_ | \ | \ | | \ __ | |\ \ __ _____________ _/_/ | | \ \ _/_/ _____________ | ___________ _/_/ | | \ \ _/_/ ___________ | | | _/_/_____ | | > > _/_/_____ | | | | /________/ | | / / /________/ | | | | | | / / | | | | | |/ / | | | | | | / | | | | | / | | | | |_/ | | | | | | | | c o m m u n i c a t i o n s | | | |________________________________________________________________| | |____________________________________________________________________| ...presents... The Longer March by Oxblood Ruffin 7/15/1998-#356 __///////\ -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc- /\\\\\\\__ \\\\\\\/ Everything You Need Since 1986 \/////// ___ _ _ ___ _ _ ___ _ _ ___ _ _ ___ |___heal_the_sick___raise_the_dead___cleanse_the_lepers___cast_out_demons___| "Adventure, exploration, discovery, human courage and cowardice, ecstasy and triumph, suffering, sacrifice, and loyalty, and then through it all, like a flame, an undimmed ardor and undying hope and amazing revolutionary optimism of those thousands of youth who would not admit defeat either by man or nature or God or death -- all this is and more seemed embodied in the history of an odyssey unequaled in modern times." -- Edgar Snow, _Red Star over China_ This interview was conducted at Ted's Auto Collision Bay and Fine Dining in Toronto, on July 7th, 1998. Blondie Wong (hereafter, B) is the Director of the Hong Kong Blondes and Oxblood Ruffin (hereafter, O) is the Foreign Minister of the CULT OF THE DEAD COW (cDc). [Editor's note: This interview was referred to in Arik Hesseldahl's July 14, 1998 WIRED NEWS article, "Hacking for Human Rights"
and the Toronto Star's July 23, 1998 article,
"Computer Hacking New Tool of Political Activism".] O: I'm happy that this is finally coming together. I've had all kindsa people beggin' me to speak with you. One journalist even emailed me to suggest that he would fly anywhere in the world where I could blindfold him and put him in the trunk of a car, then drive him to some secret rendezvous where he would interview you. B: It sounds like something from a movie. Are you sure he wasn't joking? O: No. He was very sincere. I was tempted to take him up on his offer and drive him to Detroit. "Hey, babe. Blondie couldn't make it but I've managed to dig up Jimmy Hoffa for you." B: I know that was a joke -- but I don't know what kind. O: O.K., before we begin, I've gotta ask you something? B: Yes. O: What's up with you and those Prada loafers. Have you been reading _Wallpaper?_ Are you dating a model? Give it up hacker man. B: Enough. Clothes aren't important. O: If that were true you wouldn't wear D&G suits. Face it. You're one stylin' revolutionary. B: I own two suits. Everything else can be put into a suitcase and that includes my computer and personal items. I own very little. O: You like to travel light. B: I have to travel light. O: You make it sound like someone is after you. B: You know who is after. O: O.K. Do you believe that the Government of China is looking for you? B: I know so. O: How do you know? B: Our sources have alerted us. And there was the incident last August. O: Pass. Do you still have armed guards. B: Yes, over there. O: Charming. He looks like a fucking troll. B: Don't look at him. He doesn't like ... O: Biscuits? B: What? O: He doesn't like white guys? B: I am not always given suitable people. O: Given? B: Yes, our arrangement with [deleted] ... O: Whoa! You shouldn't use their name. B: Well, we have a working relationship with a group of people who are even more outside of the law than we are. O: That works. The enemies of my enemies are my friends. B: What does that mean? O: I think it's a quote from Themistocles. It means that sometimes we make alliances based on mutual conflict with a third party. Like the U.S and Iran. They have very little affection for each other but even less for Iraq. B: Just so. We share the same enemy. I like that. O: And these law breakers provide you with armed guards? B: That and other things. I prefer more to use their help to move people in and out of the country. O: You mean in and out of China? B: Yes. A few months ago one of our people was picked up ... O You mean Lemon Li? B: Yes, Lemon was questioned in Beijing. She was released after a few hours but I couldn't take any chances so our associates moved her out of China. She is in Paris now. O: Having a woman as the head of technical operations is sort of a radical concept for a group of hackers. B: Half of our members are women. Half of the people in the world are women. Lemon is our best person. The best people go where they're needed. That's our policy. O: How'd she get the name Lemon? Is it from that song by U2? B: No. She loves Meadowlark Lemon, the basketball player. She got an old videotape of the Harlem Globetrotters and played it until it turned into a snow storm. O: Cool. So did moving Lemon to Europe disrupt the Blonde's agenda? Has it made things more