Well, I think I’ve figured out how the FBI and Dept. of “Homeland Security” got it into their heads that anarchists were planning to attack the media at the DNC. For the uninitiated, there are three groups of “hackers” in the world:
- People who write free software, and do not break into things. These guys (I consider myself among them) use the term to mean “hacking something up”. If you’re confused, think “spit-n-bailing-wire” airplanes and battlefield radio operators from WWII. The guys that did that were the original hackers, and the term made it into computing through cross-pollination (as advanced computing research was nearly entirely military-funded throughout the cold war—e.g. the first test of the Internet Protocol was done using a van on a freeway in California, to simulate a tank on the battlefield sharing data with headquarters).
- People who attempt to break existing security systems to find vulnerabilities, then publish that material so the vulnerability in question will be fixed. This, BTW, is most all computer security issues get fixed before some enterprising kid writes a virus to exploit them. CERT (an agency of the U.S. government), and Bugtraq are a good examples of this second type of hacker.
- People who deface websites, write viruses, etc. Their claim to the term “hacker” is derived from the fact that the media calls them “hackers”. People in the first two groups refer to them as crackers, because their actions are most always destructive whereas the first two groups are most always constructive.
Anyhow, members of the second group, at Cryptome.org published a list of problems they found the security setup at the DNC convention. They also published a warning about the so-called “‘Free’ Speech Zone”. Finally, they also published the plan that the DNC and police delivered to the City Council. Since there are anarchists in Cryptome (just as there are anarchist janitors, writers, poets, artists, autoworkers, miners, and service workers), and it’s pretty evident from what the Bl(a)ck Tea Society representatives said on The Daily Show there’s some cross-pollination between anarchists and Cryptome (regarding the protest-pen warning), and when the DHS contacted Cryptome it was reported on an anarchist website, the feds took some kind of wild leap of logic to assume that the possible problems list was actually some kind of terrorist roadmap, actually suggesting that the media should be targetted. I’ve read the problems list, and it’s nothing of the sort; it’s a list of things anybody who’s legitimately concerned about deadly terrorist attacks should have thought of, but those doing the DNC convention apparently didn’t. I mean, come on, how do you miss an unguarded air conditioner, even I know about the potential for problems there—a dirty A/C is how there was that sudden outbreak of Legionaires’ Disease in the ’80s.
The conclusion I choose to draw is this: The DHS and the FBI are not legitimately concerned about terrorism at the DNC convention. They are concerned with left-wing protesters who intensely dislike how badly the Democrats have sold out working people making them look bad.
However, since this information is out there, the media could certainly pick up on it and bitch at how incompetent the FBI/DHS are—or worse, question the underlying assumption that the government isn’t simply using terrorism warnings as a scare tactic to keep people in line (as they started to do when the “unspecific threat” warnings came out the day after Kerry picked Edwards as his running mate).
Now, I’m kinda loathe to say that this is all bullshit just in case anything actually does happen, but it’s certainly looking as though this whole exercise is just to provide the police an excuse to crack down on the resurging anti-capitalist/anti-corporate movement—after all, if there were threats of terrorism against the media before the convention, how can the media not be grateful to the police for saving them.
If this is the case (and I would actually be kinda surprised if it wasn’t), it’s an even more subtle form of embedding as a means of information control. See, embedding as a form of information control operates by giving the media a direct, “your life is at risk too,” stake in the outcome of the war. And that is precisely what this latest “warning” does for the media covering the DNC protests. It’s an implicit “don’t listen to them, they want to hurt you,” and the people who are responsible should be ashamed of themselves.