Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wikileaks backlash: Stupid, stupid, stupid

From the CBC:
WikiLeaks supporters struck back Wednesday at perceived enemies of founder Julian Assange, attacking the websites of Swedish prosecutors, the Swedish lawyer whose clients have accused Assange of sexual crimes, and the Swiss authority that froze Assange's bank account.

MasterCard, which pulled the plug on its relationship with WikiLeaks on Tuesday, also seemed to be having severe technological problems.

The online vengeance campaign appeared to be taking the form of denial of service attacks in which computers across the Internet are harnessed — sometimes surreptitiously — to jam target sites with mountains of requests for data, knocking them out of commission.
And this is what happens when these fools get upset: they disrupt the lives of every other person, involved or not, innocent or guilty, in an attempt to make noise and act tough. Just like the folks at the many, many G20 protests that end up turning peaceful, motivated demonstrations into near-anarchy, which only forces the hand of people in positions of power to do some things that no one wants them to in order to keep the peace, and by doing so, they galvanize public support against them, and then give themselves more reason to act as they do. These people are their own worst enemy. This "vengeance campaign" is no different.

I don't know about the charges against Julian Assange, and it really isn't my place, or anyone's, to assume whether or not they're trumped up, or if these are legitimate charges. But I do know that by attacking the websites of people doing their jobs, whether you agree with their actions or not, does nothing. It only helps create the image to the wider public that you are nothing but a bunch of whiny punks, ready and willing to take your anger out on people for something that really has nothing to do with you. You've only made Assange's case worse, and helped condemn the man you want freed even further. Why the hell would Assange need enemies with "allies" like you people?

But, do what you will, it doesn't affect me in the end, it only affects you. Just know that your "attacks" will change nothing, except swing the public mood against you. When you start to complain that no one else wants justice for Assange except you, then take a good, long look in the mirror for who to blame.

12 comments:

  1. You should know about the bogus charges against Assagne, because it might change your opinion on the attacks too. This is a Cyber War raging right now, and there are way too many people clueless and standing at the sidelines while the free Internet is taken away from you and I.

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  2. It won't change my opinion on the attacks, not at all. The fact is that, even if the charges against Assange are trumped up, none of this helps him. None of this helps further the image of his group, of his defenders, and of his cause. There's better ways of doing things - throwing tantrums is not one of them, unfortunately.

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  3. Just a note: Wikileaks has come under the exact same form of attack, presumably originating from unfriendly governments or independent crackers who view themselves as patriots. I'm not excusing the cyber-attacks against Assange's enemies - two wrongs don't make a right. But the US government (or possibly supporters of the US government) is leading by example here with their own denial of service attacks.

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  4. and DDOS attacks arent really anything new. We got one from the DOJ when I was working for a short time for an online gambler. The powers that be use the same techniques online.

    Whether it's right or wrong is a different thing. The other thing is unlike a physical protest there is no face to put to this. Check out Anonymous vs Scientology. Unfortunately right or wrong, once it goes on 4chan it's already too late.

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  5. The attacks may or may not help Assange. He's essentially a political prisoner by proxy of the USA. Because they cannot (yet) imprison a journalist, they are seeking to write new laws that violate their current constitution and free speech laws.

    With such a formidable enemy, it's difficult for people to stand in the light and fight, so I'm thankful for those in the trenches fighting back against those complicit in taking our freedoms away. It's completely cowardly, or ignorant, to stand with Joe Lieberman and the US State Department, however, if you consider yourself any kind of "activist".

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  6. briguyhfx,

    If you're talking about the DDoS assault on Wikileak's website just awhile ago, most experts, government or otherwise, think it originated from some hacker more interested in fame and attention, rather than any malicious actions on the part of the US government.

    Rayburn,

    Too true, in everything you said.

    Saskboy,

    I don't think I stand with Lieberman and the US State Department, but I do think people are starting to read too much LeCarre if they think this is so black-and-white, and that the US State Department does not have a certain amount of justification when saying that Assange has committed illegal acts.

    I personally don't believe Assange or Wikileaks has done anything illegal, but whoever their sources are, have. If the State Department and the powers that be decide to go after Assange, it isn't because they want to destroy freedoms and clamp down on journalism - they want to send a message. Putting their power behind these charges, as well as pressuring companies to deny Wikileaks its funding and safety, is a way of saying they can fight back, and they will.

