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CYBER-CIVILIZATION: PUNKS AND POLITY December 5, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Democracy, Social Environment, Terrorism Issues.
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Julian Assange, perhaps understandably, given his experience,  is wary and pessimistic about the future of a world embroiled with the internet. We have become the victims of pervasive surveillance and we should encode our communications to protect ourselves.

Yet is it not wholly pollyannaish to put a contending position. Now that governments, in particular the US, have taken to mining out information and our relationships, might we simply ask them in the event of a massive crash and the lost this information for whatever of the many possible reasons, to restore it to us. The thought here is that since governments, at least in democracies, are the servants of the people should they not act in a constructive way. Of course, they, and perhaps us, have become subsumed by fear and violence to make human kindness in this mental frame impossible. As Julian Assange noted the internet has fundamentally changed our civilization in a way equivalent to settled agriculture and more profoundly than printing did in Europe of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The conjunction of violence and civilization will either be reinforced, or we might reach for new democratic settlements and constitutions in which government is truly accountable and transparent. Secrecy creates a social prison.

Julian Assange gave an extended issue promoting his new book, Cypherpunks on Democracy Now</em>. This report on RT provides a summary:

As the apparently mainstream media, in the treatment of The New York Times chose to ignore Bradley Mannings testimony in the military hearings before a Judge prior to his trial next year. So too it seems that, if Phillip Dorling’s article in The Sydney Morning Herald is accurate, the Establishment is celebratory about Julian Assange and Wikileaks, as they see it, imminent demise, and indifferent to the prospect of undergoing the torture justice imposed by American incarceration. Phillip Dorling writes:

AUSTRALIAN government officials believe that WikiLeaks is ”broken” and that Julian Assange has no alternative other than to surrender for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.
They do not rule out the WikiLeaks publisher’s eventual extradition to the United States.
As Assange nears six months’ confinement in Ecuador’s London embassy, security and diplomatic sources in Canberra have privately expressed confidence that WikiLeaks is ”effectively moribund”.
It is thought that the transparency group’s dwindling financial support will ”sooner or later dry up” leaving Assange ”irrelevant and with little alternative other than to leave Ecuador’s embassy”.
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”This is slowly playing itself out, over months, maybe more than a year, but there’s only one likely outcome – extradition to Sweden,” a diplomatic source said last week.
One security official claimed WikiLeaks’ ”inner group” now comprised only ”four to six people, including Assange” and that its website was ”running on empty” financially.
”WikiLeaks doesn’t have an electronic drop box any more; they haven’t published anything of any great consequence for many months. There’s just a Twitter feed. This phenomenon has run its course,” he said.

Phillip Dorling further notes that the trial of Bradley Manning, implicitly the breaking of Wikileaks using the corporate muscle of Mastercard and others, and ultimately the imprisonment of Julian Assange are closely connected. The boring familiarity of the militarilization and democractization of society by effecting trashing the Bill of Rights and the entrenchment of military industrial surveillance state, expressed in the murderous drone program runs on indifferent to human or constitutional rights and human decency.

Those celebrating these developments might stop and think, if only to remember what it means to be a human being, and what civilization might require, let along human survival. Alfred North Whitehead, quoting (I believe) Plato, said, “The purpose of life is not only to live well; it is to live better”.

Postscript:

Looks like “the brave new world” has its downside, as reported on ABC News. Should we attribute these aspects to people not the technology. For example cars are often used in bank robberies. I am less concerned with the importing of drugs, than guns. The latter are easier to control, now there is awareness of what is going on.

Conor Duffy, Dealers shed light on dark internet’s drug trade (ABC News)

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