What’s wrong with Wikileaks (SWOTing the Strangler)
In the late 80’s to early 90’s I studied applied science and a few of my buddies were hard core hackers. Although they wouldn’t admit it, most of them were influenced by the 1983 film War Games and of course writers like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling _ who were pioneers in the Cyber Punk movement. Most of them did stupid stuff like unleashing insidious programs onto the university computer networks and the like but a couple of them took it to another level. At the time my own programming skills were pretty useless. I considered myself more of an ideas person, while my buddies were more interested in dirty work. I never completely agreed with their ethics but I resonated with their STICKITTOTHEMAN ideologies ! I had many a late night trading ideas on how to create a new society !
Some of my friends moved in the same circles as Julian Assange and they (and I for a short while) frequented some of the same user groups. Now most of the same people have high profile managerial jobs in the IT industry and no interest in hacking ! Later, after I left uni I met a pro hacker, who worked in the business of geopolitics and I learned a whole lot more about how the human world really works. Personally, I understood the essence of crytography and the clever ways people could hide information but I never had the technical skills or the interest to become a hacker. Today, it’s all gobbledegook to me and yet I am still interested in the ideologies behind it and the ways in which cryptography and coding information in general, work.
When groups like Cryptome (https://cryptome.org/) began, I was interested but I still didn’t understand geopolitics enough to believe that they could really have any impact. Then when Wikilieaks was launched, I felt the same way. But I remembered some of the extreme anarchists writings on various Usenet groups and I thought maybe Wikileaks might be different. At the time I was writing on my old blog Otherworldly Encounters and I chose to largely ignore what Wikileaks were doing. I didn’t support what they were doing but I didn’t disagree with it either. Today I have shifted in my opinion about Wikileaks. I fundamentally support what they are doing but I don’t support how they do it.
As I understand things, Wikileaks is essentially a support network for the ideologies of Julian Assange. They publish secret and classified documents and cables that have been intercepted and passed onto them by insiders and or hackers. I believe that the foundation of Julian’s methodologies, is the idea that if you strangle the flow of information from one geopolitical-corporate entity to another, you strangle the beast and bring it to it’s knees.
At first glance, this seems like a an effective idea for creating transparency and disabling The Powers That Be (in this case the lower arms of The Architecture). But the more I think about it, the more I see some significant flaws in how Wikileaks does what it does.
Before I talk about what these might be and how they might be rectified, let me first say, for the record, that I disagree strongly with one thing they do. They publish the names and personal details of many innocent people. And as a result some people have been killed and others have experienced great personal suffering. I’m not an outright anarchist (and I don’t believe that Julian is) but I strongly abhor this approach. I don’t believe that there needs to be collateral damage. That’s an ideology that those Wikileaks opposes practice, so it’s hypocritical for Wikileaks to take the same approach ! I believe that Ed Snowden (whether he’s what we think he is or not) seems to have the same beef with Wikileaks !
So what’s wrong with Wikileaks and how might they do what they do more effectively ? I’m no one of importance and a total dumbass when it comes to IT (just ask my monitors !) but I’m very good at understanding people and systems. So these are just a few ideas from the dumb kid on block :
- Wikileaks may have some great ideologies but their delivery sucks ! Wikileaks needs to play the Public Relations/Propoganda game more intelligently, giving out one message to the public and another to the beasts they wish to strangle.
- Wikileaks needs to remember that the governments groups, covert agencies, corporations and individuals that they are attacking are supported by a system with lots of money, strategic and tactical plans, lots of people and assets. It’s far too naive to believe that a small network of supporters and hackers and a system of mobile DNS’s, is enough to stay in front of the game. I understand that they depend on private financial support and lots of good will. But they need to take it to the next level if they really want to strangle these beasts. They need an army of networks, they need teams devoted to developing and implementing strategic and tactical plans, they need a wider range of corporate and non corporate sponsors and a volunteer network that is carefully trained and supervised. Unless Wikileaks plays like the big boys, they will never have the grunt to bring them down. Julian and the rest of Wikileaks have to remember that they are fighting individuals and systems and that these systems were created over decades and some of them over centuries. They are enmeshed in the very fabric of society. And unless Wikileaks enmeshes itself in a similar way, it is a sitting duck in the water. Julian founded Wikleaks on the assumption that if information was intercepted, leaked and put out for the masses; that the smart and caring end of the Bell Curve would get off their arses and do something about it. But what he and they have discovered, is that most people couldn’t give a shit ! Apathy is widespread, which is why we have the problem of widespread abuse of power in the first place. To combat this Wikleaks needs to do several things :
- First accept that most people, including those who should care, don’t care.
- Second, employ a team of people (say a 100 people) who’s sole job is to filter through all the material, prior to it’s being released. This would allow Wikileaks to organize the material better. They could black out the names and private information of innocent people and prevent suffering and death. And they could divert information directly to people and networks who need to know about it.
