|Dear Readers !
The ascent of what is today called the middle class -
others called it proudly the bourgeoisie in the early or mid-19th century
- was accompanied by lively debates, the flourishing of dissidence and
sharp-witted criticism. By the 1850s, this tendency that was in full bloom
already during the 18th century, was already waning. More and more, during
the decades that followed, the critical stance found a haven at the margins
of society whereas a saturated bourgeoisie that had gained decisive socio-economic
influence and that had conquered political power, became defensive, if
not apologetic. It was a class whose spokesperson tended to defend things
as they are.
The arts, artists and writers that were worth the attention
they coveted and sometimes gained, remained unconvinced when observing
this complacency. The critical "gestus" of noteworthy art and literature
emerged during the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 in France. Except for short
interruptions, as in the heydays of nationalism shortly before and during
World War I, it has been characteristic of the "bohemia" ever since. That
is to say, until the commodification processes became extreme, and until
the art market and public relations strategies with respect to the book
market, accompnied by major processes of capital concentration in these
fields, became hypertrophic in the phase of globalized (thus Americanized)
corporate power, that has become almost omnipresent under financial capitalism
in the late 20th and early 21st century.
Today, our critical voices are not only marginalized.
The mainstream outlets filter and separate the admissible from the unwanted.
Strategies become necessary to enter the circuit as a critical thinker
that tend to deform because they demand caution and compromise.
Perhaps this is a reason why the internet has become a
refuge for those whose voices are otherwise almost silenced under the pretext
of being "unattractive" for the general public: too far from a general
denominator produced by the dominant outlets.
The lively and manifold quality of alternative debates
has occasioned, however, a backlash. When citizens, engaged in acts of
civil disobedience (often motivated by ecological concern, opposition to
militarism, or concern caused by a permanent mutilation and deformation
of 'liberal bourgeois democracy' as we knew it, or propelled even by the
quest for participative democracy), post certain videos on Youtube, they
often find their video statements deleted. Obviously, governments have
created a sort of internet police. Departments of the security apparatus
(which may be called more appropriately an insecurity apparatus) have stepped
up wholesale preventive surveillance of ordinary citizens. Based
on lists of keywords, they also scan our statements on Facebook, Twitter,
etc., establishing a largely unobtrusive thought control in social media.
The editor of this issue of Art in Society had recently
a post deleted on his Facebook timeline. He had posted questions, coupled
with short summaries of information gained from several media, thus the
observation by German Green Party MP Claudia Roth that wounded ISIS fighters
were treated in Turkish military hospital (as she found out personally
during her visit in Turkey), and the German public radio report that Kurdish
fighters in Kobane said, "We don't know what the Americans [i.e. their
fighter planes, intervening in the fight between the Kurds and ISIS in
Kobane] are attacking - but they are not attacking ISIS." This information
was linked to the German public radio report that the Turkish military
let ISIS combat troops pass through Turkish territory in order to enable
them to get from Northwestern to Northeastern Syria, circumventing Kurdish
strongholds, and that American planes "accidentally" dropped weapons near
Kobane that were recovered by ISIS. This was backed up by further Arab
media reports that villagers in Iraq had seen unidentified helicopters
(but also other helicopters identified as American) land in ISIS held territories
and that apparently, weapons were unloaded. It was backed up by the observation
of the Iraqi government that American air support in the fight against
ISIS was "insufficient" if not "inefficient," the observation that
the US army was training Sunni units in Iraq outside the framework of the
Iraqi armed forces, and that a major success of the air war in Syria against
ISIS was the destruction of a key granary of the Assad regime. The question
that was triggered in the mind of this editor, but that was not conclusively
answered, was: Is the US really fighting ISIS or do they need this story
as a smokescreen for an air war in Syria against the Assad regime? (Without
harboring sympathies for the Assad regime, many of us better informed citizens
seem to be skeptical with respect to such intervention, in the wake of
the war on Iraq that was justified with lies, and this editor does not
deny that he is opposed to military interventionism.)
