The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
You either worship Julian Assange as a modern-day hero or you hate him.
While one can admire what he has done to expose government hypocrisy and secrecy around the world and in doing so done us all a vital service, he's certainly not the easiest person to love.
This book, despite accolades from the likes of John Pilger, Slavoj Zizek, Naomi Wolf and Oliver Stone, is often more irritating than illuminating but it is a provocative and fascinating read.
Written mainly in the form of a dialogue between Assange and his co-authors, it explores the proposition that the internet has become more of a Big Brother system of surveillance than a great new means of free and democratic communication.
It is written in a loose and conversational style with much anorak jargon rather than attempting to offer a clear distillation of ideas for a wide readership.
But it does provoke reflection.
Like all inventions, the internet too is only a tool to be used or misused. With the concentration of all main servers in the US, it provides the corporate and political ruling elite enormous access to every user's profile and personal details.
It is a secret service agent's dream come true.
While his enemies will call Assange simply paranoid - and he has good reasons to be - he does argue persuasively that we are unwittingly handing over to the powers-that-be masses of information about ourselves for free.
He argues that only be utilising methods like cryptography to encrypt all the information we send out over the internet can we keep government and corporate noses out of our affairs.
Certainly the question of who controls the internet is one of fundamental importance to our freedom and democracy.
Assange's book is a wake-up call about a possible dystopian future. Jeremiahs, like Assange, are as Pilger says, "always met at first with hostility and even mockery, history shows that we disregard such warnings as these at our peril."