Ukraine & Assange Updates

First of all, according to the British press the Ukrainian airfield march was not a propaganda move but simply a case of a Ukrainian air force colonel who’d undergone a secret medical experiment giving him Adamantium balls.

Anyway it’s still unclear how much popular support there really is in Crimea for the Russian occupation — the propaganda is pretty thick on the ground, but there is clearly a sizeable pro-Russia population in southeastern Ukraine and particularly Crimea. Oddly enough the women in Crimea seem to be much more against the Russians than the men, as there’ve been several all-female anti-war protests there.

(Yes, one even involved boobies, FEMEN being a Ukrainian invention. Invented by a Ukrainian dude who wanted to get laid, oddly enough. I’m still waiting for the social science paper, ‘Effects of nipples on spectators to political action’)

There have been unconfirmed reports of either Russian or “not Russian” troops starting to move outside Crimea and occupy more parts of southeastern Ukraine. If so, this sucks as it would seem to confirm my “then you can DIE, Meester Bond” theory. On the other hand nothing unites a country like being attacked (c.f Goering, 9/11) and it’s amusing that whereas people used to bribe their way to AVOID army service there are reports of people bribing their way INTO the army now. Ah, post-Soviet corruption.

Still the pea under the mattress for Ukraine’s new government is the business of sacking Yanukovych, which appears not to have quite been done in accordance with the constitution. Since democracy means the people pick the government the easiest solution may be the soon-to-be presidential elections. On this subject I was amused to read a Putin quote condemming this new form of government where “the crowd picks the leaders.”

It’s called democracy, dude. You know, the form of government Russia’s ostensibly had for the last 30 years? I’m reminded of a quote from a Russia Today commentator:

“[after the American occupation and ‘freedom! liberty! democracy!’ indoctrination] Germans took all of the human rights talk seriously, apparently not having received the memo on how to use it merely for political spin.”[1]

Well, here’s to the Ukrainians hopefully maybe missing the memo too.

Anyway, speaking of controversy, Assange’s current publisher, Colin Robinson, has written in to defend the guy, calling the editorial process on Assange’s latest book ‘smooth and consensual’ and characterized by ‘attention to detail’ and ‘diplomatic flexibility’.[2]

Robinson suggests the about face can be attributed to the — admittedly tremendous — degree of pressure Assange was under during the period Andrew O’Hagan observed the man’s less likeable side. No doubt this is part of the explanation, but there are two other things to keep in mind:

1) Assange is a sharp guy, no doubt he learned from the first time around. It’s called being human, you fuck up, learn from it, give it another go.

2) Where the first publisher was a print-on-paper bricks-and-mortar operation, Assange’s new publisher (OR Books) for which Robinson works is a shop which has fully drunk the digital kool-aid. Rather than dealing with bookstores they don’t print a book until you buy it. Almost all their business is transacted over the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network we now know as the ‘series of tubes.’

I remain convinced that computers alter your brain if you use them enough (not necessarily for the better) and no doubt the new publishing house inherently resonates at a much closer frequency to that of a man whom the head of the German CCC once described (roughly) as the sort of person who’s fine in any situation as long has he has an Internet connection.

Psychoanalysis aside — can anyone send me a profile on Assange’s mother? just kidding, sheesh — Robinson starts off the piece with another interesting observation. Specifically, how if you mention Assange at a party, some friendly young man will tend to describe the white-haired Aussie in terms of contempt.

I wonder if someone’s worked out a way to manipulate the ‘hipster collective consciousness,’ or have I just had my head in the sand while the mainstream media railed on about Assange’s awfulness?

Or maybe there’s a world-girdling network of young partygoers under the pay of the Transnational Spy Agency Alliance(tm)…

Probably the latter. How else would they distract people from the windows when Elvis Presley’s UFO whizzes by?



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