Monday, October 16, 2017
  Vertical, not horizontal

Assange is pointing back to a discussion of his own motives by John Sexton in 2010.

Assange had written:
We can marginalise a conspiracy’s ability to act by decreasing total conspiratorial power until it is no longer able to understand, and hence respond effectively to, its environment. We can split the conspiracy, reduce or eliminating important communication between a few high weight links or many low weight links. Traditional attacks on conspiratorial power groupings, such as assassination, have cut high weight links by killing, kidnapping, blackmailing or otherwise marginalizing or isolating some of the conspirators they were connected to …
Sexton responded:
This is the intellectual foundation of his thoughts on leaks. If you break the links between conspirators, you decrease their control. The “traditional” way is to do this is to cut off the head of the snake, but what Assange is suggesting here is that technology has given him another way to accomplish the same goal. Call it the long tail of regime change. Instead of taking out one very high value conspirator, you could attempt to break the links between lots of low level conspirators by making them too paranoid to communicate.
This is a classic mob-breaking routine practiced by police for centuries, but it only works when there are two or three mobs of similar power AND when the police have power. Convince the leaders of Mob 1 that their low-level operators are disobedient; or vice versa convince the low-level operators that their leaders are switching sides. Observe the action. Mob 1 leaders will start to kill the operators. Some of the low-level dudes will flip and snitch because they see that the police can protect them from Mob 1 bosses. More generally the bosses of all mobs will break out of their closed loop and do unusual things which the cops can observe.

In reality the trick doesn't break the horizontal links between the low-level dudes; it breaks the vertical links from low to high. The employees no longer trust the boss to protect them from other mobs, and the bosses no longer trust their employees to follow orders.

The crucial variable, which Assange's analysis doesn't quite hit, is the presence of competing mobs.

The 2009 Climate Crime leak made a small but measurable difference because the low-level operators like journal editors were able to compare the behavior of the Mann Mob with non-criminal scientists. Journal editors are not innocent; they know how the science game works. They recognized that Mann's behavior toward journals was well beyond the normal bounds of ruthless competition, and they got stricter with the criminals.

The DNC leaks have been useless because there isn't a competing mob and there isn't a police force. For 40 years the Clinton Mob has been LITERALLY AND CONCRETELY KILLING EVERYONE WHO EVEN THINKS ABOUT COMPETING WITH THE CLINTON MOB OR PROSECUTING THE CLINTON MOB OR TESTIFYING AGAINST THE CLINTON MOB. Nobody wants to die, so nobody has tried to build up a competing mob, and no prosecutor has volunteered to die. There's no alternative source of power, no Witness Protection Program. Thus the links remain firm, even while Boss Hillary fulfills part of the pattern by running around the country bashing her subordinates. The subordinates bend over and take it because they have NOWHERE TO GO.

The DNC leaks have affected the thinking of ordinary people, but ordinary people have exactly zero power so they're not worth discussing.

= = = = =

We can see plenty of link-breaking at the larger scale of USA STRONG vs Russia, but this has nothing to do with leaks or tactics. The growth of a competing mob was SUFFICIENT to cause the breaks.

As soon as Russia and China began setting up a SANE mob which allows its low-level operatives to SURVIVE AND THRIVE, our low-level operatives began to switch sides. Everyone is tired of the USA STRONG total obliteration approach. Normal mob leaders offer a rational behaviorist reward-punishment paradigm. Obey and prosper; or disobey and die. We're beyond all that. We're EXCEPTIONAL. We simply KILL everything EXCEPT Saudi and Israel. Now even Saudi and Israel are wary of being the exceptions to the total obliteration rule; they no longer trust our exceptionality. When a psychotic killer is on a roll, nobody is safe.


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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