Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Response to ‘terrorism’


I find this quite funny.  I think that Sony was wrong to pull the movie but not for the same reasons the media and Obama seem to have.

This isn’t a matter of capitulating with terrorism because it in no way resembles terrorism. It’s an attack on a company by people unknown - maybe a nation (perhaps North Korea) - maybe not.  The usual ways we identify attacks as coming from a nation rather than some other group are the choice of target and the sophistication of the attack. 

The attacks in this case don’t seem to have been especially sophisticated on the face of it, but that’s very hard to assess.  Sophisticated methods might have been used to find vulnerabilities and choices made to make the attacks look more amateurish. Or a sophisticated attacker might have used the least sophisticated attack that would get the job done. Or it could have been an insider.

The target certainly places North Korea as a prime suspect, but it hardly rules out anyone else, nation, group or individual. It could just as easily have been a random group with or without a grudge or an ex-employee or…

But I’m not sure it matters.  What matters is that America (and lots of Americans, non-Americans) are treating the attack as terrorist. It isn’t. The only terror induced is in Sony executives and workers.  This isn’t to say that’s not a bad thing, but it’s not terrorism.  Heads are bound to roll. I have little sympathy for the top execs, who will probably be shuffled off with a massive payment and no questions asked in their next appointment. For execs at that level, what happened in the last company stays there.  My sympathy is with the workers who are SCAPEGOAT’D and sent home without so much as a good reference and with those who lose their jobs because they’re tied in some way to a particular movie.  Those people are the victims of this attack.

And yet some responses have been extraordinary.  I said earlier that Sony was wrong to pull the movie. It was wrong to pull the movie because there wasn’t – as far as I can tell – a credible threat. Did the attack make it more likely that people would be blown up in cinemas?  So what was the threat? That more information that was damaging to Sony (which I don’t care much about) and to its employees (which I do) would be revealed. That doesn’t seem on the face of it like a good reason to shut down a movie, threatening the jobs of lots of people who wouldn’t have been the ones affected anyway.

That is the reason to not pull the movie, not some bullshit terror defence and sure as shit not some patriotic one.

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