Freesteel Blog » 2007 » October

Friday, October 26th, 2007 at 5:04 pm - - Kayak Dive, Weekends 1 Comment »

A quick logging of another weekend (13 October) before it gets lost down the memory hole. Becka and I drove up to Brighouse Bay on the north coast of the Solway Firth to try a little bit of kayak diving after it had been sold so well by an episode of Simon Willis’s kayak podcast.

I’d say it was a little bit over-sold, but we got there and ticked it off. I made one dive along the cliffs to the west of Brighouse Bay where the sea charts advertized a deep (15m) area. It was actually rocky, not sandy, like the rocks of the cliffs above water (at a depth of 9m at high tide) with many prawns in the crevices. But the visibility was — as anticipated — atrocious. A Geordie who was with a group of jet-skiers in the bay when we came back in said the visibility can be great, but wouldn’t be because of the westerly winds blowing in all week. He didn’t say any more. Becka tried to have a dive, but I’d accidentally put a big hole in her suit the night before as I was trying to saw off and replace her leaking inlet valve (Northern Diver seem to apply glue to the threads) which I didn’t notice until she got into the water and bubbles came out of her chest.

That evening we locked a bike up in Gatehouse of Fleet, and the next morning paddled out opposite Ardwall Island, round and landed on Murray’s Isles (picture), and then in up the water of the fleet with the flooding tide.

Becka thought this was all pretty lazy, but we stopped on a couple of beaches along the way to see a pillar and a chapel before carrying on in up the canal.

The canal was swampy with lots of swamp gas bubbling up everywhere as we did a nice river amble. Not once did we see another canoe, rowing boat, or sailing boat at any time, which I found surprising. I fell asleep in the park as she cycled back to fetch the car. We ate a huge dinner at her parent’s house in Lancaster both on Friday on the drive up, and on Sunday on the drive down.

Friday, October 26th, 2007 at 4:28 pm - - Cave 1 Comment »

Just logging a lost (7 October) weekend jaunt down a hole in the vicinity of World’s End. We’re calling this Stewart’s Shaft until some one spells for us the proper Welsh name. It took the afternoon to survey all 150m of it. The evidence is on this page here:

It’s been drawn up in Tunnel, but I don’t currently have the copy of it. It’ll be posted eventually, hopefully on its own Wikipedia Cave page.

Sunday, October 21st, 2007 at 1:13 pm - - UN, Whipping 1 Comment »

It has been brought to my attention that there is a Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill going through the New Zealand Parliament.

As usual, there are a few suspicious police raids which are too unsubtly timed to match with the legislative process to work as intended. It’s a lie only if people believe you. And as no one believes it, there are lots of good protests going on.

What of the Bill itself? Well, it’s 90 pages of PDF from which nothing particular emerges except a mishmash of the provisions found in Terrorism Acts of the UK, and some stuff about a new offense of a terrorism using nuclear material.

That’s interesting. The UK Act was more fun because they decided that all the nuclear treaties were not enough, because in 2001 a law was passed which said:

A person who–

    (a) knowingly causes a nuclear weapon explosion;
    (b) develops or produces, or participates in the development or production of, a nuclear weapon;
    (c) has a nuclear weapon in his possession;
    (d) participates in the transfer of a nuclear weapon; or
    (e) engages in military preparations, or in preparations of a military nature, intending to use, or threaten to use, a nuclear weapon,

is guilty of an offence.

Well, I wish. There’s a tonne of exceptions added in later clauses to make it okay for Government agents to do all these sorts of things themselves, unfortunately. I don’t have the time to go on about that, but I take issue with this vote in particular.

Drafting nuclear materials laws is a tricky business because you have to make sure that inevitable accidents due to recklessness cannot be brought to book, whilst peaceful protesters who are attempting to shed light onto that recklessness of even having this material at all, can be prosecuted for getting in the way.

But I haven’t got time to read it.

