Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Julian Assange’s Revenge

Diversionary tactics are big in the intelligence community. Have the ‘mark’ look the other way while you pick his pockets. And while the international and diplomatic community cry foul over the latest WikiLeaks abomination, the rest of us should be breaking down the doors of governments asking how such ‘sensitive’ data was able to be let loose in the first place. You can bet plenty of bureaucrats are currently playing ‘Duck and Cover’. Isn’t the job of these people to keep secrets ‘secret’?

I can only guess that should be Rule 1 of the CIA, MI6, ASIO, MOSSAD and others’ Guide to Being a Good Spy. We might not like secrets being kept by our governments, it adds to our paranoia. But we can at least expect them to keep them secret, if that’s their department’s job. In an age of such deplorable terrorism, if a website represented by a ‘rogue’ Australian ex-pat can get their hands on this stuff, what hope can we have of our own real security? I guess the answer is “we can’t”. Time to give-up?

I wonder how much of this hoo-ha we would hear if WikiLeaks was a recognised news agency? I’m reminded of the impartial reporting philosophy of Al Jazeera when they first launched. Real news was presented (and still is) irrespective of the perspective. That philosophy subsequently raised the ire of western governments.

I don’t condone all the actions taken by WikiLeaks. Any type of ‘reporting’ requires discretion. But what is it that gives Julian Assange such bravado in the face of threats from so many governments? No doubt he is well advised legally, but given the man’s history, especially his early childhood, light is shed on his perspective of the world. At the age of 9, unfortunate circumstances found him indoctrinated into a cult in southern Australia, which was eventually uncovered to be undertaking the most horrendous treatment and torture of child members. Some survivors have committed suicide as adults. After an acrimonious split with his step-father, his mother, he and step-brother found themselves ‘one the run’ from the cult for many years. And here’s where Assange’s motivation may lay for ‘sticking-it’ to authority. Why would you be intimated by threats from governments, when those same authorities failed to protect you as a child?

Not convinced? Take a look at the Australian 60 Minutes report on the cult here: http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/stories/870619/the-family

And to learn more about how Julian Assange ticks, take a look at this frank and revealing interview from July this year, found here:   

My profile of Julian Assange as broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 can be heard here:

Copyright RTÉ Radio Ireland 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tennis Frenzy

Here's a bit of fun: Some of the greatest names in tennis history will take centre court in Australia when the ATP Champions Tour hits Sydney for the first time this month, for the inaugural Champions Downunder event.

With a combined total of 18 grand slam titles between them, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Goran Ivanisevic, and Australia's own two Pat's, Rafter and Cash, are all making an appearance. Held at Sydney Olympic Park from November 11-14, the tournament will feature classic rematches of former Grand Slam tussles, in a party-like atmosphere never before seen at tennis in Australia.

What makes this competition different? To be eligible to compete on the ATP Champions Tour, players must have been either a World No. 1 during their competitive playing careers, a Grand Slam singles finalist, or a singles player in a victorious Davis Cup team; and they should have retired from the ATP circuit. The event can also invite two players of its choice to take wild cards.

The round robin tournament splits players into two groups over the first three days, with a finals day on Sunday featuring all eight players in action, with the winner of each group playing for the Champions Downunder - Sydney title. Players will be vying for vital points to be crowned year end champion at London’s Royal Albert Hall in December.

The event is taking place at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, home to the Medibank International each year, and this Champions Downunder event will pre-empt Australia's Summer of Tennis, culminating in the Australian Open in Melbourne.

For tickets, head to Ticketek. Weekend matches will be covered by Foxsports in Australia.

I'll be at the Champions Downunder event, making venue announcements and doing some MC work as well.

See you there.