difficult? B: Difficult? No. She is acting more like traffic co-ordinator now. Much of our work is happening from the inside and she steers our efforts in the right direction. O: What do you mean that work is being done from the inside? The inside of what? B: We, the Blondes have grown by about twenty members from this time last year. Many of the newer members are government employees. Technical people mostly. O: Get the fuck outa here. Are you saying that these people are like moles, that they're members of the CP? B: Yes. O: Holy shit. That is some serious spy candy. B: What? O: Nothing. It's been an interesting year. I've noticed in the computer underground that there are a few younger groups who cite the Hong Kong Blondes as an inspiration. There's been a lot of activity, especially around Analyzer's crew. He seems to have influenced people who claim to be hacking for some higher purpose. They say they want to fight child porn and other things. Do you have an opinion about this? B: There has been a shift in consciousness, I believe. Younger people have a great deal of talent although they can be very awkward. But the point is, I think they are different from the generation of hackers before them. They want the recognition and attention, but they also want to do something to contribute to change things in a positive way. In general, I think what they are doing will grow and turn into something that makes a difference. O: Do you think the BARC [nuclear research facility in India] break-in represents some kind of progress? Is this the sort of thing that you're talking about? B: Yes. That's a good example. Nuclear proliferation is still a tremendous threat to international security, but since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the commercial development of Russia and the other states, there's this attitude that everything is golden. Somehow people think that the bombs have disappeared because we don't read about them in the papers like we used to. At any rate, I view the BARC intrusion as something positive because it will draw attention to the situation and cause more discussion about a serious issue. O: Were you political in school, in China? Is that where you got your orientation? B: I became aware of politics at an early age. But it was just awareness. I was never politically active, if that is how you mean it. Politics for me has always been something disgusting, something I didn't even want to understand. O: Woody Allen once joked that a politician was about two steps below a pedophile. B: That must make him feel slightly superior to a politician. But yes, that is more or less my feeling too. O: So when you say that you were politically aware, what do you mean by that? B: In China it is impossible not to be aware of politics. The Party is everywhere. Meetings, criticism, people being denounced. And the fear, that is really the big thing. Imagine: you can't speak freely. Or you're always wondering who is going to report you for having contrary opinions. What everyone in the West takes for granted is a luxury in China. When I was younger I never really wanted to change anything. I just wanted to remain above it. Sounds selfish, I know. But for me, my goals have always been more -- how is it? -- more spiritual. I was, even now, more influenced by persons outside of political life. O: I understand, but even the great social activists are inherently political. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, they were both stuck with politics. B: Fortunately they had the advantage of dealing with democratic institutions. My opponents would be very happy to put a bullet in the back of my head. O: Yet you still do this work. Why? B: I feel that I have no choice. I have the capacity to lead and to organize. And there is, well, I think I still have a lot of anger in me. My father was murdered during the Cultural Revolution. He was dragged out of our home by the Red Guard and stoned to death right in front of us. O: Damn. Who was us? Your family? B: Yes. My mother and myself. After that we went to live with my uncle. O: So why did they come to your house? Why did they want your father? B: One of the girls from the Red Guard denounced him. So stupid. He had given her mother some calligraphy, something Buddhist, a prayer or something, and that was what made my father an enemy of the people. I think they had really just come to humiliate him, but it got out of hand. O: So you're a kid. Your father has been, well, murdered, and you and your mother go to live with your uncle. What can you tell me about that? B: It was very difficult for everyone, especially my mother. She became excessively paranoid and eventually refused to leave the house. I had to take care of her most of the time. When I went to school a neighbor would come to help. My uncle is a bachelor and there was no one else in the house. Plus he often traveled. O: What