I did have time to look at the First Reading debate of the Terrorism Bill which took place last March. This was interesting because they made frequent invocations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267, about which I am the world wikipedia expert. That all started off because of an action based on that resolution which took place on the streets of Liverpool, as reported in my blog post, which after some curious investigations (I don’t just wait like a vegetable for newspapers to feed me their selection of stories; I follow what’s interesting) has led to the development of the webpage:

New Zealanders should go read up about that Security Council resolution, seeing as it seems to be the foundation on which their Terrorism Act is being built. The UK did not pass a special Act of Parliament to implement it themselves, choosing instead to rely on the authority of their United Nations Act 1946. Ironically, that Act was passed by a generation of politicians who had just been through a World War, and who gave us the fundamentally unambiguous document of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Read it. It’s quite clear and relevant to this.) What they didn’t realize was that a generation of politicians would emerge 50 years later who were so mendacious that they willing to get out of the basic Human Rights obligations (eg right to Habeas Corpus) by simply declaring against evidence from all five senses that there was, within the shores of Great Britain, a “public emergency threatening the life of the nation” from 13 November 2001 on till 8 April 2005 after Lord Hoffman had observed:

The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.

Essentially, the people who wrote these derogations about suspending due process in in time of an emergency were thinking about World War 2 and bombs raining down from the sky when people might not have the time to go through with convening courts and gathering evidence, and so forth during the heat of the crisis. They didn’t expect Governments to be this lazy and for citizens to be this politically stupified that they could get away with banging innocent people up incommunicado for years on no evidence to show that there was a War on Terror without even so much as needing to go to the effort of staging a show trial in a kangaroo court. It’s that bad.

The UN resolution 1267 operates in the following way. Any government has the right to fax the name of anyone they like to the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee of the Security Council where they will kindly insert the name onto their list.

Well, not just anyone. If you’re dark and Muslim you get onto it straightaway because the stupid white men running the Security Council find it easy to accept a claim that you could be Taliban or Al-Qaida if you are of the right colour. If you don’t look the type, they might require some evidence.

This list gets incorporated into the terrorism sanction lists of the member states where they have laws — like that Terrorism Act in New Zealand — to impose economic sanctions onto the victims.

Now, they think that these economic sanctions are quite a clever device, because to a really stupid nitpicking lawyer it appears not to violate any Human Rights. You see, an offense is created for people other than the targeted person. The target is perfectly in his rights to do anything he could do before, such as go into the bank and ask to withdraw some cash from his bank account. But it would be illegal for the bank teller to give him the money. Got it? So the victim’s rights are not infringed, only the bank’s rights are limited. And since the bank can still hand out money to anyone else whom they choose in the world, their rights are much reduced.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And, of course, after some years it finally got tested in the court which kindly “recognized that freezing of funds constitutes a particularly drastic measure, but adds that that measure does not prevent the individuals concerned from leading a satisfactory personal, family and social life, given the circumstances.”

The circumstances in one of these cases was that the undeniably innocent wife of a terrorist suspect who was in jail at the time was not allowed to withdraw more than ten pounds at a time and was “barred paying for a taxi or bus or for paying for their children to go swimming or to the cinema.”

It’s important to get right down to the specific instances, because otherwise people have the propensity to believe that the Government can be trusted to act reasonably when they are given power without any oversight. These stories matter. If an MP in the Parliament is able to deplore the failure of the New Zealand Government for not doing their bit against terrorism because they don’t designate enough people as terrorists, then it’s not good enough. In the MP’s speech he also named Ahmed Zaoui, possibly with the idea that this was the sort of person who ought to be on the list, for example.

I had a little look on the old wikipedia article about this dude, and a throwaway comment in the discussion page helped me rescue from the memory hole this 2004 article:

Prime Minister Helen Clark admitted yesterday that she could not back up a statement issued by her office, linking asylum seeker Ahmed Zaoui’s former political party with al Qaeda.

The statement was issued over a week ago and its accuracy subsequently challenged by a member of Mr Zaoui’s former party, the FIS (Islamic Front for Salvation).

The statement listed individuals and organisations designated as terrorist entities, following a United Nations Security Council decision to list them.

The designation denies any of those listed entrance to New Zealand.

The UN website which lists terrorist entities does not mention FIS.

Professor George Joffe, a specialist in North African affairs from Cambridge University, said any claim the FIS was linked to al Qaeda was “laughable.”

“There is no evidence that al Qaeda was operating at the time when the FIS existed. In fact, they didn’t exist .

