In honor of Colombia’s Independence Day yesterday, the hacker group Anonymous hacked the Twitter account of former Colombian president-cum-Georgetown University “scholar” Alvaro Uribe as well as the Facebook page of current President Juan Manuel Santos and the website of the Ministry of Defense. The hackings involved links to a video casting the day’s celebration as one of “false independence”.
Predictably, Uribe responded to events by sounding the alarm that his account had been “penetrated by terrorists”. According to the latest prostitution of terrorist terminology, the suggestion that Colombia is not truly independent given continuing oppression of the populace is thus more penetratingly terroristic in nature than, for example, the Uribe-era military practice of murdering civilians and disguising them as FARC guerrillas in order to receive bonus pay and extra vacation time.
As for the many other scandals that define the Uribe legacy, these include the extensive wiretapping project undertaken by Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (DAS)—Uribe’s involvement in which, as Adriaan Alsema points out at Colombia Reports, has been farcically investigated by a group of three politicians who are themselves implicated in the parapolitics scandal that revealed rampant ties between the Colombian government and right-wing paramilitaries, whose claims to fame include massacres, forced displacement of peasants on behalf of elite interests, and drug trafficking.
In the wake of the parapolitics scandal, DAS agents began wiretapping journalists, Supreme Court judges, and various critical elements of society. It goes without saying that a government that is simultaneously tied to paramilitaries and spying on persons endeavoring to expose such ties cannot purport to be acting on the behalf of the safety and liberty of its citizens. However, as the latest round of hacking underscores, a state monopoly over terrorist terminology can become even more expedient when the state loses its monopoly over interference in personal communications.