did he do? B: That is hard to answer. He is very gifted at languages. I think that's all I can say. I became fluent in English because of him. Yes. But I think that's all .. O: Understood. And school? Growing up? That sort of stuff. B: I was asleep in school mostly. Quite bored. School, learning, these things have always been easy for me. I look at a book, once, twice, and that's it. I understand, and it stays. I never had to study. So the disadvantage was that I was always bored, looking out the window, you know. Sports were the only thing that kept me from going crazy. I played soccer at school, but mostly, I practiced martial arts. Anyway, it was school, sports and running home to help out. That was my life. O: Man. Was there anything, did you ever goof off, you know, do dopey shit with your friends when you were a teenager, or were you pretty serious? B: Let's see. Yes. When I was fifteen I fell under the spell of Bruce Lee. Everyone thinks of him as this great martial artist, and that is true, but what most people forget is how funny he was. He had been a child actor in Hong Kong and was good at falling-down humor. You know, when you're always tripping and falling on your ass, like what Jackie Chan does. O: You mean sight gags? Slapstick? B: Yes, slapstick. I found these really ugly glasses with lenses so thick, they made your eyes look like they were under a magnifying glass. I used to put them on and talk really loud, asking stupid questions, tripping, and repeating the same stupid question. It was ridiculous but people laughed. So one day we, there were three of us, we decided to go into a bakery and try out the routine. I went in and asked directions on how to get to the bakery we were already in. The owner just looked at me and said that I was there, that I was in the place I was looking for. Then I asked the same question and started bumping into things. And this poor man, he's just looking at me like I'm an idiot. And again he explained that I'm in the right place. Meanwhile my friends were stealing pastries. We did that at a few different places until we almost got caught. I like doing imitations. I can do Kramer coming through the door. O: Yes. I've seen the Kramer. Love the Kramer. The Kramer is good. B: There. Everyone does that. I always hear people talking, like from Seinfeld. O: Yeah. It can be a bit dopey. O.K. So you're a normal kid and you do some bakery capers. University. What was that like? B: Well, the hardest part was getting in. At the end of high school there's something called The Big Test. It's an examination that lasts several days and determines your future. There is nothing like it here. The pressure for students is unbearable. It's study, study, study -- for months. Before, I was bragging about not studying, but for that test I did. I was accepted at [a university] where I did an undergraduate degree, and for my next degree I studied abroad, you know, graduate work, research, and so. I wanted to teach. I was lucky about getting accepted into [a university in the UK], so things seemed on the right course. O: But things didn't stay on course. What provoked you to change your plans? B: A massacre. I had finished my studies and was preparing to go on short vacation through Europe before returning to China. This was just as the democracy movement was beginning to swell in the spring of 1989. We all -- not just the Chinese students, but everyone -- we watched television reports [about the demonstrations] with tremendous enthusiasm. We were getting faxes, email, phone calls. It was serious, but at the same time, it was almost like a big party. We were amazed at how much support there was for the students from the people. And there was a lot of excitement around Gorbachev and his visit to Beijing which took place during that time. So many factors, you know. But as the final days approached I began to feel very uncomfortable, almost like sick. When the tanks went into the square and began shooting and running over people it was like I was a little boy again, watching my father being killed. I couldn't believe it -- so terrible. Then the big lie. The government's first response was that it never happened. I was at a student pub in London when this was broadcast. An engineering student from Shanghai just went berserk and destroyed the television. So much grief, so much anger. O: And it was shortly after this that you arrived in Canada? B: Yes. I knew some students at Concordia [in Montreal] who were very helpful to get me a visa. My first two years here were very dark, very depressing. Something inside me broke and I could not get going. There was first the shock of the killings, then realizing that I could just not go back. All my plans were dashed. I was worried about my mother, you know, so many things. I couldn't work in my field. I was working in a convenience store, in the Plateau [in Montreal]. It was ghastly. O: