Editorials
2014-02-18
  NSA and GCHQ spying on WikiLeaks
2013-12-09
  Second release of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement documents
2013-11-29
  WikiLeaks consultant Gottfrid Svartholm Warg extradited from Sweden after alleged access to NSA contractor CSC
2013-11-29
  WikiLeaks Calls for US to Drop Grand Jury
2013-11-15
  Hammond Support Letter from World Media
2013-11-15
  US, Australia isolated in TPP negotiations
2013-11-07
  Announcing Australian Preview Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-11-06
  Statement by Sarah Harrison
2013-11-03
  Video: Snowden meets with German MP regarding being witness in NSA spying investigation
2013-11-01
  Press Release: German Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-10-25
  El Ingeniero: Communicado de Prensa
2013-10-24
  Announcing preview of "The Engineer"
2013-10-23
  Comunicado de Prensa: WikiLeaks estrena el desafía "El Quinto Poder": Mediastan - Un 'Road Movie' de WikiLeaks
2013-10-17
  Press Release: US Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-10-12
  Video: Edward Snowden wins Sam Adams award
2013-10-11
  Watch MEDIASTAN
2013-10-11
  Press Release: WikiLeaks Releases Fifth Estate Challenger: Mediastan - A WikiLeaks Road Movie
2013-10-09
  RELEASE: Julian Assange Correspondence with The Fifth Estate Star Benedict Cumberbatch
2013-10-09
  First Letter from Julian Assange to Benedict Cumberbatch Over The Fifth Estate
2013-09-30
  The Fifth Estate
2013-09-16
  Editorial: Release Barrett Brown
2013-09-06
  Swedish Police Open Investigation into Seizure of War Crime Evidence
2013-09-03
  WikiLeaks Files Second Criminal Complaint in Germany
2013-09-03
  Swedish Police Opens Criminal Complaint File ahead of Wednesday’s Obama Visit to Sweden
2013-09-02
  Press Release: WikiLeaks Launches Criminal Investigation ahead of Wednesday’s Obama Visit to Sweden
2013-08-27
  Op-ed: Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?
2013-08-27
  Op-ed: The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’
2013-08-21
  Statement by Julian Assange on today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning
2013-08-15
  Response to Today’s Bradley Manning Statement
2013-08-01
  Statement on Snowden’s Successful Russian Asylum Bid
2013-07-30
  Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial
2013-07-12
  Statement by Edward Snowden to human rights groups at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport
2013-07-03
  MasterCard breaks ranks in WikiLeaks blockade
2013-07-02
  Edward Snowden submits asylum applications
2013-07-01
  Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow
2013-06-26
  Further Statement From Baltasar Garzón
2013-06-26
  Transcript of WikiLeaks Press Conference on Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong
2013-06-24
  Statement From Baltasar Garzón
2013-06-23
  WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong - UPDATED
2013-06-23
  Profile: Sarah Harrison
2013-06-23
  WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong
2013-06-22
  Statement by Julian Assange after One Year in Ecuadorian Embassy
2013-06-04
  Assange Statement on the First Day of Manning Trial
2013-06-03
  Bradley Manning Trial FAQ
2013-05-24
  WikiLeaks Leaks the Annotated Transcript of Universal’s WikiLeaks Documentary Ahead of Opening Tomorrow Night
2013-05-11
  For the next 49 days you can donate to WikiLeaks
2013-04-22
  Transcript of secret meeting between Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt
2013-02-07
  Eight FBI agents conduct interrogation in Iceland in relation to ongoing U.S. investigation of WikiLeaks
2012-12-20
  Statement by Julian Assange after Six Months in Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-12-16
  WikiLeaks declares war on banking blockade
2012-12-05
  Julian Assange Presentation to EU Parliament on Corruption Revealed in Cablegate
2012-11-29
  Assange statement regarding CNN’s Erinn Burnett show comment on Ecuador
2012-11-27
  European Commission enabling blockade of WikiLeaks by U.S. hard-right Lieberman/King, contrary to European Parliament’s wishes
2012-11-26
  WikiLeaks donations now tax deductible EU wide
2012-11-20
  European Parliament votes to protect WikiLeaks
2012-10-10
  WikiLeaks GI Files Presidential Campaign Release
2012-10-03
  Press Statement: In this election, vote with your wallet, Vote WikiLeaks
2012-09-27
  Transcript of Julian Assange Address to the UN
2012-09-26
  US Military Refers to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as the "enemy" with the "victims" being "society"
2012-09-26
  Background for UN Talk - Ongoing Investigation into WikiLeaks
2012-09-11
  Inside the secrets and lies behind ’Secrets and Lies’
2012-09-10
  The public relations state: full details of WikiLeaks & Assange Ofcom complaint over "WikiLeaks: Secrets & Lies"
2012-08-23
  Statement on U.K. intentions and pressures prior to Ecuadorian embassy siege
2012-08-19
  Official Statement by Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-08-16
  Statement on UK threat to storm Ecuadorian embassy and arrest Julian Assange
2012-07-18
  Press Release: WikiLeaks opens path through banking siege. Donations open.
2012-06-29
  Press Statement: By Julian Assange Defense Fund Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-06-28
  Press Release - WikiLeaks: Beat the Blockade CD
2012-06-21
  Wikileaks has launched a case against Valitor hf. (formerly VISA Iceland)
2012-06-19
  Effective Declaration of Abandonment from Australian Government
2012-04-18
  Smear and Enjoy
2012-04-17
  Press Release - 500 Days of the WikiLeaks Banking Blockade
2012-04-05
  Assange Submissions to the Leveson Inquiry
2012-03-06
  Kristinn Hrafnsson: The Great WikiLeaks War on Sweden?
2012-03-06
  Press release: WikiLeaks on Recent Fabricated Stories in the Swedish Press
2012-02-15
  WikiLeaks denounces UNESCO after WikiLeaks banned from UNESCO conference on WikiLeaks
2012-01-23
  New Assange TV Series
2011-12-16
  Statement on Bradley Manning Case
2011-11-30
  Guardian’s "WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies" Documentary:
2011-10-23
  WikiLeaks Press Statement: WikiLeaks vs the Banks
2011-09-22
  Julian Assange: Statement on the Unauthorised, Secret Publishing of the Julian Assange "autobiography" by Canongate
2011-09-19
  WikiLeaks Launches the First of Four Fundraising Auctions
2011-08-24
  US espionage investigation against WikiLeaks: PATRIOT Act order unsealed
2011-06-15
  In Conversation with Julian Assange Part II
2011-05-24
  "WikiSecrets" Julian Assange Full Interview Footage
2011-05-23
  In Conversation with Julian Assange Part I
(on 2013-08-27)

