It would be a mistake in this environment to assume that leaders of the anti-establishment or underground are alienated from the old establishment. This is Julian Assange on the cover of Forbes, for a 29 November 2010 interview with Andy Greenberg. Surprise! He's flashing a Masonic hand sign. This is the sign of a Mark Master Mason (examples here, see Hillary in the same pose - information on the degree and oath is here). Image Source: Forbes.
Technology is not neutral and neither are the people striving to wield it to greatest effect. It is hard for liberals and non-liberals to understand that technology, not liberalism, is the real driver of globalization.
The liberals are not the only ones with a vision of internationalism. Technocrats and crypto-anarchists have visions too; and they are very different. As for non-liberals, nationalist and populist talking points against immigration and refugees fail to recognize that communications and travel capabilities have improved so much over the past 100 years that for the first time in history, millions of people can move all over the globe. They can do this; therefore they will do this, no matter what crises or policies are or are not driving them.
Of course, wars and disasters provoke migrations; and policy-makers will involve themselves in that process. But despite their efforts over the past generation, they are not in control of the evolution of internationalism.
In the long term, any ideology of internationalism will align with the ideology of the Internet and of technology. So far, that ideology is undetermined. Silicon Valley may be liberal, but in the virtual spaces tech giants provide, there are a lot of competing political and post-political groups from many cultures. Some few people in Silicon Valley are conservative or libertarian. Hacker and open-source cultures are more politically adventurous.
The addiction to the left-right paradigm to understand these problems is misleading. This blog is apolitical. I want to understand what is happening and how it works, regardless of ideology. In several posts over the remainder of the year, I will explore how ideologies of the Internet are evolving and which ones may or may not come to dominate the virtual nexus with real reality.
The Rush to Colonize Cyberspace
Technology makes internationalism inevitable. It has sparked battles over who will control internationalism and what any globalism will look like - just as it has inspired competition over who will control the dominant narrative about reality. The fray is easier to understand if you consider that the Internet is exactly like the New World once was, from the European perspective: a newly-discovered continent. There is a rush to colonize cyberspace, the platform of the new internationalism.
Mainstream and alt-voices are using every tool in the book to seize cyberspace. All sides wish to understand first and most thoroughly how cyberspace connects to real world power politics, and to formulate those correlations into an ideology. Beneath all the controversy, that is what is really happening.
Europe is filled with fake institutes trying to increase US arms sales & defend CIA. Here is one: CEPA. Its funders? https://t.co/A82fyQ3cvL pic.twitter.com/4fsXjKJQ5g— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 16, 2017
Technology creates new realms of thought and behaviour. When I say technology is not neutral, I mean it is non-human. Its dynamics, speed, and internal logic silently shape human responses in ways which reward lack of control, fluidity, adaptation, decentralization, and flexible identification.
We are tool-using animals in a symbiotic relationship with our tools. We think we control our tools; but they imperceptibly alter our understanding of the world. This was the message of The Matrix films. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you have the Internet, everything looks like a conspiracy, or freedom, or a brand new religion.
It is imperative to understand how the virtual space works in relation to real politics, but you have just entered a House of Mirrors. Picking sides will not save you, because that will only give you one part of the picture. Did the Russians hack American politics? Sure. Hillary Clinton's server was (likely) hacked by Russian intelligence, and by intelligence agencies from at least four other countries (China; South Korea; Germany; and Iran), plus at least one independent Eastern European black hat hacker crew under the Guccifer handle or name space. Did the hacks and leaks expose corruption in American politics? Yes. Do we know how or why any of this exactly happened? Do we know how many official or unofficial, state or non-state actors were involved? No.
CIA's "Marble Framework" shows its hackers use potential decoy languages https://t.co/Hm3pTPSXIS— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 31, 2017
Background: https://t.co/GsoN4BuyTz pic.twitter.com/ZT66doCnfY
The WikiLeaks Marble Framework release implies that the CIA hacked the US elections, or had that capability, and masked this action as Russian-sourced. Image Source: WikiLeaks/Twitter.
