agrees that Assange is questionable, does it not also imply that his threats to release X or Y or Z are bad for the process, not good?

        He is starting to sound like Saddam Hussein and his chemical weapons. He kept on threatening, and when someone finally called him on it, we found out it was a bluff. What happens is Wikileaks is just mostly a bluff?

        Wikileaks is all about Assange, because it is no longer about the information, but more about information terrorism. Look a little more closely, and you can see where this is going.

         

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is no contradiction in believing someone has done the right things for the wrong reasons. There is even less contradiction in believing someone has done inevitable things for irrelevant reasons.

           

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          nasch (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If TD agrees that Assange is questionable, does it not also imply that his threats to release X or Y or Z are bad for the process, not good?

          No, it doesn't. Not sure how you came to that conclusion.

          He is starting to sound like Saddam Hussein and his chemical weapons. He kept on threatening, and when someone finally called him on it, we found out it was a bluff. What happens is Wikileaks is just mostly a bluff?

          The way to call Wikileaks' bluff is to do nothing. If these people and organizations were sure he had nothing on them, they could just sit back and let him make a fool of himself.

          Wikileaks is all about Assange, because it is no longer about the information, but more about information terrorism.

          What does that even mean?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            he way to call Wikileaks' bluff is to do nothing

            This is effectively what the US government has done, outside of a few wayward Senators and House members trying to drum up the patriot support. Otherwise, the Obama administration has been incredibly quiet and not at all perturbed by all of this.

            Now, they may be playing duck on this one, all calm on the surface, and paddling furiously under the surface to make it happen. It has been reported that people are getting reassigned all over the world. However, give them credit, they are not feeding the Cult of Assange machine in slightest.

            I just personal object to Assange's style of threatening to release things. If you have it, and transparency is the issue, release them. Saying you have them and then waiting, like a poker player, makes you look incredibly suspect and makes the entire process that wikileaks is suppose to be look vapid and self-justifying.

             

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          abc gum, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "He is starting to sound like Saddam Hussein and his chemical weapons. He kept on threatening, and when someone finally called him on it, we found out it was a bluff. "

          Err - what?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 6:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          He is starting to sound like Saddam Hussein and his chemical weapons. He kept on threatening, and when someone finally called him on it, we found out it was a bluff.

          Err, what? Hussein denied that he had such weapons. It was the GWB administration that swore that he did as an excuse to start a war there.

          You've got a really warped sense of history.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re:

        "Everyone agrees that Assange is at best questionable and at worst a complete egomaniac"

        Now that just isn't true. You know what they call people who run around telling untruths, don't you? You should, you've probably heard it enough.

         

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      PW (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      Spoken like an anonymous coward, oh wait, you are :) Next time try reading the post, I'm sure there are other posts out there, including past ones on this blog where your begging the question may be on point.

       

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

      Re:

      ...you start to understand that he isn't about anything other than the cult of Assange.

      Why is that relevant? It's not any more relevant than his personal life, or criminal record. It simply doesn't matter.

      It won't be long before he is locked up for a very, very long time, or has a horrible auto accident. Or both :)

      And then what do you expect to happen? You think all of the people that run Wikileaks are just going to take their ball and go home?

      What I wonder is why TD doesn't address these issues, and continues to show Assange as a victim rather than an aggressive preditory type that he appears to be?

      This post isn't even about Assange. It's about the idiocy of this politician. Oh, and also, from the article:

      "Even if you think that Assange is an egomaniac with serious issues, focusing on Assange is missing the point of what's happening."

      A friendly reminder to RTFA.

       

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      Gwiz (profile), Jan 18th, 2011 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      Assange will likely be easy to shut up only because he continues to poke people aggressively, and at some point, he will have crossed a line and the results will be clear. It won't be long before he is locked up for a very, very long time, or has a horrible auto accident. Or both :)

      Personally, I don't really care how, why or when Assange releases the info he has, only that he DOES release the info.

      As evidenced by your statement above, it seems that strategic releasing of the leaks is a smart move on Assange's part to insure his own survival and you can't fault a person for wanting to live.

      On a side note, I am finding it pretty funny that the authorities who have always told me "If you have nothing to hide, then us searching your property and person shouldn't be an issue" are now facing this from the other side.

      Also, this AC (if you are the same AC who always comments on WikiLeak stories) seems pretty hellbent on discrediting Assange and WikiLeaks and this makes me wonder if there is some info out there that you wish to remain hidden for some reason??

       

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    Did he forget the end of that story? Where the truth came out, was accepted by the entire civilized world and is now one of the primary examples put forth to criticize the church? And that the church stopped censoring his work in the 18th-goddamn-century and like four or five popes have expressed regret over what happened? I believe there is a statue of him in the Vatican now...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

      Re:

      "Did he forget the end of that story? Where the truth came out, was accepted by the entire civilized world and is now one of the primary examples put forth to criticize the church?"

