carl guderian on Tue, 16 Nov 2010 06:39:52 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> WikiLeaks and the Culture of Classification

Catching up a bit...

I think Wikileaks represents a small pushback against the stage- 
management of official and "leaked" information, stripping away one  
of many filters between events and us learning of them.  By dumping  
it on the internet, Wikileaks are letting anyone who cares and has  
the spare time see the same information they send to selected media  
outlets and check for outriight lies. We don't really have the time,  
but at least the opportunity is there. But Wikileaks is also taking a  
chance, trusting those media outlets to do the right thing with  
information that people risked their careers or even lives for.  
Wikileaks are a very interesting development, if not actually the  
revolution. They're letting everyone get at least a little closer to  
primary sources.

Meanwhile, Michael and Brian describe situations and people that  
could have come straight out of a John Le Carré novel. His characters  
chucked state secrets over the Iron Curtain and back again, for MICE  
(money, ideology, compromise and ego). Fear of being caught was a  
weak deterrent. George Smiley and his opposite number Karla inhabited  
a wilderness of mirrors that stretched out into infinity, and each  
tried to make the best of it, to gain a little advantage, and  
mitigate the setbacks.

Now that the Cold War is over or at least for now, and the one  
against "Terror" was a non-starter (not for lack of trying), it's  
gone internal, between the superrich and their political servants  
versus the rest of us. Does any worker share in the glory (let alone  
the material benefits) of capitalism's triumph?  Do they fuck. Now as  
then, security of proprietary information and the smooth operation of  
extensive informations networks depends on the competence and  
obedience of poorly paid workers wondering when their job will be  

Place the present situation against the mid-1960s of George Smiley  
(and Karla) or the sclerotic Soviet Union of Brezhnev (or the US of  
Ford, Rumsfeld and Kissinger) and they match up pretty well. But it's  
all necessary because Earth is a center-right planet and shut up,  
that's why. It can't last, but I don't see any perestroika, any  
reform from the top, anytime soon.

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