This has been an extremely exciting week. Some are calling it the first global cyber war. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that whistle blower group Wikileaks published thousands of secret government correspondences shortly after publishing thousands of classified documents on America’s wars in the middle east. These leaks infuriated governments all over the world and they in turn attacked Wikileaks by DDoSing their sites. (DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. It’s when you get a bunch of computers to try and load a page, 10-100+ times a second. If a crowd walks through a door one by one, they get through, if they all rush the door at once, nobody gets through. DDoS is like rushing a website, which makes it become overwhelmed and crash for as long as the attack is continued)
What I find really scary is just how intense the attacks are on Wikileaks and it’s chief editor Julian Assange. At the pressure of many powerful governments, corporations like Paypal, Amazon, Mastercard, and Visa have tried to financially strangle Wikileaks by making it impossible for people to donate their money to Wikileaks. They are telling you that you cannot use your money to support this organization because they revealed the dirty atrocities your government was doing in secret. (Meanwhile, you still have the ability to donate to the Klu Klux Klan on paypal)
Meanwhile it seems like everywhere in the media people are attacking Wikileaks. The degree of this is really fucking scary. It’s like big brother swung into action and all the talking heads are regurgitating the press releases over and over. Even the local paper is condemning Wikileaks. We find out from these cables that civilian deaths in Afghanistan are 15,000 higher than what is officially released, and yet when people are confronted with information like this, they jamb their fingers in their ears, scream, and try to kick the shit out of you for telling them! They don’t care that the whole system is evil, they’re comfortable and they don’t want to know what their government is doing so long as they have food and E! Entertainment Tonight. It just makes me want to burn the whole thing down.
On top of this, a lot of people are calling Assnage a terrorist. That’s right. The word “terrorist” is now completely worthless, just like the word “freedom,” because we apply it to whatever we want, making the word mean whatever we want for that particular moment. In this case a “terrorist” is anyone who does something that the US government doesn’t like. Some people are coming out saying we need to kill Assnage. Sarah Palin, not surprisingly, wants to hunt him down. Considering we still haven’t caught bin Laden, and that she can’t hit a buck that’s trapped, I think Assange is pretty safe. None the less, this is an extremely scary precedent they’re trying to set. Assange and Wikileaks did not acquire the information. It was presented to them by other heros who leaked it.
Do you know what they used to call these terrorists that published evidence of government wrongdoing? Journalists
But journalism is dead in America and largely around the world. Now we wait for the government to tell us the news in a press release where they decide what information we need, and how it’s going to be framed.
Now here is the exciting bit. Wikileaks is not alone. People are rising up to fight back against this free speech crackdown and attempts to police the internet. Perhaps you’ve heard of Anonymous:
Anon struck back earlier this week by launching Operation Payback, DDoS attacks against the corporations that caved to government pressure to police the internet. Within a few hours they crashed Paypal, Amazon, Mastercard, and Visa. They’ve been organizing by Twitter (I’ve been following them) and voting as a democracy on the next target. When the vote is finished, their twitter accounts name the target and time, and then once they send the tweet “FIRE FIRE FIRE”, thousands of computers attack those websites in unison. The main point is to send a message that we’re hear and we won’t tolerate these attacks on one of the last organizations doing actual journalism, or attempts to police the internet. (Paypal actually later released the money it had frozen from Wikileaks) Meanwhile Twitter and Facebook are playing a cat and mouse game to try and shut down any Anon related account in an attempt to disrupt their ability to coordinate counterattacks.
That was just the first round. Now Anon has switched tactics to “Operation Leakspin”
But Anon is not the only one defending Wikileaks. The U.N. High commissioner, Navi Pillay, recently voiced her concern on government attempts to shut down Wikileaks. The Daily Show and Colbert reports have come out in support of Wikileaks. (It’s an extremely terrifying day when fake news has to remind real news how to do journalism) However, there is one other news group who has come out and sided with Wikileaks, The Young Turks.
The only thing that worries me is that a large potion of Anon (and thus the defense of the free internet) is made up of people from 4chan….