“Secondly, there is no evidence the FIS as a movement espoused or endorsed any of the values that were subsequently associated with al Qaeda.” It was a “quite unnecessary smear.”

“I can’t imagine any Government would willingly inflict upon itself the kind of media damage it seems to be going through.”

It’s the same-old same-old, over and over again! Wherever you look! Had the Government been a little more competent they would have organized for Belgium, Algeria, or even Australia to have forwarded Zaoui’s name along with some fabricated “secret” evidence to the 1267 Committee and got him put onto the list. Then they could have used the power of the Security Council to deport him without being responsible for any justification.

Any Kiwis who want to get involved in doing some wikipedia reported research on the Resolution 1373 which is also part of this mess, please do, because I haven’t got time. I’ll give you all the help I can through the website, which doesn’t have enough users at the moment and needs some activist feedback. The stories have got to get out everywhere. I am tired of these nuts in Government lying and lying and lying because they know how to abuse human nature which makes us instinctively believe authority.

Saturday, October 20th, 2007 at 11:12 pm - - UN, Whipping

Mr. Miliband, the Foreign Secretary of United Kingdom, gave his speech in the UN General Assembly on 2007-09-27. The interesting paragraph is:

Beyond those crises, we also need to improve our capacity to prevent the emergence of conflict. That is our vision of the responsibility to protect. A critical dimension is controlling the spread of weapons whose easy availability makes it so simple to set up militias and provoke violence and mayhem. Last year, the Assembly voted overwhelmingly to take forward United Nations work towards an arms trade treaty (see resolution 61/89). The Government of the United Kingdom will continue to press for the achievement of that goal.

With the power of undemocracy, I look up the votes taken on this resolution, which were:

Operative paragraph 2

Also requests the Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts, on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, informed by the report of the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly at its sixty-second session, to examine, commencing in 2008, the feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms, and to transmit the report of the group of experts to the Assembly for consideration at its sixty-third session;


Operative paragraph 3

Further requests the Secretary-General to provide the group of governmental experts with any assistance and services that may be required for the discharge of its tasks;

and the resolution as a whole.

The votes were 148 votes to 1, with 22 abstentions; 147 votes to 1, with 21 abstentions; and 153 votes to 1, with 24 abstentions, respectively.

The one country to vote against all three? The leader of the free world, the United States, the only country with the balls to tell the world that it does not believe there is any need to establish “common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms”. Thank you. The United Kingdom also does not believe there should be any common international standards for weapons transfer either, particularly when it applies to BAe who paid illegal bribes to the Saudi officials for years. Due to the non-separation of powers in the design of the British State, an investigation into this corruption was able to be canceled in broad daylight at the highest level.

Anyway, this is just a normal trivial issue of hypocrisy which the foreign minister unwittingly brought up in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly when he was talking about the good things his Government has being doing there. What about resolution 61/88, the one that was voted through overwhelmingly minutes before his favoured resolution 61/89. Guess what it says.

Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia

The General Assembly,

1. Welcomes the signing of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, on 8 September 2006;

2. Notes the readiness of the Central Asian countries to continue consultations with the nuclear-weapon States on a number of provisions of the Treaty;

3. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-third session the item entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia”.

The vote was 141 votes to 3, with 37 abstentions. Among those in favour of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia were Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The three nations against a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia were United States, France, and United Kingdom.

Having just done all the research writing the wikipedia article on the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, the objections by these Nuclear Powers boiled down to the fact that it might stop them flying their f*cking nuclear weapons through this region. Someone missed the clue in the title. “Veggie-burgers — warning: contains beef.”

Also, Iran might have been able to join in as part of the nuclear weapons free zone, but that clause got deleted by United States request. The last thing we want ever to happen is for Iran to be in a nuclear weapons free zone, isn’t it? Otherwise how will we manufacture an excuse to go to war with them?

These international diplomats, they really do think ahead about what they want to achieve. They plan their military massacres years in advance, and make sure that nothing comes by to obstruct it.

