On 10/13/2016 03:44 PM, Patrice Riemens wrote:
NB Two days ago, The Guardian newspaper published a long article
about Jacob Appelbaum, the first text in mainstream media since
the two pieces in Die Zeit Online (see refs below), and only the
second publication I am aware of since the storm around 'Jake' abated
somewhere in last Summer.
This post was largely written in Romania a few weeks ago, and hence
is not informed by the article in The Guardian. It also looks at the
whole affair from a different angle, less focused on the person(age)
Thanks for your article, Patrice, I rather think you nailed it with the
context of the security hacking circles in Berlin, and in the world!
Two small comments:
In the Guardian piece, we read:
>Appelbaum says that he has stopped drinking and begun therapy. “I have
obviously seriously hurt people’s feelings unintentionally and I deeply
regret this,” he said.
To me, that sounds eerily like the words of an unrepentant bully who has
been called out. He denies all allegations, but he's stopped drinking
and entered therapy. If the allegations are false, why does he need therapy?
My own experience is that if people have a behaviour problem related to
drinking too much, they're always very acutely aware of it, as much as
they might deny it (the lady doth protest too much). Though, it must be
said, many of us respond badly to high-level pressure and stress of the
kind Appelbaum has been under. Still, a man in his position, as
spokesman for Tor, Wikileaks, and even Edward Snowden, don't get off so
easily because they frankly have a responsibiliy to the movement and the
cause - both of which do *not* need tarnishing with allegations of
bullying and sexual abuse. I.e., people in that situation have a
responsiblity not to let drink problems or behaviour problems get the
better of them, and Appelbaum does not seem to have lived up to that
My other, and much more important, point is that things like this shows
that these social movements - of hackers, hackerspaces, free software,
free culture, homeless people's rights, etc. - don't need rock stars.
If someone in such a movement behaves like a "rock star" and everyone
around him thinks he can expect to be treated like a rock star, mistrust
that person and mistrust that movement. Persons should not matter. Where
people are inevitably important (think Lawrence Lessig or Richard
Stallman), it should be possible to recognize their contributions
without elevating them to stardom. The "rock stardom" may have been the
very trap in which Appelbaum as well as his victims were caught up, and
everybody colluding in that elevation bear some co-responsibility of
their own for the situation.
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