Monday, January 2, 2017

Is Russia hacking democracy?

Is Russia hacking democracy?
No, but better we look at that, than what is wrong.

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The Bot Politic

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Fon d'parikulur - 02

In about half an hour's time, the scene around her was of a small antechamber, which belonged to the Ministry of Health – Though the actual name was “Ministère de la Santé Publique et la Population”. The was, Of course, a lie – because very few people cared about the sanitation of public health. Rather they were interested in keeping their job – which on occasion meant saving lives, but only as an afterthought to keeping a paycheck. There are places in the world where this is all that matters, and in fact that is the common state of affairs in most of the world.
The empty chamber was shoved full of boxes, which were delivered from France. Across the walls there were both French and Haitian notes on the various diseases which had broken out – Ministè Sante Piblik ak Popilasyon was quite fastidious about tracking down the causes of death, though not quite so good at tracking what those causes were actually caused by. Such secrets could be hazardous to one's health – and that was probably why the meeting was being arranged. Inside next the boxes a white man with a blue business suit was checking over the delivery, and looking up from the tablet which showed how many boxes were in the delivery. He was worried and is brow was knotted. Of course is blue suit was pristine, which meant he had just gotten off a plane before checking the samples. It would be unreasonable to expect that he had any time in country. It just was not done.

He was also very tall compared to everyone else around him, he was tall even for a European. He had a long slender face, with a couple of days of stubble on his cheeks. The whiteness of his hair was also noticeable.The heat from the air was in contrast to the homeless of his clothes – because one hour ago he was in an air-conditioned plane, which meant he was moderately important – the local planes which carried men and women who did actual work were only faintly air-conditioned. To be ferried around in such luxury meant that the person would be gone after he did his business.
She could see that the cases contained Ebola and cholera medications, which was also odd because while both diseases inflicted great deal of damage, sell them were they jumbled up in this way – unless a surprise delivery had been made. But she forced herself not to read any further, and instead concentrated on the blue eyes and gaunt features. By this gesture she was saying that she was the person that he was looking for.

