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"For the Chaotic Good"
December 9, 2010 12:08 AM   Subscribe

The radical human rights and subversive hacking group known only as Anonymous has struck again. In a retaliatory campaign dubbed Operation Avenge Assange, the group is conducting distributed denial-of-service attacks against perceived opponents of Wikileaks. PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, the Swedish prosecutor's office, and even Senator Joe Lieberman are among the targeted.

In the face of this onslaught PayPal has partially capitulated: agreeing to release funds from the Wikileaks account.

There is some pushback against Anonymous as well. Facebook and Twitter accounts used to post status updates have been suspended. An Encyclopedia Dramatica page on the subject was taken down as well. This could also be incorporated into the FBI's ongoing investigation of Operation: Payback (previously).
posted by clarknova (560 comments total) 73 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a super interesting parallel component to the whole Julian Assange affair and I hope this post stays.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:10 AM on December 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


And as my obligatory editorializing comment:
Modern nation states use nationalist vigilante hackers as proxies to attack their rivals. This affords them a degree of plausible deniability. China and Russia are notorious for it, and this was also the case in the recent DDoS against Wikileaks. As silly as 4chan culture is, we may now be seeing a serious grassroots corollary emerging from it.
posted by clarknova at 12:10 AM on December 9, 2010 [21 favorites]


iamkimiam: I hope so too. This is a story in its own right which I think deserves more than to just be buried at the bottom of one of the 1001 OMGWIKILEAKS threads. The affair has sparked a strong opposition sentiment that has a life of its own.
posted by clarknova at 12:16 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


In the face of this onslaught PayPal has partially capitulated: agreeing to release funds from the Wikileaks account.

Yes, the funds held should br released, they are not frozen assets. But as the article says: "WikiLeaks is accused of breaking the law, but then again no specific law is cited by those who state that the organization is unlawful."
it appears that the site will still be blocked.
posted by clavdivs at 12:17 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


br/be
posted by clavdivs at 12:17 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You forgot to mention the attack against PostFinance, the Swiss bank that froze his account, which is still happening.
posted by Avelwood at 12:20 AM on December 9, 2010


'Just how much damage the attacks caused is unclear. Many of the targets hit provide little more than information about the organizations. However, the Copyright Office maintains records of copyright ownership, issues copyrights, and assists the U.S. Congress in developing copyright policy. As part of the Library of Congress, the Copyright Office is under the purview of the U.S. government's executive branch.' -from FBI link.

'The round up' phase II: "bring in the lawyers and patient office."
posted by clavdivs at 12:22 AM on December 9, 2010


So, uh, let me try to understand the whole debacle. America (and several concerned parties) have essentially abandoned the idea of laws, and have just said "Wikilinks is bad, they must be stopped." And, uh, 4chan is saying, "no, no, you have to follow the laws you've made."

There's a lot of shit that comes out of 4chan, a lot of things that just shouldn't happen (preteens being shamed, addresses being posted), but demanding that Visa, Paypal, and other parties actually follow their own rules? 4chan as a force for good?

I think I need to sit down for awhile.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:25 AM on December 9, 2010 [123 favorites]


I grew up on Stephenson and Gibson so there's a tiny part of me which believes /b/ will eventually save the world.
posted by fullerine at 12:30 AM on December 9, 2010 [108 favorites]


Not a force for good. a force for chaotic good.

That said, digging around on encyclopedia dramatica reveals that there's an internal rift between "old anonymous," which self-identifies as chaotic neutral and characterizes the chaotic good faction as "moralfags."

half the reason I'm posting this is to suggest that within let's say ten or fifteen years, the dungeons and dragons alignment system will stop being a nerd culture injoke and start seeming like cultural common sense.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:34 AM on December 9, 2010 [64 favorites]


Their attacks on paypal is marginally more clever than their attacks on Visa and Mastercard.

They're targeting Paypal's API servers, which are the servers that are contacted by merchants when you buy stuff on the web.

They're looking for more than a symbolic takedown of the frontpage, as with many of their DDoSes. This will have a serious material financial impact if successful (it also sounds a lot more illegal), but I doubt it would work. It's still interesting, nonetheless, as it shows their willingness to make more specific targeted attacks and slightly less incompetent than their previous efforts.
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:36 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


welcome Mr. clarknova to the beginning of the derail.
Despite varied postion, the money must be released as wikileaks has not been deemed that specific of a threat to warrant such actions.
posted by clavdivs at 12:38 AM on December 9, 2010


So, uh, let me try to understand the whole debacle. America (and several concerned parties) have essentially abandoned the idea of laws, and have just said "Wikilinks is bad, they must be stopped." And, uh, 4chan is saying, "no, no, you have to follow the laws you've made."
Well look man, the whole "law making process" just can't keep up with the wild and wool cyberwar battle topology which operates on "internet time". It's much more straightforward to do whatever now and then retroactively immunize yourself and/or use diplomatic pressure to prevent foreign prosecutions.
posted by delmoi at 12:38 AM on December 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


What they should do is request everyone go to their grocery stores and buy sticks of gum or other small items at a certain time with a visa/mastercard in order to clog their payment processing systems.
posted by delmoi at 12:40 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking. I don't think that this sort of thing should be encouraged or hailed as heroic.

If the DDOS attacks don't work and a group of hard-core /b/tards start planting Baader-Meinhof-style bombs in banks to protest against the WikiLeaks prosecution, will we still be hailing them?
posted by acb at 12:40 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The idea, it seems, to to have wikileaks challenge the frozen assets thus engaging in a legal battle with-in the american legal system. (bring the source of contention 'to you' in legal 'battleground')
posted by clavdivs at 12:43 AM on December 9, 2010


delmoi: "What they should do is request everyone go to their grocery stores and buy sticks of gum or other small items at a certain time with a visa/mastercard in order to clog their payment processing systems."

Yah, and if we all flush our toilets at the same time, the pentagon is going to levitate, too...

jk; I'd love to see these people all brought to their knees, they've caved easily to the US govt but they'll roll back even faster if it starts costing them some bread..
posted by dancestoblue at 12:44 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


acb: Well technically, right now, their DDoSes are more like blocking and closing the entrance to the bank (due to AIDS).
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:44 AM on December 9, 2010 [21 favorites]


I doubt wikileaks would venture into open violence. It is not thier philiosphy or style.
posted by clavdivs at 12:45 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everything is terrorism.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:51 AM on December 9, 2010 [26 favorites]


amuseDetachment: the difference is that people blocking the entrance to a bank are physically there and can be moved on by police or arrested. They're putting themselves on the line for their beliefs and signing them with their real identities, which is as much part of the message as their slogans. Anonymous hide in the shadows, and unleash attacks against what is civilian infrastructure.
posted by acb at 12:53 AM on December 9, 2010


I doubt wikileaks would venture into open violence. It is not thier philiosphy or style.

/b/ is not WikiLeaks.
posted by acb at 12:54 AM on December 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


Everything is terrorism.

WikiLeaks is only terrorism in the incoherent brain-farts of Sarah Palin or Joe Lieberman. Anonymous DDOS attacks against civilian financial infrastructure to make a point, however, are getting close, at least in spirit.
posted by acb at 12:57 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


acb: "Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking. I don't think that this sort of thing should be encouraged or hailed as heroic."

Wait a minute -- these attacks against 'civilian infrastructure' go one hell of a lot easier than the US attacks on Iraqi infrastructure, and all Wikileaks is trying to do is bring some transparency about the state terrorists who have done the Iraqi deal. None of these 'attacks' have resulted in anyone getting taken to another country and tortured for months on end, right, because they are brown and a different religion and maybe don't like US terrorism as expressed by bombing their homeland -- I mean, I've got that part right, yes? None of these attacks have done a damn thing except shown that some people are angry about this whole deal, and maybe also that they are angry that they haven't been able to protest in any effective way, shunted over to a corner to a 'protest area,' arrested and locked up if they dare to assemble peaceably. So they're assembling in the way that they can.

"If the DDOS attacks don't work and a group of hard-core /b/tards start planting Baader-Meinhof-style bombs in banks to protest against the WikiLeaks prosecution, will we still be hailing them?"

Um, are there any bank bombs going off now, have I missed that part? I thought it was just a bunch of zeros and ones being shunted here and there on the internet.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:58 AM on December 9, 2010 [27 favorites]


you link them by association in your example. You make assertions about situations that have not turned violent.
posted by clavdivs at 12:59 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


America (and several concerned parties) have essentially abandoned the idea of laws, and have just said "Wikilinks is bad, they must be stopped."

That's one popular narrative, though actual statements by the US government seem remarkably phlegmatic so far, if you ask me. By 'government' I mean the administration, not Palin, Lieberman, et al.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:59 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking.

A peaceful sit-in that temporarily disrupts use of a street or corporate office is an "attack against civilian infrastructure". In fact you could almost call it an IRL DoS attack. Is that "a bit too close to terrorism"?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 12:59 AM on December 9, 2010 [39 favorites]


/b/ is not WikiLeaks.

And thank "Bob" for that.

I agree that if they start attacking infrastructure that prevents ordinary people from paying their bills, then that's a very bad thing. But taking down mastercard.com and visa.com does nothing, as far as I can see, but harm the parent companies. I mean, hell, I'd love to join a consumer boycott of Mastercard. There's just the little problem of the $20,000 I owe them...
posted by Jimbob at 12:59 AM on December 9, 2010


think hard acb
posted by clavdivs at 1:00 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Everything is terrorism.

Funny -- I just read the William Gibson Vulture interview that MF linked to earlier. There are probably some applications for this thread.

"Forget terrorism, it’s the age of branding."
posted by showmethecalvino at 1:01 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the DDOS attacks don't work and a group of hard-core /b/tards start planting Baader-Meinhof-style bombs in banks to protest against the WikiLeaks prosecution, will we still be hailing them?

What if the DDOS attacks don't work and a whole group of Anonymous dress up as gorillas and then start running around in metropolitan zoos, confusing patrons and arousing other simians?

What if they start painting cars yellow then cover the roads with custard so no one can see where the cars are and where the roads are?

What if they start playing the song, "Dancing in the Street" from loud speakers, but then refuse to actually dance in the street??

Let's keep the crazy hyperbole to when people actually start blowing things up, I think. Also, if DDS attacks on corporate homepages are the best they've got, I'm afraid they are sadly outgunned by their govt counterparts.

It's embarrassing when your homepage goes down, but for example one of Australia's top five banks was unable to process payments for over a week recently cause of an IT fuck up; that's what real disruption looks like. And the security on that stuff is a whole nother level.
posted by smoke at 1:03 AM on December 9, 2010 [73 favorites]


There's just the little problem of the $20,000 I owe them
what you owe is irrelevant. What is a coherent philiosphy of resistance is not to pay 'them' period. This can be done by the individual without direction from a photon box and has more weight in gold. It is old and its philosphy will outshine when wikileaks is but a footnote in computer history.
posted by clavdivs at 1:05 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: close to terrorism, in spirt.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:05 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anonymous is like the T-rex at the end of Jurassic Park: it's not heroic, and I wouldn't want it to ever notice me, but I cheered when it took down those fucking velociraptors.
posted by twirlip at 1:06 AM on December 9, 2010 [383 favorites]


By the way, I wonder if these attacks are actually technically stunted. As I understand it, most people involved are using LOIC. In order for LOIC to be effective in Windows, you actually need to install a system patch to get around a security feature in Windows that blocks rapid packet sending. I'm going to bet 90% of the DDOSers have just downloaded LOIC and haven't installed the patch.
posted by Jimbob at 1:07 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Despite varied postion, the money must be released as wikileaks has not been deemed that specific of a threat to warrant such actions.

PayPal is notorious for keeping funds from suspended accounts. It's almost certainly part of its business plan. If it didn't have the intention of pocketing the donations why weren't the funds remitted the moment the account was terminated?
posted by clarknova at 1:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


I fear things like this will give some Joe-mentum to the "internet kill switch" legislation that Lieberman brought up over the summer.
posted by birdherder at 1:09 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


risking the Logan Act, I would advise wikileaks that the ramifications of legal containment this moment are creating pressure that will envoke constituonal powers reserved the President of the United States. These people who operate in the shadows and the streets do not have access to VISA courts and that is everyones favorite Farday cage.
posted by clavdivs at 1:10 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clarknova: retention of funds in this case is "extra ordinary" at this pace i cannot give your further clarification.
posted by clavdivs at 1:12 AM on December 9, 2010


Metafilter: close to terrorism, in spirt.
posted by IvoShandor

im your huckleberry if you keep that up.
posted by clavdivs at 1:13 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


CablegateRoulette may be the greatest thing I've ever seen.
FROM: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: APRIL 17, 2008
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL

Saudabayev has twice hosted visiting USG officials for a meal at Mashkevich's Astana residence -- both times without Mashkevich. It is not clear what Mashkevich is spending his billions on, but it is certainly not culinary talent. On all four occasions the Ambassador has eaten at one of his houses, the menu has been similar and focused on beshparmak (boiled meat and noodles) and plov. The wait staff appeared to be graduates of a Soviet cafeteria training academy. The wine, at least, was somewhat upscale with reasonably good French vintage bottles uncorked for the guests. The Astana residence has wooden plaques on the doors that would fit in nicely in a Wyoming hunting lodge but are somewhat out of touch with the upscale "Euro-remont" that is so popular among the Kazakhstani elite.
posted by jokeefe at 1:14 AM on December 9, 2010 [33 favorites]


break it down Jokeefe.

posted by clavdivs at 1:18 AM on December 9, 2010


hmm sound like "writers block" and alcohol.
posted by clavdivs at 1:19 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks like Visa is still down, 12 hours or so after the attack. I count Mastercard as being down for about the same time. Pretty successful, really.

What if they start playing the song, "Dancing in the Street" from loud speakers, but then refuse to actually dance in the street??

Oh, if they start playing a song, I do not think it will be 'Dancing in the Street'.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:19 AM on December 9, 2010


Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking.

Seems just like any number of marches or strikes to me. I tend to associate terrorism with bombs and guns and suchlike, not temporary inconveniences. Is America so topsy-turvy these days that the guns and bombs are reasonable, but popular protest ist verboten?

"Give me convenience or give me death" indeed...
posted by pompomtom at 1:22 AM on December 9, 2010 [25 favorites]


One of the issues here is that if the US (and any other) governments move too hard against Wikileaks, they risk radicalizing a significant minority of the population. By "move too hard," I'm talking about declaring Wikileaks and the Operation Payback guys as terrorist organization.

Doing that could radicalize the IT community. Smart people in our government should realize this and act accordingly to deal with all the new Wikileaks publicized cables. I'm thinking something like actually prosecuting the pedophile-enabling Dyncorp contractors, cleaning up the mess with the corrupt government in Afghanistan and so on. I am not certain that the senior US leadership (Clinton, Lieberman, etc) really understand the depth of frustration in the IT community regarding government corruption. It started in the 1990s when it became clear to geeks that the recording industry was doing its level best to kill technological innovation via lobbying law makers. For a lot of people, learning about how twisted the law making process actually is, served as a catalyst for understanding how narrow oligarchical interests have corrupted the process to enrich themselves. Prof. Larry Lessig, beloved by the copyright reformers, is a good example of this. After the failure of his struggle against Big Media, Lessig has switched his emphasis to institutional corruption. You can see how much things have changed by looking at Slashdot, which is a decent bellwether for the older generation of IT workers. In the 1990s, it was a real libertarian haven-- today, if you try to fly the Ayn Rand/Objectivist flag there you will probably take a lot of heat.

With respect to PayPal and the other financial institutions that have tried to banhammer Wikileaks, they also have to contend with the fact that many frontline IT professionals probably have serious Wikileaks sympathies. They may not be downloading hacking tools from 4chan, but perceptive managers certainly realize that some of their own employees may deeply oppose what corporate HQ is doing. Typically the people who do the gruntwork of keeping the servers up are the ones that are the worst treated, and most commonly today are contract employees. There's always the possibility that one of the introverted, silent developers is actually a fervent Wikileaks supporter who might leak a memo, or just "go slow" on fixing a problem. Stupid, pointy-headed bosses probably don't know and don't care since they are used to just steamrollering their direct reports.

What lawmakers and their pundits in the media don't understand is that while geeks may not always express themselves, they do enormous amounts of reading on their own. Lawmakers and pundits generally don't have very good technical chops-- that's why they majored in the humanities and went to law school. On the other hand, a lot of geeks are omnivorous readers in the humanities. Policy types may not realize that one of the guys that runs the email server at work can give you chapter and verse regarding copyright law (which he downloaded online) and exactly (down to the mind numbing details) how specific industry groups collected donations and lobbied congressional reps to get the law passed. The email server guy knows the details because he actually downloaded policy papers from the lobbying group websites and read them himself word for word.

In the days of heavy industry primacy, steel and railroad workers eventually realized that they actually were the ones who did the work that got the mail delivered and built the stuff that industrial tycoons sold to make enough money to build palaces in NYC. While the tycoons lived in palaces, the people that did the work ate dangerous canned food, ran a significant risk of getting killed in a boiler explosion, and lived in squalid cities full of disease. When manufacturing workers realized their power and were radicalized by an American elite that thought the appropriate response to the airing of grievances beat the shit out anyone who complained, then things got pretty chaotic in America.

Today, we have this information economy where a group of people have figured out how to make money by being gatekeepers. They are gatekeepers to money (finance/insurance/real estate industry) or gatekeepers to the tools you need to manipulate information (software industry). The people who run the machines to keep the information flowing to the gatekeeprs have the power to actually turn it all off. It's not about putting their body onto the gears, it's putting a piece of code in the system that screws it up and costs the company a lot of money in downtime.

That's exactly what the DDOS's do to a company like Visa or Mastercard-- cost them money.
mean, it's a win-win situation, since it improves governance and also prevents further disruptions by Wikileaks and other online activist groups. All Wikileaks has done is to expose corruption and hypocrisy in our system, and to the extent that Wikileaks has done so, I think it has acted as a legitimate media organization.


The last thing that our government and business leaders should want, is a radicalized IT sector. I really hope that cooler heads prevail and the leadership of the US will take the necessary steps to reform the bad behavior exposed by Wikileaks.
posted by wuwei at 1:30 AM on December 9, 2010 [243 favorites]


Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking.

