Admire him or revile him, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is the prophet of a coming age of involuntary transparency, the leader of an organization devoted to divulging the world’s secrets using technology unimagined a generation ago.
Over the last year his information insurgency has dumped 76,000 secret Afghan war documents and another trove of 392,000 files from the Iraq war into the public domain–the largest classified military security breaches in history.
Sunday, WikiLeaks made the first of 250,000 classified U.S. State Department cables public, offering an unprecedented view of how America’s top diplomats view enemies and friends alike…
It was set to be an illuminating online conversation with one of the world’s most controversial figures.
But Al Jazeera’s livestreamed talk with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was cut short on YouTube Thursday, inexplicably the victim of a copyright claim by NBC Universal.
Visitors who tried to watch the talk, hosted by Al Jazeera’s The Stream, were greeted with the message “This video contains content from NBC Universal, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”
It’s unclear what, exactly, that’s supposed to mean, as NBC Universal and Al Jazeera are separate companies. The Stream tweeted to the Daily Dot that it “was an automatic block by YouTube which we’re disputing.” NBC Universal didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy” for his release of hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. But she convicted him of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act, stealing government property and other charges that could result in a maximum sentence of 136 years.
The NSA official in charge of assessing the alleged damage caused by Snowden’s leaks, Richard Ledgett, told CBS News an amnesty still remains controversial within the agency, which has spent the past six months defending itself against a global outcry and legislative and executive proposals to restrain its broad surveillance activities.
Guatemalan Maya natives kneel in front of a temple at the Tikal archaeological site on December 20, 2012. The exquisite site of Mayan ruins began hosting winter solstice ceremonies on Thursday as the region’s indigenous people marked the end of an era.
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012 .
This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none has been accepted by mainstream scholarship.
A New Age interpretation of this transition is that the date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 21 December 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.
Others suggest that the date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, or Earth’s collision with a planet called Nibiru.
Scholars from various disciplines have dismissed the idea of such cataclysmic events occurring in 2012. Professional Mayanist scholars state that predictions of impending doom are not found in any of the extant classic Maya accounts, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in 2012 misrepresents Maya history and culture, While astronomers have rejected the various proposed doomsday scenarios as pseudoscience,stating that they conflict with simple astronomical observations.