Julian Assange: Conspiracy as Governance

CRYPTOME

31 July 2010

These essays on conspiracies by Julian Assange (me@iq.org) were retrieved
today from his website iq.org. The first from the currently active site, dated
November 10, 2006, and the second at archive.org, dated December 3, 2006.
http://iq.org/conspiracies.pdf
http://web.archive.org/web/20070110200827/http://iq.org/conspiracies.pdf
Thanks to Jason Lewis for pointing to this in his Mail On Sunday report.
Julian Assange:
http://web.archive.org/web/20071020051936/http://iq.org/
Sun 31 Dec 2006 : The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of
governance
You may want to read The Road to Hanoi or Conspiracy as Governance [second
essay following]; an obscure motivational document, almost useless in light of its
decontextualization and perhaps even then. But if you read this latter document
while thinking about how different structures of power are differentially affected
by leaks (the defection of the inner to the outer) its motivations may become
clearer.
The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and
paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization
of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive
“secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in
decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.
Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are
nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their
nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass
leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them
with more open forms of governance.
Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything intelligent he
has to know what’s actually going on.
_________
More: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://iq.org
State and Terrorist Conspiracies
me @ iq.org
November 10, 2006
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invis-
ible government owing no al legiance and acknowledging
no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible
government, to befoul this unholy al liance between corrupt
business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesman-
ship. (President Theodore Roosevelt)
While you here do snoring lie,
Open-eyed conspiracy
His time doth take.
(The Tempest; Ariel at II, i)
Introduction
To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we
have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must
think beyond those who have gone before us, and discover technological changes
that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not.
Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist
behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of
thinking about this behavior that is strong enough carry us through the mire of
politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally must use
these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective
action.
Authoritarian power is maintained by conspiracy
Conspiracy, Conspire : make secret plans jointly to commit a harm-
ful act; working together to bring about a particular result, typically
to someone’s detriment. ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old
French conspirer, from Latin conspirare agree, plot, from con- to-
gether with spirare breathe.
The best party is but a kind of conspiracy against the rest of the
nation. (Lord Halifax)
1
Where details are known as to the inner workings of authoritarian regimes,
we see conspiratorial interactions among the political elite not merely for prefer-
ment or favor within the regime but as the primary planning methodology be-
hind maintaining or strengthening authoritarian power.
Authoritarian regimes give rise to forces which oppose them by pushing
against the individual and collective will to freedom, truth and self realization.
Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce resistance. Hence
these plans are concealed by successful authoritarian powers. This is enough to
define their behavior as conspiratorial.
Thus it happens in matters of state; for knowing afar off (which
it is only given a prudent man to do) the evils that are brewing,
they are easily cured. But when, for want of such knowledge, they
are al lowed to grow until everyone can recognize them, there is no
longer any remedy to be found.
(The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli [1469-1527])
Terrorist conspiracies as connected graphs
Pre and post 9/11 the Maryland Procurement Office (National Security Agency
light cover for academic funding, google for grant code “MDA904”) and others
have funded mathematicians to look at terrorist conspiracies as connected graphs
(no mathematical background is needed to follow this article).
We extend this understanding of terrorist organizations and turn it on the
likes of its creators where it becomes a knife to dissect the power conspiracies
used to maintain authoritarian government.
We will use connected graphs as way to harness the spatial reasoning ability
of the brain to think in a new way about political relationships. These graphs are
easy to visualize. First take some nails (“conspirators”) and hammer them into
a board at random. Then take twine (“communication”) and loop it from nail
to nail without breaking. Call the twine connecting two nails a link. Unbroken
twine means it is possible to travel from any nail to any other nail via twine and
intermediary nails. Mathematicians say the this type of graph is connected.
Information flows from conspirator to conspirator. Not every conspirator
trusts or knows every other conspirator even though all are connected. Some
are on the fringe of the conspiracy, others are central and communicate with
many conspirators and others still may know only two conspirators but be a
bridge between important sections or groupings of the conspiracy.
