Book Club – Chapter 7 Summary

By Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud
March 25, 2016

Chapter 7 – The Rebel Defiant

This chapter examines key players in the WkiLeaks hacks.

“Those associated with WkiLeaks are routinely stopped – often at international airports – and attempts are made to recruit them as informants (pg. 176).”

“The persecution of Assange and WikiLeaks and the practice of extraordinaty rendition embody the evisceration of the Fourth Amendment, which was designed to protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probably cause (pg. 177).”

“Assange was WikiLeaks primary role as giving a voice to the victims of US wars and proxy wars by using leaked documents to tell their stories. The release of the Afghan and Iraq “War Logs,” ASsange said, disclosed the extent of civilian death and suffering as well as the plethora of lies told by the Pentagon and the state to conceal the human toll. He added that the logs also unmasked the bankruptcy of the traditional press and its obsequious service as war propagandists (pg. 179).”

“The few renegades within the press who refuse to wave the flag and lionize the troops become pariahs in newsrooms and find themselves attacked – like ASsange and Manning – by the state (pg. 180).”

“There is no free press without a willingness to defy law and expose the abuses and lies carried out by the powerful. The Pentagon Papers, released to the New York Times in 1971, as well as the Times’ Pulitzer-winning 2005 exposure of the warrantless wiretapping of US citizens by the National Security Agency, made public information that had been classified as “top secret” – a classification more restricted than the lower-level “secret” designation of the documents released by WikiLeaks (pg. 181).”

“But as the traditional press atrophies with dizzying speed, out last hope lies with rebels such as Manning, Assange, Hammond, and Snowden (pg. 180).”

“Haven’t they realized that this is a way by a global corporate elite not against an organization or an individual but against liberty, the freedom of the press, and democracy itself (pg. 181)?”

“There will always be people within the system that have an agenda to defy authority (pg. 181).”

“the internet, which was supposed to be a civilian space, has become a militarized space. The Internet has become not only a tool to educate, they write, but the mechanism to cement into place a “Postmodern Surveillance Dystopia” that is supranational and dominated by global corporate power. This new system of global control will “merge global humanity into one giant grid of mass surveillance and mass control (pg. 182).”

“It is only through encryption that we can protect ourselves, Assange and his coauthors argue, and it is only by breaking through the digital walls of secrecy erected by power elite that we can expose power. What they fear, however, is the possibility that the corporate state will eventually effectively harness the power of the Internet to shut down dissent (pg. 182).”

“The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation,” Assange writes, “has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen (pg. 182).”

“The afghans, the Iraqis, the Yemenis, the Pakistanis, and the Somalis know what American military forces do. They do not need to read WikiLeaks. It is we who remain ignorant. Our terror is delivered daily to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. But to us, it is invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones, and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. We are not conscious of the long night of collective humiliation, repression, and powerlessness that characterizes existence in Israel’s occupied territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not see the boiling anger that war and injustice turn into cauldron of hate over time. We are not aware of the very natural lust for revenge against those who carry out or symbolize this oppression. We see only the final pyrotechnics of terror, the shocking moment when the rage erupts into an inchoate fury and the murder of innocents. And wilfully uninformed, we do not understand our own complicity. We self-righteously condemn the killers as subhuman savages who deserve more of the violence that created them. This is a recipe for endless terror (pg. 187).”

“The sentence required the judge to demonstrate a callous disregard for transparency and our right to privacy. It required her to ignore the disturbing information Hammond released showing that the government and Stratfor had attempted to link nonviolent dissident groups, including some within Occupy, to terrorist organizations so that peaceful dissidents could be prosecuted as terrorists. It required her to accept the frightening fact that intelligence agencies now work on behalf of corporations as well as the state. She also had to sidestep the fact that Hammond made no financial gain from the leak (pg. 192).”

“Why should we respect a court system, or a governmental system, that does not respect us? Why should we abide by laws that protect only criminals like Wall Street thieves while leaving the rest of us exposed to abuse? Why should we continue to have faith in structures of power that deny us our most basic rights and civil liberties? Why should we be impoverished so that the profits of big banks, corporations, and hedge funds can swell? (pg. 192)”

“He told me that his goal was to build “leaderless collectives based on free association, consensus, mutual aid, self-sufficiency and harmony with the environment.” It is essential, he said, that all of us work to cut our personal ties with capitalism and engage in resistance that includes “mass organizing of protests, strikes, and boycotts,” as well as hacking or to disrupt/destroy these systems entirely (pg. 195).”

“Hammond spent months within the Occupy movement in Chicago. He embraced its “leaderless, non-hierarchical structures, such as general assemblies and consensus, and occupying public spaces.” But he was critical of what he said was Occupy’s “vague politics.” Hammond said he was not interested in a movement that “only wanted a ‘nicer’ form of capitalism and favoured legal reforms, not revolution (pg. 195).”

“The point,” he said, “is to carry out acts of resistance and not get caught (pg. 195).”

“Black Bloc seeks to hit them where it hurts, through economic damage. But more than smashing windows, they seek to break the spell of ‘law and order’ and the artificial limitations we impose on ourselves (pg. 196).”

“I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power, we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own systems of checks and balances, never mind the rights of its own citizens or the international community (pg. 196).”

“The hypocrisy of ‘law and order’ and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action,” Hammond told the court. “Yes, I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change (pg. 197).”

“Being incarcerated has really opened my eyes to the reality of the criminal justice system,” Hammond told me in jail. “[It] is not a criminal justice system about public safety or rehabilitation, but reaping profits through mass incarceration (pg. 198).”

“He insisted that he did not see himself as different from other prisoners, especially poor prisoners of colour, who were in for common crimes, especially drug-related crimes. He said that most prisoners are political prisoners, caged unjustly by a system of totalitarian capitalism that has snuffed out basic opportunities for democratic dissent and economic survival (pg. 198).”

“He said resistance must be a way of life. “The truth,” he said, “will always comes out. “ He cautioned activists to be hyper vigilant and aware that “one mistake can be permanent.” Activists should “know and accept the worst possible repercussion” before carrying out an action and show be “aware of mass counterintelligence/surveillance operations targeting our movements.” But he added, “don’t let paranoia or fear deter you from activism. Do the down thing! (pg. 199)”

“In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution – transparency (pg. 199).”

“When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged,” she went on. “When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it. Courage is contagious (pg. 199).”

“The world has been turned upside down. The pestilence of corporate totalitarianism is spreading over the earth. The criminals have seized power. It is not only Assange, Hammond, Abu-Jamal, Manning, and Hashmi they want. It is all who dare to defy the destructive fury of the global corporate state. The persecution of these rebels is the harbinger of what is to come: the rise of a bitter world where criminals in tailored suits and gangsters in beribboned military uniforms – propped up by a vast internal and external security apparatus, a compliant press, and a morally bankrupt political elite – hunt down and cage all who resist (pg. 200).”

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