      A couple of hundred years later.

      Galileo was tried and convicted by the catholic church in 1633 for heresy. He spent the rest of his life under arrest.

      "the church stopped censoring his work in the 18th-goddamn-century"

      Actually, the truth is that they continued to censor his work until at least 1835. That's well into the 19th century. And it was only in 1992 that Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled, and issued a declaration acknowledging the errors committed by the Catholic Church in convicting Galileo.

      But why let the truth get in the way, huh?

      I believe there is a statue of him in the Vatican now...

      As if that is supposed to somehow make up for what they did? Maybe they could up statues of little boys to make up for the pedophile priests. Wait, maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea.

       

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        Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Umm yeah, I'm not defending the church's actions here. I'm just pointing out that it didn't work to well for them in the long run - what with them sheepishly backing off of their original position over the course of centuries, and now being saddled with yet another part of their history they will never live down.

        Why let the truth get in the way of what? Interesting to learn that censorship wasn't gone until 1835 - I didn't know that. It doesn't really change my point, which was not to say how enlightened the church became or anything, but simply to point out that even they managed to accept heliocentrism long before the modern era.

        I'm not sure how you interpreted my comment, but it really wasn't meant to excuse the church. It was meant to point out how stupidly they acted, and how strange it is for a politician to say something like this.

         

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        Chargone (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 7:56pm

        Re: Re:

        gets better. as i understand it it wasn't his science that got him in trouble (the conclusion was right but his methodology and such were Rubbish), but Politics... he was actually friends with the pope at the time but screwed up so badly in this reguard that even that didn't help him.

         

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    James Carmichael, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    The Earth is at the center of the Universe, God is real, and Julian Assange is guilty. Now for your rebuttal- LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALA.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 7:57pm

      Re:

      i believe on of those things literally, one metaphorically, and one not at all (pending significant evidence to the contrary).

      care to guess which is which?

      (i actually agree with the point you're making here, but still...)

       

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    The Invisible Hand (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    I knew this would happen one day or another.

    Think about it:

    All over the world you have "Democratic" governments squashing people's liberties, in the name of "Justice", "Freedom" and "National Security". We have governments arresting and searching people without warrants or formal accusations. Domains are taken down without justification. We have "rat on your neighbor" plans being enacted. Torture is accepted as means of interrogation (seriously, wtf? Did we stop being humans at some point?).

    "The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange.''

    That comment nails it in the head: The inquisition is back.

     

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      That comment nails it in the head: The inquisition is back.

      And nobody expected them...

      Full stop. Different subject.

      Humans invented interrogation, torture, and using the latter during the former. You either have a seriously odd notion of what being humans means or chose your words poorly. Have a do-over on me.

       

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        weneedhelp (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Humans invented interrogation, torture, and using the latter during the former.

        Correct. But in a civilized society, lemme say that again, civilized society, torture should be unacceptable. Not to also mention that info gathered from such actions is rarely accurate.

        (seriously, wtf? Did we stop being civilized humans at some point?)

         

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          The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm not sure we ever really started. It's never been a global phenomenon in any case.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But in a civilized society, lemme say that again, civilized society, torture should be unacceptable.

          That only applies to other societies.

           

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          vivaelamor (profile), Jan 18th, 2011 @ 6:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "(seriously, wtf? Did we stop being civilized humans at some point?)"

          Well, there was that whole thing about water boarding... The not-torture interrogation technique that the very naysayers claimed was torture after trying it themselves.

           

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      VMax, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

      Re:

      Wait! This time I DID expect the Spanish Inquisition! Guess that takes away their chief weapon. HAH!

       

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        nasch (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Well, they still have one other weapon - FEAR! And a fanatical devotion to the Pope! Wait, two, they have two weapons...

         

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        Chargone (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 8:00pm

        Re: Re:

        ahh, there was your problem. you were expecting the Spanish inquisition. this is the Australian inquisition.. (or American... corporate... you know, i don't even know who anymore, but neither the Spanish nor the papal inquisition were actually involved)

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    all the big grandstanding and they made him a martyr.

    Good job USA government, as usual, you took a small problem; threw a tantrum and now everyone wants to be like assange.

     

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

      Re:

      and now everyone wants to be like assange.

      Speak for yourself. I'm already a way bigger egomaniacal ass than Julian will ever be.

       

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    johnny canada, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Back to the Point

    The politician many not be that bright. But the point is that he is correct. [i]"The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange.'' [/i] Trying to hide (suppress) the truth never works .

     

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    Prashanth (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    When I first saw the headline, I was ready to clap in delight of a politician ready to stand up against censorship. Then, I saw the article. I don't think even the Pope thinks it's a good thing anymore what the Catholic Church did to Galileo. Who is this nutjob politician?

