Thanks very, very much to everyone for coming up with the lost texts of previous posts. I really appreciate all these efforts, and the very kind words of support as we sort through this latest bout of hacker wreckage.
For a long time, I resisted the idea that these hacks had some kind of political motivation. I thought they were probably the work of twerpish hooligans, the kind of nasty-minded little goobers who get their jollies from sticking gum in doorlocks, or else some trainee hackers trying to prove their mettle or make their bones for some more sophisticated network of takedown operators by picking out sites at random and showing how they could get into them and shut them down.
But the technical sophistication of the more recent hacks, and their unrelenting nature – the sheer amount of time and effort being expended to take down the site – have led me (and those whose technological knowledge cries far in the top of mine) to believe that the hacks are very likely to be the work of some organized entity which has deliberately targeted Empire Burlesque because of its content. These new hacks have been getting through a remarkable amount of security that should defeat any random twerp looking to cause mischief. This is not some goon throwing a brick through your window and running away; it’s someone with the capacity to enter your house surreptitiously, rearrange the furniture, rip up the floorboards and take away all your private papers without being seen or leaving a trace. That takes organization, expertise and a sense of purpose.
So I do think now it’s likely that agencies or entities unknown – whether directly or with hired proxies – are taking pains to stifle the website. Again, I’ve long resisted this idea, mostly because it seems unduly flattering. In the grand scheme of things in the political world, Empire Burlesque is virtually invisible: the readership – though greatly appreciated – is very small, and the website seems to have no resonance beyond this circle. It’s not informing or affecting the wider public debate in any way; it’s certainly not stirring millions of people – or even thousands of people – to enlightened dissent against the crimes and lies of the power structure. In real terms, it poses no threat to business as usual. So what’s the point of trying to silence it?
But of course, taking elaborate, expensive, destructive pains to demolish things which pose no actual threat is, as we know, the very modus operandi of our imperial masters. Indeed, they especially delight in attacking the powerless, in crushing those who have no capacity to strike back. As one of the chief imperial courtiers of our day, Thomas Friedman, once helpfully explained, our power structuralists “hit” Iraq "because we could." That is, because the broken, ineffectual regime there had no capacity to strike back – unlike, say, Iran or North Korea or China or Russia or other nations that might conceivably pose some threat or hindrance to the American elite’s agenda of domination over world affairs.
In like fashion, albeit on a far lesser level, crushing an obscure website that speaks against the empire – and might give even a handful of people the idea that there are alternatives to the hideous world that our elites have made – is entirely in keeping with the power structure’s ethos. And with the vast ‘data mining’ machinery now at the disposal of our ever-expanding security organs, it is probably very easy to rake through the web and pluck out obscure irritants to be targeted. Or it could even be the work of a single little government or corporate apparatchik somewhere who stumbled across the site somehow, took a dislike to it, and decided to put it on a list.
The point is, it does not require any self-flattering delusions about the world-historical importance of Empire Burlesque to believe, on credible evidence, that it has been deliberately targeted by the operatives or hirelings of some organized entity trying to stifle website’s content. That being the case, we are more determined than ever to keep the site going as we see fit, and to keep any decision about its ultimate fate in our hands, not those of the cringing little slaves of power, whoever and wherever they might be. We will continue to do what we’ve been trying to do at Empire Burlesque for years: tear down the lies of a brutal system, in hopes of helping, in some very small way, to clear the ground for the growth of something more holistic, more human, somewhere down the line.
Again, thank you very much for all your support, both in the current difficulties, and down through the years.