BY DAN VALENTI
A Further Downtown Note
THE PLANET has received more information from the inside on downtown activity and developments. We will pass it along in the interests of furthering the discussion. Our intelligence will spur more debate, raise more feather, and garner more agreement.
The info was passed along from several sources, and it will contain a few surprises. Look for it on Monday. And look for it nowhere else, because, again, (1) we have spies where no one else does and (2) we believe that in a free society, there should be few secrets. Be sure to check in here Monday for news you will get NOWHERE ELSE.
On the Lamentable Hounding and Unjust Persecution of Julian Assange
In a word: Disgusting. Julian Assange, the brainchild behind Wikileaks, has performed an enormous act of good in releasing to the light the nefarious hidden world of America’s so-called open government. Now before anyone lectures us on the need of nations to keep secrets, we know and would agree. However, in the national security state that silently hijacked democracy after WWII and has been building itself into the Leviathan World Policeman ever since, America has far too many hidden doings.
The internet and the age of personal computers has finally leveled the playing field a bit in favor of We The People, and if you look at it, the 250,000 diplomatic cables that Wikileaks is releasing are no more harmful than smoking a cigar and not inhaling. The cables might be embarrassing to foreign leaders, but so what? The U.S. taxpayers is pouring trillions of dollars their way, and for that, we cannot be harmed by knowing how our government truly thinks about these people. We said trillions: our fiasco in Iraq and Afghaistan alone has now hit $3 trillion.
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has called the dump of the records “illegal, regrettable, thoughtless, and irresponsible.” Really?
How is it illegal? Wikileaks operates in cyberspace and is not bound to the old-fashion concept of “territory,” which, in geopolitics, means a “nation” with defined borders that exists in space and time. The internet takes the “geo” out of this clubby political arrangement, and in doing so has created a new dimension of political existence: a transnational realm that cannot be polluted by jingoism of “state.” In this realm, anyone with intelligence and a tiny amount of computer savvy can be equal to potentates, kings, and secretaries of state. This is the story, incidentally, missed by all of the mainstream media.
“Regrettable?” Only to the State Department. The cables has not crippled U.S. diplomacy. Clinton has had to “reassure” (bureau-speak for kiss a few asses) people like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. So what? In Astana, Kazakstan, Clinton expressed regret for the leaks. Kanat Saudabayev, her Kazakh equal, had a more rational response. He brushed it off, saying it amounted to the cost of business that must be paid from engaging in diplomacy. After all, what is diplomacy but international politics with the cover pried off?
“Thoughtless”? Not a bit. Assange and his small team put a great deal of thought in how to do what they are doing. He will some day be remembered as a the genius who figured out the implications of cyberspace in the fast-becoming-ancient world of geopolitics.
“Irresponsible?” No, Hilary dear. Assange’s team has delivered a service to the world that is the exact opposite. Wikileaks has been a sensible development that takes advantage of the personal computer’s power, among many other noble uses, to deliver a blow to imperial nations who wish to act in our name but without our consent.
Assange has released only a fraction of the 250,000 documents. It appears he’s keeping to rest as leverage. Authorities have made him a hunted man, ironically one who has broken no laws. Sweden has bowed to U.S. pressure and issued a warrant for his arrest on what appear to be trumped up charges of rape stemming from consentual, albeit unprotected, sex. This amounts to nothing else than a witch hunt, similar to what the criminal justice system in Berkshire County did to Bernard Baran to keep him quiet.
Assange has said that should he be arrested, he will release the password to his team that will flood the world with all the unreleased cables. His arrest will not stop that, he says, nor will it stop Wikileaks from continuing. Hackers like Assange understand cyberspace much better than governments, and because they are small, can keep ahead of “The Man.” In a case of David beating Goliath, the world should cheer that a dozen people with computers can bring the nations of the world to account.
Clinton said yesterday that she believed “this attack, if left unpunished, will be just the first of many against anyone, anywhere.” She’s right, but it will be the first of many even if Wikileaks is punished and put out of business. The people who run Wikileaks and those like them operate in a different mode, from a different world, and they won’t be stopped. And before we forget, we sent Assange a message, saluting his heroism and integrity. He has used his own name, and hasn’t tried to hide his identity. He could have done it otherwise.
To Hilary Clinton and other world leaders: Welcome to the implications of the headlong embrace of handing out lives over to cyberspace.
It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Olver
THE PLANET has been following with amusement the panic of the Local Powers that Be (LPB) that Berkshire County Registrar of Deeds Andrea Nuciforo will be challenging long-sitting Congressman John Olver in 2012.
The LPB — which includes people like Pittsfield Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, North Adams Mayor Dick Alcombright, Sen. Ben Downing, and others of that ilk — couldn’t come out fast enough to let Olver know of their support, even going so far as to declare that Nuciforo doesn’t stand a chance.
THE PLANET will be writing in more detail in print for the Pittsfield Gazette in the upcoming issue on the Olver-Nuciforo matter, but for now, let us make several points:
* No local political machine should be able to declare much less determine who’s going to win and who’s going to lose in any election, let alone one that is almost two years away.
* The machine should not dictate outcomes.
* What has Olver done for this area? When supporters answer, they can only point out to “pork” dollars that he has brought back. In other words, the guy plays ball, gets funding that would likely come our way in any case, and returns OUR OWN DOLLARS BACK TO US. So bloody well what? As far as that goes, Olver is from Amherst. Nuciforo is from Pittsfield. Who do you think will fight harder for Berkshire County? You got it: Andy.
* Olver’s in his 70s. He will be more than two years older on inauguration day. That makes him practically a fossil. He’s a droner, doesn’t know how to shut up, possess a professorial arrogance, and is a robotic lefty (an ideologue). Nuciforo is in his 40s. He has ambition and energy. He orates with crispness and care. He is a positional lefty (one who leans left but can be open to other points of view and moderate his positions in the best sense of political fashion).
Andy Nuciforo CAN beat John Olver. Why do you think the Establishment, including the bore and #1 lackey Alan I. Publius, are in a panic?