    These "whistleblowers," who are not whistleblowers in practice but are simply leaks, and you can look up the difference if you wish, have crossed a line, or are about to, that the powers that be do not want them to. That's what it essentially boils down to. These folks are not protected under any whistleblower acts, and they've taken a risk by releasing the information they have, and they know it. They're lucky that the Western governments are satisfied with blocking Wikileaks access to its profit; other governments, especially Russia and China, who Wikileaks have already rubbed against, are not going to have such a light touch.

    As for the "hactivists," I don't believe for a second they're working to further any sort of cause beyond what their own ego tells them. They sacrifice nothing, they do not fight a fight that affects them, and I doubt some of them understand what the game between Wikileaks and the powers that be is. I think their concerns are valid, justified, and real. Heck, I agree with most of them. But instead of doing something constructive to solve the problem, they decide to throw tantrums, and work to further public opinion against them, without ever touching the people they want to take down.

    As I said, they are their own worst enemies.

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  7. "As I said, they are their own worst enemies."
    I think you fall under the same category though. You're working from the perspective that the US Government is working in your best interest by silencing the free press. They've coercing corporations into blocking any person or organization they choose, from using payment systems Canadians take for granted are available to all law-abiding people and organizations. They've thus branded WikiLeaks a terrorist organization, and its supporters as terrorists. It's the end of the free Internet.

    Wikileaks is providing us evidence of corruption in the US State Department, and you're wagging your finger at Wikileaks because they broke US State Department rules to do it? Under what conditions would you accept whistle blowing?

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  8. Oh man, it's Anonymous. Might be an interesting day to trawl through 4chan, if I have the stomach for it.

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  9. I was actually talking about the DdOS attacks from last week, when the Cablegate site was first dedicated, before they got booted off their Amazon server. Of course, the beauty of these attacks is that they are anonymous when either side is employing them.

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  10. briguyhfx,

    That is true. Anonymity is a coward's game, but its a damn effective one, isn't it?

    Rayburn,

    Might be worth it, let me know. I won't be attempting it. Last time I checked 4Chan, I clicked on some things I dare not repeat.

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  11. Saskboy,

    For one, I don't believe the State Department is acting in my best interests, and I rarely ever do. However, I do think they're working in their best interests, and I wouldn't expect anything else, either. Just like I don't expect Wikileaks to be as altruistic as it claims, without hankering for donations once in awhile.

    Furthermore, there's a difference here between what is morally right, and what is legally right. So far, nothing the State Department has done has been illegal. I feel the same way for Wikileaks. As such, because both can't pin the other against a legal wall, they have to do so by invoking moral rhetoric about freedoms, or justice, or safety, or virtue. This is what they've been doing for awhile now. I have no illusions of this, do you?

    But when you come right down to it, Saskboy, Wikileaks' sources have broken laws, enforceable laws that come with punishments that are well known to all involved. Just because you, or Assange, or hacktivists, or whomever else, believe that morally these people are not in the wrong, does not mean they didn't commit acts that are criminal for sometimes good, and sometimes bad, reasons.

    What do you believe, then, that the courts, the people involved, and everyone should do? Ignore the rules and laws that govern our society? Just forget that people leaked confidential information, most of it pointless but some of it potentially dangerous to those it refers to?

    As I said before, there are legitimate concerns all sides. Governments have to have a certain level of secrecy, and the public has a right to know. But right now, these two groups see fit to branding each other as the dangerous and criminal ones, and they refuse to sit down together and figure out what they can do to accommodate both positions. Their battle is starting to affect innocents as well as the guilty. These hacktivists, in all their brilliance, are deciding to further this battle. How is that productive? How will that solve anything? Their attacks only serve to annoy and turn people against them - how is this going to help anyone except those they're working against?

    So I affirm my position: they are their own worst enemies at this point. They're furthering the cause of the other guys, while not making even the tiniest scratch against them. What is the point to it, other than an Alamo-like stand for what you consider is morally right, while driving everyone else around you to the opposite side?

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  12. ha ha tell me about it Volkov, stuff that even ten showers cannot wash off. Anonymous has become quite the hydra. Reading this right now:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11957367

    Voluntary botnets..The technical side of me finds this morbidly interesting to watch from afar. Its starting to sound like it came off the pages of a Philip K Dick novel.

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