But wait! WikiLeaks threw a monkey wrench into the above assertions with its Marble Framework release (downloadable here) from 31 March 2017 (see my related post here). Marble revealed the CIA's intention to frame the Russians for CIA-sourced viruses and hacks. The language capability of the code confirms which powers would be framed for CIA-built attacks and hacks: Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. Oddly, Assange's Marble press release on this was full of spelling errors:
In publishing Marble, WikiLeaks continues its anti-Democrat, pro-Trump stance. In America, the Democrats have challenged the 2016 election results, claiming Russian sabotage. The Marble release attacks the Democrats' claims, while the probe into Russian sabotage is politically nasty and murky."Marble is used to hamper forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA.Marble does this by hiding ('obfuscating') text fragments used in CIA malware from visual inspection. This is the digital equiva[l]ent of a spec[i]alized CIA tool to place covers over the [E]nglish language text on U.S. produced weapons systems before giving them to insurgents secretly backed by the CIA.Marble forms part of the CIA's anti-forensics approach and the CIA's Core Library of malware code. It is '[D]esigned to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation' as 'string obfuscation algorithms (especially those that are unique) are often used to link malware to a specific developer or development shop.'The Marble source code also includes a deobfuscator to reverse CIA text obfuscation. Combined with the revealed obfuscation techniques, a pattern or signature emerges which can assist forensic investigators attribute previous hacking attacks and viruses to the CIA. Marble was in use at the CIA during 2016. It reached 1.0 in 2015.The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages."
Trailer: Risk (2016) premieres online on Showtime in mid-2017 (here). Video Source: Youtube. Assange later criticized the editing of this documentary, via Pamela Anderson.
WikiLeaks is set to dump more information concerning other national intelligence agencies this year. Assange and his people are building a case that the CIA has gone rogue. According to them, the CIA is a faceless marauder, which has turned against its own government, US political parties and candidates, American corporations and the American people, even as it targets governments and populations abroad.
Of course, if Assange is a Kremlin pawn as critics believe, this campaign demonstrates the seriousness of the Russian assault on American institutions.
But wait again! Some still believe the 2016 rumour that WikiLeaks has been compromised by the CIA, despite the big feud Assange has launched with the agency. If that rumour is true, then the CIA is using WikiLeaks to release information about itself.
In the rush to colonize cyberspace, the combat between narratives and lack of clarity cause more damage to the establishment CIA than they do to Assange, who is a dynamic, evolving figure. The same can be said for Edward Snowden. He has a high reputation among his followers and he does not lose authority because of he is ultimately an unknown quantity.
A Monday morning image we can all relate to. pic.twitter.com/P6fxtElK01— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) April 10, 2017
'A wizard is never late'—another Assange goes up in Melbourne via @lushsux https://t.co/xIc11Kgrgo #FreeAssange #WikiLeaksArt pic.twitter.com/Xnbczt4AFt— WikiLeaks Art Force (@WLArtForce) March 20, 2017
Whether or not Assange is a spy, his day job is that of journalist. This is a period of evolution of the media, and 20th century institutions might not continue to dominate the profession. Alt-journalism is full of dynamic, evolving figures. They are unknown quantities. They may become tomorrow's politicians; so it is a good idea to watch them now and understand what they are doing.
In the push and pull between the alt-media and legacy media, the public struggles to catch up. Hacked e-mails, leaked records of offshore accounts, cover-ups, buried scandals - reality is not what even the most jaded cynic thought it was. For example, in the 2010s, selfies were encouraged as a fad so that tech companies could test their facial recognition software. A few years later, in 2016, you could open a bank account at HSBC with a selfie.
Notice how it sounds fun and friendly and is in fact diabolical. That's not innovation. That's social control. Since Snowden's revelations in 2013, the distinction between the two has been growing in the public's mind. Will cyberspace be dominated by innovation and freedom, or surveillance and smiling tyranny? And which branches of the media should dominate to preserve truth and avoid a police state technocracy? That is what is at stake.