Burmese military junta shows how internet censorship is done
Friday September 28th 2007, 11:03 pm

While no one was shot here in Sydney, peaceful protest suppression at APEC by paramilitary police forces wasn’t far from that in Burma.

Bill Leak for The Australian

Hey, Julian– wanna pull off a real raw comedy stunt? Off to Rangoon with youse mob. Dress up as the Dalai Lama again and run the security lines…

Helen Coonan should look to Burma to see exactly how to effectively handle censoring the internet. No lies, every .mm website times out.

A little network sleuthing, looking at http://www.myanmar.gov.mm/, reveals that the DNS system knows that site should be at IP… but when you ping that IP, it does not respond. This indicates that the junta have actually cut the damn cables- or, more likely, turned off the telephony/data terminal equipment.

Scary. A news and communications blackout is the first thing you need to do in this modern world before you commit a few crimes against humanity.

What can you do when the govt shuts off the ‘net? Hope you didn’t throw out that old fax machine


From the ‘not clear on the concept’ department- it’s Helen Coonan
Monday September 24th 2007, 7:08 pm

you mean we CAN'T censor the intarwebs?

Coonan seeks to censor the Web

Karen Dearne
September 20, 2007

THE Federal Police commissioner will have the power to block and ban websites believed to be crime or terrorism related under an internet censorship amendment bill introduced into Parliament today.

The bombshell web ban bill was tabled in the Senate at 9:58am, without prior notice.

Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan proposes to expand the “black list” of internet addresses (URLs) currently maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to include terrorism and cyber-crime sites.

At present, ACMA has the power to act against websites containing pornography or offensive content.

Under the proposed amendment, Federal Police will inform ACMA of websites to be blocked, and the agency must then notify the relevant internet service providers. ISPs will be required to “take reasonable steps” to prevent users accessing the website or content.

Senator Coonan is obviously clueless about the intarwebs.

One teck-nee-cal term Coonan needs to become familiar with in a great big hurry is ‘proxy server.’ Anywhere there is a computer connected to the web, there can be a proxy server relaying traffic- and proxies can be set up literally on a moment’s notice.

I run a proxy for my own use on machinegunkeyboard.com, which is itself operated on server hardware located in the USA. There’s some US website operators who limit access from non-US browsers, so I just relay through my US-based proxy and get in at will. No sweat. My browser is only connecting to my proxy server, no matter what website I’m viewing via that server. Coonan has to ban my proxy server (which would also prevent .au users from accessing any website on machinegunkeyboard.com, inclusive of this blog and Suki Has An Opinion) to keep me from viewing her list of objectionable sites. If Coonan does ban my proxy, I’ll email my host and have my server’s IP changed. Ban beaten. I win.

I’d like to know what sites are already on the ACMA ban list. Time for a FOIA req.

Absent one being able to set up a proxy (or use one of the squillions already online belonging to someone else), there’s always ‘onion routing,’ which relies on several relay paths to connect a browser to a server. Tor is an onion router which bounces packets through a random matrix of Tor servers so the web browser isn’t connecting directly to the target website, rather through several ‘layers of the onion.’ Tor is a small application which runs on the browsing PC, available for free download. Coonan better get busy banning all those Tor servers- there’s thousands.

The only way Coonan will be able to effectively block Australians from browsing non-Australian sites she doesn’t like is to cut the trans-Pacific cables as they head out to sea- and shoot down all the direct-to-user satellites.

They’re not making them any smarter down in Canberra, are they?


NEWSFLASH: NSW Police clear NSW Police of wrongdoing over missing name badges
Tuesday September 18th 2007, 2:19 pm

We don’t need no steeeenking badges!

Badgeless APEC police cleared

New South Wales police officers who took off their identification badges during APEC protests will escape punishment after a police inquiry found they feared the pins on the badges could be used against them.

Photographs taken during the main APEC protest on Saturday, September 8, showed officers wearing badgeless uniforms.

The revelation sparked public criticism, including suggestions police were told not to wear their name tags so protesters could not identify them.

State Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione ordered an inquiry, which has found that officers had real concerns about the pins on badges being used against them.

In a statement, Mr Scipione rejected the idea that officers were following instructions when they chose not to wear badges.

But he said identification was compulsory and police would wear overalls with velcro name tags in the future.

“We have no issue with them being identified as they carry out their duties,” he said in the statement. “I want to again thank all of the police involved in making the police response to APEC such a success.”

The state Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell, says velcro badges on police uniforms would be a sensible move.

The Commish apparently has been reading mgk and Suki Has An Opinion… but don’t the cops already have velcro name badges? What’s that black strip on all the uniforms missing their name badges?

Thank GOD the NSW Police can give the NSW Police the benefit of the doubt, otherwise Sydney would be in ruins from all those violet protesters!

And yes, indeed- the police response to APEC was a success- only 11 comedians broke the thick blue line.