Separating a conspiracy
If all links between conspirators are cut then there is no conspiracy. This is
usually hard to do, so we ask our first question: What is the minimum number
of links that must be cut to separate the conspiracy into two groups of equal
number? (divide and conquer). The answer depends on the structure of the
2
conspiracy. Sometimes there are no alternative paths for conspiratorial infor-
mation to flow between conspirators, othertimes there are many. This is a useful
and interesting characteristic of a conspiracy. For instance, by assassinating one
“bridge” conspirator, it may be possible to split the conspiracy. But we want
to say something about all conspiracies.
Some conspirators dance closer than others
Conspirators are discerning, some trust and depend each other, others say little.
Important information flows frequently through some links, trivial information
through others. So we expand our simple connected graph model to include not
only links, but their “importance”.
Return to our board-and-nails analogy. Imagine a thick heavy cord between
some nails and fine light thread between others. Call the importance, thickness
or heaviness of a link its weight. Between conspirators that never communicate
the weight is zero. The “importance” of communication passing through a
link difficult to evaluate apriori, since it its true value depends on the outcome
of the conspiracy. We simply say that the “importance” of communication
contributes to the weight of a link in the most obvious way; the weight of a
link is proportional to the amount of important communication flowing across
it. Questions about conspiracies in general won’t require us to know the weight
of any link, since that changes from conspiracy to conspiracy.
Conspiracies are cognitive devices. They are able to out
think the same group of individuals acting alone
Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate (the con-
spiratorial environment), pass it around the conspirators and then act on the
result. We can see conspiracies as a type of device that has inputs (information
about the environment) and outputs (actions intending to change or maintain
the environment).
What does a conspiracy compute? It computes the next
action of the conspiracy
Now I we ask the question: how effective is this device? Can we compare it to
itself at different times? Is the conspiracy growing stronger or weakening? This
is a question that asks us to compare two values.
Can we find a value that describes the power of a conspir-
acy?
We could count the number of conspirators, but that would not capture the
difference between a conspiracy and the individuals which comprise it. How do
they differ? Individuals in a conspiracy conspire. Isolated individuals do not.
We can capture that difference by adding up all the important communication
3
(weights ) between the conspirators, we will call this the total conspiratorial
power.
Total conspiratorial power
This number is an abstraction. The pattern of connections in a conspiracy
is unusually unique. But by looking at this value which in indepndent of the
arrangement of conspiratorial connections we can make some generalisations.
If total conspiratorial power is zero, there is no conspiracy
If total conspiratorial power is zero, there is no information flow between the
conspirators and hence no conspiracy.
A substantial increase or decrease in total conspiratorial power almost always
means what we expect it to mean; an increase or decrease in the ability of the
conspiracy to think, act and adapt.
Separating weighted conspiracies
I now return to our earlier idea about cleaving a conspiracy into halves. Then
we looked at dividing a conspiracy into two groups of equal numbers by cutting
the links between conspirators. Now we see that a more interesting idea is to
split the total conspiratorial power in half. Since any isolated half can be viewed
as a conspiracy in its own right we can continue splitting indefinitely.
How can we reduce the ability of a conspiracy to act?
We can marginalise a conspiracy’s ability to act by decreasing total conspirato-
rial 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.
An authoritarian conspiracy that can not think efficiently,
can not act to preserve itself against the opponents it in-
duces
When we look at a conspiracy as an organic whole, we can see a system of
interacting organs, a body with arteries and veins whos blood may be thickened
and slowed till it falls, unable to sufficiently comprehend and control the forces
in its environment.
4
Part 2, next week.
5
Conspiracy as Governance
me @ iq.org
December 3, 2006
Conspiracy, Conspire : make secret plans jointly to com-
mit a harmful act; working together to bring about a par-
ticular result, typically to someone’s detriment. ORIGIN
late Middle English : from Old French conspirer, from
Latin conspirare agree, plot, from con- together with spi-
rare breathe. (OED)
The best party is but a kind of conspiracy against the rest
of the nation. (Lord Halifax)
Security gives way to conspiracy.
(Julius Caesar, act 2, sc. 3. The
soothsayer’s message, but Caesar is too busy to look at it)
Introduction
To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we
have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must
think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes
that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not.
We must understand the key generative structure of bad governance1
We must develop a way of thinking about this structure that is strong enough
to carry us through the mire of competing political moralities and into a position
of clarity.
Most importantly, we must use these insights to inspire within us and others
a course of ennobling and effective action to replace the structures that lead to
bad governance with something better.