As mentioned already, the post was deleted. When this
was discovered, it was placed again, in April 2015, on the same Facebook
timeline. On the very next day, it was discovered that the computer used
for this purpose had been severely attacked. Such attacks continued throughout
April and until May 22, when we were finally unable to access the internet
for a long period, finding a solution only at the end of June. The May
issue of Art in Society, effectively obstructed, thus was put onlkine only
in early July, 2015.
The same had happened during the days in late August 2014,
when the anti-war issue of Art in Society was uploaded. The work was interrupted
by a series of attacks. It could be resumed after solving computer problems
in the course of September.
It is noteworthy that there occurred no attacks since
the nuisance experienced in late August and early September 2014, until
that day after the second critical post on Facebook.
The temporary connection with critical "content" placed
on the internet is very obvious. And so the mainstream media and mainstream
politicians tell us there exists freedom of thought, of debate, and absolutely
no censurship in our free societies. Yes, it is true - you can think freely
if you remain a critical and awake person, but at your own risk. The likelihood
that you end up being "listed" IS NOT SMALL if those who read letters
to the editor published in the Guardian or Suddeutsche Zeitung notice
your critical comments. Or if you voice critical remarks online. There
is no censorship, except that things get deleted and that there are "gatekeepers"
that sift our critical comments you try to post on a public radio site.
Yes, and of course there is the "economic" censorship that marginalizes
authors, filmmakers, composers, musicians - often, the ideological motivation
for such exclusion from major circuits seems to outweigh the economic interest
to make money. Georg Kreisler noted that for years he was boycotted by
public television and radio in Austria. His case is no isolated case. Have
you noted that even WDR seems to have blacklisted Bob Dylan almost completely?
That we hardly see films by Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, by Godard,
Fassbinder, Chris Marker, Robert Kramer these days? Merely because "the
public does not care for them"? Who says so? And what kind of apparatus
creates public preferences - in whose interest, or for what reason?
It is clear that Daumier faced censorship and acts of
repression in mid-19th century France. The Charlie Hebdo editors were naïve
when they assumed that they were upholding a "freedom of expression that
exists in France." They were upholding their right to mock a minority,
seemingly justified by the more idiotic and intolerant members of that
minority in France. But they were not upholding a "freedom of expression
that exists in France." It doesn't exist, fully, in France and probablyin
no country on earth. You can say, unharrassed and unhindered, what you
want if you remain within the spectrum of a so-called mainstream consensus.
In obvious dictatorships you can say what you want if you more or less
say what government-controlled media say. If you want to say something
very different that challenges them, you better keep it to yourself.
The sad thing about our "liberal Western democracies"
is that we are approaching this state of things, slowly perhaps, but surely.
People land on lists. Tony Benn landed on a list of suspects as a student.
The Guardian revealed, in the weeks when NSA surveillance was starting
to be discussed in this paper, that Tony Benn is still on that Big Brother
list that lists suspect people. Ah, the Guardian ! ITS JOURNALISTS CAN
TELL YOU WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HARRASSED, TO BE FRISKED AND INTERROGATED
ON AIRPORTS. Some people have their manscripts stolen, flats searched;
some find it difficult to find jobs later. Did the Guardian back down when
pressured? Did he keep his courageous journalists on the paylist?
Freedom, we all long for you. But few defend it. Least
of all those elected by us to defend it, or their security apparatus employees.
If you want to know more about our experience with interference
in our work, please look at the following
timetable of attacks
Art in Society # 15 was supposed to be online in May 2015.
On March 8, 2015, I had reposted a video on Facebook that
I found on the page of a Facebook friend. And I had added a few critical
questions, plus some info. This post was deleted, as I found out later.
So I posted that again on April 10, 2015, adding
more disconcerting news items.
The day after that repost (with added info), the computer
used to post this was attacked.
I managed to go back to an earlier version of the
system, though, and informed a friend (in a mail sent at the time) about
these problems which contributed to a delay with regard to my work.
On Sunday afternoon, May 17, 2015, the computer
was again attacked. This happened while I was about to access Hotmail but
this was also in the final phase of uploading files for an online poetry
journal, Street Voice, that had just been described on my Facebook timeline
by an Indian left-leaning poet (addressing other poets in India) as "a
leftist poetry journal."
