This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cyber Gods of Infotainment

Hey now fake left

Of course, nothing shockingly revelatory, nor really even mildly interesting, has been obtained from the leaks themselves. Primarily, these are low level diplomatic communiques, and as anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with British cold war spy literature knows, diplomats aren't ever privvy to the real games of international intrigue which lie beneath the public surface.

Julian Assange is now a hero, and rightfully so, as he battles with the hostile forces of world governments, particularly the US, in an unprecedented public relations media war over freedom of speech, freedom of the internet, and freedom of the press.

Complete transparency of the public sphere will someday obtain a court hearing, but it isn't at all clear that one will happen around Assange or WikiLeaks. There is too much to lose on both sides to bring this thing to court, IMHO.

The court martial of the pitiable Bradley Manning will surely be used to warn off future leakers who work for the goverment and hold security clearances. Manning is the man who suffers from this affair, and unfortunately, has really only himself to blame for his outing and subsequent arrest. In fact, the very same can be said for the self-described James Bond of journalism, who blamed two of his "fans" for his legal problem in Sweden.

The lesson that every blogger already knows: never trust anybody you meet on the internet.

There has been much sabre rattling rhetoric from an embarrassed US Government, some coerced corporate backlash against WikiLeaks and a sustained, rather weak but of course well-hyped retaliation of sorts by the teenaged "revolutionaries" of 4chan, whose computer game tactics have generated lots of heat, disavowal from Assange, and have had little to no effect on the commerce of its targets.

So far, the corporations seem to be winning this cyber-battle, which is still interesting and maybe even possibly game changing, nonetheless. 4chan and affiliated sites have actually suffered more downtime than the sites they have attacked. None of the credit cards have experienced any actual loss or slowing of their processing businesses. But, 4chan is not done yet and are disseminating their DDoS software to more people every day, who are joining in the game. The size of the game matters more than the results. Which side you are on matters, too. I am backing the kids, because, after all, the children are the future.

To date, the US Government has not sought an indictment, despite heavily publicised breathless rumours by Assange's legal team to the contrary, nor had they taken any legal action at all to suppress WikiLeak's release of the cables or previous disclosures. They have announced that they are looking into avenues for prosecution, but as Greenwald and many others have pointed out, there seems to be zero legal basis for such action.

For his hesitation, President Obama will face the vituperation of the Republicans in time, unless he wilts pre-emptively, as is his style, and his AG finds some bogus grounds on which to indict Assange, either for espionage or conspiracy to steal secret government documents. The espionage gambit seems almost laughable, and conspiracy would require evidence that Assange materially aided and encouraged Bradley Manning's leaking activities.

Julian Assange, it should be fairly noted, has created a new media business model that is likely to be copied and spread, regardless of his personal fate. He has demonstrated a wide range of courage, intelligence, egomania, as well as stupidity. He has and will continue to gain fame and fortune from his activities, even in the very unlikely event that he ends up behind bars for the leaks.

As with most entrepreneurs, however, he will likely not be the one to maximize the success of his creation. That will probably come later, in subsequent iterations of the new form. One such,, started by former WikiLeaks staffers who became disenchanted with Assanges hubris and moved on, opens for business on Monday. This is a modified model that likely has a better chance for longterm sustainability: acting solely as a clearinghouse between the leakers and the media. Assange's model is to be the media and the front man, a sort of cult of personality. The leakers lose all control over their efforts once Assange takes over the process with the media, although as we have seen, it is leakers who bear the brunt of the legal burden. OpenLeaks promises to be different. Time will tell.

Like most truly creative people, Assange has both soared the heights and scoured the depths, and in the age of the infoboobtubes, has done so in a remarkably short span of time.

Without a doubt, Julian Assange is the historic troll.

His coming legal challenges, if he has any, will be landmark international media events without precedent. Will the internet remain free? Is it free now? Will the piracy of the anonymous groups lead to a severe conservative backlash like occurred in reaction to the activism of the 1960s/70s New Left?

