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Julian Assange, Australian hacker and mystery man

Preceded by a soft announcement from the US government that it had notified various countries of their potential embarrassment at the contents of an imminent WikiLeaks release, today’s papers headlined some of the reasons.  A sordid accounting it is, revealing the squalor that lies beneath the carefully minced words of our diplomats, the Masters of Lying.   We read that today Mrs. Clinton, on behalf of America’s government is now to scurry about the world assuaging the damaged feelings of those whose interests may be deeply compromised.

Behind this release, and the previous one regarding America’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, is Julian Assange, whose life is surely in the balance.   Those whose feelings have been bothered, from the US and across the board, are well-known for assassinations for far lesser offenses.  Assange, works with WikiLeaks, an organization which has in effect supplanted the now fully corporately owned and controlled media, and taken up the kind of work formerly done, for example, by the Washington Post in the Watergate case.   As that once more or less independent media is now utterly in the control of the corporate interests which now are the government of America and many other countries, WikiLeaks performs a valuable, and to those powers, very dangerous, service of providing a glimpse of the truths laying behind the fraudulent propaganda issued by governments and corporations.

Pfc. Manning, accused leaker

The source of the current leak is a young man, a Private in the US Army.  It is alleged that in his job he hacked the government files, apparently, so the government alleges, because of personal unhappinesses with his bosses, etc.  This is the government’s version.  Government’s speak as they do.  It could not occur to those within the government that some might find their practices immoral, unethical, dangerous, and find exposure the best cure.

On a modest level, in my recent trip to Kolkata for the film festival, I had a small personal (if redundant, since I was well-acquainted with this mind-set and practice from many other prior cases) experience reconfirming my observation of how our diplomatic corps (and military and intelligence services) actually function.    I was invited to the festival thanks to some work by a friend of mine in Kolkata, who I’d met 7 years ago when there to do a workshop in Raipur for a month, and then another month in Kolkata where I did 4 workshops at different media and film teaching institutions.  During this time I got to know my friend, who was a film buff, and this year he helped get the Kolkata festival interested in showing my work in a 6 film “focus” program.  He worked with the US Consulate, some 11 years I think it was, and helped to get them willing to participate in footing my hotel bill, and sponsoring a workshop done at the American Cultural Center.   Apparently this proposal was met with stiff resistance at the Embassy in Delhi, which didn’t see why it should be inviting and helping to pay for a person with known contrarian views, and worse, had been in prison (in support of those views).   I was, apparently, rather reluctantly invited, something which was evident in the cool reception I received on arrival, where the head cultural attache of the Consulate couldn’t be bothered with meeting me, a little formality which to my past experience would be normal.   Despite this little matter, the workshop went off, staff were helpful, and everything went more or less fine.  However the Consulate’s relation with the festival was a bit surly with nasty comments regarding organization and such flying back and forth.  At one point the Consulate, without consulting with me, owing to a communications snafu canceled my press conference.   Feeling I was being censored, I put my foot down and said I would be doing the press conference, period, and in turn the Consulate people jiggled their schedule and arranged for the press conference to go on, but also placed a Consulate man at my side, in my view as a kind of minder.  As it happened the press conference was basically silly, with questions basically asking why I didn’t make more audience friendly, as in Bollywood, movies, with my response that I didn’t make films to please audiences, but to challenge them.  The Consulate man had nothing to say.  I’d done my duty.  Aside from the press conference, however, I’d done many interviews for the press, among them some that wandered into political realms, where, as usual, I spoke my mind.  In the airport in Kumming, China, during a layover, I opened my email to find a note from the invisible Consulate cultural attache, headlined with “America will fall apart….”    I knew instantly what this referred to, and then read this:

John,

Hope you’re feeling better and Darjeeling treated you well.

My staff brought this interview you conducted with  The Scape (see the link below) to my attention.  Not sure if they got the quote exactly right, and I have no issue with you expressing your personal thoughts, but a heads-up would have been appreciated.  Nevertheless, I’m proud that the USG is comfortable with sponsoring artists who in some cases vehemently disagree with some of our policies.  I was well aware of your political beliefs before we extended the invitation, and do not regret doing so.

Please do let me know if there are other similar stories that might come out so I can be prepared to respond to any inquiries.

Thanks.

Attached:

The US will fall within twenty years: Jon Jost

theScape: Online Newspaper, Nov 13 — Jon: There is no left in America. For us Barack Hussein Obama represents the Left. If you want my comment on their policy I would like to tell you that the US is now a ‘Police State’ and I think like USSR it will fall within 20 years. Once what happened with ruble, same will happen with dollar too.

This email perhaps unjustly confirmed my suspicion that the attempted cancellation of the press conference was less than benign.  As usual the quote is less than accurate, but still, having said here in endless ways, and in responses to the NYTimes Opinion pages, much the same thing, it does say what I think, however heretical from the viewpoint of an American diplomatic corps employee.  Of course it is perfectly natural and normal that those inside a system are blind to its limits and flaws, and lack the capacity to see from outside of it.  That is the nature of systems: they only let those inside of them who accept and fit the proper mold.  It explains why the CIA spends billions on billions of dollars securing “intelligence” and come up dead-wrong so often.  Ditto the US military.  Only the blind are accepted and let into the inner sanctum and they echo each other endlessly until, as if by magic, their world disappears to their surprise in a quick poof.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Institutionally they are programmed to never get it.

NY Times press room, circa 1970’s

And so, something like WikiLeaks, or that there would be people inside their system who rebel for honorable reasons, is beyond the ken of those within a system, who are essentially programmed to think that everyone else thinks, or should think, just as they do.  Systems require and demand conformity.  Conformity closes the mind.  The consequence is that there exist vast gaps within the structures of a system for anyone outside that system, with some intelligence, to exploit.   Thus nerdy hackers like Assange, or Private Manning, who actually know how computer code is structured, or how the internet allows for the dispersal of information, can render billions of dollars of governmental machinations and secrecy, void.   It provides a little hopefulness as our corporate owners attempt to make a kind of unified theory of social management to know they don’t really understand the systems they have harnessed, and least of all do they know how people outside their mind-set actually think and feel.    A little breeze of truth in the avalanche of ideological gas.

Mr Assange, in the interests of protecting himself – certainly in his position a very valid concern – has apparently provided himself a kind of life insurance policy:  he has, in encrypted form, deposited in various hidden internet sites, further documents of a highly damaging kind for governments and corporations.  The key to these have likewise been dispersed in such manner that should he go missing, be killed, or otherwise become MIA, this information would be released.

A just-can’t-get-it man

Nathan Oliveira painting

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