Barrgate: The Alternate Reality of the US Government

Posted on 12/02/2011 by

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Although I’ve only read through a small portion of the HBGary emails released by Anonymous, a very interesting picture is already forming in my mind. As I had written earlier, this is a very strange world in which the US government and its incestuously intertwined corporate complex exists. However, it’s much, much more insane than I had previously expected.

I generally have a very dim view of the USG/corporate complex.If someone is in the government proper, I assume they’re thirty years behind the times. If someone’s in the corporate complex of the government, they’re about fifteen to ten years behind. This might vary from person to person, but generally I have found this to be the case.

Now, until today I have simply assumed that the USG/corporate complex was simply wandering around in a fog of muddled thought and spastic attempts at seeming ‘hip’. The corporate members of this complex might occasionally be less muddled than the government workers proper, but by and large their world was a hazy grey mass.

Boy was I ever wrong. And it’s chilling: they are not in a haze. Their world is not a mass of grey fog, filled with vague shapes into which they bump with distressing regularity. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Institutional thought and decision-making is actually fairly straight forward, and involves only a minimal amount of fluff. Indeed, fluff seems to be the exception, rather than the rule, when looking at the HBGary level of the USG complex.

The problem is that the bedrock assumptions of the decision-making process is thirty years out of date. Quite literally, the USG complex’s most fundamental notions about the world — things they don’t even think about, because they’re so basic — have not changed since the 1980s. So-called ‘specialists’ like HBGary and their fearlessly self-promoting Aaron Barr are given vast sums of money for their slightly-less-antique incompetence, simply because they might have heard of the Commodore 64.

Really, the best way to express the situation is that the USG complex is in an alternate reality, where telephones are still big and clunky, and the Internet is a series of electric typewriters which can talk to each other. Computer data is not just a specially created magnetic field, but somehow papers which get shuffled around by these electric typewriters. Hence, why the US Department of Defence spokesman Geoff Morrell demanded the “return of all…documents”.

How does one return a magnetic field?

There is absolutely no understanding anywhere in the USG complex of how the world has been radically altered by widely-available computers and hand-held communication devices, all interconnected by the Internet. There is no realisation that society itself has been radically altered by the impact of these technologies, how they are used, and how people adapt to their use. As far as the USG complex is concerned, not only is the reality of the Internet’s power ignored, it doesn’t even seem to exist in this alternate reality.

This would, as an aside, explain very well the US government’s reactions to the Egyptian Revolution, and the monomania about the ‘threat’ of the Muslim Brotherhood. This concern wasn’t just propaganda or posturing, it was honest. The USG was truly concerned about Iran 2.0, even though the two Revolutions are worlds — almost literally — apart.An Iran 2.0 was the fear from the 1980s, and it survives undiminished  to this day in the USG complex’s institutional memory.

Don’t bother trying to tell them that, though. They can’t hear anything over the sound of how ‘right’ they are. In this alternate reality, the USG complex doesn’t know it is behind the times. Instead, it knows that it is ahead of the trend, and on top of every emergent problem. There isn’t a single chance, as far as institutional thought is concerned, that they can be taken off their guard. Such possibilities just don’t exist.

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Posted in: Analysis