I try to describe here, as a layman, what I observed:
The www.google.com page that I had just opened with the Firefox browser
began to “dance” rather than remain steady. Typing became slow and erratic
when attempting to type the name of my email provider, Hotmail. The H wouldn't
appear at first, but then there were many hhhh, then I tried again
and got an h and an empty space before the o would follow. Then part of
the page (THE SCREEN) began to turn black.
I managed (again) to “solve” the problem – at least on
the surface level.
I ran my antivirus program which found no virus. But
it's a tool which tells me regularly that parts of my software are “password
protected” and cannot be screened.
My computer seems to be a dual core computer which has
two partitions, C: and D:
On Monday, May 18, 2015, I let the antivirus software
screen D: which contains Windows software. On that Monday morning
(May 18, 2015), the antivirus software identified what it termed
a “threat,” describing its degree of severity as “high”. The antivirus
program said it had identified “MBR:Cidox-C[RTK]”, giving its filename
(or the name of the infected file?) as “pagefile:sys”. The program informed
me that it would attempt to repair or isolate the file. I got no further
On May 22, 2015, the computer was again attacked.
It was on that same day, I think, that the modem ceased to function.
It took time to solve the problem, this time. I was finally
able to go online again on June 25, 2015.
When I was able to update Windows on June 25, 2015 (the
first update I was able to start since May 19, 2015), I was informed that
10 important updates would be installed, including the June version of
the Windows tool for the removal of malicious software.
After completing the download of the Windows update files,
I was informed on June 25, 2015 that only 9 filed were installed. One file
was not installed. Windows gave me the “number” (code) of the problem or
"mistake" that had occurred.
Was the file that the computer was not able to install
the “malicious software removal tool”? Is this in order not to remove a
government Trojan, in order to keep the backdoor open?
In July 2015, the mouse ceased to be able to point at things again.
The problem disappeared when I replaced the mouse by a new one, but soon
the new one was afflicted by the same problem, too.
I can only formulate a hypothesis that the frequency of
problems that occurred in April/May 2015 and again in early July 2015 (when
the upload of Art in Society # 15 and Street Voice # 6 was completed) is
no accidental thing but connected with my remarks posted on Facebook and
with the content of Street Voice issue # 6 and perhaps also the new Art
in Society issue, even though I would say that the progressive bias of
these new issues is a very mild one that normally should be tolerated.
But then, there was this assessement uttered on the Facebook timeline that
Street Voice is "left-wing" and surveillance personnel can be far
more conservative than editors of printed mainstream publications.
[A year before, the attacks occurred also at a time and,
I think, in the context of publishing new Art in Society and Street Voice
issues online. Since late September 2014 until March 2015, no such critical
online publishing activities on my part occurred and no attacks occurred.]
As I told friends and colleagues last year, the computer
was severely attacked in late August and early September 2014 while being
in the last phase of uploading ART IN SOCIETY # 14 (the anti-war issue
that remembered August 1914) and also when I was uploading Street Voice
Typical problems faced in late August 2014 and still in
Sept. 2014 included a FREEZING COMPUTER SCREEN (experienced also in March
2015), impossibility to exit the internet, impossibilty to point the mouse
at anything and use it to click on something, a black screen, etc.
Such recurring obstruction made it impossible to
complete work on ART IN SOCIETY # 14 and on STREET VOICE # 5 in time.
[I will now proceed chronologically with an (incomplete)
account of attacks, moving "forward" from 2003 to 2013.]
2003 or 2004
In 2003 or 2004, I was using a COMPAQ computer that I
had bought for my publication activities in the late hours of the day in
my office which was in the small building mainly occupied by the Airport
Design Center of Aachen Technical University (RWTH Aachen Institute of
Technology). My computer was linked to the server of the airport
design center. When my computer was attacked, they had big problems and
deconnected me from their server. I got a separate internet access thereafter.
In 2005, this computer was again attacked and made useless.
An old friend gave me a new computer, so I could continue
my work – which may have been perceived as unwelcome because, like others,
I was ,critiquing the illegal war on Iraq (and the war in Lebanon, for
instance) in Urban Democracy www.urban-democracy.org.