Op-ed: The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’

By JULIAN ASSANGE

This article - a review of The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen - was originally published as an op-ed in the New York Times on June 1 2013.

“THE New Digital Age” is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the 21st century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas.

The authors met in occupied Baghdad in 2009, when the book was conceived. Strolling among the ruins, the two became excited that consumer technology was transforming a society flattened by United States military occupation. They decided the tech industry could be a powerful agent of American foreign policy.

The book proselytizes the role of technology in reshaping the world’s people and nations into likenesses of the world’s dominant superpower, whether they want to be reshaped or not. The prose is terse, the argument confident and the wisdom — banal. But this isn’t a book designed to be read. It is a major declaration designed to foster alliances.

“The New Digital Age” is, beyond anything else, an attempt by Google to position itself as America’s geopolitical visionary — the one company that can answer the question “Where should America go?” It is not surprising that a respectable cast of the world’s most famous warmongers has been trotted out to give its stamp of approval to this enticement to Western soft power. The acknowledgments give pride of place to Henry Kissinger, who along with Tony Blair and the former C.I.A. director Michael Hayden provided advance praise for the book.

In the book the authors happily take up the white geek’s burden. A liberal sprinkling of convenient, hypothetical dark-skinned worthies appear: Congolese fisherwomen, graphic designers in Botswana, anticorruption activists in San Salvador and illiterate Masai cattle herders in the Serengeti are all obediently summoned to demonstrate the progressive properties of Google phones jacked into the informational supply chain of the Western empire.

The authors offer an expertly banalized version of tomorrow’s world: the gadgetry of decades hence is predicted to be much like what we have right now — only cooler. “Progress” is driven by the inexorable spread of American consumer technology over the surface of the earth. Already, every day, another million or so Google-run mobile devices are activated. Google will interpose itself, and hence the United States government, between the communications of every human being not in China (naughty China). Commodities just become more marvelous; young, urban professionals sleep, work and shop with greater ease and comfort; democracy is insidiously subverted by technologies of surveillance, and control is enthusiastically rebranded as “participation”; and our present world order of systematized domination, intimidation and oppression continues, unmentioned, unafflicted or only faintly perturbed.