1
Everytime we witness an act that we feel to be unjust and do not act we become a party
to injustice. Those who are repeatedly passive in the face of injustice soon find their character
corroded into servility. Most witnessed acts of injustice are associated with bad governance,
since when governance is good, unanswered injustice is rare. By the progressive diminution
of a people’s character, the impact of reported, but unanswered injustice is far greater than
it may initially seem. Modern communications states through their scale, homogeneity and
excesses provide their populace with an unprecidented deluge of witnessed, but seemingly
unanswerable injustices.
1
Conspiracy as governance in authoritarian regimes
Where details are known as to the inner workings of authoritarian regimes, we
see conspiratorial interactions among the political elite, not merely for prefer-
ment or favor within the regime, but as the primary planning methodology
behind maintaining or strengthening authoritarian power.
Authoritarian regimes create forces which oppose them by pushing against a
people’s will to truth, love and self-realization. Plans which assist authoritarian
rule, once discovered, induce further resistance. Hence such schemes are con-
cealed by successful authoritarian powers until resistance is futile or outweighed
by the efficiencies of naked power. This collaborative secrecy, working to the
detriment of a population, is enough to define their behavior as conspiratorial.
Thus it happens in matters of state; for knowing afar off (which
it is only given a prudent man to do) the evils that are brewing,
they are easily cured. But when, for want of such knowledge, they
are al lowed to grow until everyone can recognize them, there is no
longer any remedy to be found.
(The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli [1469-1527])
Terrorist conspiracies as connected graphs
Pre and post 9/11 the Maryland Procurement Office2 and others have funded
mathematicians to look at terrorist conspiracies as connected graphs (no math-
ematical background is needed to follow this article).
We extend this understanding of terrorist organizations and turn it on the
likes of its paymasters; transforming it into a knife to dissect the conspiracies
used to maintain authoritarian power structures.
We will use connected graphs as a way to apply our spatial reasoning abilities
to political relationships. These graphs are very easy to visualize. First take
some nails (“conspirators”) and hammer them into a board at random. Then
take twine (“communication”) and loop it from nail to nail without breaking.
Call the twine connecting two nails a link. Unbroken twine means it is possible
to travel from any nail to any other nail via twine and intermediary nails.
Mathematicians say that this type of graph is connected.
Information flows from conspirator to conspirator. Not every conspirator
trusts or knows every other conspirator even though all are connected. Some
are on the fringe of the conspiracy, others are central and communicate with
many conspirators and others still may know only two conspirators but be a
bridge between important sections or groupings of the conspiracy.
Separating a conspiracy
If all conspirators are assassinated or all the links between them are destroyed,
then a conspiracy no longer exists. This is usually requires more resources than
2
National Security Agency light cover for academic funding, google for grant code
“MDA904”
2
we can deploy, so we ask our first question: What is the minimum number
of links that must be cut to separate the conspiracy into two groups of equal
number? (divide and conquer). The answer depends on the structure of the
conspiracy. Sometimes there are no alternative paths for conspiratorial infor-
mation to flow between conspirators, othertimes there are many. This is a useful
and interesting characteristic of a conspiracy. For instance, by assassinating one
“bridge” conspirator, it may be possible to split a conspiracy. But we want to
say something about all conspiracies.
Some conspirators dance closer than others
Conspirators are often discerning, for some trust and depend each other, while
others say little. Important information flows frequently through some links,
trivial information through others. So we expand our simple connected graph
model to include not only links, but their “importance”.
Return to our board-and-nails analogy. Imagine a thick heavy cord between
some nails and fine light thread between others. Call the importance, thickness
or heaviness of a link its weight. Between conspirators that never communicate
the weight is zero. The “importance” of communication passing through a
link is difficult to evaluate apriori, since its true value depends on the outcome
of the conspiracy. We simply say that the “importance” of communication
contributes to the weight of a link in the most obvious way; the weight of a
link is proportional to the amount of important communication flowing across
it. Questions about conspiracies in general won’t require us to know the weight
of any link, since that changes from conspiracy to conspiracy.
Conspiracies are cognitive devices. They are able to out-
think the same group of individuals acting alone
Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate (the con-
spiratorial environment), pass through the conspirators and then act on the
result. We can see conspiracies as a type of device that has inputs (information
about the environment), a computational network (the conspirators and their
links to each other) and outputs (actions intending to change or maintain the
environment).
