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Archive for December 15th, 2010

Not all hackers wear white hats: News of the world scandal

Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2010

Nick Davies, The Guardian:

Lawyers have secured explosive new evidence linking one of the News of the World’s most senior editorial executives to the hacking of voicemail messages from the phones of Sienna Miller, Jude Law and their friends and employees.

In a document lodged in the high court, the lawyers also disclose evidence that the hacking of phones of the royal household was part of a scheme commissioned by the News of the World and not simply the unauthorised work of its former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, acting as a “rogue reporter”, as the paper has previously claimed.

The document claims Mulcaire’s handwritten notes imply that the news editor of the News of the World, Ian Edmondson, instructed him to intercept Sienna Miller’s voicemail and that the operation also involved targeting her mother, her publicist and one of her closest friends as well as her former partner, Jude Law, and his personal assistant….

More than 20 public figures are now in the early stages of suing the News of the World and Glenn Mulcaire for breach of privacy. The former deputy prime minister John Prescott and others are seeking a judicial review of Scotland Yard’s handling of the case, which may lead to a new inquiry.

That would be Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. As Nick Davies asks elsewhere:

Here’s the riddle. If the Guardian, the New York Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches can all find numerous journalists who worked at the News of the World who without exception insist that the newspaper routinely used private investigators to gather information by illegal means, why can’t Scotland Yard find a single one who will tell them the story?

What does Murdoch have on the British government?

Posted in Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | 1 Comment »

The Wikileaks thaw: a political phase transition

Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2010

Cryptome recovered some of Julian Assange’s 2006 essays (via Jay Ackroyd, via ZunguZungu, who says via WorkWithoutDread) and they make interesting reading. The points that caught my eye are highlighted in the passages below.

Think of the process Assange describes in terms of what happens when ice melts into water. The temperature has risen high enough that the ice phase is no longer stable–however, it can persist indefinitely depending on other factors. Those factors influence the speed at which the the ice interacts with the water phase. Those include the purity of the ice phase, the smoothness (and hence the size) of the ice surface, the kinetics of the water phase (which includes things like stirring and temperature), and so on. One of the great achievements of the American Revolution was recognizing the importance of factions (the purity of the ice phase) in resisting tyranny. One of the great achievements of the American counterrevolution has been the recognition of the power of the media in falsifying current events and re-writing history to propagandize players within factions.

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

I think Assange is wrong that secrecy per se induces fear and paranoia. Rather, the silent, sometimes subconscious knowledge that injustice is being done induces fear. This is why those who do injustice expend so much energy on falsifying history and producing propaganda about current events. What leaks do is bring to consciousness the fact that someone inside the group of the elect accepts that secrecy is being turned to unjust ends.

Authoritarian regimes give rise to forces which oppose them by pushing against the individual and collective will to freedom, truth and self realization. Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce resistance.

Authoritarianism requires lies, imprisonment, and suppression of the individual. The only path to muster national will and action in the absence of authoritarianism is through persuasion, education, reducing confinement, and assisting each person to (as the Army puts it) “be all that you can be.”

Continue reading below the fold Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Wikileaks | Comments Off on The Wikileaks thaw: a political phase transition

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