It’s the due process, stupid
Tuesday September 11th 2007, 12:20 pm

As many as 200 NSW Police officers were photographed at the APEC protest who had removed their velcro-backed name badges. Velcro is not terribly effective as a weapon, so Scipione’s name badge pin-stick injury excuse holds absolutely no water. The police union would have an OS&H conniption if officers were required to wear anything that could injure them on the job, regardless.

image: The Sydney Morning Herald
image: The Sydney Morning Herald

Uniformed police officers must be identifiable. Failure for officers to be identifiable is a deliberate attempt to compromise the due process rights of citizens they may assault.

The solution? Eliminate removable name badges. Print a unique identifying number on each uniform, in BIG letters which can be read from a distance, not unlike a footy player’s jersey. Each officer would be held responsible for the numbered uniforms in his or her possession, not unlike their firearms.

Could look like this:

and let's go to the video refereee...

Marked police cars have individual number plates and large letters painted on the bonnet or roof to identify the specific vehicle. No different to have something similar on police uniforms. Surely the police union would support any measure which would minimise chances of their members being falsely accused of impropriety.


Sydney Indymedia- the real reporters at APEC
Sunday September 09th 2007, 4:54 pm

cheeky violet protester - image: Sydney IndymediaCitizen journalists on Sydney Indymedia did a much more thorough job covering the APEC protests than corporate media scaremongers. “Was it 3K or really 10K at the SBC rally and march? It does matter!” is a great read. Well done, folks.

Indeed, corporate media, NSW Police and the NSW & Federal governments succeeded to no small degree in hijacking the public discussion- off of China’s human rights abuses, Aboriginal issues, poverty and global warming- and on to flogging fake fears of protest violence.

Last Saturday evening, I saw a candlelight vigil held by Falun Gong supporters at the corner of Broadway and King St near Newtown. A single row of protesters sat along the footpath, covering about three to four hundred metres- had to have been 300-400 people. Any mention in the corporate news? Nope. My luddo-mobile doesn’t have a camera, but surely some Indymedia photojournalists must have got some pics, like this brilliant collage from the anti-APEC march.

Indymedia reports that NSW Police busied themselves protecting Welf Herfurth’s neo-nazis, who were masquerading as anarchists and trying to start fights. Some officers reportedly prepared themselves for a few civil rights violations by removing their name badges, which they are required to wear at all times while in uniform. Police indeed have past form in removing badges when policing protests, to avoid assault complaints. One copper proffered the excuse that the badges have a dangerous pin that could be used as a weapon against them. Sounds like velcro badges* could be a fine way to assure officers are identifiable and yet are protected against disabling pin-stick injuries…

A jaywalker who apparently thought the police were only concerned with the unwashed rabble and not responsible family men, found himself strip searched, jailed for 22 hours and bailed for $1000 as well as banned from the APEC areas- and the man’s son has an impression of police that will last a lifetime.

Quaint- and quite familiar.

I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it since policing of Vietnam War protests in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Howard’s recent string of power grabs, from the anti-Federalist Murray-Darling water scheme to the draconian ‘intervention’ in Aboriginal communities and the absolutely over-the-top policing of Sydney during APEC has all of the appearance of a landed fish flipping its last flop before going into the frying pan.

If you want me, I’ll be in the kitchen mixing up sauce tartare.


*edit: Looks like the name badges already are velcro backed… so what’s the bloody excuse for this nonsense, other than a deliberate and premeditated attempt to be unidentifiable?

King George’s flying monkeys protected from violent sauce assault
Saturday September 08th 2007, 8:32 am


image: John Reid for The Sydney Morning Herald

Democracy protected from “a level of violence not previously experienced in Sydney…” inflicted by… a guy… in… a… skirt.

image: News Ltd

Sun will rise tomorrow!

Saved by $140million worth of security!

First APEC arrest’s a real sauce

Edmund Tadros

September 7, 2007 – 1:32PM

Police have made their first protester arrest in Sydney’s Hyde Park this afternoon after a man squirted tomato sauce on a pro-US banner.

The brand of the tomato sauce used in the attack is not known, or whether it was the product of a multi-national company.

Let’s hope it was dolphin safe, non-GM, low-food-miles, 100% organic sauce… lest the increasingly corporate SMH actually have some valid complaint of hypocrisy against the protesters… or perhaps writer Tadros is merely content to idly stereotype dissenters.

In other news, protesters also brought buns (and a few ugly rolls) to go with that sauce.


Think of all the money we’d have saved on APEC fences
Friday September 07th 2007, 5:08 pm

reduce, reuse, recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle…

And keep GW Bush away from polite society at the same time!



Larrikinism: Australian value #1
Friday September 07th 2007, 3:16 pm

image: Reuters

APEC security and a cage tough enough to keep King George away from civilised folks: $138 million

Fake IDs and a few hire cars: Few hundred bucks

Fake diplomatic motorcade not being discovered- by two police checkpoints- until Chas Licciardello dressed as OBL hops out of a car 10M from King George’s hotel: Totally priceless.

Most Chaser stuff of late has been lame- but they really banged it this time. Well done.


People’s Democratic Republic of Australia
Thursday September 06th 2007, 10:10 pm

I don’t need to say a word. Just read the story.

This is one town that needs a full Brazilian. Quick. King George visiting is one thing, but suffering His Majesty without a Bill of Rights is much worse.

Johnny must be trying to impress President Who.