The authors are sour about the Egyptian triumph of 2011. They dismiss the Egyptian youth witheringly, claiming that “the mix of activism and arrogance in young people is universal.” Digitally inspired mobs mean revolutions will be “easier to start” but “harder to finish.” Because of the absence of strong leaders, the result, or so Mr. Kissinger tells the authors, will be coalition governments that descend into autocracies. They say there will be “no more springs” (but China is on the ropes).

The authors fantasize about the future of “well resourced” revolutionary groups. A new “crop of consultants” will “use data to build and fine-tune a political figure.”

“His” speeches (the future isn’t all that different) and writing will be fed “through complex feature-extraction and trend-analysis software suites” while “mapping his brain function,” and other “sophisticated diagnostics” will be used to “assess the weak parts of his political repertoire.”

The book mirrors State Department institutional taboos and obsessions. It avoids meaningful criticism of Israel and Saudi Arabia. It pretends, quite extraordinarily, that the Latin American sovereignty movement, which has liberated so many from United States-backed plutocracies and dictatorships over the last 30 years, never happened. Referring instead to the region’s “aging leaders,” the book can’t see Latin America for Cuba. And, of course, the book frets theatrically over Washington’s favorite boogeymen: North Korea and Iran.

Google, which started out as an expression of independent Californian graduate student culture — a decent, humane and playful culture — has, as it encountered the big, bad world, thrown its lot in with traditional Washington power elements, from the State Department to the National Security Agency.

Despite accounting for an infinitesimal fraction of violent deaths globally, terrorism is a favorite brand in United States policy circles. This is a fetish that must also be catered to, and so “The Future of Terrorism” gets a whole chapter. The future of terrorism, we learn, is cyberterrorism. A session of indulgent scaremongering follows, including a breathless disaster-movie scenario, wherein cyberterrorists take control of American air-traffic control systems and send planes crashing into buildings, shutting down power grids and launching nuclear weapons. The authors then tar activists who engage in digital sit-ins with the same brush.

I have a very different perspective. The advance of information technology epitomized by Google heralds the death of privacy for most people and shifts the world toward authoritarianism. This is the principal thesis in my book, “Cypherpunks.” But while Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Cohen tell us that the death of privacy will aid governments in “repressive autocracies” in “targeting their citizens,” they also say governments in “open” democracies will see it as “a gift” enabling them to “better respond to citizen and customer concerns.” In reality, the erosion of individual privacy in the West and the attendant centralization of power make abuses inevitable, moving the “good” societies closer to the “bad” ones.

The section on “repressive autocracies” describes, disapprovingly, various repressive surveillance measures: legislation to insert back doors into software to enable spying on citizens, monitoring of social networks and the collection of intelligence on entire populations. All of these are already in widespread use in the United States. In fact, some of those measures — like the push to require every social-network profile to be linked to a real name — were spearheaded by Google itself.

THE writing is on the wall, but the authors cannot see it. They borrow from William Dobson the idea that the media, in an autocracy, “allows for an opposition press as long as regime opponents understand where the unspoken limits are.” But these trends are beginning to emerge in the United States. No one doubts the chilling effects of the investigations into The Associated Press and Fox’s James Rosen. But there has been little analysis of Google’s role in complying with the Rosen subpoena. I have personal experience of these trends.

The Department of Justice admitted in March that it was in its third year of a continuing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks. Court testimony states that its targets include “the founders, owners, or managers of WikiLeaks.” One alleged source, Bradley Manning, faces a 12-week trial beginning tomorrow, with 24 prosecution witnesses expected to testify in secret.

This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing. “What Lockheed Martin was to the 20th century,” they tell us, “technology and cybersecurity companies will be to the 21st.” Without even understanding how, they have updated and seamlessly implemented George Orwell’s prophecy. If you want a vision of the future, imagine Washington-backed Google Glasses strapped onto vacant human faces — forever. Zealots of the cult of consumer technology will find little to inspire them here, not that they ever seem to need it. But this is essential reading for anyone caught up in the struggle for the future, in view of one simple imperative: Know your enemy.

For more on Google, see:

Transcript of secret meeting between Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?

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