A few centuries ago Europe was dotted with castle fortresses, surrounded by supposedly impregnable stone walls and moats of water. Barricaded in these castles were lords and ladies, sucking the life out of the peasant farms around them, and blowing the surplus on weapons, wars and gluttony. They were war-lords, or in modern parlance, mafia godfathers. Their current incarnations are a bit more complicated. They go by the names of presidents, prime ministers, corporate chieftains etc, but their fantasies and fears are still essentially feudal. “Security” is their obsession. Day and night they fear for their own arses, while whole populations are conned into paying the bills for their depravity. And as in the Middle Ages, these neo-feudalists gold-plating their scorpion nests in Washington, Beijing, Moscow etc have induced new breeds of outlaws. For every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
For the storytellers amongst us, the present disorders humbling those who would be gods is a rich harvest of irony. A while back, we had hopes for Barack Obama, but he turns out to be another sock puppet, with his minders, the generals and the money-lenders, tussling inside his sock. The greatest cheat-game in history, new toys to steal the private lives and secrets of everyone on the planet (Prism, NSA XKeyscore etc), has been busted wide open by a gent called Edward Snowden, dismissed as a lowly techie. It turns out that Snowden was a systems design analyst, tasked with finding weaknesses in the whole monster machine. He had keys to every door in the castle, and horror of horrors, genuine intelligence. Unlike the lawyers and MBas who pretend to “manage” our civilization, he actually understands both the politics and the technology. He skipped ahead of them to Hong Kong, from whence the Washington lords, consumed by their own arrogance, drove him to Moscow and forced him to stay there. They forced a man like Snowden, awash with all their security secrets, into the arms of a spymaster like Vladimir Putin. Now there was brilliance, duh? With half a brain between them, they could have let Snowden slip off to South America and picked him up easily. Instead Obama and his military minders have proved conclusively that they lack the competence, integrity and calibre to manage or interpret the torrents of information about all of us which they have stolen. There is a theory going around that somebody in this game is playing eleven-dimensional chess, Matrix style. If so, Snowden and Putin have outclassed the Washington scorpions on every move.