In all the years that the Alphaville Herald egged on the Communist-meme-mongering Woodbury University (an offshoot of the 4chan/b-tards/ etc. in the virtual world of Second Life), I didn't think Peter Ludlow (Urizenus Sklar) was actually doing the Kremlin's work for it.
To be sure, these script kiddies so gleefully covered -- and heavily incited -- by the Herald not only fetishized Communist insignia, they used the anarcho-commie Bolshevik methods of "the ends justify the means" in a kind of latter-day virtual terrorism, where the role of the "state" (or German financers?) was played by Woodbury University, what Lum Lumley (Scott Jennings) characterized as a Soviet commuter college in suburban Burbank, California.
But other than a Marxist-type paper on "neoliberal policies" read at a conference in St. Petersburg by one Edward Clift, the professor of these kiddies (he was in on it -- he sported the Pool's Out memes like the tell-tale 4chan Afro on his SL avatar), I didn't see any connection between real-life Russia and these affluent wannabee anarchists, or wrong-way Situationists.
With readership in the Alphaville Herald dwindling as Second Life begins to lose its attraction now that three main griefing organizations have been expelled, Ludlow and friends are trying to remake themselves as "relevant" by covering "real-life hacktivism," which shares some DNA with the same opensource cultists that one finds in places like Second Life on the IRC channel.
So now Uri is talking to the real Kremlin, without even truth-in-advertising admission that "RT" -- Russia Today -- is fact a notorious Kremlin propaganda outlet, as everyone knows. Read the site stories, comments and watch all the anti-Western videos for half an hour, and you'll figure it out.
Uri appears on a political talk show that is supposed to be sort of innocuous but sophisticated by a bouncy young thing, Alyona Minkovski, who was born in Moscow but raised in California and now works in the Washington studio (or New York studio) of RT, where Ludlow recently appeared.
What is the purpose of a propaganda show like this, where Uri knowingly assists in delivering the Kremlin's message?
To undermine the West, to distract from Russia, and to create a tacit set of double standards, where movements of dissent that attack Western countries and institutions and ignore Russia can be leveraged by the KGB's successors to keep Russia on top.
Alyona takes the high road by talking about hackers as almost endearing geeks who even have their "code of ethics," she says (like vory v zakone) -- that's said to make them heros and accentuate the point that their largely anti-Western antics are praiseworthy even with the liberal's conscience.
They have two main codes, she explains, "information wants to be free," and "authority should not be trusted, and decentralization must be promoted."
Um, how's that working out in Russia, Alyona? Why did it take so long to expose Luzhkov? And how come the president removes the mayor of a city, instead of the people, through elections of a new mayor of their choice?! Sure, promote decentralization -- but never in your own country, eh?
Uri comes on then first of all to completely exonerate himself from any statement made on the issue by anyone by saying "we don't know enough about all this". Snort. He then assures us that the hacktivist principle is "more or less good". Of course, real "good" hacktivists would really need to divorce themselves from the immorality and criminalization of 4chan and related groups to prove their point, but Ludlow thinks this is all just interesting "emergent behaviour".
Uri then proceeds to engage in the most appalling unethical pronouncement, all on behalf of the Kremlin, on Kremlin TV, and all in an outrageous whitewash of these unethical geeks, and all with a completely preposterous notion that would make even Eddie Haskell blush -- that information just "falls into people's hands". Shame on you, Uri!
Information doesn't just "fall into hands". Even very active journalists and bloggers like me know it seldom just arrives in your email box, you have to go procure it and pull it out of people and triangulate. The information that "fell" into the hands of Wikileaks had an awful lot of help getting there and it was no accident, comrade.
Having laid that absolutely false and propagandistic foundation, the Chomkyist Ludlow then word-salads his way past any misgivings any liberals might have about ethics by implying that each hacktivist then faces a "should I or shouldn't I" moment where this creature of the herd, hitherto guided by the Anonymous Everywhere invisible crowd, now suddenly becomes a responsible individual again and ostensibly weighs the value of divulging the information that "fell into his hands".