Thanks, UK Government, for your help in spreading nuclear weapons throughout the world. And thanks to rest of Europe for voting against Resolution 61/85 which:

Calls for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in this context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons; and
Calls upon Member States to take the necessary measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects and to promote nuclear disarmament, with the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons;

What is their game, I ask you? I better stop looking before I find any more of this filth. None of this ever shows up in the newspapers. Totally worthless journalists. Get back to your Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq stories. The puppet master’s strings are all over the place I don’t know how you avoid tripping over them.

Hello! Is anybody listening?

Friday, October 19th, 2007 at 10:20 pm - - Whipping

Well, the speeding up was too aggressive and it was dropping too many points. This is from a pencil overthickness that went bad and was marked as “critical”.

I did that panel discussion today at the open source in education event. I didn’t completely suck and was — bizarrely — not nervous at all in spite of the fact that these were high powered people (CEOs, businessmen, MP). I’d been pulled over at lunch to be given a set of complex questions which needed boiling down, and had the interesting ones I’d thought of completely rejected.

Questions like: why has the number of pupils learning how to program (eg computer science A-Level) been declining at a time when there is massive IT going onto schools? In my generation we spent a lot of time writing computer games which we then tried to sell. No student these days is trying to write educational software, in spite of tonnes of money (wasted) in it, and the applications being considerably more trivial.

The issue is that closed source computers discourage programming by users. Having some chance of a few good programmers coming out of the education system, given all this kit, is one reason open source is justified.

The Becta guy (Stephen Lucey) surprised me by stating categorically that Becta do not recommend or accredit software.

They are called the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency and after further research it would seem that they recommend and accredit companies. The products are not really the issue to them.

My question which I got in was: “Given that closed source companies have more money (they can keep a cash cows in the way that open source companies can’t) which they can spend on marketing — is marketing more important to success than the quality of the software?”

The answer is then yes, because Becta don’t assess or recommend software, so the schools have to make their decision based on the salesmen pressure. There is no organization equivalent to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to guide them. Becta merely ensures that the companies on its list are financially secure — which means on their terms they are (a) big, and (b) good at extracting money from customers without giving a lot back.

With open source the criteria is completely irrelevant because the software doesn’t belong to the suppliers. When you have many suppliers of the same product it doesn’t matter if one of them goes bust. On the other hand, since a closed source company is the only supplier of its products, they have the power to threaten you with withdrawal of its products if you don’t keep feeding them cash. In other words, bankruptcy is not the only threat to the availability of a software product. There’s also greed.

We had the guy from Moodle there giving an outline of his business model, of one tiny company in western Australia simply coordinating all the users and contributors to the codebase and not having many employees of its own. This brought to mind what the Chairman of Becta’s vision to cleanse the industry of the hopelessly fragmented open source supply when he explained :

There are tens of thousands of little, real little garage operations, producing software and bits of kit, and very very few, in fact no big firms, only about half a dozen mid-size firms, responding in the UK industry and generally around the world.

Now, part of that is in response to the very disparate buying power largely in the hands of individuals in schools who spend small amounts of money, who are almost hobbyists, in the way that they have enthusiasm and a passion about. Typically they would be people who have a real passion about Open Source — as if open source is any different from any other software — it’s just the pricing structure is different, that’s all. But they have a passion. It’s a religion, it’s a real belief, and again they have a belief about bits of technology that are going to change things. What they don’t do, however, is organize things properly…

How do we organize education to be much more effective, much more efficient, to use the investment that it’s got, to change the way it does things, to become more disciplined about the way it organizes itself, in some respects, to subsume the individual professionalism into the greater good of a larger institutional professionalism, to produce better organizations, rather than vying to be just individually better teachers…

Teachers like being stars, they like being in front of the classroom, they like relating to the kids, they have a passionate belief in it. But they are not necessarily are people who are going to organize everybody else around them to produce a production line with the outputs that everyone agrees on.

I recognize that the response to his critique comes from the following observation:

You do not need to own/control/employ people in order to organize them.

In fact people like to be organized if it helps them achieve their goals. However, if an organizer is doing it only to suit the profit motive for himself and not any shared long-term aims, he should not be surprised if he receives less than whole-hearted cooperation.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007 at 2:34 pm - - UN, Whipping 1 Comment »

More childish goings on in the General Assembly according to the latest download:

The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Branko Crvenkovski, President of the Republic of Macedonia, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

I first give the floor to the representative of Greece on a point of order.

