Conspiracy Theories, Counter-Intelligence & Knowing the Players without a Program

by rthieme on June 6, 2012

Closing Keynote for Hack in the Box, Kuala Lumpur 2011

Calling a person a “conspiracy theorist” is an easy way to dismiss what used to be called “an investigative journalist” as if they are fringe, wacko, loopy or insane. But the deeper we go into the sources of “frame management” by oligarchic networks, meta-national-structures of political and economic power, patterns of activity behind some assassinations, covert operations since 1947, and the intentional destruction of some careers, the more we venture into the darkness which comes to permeate our understanding, saturate our perspective with canny insight, and erode childlike faith and naiveté.

This talk suggests ways of exploring some interesting topics and discusses why it takes what it takes to begin to have a clue, that is, a clue about the reality of our media-centric lives. Thieme returns to his roots, in a way, when he said in a keynote for Def Con 4 many years ago (for 300 attendees!) that hacking was practice for life in the twenty-first century. It is, and that century is well under way, and the methodologies of hacking are indeed essential for having a clue. So reverse engineering applies not only to physical structures but to cognitive and virtual artifacts as well. Paranoia is appropriate, things are much worse than they seem, and while we can never win at the end, we can have fun playing the game of life as contrarians and insight specialists.

As Jane Wagner said, “I am getting more and more cynical all the time and I still can’t keep up.”

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