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Re: <nettime> 3+1 notes on wikileaks
Florian Cramer on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 05:31:15 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> 3+1 notes on wikileaks


On Sunday, December 12 2010, 14:02 (+0200), pavlos hatzopoulos wrote:

> from http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=3353
> 
> 1. Wikileaks inhabits the terrain of the liberal notion of transparency
> 
> Wikileaks embodies the dark side of the government-sanctioned
> transparency campaigns of the Sunlight foundation, of Lawrence Lessig
> and so many others. 

One could also say that Wikileaks is the last radical - and therefore
perhaps 'dark' - utterance of European enlightenment philosophy: It
seems to operate on the grounds of a categorical imperative for public
governance where governments should "act only according to that maxim
whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a
universal law", as opposed to the double morality that any
Macchiavellian realpolitik will necessarily have. 

> 3. Wikileaks opens the defunct source code of government
> 
> >From the perspective of the hacktivism?s ethic, Wikileaks is crucial
> since it is opening ?the source code of government?. Even if we don?t
> argue against this, what does this source code reveal exactly? And now
> that we have it, what can we make this code to do? Pretty much
> nothing: the code is defunct. A code organising everyday government
> activities: meetings of government officials with other officials, or
> key-informers, or trusted interlocutors, their assessments on any
> situation they deem critical, their proposals for actions that are
> mostly out of context and unrealised. The state relies on
> communication channels that are out of synch and permeable, on
> key-informers who are of irrelevance, on megalomaniac officials who
> enjoy 19th century style geopolitical ambitions.

The issue are not merely the channels and communication systems, but
even more the messages sent over them. What has leaked so far amounts
to an epic, multivoiced Zola/William Gaddis novel, or a global
overlapping-narrative Robert Altman film, about a superpower losing it.

At the same time, it is naive by Assange and Wikileaks to assume the
leaked documents to be eye-openers to the public, fostering governance
for the people rather than governments lying to them.  Quite on the
contrary, one sees how a government (just like that of any other Western
country) actually works to do what ultimately has been elected for,
namely to secure the economic well-being and way of life of its
population, by using every political means and working under the most
absurd circumstances for securing resources, infrastructure and trade
all over the global (while knowing full well how this is increasingly
becoming an uphill battle). 

In this light, the embassy cable on the clan wedding party in Dagestan
reads like the 21st century equivalent of Trimalchio's dinner in
Petronius' Satyricon. For the greatest literature, it seems to take an
empire's decline.

-F

-- 
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