Mr. Mourikis (Greece): With regard to your reference to the country of origin of the next speaker, I would like to point out the following.

The Security Council, by its resolution 817 (1993), has recommended, and the General Assembly, by its resolution 47/225 of 8 April 1993, has decided that that country will be provisionally referred to, for all purposes within the United Nations, as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, pending settlement of the difference that has arisen over the name of this State. Furthermore, the Security Council, by its resolution 845 (1993) urged “the parties to continue their efforts under the auspices of the Secretary-General to arrive at a speedy settlement of the remaining issues” (para. 2).

I would therefore request that the proper name, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, be used for all purposes within the United Nations, pursuant to the aforementioned resolutions and in view of the fact that there are ongoing negotiations between the two countries.

The President: I am fully aware of the fact pointed out in the statement by the representative of Greece. At the same time, as President of the General Assembly, I am required to show full respect for the dignity of every single State Member of the United Nations, including my own.

I now give the floor to President Branko Crvenkovski.

What is it about Governments and territory and the names of things? Why do they have to care so much?

Meanwhile, President Bush managed to get through his speech on the same day without declaring war on anybody. Here’s how he referred to the regions of the world where his military forces are most actively slaughtering or planning to slaughter people.

Bush: … Brave citizens in Lebanon and Afghanistan and Iraq have made the choice for democracy. Yet, the extremists have responded by targeting them for murder. This is not a show of strength; it is evidence of fear; and the extremists are doing everything within their power to bring down these young democracies. The people of Lebanon and Afghanistan and Iraq have asked for our help, and every civilized nation has a responsibility to stand with them. Every civilized nation also has a responsibility to stand up for the people suffering under dictatorship. In Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Iran, brutal regimes deny their people the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration.

Astoundingly, he did not mention 9/11 once. Could the era of referring every action back to this finally be at a close?

Thursday, October 11th, 2007 at 11:06 am - - UN, Whipping

At last, about a month after the session opened, the documentary record has appeared.

Three files got downloaded today. I had to make 4 edits to make them parse (missing paragraphs, misplaced bold tags, and bad indentation) and now they’re on-line.

Until now I only had Security Council meetings to keep me interested, and often found a relevant wikipedia article to link to it from. For example, their most recent meeting was convened for five minutes solely to condemn the attack on the Polish ambassador-general to Iraq, Edward Pietrzyk, though without mentioning him by name.

At some point I would like to see a review about what are the sorts of events that trigger a Security Council meeting. It seems to me that attacks on military members of the occupying powers by the resistance are entirely predictable and going to happen whenever possible by people who will see an explicit condemnation of their opportunistic attack by the Security Council as evidence of success.

On the other hand, throughout the two months that the city of Fallujah was used as a free-fire zone from November to December 2004 (Operation Phantom Fury) in celebration of President Bush’s re-election, 35 meetings of the Security Council took place. No meetings were held on the subject, however the ambassador of the US-appointed Iraqi government described the events in week 5 in terms of a vindication during a routine meeting entitled “The situation between Iraq and Kuwait Report”, and the following day the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator made one mention of the quarter of a million inhabitants displaced by the military action during a thematic meeting entitled: “Protection of civilians in armed conflict”.

The next cursory mention of this demolished city where they deployed napalm and lied about it appears the following April during another quarterly meeting for a “Situation between Iraq and Kuwait” report.

Anyway, that’s the Security Council, which is about as rotten an international body as any created. If you can’t legitimize a war within even its low standards, then it must be an extremely bad idea. After all, it has fully legitimized the occupation, which is already a complete disgrace.

Back to 2007, over in the General Assembly, meanwhile, they had a short interlude on 21 September from their usual wrangling about whether Taiwan could be admitted to the United Nations, by the President saying:

It is now noon. I would like to ask members join others around the world in observing a minute of silence in commemoration of the International Day of Peace.

The members of the General Assembly observed a minute of silence.

The pointless and thoroughly petty Taiwan issue occupied the entire afternoon’s meeting as well.

It’s good to see the world is run by grown-ups.

