Julian Assange has been granted Ecuadorean citizenship. I’ve often wondered if Julian Assange was the secret author of the 2001-era Sir Cam worm. Known as ‘the worm that spreads secrets‘ it came out in June 2001 and targeted the Government of Ukraine and the FBI. At the time, Assange was a pioneer in computer worms, and suspected in involvement in the 1989 WANK worm that attacked NASA’s Galileo mission. By 2001, Assange had already started WikiLeaks like platforms (leaks.org).
Noting a story about counterfeit Modigliani paintings in the news today, I recalled a bit of research I had done on the film F for Fake, which deals with forgery of Modigliani paintings as a superficial subject. It is time to blog it. In my ‘expert’ opinion, this film is a clever piece of Cold War-era, Russian-inspired, anti-fascist propaganda. Ultimately the film serves as a vehicle to launch ‘legal’ (and carefully worded) smears at the characters of Howard Hughes and the ‘art expert’ community at large. Perhaps I feel guilty to say it is a fantastic and entertaining art film. (See the below if you only watch a moment of it.)
One of the reasons I don’t invest time in money-generating side quests in video games is that the money isn’t real. Who cares if you have a million Gil, GP, ‘gold’, etc. but you drive a Hyundai Accent in real life? (No offense intended — I am so cheap I used to drive one by choice.) In one way, this is how the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies look to me.
Their hyper valuations seem to be based on nothing more than the collective imagination of a bunch of game players hunched in front of their computer screens, having traded World of Warcraft quests for hashing programs. In addition, cryptocurrencies are mined using graphics cards, and this is quite literally where they become “video game money”.
Here’s a little model I whipped up based on my recent findings on post-9/11 conspiracism. I would encourage you to read Ilya Yablokov’s paper: Conspiracy Theories as a Russian Public Diplomacy Tool: The Case of Russia Today (RT) for a greater understanding of how conspiracy theory can be used as an information weapon. Remember, some conspiracy theories ARE state-created.
This model isn’t implying all conspiracies are wrong, bad, or ‘delusional’. Some are real. Certainly, I think being opposed to white power movements is net a ‘good’ thing. But I am asserting that those kinds of beliefs in opposition to populist anti-minority conspiracism may form the basis for mutual counter conspiracism and social conflict/discord which can be cultivated in Russia’s political interest (for example, what happened in Charlottesville).
Also, I propose that the basis for conspiracism seems to be opposition to something which is different or perceived as hostile to the group who theorizes a conspiracy exists. Thus, conspiracy theories may be almost defined by what they are against (‘anti-everything’) — rather than being ‘for’ anything.
Download it as a PDF here: Model of Russian Conspiracism
This is a very simple case to make, so I will keep it brief and to the point. The simple fact is that the “4000 Jews stayed home on 9/11” conspiracy theory is provably connected to the Baathist Syrian government and Ministry of Information, and therefore it is relevant for our discussions on modern Information Warfare.
Frequently, consumers of Russian disinformation who are Libertarian seem fixated on the idea of gold and bitcoin as replacement for the US dollar as a global reserve currency. Ron Paul has specifically called out bitcoin as a great way to “destroy the dollar”. This has been a stated objective of Vladimir Putin since at least 2009. In this vein, the well-known ‘gray-market internet entrepreneur’ (and criminal) Kim Dotcom is an interesting case study which shows the nexus between internet-based Libertarian voices hyping bitcoin and Russian information warfare / disinformation. It would seem to be a reciprocally cooperative agreement. Continue reading “The Bitcoin-Russian Information Warfare Nexus”
Project Veritas. Alabama robocalls. The CNN Donald Trump Jr.-WikiLeaks story? Is the era of ‘conservative active measures’ on the media upon us? I dare say so. Gird yourself for a wild ride, as it can only get worse with nobody doing anything about it in the government.
When dealing with folks who describe themselves as magicians, you’ll often find that they describe themselves as “conjurers” as well. In the collective imagination, the word conjuring evokes spells, incantations, and the summoning of spirits.
Interestingly, the origin of the word conjure actually comes from the Latin coniurare or conjūrāre, which means the act of forming conspiracy.
Dictionary.com word origin: C13: from Old French conjurer to plot, from Latin conjūrāre to swear together, form a conspiracy, from jūrāre to swear
I just finished reading this declassified October 1991 CIA intelligence assessment about Russia which emphasizes the relationship between conservative nationalism and Russian Orthodox state ideals. The document highlights the close interplay between anti-Semitism and Russian nationalism. It even accurately (and presciently) describes the Russian rationale behind the Crimea invasion, framed in the context of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Eurasianism (p. 16/23). This perspective seems useful in describing what post-Communist Russia has become, as well as the generally reactionary stance of the Putin regime. It can also go a long way towards explaining the propaganda from the 9/11 (September 11, 2001) timeframe of anti-Semitism and Nostradamus as being revanchist-Russian in origin.
One of Russia’s first “belletristic texts” (and potentially its first novel) was The Tale of Dracula. This book had a tremendous impact on the leadership of Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV); who cultivated a Russian national mythology which still persists. In understanding Russian revanchist strategy, this is important.