- In a short, but forceful article, Peter Sparacino pointed
out that constitutional tools are no longer valid in our losing battle
against a government out of control, rapidly becoming a totalitarian dictatorship.
According to Sparacino, neither the ballot box, nor the jury box can be
used to stop its advances -- not even the cartridge box. The only thing
left to fight back, he states, is freedom of the press.
- But, as media critic A.J. Liebling rightly expressed,
freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. Though in
theory the opportunity to own his own printing press was open to every
American citizen, in practice just a few, and lately only the very rich
and powerful, were able to own one.
- Granted, the media monopoly was never total, and many
small presses proliferated, but the big ones, later joined by the network
TV channels, just played the game, giving the false image of independent
thinking. But suddenly, less than ten years ago, a technological breakthrough
changed the rules of the game in a radical way, bringing about what media
guru Marshal McLuhan envisioned more than thirty years ago: the global
village. This revolutionary new medium is the Internet.
- The Internet is a totally new type of communication medium
that has changed our lives. It allows for easy, fast, and cheap exchange
of ideas in an optimum way. Thanks to the Internet, owning your own press
is as cheap as $20 a month. Almost anybody can afford it.
- As soon as the people realized the power of the tool
they had in their hands, many began using the Internet not only to gather
the information they wanted, but also to become themselves providers of
information. Sites offering the most surprising, contradictory, interesting,
and useful information mushroomed, soon to be followed by many offering
not-so-useful, in-your-face, sometimes disgusting or plainly gross content.
But, even with its nasty aspects, the Internet radically changed the way
most of us get the daily news.
- Initially, the powerful media giants, both in printed
and TV form, ignored the Internet as a curiosity or a passing fad. But
sites like the Drudge Report, NewsMax, or WorldNetDaily, just to mention
a few of the most successful, soon began attracting more and more readers,
while newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Los
Angeles Times began losing theirs. Soon after, the big TV networks experimented
their own dramatic loss of viewers.
- Faced with the strong, unexpected competition, the media
giants joined the Internet bandwagon, but they were in for a big surprise.
Contrary to the traditional printed media and TV, where money plays a cardinal
role -- only the very rich can afford to hire the qualified personnel and
promote and market the product -- the Internet seems to be a pure product
of the human intellect.As the extraordinary success of the Drudge Report
indicates, most people don't visit a site because it has a fancy design
or is professionally made, but because it is a place where they can find
provoking, non-mainstream ideas that make them think; exactly the type
of thinking they were not able to find in the orchestrated, self-censored
mainstream media. Consequently, a site made by a housewife right from her
kitchen in Hot Springs, Arkansas, or by an almost unknown journalist from
his home office in Oregon or Florida, can compete on equal footing with
the New York Times. This is exactly how extraordinarily successful sites
like the Drudge Report and WorldNetDaily were born. Like the Colt .44 in
the Old West, the Internet became the great equalizer.
- But the people who control the media monopoly were not
going to see their power challenged without a fight. After their initial
skepticism and scorn, and their failed attempts to extend their media monopoly
to the Internet, they began a subtle process of infiltration. For example,
I was surprised when, in June, 2001, the notorious Alexander Haig Jr. joined
NewsMax's advisory board. It is probably only a coincidence, but lately
NewsMax has become a sort of mouthpiece for the Republican Party and an
uncritical provider of the Bush administration's propaganda. Its most recent
no-brainer is a "boycott France" campaign. I stopped visiting
the site several weeks ago. On the other hand, if only half of what I found
in this article is true, perhaps NewsMax's problems have deeper roots than
- There is a saying in Latin America: "A los periodistas
se les paga o se les pega." ("Journalists: you buy them or you
hit them.") I don't think it is much different here. I expect that
after some unsuccessful attempts to derail some of the most succesful sites,
just to bring an example, the media powers will try to buy them. But, even
though I don't think it would be easy for them to do it, and they may resort
to strong arm tactics, the bottom line is that, because of its inherent
characteristics -- the Internet is an off-shoot of the Arpanet, a military
communications decentralized nodular network designed to survive a full
scale nuclear attack on the U.S. -- the Internet is uncontrollable. It
is a Hydra of innumerable heads.
- They can keep buying and coercing people and eventually
may get control over the most successful Internet sites, but other people
will come forward, and their sites will rapidly become extremely successful.
The attempts of the media monopolists to control the Internet the way they
managed to get control of the printed press, the TV channels, and, most
recently, am radio, will never be successful. Currently, they are extremely
concerned about such a powerful tool in the hands of the American people.
The Internet has become a growing obstacle to their plans.
- Therefore, what will they do? Very simple: They will
destroy it. The only solution to solve the Internet's growing challenge
to the media monopoly is to shut it down and throw the key away.
- How it will happen? One of these days, out of the blue,
the Internet will be used for launching a devastating terrorist attack
on the United States. Somehow, this cyberattack will cost the lives of
scores of American citizens. In order to avoid more damage, the government,
putting to good use the recently approved anti-terrorist laws, will shut
the Internet down and ban the use of the Internet as we know it.
- But most government agencies rely heavily on the Internet.