Monday, October 8th, 2007 at 11:06 pm - - Cory Doctorow, Whipping 2 Comments »

Since he left the Electronic Frontier Foundation at the end of 2005, Cory Doctorow has experienced a meteoric rise. Paid-for air-travel to speaking engagements clocks out at at least 200,000 miles a year, and everyone seems to love what he has to say, from his routine speech at Duke University in North Carolina entitled “From Myspace to Homeland Security: Privacy and the Totalitarian Urge”, to the reading of his Guardian newspaper op-ed piece for Canadian radio called Copy killers.

This latter reading was done over the internet from his hotel room in Japan shortly before he went into China, the week after the cyber-dissident and Chinese blogger He Weihua was confined in a psychiatric hospital against his will for the second time in three years. His case was picked up by Reporters Without Borders.

I found out about it by listening to the interview with Watson Meng, founder of, which was broadcast in the same program as Cory’s Canadian radio piece. Since 2000 Boxun has been hosted from North Carolina, safely out of reach of the totalitarian urge of the Chinese Government.

It’s possible that Cory didn’t know about Boxun when he gave his “Totalitarian Urge” speech at Duke University, where he could have used his time to call on his audience to become more active in supporting this important service which has broken many of the stories of uprisings that the Chinese Government doesn’t want you to hear about. But then, he only happened to be the Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy at California University, and might not have had the time to find out about it. All I was doing was listening to all his podcasts for a research project about hypermobility.

While Boxun may be obscure, the situation for bloggers in China is common knowledge, so not knowing about what has just happened as you enter that country counts as willful ignorance. Maybe you don’t want to be bothered with it when you are being honoured by an invitation to the very exclusive Young Global Leaders conference where you will meet — if the World Economic Forum has chosen well — the people who will in the coming decades have their fingers on the nuclear trigger while their other hand grasps the financial levers that ensure this planet’s continued course towards environmental devastation. All the brightest CEOs and Royal Highnesses were there, and not a word was said that could have spoiled the party. The elite, as usual, smiled graciously and told itself that everything it was intending to do was all all right.

In my book a real internet activist with a celebrity status of the kind that means you are not going to get arrested or physically mistreated would have known about Weihua’s case, or at least one of the other 52 Chinese bloggers now in custody. A real internet activist would have made a fuss and arranged to visit the abandoned wife now fighting for her husband’s release. A real activist would have hired a psychiatry professor and barged into the hospital to get an independent examination of the victim. Such an activist would have made enough noise to ensure that the Chinese authorities understood that this problem was not going to go away.

I am not a public relations expert, but I believe that, had Cory done any of these things, it’s very likely he would never again get invited to a Young Global Leaders conference, but Weihua would be walking free and the cause of free speech in China would have been pushed forwards significantly. These interventions work. There are experts at Amnesty International who could have advised Cory about it while he was contributing to their special “struggle for freedom of expression in cyberspace” conference this summer.

But he didn’t do anything. It probably never occurred to him to do anything. Crossing that line between being an over-hyped, repetitive and in-demand motor-mouth, and actually doing something — or even encouraging other people to do things — does get in the way of your career. Going along month after month, touting yourself as a corporate adviser ready to teach business leaders how to make money and stay on top of the game in this changing world is what life is about. It’s not cool to actually contribute to those changes yourself, is it?

Thanks, Cory, for wasting our time and our most precious resource of public attention. Things in this world could be so much better if you were not the contented man you are.

Update: Searching BoingBoing reveals that He Weihua’s case was posted on BoingBoing by Xeni Jardin, one of the six contributors to that super-blog, on the same day that the news was released by Reporters without Borders. No further news has been produced. However, another Chinese blogger, Hu Jia, who has spoken against the Olympics organizers, was picked up on 28 December.

Additionally, a 2005 press release from Reporters without Borders explains how its secretary general was prevented from attending the “World Summit on the Information Society” in Tunisia. A day later:

Members of the organisation stuck a 2×3-metre poster on the floor of the exhibition pavilion among stands set up the countries taking part in the summit. It illustrated the 15 ‘enemies of the Internet’ – the countries that trample on free expression on the Net.

In these “black holes on the web”, sites are censored, draconian filtering systems set up and cyberdissidents and Internet-users harassed and imprisoned.

A real internet activist cannot functionally be welcome in all parts of the world.