Reading "Why the Internet is a double-edged sword" by Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman (Globe and Mail, 03Jul09) 1 reminds me of an anecdote the Russian novelist Dostoevsky recounts in his prison memoir The House of the Dead: Of a fellow inmate, a patricide, who boasted his late father had enjoyed perfect health until the day he died.
Messrs Cooper and Brackman work for the Los Angelos-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a staunch and largely uncritical supporter of Israel. When the two share in the exultation of a Guatemalan citizen over the possibility that a fellow Mayan might one day soon aspire to the presidency of Guatemala thanks, in part, to the outreach capabilities of electronic communications technology, I am reminded of Dostoevsky's unintentional ironist. They write:
"There's no doubt that cyberfreedom's promise is limitless, its palpable impact truly global. Evidence: Blogger Xeni Jardin, who visited a remote Guatemalan village without television or telephone but with a few cellphones and a nearby Internet cafe. Village elder Don Victoriano absorbed the news of Barack Obama's presidential victory over his Hotmail account: 'If a black man can enter the Casa Blanca, maybe a Mayan person one day can become president of Guatemala.'"
All through the 1970s and 1980s the Jewish state provided arms and training to the Guatemalan colonels who waged a ruthless war upon Guatemala's Mayan population. An essay from Clarence Lusane entitled "Washington's Proxy: Israeli Arms in Central America" is part of an anthology of writings on foreign affairs that vividly describes Israel's involvement in arming and training the Guatemalan army in its dirty war to suppress the Mayan people's human rights by employing sophisticated electronic gadgetry.
Lusane: "Some of Israel's most advanced electronic and computer technologies have been installed in Guatemala. Hit lists used by death squads have been computerized. Technologically sophisticated murder is coordinated by a Regional Telecommunications Center (RTC) built and managed by Israel army experts." 2
Messrs Cooper and Brackman, speaking for the Israel-friendly Simon Wiesenthal Center, have got it right: Modern communications technology is, indeed, a door that swings both ways.
2. Covert Action, edited by Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap, Institute for Media Analysis, 2003, p. 148.