I doubt anyone will die as a result of this or be "terrorized" by it. This is more akin to vandalism.
posted by dibblda at 1:31 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking. I don't think that this sort of thing should be encouraged or hailed as heroic.

If the DDOS attacks don't work and a group of hard-core /b/tards start planting Baader-Meinhof-style bombs in banks to protest against the WikiLeaks prosecution, will we still be hailing them?"

Terrorism? Bombs? Is this Six Degrees of I'm A Frightened Old Lady?
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 1:32 AM on December 9, 2010 [42 favorites]


I'm going to bet 90% of the DDOSers have just downloaded LOIC and haven't installed the patch.

I'm going to bet that anyone with the bare minimum of tech knowledge using LOIC and IRC chat will also follow the first line on the instructions here: "XP users MUST get the Half-Open connections fix (link to patch) first."
posted by suedehead at 1:32 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Give me convenience or give me death" indeed...
yes, I see.
The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets. Many governments — some governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us.

bottom line. power. the question is age old and sexist Imo, 'who has da power'
why ask a question?
posted by clavdivs at 1:33 AM on December 9, 2010


Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking.

Except for the whole 'lack of anything remotely like violence' thing. "Cyberterrorism" is a contentious term at best, and you've taken taken it to absurd extremes with that description. Honestly, that you would conflate people sitting at their computers causing headaches for a few companies with suicide bombers is... I don't even know what to say.
posted by Hoopo at 1:33 AM on December 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Some parallel worlds I could live in, in order of preference.

World 1. If a government objects to certain data being released, it takes the releaser to court on specific charges, issuing international arrest warrants if necessary. Angry internet mobs object loudly, but do not take direct action.

World 2. If a government objects to certain data being released, it uses vague threats and intimidation to informally harass the releaser, disrupting the releaser's financing and web hosting. Angry internet mobs counter by informally harassing the organizations who have disrupted them.

World 3. If a government objects to certain data being released, it uses vague threats and intimidation to informally harass the releaser, disrupting the releaser's financing and web hosting. Angry internet mobs do not respond.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:36 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Americans are shit-scared of terrorism, even if they don't have any idea what it really is, and have an almost infinitesimal chance of ever encountering it.

Meanwhile, laws are changed, wars are started and civil liberties are thrown away--making their lives appreciably worse, both directly and indirectly--and they cheer. The truly fucked thing is that they're making the world a much worse place for the passels of children they claim to care about.

I honestly believe if our society viewed moral courage, helping others, and truth telling to power as "macho" we'd be the most awesome society possible. But those are considered weak, and the average American is in thrall to the "tough guy."
posted by maxwelton at 1:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [38 favorites]


Should read *

The last thing that our government and business leaders should want, is a radicalized IT sector. I really hope that cooler heads prevail and the leadership of the US will take the necessary steps to reform the bad behavior exposed by Wikileaks.


I mean, it's a win-win situation, since reform improves governance and also prevents further disruptions by Wikileaks and other online activist groups. All Wikileaks has done is to expose corruption and hypocrisy in our system, and to the extent that Wikileaks has done so, I think it has acted as a legitimate media organization.
posted by wuwei at 1:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Paypal released the funds because they were about to be sued over it.

In Europe they have a banking license, and there are rules they have to follow...
posted by DreamerFi at 1:50 AM on December 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: Wikilinks
posted by panaceanot at 1:54 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


>"Americans are shit-scared of terrorism, even if they don't have any idea what it really is, and have an almost infinitesimal chance of ever encountering it.

Meanwhile, laws are changed, wars are started and civil liberties are thrown away--making their lives appreciably worse, both directly and indirectly--and they cheer. The truly fucked thing is that they're making the world a much worse place for the passels of children they claim to care about."


Change the word "terrorism" to "communism" and it's suddenly the Cold War again!

* * *
Separately, for all the good and the hacking its members have done, Anonymous is not a "human rights and subversive hacking group." It's not even a group at all, beyond the barest "more than one person" sense of the word. It is a shifting, capricious, semi-mob-rule identity for people sharing a common thread at a specific point in time. Yes, there is a subset of it involved in anti-scientology work and a subset involved in avenging Wikileaks, but these are fits of temporary organization and specialization affecting only part of the whole; a fruiting body from the greater fungus.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Might as well get it over with...



Metafilter: a fruiting body from the greater fungus.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:11 AM on December 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


I wish we had a better word in the public discourse for DDOS attacks than "hacking". I always assumed a successful DDOS had to use a botnet, but the idea that a group of people, using only hardware they own, could bring down Visa is pretty stirring. If you squint really hard, it's almost democratic. It certainly seems more like a form of protest than something I'd call hacking.

I have no idea what to make of Operation Bank-Troll, though. I wonder if we'll ever see libel cases brought against people who post damaging tweets.
posted by heathkit at 2:18 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


...a radicalized IT sector...
*shiver* not for fear but exhilaration.

I've been so nonplussed by Wikileaks as it is all all so familiar: Large, powerful nation lies cheats and steals, news at 11!
This development though, the I.Terranosaurus that is Annonymous, throwing it's weight into the ring, is unexpected and the future potential ramifications, especially if they attain a measure of quantifiable success, are really pretty stupendous. Somewhere on the innertubes I read someone referring to the InterNet as a 'Sovereign State.' That's a pretty big step to take and I wonder if the first leg isn't lifting up and kicking out to do just that...
posted by From Bklyn at 2:22 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


The money was released by PayPal before the DDoS, but don't let that stop the editorial.
posted by fixedgear at 2:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


And as an Assange aside: Hitchens' take on which way the Assange should jump is worth the five minute read, whether or not you agree.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Today, we have this information economy where a group of people have figured out how to make money by being gatekeepers. They are gatekeepers to money (finance/insurance/real estate industry) or gatekeepers to the tools you need to manipulate information (software industry). The people who run the machines to keep the information flowing to the gatekeeprs have the power to actually turn it all off.

There's a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think... it's all about the information!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:25 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It's run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It's all just electrons.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:26 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Separately, for all the good and the hacking its members have done, Anonymous is not a "human rights and subversive hacking group."

Yeah, the hyperbolic tone of my post is tongue in cheek, which is why "human rights" links to a self-adulatory blog about minor insults to Scientology, and "subversive" links to a story about a teenager vs. Sarah Palin's emails.

Ultimately any CYBERATTACK or CYBERWAR or CYBERTERROR activity is going to be an impotent gesture: as ridiculous as the terms used to describe it. That goes for all of it: state-approved or spontaneous.

But I'm kidding on the square. The feelings people are having about them are real, even if they're dissociated and the immediate consequences are trivial.
posted by clarknova at 2:27 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope Anonymous takes down EasyDNS as well. They're the real villains here.
posted by doublehappy at 3:00 AM on December 9, 2010 [12 favorites]


You don't fight fire with fire. When your protest gets in the way of uninvolved people, YOU are in the wrong. Especially when the protest is (claimed to be) about freedom. Crying about "information should be free" rings really hollow when their actions prevent the movement of information.

Wikileaks used to be a good thing. You know, an anonymous wiki. But that's not what they are any more. Listen to the things Assange has said- he doesn't just want to expose bad acts to the world and embarrass government. He wants that embarrassment to lead to the failure of government. That is frightening, perhaps even terrifying, to many people who would prefer that their government not be destroyed, especially in this manner. Not cool. Especially when the stated path of this failure is through increasing secrecy and paranoia within government- a lot of innocent people are going to get hurt if his plan succeeds. You don't destroy the village to save the village.
posted by gjc at 3:04 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Has anyone linked to this explanation of how they are doing it, yet? (Plus there's a link to the page explaining how to get in on the attack.)
posted by Catblack at 3:10 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Everyone has already commented on this, but
Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking. I don't think that this sort of thing should be encouraged or hailed as heroic.
The basic point of terrorism is to terrify. The word your looking for is (listen all y'all it's) sabotage.
posted by delmoi at 3:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [24 favorites]


...sabotage.
Does Annonymous dream of electronic clogs?
posted by From Bklyn at 3:17 AM on December 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


dissociated and the immediate consequences are trivial.
posted by clarknova

on the square i see your point. well made. Though and as such-
When the people associate the consequences as not trival but disruptive to an already disrupted society, the whole view shifts, from polls, to stocks, to the person getting up to work. It is a quick slope but the end result is clear, to bring awareness to those who are not aware which in theory i would agree. My point, "the people" do not need pressure from something as trivial as these attacks. They are trival by design, The fool can see that. The intention is what is being examined concerning wikileaks and subsequent events linked to it, and i say it because it is becoming rapidly defined as we type in order to take a legal response without "shutting down the internet".

When manufacturing workers realized their power and were radicalized by an American elite that thought the appropriate response to the airing of grievances beat the shit out anyone who complained, then things got pretty chaotic in America.
posted by wuwei.

"Things" were already chaotic in America and more so with the world in general. What time frame are you refering. Like Gomphers to Goldman or Miners to the U.A.W, they all have relevence. What lacks focus in this example is the conditions in which they apply today. For example the working conditions you skim, they apply today to the same worker in the same job? Or are you refering to a mood or an ideology that 'suits' inevitable means to an inevitable end. The money is not the real issue as the Government has more even if you can prove it is "worthless". The people behind it are not.
{rhetoric, off to sleep by alloted 2-3 hours and i blame clarknova you rebel bastard:}
posted by clavdivs at 3:25 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Catblack : Has anyone linked to this explanation of how they are doing it, yet? (Plus there's a link to the page explaining how to get in on the attack.)

Good link... And I think one worth elaborating on - Most people hear about a DDOS and think of botnets made up of unwitting Grannies' PCs controlled by the Russian Mafia.

Not the case here - This DDOS comes from hundreds of thousands of voluntary participants. Real average Joes pissed enough at the government and the banks to take one tiny step toward the revolution. You and I can even join in to tell Visa where they can stick their "choose not to do business with [unconvicted, uncharged] criminals".

Not terrorism, acb, but democracy. We The People won't put up with the lies, the intimidation, the financial seige against a goddamned legal defense fund.

Good luck to the FBI, though. No doubt they'll catch haul in three or four token b/tards, while having to publicly pretend the thousands more who took part - Did I mention this runs voluntarily? - Don't exist in order to save some face.
posted by pla at 3:25 AM on December 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It's run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It's all just electrons. - uncanny

Um, isn't everything "just electrons"?
posted by readyfreddy at 3:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


When your protest gets in the way of uninvolved people, YOU are in the wrong.

This is another point. Of course it is or else it would not be protest or any non-violent resistance. to a dgree,you discount peoples humanity by pointing out what these people already know. That what makes this personal. people are willing to commit the wrong...willing they have are and will
ok clarknova, i now offer my sorry for playing cop. ta.
posted by clavdivs at 3:30 AM on December 9, 2010


Um, isn't everything "just electrons"?

Standard model, bro.
posted by Jimbob at 3:36 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Um, isn't everything "just electrons"?

No.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:46 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tangental, but of interest: Seymour Hersh - Should we be worried about a cyber war?
posted by adamvasco at 3:52 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


doublehappy: "I hope Anonymous takes down EasyDNS as well. They're the real villains here"

EVERYdns. EasyDNS is not and never was a Wikileaks host.
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:59 AM on December 9, 2010 [12 favorites]


The Economist has a very good blog post in which one of its reporters chats to Anonymous online. It reveals some details of how a bunch of Anonymous people might organise themselves.
About ten people, called “OPs”, are able to launch an attack. If any OP abuses his power—if he fails to heed what anons call “the hive mind” in IRC conversations— the other OPs can lock him out of the chat. If any anon fails to be inspired by the target, she can remove her own computer from the volunteer botnet, reducing its effect. Anonymous is a 24-hour Athenian democracy, run by a quorum of whoever happens to be awake.
posted by memebake at 4:02 AM on December 9, 2010 [24 favorites]


Wow, they just made +o on IRC sound like a military designation

Way to go, Economist
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:07 AM on December 9, 2010 [22 favorites]


I fear that all the pentagon would have to do to counter "a radicalized IT sector" would be to make dungeons and dragons free for all.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:10 AM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


/join #anonchat

<@moot> Take off every zig
<@moot> for great justice!

/part
/join #usmil

<@Petraeus> bleeeeat
<Obama> i haven't capitulated to the R's 2day
<Obama> any ideas

/part
/join #mefi

<@mathowie> at last our plans are...
<@mathowie> oh hi, smm
mathowie stares at you
<@jessamyn> thought i locked it sorry
** You have been kicked from #mefi by @jessamyn: sorry busy
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [37 favorites]


Fixed link to Hitchens on Assange.
posted by Duke999R at 4:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anonymous is a 24-hour Athenian democracy, run by a quorum of whoever happens to be awake.

Ok, that's fascinating and scary. Shame it doesn't scale.
posted by nomadicink at 4:13 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


sonic meat machine: Wow, they just made +o on IRC sound like a military designation

Ah, I wondered what the Ops bit meant (I've never been on IRC). So it refers to members with Ops rights on the current channel? However, in the context of a group of people controlling a huge voluntary botnet, it _kind of_ is a military designation.
posted by memebake at 4:16 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


if he fails to heed what anons call “the hive mind” in IRC conversations

Ugh, hive mind.
posted by fixedgear at 4:23 AM on December 9, 2010


So, lemmie get this straight. Wikileaks doesn't like that governments seem to do whatever they want to get their way regardless of morals, laws, or those innocents that are impacted...

...so Wikileaks (and anon) USE THE SAME FUCKING JUSTIFICATIONS OF ENDS JUSTIFYING THE MEANS TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT REGARDLESS OF MORALS, LAWS OR THOSE INNOCENTS THAT ARE IMPACTED.

Not impressed.
posted by Muddler at 4:24 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the DDOS attacks don't work and a group of hard-core /b/tards start planting Baader-Meinhof-style bombs in banks to protest against the WikiLeaks prosecution, will we still be hailing them?

From what I've seen, the kinds of live activism Anonymous does isn't this. It would be more like, they'd dress up in Guy Fawkes costumes and hold parades through bank lobbies to the tune of "Never Gonna Give You Up". There's an element of the ridiculous to the live actions I've seen, more so than the violent.

And I kind of like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:31 AM on December 9, 2010 [17 favorites]


Muddler: Wikileaks doesn't do ANYTHING. Governments kill people.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:35 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


ShawnStruck, I think doublehappy was making a joke.
posted by Pendragon at 4:35 AM on December 9, 2010


..so Wikileaks (and anon) USE THE SAME FUCKING JUSTIFICATIONS OF ENDS JUSTIFYING THE MEANS TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT REGARDLESS OF MORALS, LAWS OR THOSE INNOCENTS THAT ARE IMPACTED.

False equivalence. What Wikileaks are doing is what investigative journalists do. (With the exception that journalism these days has largely been tamed by "free-market efficiencies" emerging from media companies having been taken over and consolidated, cutting staff and cutting the time journalists have to do serious legwork, as opposed to rewriting press releases.) WikiLeaks claim that the memos they release are properly redacted, with professional journalists from The Guardian/Le Monde/El Pais advising on the process, and none of the claims of them releasing unredacted information that endangers lives have so far been borne out. The fact that they're not funded by a publically traded corporation who can be negotiated with by those in positions of power over a round of golf does not invalidate their status as journalists.

Anonymous, however, are a flash mob looking for LULZ. It's more mob rule than civil society, and little different than the Digg conservative conspiracy auto-burying posts they disagree with or the pro-Israeli commenters using a tool named Megaphone to shout down opponents on comment boards. The main difference is that "Operation Payback" does actually cause problems for innocent third parties needing to pay for things. The main outcome will probably be more impetus to retrofit the internet with points of control to prevent such chaos from erupting again.

Anonymous (or some faction of the amorphous blob that is Anonymous) have attached themselves to Wikileaks unbidden; the Wikileaks organisation has never courted them or requested their assistance (if one calls it that).
posted by acb at 4:38 AM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


so Wikileaks (and anon) USE THE SAME FUCKING JUSTIFICATIONS OF ENDS JUSTIFYING THE MEANS TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT REGARDLESS OF MORALS, LAWS OR THOSE INNOCENTS THAT ARE IMPACTED.

Just bullshit. First of all, they didn't just shove off the cables, they have been released slowly (Wikileaks didn't steal them by the way, just published them) and in consultation with the MSM sources that published them FIRST. And anyway, it isn't at all clear that Assange has broken any laws here at all, in fact a number of experts have said prosecution may be next to impossible as courts going back to the Pentagon Papers case have held that the publisher of classified documents can't really be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Who is being harmed here? Hilary Clinton's ego? Almost all of this stuff has been garden variety and was widely reported on by MSM at the time it was applicable. Give me a break. As for Anonymous, what the hell are you talking about? Innocents impacted, who, VISA? Even if they are breaking the law, I say more power to them. There is a vast fucking difference when those in power use that power regardless of law, morals etc than when a few internet activists and a web site publisher do. For fuck's sake, you sound like Joe Lieberman.
posted by IvoShandor at 4:38 AM on December 9, 2010 [23 favorites]


Guardian: The Taiwanese news animators NMA have struck again with a video covering the arrest of Julian Assange. It features Sarah Palin with a rifle and a Canadian with bazooka. Enjoy:

Wikileaks keeps on publishing despite arrest
posted by memebake at 4:45 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm not convinced that I agree 100% with what wikileaks is doing. The material they are releasing could have dangerous consequences, and I don't believe they are taking enough of a responsible editorial stance.

That said, what the corporations are doing in proxy to the governments is worse. Until wikileaks is convicted of a crime in a courtroom, there should be a presumption of innocence. To cut off services to them on the say-so of the politicians is therefore an action against liberty, democracy and the freedom of speech.

We are mainly powerless to resist this. These corporations will have considered our complaints and the viability of boycotting the services they provide, and will know they are in no danger.

There is no recourse to law or brand loyalty which can sway them. I applaud the actions of Anonymous in the same way as I applaud the actions of Emily Davison, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and all those who have fought for civil liberties in a similar fashion in the past.
posted by walrus at 4:52 AM on December 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


If the mainstream US media had not completely capitulated to the governmental-corporate complex, Wikileaks would not be necessary.
posted by unSane at 4:56 AM on December 9, 2010 [25 favorites]


Corollary 1: if mainstream US media rediscovers independence, Wikileaks will again become unnecessary.