He spoke: “Are you the one I was sent to wait for? My name is Jean-Claude Laboissonnniere – is your name Lucy Nadege Jules? I was told to look for you, about my predicament.”
“Yes, that is a me. Show we first get your boxes delivered? That way the management of the supplies will have started, while we get you introduced to the liaison.”
“I think you can probably tell, that I just arrived and have very little experience with Haiti.”
“That was, certainly, obvious. Yes.” It was clear that he did not mind that she knew certain of his faults, so she did not mind telling him of her strengths. This may not have been a good idea, and in the back of her mind she juggled it back and forth. She did not know what he was play at, and this touched a nerve that she could not quite place.
“So I put myself into your hands.” There was a shrunken nature to his stance, as if he were trying to say that he really did trust himself. She was not sure if this was the case or not.
“That is probably the very good idea, let me find someone to count the boxes, and begin delivering them to where they are going.” Though some of them would be going someplace very different than he would expect - “carrying charges” if one used a term from old movies. Corruption was part of the process, and would be blatantly observed. There were forms to be observed, especially when the police were involved. And any time that a package was delivered in the region that an official had cordoned off for himself, meant that a broad needed to be paid. Because remember that the salaries were small, and anyone who wished to have a presence, wanted the people to reward him for allowing such things. Otherwise, there would be no service for the mail. It was probably something like that that had originally started this man's problem – and official wanted a payment for having boxes delivered, and was upset when none would be provided. He then rounded up all of the, as he saw it, counter-brand. And so went. She noted who was inside the main office space, and then looked back on the boxes, rapidly figuring out who would be in charge.
She then moved her face to the white person, and with the most delicate of tones begin to say: “ I think there was some miscommunication involved, it is obvious that certain persons were not informed. It is obvious who needs to be spoken with for the packages – then we can arrange your personal arrival.”
“I was told that it would be a dense, but I am not sure what part you have in it.”
“Each government body does not wish to open such secrets to the outside, and that means there are several ways to arrange things. One of course is with the police, and that would be all right if one were delivering a small package. Then there is the ministry of state, which is more for aid to families. But since you are from the ministry of public sanitation, you need to have someone who knows all of the in's and out's to get boxes into doctors and nurses – who do not have a particular location. Thus making it difficult to negotiate with the police.”
There was more to it – ben sûr – than that. But what more she would have to decide after she knew what he was really like – because like attracts like, the corrupt inside the attracts the corrupt outside. And she did not know how corrupt he was. Everyone – or almost everyone – was a little corrupt, telling small lies, and avoiding certain information they would rather not tell. But this was Haiti – and it was corrupt in that way which corruption grows into the deeper circles, some would say the deepest circles of hell. So she would have to observe and judge whether he could truly be trusted. There was no time like the present.
“You must call your people and have them send out. Because if do not, there will be little left to distribute. N'est pas?”
With this he nodded, and took out the phone at the same time. “It seems I have to learn that the government is no friend of the people.”
“It is friends with people, just a very select group of people - who shower gifts on those that give them.”
At this point the phone rang, in that kind ring that no native phone would use, and he immediately picked it up. It was a large android phone, with a large screen. Even here a phone was a necessity, and she noted to herself that she should warned him that phones magically disappeared, and so should be taken care of. His voice dropped down and there was interaction between him and some voice which was also masculine. He then looked at her, and said: “It will be 20 minutes before we have reinforcements. Can we wait by the boxes until then?”
“Yes.” She noted that he had some military about him, though it was not clear whether he had been in military. She also noted that it was easy for him to slip in to the native mode of government – which meant that while he might not know Haiti, he had functioned in some other lands that were as corrupt as her native land. She would have to ask about where he had served. At this point the two of them sat on top of the boxes, guarding them. She knew quite specifically which men were going to pillage if they had a chance, and she focused her eyes on them intently.
It was at this point that she asked: “As soon as your people get here, you must tell me where the packages will be going. At that point I will direct you to some friends on the ground – and their to distribute them.” Calculation was visible even to her companion – though he did not know what it was.
He nodded. Only nodded, and nothing more. She knew that she was reaching the limits of a man's conversation, a more garrulous man – or any woman – would have a great deal more to say. She realized that he had been talking to other people, and at that point was just about out of time. This meant, she thought, that he was not a diplomatic sort of person, because any diplomatic sort would have easily extended through his own limitations, and would be more talkative.
Which meant that conversation would fall to her, and she would have to engage in the polite banter. Thus she spoke of little things as they waited – geography, culture, traffic. The squalid street below near the water, the high white vistas of the rich people. A constant prodding for information – where he was going to, but it was no use. “You must be observing, because so little of your agenda has escaped your lips.” She knew that there was a mark of concern upon her face, though she had tried to disguise it as best she could.
This finally grabbed his attention, both the words and the integrations of her face - “Which department are you from? I did not catch this when they sent me to you.” left on his face was the concerned look of someone who was not quite sure that he was in a space that he did not know. Not quite the space of a person who is worried that he was had – though there were trembling of the eyes which could blossom into that.

“I am not part of the government, exactly. More a liaison to those outside and those inside, both national and local. There is a certain way things go – and high smooth out the differences as they arise. It is so is say, a gift that I can offer people, especially since I speak English, Francaise, Kreyol – and especially the difference between the last two.” A certain amount of pride was visible in her words, she could not help herself.
It was again, he just thought, and then nodded. She realized that he was walking very softly, sings he did not know he was talking to. It crystalized, that in his eyes, she might be his enemy. When she was a small girl, this would have disturbed her greatly, and she would try and get him to like he. But now that she was old, she realized that his vision of her would have two common from the inside, and blossoming like the Hibiscus in the fertile hills near town.
At this point that two white men, both in white uniforms, entered in to the anti-chamber. Unlike the first man, they were used to the high temperature, and even higher humidity. It was clear that they had become accustomed to the local climate – which made it particularly obvious that Laboissonnniere was out of place, and out of time. This meant that he was from the north, though she suspected that he was used to the climate in general – but had been out of the girdle of the tropics, With its heat, and humidity, and the assault in both day and night. He also was probably not attuned to the roaring seas, and the tropical storms which waylaid on every dark wind, and the hurricanes that sliced through the clear blue sky, and became a black season on to themselves.

