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Monday, August 09, 2010

Corrupt, secretive Political Class fighting a futile, Luddite battle against the power of technology and truth in the age of the Internet

The Information War
We're winning – and the War Party is losing…

( -- by Justin Raimondo --

It’s almost funny – if your sense of humor runs to the dark side – to watch the Washington power elite go bonkers over the WikiLeaks revelations. We have Pentagon officials stamping their feet and demanding that WikiLeaks “return” the “stolen” documents it has posted online, and refrain from posting any more – as if this material, having gone viral worldwide, could possibly be reclaimed and made inaccessible. Here’s Marc Thiessen – neocon flack and advocate of torture – calling for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange to be kidnapped, detained, and presumably waterboarded. And it’s not just the neocons: Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein have drafted a special amendment to legislation protecting journalistic sources specifically designed to exclude WikiLeaks.

These people have no clue, no concept of the internet: they’re dinosaurs roaring in pain on their way to extinction. They just don’t realize what’s happening, and continue to act as if their power is uncontested – which lends their fulminations a pathetic and, yes, a hilarious note.

The time has long since passed when governments can commit crimes in the dark, run secret wars, and have their passive and narcotized citizens go along with it, fund it, and salute when they’re told. The advance of technology has challenged the State’s information monopoly, and broken the power of the gatekeepers in the “mainstream” media: the internet has empowered any individual with a computer to transcend the physical and political limitations formerly imposed on ordinary persons, and get their information uncensored, raw, and first-hand, without “spin” or interpretation. It has, in short, allowed people to think for themselves, without being coached, coerced, or otherwise blinkered by “expert” opinion.

WikiLeaks must be stopped! That’s the cry being heard in Washington, and all the capitals of Europe (save heroic Iceland!). As any 10-year-old child of the Internet Age could tell them, however, it won’t be stopped because it can’t be stopped. One may as well, like old King Canute, command the tides be stilled, or have Congress pass legislation “repealing” the law of gravity.

Here’s why: Let’s say the neocon contingent in the Obama administration – and don’t look surprised, there is one – convinces the powers that be to go after Assange, and they lock him up. Let’s also say they take down the WikiLeaks web site, and prosecute all known WikiLeaks personnel. What’s to prevent another WikiLeaks from popping up – probably overnight – and serving the same subversive function? The authorities would soon discover the futility of their enforcement efforts, although that wouldn’t stop them from continuing it forever – just like the “war on terrorism” itself.

The genie is out of the bottle, and won’t ever be put back in. Even if President Obama exercises his newly-proposed power to shut down the internet in the United States, this would amount to yet another indication of how little official Washington understands the new technology.

The reason is because the internet exists largely outside the realm of governance, i.e. outside the physical realm. Oh sure, it requires servers and computers and a physical infrastructure to function, but once it was created it transcended its origins and became something altogether new – and deadly dangerous to tyrants and warmongers everywhere.

Discussions of WikiLeaks’ impact often refer to the fact that it is “stateless,” as if it somehow existed above and beyond the power of governments to reach it. And this is absolutely true, because the realm opened up by the internet is the interior space of each and every individual human mind. This is a territory that not even the mighty and all-powerful State of modern times has managed to invade, let alone conquer – although not from lack of trying, to be sure...

We have seen this in the decline of the media “mainstream,” whose long overdue funeral was recently held when the formerly mighty Newsweek was sold for exactly one dollar, about twice what it’s worth. The US government can no more reverse this inevitable trend than it can plug the innumerable “leaks” sprung when governments commit war crimes, or otherwise engage in crimes against their own citizens. Word invariably gets out. In the past, it got out by word of mouth, and then in the form of print, but now we have an entirely new conduit for accounts of governmental crimes, and that is a disembodied bulletin board that exists everywhere and nowhere, a kind of skywriting that can be seen worldwide. Against that kind of power, there is no defense – no, not even the State’s ultimate weapon, which is brute force.

Thiessen wants Obama to unleash the awesome power and majesty of the newly-created US “Cyber Command” to take out the WikiLeaks “cyber-terrorists,” kidnap Assange, and put him and his cohorts on trial before a military commission. This is the only possible response of the War Party to the challenge posed by WikiLeaks, and the entire antiwar online community, but Thiessen’s snarling only underscores the complete impotence of the authorities, who are just beginning to realize what they’re up against...MORE...LINK

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