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Julian Assange: A Geometry of Politics Well, I don’t know about you – but I’m getting really sick of the circus that is taking place around Assange. Even the more serious publications are taking interest in what is clearly a farce. What’s more, I’m now seeing typically affected quotes from that washed-up old pseudo-intellectual fart Hitchens turning up in the various articles I read (“Assange has but yet to consider that he, as a member of our humble species and our august culture, should not but show deference at the altar of our expansive, regal and sustaining Civilisation” – okay, that’s not a direct quote, in fact it’s probably less pretentious and thesaurus-heavy than the original… but you get the idea).
As example after example yesterday showed , the response of politicians, media companies, lawyers and large corporations to the interconnectedness offered by the internet has been to reach for legal sanctions to preserve their pre-digital power. Western democracies and authoritarian regimes had in common a twentieth century habit of interposing themselves between their citizens, co-opting, regulating, repressing, monitoring interaction between people for their own (frequently legitimate) ends. Capitalist society based whole industries on corporations interposing themselves for commercial gain, particularly the old media, which eagerly established themselves as the authorised medium of community communication and shared experiences (a role institutional churches had previously sought).
The degree of sympathy in tech circles for both Wikileaks and Anonymous has surprised me. The most common take seems to be that the world needs cyber-pranksters to keep old-school centers of power, like governments and big companies, in check. Cyber-activists are perceived to be the underdogs, flawed and annoying, perhaps, but standing up to overbearing power. It doesn't seem so to me.
Jaron Lanier's recent lengthy essay about Wikileaks is not really about Wikileaks; thus, it is unsurprising that he misses the central lesson of this affair. From the beginning, he makes the fundamental conceptual mistake of conflating individual human beings and powerful institutions, like governments and corporations; he then takes off on a dystopic vision of a world dominated by an imagined "nerd supremacist" ethic of complete transparency, collapse of private life, and unrestricted information flow, in which humanity is the slave of the machine. Horrifying as this vision is, it simply distracts from the main lessons of the Wikileaks affair: the increasing control of (relatively) unaccountable corporations and states over the key components of the Internet, and their increased willingness to use this control in politicized ways to impose a "dissent tax" on content they find objectionable.
Michael Bruce Sterling (born April 14, 1954) is an American science fiction author who is best known for his novels and his work on the Mirrorshades anthology. This work helped to define the cyberpunk genre. [ 2 ] [ edit ] Writings
In previous posts, I have argued that, at this stage, the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which Facebook has succeeded in exposing users to more (potential, if not probable) attention from companies marketing commodities or services than they probably anticipated, have no more than financial or economic objectives, but that the potential for extensive social control or psychological manipulation is vast. Moreover, just as, in the panoptical prison, where inmates monitor their own behaviour (on the assumption of their constant surveillance by warders with full visual access to them), indications are that individuals are increasingly engaging in a form of “normalising” self-monitoring of behaviour via voluntary self-exposure on internet sites such as Facebook.
The world recently became even more complex. In days gone by, personal disgruntlement and consequent “disloyalty” on the part of diplomatic staff in possession of “sensitive” material (and therefore capable of, if not likely, to divulge this to adversaries), sometimes threatened relations between countries — that much has not changed. What has changed, however — and this has made governments vulnerable to citizens’ legitimate criticism as never before (which is a good thing) — is that the sheer extent of potentially embarrassing and even “endangering” information that can be divulged by anyone motivated to do so (for any of a number of reasons), as well as the public reach of any such exposé, has been shown to be vastly in excess of what was previously possible. And that, thanks to an invention that was initially developed by the US military: the internet.
by Francis Shor TruthOut <img src="http://s7.addthis.com/static/btn/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" border="0" alt="" /> While empires try to maintain their hegemony through economic and military prowess, they must also rely on a form of ideological legitimacy to guarantee their rule. Such legitimacy is often embedded in the geopolitical reputation of the empire among its allies and reluctant admirers. Once that reputation begins to unravel, the empire appears illegitimate.
This is a regularly updated post. It was first published 12/8/2010 at 11:51am. Its time-stamp indicates when it was last changed.
In one of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks Putin and Medvedev are compared to Batman and Robin. It’s a useful analogy: isn’t Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s organiser, a real-life counterpart to the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight ? In the film, the district attorney, Harvey Dent, an obsessive vigilante who is corrupted and himself commits murders, is killed by Batman. Batman and his friend police commissioner Gordon realise that the city’s morale would suffer if Dent’s murders were made public, so plot to preserve his image by holding Batman responsible for the killings. The film’s take-home message is that lying is necessary to sustain public morale: only a lie can redeem us. No wonder the only figure of truth in the film is the Joker, its supreme villain.
“World bankers, by pulling a few simple levers that control the flow of money, can make or break entire economies. By controlling press releases of economic strategies that shape national trends, the power elite are able to not only tighten their stranglehold on this nation’s economic structure, but can extend that control world wide. Those possessing such power would logically want to remain in the background, invisible to the average citizen.” (Aldous Huxley) Wikleaks is upheld as a breakthrough in the battle against media disinformation and the lies of the US government.
Corporate media buys you off only if you pose a real danger – radical and subversive to ‘power’. While attacking Wikileaks for corporate collusion, therefore, its original radical potential cannot be overlooked. Wikileaks’ close collaboration with big corporate media and the ‘redactions’ raise serious doubts over whether information is actually flowing freely (Michel Chossudovsky, ‘Who is Behind Wikileaks?’ Dec 13, 2010, Global Research ). And yet the Wikileaks’ intervention cannot be cast away in a cynical manner – the only way to welcome it however is by saving it from Wikileaks itself, in particular from its liberal slide.
Julian Assange, oprichter en voorman van WikiLeaks De WikiLeaks-onthullingen van 2010 ontlenen hun kracht mede aan de samenwerking tussen rebellen van het web en journalisten van traditionele printmedia van internationale naam en faam. Maar die samenwerking was van meet af aan moeizaam, en eindigde in ruzies en verwijten over en weer – door de enorme mentaliteitsverschillen tussen de partners, en door de arrogante verdeel-en-heerspolitiek van Julian Assange. Op zeker moment dreigde Assange zelfs met een rechtszaak tegen The Guardian, de Britse krant die het verstandshuwelijk tussen web en print wist te sluiten en tot het einde regisseerde. Dat blijkt uit een fascinerend verslag in het nieuwste nummer van het Amerikaanse maandblad Vanity Fair. Collateral Murder Ofschoon WikiLeaks al vier jaar bestaat, begon de opmars van de organisatie pas echt met de publicatie van Collateral Murder op 5 april 2010.