Corollary 2: if mainstream US media remains an organ of the state, it will not be mainstream for much longer.
posted by unSane at 4:57 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well thanks guys for managing to give major ammo to the anti-net neutrality folks. You've just managed to fuck over everyone on the planet with your pissing match. Congrats.
I hate lawyers as much as anyone, but this was a clear case of where you use them, and not this.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:59 AM on December 9, 2010


You can only use lawyers when your opponents are acting within the law. You can't lawyer your way out of targeted corporate attack—at least not in any timely fashion. What good does it do to win a lawsuit against PayPal in 2018 when Julian Assange has already been "murdered by an inmate" in 2011?
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:11 AM on December 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Muddler,

Do you know why the definition of treason is so vague in the United States? Because all of the founding fathers were traitors and terrorists when it came to the interests of the British Empire.

The difference between laws serving the majority and laws serving the powerful minority is the difference between democracy and dictatorship. You're toeing the same line as all of the southern politicians who decried Martin Luther King for not pursuing the same legal channels that had led to nearly zero results for one hundred years.

Sometimes non-violent civil protest through law-breaking is absolutely the right thing to do, especially compared to the real injustice of denying people the right of free will and self-governance.

If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. --Thomas Jefferson

Every time an American talks about the importance of remaining loyal to one's country, it makes me want to self-harm. Not saying you are, but if you are, read this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

-The Declaration of Independence
posted by notion at 5:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [90 favorites]


unSane : We are mainly powerless to resist this.

Not powerless, just infinitesimally weak. Install LOIC and pool your iota of power.


These corporations will have considered our complaints and the viability of boycotting the services they provide, and will know they are in no danger.

Actually, at the moment, they seem pretty worried - Keep in mind that Anon has so far only targeted their "public consumption" websites, not their payment processing infrastructure - And both sides fully well know that.

Rotating the canon just a hair would, during the busiest shopping season in the US, bring the PCI to its knees.


There is no recourse to law or brand loyalty which can sway them.

"Loyalty" to cash. Or better still, barter whenever possible. Not as convenient, but the bigger the "hidden" economy, the less the banks and their shills at the Fed can screw with it.


Old'n'Busted : Well thanks guys for managing to give major ammo to the anti-net neutrality folks.

Net neutrality has nothing to do with this - You can't stop a DDOS by throttling any particular type or source of traffic. At best, this might boost the odds of Obama's mythical "Internet Kill Switch"; but at my age, I don't leave cookies out for Santa anymore, either.
posted by pla at 5:13 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


So far in this thread, no mention of th3j35t3r -- Jester -- who was employing his XerXes DoS tool against Wikileaks way back in the days when it had a DNS .org listing.

In spite of crude attempts at sleazy fraud, Jester has devoted some time and considerable attention to attacking "jihadist" sites (i.e., Arabic language sites), which should mean that his alignment is Chaotic Good.

But don't Anonymous and Jester have to therefore be on the same side?
posted by fredludd at 5:14 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, hell, I'd love to join a consumer boycott of Mastercard. There's just the little problem of the $20,000 I owe them...

But you don't owe MC or Visa, they're just transaction brokers. AFAIK they don't make any money based on you're interest rate, but rather make all their money off of transaction fees. As opposed to discover card and AMEX which also own the issuing bank and/or acquiring bank.

What they should do is request everyone go to their grocery stores and buy sticks of gum or other small items at a certain time with a visa/mastercard in order to clog their payment processing systems.

In addition to the percentage of total transaction inter-charge fee, there is a per transaction fee of at least 15 and possibly as much as 50 cents. Portions of this go to the banks, but MC & Visa take a cut that is probably worth enough to keep their network built out. This is why there are so many merchants with a $5 or $10 minimum (even when said minimum was technically a contract violation). I'm not sure your idea has much merit as a punitive one.

As for Paypal, I'm going to start keeping careful track of any donations or funds I route through them, because I think there is going to be a huge class action suit someday over the interest they make on dollars held in suspended accounts.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:19 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


th3j35t3r doesn't give any confidence that he is anything more than a second-rate script kiddie with a third rate understanding of moral justice.

5 bucks says his "XerXes" is just an unattributed ripoff of slowloris.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:20 AM on December 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Well thanks guys for managing to give major ammo to the anti-net neutrality folks. You've just managed to fuck over everyone on the planet with your pissing match. Congrats.
I hate lawyers as much as anyone, but this was a clear case of where you use them, and not this."

How would you use lawyers? The terms and conditions of the contract clearly delineate when and how service may be stopped (and believe you me, modern terms and conditions are very clear about this). Paypal isn't under a continuing obligation to provide service, for example.

Even if the terms did not exist, it's legal to cut Wikileaks off as it is a contractural rather than statutory obligation to provide service. The service providers choose not to provide service, but may be liable for damages or specific performance, 12 months down the line when the case is finished. That's it. The third party companies have no relation to constitutional protections, as they are not the government.

What useful remedies are you suggesting are available?
posted by jaduncan at 5:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"In spite of crude attempts at sleazy fraud, Jester has devoted some time and considerable attention to attacking "jihadist" sites (i.e., Arabic language sites), which should mean that his alignment is Chaotic Good."

...it should mean that because Arabic language sites are inherently evil? o_O
posted by jaduncan at 5:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Old'n'Busted,

Are you saying that if we asked more nicely, the corporations would give us our rights back? Are you saying that if we asked our government more nicely to get our rights back for us, they would do it, even though:

1) most of them are lawyers
2) who work or have worked for corporations
3) which has made about half of them millionaires?

I don't buy it.
posted by notion at 5:24 AM on December 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Keep in mind that Anon has so far only targeted their "public consumption" websites, not their payment processing infrastructure.

http://api.payal.com/ has been down all day for me. Looks like anon is going after Paypal's merchant infrastructure to me.

It's very hard to go after Visa & Mastercard's infrastructure with the tools anon is using: most of it is not on the net. You could knock out the servers that handle "Verified by VESA" transactions, but merchants have the ability to fall back to not using that verification if they choose & the rest of the merchant verification usually happens via dialup or leased lines (for larger companies) I believe.

It would take true hacking/cracking rather than the simple DDOS attacks that anon are currently using to bring down these services.
posted by pharm at 5:26 AM on December 9, 2010


Oh, and from reading his blog, th3j35t3r doesn't know the first thing about modern encryption systems.
posted by pharm at 5:27 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


What useful remedies are you suggesting are available?

Are you seriously suggesting that nuking it from orbit and fuck-all the collateral damage (read: small business owners who use paypal as a payment gateway), because someone feels they have the moral right to do so?

Please, actions like this aren't helping anything. They are only fueling people's already paranoid worries about the Evil Internet and how it Corrupts Children (report at 11).

A better solution? If you have enough power to make such a noise, perhaps you could call or visit your senator and register your complaint about the treatment. Otherwise you're just pissing in the wind.

Is what Mastercard/Paypal/the US gubberment done is wrong? Absolutely. But this isn't the way to address the problem.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you want to shut paypal down, take your money out. Don't use it.
posted by empath at 5:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


A better solution? If you have enough power to make such a noise, perhaps you could call or visit your senator and register your complaint about the treatment. Otherwise you're just pissing in the wind.

That's pretty much the definition of pissing in the wind.
posted by empath at 5:30 AM on December 9, 2010 [38 favorites]


I don't buy it.

That's because others have - which is why they are millionaires. If you don't like it, you work to change it in a way that doesn't fuck over the bystanders. Raise money and buy your own rep in congress - it's the American way!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:31 AM on December 9, 2010


That's pretty much the definition of pissing in the wind.

Not if the zillions of Anon folks do so instead of pretending to do something via a script.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:32 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you want to shut paypal down, take your money out. Don't use it.

Which will have little to no effect; Paypal doesn't care about churn - because they know the 2-3% that will do it, will come back in a few months. Why? Because memory is short and there is no other viable competitor.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:35 AM on December 9, 2010


Old'n'Busted: I suspect most of Anon running these attacks are outside the US. The US State dept or any US reps won't listen to them.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:36 AM on December 9, 2010


The last thing that our government and business leaders should want, is a radicalized IT sector.

Not going to happen without another dip in the economy, but a lot of unemployed, bitter, radical IT workers would be a frightening thing.
posted by empath at 5:36 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not if the zillions of Anon folks do so instead of pretending to do something via a script.

THere aren't zillions of them, and most of them aren't voting age.

Last I heard, there were only a little over 9000.
posted by empath at 5:37 AM on December 9, 2010 [31 favorites]


Was this post deliberately written as a sort of takeoff on the media's cluelessness about the internet? "The radical human rights and subversive hacking group"? Really? Did you just read Is Your Son a Computer Hacker? in the most unironic sense imaginable?
posted by indubitable at 5:38 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Muddler: ...so Wikileaks (and anon) USE THE SAME FUCKING JUSTIFICATIONS OF ENDS JUSTIFYING THE MEANS TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT REGARDLESS OF MORALS, LAWS OR THOSE INNOCENTS THAT ARE IMPACTED.
At this time, as far as I know, not even the US government has made any formal claim that Wikileaks has either broken any specific laws or harmed any specific innocents. That's exactly why so many people are outraged over the Wikileaks story; the push-back by governments has come almost entirely in the form of shady, extra-legal subterfuge and behind-the-scenes political pressure. Which is exactly the sort of hypocritical, subversive, anti-democratic behavior that Wikileaks generally seeks to expose, ironically enough.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [17 favorites]


Anonymous is basically the equivalent of internet mob vigilante justice, right?
posted by TravellingDen at 5:41 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The radical human rights and subversive hacking group known only as Anonymous has struck again.

pheer the wrath of pedobear...
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:42 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Many Assange/Wikileaks links over at Antiwar today.
posted by telstar at 5:44 AM on December 9, 2010


An open letter from Anon
posted by empath at 5:49 AM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


I would not say that /b/ are chaotic good. I would say they are chaotic neutral. In fact, if I were running a D&D game and trying to explain to a new player how to play a chaotic neutral character, I'd probably consider them one of the best examples.
posted by localroger at 5:55 AM on December 9, 2010


acb: Attacks against civilian infrastructure with the intent of causing collateral damage to make a point seem a bit too close to terrorism for my liking.
As far as I'm concerned (and as far as my dictionary is concerned, for whatever that's worth) "terrorism" involves actual violence to or the killing of human beings.

This sort of DDoS thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and it's certainly illegal, it's certainly organized crime. The people behind this are probably crooks themselves, spammer-facilitators or worse. You could call it "extortion." But terrorism? No way. No blood is being spilled here. That's a really big gap to cross.
posted by Western Infidels at 6:02 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


amuseDetachment: "th3j35t3r doesn't give any confidence that he is anything more than a second-rate script kiddie with a third rate understanding of moral justice."

Exactly. I'm sure, however, that th3j35t3r Jester believes himself to be (or be seen as) The True Chaotic Champion of Good. I'm not one of Jester's supporters: I've donated to Wikileaks and I applaud the current Anonymous campaign.

And I think that the world is not so simple that actions can ever fit neatly into the lawful/chaotic/neutral X good/neutral/evil matrix.
posted by fredludd at 6:03 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a final thought re Jester: if he really wanted to slam jihadist recruitment sites, he'd go after www.fbi.gov
posted by fredludd at 6:06 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


That's because others have - which is why they are millionaires. If you don't like it, you work to change it in a way that doesn't fuck over the bystanders. Raise money and buy your own rep in congress - it's the American way!

And if they have taken all of your money through conspiratorial backroom deals, just have a stiff upper lip, right? If you're a citizen from outside the United States that doesn't have a representative government precisely because the apathetic American public can go about their day without any interruptions, and your slavery reduces the cost of their Grilled Stuffed Cheese Chalupa, just grin and bear it?

Well, fuck that. I know if the situation were reversed, and I could at least for one day break through the reality distortion field of the Empire, I would do it in a heartbeat. Maybe I would do something crazy, like destroy their property in some sort of protest. But these days anything that reduces profit or convenience is anti-American. Especially if it involves defending any sort of principle.
posted by notion at 6:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


From the Hitch article: "In [Assange's] fantasies he is probably some kind of guerrilla warrior, but in the real world he is a middle man and peddler who resents the civilization that nurtured him."

I remember reading Hitch ten years ago and revelling in his iconoclasm. Now he treats the American security state with sickening reverence, and treats plutocracy with kid gloves. As for the appeal to ridicule "resent[ing] the civilization that nurtured him," this sort of argument is baseless (how does he know Assange resents his civilization?), cloaked in the rhetoric which assumes that there is not human civilization, but western civilization and others. This is distasteful as this rhetoric is divisive and has its genesis in the imperialistic language of the 19th century.

It saddens me that a mind which never had issue with causing chaos to the establishment is spending its final years using poor arguments wrapped in broad verbage to defend it.
posted by banal evil at 6:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


Anonymous will eventually take things to the next level - software tools to help you 'shun' the 'bad actors' in an 'economic' way.

The only vote you have is where you spend your money - and with the pushback on what is now being done in the name of Anonymous the ultimate expression of the power of Anon, rightly or wrongly, would be a coordination of cashflow to firms.

Many of the tools/techniques exist to create a distributed database, web sites have had reputation systems for long enough for PHD's to write papers on the methods of tracking reputations. Crypto is well known. All it takes now is the talent and time to write code that can assign validity values to claims of fact, assign a trustworthyness to a source, make the assembled dataset 'P2P' and do other things not mentioned because there is always something not thought of when you write code/design a system.

If such a thing happens I foresee economic models from such an effort:
Selling 'verified' datasets, selling datasets tuned to one 'bad actor' (how about the name loupematics for such a firm - loopmatics used to sell 'odd' books and a loupe is how you look and small things in detail) and because the big 'bad actors' won't clean up their act - selling the services to clean up a reputation/inject noise in such a system.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:24 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


But terrorism? No way. No blood is being spilled here. That's a really big gap to cross.

One could theoretically imagine the denial of payment facilities having life-threatening consequences; for example, someone depending on the ability to use a credit card to book a hotel room for the night, and not having cash as an alternative, or being unable to top up a mobile phone or pay an electricity bill. Cutting off someone's access to payment mechanisms is fucking with their means of support in a pretty serious way, much like cutting telephone lines or blowing up power stations. It's not the same as mass-casualty bomb attacks, but the degree of threat to life and wellbeing is not zero either.
posted by acb at 6:24 AM on December 9, 2010


which should mean that his alignment is Chaotic Good.

But don't Anonymous and Jester have to therefore be on the same side?


You've never played D&D before, have you?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:32 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Denial of payment facilities is what angered anon originally. The DDOS attacks at most mildly inconvenience online merchants, whereas Paypal, Mastercard and Visa attempted to financially hamstring Wikileaks.

Just read Operation Payback's stated goals.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 6:33 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The economist interviews Anon.
posted by empath at 6:34 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that last comment was to acb.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 6:35 AM on December 9, 2010


Do you know why the definition of treason is so vague in the United States? Because all of the founding fathers were traitors and terrorists when it came to the interests of the British Empire.

And here's a circle for you all to make square corners of:

"Further, that I will keep a worthy brother Master Mason's secrets inviolable, when communicated to and received by me as such, murder and treason excepted.
...
3. You promise not to be concerned in any plots or conspiracies against government; but patiently to submit to the decisions of the supreme legislature?"

The charge from the 1st Degree:
"In the State you are to be a quiet and peaceable citizen, true to your government, and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority, and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live."


and
"196:2 The chief object of this Degree In the United States is to exemplify the necessity of government, and to enforce upon the minds of those who are called to govern, the importance of qualifying themselves for the skilful and efficient discharge of their duties."

(The above was taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/dun/dun.txt.gz)

In the work of those 'good men' who were Masons - they violated the terms of their oaths did they not?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:35 AM on December 9, 2010


I'd love to join a consumer boycott of Mastercard. There's just the little problem of the $20,000 I owe them...

*smile*

You could always opt to not pay it back....that'll show them $20,000 at least.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:49 AM on December 9, 2010


New target: Amazon!
posted by mahershalal at 6:54 AM on December 9, 2010


The fact that [Wikileaks is not] funded by a publically traded corporation who can be negotiated with by those in positions of power over a round of golf does not invalidate their status as journalists.

I don't know where Wikileaks' money comes from. Could be car washes and bake sales, could be Anonymous, could be five dollar noobs, could be a publically traded corporation, could be CCP, or Russian mafia, or it could be some combination of all of the above. For all its advocacy of transparency, I don't know more about precisely why and how it does what it does than I do about the governments and corporations it wants to bring down embarrass reform unveil.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:56 AM on December 9, 2010


Rough ashlar, credit cards do not work that way. Mastercard doesn't loan people money, banks do.
posted by ryanrs at 6:56 AM on December 9, 2010


New target: Amazon!

Yeah, good luck with that.
posted by empath at 6:56 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


One could theoretically imagine [all sorts of speculative bullshit].
posted by ryanrs at 6:58 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rough ashlar, credit cards do not work that way. Mastercard doesn't loan people money, banks do.

Hence the *smile*
posted by rough ashlar at 7:02 AM on December 9, 2010


loopmatics used to sell 'odd' books

I think you mean "Loompanics".
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:03 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


He wants that embarrassment to lead to the failure of government. That is frightening, perhaps even terrifying, to many people who would prefer that their government not be destroyed, especially in this manner.

In what manner would these, if you'll forgive my saying so, easily terrified people prefer that their government be destroyed?

I also submit that if you don't consider the current US government a "failure" in both the moral sense and in the "representing the people it rules" sense, you haven't been paying attention.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:03 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Guardian quotes wikileaks:

WikiLeaks is aware that several government agencies and corporations, including the Swedish prosecutor, Mastercard, PayPal and State.gov have come under cyber-attack in recent days, and have often been driven offline as a result.

The attacks are of a similar nature to those received – and endured – by the Wikileaks website over the past week, since the publication of the first of 250,000 US Embassy Cables.

These denial of service attacks are believed to have originated from an internet gathering known as Anonymous. This group is not affiliated with Wikileaks. There has been no contact between any Wikileaks staffer and anyone at Anonymous. Wikileaks has not received any prior notice of any of Anonymous' actions.

Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said: "We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks. We believe they are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets."

posted by mahershalal at 7:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


Feels like we're living a movie. I can easily envision this whole thing being discussed in future history classes.
posted by Evernix at 7:20 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


People who support these attacks are supporting criminal activity.

Millions of merchants, large and small depend on this system for their livelihoods.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

1- The Declaration of Independence isn't US law.
2- They were talking about an unelected King ruling and taxing them from across an ocean.
3- The US has elections. We have the opportunity to alter and abolish the government every two years.
4- Julian Assange is not a US citizen, so even if none of the above were true, he has no dog in this fight, at least as far as the Declaration of Independence goes. Even if you are of the mind that people have the right to armed revolt against their government, he's not a US citizen and wouldn't have that right pertaining to the US government.

Sometimes non-violent civil protest through law-breaking is absolutely the right thing to do, especially compared to the real injustice of denying people the right of free will and self-governance.

If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. --Thomas Jefferson


Absolutely. But there is a facet of civil disobedience that a lot of people are missing. It requires that you break the law openly and with the expectation that you will be arrested for it, and then sit in jail as a quasi-martyr. It is forcing the powers that be to enforce their unjust laws in a very public manner so that they will see the unjustness of it. It is a sort of affirmative defense: hell yes I broke your law, but it is an unjust law and you should change it. (In the US, this leads to the Supreme Court ruling the law unconstitutional, or Congress abolishing it.)

Breaking a law and then trying to get away with it is NOT civil disobedience. Neither is it engaging in the same behavior as the oppressors. That's just childish "getting back at the man".

But in this case, Wikileaks|Assange really isn't engaging in civil disobedience. They are either journalists and merely exposing bad behavior, or agitators trying to foment revolution. Maybe both. But the original comment is absolutely appropriate- if their goal is to expose the bad behavior of the US government, then doing some of the same sort of ends-justifying-the-means things is not an ethically pure argument. Even if it isn't at the same magnitude.

(And I consider the insurance file to be a prime example of this. Keeping information back from the public is contrary to wikileaks' stated goals, and calling it insurance implies it is some kind of threat or extortion. "You guys better not mess with me, or you will be sorry." Hardly an example of journalistic integrity.)
posted by gjc at 7:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


People who support these attacks are supporting criminal activity.

You know your duty, citizen.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:28 AM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


That's just childish "getting back at the man".

I'll take what I can get, man.
posted by ryanrs at 7:31 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


In what manner would these, if you'll forgive my saying so, easily terrified people prefer that their government be destroyed?

I think we'd prefer that it not be destroyed. And to do the destroying ourselves, if that is what we choose to do. I mean, isn't the whole meta argument here that the US was wrong to go messing around in other countries? Why does it become somehow super awesome when Assange is trying to do the same thing?

I also submit that if you don't consider the current US government a "failure" in both the moral sense and in the "representing the people it rules" sense, you haven't been paying attention.

Argue the point, not my level of attention.

There is a difference between failing to meet expectations and being a failure. Our elected officials failed us in many, many ways concerning many things. That doesn't mean the government has failed. In fact, it is working correctly. The electorate was unhappy with one party and chose another, ad the new people try to solve the problems.

And I really don't understand how it can possibly fail to represent the people it rules. It does, by definition. We vote, the person with the most votes becomes our representative. That's the same argument the Tea Partiers make. Just because certain individuals or factions disagree with policy does not mean the State has failed. It just means that more people with differing opinions voted.
posted by gjc at 7:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hardly an example of journalistic integrity.)

You say that, and on the surface, it sure sounds right. And yet, don't you also just know intuitively that exactly the kind of horse-trading in information that you're faulting Wikileaks for here no doubt does go on behind the scenes in newsrooms across the nation all the time--especially among the Washington press establishment.

Not to defend Wikileaks, necessarily. But I'm not at all convinced that loose ethical standards alone can be used to fairly challenge Wikileaks on the basis of journalistic integrity. In the US's post-Fairness Doctrine and truth in advertising rule regulated media landscape, the courts have literally found (in the case of Fox News) that media outlets like Fox are under no professional, ethical or legal obligation to accurately and truthfully report the news.

It's a stretch, I think, to claim that Wikileaks is any more irresponsible in its commitment to journalistic standards than a lot of other media outlets that no one would dare consider branding "terrorist" outfits.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:40 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Feels like we're living a movie. I can easily envision this whole thing being discussed in future history classes.

It's like living in a William Gibson Cory Doctorow novel.
posted by acb at 7:42 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anonymous has now attacked ABC News in response to its story on Sarah Palin's website being attacked by Anonymous.

I'm detecting more than a whiff of the brownshirts in the tactics of Wikileaks supporters.

commence flaming in 3...2...1...
posted by BobbyVan at 7:48 AM on December 9, 2010


And just as soon as I posted, Gawker updates its story to show that no, ABC News was not attacked. I regret their error (and the fact that I trusted a Gawker story).

But not my statement about the brownshirts.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:50 AM on December 9, 2010


The page we thought was an Anonymous hack replacing Jake Tapper's story, from which the screengrab above is taken, was actually a page created by ABC News to show the hack that had been perpetrated on Palin's web site.

Or, you know, not.
posted by empath at 7:51 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gawker just retracted the story about Anon attacking ABC news
posted by memebake at 7:51 AM on December 9, 2010


People who support these attacks pay their taxes are supporting criminal activity. Millions of merchants defense contractors, large and small depend on this system for their livelihoods.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:52 AM on December 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


Looks like the site for Sarah's PAC is down.
posted by jbickers at 7:54 AM on December 9, 2010


I fear things like this will give some Joe-mentum to the "internet kill switch" legislation that Lieberman brought up over the summer.

DING! Yep. I don't see good policy coming out of this specific flap, just the opinions of certain lawmakers as to what is good content and what is harmful.

radicalized IT sector
I think EJB took care of that already :) But seriously, the issue would be the grooming of operatives in IT to be 'activated'. I doubt there will be a great spontaneous smackdown of IT from within corporations. The screening is pretty good.

Anonymous
What they are doing is showing what the low hanging fruit is in terms of disrupting holiday commerce. We should see improvements there as a result.

net-neutrality
I this could definitely color the debate on neutrality. It does not have to be a best fit scenario, it just has to scare people to go for OMG CORPS NEED TO PROTECT THE TOOBS FROM TERROR.

I hope we see some kick ass routing software improvements instead of draconian measures, enabled by a very few people.
posted by drowsy at 7:57 AM on December 9, 2010


Looks like the site for Sarah's PAC is down.

Silencing dissent is OK in service of the greater good. Intimidate your political opponents. Harass corporations and businesses that don't support your agenda. Organize anonymously. Anonymous is a proto-fascist organization.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:59 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Raw Story: XIPWIRE, the Center City-based mobile payments company has launched an online platform through which supporters can donate funding to the controversial WikiLeaks and the legal defense fund of its founder Julian Assange.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:04 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Silencing dissent is OK in service of the greater good. Intimidate your political opponents. Harass corporations and businesses that don't support your agenda. Organize anonymously. Anonymous is a proto-fascist organization.

Wait, are we talking about Anonymous or the US government?
posted by empath at 8:04 AM on December 9, 2010 [19 favorites]


he doesn't just want to expose bad acts to the world and embarrass government. He wants that embarrassment to lead to the failure of government.

Fox has done a fine job with that, when they so choose. All above the radar, without giving us much by way or primary source material to verify the claims.

Not saying what Wikileaks does is cool or not, but at least the stuff that comes out is not made up or anything. Not yet that I've heard. It is very possible that a wiklleaks could be used as pawn to spread disinfo, and as such should be challenged to verify its info.
posted by drowsy at 8:04 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm detecting more than a whiff of the brownshirts in the tactics of Wikileaks supporters.

You are absolutely correct, and the tactics used by this barely-cohesive group of internet vigilantes undoubtedly herald the arrival of the grim spectre of fascism. Meanwhile, the tight cooperation between the US government, Interpol, and every financial instrument in the civilized world to prevent word of their own misdeeds from reaching the populace, is merely the benevolent overture of democracy's shining beacon.

Which is to say, you keep using these words, but I have yet to see the barest hint that you understand them.
posted by Mayor West at 8:05 AM on December 9, 2010 [83 favorites]


Anonymous is a proto-fascist organization.

Somebody doesn't have a fucking clue what Fascism actually is.
posted by localroger at 8:06 AM on December 9, 2010 [25 favorites]


Intimidate your political opponents. Harass corporations and businesses that don't support your agenda. Organize anonymously. Anonymous is a proto-fascist organization.

While you may be right, that's exactly what business interests and the corporate lobby said about the early US labor and civil rights movements, too: and for more or less the same reasons: they disrupted commerce in a way that was destructive to the public and to the political interests they opposed. Labor union leaders, too, were commonly accused of being fascists and jackbooted thugs.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:07 AM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


I remember when I was young you could buy a general purpose computer without a license and connect it to a network without a retinal scan and a government encryption key.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:09 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


I might point out that the Founding Fathers were not U.S. citizens, they were British subjects, if I were feeling up to it, but not right now, and it's a trivial thing anyway.

When I was younger, I would have had disdain for the attacks by anonymous. Now that I am older, I know how things work. You will not win a fight by being morally, ethically, legally, factually, or rationally right.
posted by Xoebe at 8:09 AM on December 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


the tight cooperation between the US government, Interpol, and every financial instrument in the civilized world to prevent word of their own misdeeds from reaching the populace

And they've been pretty effective haven't they? I see the so-called "corporate media" talking about disclosures from the cables every night.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:10 AM on December 9, 2010


Labor union leaders, too, were commonly accused of being fascists and jackbooted thugs.

Were?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Labor union leaders, too, were commonly accused of being fascists and jackbooted thugs.
posted by empath at 8:16 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said: "We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks. We believe they are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets."

Link to Wikileaks' official statement on the recent DDoS attacks.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:16 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see the so-called "corporate media" talking about disclosures from the cables every night.

They don't really have a choice. The information is out there. They can't ignore it.
posted by empath at 8:17 AM on December 9, 2010


Oops, meant for the top part there to be a quote. Caffeine deficiency again.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:17 AM on December 9, 2010


You know who else was a proto-fascist organization?

Every group that used tactics that somebody else didn't like.

Let's try to have a discussion, rather than tossing around invectives. Unless you want to make the case that a DOS attack is a Beer Hall Putsch, and I would be curious to see how you would manage such a thing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:18 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I see the so-called "corporate media" talking about disclosures from the cables every night.

Because, and ONLY because, they know that if they don't, someone else will.
posted by rollbiz at 8:21 AM on December 9, 2010


Cutting off someone's access to payment mechanisms is fucking with their means of support in a pretty serious way, much like cutting telephone lines or blowing up power stations. It's not the same as mass-casualty bomb attacks, but the degree of threat to life and wellbeing is not zero either.

Oh for fuck's sake. You could make exactly the same argument about a bus drivers' strike. Quick, let's eliminate our remaining labor laws!
posted by twirlip at 8:22 AM on December 9, 2010 [27 favorites]


Cybercommand became operational in November. Look out for the 3xtr4-1337 party van!
posted by symbioid at 8:27 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Let's try to have a discussion" is what you say on Metafilter when a group on the political left gets called a bad name. I think I pretty much described many of the characteristics of a proto-fascist group in my earlier comment, and I stand by it.

Yeah, Anonymous is pretty loosely organized and chaotic (I presume) and I'm sure they aren't going to have a Night of the Long Knives any time soon... but there is something concerning about a group that seeks to bully its political opponents into submission via acts of cyber-vandalism and harassment.

Sarah Palin isn't an elected official and has no power over what happens to Julian Assange or Wikileaks. And yeah, she's kind of a moron, and most intelligent people would like to see her shut down. And yeah, the Church of Scientology is kind of creepy and I kind of wish they'd go away too. Do you see where I'm going with this?
posted by BobbyVan at 8:28 AM on December 9, 2010


Ah, Hitchens. He obviously didn't read the memos about how the Russians and lots of Western weapons experts don't even believe this mythical long-range North Korean missile exists, much less that Iran (a country that has never launched an offensive war against any of its neighbors) has it and can threaten Europe with it.

But you can't sell a massively profitable missile-defense system to Europe without missiles to defend against.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


>There is a difference between failing to meet expectations and being a failure. Our elected officials failed us in many, many ways concerning many things. That doesn't mean the government has failed. In fact, it is working correctly. The electorate was unhappy with one party and chose another, ad the new people try to solve the problems.

and will go on to fail us in all new and exciting ways. Because, in fact, they're the same class of people as the folks they replaced, and they represent the same constituency - the corporations and PACs which fund their election campaigns and promise them jobs after they leave office. And it's only gonna get worse, not better, unless voters have a much better idea of who is buying off who. Y'know, transparency. The sort of thing that WikiLeaks is trying to promote (however hamfistedly you may or may not think they're going about it).

And I really don't understand how it can possibly fail to represent the people it rules. It does, by definition. We vote, the person with the most votes becomes our representative.

see above.

That's the same argument the Tea Partiers make.

Surely you can see the difference between "as much transparency as possible in government and business, giving people the data we need to make informed decisions" and "as little government as possible, no matter who gets fucked over, as long as I've got mine".
posted by xbonesgt at 8:35 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's very hard to go after Visa & Mastercard's infrastructure with the tools anon is using: most of it is not on the net.

Used to be true. Less true now. I don't know anything about their specific networks, but most big financial shops have moved away from private circuits to plain-jane VPNs and MPLS, as it's lots cheaper and avoids single points-of-failure. MPLS is harder to hit, but still nowhere near as ironclad as a private network.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:36 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"If the DDOS attacks don't work and a group of hard-core /b/tards start planting Baader-Meinhof-style bombs in banks to protest against the WikiLeaks prosecution, will we still be hailing them?"

I'm going to go on record right now in opposition to the planting of Baader-Meinhof devices. Likewise, I will oppose any attempt by /b/folk to install lasers on the moon to burn the cities of Earth.

That is all.
posted by steambadger at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


I think I pretty much described many of the characteristics of a proto-fascist group in my earlier comment, and I stand by it.

Well, all right. Then let me dismantle it.

While fascism can take a variety of forms, and so therefore no one fascist group is going to be absolutely the same as every other one, there are a few features that tend to be common to fascism. Some of the big ones:

-- Ultranationalism
-- Defining the state as being a living organism, and defining outsiders as being somehow a diseased invader to the national body
-- A cult of personality around a single dictator
-- State control of the mechanism of capitalism, or at least corporate partnership
-- Anti-intellectualism
-- Pathological anticommunism

The describes a lot of thing -- it matches Sara Palin's platform pretty well. It does not, however, match anything that Anonymous is doing. So what are they doing, based on your deliberately uncharitable interpretation?

Silencing dissent is OK in service of the greater good. Intimidate your political opponents. Harass corporations and businesses that don't support your agenda. Organize anonymously.

Well, there are techniques used by pretty much any demagogue. And the two in the middle are used by pretty much every political organization on earth, in the form of whisper campaigns, negative advertising, and boycotts. All of them were used by the founder of the United States of America.

So do you still want to stand by your assertion? It was erroneous. On every single count.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [44 favorites]


there is something concerning about a group that seeks to bully its political opponents into submission via acts of cyber-vandalism and harassment.

You're saying that the US Gov't and various huge multinational corporations are the underdog victims here, having been bullied into submission by the sadistic overlords of /b/? Okie dokie. Thank you for the lols.
posted by elizardbits at 8:41 AM on December 9, 2010 [19 favorites]


First they came for the furries, and I did not speak up, because I thought it was kind of gross and weird.

Then they came for the emo teenagers, and I did not speak up, because their hair was really stupid.

Then they came for the the credit card companies, and I did not speak up because fuck those guys and their interest rates.

Then they came for Sarah Palin, and I did not speak up because she's just terrible.

Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up.
posted by Copronymus at 8:41 AM on December 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


Listen to the things Assange has said- he doesn't just want to expose bad acts to the world and embarrass government. He wants that embarrassment to lead to the failure of government. That is frightening, perhaps even terrifying

Even 14-year-old girls don't actually die of embarrassment. And to claim to be terrified such a thing might happen to your country... well, I just can't comprehend that mindset. Do you not find such extraordinary cowardice a bit embarrassing in and of itself?
posted by ryanrs at 8:44 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's like living in

(a) A William Gibson novel.
(b) A Cory Doctorow novel.
(c) An episode of Max Headroom.
(d) A digitally restored copy of Metropolis.
(e) A prequel to Mad Max.
(f) All of the above.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:44 AM on December 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


acb: One could theoretically imagine the denial of payment facilities having life-threatening consequences; for example, someone depending on the ability to use a credit card to book a hotel room for the night, and not having cash as an alternative, or being unable to top up a mobile phone or pay an electricity bill.
Yes, but there are often genuine life-threatening consequences for many innocuous acts that we don't think of as "terrorism." Every time you get behind the wheel of a car, you're taking a risk that you'll kill someone in a very direct and violent way. But as that's not the intent of driving we don't call it "road terrorism."

In any case, it seems Anon doesn't have the capacity to interfere with the actual credit operations of Visa and Mastercard; the attacks are to those companies' home pages, are are strictly symbolic. No one's Visa is getting rejected at a hotel because of Anon. And as of this morning, anyway, Paypal is back online; I don't know why, but it could be that Anon eased up on them after their change of heart on the defense funds.
Cutting off someone's access to payment mechanisms is fucking with their means of support in a pretty serious way, much like cutting telephone lines or blowing up power stations. It's not the same as mass-casualty bomb attacks, but the degree of threat to life and wellbeing is not zero either.
Okay, but the only really effective cut-off of payment mechanisms in this story was imposed by Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and some banks against Wikileaks and Assange's defense fund. That was a direct, targeted attack on one individual's well being, and it appears it was done at the behest of the US government. If we call Visa or the Feds "terrorists" we'll get laughed at, though.
posted by Western Infidels at 8:46 AM on December 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


isn't the whole meta argument here that the US was wrong to go messing around in other countries?

Exposing a country's bullying to shield its torturers from justice ≠ slaughtering its civilians with incendiary weapons.