The room was disorganized, as a dozen people stayed – in more than a dozen people came and left to the other parts of the building. Somehow in a belabor sort of way, a picture of the health of the nation could be gleaned from the snapshots of data; but it was not truly organized, and it did not have the sustentation of data that came from a monolithic government, or system. Instead there were snapshots of something akin world that was a mirror – clawing to get out of forms that were not the actual expression.

It is into this world that the two white men threw themselves into, though it should be said that they knew quite well what the lack of system that Port-au-Prince did to the essence of data. They also knew that while they were beneath the the government official sent to organize the expedition – most of their time would be spent on the things they thought they needed to be doing, with only a patina of what their instructions were. She could see the deep complaisance and resignation on their faces. They were play a game – with men and women as pieces. It was a much recognized game.

A game the had its routes in Animals who called and responded; it was the human gift of intelligence and form which made it the Byzantine world. A Byzantine world where instructions could be made precise. But otherwise it was the call of a feline in response to the instructions of a master
Slowly, the white man rotated himself to face her – and with a flourish of the right arm: “I believe I am now in your care, and we should deliver myself to the person you have in mind.” they slowly walked outside of the antechamber, and through the Georgian doors – it was an old building – and out to the parking lot where he directed the two of them to his large truck: it was a luxurious Land Rover, provided by the United Kingdom in their meticulous way. Once inside, their was a distinct barrier between the outside world and the inside world.

The inside was both spare and luxurious, in equal measures. The utilitarian side was overt, there were few equipages to maneuver or adjust. But everything was done in leather, there was also not a trace of faux anything. Just looking at it gave a sense of the craftsmanship, which in turn spoke to a sense of power. It was as if the people who knew what it was would rejoice at its very existence. That it could be out in the underbrush during the day, and then cleaned up to be taken out to a grand party at night. There had been such an advertisement in one of the more urbane magazines devoted to what could be called the gentleman's idea. It was the brand that resonated with a very select group of people, people who instinctively knew that they were the target of it – and reveled in this selective finding of producer and consumer.

The outside was different, it was not contained but expensive in its nature. It was not the man made assemblage of a machine, but the man made encounter of a larger world. In her minds eye, she forced herself to look at it afresh – because inured the lines were blurry, and she wanted to see them as her companion did. In broad brush strokes, there was behind them a yellow and white sea – which was untamed. Ahead of them were three brushstrokes – above them was the sky, in blue, white, and quarrelsome gray; below them was a chalk scatter of domains which people lived, and worked, and died in. And just a little had was a green morass of woodland dotted with the pristine mentions of the very well off – each one of them a testament to the particularities of its owner. Behind them was nature, ahead of them was poor, and in the distance the ensconces of the wealthy. Though in the developed world the middle class has some say, this was not the developed world. Here there were only two classes: the rich and the poor – though the poor could be subdivided in two the working poor and those who had realized that there time would be better off spent in leisure, though a poor kind of leisure.

Suddenly the man, while driving in to town on her instructions, remarked to her: “Where do you know this man from? And which department is he a representative of?”

“I do not know this man, but I have heard of him in relation to the distribution of sanitation supplies, and his reputation is impeccable. I feel that he would be the best person to commend you to.”

“Where did you hear of him?”

“From a director who knows which people are to be worked with. Outside there may be a rule of laws, but here in Haiti – we have a rule of people. People who decide which laws will be followed – today.”

“It seems that there is no particular compunction as to the level of punctuality of these people. It is almost as if the law does not exist here.”

“The law exists everywhere as a conceit of a group of individuals. There is no law in the world of nature.”

“You are very perceptive.” And they drove on, until the buildings were the place where the story had begun.