- Wikleaks obviously has a network of people who support it in many different ways. But in order to process what it learns about what is happening in secret, it could work with individuals in a wide range of disciplines, including : sociology, linguistics, cryptography, mathematics, human behaviour, geopolitics, journalism, public relations, foreign policy, law, military studies, business studies, economics, social justice, etc.
- Wikileaks is playing a game. A very dangerous game. A game of one-upmanship, in which the stakes grow greater and greater. But most people don’t give a shit, so long as they can buy a Big Mac and play on the Internet. In order to to be relevant to most people’s lives, Wikileaks must spread their message through as many different sources as possible. I know this maybe legally challenging but it’s not impossible.
- Wikileaks motto is “We Open Governments”. It’s a great motto but as a response I would say to them “And then what ?”. In order to be truly effective and to really engage the interest of people, whether they be people who really don’t give a shit or the one’s who do give a shit, Wikileaks has to offer solutions. “What comes after you strangle the beasts Wikileaks ?”. As soon as you kill one entity, it re-invents itself or others rise to fill it’s place. On one level, what the beasts are doing isn’t the real problem ! The real problem is how the beasts are multiplying ! Lets say in a perfect scenario, that Wikileaks strangles the flow of information from one beast to another. Then what ? Things go quiet for a while, while the game of one-upmanship takes a new twist, before the beast rises with a new head ? Come on Wikileaks, think systemically, short term and long term. Strangling the flow of information is just one important ideology ! But you need other core ideologies to build a strong sustainable foundation for a process or a movement !
- As a leak agent / agent provocateur, those in Wikileaks are beginning to see pictures on different scales. They see the trees and kill a few small ones and a few big ones but they also see the forest and know how it works and how it’s structured. Wikileaks could start talking more openly about how the human world works and what the pictures they see look like. The more this information reaches those who want to know – the individuals and researchers and institutions who care, the greater the chance of Wikileaks creating real, lasting change.
The greatest risk to Wikileaks, is not that Julian Assange gets killed or jailed for life. It’s that they become irrelevant, like piss in the wind or wanking in the dark ! Wikileaks maybe the most novel political idea of the last 2,000 years. But it’s legacy maybe pointless and forgotten, unless it begins to actually SEE it’s enemies clearly and mimic how they function. To fight water, become like water. To fight fire, become like fire.
I am a simple human being who believes in equality and justice for all beings. Julian Assange seems to believe in some of the same things I do. But in order to practice the art of equality and justice, he must also see that the things he fights are in all human beings. We all struggle with negative aspects of the self. Which is why our real enemy is not The Architecture but the fictions created by the mind. To transform a system that is corrupt, we have to first transform how the mind functions and how it sees itself. When we see the mind, we see the world.
Long may Wikileaks and other groups like them bring good into the world ! But may they also learn to be more effective in revealing relative truth and turn the very same ferociousness of inquiry inwards and discover the light and darkness that they themselves disown.
Last week I attended the Bendigo Writers Festival and heard Julian speak in a very heart felt televised interview. I (and a couple of dozen other people) gave him a standing ovation because I felt he deserved it and I wanted to acknowledge all that he had fought for and sacrificed ! 3,000 years ago my guide Kanatek witnessed the might and greed of many waring groups in the formation of a great empire. 2,500 years ago Buddha prescribed the antidote to suffering in a world full of greed and ignorance. 2,000 years ago Jesus reminded us that the kingdom of heaven is within, at a time when Roman power and greed threatened to destroy the world he knew. And for the rest of our lives, the human world will be caught in a perpetual dance between two great forces of human nature. Nothing about how human societies function will change for thousands of years, until every single human knows the true nature of the self. Until that time, we can expect to see a never ending drama between TYRANT and AVENGER. On the one hand, the players in the lower arms of The Architecture and on the other Wikileaks and the myriad groups and individuals like them that will follow. The details in the game will change but the picture will remain the same. The only thing that might change is the technology at the core of the game – Biocomputing and the like. With any luck, the foundation that people like Julian Assange and groups like Wikileaks are building today, will be integrated into these new technologies and create a world of greater transparency.
I don’t really believe that Wikileaks has achieved much. But what it has done is shown what can be done and it has created something completely different for our descendants and the human race that has yet to be born. Who knows how one thing leads to another and what Wikileaks will lead to ?
I can’t help wondering what the real Mr Anonymous thinks of all this !
May we all continue to believe in equality and justice for all and celebrate the small victory that is Wikileaks !
Posted on August 20, 2016, in Whistleblowers, Wikileaks and tagged Bright Garlick, Cryptome, democracy, equality, ET and I, injustice, Julian Assange, oppression, Propaganda, The Architecture, Wikileaks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.