If you keep manufacturing straw men like this, you're going to need an additional bale.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:48 AM on December 9, 2010


"jihadist" sites (i.e., Arabic language sites)


What?
posted by JLovebomb at 8:49 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


-- Ultranationalism
Conversely, nationalism might also be portrayed as collective identities towards imagined communities which are not naturally expressed in language, race or religion but rather socially constructed by the very individuals that belong to a given nation. Nationalism emphasizes collective identity - a 'people' must be autonomous, united, and express a single national culture.

I think you'll agree that this applies to Anonymous; an online group of hackers who share a largely left-wing/anarchistic ideology. They mistrust outsiders.

-- Defining the state as being a living organism, and defining outsiders as being somehow a diseased invader to the national body

Per my comment above "nationalism" isn't necessarily exclusive to nation-states.

-- A cult of personality around a single dictator

There really isn't one (yet). Although they do rally around in a cultish manner around certain symbols and a shared language.

-- State control of the mechanism of capitalism, or at least corporate partnership

Not sure that Anonymous has a fully baked political agenda, but they sure do expect companies (Amazon.com, Paypal, Visa, etc.) to support their political agenda or face reprisals.

-- Anti-intellectualism

You can argue this one either way, but in my mind, bullying and harassing opponents rather than engaging them intellectually is pretty darned "anti-intellectual".

-- Pathological anticommunism

I'd submit that's a feature of "old fascism". The Russian hackers who attacked Latvia weren't exactly anti-communists, but I'd say their organization was proto-fascist in nature.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:53 AM on December 9, 2010


Bobby, you must be joking. Or playing devil's advocate. It's pretty funny, either way.
posted by empath at 8:54 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


acb: "Cutting off someone's access to payment mechanisms is fucking with their means of support in a pretty serious way, much like cutting telephone lines or blowing up power stations. It's not the same as mass-casualty bomb attacks, but the degree of threat to life and wellbeing is not zero either."

I sure wish my bank would have taken that into account when it cancelled my wife's Visa card while we were on vacation this September. Or ten years ago in Italy when it was my card that got blocked. "Suspicious activity."

Is my bank a terrorist organization?
posted by brokkr at 8:56 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]



It's like living in:

● A William Gibson novel.
● A Cory Doctorow novel.
○ An episode of Max Headroom.
○ A digitally restored copy of Metropolis.
● A prequel to Mad Max.
○ All of the above.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:06 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


All right, Bobby. I've learned not to argue with Wonderland's Humpty Dumpty, for whom words mean what he wants them to mean, and not what they're collectively understood as meaning.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Correction to above comment: Not sure that Anonymous has a fully baked economic agenda...

And an amplification: I think people are missing the "proto" part of "proto-fascist". Or they're leaping to the conclusion that "he said fascist, that means he thinks Anonymous is just as bad as Hitler." I'd submit that that is a willful misreading of my commentary.

My main point is to compare the tactics of Anonymous to those of a proto-fascist organization. It shows contempt for democracy when you use illegal tactics to bully, harass and intimidate political opponents (regardless of how successful those tactics ultimately are, and regardless of what noble agenda you claim to be fighting for). And it's finally in that contempt for democracy where I detect the whiff of fascism.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:09 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


My main point is to compare the tactics of Anonymous to those of a proto-fascist organization. It shows contempt for democracy when you use illegal tactics to bully, harass and intimidate political opponents

Again, are you talking about Anonymous or the US Government?
posted by empath at 9:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


My main point is to compare the tactics of Anonymous to those of a proto-fascist organization. It shows contempt for democracy when you use illegal tactics to bully, harass and intimidate political opponents (regardless of how successful those tactics ultimately are, and regardless of what noble agenda you claim to be fighting for).

this just in: america in the revolutionary war was a pack of fascists.

proto-fascists. sorry.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:15 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hitler? No. But not entirely opposed, either.
posted by ryanrs at 9:15 AM on December 9, 2010


this just in: america in the revolutionary war was a pack of fascists.

I'm sure you'll get some favorites for that... but how is it showing contempt for democracy when you overthrow monarchical rule and establish a democratic republic?

yes, an imperfect republic that still permitted slavery as a compromise to establish the union blah blah blah i hope we don't open that can of worms
posted by BobbyVan at 9:18 AM on December 9, 2010


> When I was younger, I would have had disdain for the attacks by anonymous. Now that I am older, I know how things work. You will not win a fight by being morally, ethically, legally, factually, or rationally right.

This. Oh, my, this. So, so, so this. With one small exception in that when I was younger, I had always had a sneaking suspicion that this was the way things worked and had always worked, and I hated it with the heat of ten thousand suns. Now that I'm older, I simply know for sure, and ten thousand suns would be a welcome respite from the scorching, all-consuming rage I feel about what's going on these days.

But otherwise, yes, yes, yes - this.
posted by perilous at 9:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [22 favorites]


Now that I am older, I know how things work. You will not win a fight by being morally, ethically, legally, factually, or rationally right.

Are you talking about Anonymous or the US government?
posted by BobbyVan at 9:24 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shutting down Amazon would be a brilliant strategy for winning popular support for Wikileaks. I mean, I appreciate that their goal is to "send a message" to corporations that there are consequences for not supporting Wikileaks, but even if that goal is achieved through these methods (which is doubtful), it will certainly come at the cost of irritating non-true-believers who might otherwise be predisposed in favor of Wikileaks. Based on Wikileaks' statement: "We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks. We believe they are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets", it appears that they care about public opinion. But if they think "public opinion" will support denial-of-service attacks on Amazon, I think they've got another thing coming.

And why, if the government's actions have been wrong, does that make Anonmyous's in-kind actions right (i.e., the repeated "Are you talking about Anonymous or the U.S. government")? Unfortunately, this is the thinking of our age, and explains why we can't seem to stop getting into wars, why people can't find a way to live together in the Middle East, why the political system is broken beyond repair, why people feel that the only think that matters is winning.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:28 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


OpenLeaks, a WL alternative created by WL folks fed up with Assange, opens for business on Monday.
posted by mr.marx at 9:28 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you want to fight eight thousand angry gorillas, the last thing you do is get into a boxing ring with them. Because even if everyone follows the rules, you will only leave the ring when you have achieved the consistency of strawberry jam. No, you don't fight gorillas by following the rules. You fight gorillas any fucking way you can because they are bigger, stronger, faster, and will pwnj00 in a microsecond at the slightest mistake.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


On the issue of Low Orbit Ion Cannon as cowardly act:

Anyone literate enough to understand what it does, and download the patches, is very likely to know the terms and conditions under which their internet connection can be pulled. The are risking their one convenient means left for free speech with every packet sent.

Those who use this tool at a business risk getting their employer kicked off the net, and the subsequent loss of income and/or lawsuit.

Only a fool would use this tool without considering VERY carefully the very real consequences.

Conclusion: It's not hiding, its choosing a political act with very real consequences.

On the issue of Voting as means of Consent:

Where in the US Constitution does it mention 2 ruling parties? This system that has evolved over time is a corruption, and must be broken up. The idea of primary elections is cute and antiquated... we need a system that has ONE election, with 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc.

I was given a choice in 2008... vote for Ron Paul in Indiana's primary... which had ZERO chance of making it stick, or vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

I will always regret my vote for Obama against Clinton, but I am far more angry about the fact that I had no chance to vote FOR my favorite candidate.

Democracy would be a welcome change here in Indiana, on of the United States.

Conclusion: Voting is broken.


On the possibility of Regime Change:

I like the ideals our founders tried to bake in code for us... I am in agreement with the Anti-Federalists among them. If the government proves itself unworthy of consent, it deserves to be cleared out of the way... but once again... we fully realize how messy that can be.

If it turns out the forces of corruption have successfully bricked the whole system... it will be broken, and we will own the mess, and be responsible for cleaning it up.

Conclusion: Don't want Regime Change, but willing to do it if necessary.
posted by MikeWarot at 9:32 AM on December 9, 2010


It's like Axelrod said: Republicans are just better at stifling dissent than Democrats are. There's nothing proto-fascist about a non-violent guerilla insurgency like the current Anonymous campaign. It's not an ideologically motivated action, and certainly not one centered around fascistic ideals.

So while I might be willing to agree that what Anonymous is doing is irresponsible and rests on shaky legal ground, on the other hand, it seems pretty over-the-top and dishonest to characterize the group as "Proto-Fascist" due to its tactics alone.

"Fascism" isn't defined merely in terms of any specific set of brutalizing tactics used to advance a particular regime's political and economic interests: it's primarily about state authority and control. Fascist parties almost by definition represent the absolute power and moral authority of the state. Fascism represents a particular form of absolute state power; insurgencies by definition are not part of the state's power apparatus. Therefore, it makes no sense to speak of a movement as "proto-fascist," on purely tactical grounds: it's the political aims and ideology that make an insurgent movement more or less fascistic in nature. We've supported insurgents using guerrilla fighting techniques in the interest of advancing "democracy" around the world in any number of cases.

What makes this kind of direct action inherently bad for Democracy anymore than, say, a bus boycott might?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Look, you don't like Anonymous. I get it. I'm not arguing that point.

You don't like Wikileaks. I get that, too. You're completely within your rights to feel that way. No one's saying you have to like them, or support them, or be on their side.

But no, Anonymous are not fascists, and they're not proto-fascists, and they're not employing the tactics of fascists. The most charitable reading of their activities is this: They are engaging their opposition with the tools at their disposal in a way which will actually have an impact. Their opposition has billions of dollars, endless connections...you may not think Palin has power as she's no longer an elected official but she has pull and she has a media outlet. She tweets, people report it.

What you seem to be missing is the tremendous power imbalance here, which renders any accusations of fascism useless. This whole thing is the result of the people in power shitting themselves at the possibility that they might have to answer for any of the atrocities they've committed on the dime of the people they're supposed to be the servants of. As a result they're exerting pressure left and right. The government tells PayPal to freeze certain assets - freezing assets! Sound familiar? (No, I don't think they're fascists, for the record. Just saying.) Anon DDOSes a website.

What's happening here is that the US government is holding all the cards, all the chips, knows all the rules and changes them at a whim if it suits their purposes. Anonymous has done the only sensible thing when a person meeting that description also happens to be completely corrupt: They've decided to start playing a different game.

Is that right? Is that wrong? It's really not for me to say. But it's what is happening.

But first you called them brownshirts. When you were called out on that (because it was ludicrous), you called them a proto-fascist organization. When you were called out on that (because it was also ludicrous), you said that what you really mean is to say that they employ tactics that fascist organizations use, and I suspect you're going to get a shellacking on that as well, but I haven't the energy.

Here's my point: You have every right to dislike Wikileaks and anyone who supports them. But this is such a vivid example of tortured logic that it kind of speaks for itself. You keep having to do some amazing contortions to try to have the thing you said first still be right. And it's not, and it's never going to be, and no one will think less of you if you just say you got really het up about it (your choice of words may vary) and then choose to discuss what is actually going on and not just start tossing around buzzwords to associate one group you dislike with another group everyone dislikes. Because no, not everyone you disapprove of is a fascist.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:40 AM on December 9, 2010 [48 favorites]


Infinite Jest: "Looks like Visa is still down, 12 hours or so after the attack. I count Mastercard as being down for about the same time. Pretty successful, really.

What if they start playing the song, "Dancing in the Street" from loud speakers, but then refuse to actually dance in the street??

Oh, if they start playing a song, I do not think it will be 'Dancing in the Street'.
"

I'm hoping it's Carribean Queen (Classic Mr. Show sketch)
posted by symbioid at 9:43 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bobby, now I am sure you don't know what the word proto means either.

It doesn't mean "I can define things so vaguely that they may once have had similar tactics."
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:44 AM on December 9, 2010


BobbyVan, a "republic" with an underclass of fuckin' SLAVES, who were, you know, *property*, was hardly a republic.
posted by vivelame at 9:49 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


What makes this kind of direct action inherently bad for Democracy anymore than, say, a bus boycott might?

A bus boycott requires broad popular support, and it's not illegal to carpool or walk to work. On the other hand, a relatively small band of agitators, like Anonymous, can have a disproportionate impact using the tools at their disposal.

I think I demonstrated above that a nationalistic movement need not be centered on the state, but rather a community based on a shared culture... Christians can certainly behave in a "proto-fascist" manner when they band together and undemocratically try to impose their culturally-rooted positions on others.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:52 AM on December 9, 2010


but the degree of threat to life and wellbeing is not zero either

So, then, everything IS terrorism, right? Because nothing is without risk to life.

People who support these attacks are supporting criminal activity.

Millions of merchants, large and small depend on this system for their livelihoods.


You only get to say this as a criticism with any degree of credibility if you have never supported the criminal activity of the US (or any) government, you believe all laws should be obeyed regardless of their justness, and you would never, under any circumstance, commit civil disobedience.

I myself don't qualify.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:53 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


vivelame: "BobbyVan, a "republic" with an underclass of fuckin' SLAVES, who were, you know, *property*, was hardly a republic"

Are you talking about Anonymous or the US government?
posted by charred husk at 9:54 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


there are a few features that tend to be common to fascism

An interesting thing is happening with these discussions' political terminology. In the last thread people read Assange's writing, which talked about "corporatism" and "authoritarianism," but somehow, organically, the discussion ended up being about "totalitarianism" instead. This pulled the discussion into weird irrelevant asides about the USSR and the DDR, which is why the right likes the vocabulary of "totalitarianism"; the discussion becomes exclusively about limiting state power rather than whose interests state power supports, or about what other kinds of power there are. The same thing is happening here with the attempted broadening of "fascism" into a generalized word for "anti-democracy": to the liberal-democratic-corporatist right, I think, "fascism" basically means totalitarian statism grounded in demagoguery and mob rule, rather than having anything to do with corporatism or with whose interests the total state enforces. If you subscribe to this (dumb) worldview, then it naturally follows that both Assange's and Anon's anarcho-libertarian activism look like mob rule, rather than anticorporate political action. After all, to the right corporations are people too: their "rights" and social power are not legitimately in the realm of protest, and taking away their personhood might even be morally equivalent to dehumanizing the human enemy.
posted by RogerB at 10:00 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Fascist" is Godwin 2.0.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:03 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


I had always had a sneaking suspicion that this was the way things worked and had always worked, and I hated it with the heat of ten thousand suns. Now that I'm older, I simply know for sure, and ten thousand suns would be a welcome respite from the scorching, all-consuming rage I feel about what's going on these days been going on the whole time.

FTFY. I remember when I first encountered this in a concrete manner. A friend and co-worker was fired. For being competent and knowledgeable and threatening the status-quo by expressing the need for change. I was incensed at the injustice, it was wrong, it was incorrect, it would not stand, COULD NOT POSSIBLY stand. Surely correctness, logic, basic morality would amend this miscarriage and administer a healthy dollop of whoop-ass upon those who conspired to bring it about? Hadn't I always been so taught? Of course, the implacable machinery of the existing principalities and powers remained unmoved, and that person remained fired, and the status-quo was preserved, in all of its ass-backward mindfucking glory. And, I understand, remains so to this day, though I myself have long since moved on. I both marvel at and mourn my naivety.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:06 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey we all know what happened when a certain someone instructed all the Freikorps members to telegraph an order of pilsner kegs from the same Sudentenland biergarten on the same day.
posted by condour75 at 10:09 AM on December 9, 2010


birdherder: "I fear things like this will give some Joe-mentum to the "internet kill switch" legislation that Lieberman brought up over the summer."

In order to save the village...

Even if it *were* technically possible, it would pretty much be completely antithetical to the whole point. The *only* way such a kill switch could or should be used ifs if there were already pretty much a completely and utterly massive attack - Not a "Digital Pearl Harbor" a aimed at a small but important subset, but a fucking Nuclear Bomb at the entire infrastructure itself.

Unlike, say, entering WWII and attacking another countries own resources, you'd be attacking your own. Businesses don't want that. They've got too much invested in it. That's one of the sheer beauties of our networked world. Or is this "kill switch" a very targeted system? And how, exactly would it work? Again, idiot politicians and CEOs who don't know jack shit about the technology.
posted by symbioid at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's like living in

(b) A Cory Doctorow novel.


Wait, what does Wikileaks have to do with Disneyland?
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:13 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


If it's possible for us to kill the internet at the flip of a switch, it will be possible for potentially anyone determined enough to kill the internet at the flip of a switch.

Making it possible for the US to kill the internet necessarily makes it possible to kill the internet, period; that does not ultimately leave our information infrastructure more secure. Such a mechanism could potentially make the entire internet permanently vulnerable to crippling remote attacks.

It's impossible to maintain the essential robustness and resilience of the internet while at the same time redesigning it to work like an appliance that can be switched on and off on a whim.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:17 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Muddler: Wikileaks doesn't do ANYTHING. Governments kill people.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:35 AM on December 9


Convenient, how you abort your own argument here halfway through.

Following your logic, the correct statement would be:
Wikileaks doesn't do anything. Governments don't do anything. (Some) soldiers kill people.

Let's not forget that "the government" would have no power to kill people, if it weren't for people who willingly follow the governments' orders. Or, as they say, a leader without followers is just a guy taking a walk...
posted by CaffeineFree at 10:18 AM on December 9, 2010


I <3 Anonymous.
posted by schyler523 at 10:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up."

And I was like, What the fuck am I going to do with all these pizzas?

I do think it's funny that this is the second time in as many days as "fascism" has been trotted out to describe something that the writer doesn't like but that pretty clearly isn't fascism. No, the United States isn't fascist, and you look like an ignorant asshole if you seriously suggest it is. No, Anonymous isn't fascist, and you like like an idiot if you seriously suggest it.

I mean, is it just because people are so far away from WWII that they don't actually bother to learn about it and think that fascism somehow stems from collective action and uniforms?

Anoymous very much does not have a coherent ideology, let alone a totalizing ideology. Fascism is by and large a specific manifestation of totalitarianism. If you don't get that, you should not ever use the word.

Looking at the modern strains of totalitarianism might be helpful, and there are three big ones: State communism, fascism and militant Islam as typified by Osama Bin Laden. Of the three, Bin Laden is the only one who never really had a state, much as Afghanistan and Al Qaida get conflated, but his writings (and those of the Muslim Brotherhood) very much fit the mold.

