I suspect the headline on this posting has to be the oddest collection of words I've ever strung together in such a locale. But there are connections between them all worthy of note.
I have refrained in the past saying much publicly about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. I've done this specifically because the "ecosystem" surrounding WikiLeaks and what could be called a "cult of personality" around Assange is exceedingly complex.
Nor will I here, today, delve in the details of the foundational involved controversies, and what they mean for the Internet and the world at large.
But as we observe world condemnation rightly rise at the unjustified, Soviet Unionesque guilty verdict against the women of the Pussy Riot punk art group in Russia, perhaps some dot-connecting of a sort is in order.
Russia's justice system (I use the term "justice" loosely) and "new strongman, same as the old strongman" Vladimir Putin are widely seen as having targeted Pussy Riot specifically for political purposes. Obviously Putin must be pretty terrified of these young women, keeping them locked and sometimes even chained within a glass cage throughout their show trial.
But this sort of behavior is not limited to the confines of the Soviet Uni ... I mean, Russia.
Many fans of cable, satellite, and Internet channel "RT" ("Russia Today") don't realize that it is essentially the funded propaganda arm of Putin and the Kremlin, with a tendency to slant stories in ways that sometimes almost make FOX News look balanced -- and that's quite a trick.
I had my own run-in with RT some time back, when they attempted (and failed) to get me on air for an "ambush" interview under false pretenses. Not even FOX News has ever sunk that low with me.
Since then, I have viewed RT with especial skepticism, so when it was announced that Assange would have a regular program on RT (before he took up apparently permanent residence at the Ecuadorian embassy in London) it struck me as severely problematic.
RT equals Putin. Putin equals repression of speech and liberty.
Similarly, Assange's new close relationship with Ecuador, the country with the worst (and rapidly degrading) record of press censorship and suppression in the region, is also very troubling.
The "any port in a storm" philosophy notwithstanding, Assange's relationships with RT and now Ecuador, along with other facts that have become apparent about his relationships associated with WikiLeaks and WikiLeaks' supporters, threaten to undermine whatever positive work WikiLeaks may have accomplished in the past.
Again, I won't here try to evaluate WikiLeaks' various positives and negatives, but a very bad sign is that the story now seems not to be about WikiLeaks itself, but rather about Julian Assange and his various personal choices.
Regardless of whether or not you are a supporter of WikiLeaks, this would seem to be a situation worthy of considerable deep thought.