Bullshit. Most of these kids just cut and paste and torrent with abandon. They don't wait five seconds before they dump as much as they possibly can into the maw of the Internet (the Wrong Hands story, for example).
Uri pauses for a moment to note that hacktivists in fact decide whether information should be public or private -- as if they have a moment of conscience. More bullshit -- as this is the essential hypocrisy about these thugs: they want everyone else's information to be free, but they distribute it by anonymous accounts and proxies, and hide their own footprint as best they can.
Ludlow just thinks that's "normal" -- hactivists develop encryption tools and decide what to do, locking up their OWN communications above all, and that's just ducky. Plastic Ducky.
That's been my experience, too. The people who want to expose someone else's privacy in various stories always hide their own identity in a deep-throat day-old avatar or anonymous email. Seldom do they want to do themselves what they are about to do to their victims -- er, benefits of their "justice" operations.
And that's the weak point in the entire 4chan/Wikileaks/hacktivist bullshit Bolshevik operation. They want information to be free -- when they want it, except when they don't. It's not about openneses and transparency. It's not about making companies or corporate lawyers accountable. It's about acquiring power for themselves -- absolute power -- through a terrorist-cell-like structured movement and creating a powerfully conservative world, just in the way the Bolsheviks, who are considered by today's Internet ignoramuses to be "progressive" and "radical" -- but who froze modern development and the Enlightenment in their country for 75 years -- plus.
Says Ludlow, "The inflection point is where the decision YOU make is, whether you are a good or bad hacktivist or make a mistake."
Why would that be anything to celebrate? Uri pounds in his thesis -- propaganda bullet point -- that Assange is replaceable, and leaders are dispensable, and their names are legion, and that "the media" is getting it all wrong (unlike the expert Ludlow) by being obsessed with Assange as a "James Bond villain."
But these supposed loose horizontal movements in fact are terribly oppressive and sordid little vertikaly, with tribal leaders exactly like this mangy pup. And when he's unsettled, the place starts to fall apart and people start to leave, as they have been doing. This will not last forever. And it will end in jail sentences -- because the methods cannot attract mainstream, moral people and the coolness of crime wears off once the real paddy wagons start coming around.
Describing the hacktivsts, Uri says, "it's broad-based group, network of revolutionary individuals and revolutionary culture."
Sigh. It's as banal as evil always is. And it *is* evil to arrogate to yourself the right to expose an Afghan civilian to death, or even just some married man in a London suburb to the pain of exposure and divorce because you publicize that he downloads gay porn. It's morally wrong; it can't stand.
Ludlow believes if Assaunge is "rendered ineffective," that it won't matter, that the documents will keep flowing. Well, maybe -- but the evil isn't demonstrable.
Assuange, like Uri and the lovely Alyona, don't have a plan for how to Wikileak the Kremlin or the Taliban's strongholds. They only want to undermine the West, and they shrug about the greater evils in the East. That moral blindness and myopia are typical of American leftists exploited by Kremlin manipulators, but I didn't think it would reach such alarming proportions again so soon in our lifetime after the fall of the USSR in 1991.
Even Uri admits what the downfall of these movements are -- the secret police who encourage the informants' culture: Private Manning bragged about his exploits to a "turncoat hacker", i.e. someone who got a conscience. And there are more of them, and more of another kind--Western intelligent plants who are "boring from within," as Trotsky would say.
"People are doing this [hacking] all over the world, in China, Iran, all over the world," burbles Uri.
Um, you forgot to mention Russia, Uri.
"Governments will crack down, but hacktivist outnumber the number of people the government can throw at the problem." Oh, I dunno. As these Bolsheviks sharpen the Marxist contradictions, more and more people will take sides, and they won't take the side of those who think it's cool to needlessly harm other people.
Alyona goes on feigning the clueless ingenue to the end. Even if Wikileaks vanishes she says -- speaking about them as if they are the heroic dissidents that she doesn't in fact acknowledge in her own country -- "their spirit is still alive" and they "will always be here."
No, and neither will the Alyonas of the world, as the history of Russian power and communism has shown us. Uri is on the wrong side of that history.