The primary markers are:

—Virulent anti-Modernism. The Modern society is somehow tainted and corrupt, decadent and rotting. It must be cleaned by returning to (racial purity/collectivism/Islamic law). Anonymous is as opposite this as is possible, a virulently pro-Modernism (and post-modernism) "movement" (or mob).

—Post-democratic and anti-democratic. Democratic mechanisms are to be used only in order to attain power, then dismantled, as they could be used by enemies to undermine cohesion in the state, and cohesion is one of the primary virtues. Anonymous is post-democratic, but in a very different way, in that it functions by dint of voluntary action only mildly coordinated. Attacks on Palin do not make Anonymous anti-democratic; you'll find more anti-democratic action in Texas redistricting or Diebold voting machines.

—Totalizing ideology. Fascism had the Thousand-Year Reich; State Communism had the classless society; Militant Islam has the Caliphate and Islamic Law. Anonymous has absolutely no coherent vision of political project; Anonymous is reactive, and not proactive, and the idea that their ideology totalizes all things in order to serve a goal is so wrong as to be insane.

I have mixed feelings about /b/tards and Anonymous (I only really like the moralfags), but calling them "fascist" or comparing them to Brownshirts is so amazingly blinkered that it marks the author as having absolutely no credibility nor any ability to construct a helpful political analogy. You might as well call Winnie The Pooh fascist because he always wants honey and gets his friends involved.
posted by klangklangston at 10:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [57 favorites]


BobbyVan, a "republic" with an underclass of fuckin' SLAVES, who were, you know, *property*, was hardly a republic.
posted by vivelame


Talk of Republic ? Vivelame, you appear to have little idea of what a republic is and i would venture you think americans live in a full democracy which I find...disturbing.
posted by clavdivs at 10:24 AM on December 9, 2010


I think I demonstrated above that a nationalistic movement need not be centered on the state...

*snort*
posted by ryanrs at 10:26 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


In the face of this onslaught PayPal has partially capitulated: agreeing to release funds from the Wikileaks account.

Given how many times I've heard about charity drives, small businesses, and even individuals having their PayPal accounts frozen for remarkably spurious-sounding reasons I find myself wondering to what degree PayPal's business model is based on freezing funds and collecting interest on them. Theft, essentially.
posted by rodgerd at 10:26 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


—Virulent anti-Modernism. The Modern society is somehow tainted and corrupt, decadent and rotting. It must be cleaned by returning to (racial purity/collectivism/Islamic law). Anonymous is as opposite this as is possible, a virulently pro-Modernism (and post-modernism) "movement" (or mob).

Counterexamples: the USSR under Lenin, or the Maoist "Long March".

Mao's Cultural Revolution, with its destruction of all things traditional, probably also rates a mention.
posted by acb at 10:31 AM on December 9, 2010


>Silencing dissent is OK in service of the greater good. Intimidate your political opponents. Harass corporations and businesses that don't support your agenda. Organize anonymously. Anonymous is a proto-fascist organization.

>"Let's try to have a discussion" is what you say on Metafilter when a group on the political left gets called a bad name. I think I pretty much described many of the characteristics of a proto-fascist group in my earlier comment, and I stand by it.

Yeah, Anonymous is pretty loosely organized and chaotic (I presume) and I'm sure they aren't going to have a Night of the Long Knives any time soon... but there is something concerning about a group that seeks to bully its political opponents into submission via acts of cyber-vandalism and harassment.

Sarah Palin isn't an elected official and has no power over what happens to Julian Assange or Wikileaks. And yeah, she's kind of a moron, and most intelligent people would like to see her shut down. And yeah, the Church of Scientology is kind of creepy and I kind of wish they'd go away too. Do you see where I'm going with this?


>-- Ultranationalism
Conversely, nationalism might also be portrayed as collective identities towards imagined communities which are not naturally expressed in language, race or religion but rather socially constructed by the very individuals that belong to a given nation. Nationalism emphasizes collective identity - a 'people' must be autonomous, united, and express a single national culture.

I think you'll agree that this applies to Anonymous; an online group of hackers who share a largely left-wing/anarchistic ideology. They mistrust outsiders.

-- Defining the state as being a living organism, and defining outsiders as being somehow a diseased invader to the national body

Per my comment above "nationalism" isn't necessarily exclusive to nation-states.

-- A cult of personality around a single dictator

There really isn't one (yet). Although they do rally around in a cultish manner around certain symbols and a shared language.

-- State control of the mechanism of capitalism, or at least corporate partnership

Not sure that Anonymous has a fully baked political agenda, but they sure do expect companies (Amazon.com, Paypal, Visa, etc.) to support their political agenda or face reprisals.

-- Anti-intellectualism

You can argue this one either way, but in my mind, bullying and harassing opponents rather than engaging them intellectually is pretty darned "anti-intellectual".

-- Pathological anticommunism

I'd submit that's a feature of "old fascism". The Russian hackers who attacked Latvia weren't exactly anti-communists, but I'd say their organization was proto-fascist in nature.


No points.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:35 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bobby Van is engaged in rhetoriterrorism. He is trying to silence dissent through trolling and taking control of the discussion with wild allegations. He is trying to intimidate his political opponents by branding them fascists, harassing them for being critical of businesses and corporations that he feels follow strong leadership and keep our nation strong. He posts pseudonymously. Bobby Van is a proto-fascist organization.
posted by Hoopo at 10:38 AM on December 9, 2010 [19 favorites]


If any OP abuses his power—if he fails to heed what anons call “the hive mind” in IRC conversations— the other OPs can lock him out of the chat. If any anon fails to be inspired by the target, she can remove her own computer from the volunteer botnet, reducing its effect. Anonymous is a 24-hour Athenian democracy, run by a quorum of whoever happens to be awake.

This sounds like the 7 years I spent on #hottub.
posted by Mid at 10:38 AM on December 9, 2010


We had to destroy the internet in order to save it.
posted by unSane at 10:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Klangklangston, I generally agree that America isn't fascist (yet). My grandmother who grew up in Italy and saw Mussolini's rise to power felt that there were definite parallels to the post 9/11 political landscape in America. I haven't asked if she still feels that way currently, but I'll try to remember to bring it up.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:41 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find myself wondering to what degree PayPal's business model is based on freezing funds and collecting interest on them.

I'm sure they have some boilerplate stuck in the terms and conditions that covers this, translating as: "If we for any reason freeze your account and take your money, you won't do a thing about it, because you agreed to let us do that at will when you signed up."

Combine that with the lack of a viable alternative, and - oh, well, they don't actually do anything unless you're doing something really sketchy and then you know it's just your own fault - and most people don't care enough to cancel accounts.

Including all us 2004/2005 schmucks. I'm as guilty of it as anyone else.
posted by cmyk at 10:42 AM on December 9, 2010


One could theoretically imagine the denial of payment facilities having life-threatening consequences ...

War log:

I am traveling in Turkey now and have been completely dependent of my debit card for money. (Sounds "life-threatening"?) When I took to the road a few months ago I knew that the economy was going down the toilet ... fast. I didn't expect this wikileaks cyberwar to help it along, but am not too surprised. For me there is no difference between the end my Mastercard access and the inevitable world economy crash. I will be okay. I see too many others who are like the frog in the slowly heating water ... they will soon be crashing without even knowing why or how it happened. I imagine there will be a lot of screaming.

And now? ... well, I'm switching to the non-monetary economy. People outside of the US seem to have a better handle on this. I suspect there will be a lot less screaming here.
posted by Surfurrus at 10:43 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I demonstrated above that a nationalistic movement need not be centered on the state

True, but not for the reasons you've provided--"nationalism" is based on the concept of "nation" which is distinct from "state". Is /b/ a nation now BobbyVan? Wait, don't bother, I think I already know what you're going to say.
posted by Hoopo at 10:47 AM on December 9, 2010


OpenLeaks, a WL alternative created by WL folks fed up with Assange, opens for business on Monday.

I heard some NPR soundbites about this. WL defectors are upset that:

a) Assange is a large ego with too much control
b) They signed on with the intention of making WL into a regionalist network, and Assange is not committed

I think they're right about the lack of local coverage. If WL was a true wiki it would have a large body of sourced articles that would cover all sorts of topics. Local as well as global. As it is, WL is a drop box with a staff of archivists and about five pages. And it doesn't do little fish.

But in its present form WL is effective. I don't think a network of local leak sites will be. Case in point: Indymedia, which is nearly the same idea and is so inconsequential few have heard of it.
posted by clarknova at 10:49 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The radical human rights ... group known only as Anonymous..."

Anonymous? A "human rights" group? Um... that's certainly an interesting description.

(Besides, based on their activism history, I think they're more of a "puppies and kittens rights" group. :D)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:50 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"nationalism" is based on the concept of "nation" which is distinct from "state"

Please explain this, because I don't understand what you mean and am inclined to disagree with the statement as it stands.
posted by Marla Singer at 10:53 AM on December 9, 2010


Raw Story: XIPWIRE, the Center City-based mobile payments company has launched an online platform through which supporters can donate funding to the controversial WikiLeaks and the legal defense fund of its founder Julian Assange.

Thanks for the link, gave them $100
posted by dibblda at 10:54 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


So we now know about Stuxnet, a (probably) State built trojan designed to invisibly destroy the effectiveness of radioactive ore processing centrifuges, and LOIC being used by Anon to DDOS financial groups blocking money to an international whistleable website who's spokesman might be being framed by the CIA.

Are we absolutely certain that this whole thing isn't just a viral campaign for Max Headroom? Didn't the DVDs just come out?

Because the only other option is that this shit is real means that I have to, once again, remark that we are living in the future, and it's freaking me out.
posted by quin at 10:55 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


People here are talking as if the definition of fascism is a settled matter in the academic community. In actuality the definition of fascism is one of the more hotly debated topics in political philosophy.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:55 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Counterexamples: the USSR under Lenin, or the Maoist "Long March".

Mao's Cultural Revolution, with its destruction of all things traditional, probably also rates a mention.
"

Leninism, which is kind of inchoate State Communism, shares some, but not all, the markers of totalitarianism. It was authoritarian, but Trotsky had more totalitarianism in his writing than Lenin did, until Trotsky got ousted.

And Maoism's cultural revolution very much hewed to anti-modernist tropes, even while attacking traditional bastions of power. Hence the massacre of doctors. Within China, there was a big Red versus Expert fight, with the Reds on the side of ideological totalitarianism, and the Experts on the nominal side of Modernism.

But the easiest place to see anti-modernism is in attacks on the arts.

Also, to respond to something above, there are all sorts of parallels between the US and Mussolini's Italy, or the US and proto-fascism. But they're largely kept in check by US institutions (like voting) and a healthy amount of dissent. The thing is, almost all of the characteristics of fascism that we need to be worried about in the US are bad because they're inherently against the interests of free people, not because they're tied to fascism.
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 AM on December 9, 2010


Tangentially, what would the US government have to do to be considered Fascist? Corporatist? And what's the most accurate, realistic term to describe the relationship between media, business, and legislators that directs our country?

There's always quibbling whenever the term Fascist is used. What term should a reasonable person who perceives great evil in the machinations of modern global governance use to describe the savory chutney of imperial resource & labor exploitation, control of media through regulatory capture and artificial restriction, extra-judicial prosecutions, disproportionate criminal enforcement highly correlated to wealth, and monopolistic control of capital through a private cabal of secretive elites?
posted by polyhedron at 11:00 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


That is to say that we can differentiate between historical forms of fascism and modern fascism which is much more difficult to define and categorize.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:02 AM on December 9, 2010


what would the US government have to do to be considered Fascist?

Speak Italian.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:03 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


For the record, when Mussolini talked about corporatism, he wasn't talking about corporations as we understand them.
posted by empath at 11:04 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


For the record, when Mussolini talked about corporatism, he wasn't talking about corporations as we understand them.

...Also, for the record: no one in history has ever talked about corporations as we understand them, because no one else in history has ever understood anything remotely like the deranged, Frankenstein's monster of legal fictions we call the modern corporation.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


Ok, I summarized all the positions below. Did I miss any?

A. 'Public secrets' are forbidden. 'Private secrets' are sacrosanct. (WikiLeaks)
B. All secrets are forbidden. (Expected Future Effect of the Internet)
C. 'Public secrets' are necessary. 'Private secrets' are unnecessary. (FOX News)
D. State secrets are more important than the law, but the law is more important than private secrets. (US Government)
E. No secrets but state secrets. (Expected Future Policy of US Intelligence Agencies)
F. The law is more important than any secret. (unrepresented)
G. lulz (/b/)
H. moralfags are the cancer that is killing /b/ (/b/)
I. we are anonymous (/b/)
J. Everyone is a fascist except me and everyone I agree with. (MetaFilter??)
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


I'll take B.
posted by empath at 11:09 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clarknova: They are also pissed because WL sits on the documents, spoonfeeding them piece by piece to large media outlets, instead of releasing it all online. That's, they feel, not true to the original spirit of Wikileaks.
posted by mr.marx at 11:11 AM on December 9, 2010


Ding ding ding! You won a prize. The absence of privacy for your friends, family, and federal government.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:11 AM on December 9, 2010


But the easiest place to see anti-modernism is in attacks on the arts.

The Arno Breker angle with more fig leaf.
posted by clavdivs at 11:11 AM on December 9, 2010


Please explain this, because I don't understand what you mean and am inclined to disagree with the statement as it stands.

Simply put, a state is an entity with borders etc--a nation is a group of people with shared culture, ethnicity, etc. This distinction is something that gets driven into our heads early in Canada, which we are told is a state founded by 2 nations. It also explains why "nationalist" groups will target people and groups as enemies within the the same state borders who may have the same citizenship rights but do not share their preferred national affiliation.
posted by Hoopo at 11:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


>The primary markers are:

—Virulent anti-Modernism. The Modern society is somehow tainted and corrupt, decadent and rotting. It must be cleaned by returning to (racial purity/collectivism/Islamic law). Anonymous is as opposite this as is possible, a virulently pro-Modernism (and post-modernism) "movement" (or mob).

—Post-democratic and anti-democratic. Democratic mechanisms are to be used only in order to attain power, then dismantled, as they could be used by enemies to undermine cohesion in the state, and cohesion is one of the primary virtues. Anonymous is post-democratic, but in a very different way, in that it functions by dint of voluntary action only mildly coordinated. Attacks on Palin do not make Anonymous anti-democratic; you'll find more anti-democratic action in Texas redistricting or Diebold voting machines.

—Totalizing ideology. Fascism had the Thousand-Year Reich; State Communism had the classless society; Militant Islam has the Caliphate and Islamic Law. Anonymous has absolutely no coherent vision of political project; Anonymous is reactive, and not proactive, and the idea that their ideology totalizes all things in order to serve a goal is so wrong as to be insane.


klangklangston, I am interested in what your source for this is. Not that I disagree but I would like to be able to read more.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2010


F. The law is more important than any secret. (unrepresented)
posted by clavdivs at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am trying to picture a future in which /b/ morphs into a fascist revolutionary party and takes over world government and I kind think it would be the speculative fiction book ever written.
posted by empath at 11:15 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


uh,... kind of think it would be the best.. etc..
posted by empath at 11:15 AM on December 9, 2010


I am trying to picture a future in which /b/ morphs into a fascist revolutionary party and takes over world government and I kind think it would be the {adjective} speculative fiction book ever written.

Yay! Madlibs time.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:16 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am trying to picture a future in which /b/ morphs into a fascist revolutionary party and takes over world government and I kind think it would be the speculative fiction book ever written.
posted by empath

sounds like a discussion and a project. No it would not make the best fiction, perhaps pertaining to the net?...again no.
posted by clavdivs at 11:18 AM on December 9, 2010


MetaFilter: Yay! Madlibs time.

(sorry, couldn't resist)
posted by Tknophobia at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Madlibs time.

"Most offensive" is the only possible answer.
posted by clorox at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2010


/b/ morphing in to a fascist revolutionary party would be like the Quakers electing a pope and declaring war on Quaker Steak and Lube.
posted by QIbHom at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fascism had the Thousand-Year Reich

there is none persay but fragments of propaganda and most likely that phrase and its concept were bandied at the "mans" mansion to get him teary-eyed for his future investment. speculation.
posted by clavdivs at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2010


/b/ morphing in to a fascist revolutionary party would be like the Quakers electing a pope and declaring war on Quaker Steak and Lube.
posted by QIbHom
again funny, my family has 'Quaker oats' so to say and lent aid to this countries first revolution in a non-violent manner.
posted by clavdivs at 11:23 AM on December 9, 2010


my country, excuse me, the u.s.
posted by clavdivs at 11:24 AM on December 9, 2010


The true knowledge.
posted by hoople at 11:27 AM on December 9, 2010


This is inspiring.
The people still have power.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:29 AM on December 9, 2010


Used to be true. Less true now. I don't know anything about their specific networks, but most big financial shops have moved away from private circuits to plain-jane VPNs and MPLS, as it's lots cheaper and avoids single points-of-failure

Absolutely. I've been in IT in the financial services sector for most of my working life, and the trend has been away from expensive point-to-point dedicated services (leased lines, dark fiber, whatever) for everything except a handful of services (like the SWIFT network). It's a big cost saving.
posted by rodgerd at 11:33 AM on December 9, 2010


'A final legal hurdle to the burning was cleared on Wednesday when a federal judge denied a request by lawyers for "bomb house" suspect George Jakubec, 54, to delay the incineration. His attorneys had argued that the demolition would destroy documents and other evidence needed to defend their client.

But the judge sided with FBI bomb experts who said the house was too dangerous to clear out and process as a crime scene, leaving authorities no alternative but to burn it down'

is this fascist?
posted by clavdivs at 11:36 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


A little birdie told me that there might be a hunt for lamo/jester tonight for helping snitch on manning.

/i/
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:36 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems tangential ...

I'm not seeing the connection to the main subject, but perhaps I missed something in the bomb house article.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:38 AM on December 9, 2010


Anonymous is a proto-fascist organization.
posted by BobbyVan


BobbyVan, just call them a proto-anarchist organization so you'll have a damn leg to stand on. As it is you sound exactly like when teapartiers accuse Democrats of being socialists and facists for trying to democratically pass incremental adjustments to existing laws.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:48 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


...we are living in the future...

malevolent naivete ain't nothing new
posted by generalist at 11:56 AM on December 9, 2010


Twitter posts about insurace file?

