The simple thought first occurred to me while visiting Serbia earlier this year. As I walked in front of the country’s parliament, I recalled Steve York’s docu-mentary, “Bringing Down a Dictator.” In one particular scene, a large crowd assembles in front of the Serbian parliament chanting for the resignation of Slobodan Milosevic. Soon after, they storm the building and find thousands of election ballots rigged in the despot’s favor. I then thought of Tahrir Square and how more than a million protestors had assembled there to demand that Hosni Mubarak step down. There was one obvious place for protestors to assemble in Cairo durin g the recent revolts. The word Tahrir means “liberation” in Arabic. That’s what I call free advertising and framing par excellence.
These scenes play out over and over across the history of revolutions and popular resistance movements. In many ways, state architecture that is meant to project power and authority can just as easily be magnets and mobilization mechanisms for popular dissent; a hardware hack turned against it’s coders. A Trojan Horse of sorts in the computing sense of the word.
Phi Beta Iota: Understanding cognitive dissonance between a public and a regime (or between troops / officers and their corrupt chain of command) is not a competency of the national intelligence communities or their political “clients.” What is so sad is that this is the PRECISE competency needed to avoid an all-consuming revolution.