How can they function without it? No problem. The replacement already exists;
it is called Internet 2, reportedly a consortium being led by more than
200 universities working in partnership with industry and government to
develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, accelerating
the creation of tomorrow's Internet. But, contrary to the deceptive techno-babbling
rhetoric, Internet 2 is nothing more than a controlled Internet, similar
to the one currently in place in totalitarian countries like China and
- Internet 2 will be fully controlled by the state. In
order to access it, or to have e-mail access, you must be a member of,
or be affiliated to, any of the government-authorized organizations and
have a sort of security clearance. Internet 2 will be out of the reach
of the general public, and every person trying to have unauthorized access
to Internet 2 will be charged with terrorist activities, and severely penalized
- The unavoidable fact is that the Internet is incompatible
with a totalitarian system of government. Therefore, either we are a bunch
of delusionary paranoids, and what we see happening in this country is
only a figment of our feverished imagination, and, consequently, the Internet
will not be banned, or we are right, and it will disappear. Actually, the
disappearance of the current free Internet will serve as a litmus test
that will accurately mark our final loss of freedom.
- The banning of the Internet, the cancellation of the
Second Amendment rights, and the closing of our borders -- not to stop
illegalsfrom entering the country, but to stop Americans from fleeing it
-- in exactly that order, will be important steps in the implementation
of this evil plan.
- In the meantime, hope for the best, and enjoy the Internet
while you can.
- Servando González is a Cuban-born American writer.
Among his most recent books are The Secret Fidel Castro: Deconstructing
the Symbol and The Nuclear Deception: Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile
Crisis. Currently he is working on Fidel Castro Supermole, the second volume
of a trilogy he is writing on Castro.
- * While it has often been cited that the ARPAnet was
designed to withstand a nuclear strike, it is often forgotten that this
depends upon having multiple routes to get around lost links. If someone
cuts the phone line running into my apartment, my DSL is *gone*, and with
it goes my webserver, mail server, CVS server, etc.
- But, even if you have just one link (as most small sites
do), it may be easier to get some kind of injunction/gag-order against
the site (or people running it) or to petition the domain registrar to
unregister your name. And that may also be a lot more effective. (Lose
your site name, and you've lost the one reliable tie that people had to
- * IPng a.k.a. IPv6, has been on the drawing boards for
longer than the Web has been popular (possibly even since before the Web
was created; I'm fuzzy when you get that far back---I have impressions
of seeing it being discussed in RFC's even when I was first getting onto
the 'net, which was only when the 'net started to become widely available,
and when people used "gopher" instead of the Web for information
- The problem, alas, is not just one of "technobabble".
The problem is that the current generation of the Internet protocols (IPv4)
that we are all using only allow up to 4 billion address-numbers to be
issued. We can use a trick called NAT (a.k.a. "IP masquerading")
to stretch the numbers a bit, but this is not without compromises. And,
there was a lot of waste when the first IP address numbers were given to
installations in huge blocks---much of which remains unremedied, as far
as I know.
- What IPv6 does is substantially raises the bar. Instead
of only on the order of 10^9 (a few billion) addresses, IPv6 will have
on the order of 10^36 (I don't know the word for a number that big).
- * *You* can get on the IPv6 *now*, using *free* software
(much more stable, secure, and reliable than anything MicroSoft has produced).
For information on doing this with the free NetBSD (http://www.NetBSD.org/)
operating system, see:
- ...this discusses getting onto IPv6 (what you call "Internet
2") from an IPv4 (what you just call "Internet") using the
- Unfortunately, direct access via IPv6 has not yet materialized,
at least not here in the States. One of the barriers to this has fallen:
MicroSoft finally got around to implementing IPv6 as a standard feature
of MS-Windows, I'm told. I would look for small, local providers to start
doing IPv6 before the bloated players like AOL, MSN, etc. But I think
that it will happen.
- * The U.S. can't destroy the Internet. Although it started
as a DARPA research project, it is now international. They might be able
to make it illegal to use it in the U.S., or they could simply license
it. (Licensing it seems more probable. It would let them continue to
use it while controlling who does and does not have it.) I doubt that even
this will happen, but...destroy it? No, not likely. If the U.S. went offline,
it might give other countries the excuse to upgrade to IPv6 instead of
waiting for us, though---or the sudden burst of available IP's may make
them decide not to bother with IPv6 "this decade."
- * Finally, information sharing did *NOT* start with the
commercialization of Internet, much less with the the more recent birth
of the web. Back in the 1980's, well before you could get onto the Internet
without being a university student, government worker, etc., I was regularly
exchanging information with people around the world. The technology that
I was using was called Fidonet (though there were other similar technologies
around). Fidonet had one robustness (against government censorship) that
the Internet lacks: Fidonet didn't use centralized name- servers. (There
was a downside to that, as well, but that would take me further afield.)
- The upshot: IPv6 isn't just technobabble and is not a
response to any pending plan to get rid of pesky uncensored IPv4 sites.
The Internet isn't as as immune to nuclear strike as some would like to
say, but I sincerely do think that it is way beyond the power of any one
government to shut down: The software is out there, the infrastructure
is in scattered, and the technology is well-documented and published.
- We might lose the ability to say critical things of the
government without risking imprisonment, and the U.S. could make it illegal
for *us* to use the Internet (IPv4 or IPv6) without a license. But the
'net itself will still be there, as China has discovered. (Look to China
for some Internet hope, perhaps. I haven't followed every development,
but I think that if they haven't lost completely, they're slipping, and
that's in a country where people have not been accustomed to logging in
for a decade or more.)