Link goes to http://www.iris-it.com/key.html. IRIS Srl is an Italian robotics company.
posted by clorox at 12:01 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you for the explanation, Hoopo.

I have a more general question for anyone who cares to answer it: what does the "api" part of api.paypal.com (/b/'s new target) stand for, and how is it significant? I mean, why would they make api their target, why not www?
posted by Marla Singer at 12:02 PM on December 9, 2010


People here are talking as if the definition of fascism is a settled matter in the academic community. In actuality the definition of fascism is one of the more hotly debated topics in political philosophy.

If you can find me a single academic political philosopher who would describe Anonymous as "fascist," I'd have one more university on my list of places to never, ever send my children.
posted by straight at 12:05 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The law, Astrozombie, is it being subverted? Is an enforcement arm of the government suppressing this mans rights?
posted by clavdivs at 12:07 PM on December 9, 2010


An api is an application programming interface. Or, in other words, when you click on a "Use PayPal" button, the api is what links the web page you are on to the PayPal servers.

So, taking out PayPal's api knocks out their connection to commerce sites.
posted by QIbHom at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


...what does the "api" part of api.paypal.com (/b/'s new target) stand for...

Application Programming Interface: a way for other sites and systems to offer a front end to their service.

If you care to learn how it works, try their documentation.
posted by clarknova at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


also what QIbHom said.
posted by clarknova at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2010



Twitter posts about insurace file?

When I get home from work i'll try that key.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:12 PM on December 9, 2010


You might as well call Winnie The Pooh fascist because he always wants honey and gets his friends involved.

Pooh sat down with a thump. "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.
WE MUST BURN THEM ALL."
posted by Sebmojo at 12:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


If you can find me a single academic political philosopher who would describe Anonymous as "fascist," I'd have one more university on my list of places to never, ever send my children.

I didn't mean to imply that Anonymous are fascists just pointing out that it is a very controversial term.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:17 PM on December 9, 2010


Twitter posts about insurace file?

Link goes to http://www.iris-it.com/key.html. IRIS Srl is an Italian robotics company.


Holy crap. It's a brand new Twitter account called insurance file, and the key given on the site it links to is:

TGT315Q3GAE3632QGAEEWT3A6
----------------------------------------
cce54d3a8af370213d23fcbfe8cddc8619a0734c

So uh, if somebody hypothetically had the insurance file and wanted to test this key, what application could they use? hypothetically
posted by Marla Singer at 12:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, it just occurred to me that the key would have to be 256 characters long, wouldn't it? My fail.
posted by Marla Singer at 12:21 PM on December 9, 2010


So uh, if somebody hypothetically had the insurance file and wanted to test this key, what application could they use?

AES Crypt

posted by peeedro at 12:26 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


the key would have to be 256 characters long, wouldn't it?

256 bits, not characters.
posted by ripley_ at 12:28 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am so confused. Did the insurance contingency go into effect or is someone just foolin'?
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:28 PM on December 9, 2010


Hmmm. Compare with Wild in the Streets or Agent of Chaos.

I've had a couple of customers today who thought their VISA cards didn't work because of the DDOS attacks.

It's just bound to get weirder. There is going to be a hell of a reaction, which is exactly what provocations are all about: little guy gets big guy to go crazy and hurt himself.
posted by warbaby at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Calling /b/ a proto-fascist organization is an expression of pure nihilism, in my opinion.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:38 PM on December 9, 2010


gueststar- Ed Begley...OMG.
posted by clavdivs at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2010


delmoi: "What they should do is request everyone go to their grocery stores and buy sticks of gum or other small items at a certain time with a visa/mastercard in order to clog their payment processing systems."

Unless the purchases were at or above the minimum fees that VISA/MC charges for transactions to the stores, you'd be hurting the local vendors a lot more than VISA & MC.

(BTW, VISA & MC policies forbid merchants from setting "minimum purchase" values. If you see this posted at the cash register, it is a violation of their vendor agreements, and you can report them to either VISA or MC for it.)
posted by IAmBroom at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2010


I was reading Facebook last night, and someone posted about this. A friend of his posted giving some direct quotes from the Anon. IRC room that he implied wasn't hidden 'well enough'. I checked his employment status, as he wasn't a direct friend, and was working for Lockheed Martin's IT security dept. Spine chilling!
posted by codacorolla at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Self-link justification: So, this morning I was asked this morning to write a feature for The Telegraph about Anonymous and internet activists and such, which is online now and will be in tomorrow's paper. Most of it was fairly easy going, but with only an hour or so to deadline, I realised I was still missing a few hundred words.

"Think, think!" I told myself. Then Metafilter, bless her soul, saved me as I recalled this thread - and others, like the Mad Men one - that characterised people and organisations into RPG alignments. This proved to be a very rich vein of op/ed gold to mine, and thus I was successful in getting 'Lawful Good' and 'Neutral Evil' into the most conservative of British broadsheets (in contrast, I'm sure it appears in the Guardian pretty regularly).

Anyways, this is my hat tip to this thread and Mefi for saving the day.
posted by adrianhon at 12:42 PM on December 9, 2010 [22 favorites]


A friend of his posted giving some direct quotes from the Anon. IRC room that he implied wasn't hidden 'well enough'. I checked his employment status, as he wasn't a direct friend, and was working for Lockheed Martin's IT security dept. Spine chilling!

Not really. The anon irc isn't really hidden at all.
posted by empath at 12:51 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not if the zillions of Anon folks do so instead of pretending to do something via a script.

THere aren't zillions of them, and most of them aren't voting age.

Last I heard, there were only a little over 9000.posted by empath at 5:37 AM on December 9 [16 favorites -] [!]


WHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTTTT??!!!!
posted by Sebmojo at 12:55 PM on December 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Ok, now that the thread is getting old, it is time to post the Pravin Lal quote.
posted by vertriebskonzept at 1:00 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


lawful neutral is my cant. i really do not like Warnes Starcoat in social situations.
posted by clavdivs at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2010


So ... anybody tested that key yet?
posted by jbickers at 1:02 PM on December 9, 2010


PayPool's Closed.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:02 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


An interesting (and profane) take on the 'putting lives in danger' aspect from author Richard Morgan.
posted by bitmage at 1:03 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


So ... anybody tested that key yet?

Still at work. BAH.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:03 PM on December 9, 2010


I am interested in what your source for this is. Not that I disagree but I would like to be able to read more."

"On the Origins of Totalitarianism" is pretty much the first place to start. A good paper that draws connections between Totalitarianism and Militant Islamic rhetoric is Joanna Veccereli Scott, "Arendtian Thinking on Totalitarianism and Terror," presented at the International Society For Political Psychology conference, July 2006.

As a note, the oft-cited Mussolini "fascist manifesto" is actually an encyclopedia reference written by someone else, attributed to Mussolini. But it's a pretty good view of exactly what Italian fascism was trying to accomplish. The thing that trips people up is that "corporatism" is much more like "embodiment," (making corporeal, which goes along with the metaphor of fascism as a body that acts as one) rather than our corporations, which stem more from "incorporation," or "bringing together."

I don't have it anymore, so I'm more reluctant to recommend it, but I remember Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (Random House: New York, 2004) to be good.

But really, fascism's definition isn't all that much debated in poli-sci, at least from what I've seen. At the edges, of course, but that's true of any academic discipline. The fundamental points are pretty much repeated over and over again. And to attempt either shoehorn in America or to somehow rope Anonymous in are pretty patently absurd projects and don't need any real consideration.
posted by klangklangston at 1:05 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow, Moot just admitted they're deleting Operation Payback threads on /b/:

Original post:
"I DEMAND AND AUDIENCE WITH MOOT!!!

CAN YOU CONFIRM OR DENY, SIR, THAT THE FEDS HAVE ORDERED YOU TO SCRUB THREADS REFERRING TO OPERATION PAYBACK AS IS STATED IN THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE?

http://gawker.com/5709789/noose-closes-around-pro+wikileaks-vigilantes

IS IT TRUE YOU ARE ALLOWING THE FBI TO COLLECT ISP ADDRESSES OF THOSE POSTING TO THREADS ABOUT OPERATION PAYBACK?

ANSWER MOOT!!!"

Moot:

"Yes. It's true, stop being retarded and you won't have anything to worry about
-mootykins"
posted by valkane at 1:08 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Now Anon is just being idiotic by attacking the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Do you realize you're attacking the good guys? If you don't want lawyers fighting for internet freedom (in the midst of a serious net neutrality war, no less), well, great?

For what its worth, EFF position is pretty much the only tenable one they can take if they want to be taken seriously in or out of the courtroom: "EFF doesn't condone cyber-vigilantism, be it against Mastercard or WikiLeaks. The answer to bad speech is more speech."
posted by naju at 1:11 PM on December 9, 2010


Wait, might be fake moot.... forgive this newfag. Looked legit.....
posted by valkane at 1:12 PM on December 9, 2010


And for more reading, there is always that lovable slovenian.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:13 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno. The EFF has always been great on issues affecting the Bay Area, but they tend not to see the rest of the country.
posted by QIbHom at 1:14 PM on December 9, 2010


"Think, think!" I told myself. Then Metafilter..

The topic for the post is actually from the Gaurdian article linked further in:
A spokesman for the group, a 22-year-old from London who called himself Coldblood, told the Guardian it was acting for the "chaotic good" in defence of internet freedom of speech. It has been distributing software tools to allow anyone with a computer and an internet connection to join in the attacks.
So now The Telegraph is riffing off its competition and reinforcing an Anonymous statement about itself.

All hail the echo chamber.
posted by clarknova at 1:14 PM on December 9, 2010


AES Crypt does not work on the 1.38GB insurance.aes256 file I have, at least in it's default state. The beginning of its hex dump is "Salted__" which I think means it's OpenSSL salted but I don't know much all about it. AES Crypt files begin with AES in the hex dump. Also the key so released is in 2 parts, isn't that the salt and the password? I'm reading up on OpenSSL right now but I'm sure someone else here already knows how to do this.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Clarknova: Perhaps I should clear up a few misconceptions. Firstly, I am not "The Telegraph" - I blog for them in my spare time, and I'm more of a Guardian/NYT reader. Thus I feel precisely zero guilt about riffing off an interview from a newspaper that I like, and that has been referenced by plenty of other papers. Secondly, I can't say I feel too bad about using the term when it seems to be pretty apt, no matter who first coined it.
posted by adrianhon at 1:24 PM on December 9, 2010


Now Anon is just being idiotic by attacking the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

I can haz source plz? That seems really unlikely.
posted by Marla Singer at 1:26 PM on December 9, 2010


Oh, and no dice on the insurance key (as far as I know).
posted by Marla Singer at 1:28 PM on December 9, 2010


Brb, van outside.
posted by Marla Singer at 1:28 PM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


A. 'Public secrets' are forbidden. 'Private secrets' are sacrosanct. (WikiLeaks)
B. All secrets are forbidden. (Expected Future Effect of the Internet)
C. 'Public secrets' are necessary. 'Private secrets' are unnecessary. (FOX News)
D. State secrets are more important than the law, but the law is more important than private secrets. (US Government)
E. No secrets but state secrets. (Expected Future Policy of US Intelligence Agencies)
F. The law is more important than any secret. (unrepresented)


G. SETEC ASTRONOMY (Sneakers)
posted by The Bellman at 1:32 PM on December 9, 2010


OpenLeaks revolts against Assange
posted by mr.marx at 1:34 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey! Will somebody let Marla know I'm outside honking! I've been out here for, like, 20 minutes!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Never mind. Here she is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


adrianhon: I'm aware, and don't think of it as a personal attack. It happens all the time. It's just amusing to see this unconscious cultural process play out before my eyes.
posted by clarknova at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2010


I can haz source plz? That seems really unlikely.

@Anon_Operations appears to the be main twitter account for Anonymous now, and they said, "So @EFF doesn't condone cyber-vigilantism?? Wanna be next, wise guy?"

Doctorow's been tweeting about it:

"It appears that #Anonymous threatened DDoS attack against EFF for criticizing their tactics. Free speech means dissent."

"EFF is down; an acct related to Anonymous threatened to DDoS them for criticizing Anon."

"I'd love to see a public statement from Anon a la the earlier very good statement to the press saying that they will not use DDoS on critics"

(EFF isn't down for me at the moment, I'm not sure if there are actually attacks going on.)
posted by naju at 1:36 PM on December 9, 2010


Hey! Will somebody let Marla know I'm outside honking! I've been out here for, like, 20 minutes!

You pizza delivery guys are getting lazier by the day.
posted by Elmore at 1:38 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


EFF's web page works fine for me.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:38 PM on December 9, 2010


Even if you are of the mind that people have the right to armed revolt against their government, he's not a US citizen and wouldn't have that right pertaining to the US government.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere - MLK

But there is a facet of civil disobedience that a lot of people are missing. It requires that you break the law openly and with the expectation that you will be arrested for it, and then sit in jail as a quasi-martyr.

While I agree that one can't take the moral high ground of civil disobedience here (the use of a computer to do virtual damage has real world effects and IS force) - so?

Jefferson wasn't talking about playing nice. Thoreau was. And I love 'em both, but the real problem I've always had with Thoreau is the expectation that someone will come and bail your ass out. That is - you get to keep your hands clean, but someone else has to use force or pressure to, as in Thoreau's case, bail you out of jail (money exerts pressure even in capitulation).

I'm not big on wikileaks. Not because of the journalism/propaganda issue (much like 'art' vs. pornography, tough to call, but you know it when you see it) but because it brings out all the crazies.

And Julian Assange is kind of a dick (reminds me of Tim Robbins' character Ian 'Ray' Raymond from High Fidelity) and of course, aggressive revenge fantasies should stay in fantasy, but sitting behind a desk, from wherever, you don't have to personally confront anyone or even get your hands dirty. So whatever one thinks up, one can architect.
Thus the attacks and sundry b.s., rape changes, etc. (whether the basis is true or not the execution has been ... interesting).

But, point being, what happens is that one can be heedless of the law. So, as to the above point on civil disobedience - I agree in the greater sense that no one is taking responsibility.
Anon - yeah, well, whatever. It's applied force for an agenda. Responsibility? I dunno.
I do object to the "human rights activist" label applied to Anonymous. Build a bridge sure, but screw one sheep....

Navanethem Pillay is a human rights activist who takes responsibility.
Anon - well, it's not expected of them really so not so much a fair call.

The U.S. government though, yeah, we'd expect them to. (I'm still not a H. Clinton fan. Yes, it's Obama's administration. But I don't know WTF kind of deal is going on within the Democratic leadership. And yes, every government's diplomats spy. Duh. But an illegal order is an illegal order. Someone's responsible. Not that I expect anyone to be on the hook for it.)

But - if I'm Joe Executive Branch, I do NOT want Mastercard, PayPal, etc. running around thinking it can unilaterally interpret/enforce the law.

Oh, sure, the quasi-shadow-proxy government seems swell and all, and depending on threat and intimidation to straighten people out to your way of thinking is easier than getting off your own ass to do it.
But it's a blind idiot God.
In what world has that plan not backfired and exploded in the face of the people(s) who set it in motion? Fictional examples abound. Historical examples are too numerous to mention (yeah, teh Nazis. Romans, post-Revolutionary France, etc. etc.).

So it is a matter of making entities (governments, corporations, journalism outfits, etc) play by the agreed rules or at least by the rules they themselves have set.

The matter of freedom of expression aside (which I think is worth defending to the point of armed revolt), it's a matter of defending equal justice under the law.

Belling the cat can get messy. And we see that here. Plenty of collateral damage.
But a lot is made of the concept that corporations, private property, etc, are not subject to the restrictions that the U.S. government is under the constitution.

Ok, well, why should they then be allowed privileges and protections of it, against individuals (collectively or otherwise) if they're not going to abide by contractual obligation? Or if they seek to subvert the legal system?

I've got no use for PayPal or any other organization, if I can't trust them not to meddle in my affairs, meddle with what I want to read, learn about, as soon as my metaphorical back is turned.
If their actions give rise to a response like Anonymous', so be it.

Criminal actions that are based in legal authority or perceived legal authority can invalidate ALL legal authority. And rightly so.

A bit back there was a situation where the police in a certain area of the city were robbing and beating people.
There was a guy who refused to pull over for a traffic stop in that area. He called 911 himself and asked for a state police officer to arrest him.
Which they obliged. And he stopped.
In court he argued that the situation in that area was such that he couldn't trust the police and he would have been in danger if he stopped.
The judge agreed.
That neighborhood got cleaned up pretty quickly after that.

This situation is similar here. The criminal response (anon hacking) was not initiated from the legal intercourse of business but the illegal ... huh huh I said 'intercourse' *ahem* but the abuse of authority by business involved.

In such a case, blood of tyrants/patriots, all that, is justified. Bloody anarchy, where, hey, we know it's out of control and tomorrow is uncertain, is preferable to the kind of uncertainty where the perception is that trust in authority is illusory.
Even when you've got all kinds of genuine power, if people don't think you have it, or don't trust you in using it in a non-arbitrary way - they don't get convinced. And so you don't have it.

So yeah, were I the government I'd get right TF on that, like, now. Don't want your brand to get lifted out from under you. (Gibson article, as mentioned above, is still rattling 'round my head as well).
posted by Smedleyman at 1:42 PM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Whoa. Is the insurance file out there? Is this going into effect?!
posted by zia at 1:53 PM on December 9, 2010


The hex string in that key is the same as the SHA1 checksum given on the insurance file PB torrent page.
posted by motty at 1:56 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Notion (and others)

You missed my point, which is the hypocrisy of wikileaks. You can quote the Declaration of Independence all you like as a justification, but your justification and your arguments have been used just as much for evil as they have been for good. I see that you are trying to somehow make out that same argument as to my comments, but you've read in too much to what I'm saying. My entire point is that I don't trust wikileaks and I don't appreciate them telling me that what they're doing is in my best interest. I'm not sold on that conclusion.

