Hacking into the bin Laden image of heroism



A baby holds a Osama bin Laden toy in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

Enough of this hacking already!  Just when I thought enough was enough, Hilary Clinton and the FBI entered the fray; Hilary says we are taking this very seriously and will be investigating – the FBI is in charge of the investigation.  She says someone should be punished for this crime – you go girl!  It is also being reported that for the first time the United States will have a cyber security coordinator; as Hilary says, we can see this going to be an ongoing problem.  Besides putting some one in charge of cyber security, the  Pentagon intends to broaden its laws of armed conflict to designate cyber attacks a potential act of war and will it may be suspected be developing a set of potential responses.  If for no other reason, as Hilary said, to put people on notice that there are consequences to such acts of terrorism.  I guess that means that I was not the last person on the planet to figure that out the seriousness of the issue.  Actually congress has held hearings, numerous bills introduced and at least $350 million budgeted to develop protection.  But it would appear that Congress is willing to wait until a major attack – a “Pearl Harbor” or “9-11” before taking any major steps; one bill called it such an event the Katrina of cyber-space – don’t we all love a good metaphor?

The European press is repeating the basic story from the American media and adding much more depth than I have seen here; the best I found was a half an hour news program on Al-Jazeera (I did not find any other mention of it in the Arab press).  Al-Jazeera in is program, Fault Lines, covers the major developments in the issue this year thoroughly, including the private companies that are developing products to sell to governments and military to protect themselves and even to strike back.  From the international coverage, it does appear I was right, I am the last person on earth to realize how serious the threat might be; it seems they all knew a long time ago that it is a new form of war, one in which both China and Russia have been doing serious research and development (research and development in general is projected to be 2.2 percent of the Chinese gross national product – a very large number one would assume).

Back to this story, China is denying having anything to do with breaching the walls of the fortress Google; the Chinese in turn are saying Hilary and the Americans have an agenda to discredit China and this is just the latest chapter in that effort.  Inside of China, some are laughing at the implication that one technical school could be the center of anything that sophisticated.  They say the school has some 20,000 students, but the majority of them are studying cooking or brick laying.  The school is said to have thousands of computers, but the level of instruction is very basic – below that of a college course and not one that could produce anything unusual.  However, in looking for more parts of the story I did find something interesting – not related – but related.  The Global Times is reporting a story of the reputation of Osama bin Laden in China; in an online survey in China 60 percent of the 500,000 people who responded agreed with the statement: “Osama bin Laden is a hero because he fought against the U. S.”  Just 16 percent viewed him as a terrorist or agreed the world was better off with him dead.   There was another story about propaganda in education; it claimed that there was a movement under way in China to eliminate the extreme propaganda that exists in lower levels of Chinese education; propaganda that preaches about the evils of the west.

No conclusions here, but it does appear that another cold war is trying to break out with the battle lines drawn in cyberspace, but reinforced with the traditional weapons of propaganda and political spinning.

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