If I'm not mistaken, the next computer was destroyed by
a virus attack in mid- or late 2006. A married couple (two old friends)
bought a second-hand Vaio notebook for me in late 2006. I think that it
arrived by mail in early January 2007.
In late January 2007, the hard disk (Festplatte, as they
say in Germany) of my Vaio notebook was destroyed. It could not be reconstituted
or repaired, the guy at the computer repair shop said.
My old friends who had given me the Vaio bought a new
hard disk for me.
I don't know any more how many times I have erased all
content on this repaired Vaio notebook (with its new hard disk) between
2007 and 2014, installing all software anew from scratch. It must have
been a dozen times at least.
In spring, 2008 I ran into problems. Between March
14 and June 12, 2008, my computer was incapacitated.
I copied information obtained from my antivirus program
to a file I planned at the time to post online. Here it is:
THE COMPUTER USED TO PRODUCE
THE INTERNET JOURNAL ART IN
IS PERMANENTLY ATTACKED!
No more than half a dozen attempts to access the internet occurred
in March, 2008.
March 8 or March 9, 2008
Accessessing the internet for the first time
since broadband access has again been
March 13, 2008 (in the evening)
2nd attempt to access the internet in March
March 15, 2008, ca. 17:45h
March 26, 2008, ca. 7:00h
C:/programs/.../system/MSASP32.exe is 'infected' by
Result: Computer screen 'froze'.
C:/windows/system32/ab.exe is immediately infected by mit
Then, in quick succession, three other
viruses infect the computer: the name of one of these viruses includes
"DeepScan". Another virus is identified
The computer screen 'froze'.
C:/windows/system32/irdvxc.exe infected by
The computer screen 'froze'.
The computer is affected by a worm called
"worm.all.apple.1" (or a very similar
A new anti-virus software plus firewall is being used since early April,
BETWEEN APRIL 5, 2008 AND MAY 10, 2008, THERE OCCURRED REPEATED
ATTACKS BY A WORM IDENTIFIED BY ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE AS:
April 5, 2008
April 6, 2008
April 8, 2008
April 11, 2008
April 11, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 13, 2009
April 14, 2008
April 14, 2008
April 18, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 20, 2008
April 22, 2008
April 24, 2008
April 27, 2008
April 27, 2008
April 27, 2008
April 29, 2008
April 29, 2008
April 29, 2008
May 1, 2008
May 2, 2008
May 2, 2008
May 2, 2008
May 3, 2008
May 5, 2008
May 8, 2008
May 10, 2008
| IP ADDRESS OF ATTACKER
If you are a specialist or otherwise gained experience with hacking,
please let the editor of ART IN SOCIETY know whether these attacks (and
their pattern) are significant and how you would interpret them. - THANK
Backdoor.Robot.F that infected the computer
on March 13, 2008 definitely sounds like one of these Trojan
horses used by German secret services. It could also be “American” perhaps.
The effect it produced immediately on that day was a
freezing computer screen.
Since June 8, 2008, going online by connecting
with my internet provider became problematic. (This was echoed in May 2015.
also the problem with the browser, except that in 2015 it was the Mozilla
Firefox browser.) On June 8, I could go online but could not open the start
page of the Internet Explorer, thus could not carry out an online search
OR access my email account. On June 9, I could again connect with
the provider (thus the internet) BUT trying to open the Internet Explorer
again got the message that “the website cannot be found.” When
trying to use Mozilla Firefox, this website also could “not be found.”
The problem persisted for quite a while.
In September 2009, the connection to my internet provider
ceased to function. (I'm preserving a “protocol” of the diagnosis provided
by my Kaspersky Internet Security software, dated Sept 27, 2009.)
In 2011, I received the following message from Norton
“Attention: Norton chanced upon a mistake. Mistake: 3048,3.
We were not able to find an automatic solution for this problem [...]”
“Achtung: Norton Internet Security ist auf einen Fehler
Wir waren nicht in der Lage, eine automatisierte Reparatur
für dieses Problem zu finden. Wenden Sie sich an unsere Support Website,
um weitere Unterstützung zu erhalten.