Julian Assange is a transcendent celebrity, trending hotter than the Texas sun in August. Indictments will only increase and extend his worldwide stature. Conviction seems impossible without publicly railroading him, which in turn would make him a worldwide martyr on the level of a cyber-Mandela.

The very first virgin sacrifice offered to the cyber Gods of infotainment.

Yes, that statement too is overhype, as is so much in this important, yet banal, saga unfolding in real time inside a million servers housed in thousands of undisclosed locations somewhere near you.


donkeytale said...

US Govt now also starting to leak.....that it has no case against Assange...

"Even as some government officials contend that the release of thousands of classified documents by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange jeopardizes U.S. national security, legal experts, Pentagon officials and Justice Department lawyers concede any effort to prosecute him faces numerous hurdles.

Among them: Prosecutors apparently have had difficulty finding evidence that Assange ever communicated directly with Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, 23, an intelligence specialist who’s widely thought to be the source of the documents, but is charged only with misusing and illegally downloading them."

And Manning, bless his soul, who is surely being tempted to squeal on Assange just as Adrian Lamo squealed on him, isn't cooperating.

"Prosecutors declined to discuss what evidence they have in the Manning case, but three Pentagon officials who cautioned that their information is two months old recently told McClatchy Newspapers that as of that time prosecutors had no evidence tying Manning to Assange.

The prosecution is now working under the theory that Manning, who was arrested in May in Iraq and is being held at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., provided the information to an unnamed third party who then passed the information to WikiLeaks, according to the officials, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation.

Manning, who faces as many as 54 years in prison on 10 charges, isn’t cooperating with prosecutors, the officials said. His attorney, Maj. Thomas Hurley, didn’t answer numerous calls seeking comment.

In addition, any potential Assange prosecution on charges that he intentionally threatened U.S. national security would be complicated because top national security leaders disagree about how damaging the leaks have been. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the release could put lives in danger, but Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called the reaction “overwrought” in a briefing with reporters.

Also unclear is what law would apply. The Justice Department would most likely charge Assange under one of two laws — the Espionage Act of 1917 or theft of government property, former prosecutors and experts agree.

Either charge would be the first of its kind, however."

donkeytale said...

Swedish leftists throwing cold water over the honey pot theory

"In court last week Assange was alleged to have had sex with unlawful coercion with a woman who was asleep and to have sexually molested the other by having sex without a condom.

In Sweden, among the country's community of hackers and left-leaning political activists, the timing is viewed as coincidental rather than conspiratorial.

"The Americans are very lucky indeed that Assange screwed around in Sweden, a society which takes rape allegations very seriously,'' said ├ůsa Linderborg, culture editor of the leftwing Aftonbladet tabloid. Film-maker Bosse Lindquist, whose WikiLeaks investigation will be broadcast on Swedish TV tonight, and who has spent many hours with Assange over the past few months, said Assange's attitude to women did not seem in any way striking.

"If you look at the two prosecutors involved in investigating the rape allegations, they are not types you would imagine bowing to any kind of pressure from, say, the Swedish government or the United States.''

A senior civil servant, who requested anonymity, also dismissed allegations of political plotting against Assange, arguing that Swedish culture is often misunderstood. "Swedes do not have an iconoclastic tradition in which you build people up then demolish their reputations. Even when people are celebrities, we accept that they may have questionable private lives. Swedes are capable of seeing the advantages of WikiLeaks while conceding that Assange may have unsavoury morals between the sheets.''

Linderborg, though, says there is a widespread sense in Sweden that Assange's rise to fame fuelled his libido and ego.

"Plenty of women are attracted by his underdog status and the supposed danger of spending time with him. He has several women on the go at once. One person told me he screws more often than he eats,'' Linderborg said.

Of course, given the nature of the web, the allegations have triggered a series of attacks on both women's characters with lurid claims of "women who cry rape" and "bitches trying to send an innocent man to prison"."

donkeytale said...

For obvious reasons, your pictorial and caption here meets with the author's approval.

Nice work Soc.

Also crossposted this at all the usual spots, incuding Semi-Raw, where noom and I have a nice satire going in the threads.