And you ended up in Toronto. How did that happen? B: I met a Chinese businessman who took me under his wing. I learned how to make money, and ended up making a lot of it. Real estate, investing, buying futures. I did something totally different from my training, and it just sort of snapped me out of it. I moved to Toronto where the Chinese community is much larger. I met you shortly after I arrived. The rest is history. O: Leave me out of the history. I'm justa middle man. B: Don't be ridiculous. O: Look, let's just move along. People aren't interested in this stuff. B: No. That isn't right. I must acknowledge the help we have gotten, the direction. You showed me everything about Western hackers. Chaos, Legion of Doom, MoD, everyone. When I understood how far the Cult of the Dead Cow reached into the hacker world, and how things were organized, I was able to take the best and use it for our struggle. O: Well, that's kind, but really, the hacker community can be very chaotic. It's not what I'd call a well oiled machine. There is no discipline, not like with the Blondes. B: We have different agendas. But still, if it weren't for the hackers, we wouldn't be as far ahead as we are. We owe you a lot. O: Alright, then. On behalf of alla the hackers that ever lived, I accept. Cheers ... Earlier you mentioned that you thought that there was a sort of shift, that younger hackers seemed to want to use their skills to contribute to some sort of social change. I keep getting asked how people can help the Hong Kong Blondes, how they can contribute, and I guess now would be a good time to ask you that same question. What can people do, hackers, members of the general public, anyone, what can they do to help the Blondes? B: You are the king of set ups. We've already talked about this. O: Shut up, jackass. Just pretend like you've heard this for the first time. B: Alright, the first thing is this. There are many ways to get involved to support the struggle for human rights in China. Becoming aware is the beginning. Just talking about it is important, educating yourself. But if we are talking about the hacker community, you know, what they can do, this really is a matter of personal choice. I think that if people want to participate they should use the skills that they have. That is all they can do. O: That's pretty oblique. What about the Yellow Pages? I think now would be a good time to talk about them. B: Sorry. Yes, the Yellow Pages. They are mostly students in the United States and Europe. O: What, no Canadians? Damn! B: And Canadians ... O: Yes! B: ... who will be using the Internet to help us. O: And how will the little buggers be doing that? B: Alright. This requires a little background. One of the reasons that human rights in China are not further ahead is because they have been de-linked from American trade policy. What this means is that when human rights considerations were associated with doing business with the United States, at least there was the threat of losing trade relations, of some form of punishment. Now this just doesn't exist. Beijing successfully went around Congress and straight to American business, so in effect, businessmen started dictating foreign policy. There are huge lobbies in Washington that only spend money to ensure that no one interferes with this agenda. It's very well organized, and it doesn't end there. Henry Kissenger ... O: Former Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, etc. B: Yes, Kissenger is now convinced that he is running Chinese foreign policy and has made obscene amounts of money by connecting American businesses to Chinese markets, and at the same time, he's denouncing any kind of linkage between trade and progress on human rights issues as an intrusion into national sovereignty. Every other former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor for the past twenty-five years is now working for Kissinger and doing the same thing. And Bill Gates is another offender. In 1996 he publicly endorsed China's position that human rights in China should not even be discussed at an annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. By taking the side of profit over conscience, business has set our struggle back so far that they have become our oppressors too. O: So, shall we come back to the Yellow Pages? B: Yes. The Yellow Pages will make life challenging for American companies doing business with China. O: And how will they do that? B: By exposing them. By naming them and possibly worse. O: And by possibly worse, you mean what? B: Let us be frank here. Many of these companies have computer networks and there are a lot of members in the Yellow Pages who have excellent hacking skills. O: I see. Let your fingers do the stalking. B: What? O: Nothing. How can people get involved? Is membership in the Yellow Pages open, closed? What? B: Membership is open to anyone who wants to get involved. There