Sunday, January 20, 2008

the real threat 

This is an oldie, but a goodie. A classical example of official paranoia that speaks volumes about what they really care about:

Last February the Department of Homeland Security oversaw a large-scale international cyber terror simulation involving 115 public and private organizations in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, all testing their ability to coordinate with one another and respond to computer-driven attacks. It was called Cyber Storm.


The attack scenario detailed in the presentation is a meticulously plotted parade of cyber horribles led by a "well financed" band of leftist radicals who object to U.S. imperialism, aided by sympathetic independent actors.


The Black Hoods are a faction of Freedom Not Bombs, whose name is suspiciously similar to the real Food Not Bombs, which provides vegan meals to the homeless.


But does the administration really see the far left as potential cyber terrorists ready to take down the power grid and air traffic control systems? This might explain why the U.S. keeps getting caught spying on peaceful war-protestors.

Might explain? I can understand the reluctance to conclude that this does explain such phenomena. After all, it's crazy. Surely these heavily armed people that are claiming to protect us can't really believe this kinda stuff, right? Right?

Alas. Observe the power of coercive inhuman institutions to warp the fabric of the human mind to such a degree that anarchists who cook dumpster-dived food for homeless people can be perceived as a threat to the imperial project, and to imagine that the "Left" is well-organized and well-financed.

Note the further hilarity in the slide below. The anti-nuclear activists are threatening to bring about meltdowns. Being "anti-capitalist" and "anti-imperialist" automatically makes you a mortal enemy of the US government. The Pynchonesque "Auggie Jones (Cyber Saboteur)" as though some desperate to please Lieutenant was ransacking his mental rolodex trying to find a plausible villain to pad his assignment, "Abbie Hoffman...radical...scary...laughed at us...Edward Abbey...monkeywrench...sabotage...vaguely Jewish......Auggie Jones!".

Notice too the absence of any radical right-wing groups. Y'know, the kind that actually are well-organized and well-financed (relatively), that actually are heavily armed, and actually do attack agents of the state on occasion. But of course, ideology makes all the difference. We don't really care who ya kill as long as you keep the power relations intact.

I don't really know why I'm writing this though. There's nothing really new here, a variation on the COINTELPRO fun of the last generation, which was a variation on the HUAC and Palmer raids, which was...well you get the idea. I suppose it's just a bit of irritation at the wonderment of the Wired writer who gazes on in disbelief. With luck he'll be voting soon and once "change" occurs DHS will turn right 'round and start defending the country from people who aren't its citizens. Like the Department of Defense does, except...oh nevermind.


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