Well, I just double checked the logs and the credit-due bot looks like it may well actually have been sending the messages. I saw so few entries that I thought it wasn't working, but as it turns out, far far far far far far far far more people than expected have extended their accounts.

So you got a two-week freebie :)

Oh, and I've also fixed the checker that makes sure you're not using an expired account to access the system. Currently it's active on the main viewer and index module, IAM alive, and the forums. So if you're a clever cookie, you can still update your page, but nothing else really.

Thought I should mention that the ACLU has got their analysis of the “coming Bush dictatorship” up. Here's a quick summary of some of the points they raise about the new laws the fascists that seized control of America are trying to force on the citizens (or should I say, prisoners of war):

  • No questions asked surveillance of all kinds: credit reports, medical records, searches, wiretaps, visa and travel info, email copies, etc., all without a warrant, disclosure, or consent. Even if the searches are fully illegal, agents are protected from prosecution. Note that these searches do not even have to meet the definition of terrorism.
  • Removal of bans on investigation based solely on political or religious affiliation.
  • The above searches can be done on the behalf of foreign governments, including dictatorships and governments engaging in major human rights violations. In addition, foreign governments can extradite citizens without treaty approval or consideration of their legal system.
  • Any person who stalls on helping the feds in providing the above records is also up for significant prosecution.
  • Creation of a national DNA database without court order or consent, and unrelated to any criminal activity. That is, they want a DNA database of every single American (not just criminals).
  • Broadened definition of “terrorism” to include many forms of legal protest and minor civil disobedience, as well as unknowingly supporting groups involved in “terrorism”. People “found guilty”, even if they were unaware of it can be exiled without trial, imprisoned without trial, and so on.
  • Anyone involved the above can be executed on the spot if agents deem fit.
  • “Guilt by association” crimes, even if you were unaware of the other person or organization's activities. That is, if you donate money to your church, and then your church supports a protest group that's deemed “terrorist”, you are legally a terrorist yourself.
  • Using encryption technology is effectively made illegal. Any computer “crime” that has encryption involved has five years of jailtime added to it.
  • Arrests do not have to be made public (that is, if you're arrested, no public record needs to be kept, so you just disappear).
  • Gives the government the right to use “secret evidence” in trial without the option for the defense to challenge it. That is, they can say “we know this about you (make up something), but we can't tell you how we know” and it's treated as legitimate evidence.
  • Massively increased ability for the government to institute gag orders and hide trial records. That is, not only blocking accountability, but also blocking the ability of the public to challenge it.
  • Corporations that are “patriotic” (ie. support the coup) are shielded from prosecution, even if they commit blatant crimes and human rights violations.
  • Immigrants can be deported without notice or evidence of crime, even if they are here fully legally. These cases are exempt from habeus corpus review. These immigrants can be deported to any country, even if the person faces execution in that country, and even if that country has no government at all.

Yay for the land of the free!

I really wonder — are the citizens of the former United States of America willing to see it turn into a Bush military/corporate dictatorship? What does it take to push America to the brink of revolution and civil war? Because if this bill really goes through, every trace of what made America the shining beacon of liberty will be gone…

Oh, and remember how America finally agreed to share it's “intelligence” with the UN weapons inspectors? According to the inspectors, the information they've been given is total “garbage” that hasn't panned out into anything but false leads and lies.

In other news, Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel is set to be extradited to Germany to face charges (Germany has a very strict policy on that type of speech/hate-speech), and Canada has said that even though he's a Canadian (permanent resident status) and hosts his site in America, they will not honor his application for refugee status.

Now, Zundel is a hateful fuck and in some ways I really don't give a damn if he burns… but… I'm a German citizen and I'm also wanted on freedom-of-speech related crimes in Germany and could face real prison time there if I was forced to return. If Zundel is successfully extradited, while I highly doubt the same would happen to me, it opens that door.

It makes me very uncomfortable when nations conspire to punish people for freedom-of-speech issues that are fully legal in the country they were uttered. That is, to give an analogy, it's legal for me to smoke pot in Amsterdam. Let's say that's where I live, and I hold a dual Dutch/American citizenship. It would be fundamentally wrong for America to be allowed to extradite me and prosecute me for “crimes” that I committed that weren't even crimes in the locale where they were committed.

Think it can't happen? Think again.

My years working with Internet casinos very clearly illustrated that point — quite a few entrepreneurs who moved to the Caribbean and ran businesses out of Antigua, etc. where they were fully legal found themselves arrested and imprisoned when they flew to America to visit friends and family.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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