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Re: <nettime> FW: When technology is utilized against us.
Flick Harrison on Wed, 24 Jun 2009 22:46:22 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> FW: When technology is utilized against us.


I agree with Morlock. I recall a WWII story from "A Man Called
Intrepid." (by William Stevenson)

A female agent had a disassembled radio packed into her bicycle
basket. She had to go into a washroom, assemble the gear, hook up to
the toilet pipes as an antenna, and transmit encrypted morse-code
messages which were written inside her stocking. After a few minutes,
she had to move because Nazi direction-finder technology would zero in
on her immediately. For a certain period, she was the only resistance
contact in Paris. (She was captured and killed anyway).

But Morlock, I'm not sure the Iranians live in the same casual boredom
society that "we" do. It's a dictatorship. Communications have always
been restricted there, so I bet people have been careful about their
texts prior to this sequence of events. During my time in Pakistan - a
much milder regime - there was often veiled warning and tense silence
when I ventured into troubling conversational territory. And that was
in private verbal communications.

Moreover, the apparatus of oppression isn't limitless, even in places
like Iran. Crowd power can overwhelm that, and mass communication can
overwhelm it. Any attempt to short-cut their time-tested oppression
style (the midnight knock, the personal beating) and replace it with
more efficient / convenient crowd control (machine-gunning protesters)
is extremely risky because it creates new enemies faster than they can
be catalogued and because it enters new territory of confrontation
with civil society, rather than behind-the-scenes manipulation of it.
Unlike Prague 68 or Hungary 56, there are no Russian tanks waiting out
there to come to the rescue like a deus ex machina.

If the resistance fails, then perhaps the authorities can take their
time and sift through endless text messages to slowly collect the
troublemakers. It still might tax their administrative, prison and
oppression system, especially in light of brand-new veins of enemies
within that system and the risks of expanding the secret services
after such upheaval. But in the meantime, openness is an advantage for
the resistance, even if it's the only one.

I wonder if anyone knows the answer to this: was it possible to make
international phone calls between the Axis and Allies during World War
II? I recently read (in The Fall of Berlin 1945, Anthony Beever) that
the Russians made crank phone calls around Berlin as they advanced
through the city, just to terrify anyone who answered the phone.

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