Support Web-Seite öffnen”
On Jan. 17, 2012, I wrote an email to Doris Schoettler-Boll
saying that I could not carry out the Norton Internet Security update
since mid-December, 2011; update files could be downloaded but either
they could not be installed at all or only partially (some, of a bunch
offered on a certain day, yes; others, no).
In mid-December, 2011, I had already contacted
the Norton community because I could not update Norton Internet Security
anymore. The text in German quoted below is a copy of my message to the
Norton community. It says that “for quite a long time already” I
got messages from Norton that “not all updates could be executed”...
Betreff: Probleme beim Live Update seit
einigen Tagen/ Update konnte nicht
am 15-12-2011 23:49
Hallo, habe FAST genau dasselbe Probleme. Seit längerer
Zeit wurde häufig die Meldung
gezeigt, dass nicht alle updates ausgeführt werden
konnten. Ich benutzte bis heute Nachmittag
allerdings nicht NIS 2012, sondern die Version davor,
also Norton Internet Security 2011.
Heute geschah es, dass das letzte der heruntergeladenen
Updates nicht ausgeführt werden konnte.
I must add here that my irritation regarding the lack
of reliability of the most expensive antivirus software on the market has
let me switch over the years from Norton to Bitdefender to Kaspersky back
to Norton, again Kaspersky, then Avira, than Avast, then again Avira...
Each, a one year subscription – and each one of limited usefulness even
though I keep my software and APPS up-to-date and update antivirus programs
In January 2012, typing became problematic.
Accessing the Windows “help page” that gives information on keyboard problems,
a text was displayed on the screen that replaced certain German diphthongs
(Umlaute: ä, ü, ö) by Chinese characters.
In June, 2012, I noticed the following message:
Firewall: an application has been automatically allowed
Date/Time: 06.11.2012 18:25.56
Application C:\Programme\Gemeinsame Dateien\Adobe\ARM\1.0\AdobeARM.exe
has allow rule on user VAIO3\jc
I'm not happy about AdobeARM.exe being allowed rule on
my computer. What does this imply? I have read in mainstream newspapers
that big software firms and firms that offer search services, browsers
etc. cooperate with – for instance – the N S A.
Since early October 2012 I stayed mostly offline
for several months due to repeated problems, while using my second-hand
Vaio notebook. As 2012 was drawing to a close, I bought another second-hand
computer and in January 2013 the necessary software to run it. There
were immediately problems with this “new” computer and I went back to my
old Vaio notebook.
Working with the VAIO remained problematic. In spring,
2013, I sent the following message to friends: “For several month,
I could not log-out of my Hotmail e-mail account, [in fact] since early
October. Avira Internet Security frequently didn’t work. Other suspicious
On Feb. 1, 2013 the Avira Internet Security updater
let me know me that the update was aborted.
With my web camera I took a picture of the screen of my
Vaio notebook at the time that documents how most protection options of
Avira Internet Security were not working. Turned off by “a hidden hand”,
they could not be turned on again manually without being turned off again
immediately. I think that only an option not used by me (that enables adults
to keep their children from accessing this or that) was not turned off.
The Avira Internet Security firewall (and when I switched
to it, also the Windows firewall) was turned off, and then again and again
turned off when I turned it on manually.
I could not update my antivirus software anymore for some
'On Feb 19, 2013 in the evening. I tried
to access my Hotmail account and got the message: “The service is unavailable.”
The log-in failed. This problem persisted.
There were more problems and this is what I told friends
at the time in an email:
“These are the errors or odd events I frequently encounter
when using this computer
1 The firewall is turned off frequently
2. The WORD files are corrupted. (There exist two versions
of WORD, it seems.)
3 Scripts are attempting to download frequently
4 Webpages hang frequently
5 Sony UpnP framework notes an error on this computer
every day when I start the computer.
6 The computer needs 10-11 min. from pushing the start
button to accessing Firefox online”
Then, there was a severe computer attack on Sept.
2, 2013. This was the last one before problems set in again in late
August, 2014 while uploading the anti-war issue of Art in Society.
As I noted, there were no problems after I reset
the system subsequent to the attacks that occurred in August/September
2014, things were alright for about six months, until problems resurfaced
on the day after my second critical timeline post on Facebook in April.