are groups forming in many places. Anyone can start a new cell, but the main thing is to be careful. No foolish gestures. O: And by holding these companies' feet to the fire, this will help human rights in China? B: You tell me. You understand how these things work. O: O.K., it won't change the world but it will raise the issue in a different way and that is important. George Kennan once remarked that the smallest amount of progress in international relations was significant even though it might not seem like much on the surface. In the same way, I think that something will come out of this venture because it's just wacky enough to grab people's attention. I mean, who would put hacking corporate networks together with human rights in China? It's pretty stretched out, but it makes perfect sense to me. I think that journalists, at least the ones that don't work in Washington, will take a look at this and start asking questions. B: We will be attacked. This idea will be attacked like anything. O: I know, but I don't really care. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Look, we have to help with the strategy because it sure as hell isn't coming from the political classes. Look at Bill Clinton. He makes his nice feel-good trip to China and comes back gushing about, one day there'll be democracy in China. The guy's an idiot. I mean, if I want advice from the President about getting a blow job from a young girl, I'm all ears, but about the chances for political reform in China, no way. He doesn't have the competence or the moral authority to speak about these things. B: You are not a fan of Mr. Clinton's. O: Oh, man, you know I'm not. But let's get back to the Yellow Pages. B: Alright. What shall we say? O: Who will control them, or at least, where will their direction come from? B: They will direct themselves. This will be a disintermediated engagement. O: Damn, nice lingo. And how will they know who to go after? How will the Yellow Pages identify companies that do business with China? B: They'll have to ask. They'll have to educate themselves. The Web is a remarkable tool for doing research and posting one's findings. Just look at what it did for Netscape. O: Yeah, the Netscape revolution. We must all study Chairman Jim thought. B: That is correct. O: So really, what we're saying is that we're basically gonna turn alla these kids loose on American companies. That could get messy. B: We are turning no one loose. The Yellow Pages are independent of us [the Hong Kong Blondes] and the cDc. O: Yeah. We have enough problems with, um, certain kinds of attention. The [Yellow] Pages are their own thing. B: That is correct. But coming back to, how is it you said, that it could get messy? Human rights is an international issue, so I don't have a problem with businesses that profit from our suffering paying part of the bill. Perhaps then they will see the wisdom of putting some conditions on trade. But I think, more importantly, many young people will become involved in something important on their own terms. I have faith in idealism and youth. It took us a long way in 1989. I believe that it will help us again. O: Amen. O.K., one last thing, then let's go eat. B: Yes? O: We, the Cult of the Dead Cow, are complete media whores, but the Hong Kong Blondes are something very different. Why did you agree to this interview? B: Not for the kind of publicity you might think. We just need to have people know that we exist for now. It is like an insurance policy you could say. If anyone [of the Hong Kong Blondes] were arrested the possibility of execution or long imprisonment is quite real. In China, so much happens quietly, or behind closed doors. If someone is known, sometimes just that is enough to keep them alive, or give hope. So for that reason I'm saying we exist that certain things, we are doing. It is not for fame, no. So this insurance policy, it is something that no one wants to use, but sometimes it is good to take precautions. This is my first and last interview. Now I can go back to being invisible. O: Not before you pay for your beer, jerky boy. Anyway, it's been a slice. Any parting words? Advice for the kids, rules to live by, whatever? B: I've said enough. Let's go. .-. _ _ .-. / \ .-. ((___)) .-. / \ /.ooM \ / \ .-. [ x x ] .-. / \ /.ooM \ -/-------\-------/-----\-----/---\--\ /--/---\-----/-----\-------/-------\- /lucky 13\ / \ / `-(' ')-' \ / \ /lucky 13\ \ / `-' (U) `-' \ / `-' the original e-zine `-' _ Oooo eastside westside / ) __ /)(\ ( \ WORLDWIDE / ( / \ \__/ ) / Copyright (c) 1998 cDc communications and the author. \ ) \)(/ (_/ CULT OF THE DEAD COW is a registered trademark of oooO cDc communications, PO Box 53011, Lubbock, TX, 79453, USA. _ oooO All rights reserved. Edited by Omega __ ( \ / ) /)(\ / \ ) \ \ ( \__/ Save yourself! Go outside! Do something! \)(/ ( / \_) xXx BOW to the COW xXx Oooo http://www.cultdeadcow.com