     

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    Jay (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    And who got the last laugh?

    The Church looked stupid for doubting Galileo.

    This senator would look stupid if he didn't have a veil of secrecy regarding this statement.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    I'm guessing the anonymous politician is Stephen Conroy the only Family First representative in parliament. Family First are a bunch of loony Christians who's previous candidates have said during election campaigns "Lesbians are witches that should be burnt alive at the stake", "The Victorian bushfires (in late 2008 that killed 173, injured 400, destroyed 2000+ homes and 1500+ buesinesses) are punishment from God for Victoria legalising abortion(which they did about 6 months beforehand).", and many other completely nutty statements. The party is laughed at by most Australians. Although shamefully the people of South Australia elected another one in the election last year, and he comes into parliament this June.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 6:46pm

      Re:

      You've mixed up your Steves... The Family First nutter is Steve Fielding. Stephen Conroy is our illustrious minister for censorship!

       

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    You wanna know what's funny?
    In the US the mass media wants to silence WikiLeaks, here in NL they are fighting over the scoops that can be got from the files.

    Two of the major news outlets, one funded by taxpayers (NOS) and one commercial (RTL), are fighting to be the first to release the material.

    Apparently, the NOS contacted WikiLeaks and asked for access to the files, while RTL worked together with a few other news agencies and got them through a foreign partner (Aftenposten).

    And those files are related to the previous Afghan mission the Dutch forces had.

    Can't the US media see the giant treasure chest of utter scoops that's being thrown in their laps? Oh wait, no it's not about the message anymore there. There is no substance only controversy in US mass media. Saying bad stuff about the gubberment and standing up against them is treason.

     

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 3:12pm

      Re:

      I know this article is about the Australian politicians. And I know that the Dutch government isn't happy with these releases, because they were contemplating a new mission to Afghanistan. But they also know that by trying to cover this up, they just make things worse.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 6:26pm

      Re:

      Can't the US media see the giant treasure chest of utter scoops that's being thrown in their laps?

      Much of the US media have become government lap dogs. It's called corporatism.

       

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 4:20pm

    "The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange.''

    And yet it leaks...

     

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    abc gum, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

    Interesting ... ignorance is a vampire
    it can not see itself in a mirror

     

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    Paul (profile), Jan 17th, 2011 @ 9:04pm

    Maybe more Appropriate than it first seems...

    "The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange.''

    The quote is exactly right, but in ways perhaps this Australian Parliament Member did not intend.

    Heliocentrism was accepted by the Church as soon as it was *actually proven* 100 years later. Heliocentrism did not threaten the Church, but the fact that Galileo could only provide circumstantial evidence was used to club Galileo.

    If Galileo wasn't punished for heliocentrism, what was his transgression? Galileo was punished for insulting the Pope, which he did in his book, which remained banned for that reason.

    Let's be clear: Galileo was NOT held guilty for his study of the nature of our universe, but punished for insulting the politically powerful.

    Likewise, Julian Assange's transgression is NOT publishing leaks, and providing a means by which whistle blowers can uncover dark secrets. His transgression is uncovering dark secrets of the politically powerful U.S. Government.

    A veneer of science was tacked to Galileo's punishment, which embarrasses the Church today. A veneer of legalities may well be tacked to some punishment of Julian Assange for publishing these leaks from the U.S. Government.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2011 @ 10:44pm

      Re: Maybe more Appropriate than it first seems...

      Heliocentrism did not threaten the Church, but the fact that Galileo could only provide circumstantial evidence was used to club Galileo.

      It very much did threaten the church as it went against the doctrine of papal infallibility.

      If Galileo wasn't punished for heliocentrism, what was his transgression? Galileo was punished for insulting the Pope, which he did in his book, which remained banned for that reason.

      The Pope was insulted because he said that the Sun circled the Earth and Galileo dared to say otherwise in his book. Galileo himself was actually a devout Catholic and was thus especially hurt by the church's unfair treatment of him.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
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    mike allen (profile), Jan 18th, 2011 @ 1:21am

    Freedom scaers people espcially those who themselve dont have freedom or want freedom and they try to sut it down wikileaks refuses to be shut down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Jan 18th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    Wishing well

    Care full for what you wish for.

    If you missed it its more open government. I think the trickle from the faucet of control is finnally busted and quite literaly drowning us. The intended effect is to drown us out and yet... it seems were actually looking at the plumbing. The starting effect from the internment camps of Jap-Ameri's to TSA.

    And now they just don't care anymore about what they say because apparently there's water in our ears. Explains why Obamavision exist.. what is it now? 30 times as much air time as any other president?

    Anybody have any more articles that have the theme of getting what we wished for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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