I also posted a couple of raw videos that will not go down well with adult contemporary soft rock and cock crowd.

socrates said...

Donkeytale, I thank you for this, what could be one of the best written blog spots you've come up with since your 1971 expose on Spiro Agnew.

I'm coming around to your line of thinking, that nonsense spoken by donkeytale today is the conventional wisdom of tomorrow. You are now at the top of the zeitgeist. You are a bad man.

I personally am enjoying waiting for the dust to settle.

Anyone in the US going after Assange risks looking like the FBI going after Hal Turner. Or as Confucious or someone else might have said, don't throw rocks out of a glass house.

So that Ardin chick might be ready to drop her complaint against Assange? I never understood that one. Is the criminal complaint all about him refusing to wear a condom? Maybe I don't want to know the specifics. If it wasn't rape, then what's this talk about condoms? It doesn't make sense.

It is strange Ardin can be tied to the CIA. Now whether that means something or is a fluke coincidence, I don't know. Keyboard meet dust settling.

Here's hoping Manning can keep his wits. I definitely agree with your schtick he needs to be helped. He seems to have issues. He's kind of similar to Pat Tillman or Howard Stern. These are people who believed in the War on Terror and whatnot yet eventually became disillusioned.

I'm not exactly sure what the deal is. We need specifics. I do think Manning needs to get his ass out of the military justice system and into regular guy courts. Maybe I'm wrong on that. Where the fock is the ACLU on all this? Have they been taken over by the right like what has happened to public broadcasting?

One thing is certain. Lamo is a dirty rat- a double crossing, not swell, not the stuff kind of guy.

donkeytale said...

The condom theory has been shredded. He supposedly forced himself on one of them and wasnt wearing protection.

Assange is actually the sick sounding fuck in all of this, ego swollen beyond his pecker.

Read this one for details:

Yes, never doubt the Tale when he's into a story that will shake the Fake Left.

Assange is playing them all like a gifted grifter.

donkeytale said...

Manning is army. He committed a crime on duty. No way he walks is my guess. You sign away civilian legal protections when you join the military.

Assange is a civilian, a non US citizen, a journalist. He. Is. In. No. Danger.

No matter how hard he tries to convince the world that he is....I have seen published reports going back to July quoting Assange saying that he's been told by "informed inside WH sources" that he will be arrested the minute he sets foot in the US.

The guy is a player, dude, a master manipulator as well as a smart, though severely unabalanced hero to the fake left.

As I have been saying all along, Manning is the real, unheralded hero and he is the one in real danger.

Huckabee has called for his execution, and of course the NYT mistakenly quoted him as saying Assange should be executed.


donkeytale said...

Truly, this story could use some socratization, just as the Raw thread could use some prepostericisterization (or wtf)....go for it dude. But wreack me up too, so our schtick tops the charts...

socrates said...

It would have to be preposterificating at Granny Raw Writing, because Melvin zapped my socrates username.

It's kind of sensory overload. I'm having trouble keeping up. Plus, it's kind of late right now. I'll try.

What I find striking is none of the kos kops are paying it any attention. You're no different than Last Horse Man or Blues to them. But if you stay out of their horse faces, they will let you have at it in the dungeon section of their dives.

I'll recommend it. Pfiore or one of her Jihn Lackeys should have already frontpaged it. I refuse to go back to FSZ. Writing in the Raw is not much different from FSZ and MLW. It's basically the same people, the same retread fake peeders.

I am living vicariously through your being on top of the fake left zeitgeist. Been there done that. It's exhilirating at the time. The downfall is when you realise these people are small potatoes. Sincerely imho, they have nothing on either of us, for two examples. It's a classic example of their needing us more than we them. But they're too stubborn or proud or something stupid to recognise our values as bloggers.

I wish I wasn't so burned out. I am, donkeydude. Blogging just ain't what it used to be. But eventually I do recatch the bug. I'm glad you came up with a new entry. I tried. I couldn't think of one topic to try. I even deleted two rough drafts of links I've had for a while. I've got nothing.