Tag Archives: Government

What hacker-activists have in common with secret services

“WikiLeaks raises the question as to what hackers have in common with secret services, since an elective affinity between the two is unmistakable. The love-hate relationship goes back to the very beginning of computing. One does not have to be a fan of German media theorist Friedrich Kittler or, for that matter, conspiracy theories, to acknowledge that the computer was born out of the military-industrial complex. From Alan Turing’s deciphering of the Nazi Enigma code up to the role played by the first computers in the invention of the atomic bomb, from the cybernetics movement up to the Pentagon’s involvement in the creation of the Internet – the articulation between computational information and the military-industrial complex is well established. Computer scientists and programmers have shaped the information revolution and the culture of openness; but at the same time they have also developed encryption (“crypto”), closing access to data for the non-initiated. What some see as “citizen journalism” others call “info war”.

WikiLeaks is also an organization deeply shaped by 1980s hacker culture, combined with the political values of techno-libertarianism that emerged in the 1990s. The fact that WikiLeaks was founded – and to a large extent is still run – by hard-core geeks is essential to understanding its values and moves. Unfortunately, this comes together with a good dose of the less savoury aspects of hacker culture. Not that idealism, the desire to contribute to making the world a better place, could be denied to WikiLeaks: on the contrary. But this brand of idealism (or, if you prefer, anarchism) is paired with a preference for conspiracies, an elitist attitude and a cult of secrecy (never mind condescension). This is not conducive to collaboration with like-minded people and groups, who are relegated to being the simple consumers of WikiLeaks output. The missionary zeal to enlighten the idiotic masses and “expose” the lies of government, the military and corporations is reminiscent of the well-known (or infamous) media-culture paradigm from the 1950s.”
MORE: http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2010-12-07-lovinkriemens-en.html



Government can cause you to disappear without a trace | LitBash 31

“Governments can cause you to disappear without a trace.” It will be lonely out there, so be sure to prepare yourself – collect books to help pass the time. Start with authors who were…

Born this week:

William Makepeace Thackeray, UK

“Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb.”

Ramon de Mesonero Romanos, Spain

Ferenc Mora, Hungary

Archibald Cronin, UK

Claude Aveline, France

Robert Pinget, France

Leonid Sobolev, Russia

Ernest Hemingway, USA
“God knows, people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick; camp-following eunuchs of literature.”

John Gardner, USA

Sandor Brody, Hungary

Raymond Chandler, USA
“Don’t ever write anything you don’t like yourself and if you do like it, don’t take anyone’s advice about changing it. They just don’t know.”

Alexandre Dumas, France

“It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man’s disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes. It has always been so and always will be. Governments change yet they remain all alike.”

Nikolay Chernyshevsky, Russia

Henrik Pontoppidan, Denmark

Edward Dunsany, Ireland
“I hope that when London is clean passed away and the defeated fields come back again, like an exiled people returning after a war, they may find some beautiful thing to remind them of it all; because we have loved a little that swart old city.”

Died this week:

Jane Austen, UK
“Here I am once more in this scene of dissipation and vice, and I begin already to find my morals corrupted.”

Gilberto de Melo Freyre, Brasil

Curzio Malaparte, Italy

Rene Bazin, France

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Italy

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

Witold Gombrowicz, Poland
“I thought that this auction with other nations for geniuses and heroes, for merits and cultural achievement, was really quite awkward from the point of view of propaganda tactics because with our half-French Chopin and not quite native Copernicus, we cannot compete with the Italians, French, Germans, English, or Russians. Therefore, it is exactly this approach that condemns us to inferiority.”

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Poland / USA

“A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise… Because that is how life is — full of surprises.”