Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Parallels: Wikileaks and Second Life

If you've been following my blogs about the Wikileaks story, you know this is a cause dear to my heart. As I write, the Wikileaks.org domain name has been pulled from the root DNS servers in the US.

EveryDNS dropped WikiLeaks "to prevent its other 500,000 customers being affected by the intense cyberattacks targeted at WikiLeaks." These attacks have been ongoing since just before the release of the diplomatic cables; pretty interesting in the light of the Pentagon's veiled threats and the Obama Administration's cyberwar rhetoric of the past few months...

It kinda sounds like a legitimate action... however, what it means is that things can disappear from the web overnight.

Fortunately, the DNS servers here aren't the only ones out there. Several alternate DNS servers are mirroring and will still point to Wikileaks:


and a direct connection bypassing name servers can be made by using the True Name (numerical address) of the Wikileaks server in Switzerland:

As long as a site is connected to the internet somewhere, somehow, it can be accessed via its numeric IP address.

[ ADDED: this interesting link from Apmel:

Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative

See why this story interests me as an artist working in communication? The spin, slants, disinformation and misinformation is textbook psyops warfare/propaganda; the use of Madison Avenue advertising techniques (ie art/design) to sell a political message.

The revelations in the War Diaries material, including authorized death squads, widespread complicity in torture, consistently misreported and falsified body counts of civilians as well as soldiers and the rest of the shocking and morally bankrupt revelations revealed to have taken place for years have now been buried, pushed aside and obscurred by the campaign to paint the messenger ]


... and this is where Second Life comes into the picture. See, even if the numerical server was blocked, you could use peer-to-peer networks like Skype, or a torrent, or FTP, or email, or steganography, or telephones or carrier pigeons to communicate.

Second Life is an application I use to reach a world/community in which I am a resident and participate. I work there. I socialize there. I have some great friendships there, and peers to listen to and learn from. I think it's at least as real as the telephone (only disembodied voices), television (only dancing light beams through a particle mask) or a letter (pigmented water on paper).

But it is the network I reach, on a device called a "computer" over the lines called the "internet" through a program called "Second Life." The network is not the hardware or the software; those are merely tools to reach the network. The network always finds and uses whatever means and technologies are available to communicate.

I've been working in InWorldz lately and walking other worlds, broadening my horizons. I don't wish to be beholden to one company/DNS server/location putting the part of my life which is online into possible jeopardy or ransom or hostage. These politics do concern me, as they are the harbingers and forerunners of the digital war which is coming and in some cases already here.

If we are netizens, citizens of the wide world web, then it's good to be aware of the politics which involve our country; good to know of alternative places and spaces for meeting and greeting, continuing our work and maintaining the network. It's just simple civics; we are making the future world and if we'd like it to be a certain kind of world, it behooves us to be informed and to be active in its shaping. As we are all learning about this malleable universe, interactivity is very much a part of the underlying philosophy.


Mera Kranfel said...

Great post! Wikileaks is important as a phenomenon and its both exciting and scary to follow this and see where it will end up...

As u say the network is what is important here. And I dont either want to "lay all eggs in the same basket" as we say in Sweden. I try to be open minded and communicate with people on more than one grid and also on totally different places, blogs, forums and twitter.

We are the same individuals regardless, and I enjoy talking to my friends as much on whatever platform we are at the moment. The same people, different platforms =)

Apmel said...

Unfortunately the address
didn´t work (at least for me).. :(

Miso Susanowa said...

Hmmm, Apmel, I tried it several times and it pulls up Wikileaks page for me. Did you type the number in plain, without "www" in front? The link posted here should be direct; I've also tested it. Maybe your browser doesn't allow redirects?

In any case, the other domain name servers and mirrors mentioned above should work. If you are being blocked from that address in Sweden I'd like to know about it; thx.

sororNishi said...

Great post Miso...:))

Dividni Shostakovich said...

I was able to get to Wikileaks by numbers, no problem.

There's at least one online petition going around. I don't have much faith in petitions, but at least it's a public statement: http://www.avaaz.org/en/wikileaks_petition/?vl

Thanks Miso!

Miso Susanowa said...

Thx soror & Divi :)

I went to that petition, but I don't know much about the organization Avaaz, and didn't care particularly for the immediate toss to a donations page, or asking for my cellphone number.

However, Tom Hayden has posted this petition, which I urge people to sign, as Hayden has a good track record and a very high profile constituency.


Dividni Shostakovich said...

LOL -- *every* organization that sends petitions to me wants money! Greenpeace, Sierra Club, MoveOn, People for the American Way, Union of Concerned Scientists, CREDO, People for Sending Bills to Dividni Shostakovich, Committee for the Praise of Bullwinkle ... ok made that one up ... anyway the main thing is for people to make some noise. The Avaaz signature list is pretty large -- but go check Wikileak's Facebook page, which has well over a millions "Likes." Ummmm ... I won't be surprised if the US Govt tells FB to take down that page ...