Here are highlights from blog post’s for our April 26 class (there were only 2…).
Nathalie draws connections between COINTELPRO in the United States and Pinochet’s government in Chile from 1973 – 1998. She finds similarities and differnces between them. For instance, they both instilled terror in their opponents. However, torture was more prevalent in Chile. She postulates that COINTELPRO was perhaps involved with Pinochet’s order to assassinate Letelier. She asks why Chile’s torture was more widespread than the U.S. when both governments had similar intentions and a similar level of ‘red scare’. In reference to the McPhail, Schweingruber and McCarthy piece’s section on political and legal environment, she compares the nationalized and centralized forces in Chile to the decentralized system with many checks and balances in the United States.
Pamela writes a book report on “The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom” by Evgeny Morozov. I will be writing a summary of her summary of the book…isn’t it frustrating for authors when we whittle down hundreds of pages in to summaries of summaries?
Morozov is arguing that in order for the Internet to fulfill its promise to aid in the fight against authoritarianism, Westerners must ditch the cyber-utopianism and Internet-centrism that add up to what he calls ‘net-delusion’. He talks about the Google Doctrine as “the enthusiastic belief in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistible urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom”. He claims that just because there is a vibrant Internet culture and the government is censoring the Internet, that does not mean a regime’s collapse is imminent. To summarize the next section I will take a quote directly from her book report, “Western policy makers should, Morozov argues, rid themselves of the illusion that communism came to an abrupt end or that simply because people were watching it was guaranteed to be a peaceful end at that.” She includes a great image for the next section. The next section looks at cultural contradictions when it points out that the West, as well as countries like Iran, engages in looking over their citizens’ shoulders using the Internet. The next chapter serves to warn against obsessing over the Internet’s possibilities because many technologies are often overly-praised and then they do not deliver because we are only thinking about them in terms of today. Additionally, policy makers need to know that the Internet can be used for good and bad before progress can be made. In the end Morozov, and Pamela, end by talking about cyber realists who “would focus on optimizing decision making and not get swept away by the abstract discussions about the capabilities of technology to change the world” (quote from Pamela’s book report).