Deceiving conspiracies
Since a conspiracy is a type of cognitive device that acts on information acquired
from its environment, distorting or restricting these inputs means acts based on
them are likely to be misplaced. Programmers call this effect garbage in, garbage
out.
Usually the effect runs the other way; it is conspiracy that is the agent of
deception and information restriction. In the US, the programmer’s aphorism
is sometimes called “the Fox News effect”.
3
What does a conspiracy compute? It computes the next
action of the conspiracy
Now we ask the question: how effective is this device? Can we compare it to
itself at different times? Is the conspiracy growing stronger or is it weakening?
This question asks us to compare two values over time.
Can we find a value that describes the power of a conspir-
acy?
We could count the number of conspirators, but that would not capture the key
difference between a conspiracy and the individuals which comprise it. How do
they differ? In a conspiracy, individuals conspire, while when isolated they do
not. We can show most of this difference by adding up all the important com-
munication (weights) between all the conspirators. Call this total conspiratorial
power.
Total conspiratorial power
This number is an abstraction. The pattern of connections in a conspiracy is
usually unique. But by looking at a value that is independent of the arrangement
of connections between conspirators we can say something about conspiracies
in general.
If total conspiratorial power is zero, there is no conspiracy
If total conspiratorial power is zero, then clearly there is no information flow
between the conspirators and hence no conspiracy.
A substantial increase or decrease in total conspiratorial power almost always
means what we expect it to mean; an increase or decrease in the ability of the
conspiracy to think, act and adapt.
Separating weighted conspiracies
We now return to our earlier idea about cleaving a conspiracy into halves. Then
we looked at dividing a conspiracy into two groups of equal numbers by cutting
the links between conspirators. Now we see that a more interesting idea is to
split the total conspiratorial power in half. Since any isolated half can be viewed
as a conspiracy in its own right we can continue separating indefinitely.
Throttling weighted conspiracies
Instead of cutting links between conspirators so as to separate a weighted con-
spiracy we can achieve a similar effect by throttling the conspiracy — constrict-
ing (reducing the weight of ) those high weight links which bridge regions of
equal total conspiratorial power.
4
Attacks on conspiratorial cognitive ability
A man in chains knows he should have acted sooner for his ability to influence
the actions of the state is near its end. To deal with powerful conspiratorial
actions we must think ahead and attack the process that leads to them since
the actions themselves can not be dealt with.
We can deceive or blind a conspiracy by distorting or restricting the infor-
mation available to it.
We can reduce total conspiratorial power via unstructured attacks on links
or through throttling and separating.
A conspiracy sufficiently engaged in this manner is no longer able to com-
prehend its environment and plan robust action.
Traditional vs. modern conspiracies
Traditional attacks on conspiratorial power groupings, such as assassination,
cut many high weight links. The act of assassination — the targeting of visible
individuals, is the result of mental inclinations honed for the pre-literate societies
in which our species evolved.
Literacy and the communications revolution have empowered conspirators
with new means to conspire, increasing the speed of accuracy of the their in-
teractions and thereby the maximum size a conspiracy may achieve before it
breaks down.
Conspirators who have this technology are able to out conspire conspirators
without it. For the same costs they are able to achieve a higher total conspira-
torial power. That is why they adopt it.
For example, remembering Lord Halifax’s words, let us consider two closely
balanced and broadly conspiratorial power groupings, the US Democratic and
Republican parties.
Consider what would happen if one of these parties gave up their mobile
phones, fax and email correspondence — let alone the computer systems which
manage their subscribes, donors, budgets, polling, call centres and direct mail
campaigns?
They would immediately fall into an organizational stupor and lose to the
other.
An authoritarian conspiracy that cannot think is powerless
to preserve itself against the opponents it induces
When we look at an authoritarian conspiracy as a whole, we see a system of
interacting organs, a beast with arteries and veins whose blood may be thickened
and slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to sufficiently comprehend and control
the forces in its environment.
Later we will see how new technology and insights into the psychological
motivations of conspirators can give us practical methods for preventing or
reducing important communication between authoritarian conspirators, foment
5
strong resistance to authoritarian planning and create powerful incentives for
more humane forms of governance.
6

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