Take a moment and look towards the rhetoric of the right wing, then delve into white supremacy talk, and move steps further towards the words of the South justifying the Civil War. In each instance you'll find your argument - that the individual may defy the government when in their own mind they serve a higher purpose. It was the justification for the Oklahoma City bombing and it is the justification for the Tea Party. It never matters what form of government is the subject of the rebellion. Even the most carefully crafted democracy is subject to the same rhetoric. That said, I find it interesting that you now equate the total lack of representation pre-USA and the systematic disenfranchisement of a race prior to the civil rights movement as equivalent to some information being maintained as confidential and not viewable to the voting public. I see where your argument may be, as information is power, but that's a strong leap. We do, however flawed and incomplete, have a democracy including three branches of government and checks and balances. What does wikileaks have? A loose group of people self-assigned to power.

In short, while your words of civil disobedience and rebellion are good, they have become cheap.

What I again point to is the very nature of wikileaks, which tends to say that relatively small groups of people, even elected invidivuals, should not be making decisions for the rest of us behind closed doors - but what is wikileaks doing? It is taking information from undisclosed sources (I guess they can keep their own secrets when it serves their interests) reviewing the information, forming groups of people to sit on high and redact as they see fit (or not), disclosing information, and then saying they know best.

Hell, maybe they do know best, but why are all of you so damn eager to bless their work? It seems to me that they are just another group of people playing their own form of god and telling me what I should or should not know and, more importantly, telling me that no matter what the consequences of their actions (which I have no control over through my vote) whatever happens is best for me. I do not feel empowered. I feel apprehensive of what these jokers will do next - and I feel they have done little to enhance transparency. If anything, the governments will go darker and do the same damn shady things they've done for centuries.
posted by Muddler at 2:11 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can someone tell a luddite how to find out if it's real? How long would it take to decrypt the file?
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:11 PM on December 9, 2010


in centuries or eons.
posted by clavdivs at 2:16 PM on December 9, 2010


I think he means with the key, clavdivs.
posted by Floydd at 2:19 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


clavdivs:

Not if that's the real key. I think that's pretty unlikely though.

cunninglinguist:

You'd need the file and AES Crypt, mentioned upthread.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:21 PM on December 9, 2010


We do, however flawed and incomplete, have a democracy including three branches of government and checks and balances.

A republic, not a democracy.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:21 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Imagine my surprise when I decided to join Metafilter to comment on this thread, and found myself having to donate to Paypal to do so.
posted by Faithless327 at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


A republic, if we can keep it.
posted by empath at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2010


There are multiple Anonymous Twitter accounts going on right now, and I don't think the one threatening the EFF is legit. I think this one is probably the real deal. Even if yours isn't a spoof, I wouldn't put a lot of stock in one off-hand comment. I think there would be a lot of infighting over making EFF a target; the dissenters would drop out, and that would make the attack weaker - I just don't think it's likely. As of right now, the target still seems to be api.paypal.com, and the message is "keep firing!"
posted by Marla Singer at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


A republic, not a democracy.

A republic is a kind of a democracy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:24 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Imagine my surprise when I decided to join Metafilter to comment on this thread, and found myself having to donate to Paypal to do so.

I know, right? We're not exactly in love with them as a vendor either, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, we haven't found a sufficiently compelling alternative for processing signup fees, so Paypal it is for the time being.
posted by cortex at 2:32 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can someone tell a luddite how to find out if it's real? How long would it take to decrypt the file?

I think it would open right up if the key were real. I might as well state the obvious: I tried it, and it didn't work. I did find one thing confusing about the whole deal, though: the "key" is two different strings of characters, but AESCrypt only asks you for one password which it asks you to re-enter for verification. So, is the key the first string? The second? The first and second put together? I tried all three variations, and I tried entering the first string in the top password box and the second string in the lower box. Nothing worked. Anyway, if the real key were out, I think everyone would know by now.

is that a helicopter I hear? gee, it's flying awfully low
posted by Marla Singer at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2010


Can someone tell a luddite how to find out if it's real?

When multiple credible sources start discussing the realness and contents of the file, you'll know it's real. The gap of time between when the real thing would became available and when that verification occurred would likely be very brief, given how many eyes are on this and how many willing geeks are likely to give it a shits-and-giggle decrypt attempt even for a given not-particularly-likely-seeming key release.

This is something you can safely chill in your luddism and get prompt service on anyway.
posted by cortex at 2:38 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think that the people demanding that a "spokesperson for the group Anonymous" give a statement to the press or the other people trying to figure out if a given Twitter account is this aforementioned spokesperson actually understand what Anonymous is. "Anonymous" is just an umbrella term for anyone who has visited 4chan and decided to join in on the lulz. They're not your local Rotary Club or whatever, they don't have elected officers.
posted by indubitable at 2:38 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


So, is the key the first string? The second?

I don't have the insurance file on this PC, so I can't muck about with it myself, but someone up-thread said that one of the strings appears to be the file's MD5 hash, so I guess the other one is supposed to be the key.

However this supposed "key" has been out in the wild for hours now...if it was real, someone would have succeeded with it by now.
posted by Jimbob at 2:44 PM on December 9, 2010


"Anonymous" is just an umbrella term for anyone who has visited 4chan and decided to join in on the lulz. They're not your local Rotary Club or whatever, they don't have elected officers.

Which means anyone can have some more lulz by declaring themselves a spokesman to the media.
posted by Jimbob at 2:46 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry not MD5 hash, SHA1 checksum
posted by Jimbob at 2:47 PM on December 9, 2010


We do, however flawed and incomplete, have a democracy including three branches of government and checks and balances. What does wikileaks have? A loose group of people self-assigned to power.

I'm not being snarky, but I believe you have confused these two. When diplomats are talking about coups and infiltration of foreign governments without a hint of concern for the citizens of either state, you have "a loose group of people self-assigned to power." As an American, I am usually the beneficiary of these back room deals. For instance, Nigeria's government is entirely compromised to provide me with cheap access to oil. Palestinians living in squalor remain mere pawns for Middle Eastern politics for the same reason. Back in the 1970s, my government sold weapons to Indonesia so they could complete their genocide of the East Timorese, because my government decided that the slaughter of a few hundred thousand people was worth having a brutal mad man like Suharto keeping Communism from infiltrating the West.

The problem with all of this is that it's morally wrong for my representative to secretly determine my future without my knowledge. It's far more of a grave injustice for my representative to determine whether some people like me across the globe get to live or die based on market access to natural resources, or perceived ideological threats.

The only fix is the truth, and the only entity left that has not been compromised are loose groups of people who still know what the word Democracy means and are still willing to defend it. They are not telling you what to do. They are telling you what is being done in your name, what they think it means, and allowing you to respond to that in any way you please. I don't think there can be a clearer definition of democratic activism.
posted by notion at 2:50 PM on December 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


$ shasum -a 1 /Volumes/Big/Downloads/insurance.aes256 
cce54d3a8af370213d23fcbfe8cddc8619a0734c  /Volumes/Big/Downloads/insurance.aes256
$ $ ./aescrypt -d -p TGT315Q3GAE3632QGAEEWT3A6 /Volumes/Big/Downloads/insurance.aes256
Error: Bad file header (not aescrypt file or is corrupted? [53, 61, 6c])
So, to me it looks like this is the right SHA-1 checksum, but the file appears (!) not to be an AES file according to AESCrypt, or the decryption key is wrong.
posted by ChrisR at 2:51 PM on December 9, 2010


Which means anyone can have some more lulz by declaring themselves a spokesman to the media.

Yeah, this is a problem. "The Jester" could set up a spoof Twitter account; so could some legitimate but stupid and pouty /b/ tard. Then when they tweet some crap like "You wanna be next, wiseguy?" the press wets its pants.

But hey. The press is wetting its pants. Over an off-hand remark on an unlikely Twitter account. Lol u scared?
posted by Marla Singer at 2:53 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let me confirm, the second string, cce54d3a8af370213d23fcbfe8cddc8619a0734c is the MD5 checksum of a 1.39 GB file called "insurance.aes256" that's in a widely shared torrent on a popular torrent site (has about 3000 seeds if you're looking).

What is unknown to me at this time is how one is supposed to actually decrypt this "insurance.aes256" file. Everyone says AESCrypt but that program's output file format (a file encrypted with AESCrypt) begins with the string AES, and the "insurance.aes256" file begins with the string "Salted__", and that alleged key (starts with TGT) doesn't work in AESCrypt. "Salted__" is something related to OpenSSL apparently, and I've tried mucking about with that some but I keep getting errors trying to decrypt.
posted by BeerFilter at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2010


So, to me it looks like this is the right SHA-1 checksum, but the file appears (!) not to be an AES file according to AESCrypt, or the decryption key is wrong.

I got simple "wrong key, access denied" errors. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the many insurance files posted were spoofs.
posted by Marla Singer at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2010


I'll take back everything if the insurance file is just a very large copy of a horrifying internet goat-related meme.

Whoever: No, the founding fathers weren't US citizens. But they WERE rebelling against the country they were citizens of. Assange is free to expose what he wants, provided he does legally. Or doesn't mind the consequences of doing illegally. But you can't use the Declaration of Independence defense if you aren't a citizen / subject of the country.
posted by gjc at 2:56 PM on December 9, 2010


You sure as hell can use the declaration of independence no matter where you are from, and other revolutionary movements have. As far as I know, it was the first declaration anywhere of universal human rights.

At least it was the first that led to an actual working government.

The declaration was explicitly not an enumeration of American rights or British rights.

Which is one of the reasons I get frustrated with nativists that also like to quote the constitution and declaration. Those documents were meant to preserve the rights you have by virtue of being human, not by virtue of being lucky enough to be born in the united states.
posted by empath at 3:06 PM on December 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


Ah, America and Wikileaks. If only they had tossed up a similar shitstorm for Roman Polanski, he'd be in jail now.
posted by Xere at 3:08 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Internet "wars" were so much more fun back when it was a simple task to take down a router with a single malformed packet. I'm actually highly surprised none of them have found a nice BGP-speaking router with an insecure password on an ISP that is known not to filter their customer's announcements.

It's so much simpler to take down a site for a good part of the Internet just by "accidentally" announcing their address space.

Also, any in-person payments that get rejected because of DDoS attacks by anonymous are entirely the fault of the business attempting to take a payment or the moronic card processor they're using. That sort of stuff shouldn't be connected to the public Internet. Ever. It's simply not necessary.

That's one of the reasons Verified by Visa and Mastercard Securecode are such moronic ideas. It adds an extra point of failure for little to no gain. Visa and Mastercard only do it because their moronic customers think it's somehow a good idea.
posted by wierdo at 3:09 PM on December 9, 2010


342 comments into the 4th (or 5th?) massively long Wikileaks thread since last week, I'd just like to say how great it is to have all of you here to discuss this thing as it happens. Obviously including all the people I've favourited, but also including the persistent few that I havent agreed with (Ironmouth, BobbyVan, maybe others) who some might say have been somewhat infuriating at times but nonetheless have stuck around and tried to explain their points of view and given the rest of us some alternative viewpoints to grapple with. Dialogue, even the type that can cause graahhh, is what helps ideas to develop, and I can't think of a better place for it than here.

A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring - Wittgenstein
posted by memebake at 3:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


Visa and Mastercard only do it because their moronic customers think it's somehow a good idea.

And because financial services management are a large, corruptible bureaucracies that have been sold a bill of goods. The consumer demand for those features is manufactured later.
posted by clarknova at 3:18 PM on December 9, 2010


> sha1sum insurance.aes256
cce54d3a8af370213d23fcbfe8cddc8619a0734c insurance.aes256
> openssl enc -d -aes-256-cbc -in insurance.aes256 -pass pass:TGT315Q3GAE3632QGAEEWT3A6 > file
bad decrypt
21926:error:06065064:digital envelope routines:EVP_DecryptFinal_ex:bad decrypt:evp_enc.c:330:
> openssl enc -d -salt -aes-256-cbc -in insurance.aes256 -pass pass:TGT315Q3GAE3632QGAEEWT3A6 > file
bad decrypt
21948:error:06065064:digital envelope routines:EVP_DecryptFinal_ex:bad decrypt:evp_enc.c:330:

Hrm.
posted by ryoshu at 3:26 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey Marla! You said you wanted to see my new gyrocopter. I've been hovering over your house for like an hour now.
Geez.
posted by Floydd at 3:29 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's really hard to boycott Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Amazon. I wanted to order something from Newegg today, but then I remembered my usual payment method: Visa. Maybe there's a workaround, but I just closed my browser tab and didn't bother. I had been wanting something on ebay, too but: Paypal. Damn.

They truly have us over a barrel and they know it, which is how they were able to screw with Wikileaks, and why I think these attacks are entirely morally justified.
posted by Marla Singer at 3:35 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey Marla! You said you wanted to see my new gyrocopter. I've been hovering over your house for like an hour now.

You pizza delivery guys are getting advancedier by the day.
posted by Elmore at 3:43 PM on December 9, 2010


gyrocopters can hover?
posted by localroger at 3:49 PM on December 9, 2010


and hovercrafts can gyrate!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:50 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


And because financial services management are a large, corruptible bureaucracies that have been sold a bill of goods. The consumer demand for those features is manufactured later.

"So it's another volatile factor in a world that's already too volatile."
posted by clavdivs at 3:51 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: are you talking about Anonymous or the US government?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:58 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


This seems like it can't possibly be for real. Techie opinions?

(Warning, in case it is real: it purports to be a browser-based LOIC thingy - the same tool Anonymous uses to launch its DDoS attacks. Supposedly you just push the button, and like that you're "attacking." Protesting. Calling the party van. Whatever.)
posted by Marla Singer at 4:04 PM on December 9, 2010


Wikipedia edits the entry on Wikileaks to remove the list of mirrors.

Also, they're asking for donations. They accept Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal.
posted by Marla Singer at 4:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


This seems like it can't possibly be for real. Techie opinions?
That code repeatedly does an HTTP GET on any website by setting <img> tag's src (so that the browser loads requests in parallel) to that website's url along with a random number (so that the request avoids caching by generating unique urls).

I don't know whether it's equivalent to LOIC though it is a simple bit of DDOS code. I suppose a better version would probably try and hold connections open longer though that kind of stuff isn't available to html/javascript.
posted by holloway at 4:18 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey Marla! You said you wanted to see my new gyrocopter. I've been hovering over your house for like an hour now.

I hope your gyrocopter is bringing me a gyro.
posted by Marla Singer at 4:18 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Currently sitting in a departure lounge with my iPhone, Marla, so I can't look at the source. But I tried it for research purposes on my phone. And it made my phone very hot.
posted by Jimbob at 4:20 PM on December 9, 2010


It's real and does what is advertised, but probably won't do much. Most browsers are capped on the amount of network threads that can be opened by default. I assume that's why that site's default is 10. A home connection with a real non-browser executable can probably throw down an order of magnitude or two more connections. So, yes, it works but it doesn't work that well.
posted by amuseDetachment at 4:20 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


holloway: That code repeatedly does an HTTP GET on any website [...] I don't know whether it's equivalent to LOIC though it is a simple bit of DDOS code.

Unfortunately, this is the only part of your answer that I understood. I don't know what it means for a request to avoid caching. (You probably ought not to bother trying to explain it to me, either.) But it sounds like you're saying that thing really works? If so, then... wow.
posted by Marla Singer at 4:24 PM on December 9, 2010


gjc, BobbyVan, others - let's just remember that WikiLeaks != Julian Assange != Anonymous != 'WikiLeaks supporters'. There may be some overlaps between some of these but they are not the same.

We've all seen newspapers conflate these for sake of headlines. Let's not do it here too.
posted by joz at 4:28 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most browsers are capped on the amount of network threads that can be opened by default. I assume that's why that site's default is 10.
Firefox 3 beta 4 and earlier defaulted to 8 http requests per server, but later versions upped this to 15. IE has similar numbers.
posted by holloway at 4:29 PM on December 9, 2010


amusedDetachment: OK thanks, I think I mostly get it. It's like a mini attack? But if thousands (or brazillions) of people all used it at once... well, that could get interesting.

I have to say that I'm really surprised to hear that there's anything to it at all. I thought it would do something about as useful as... zombo.com? Meatspin? (No! I have no idea what that is!)

Jimbob: Well, now you have a way to turn your phone into a handwarmer.
posted by Marla Singer at 4:36 PM on December 9, 2010


Ah, America and Wikileaks. If only they had tossed up a similar shitstorm for Roman Polanski, he'd be in jail now

I wonder if we'll get to see the cables related to Polanski and his detainment in Switzerland.
posted by humanfont at 4:44 PM on December 9, 2010


@notion

"The problem with all of this is that it's morally wrong for my representative to secretly determine my future without my knowledge. It's far more of a grave injustice for my representative to determine whether some people like me across the globe get to live or die based on market access to natural resources, or perceived ideological threats."

I'm sorry, but to have knowledge of what every individual or group that claims to be your representative does is impossible, especially if you wish to engage in the wider world. There's going to be instances where my national government, my state government, my city government, my university, my union, my church, my community leaders, my friends, and even my family does things without my knowledge. Just because I'm unaware of certain decisions doesn't automatically make them morally wrong.

Maybe I'm naive, but in order to operate as a society, there has to be some sort of trust that someone chosen to act as my representative or even simply to delivery my pizza has good intentions in mind.

But I don't disagree with the need for truth. I agree with some of the materials in Wikileaks, especially the ones that point to complicity in criminal actions that don't uphold the US Constitution, which is what every single US federal employee takes an oath on.
posted by Jack Uphill at 4:50 PM on December 9, 2010


Thanks for the reading list klangklangston. :)

But really, fascism's definition isn't all that much debated in poli-sci, at least from what I've seen. At the edges, of course, but that's true of any academic discipline. The fundamental points are pretty much repeated over and over again.

I think that you are wrong about the definition, though.

What constitutes a definition of fascism and fascist governments is a highly disputed subject that has proved complicated and contentious. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its core tenets. (source)

Fascism and ideology is the subject of numerous debates. The position of fascism on the political spectrum is a point of contention.(source)

Also relevant.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:56 PM on December 9, 2010


Which is one of the reasons I get frustrated with nativists that also like to quote the constitution and declaration. Those documents were meant to preserve the rights you have by virtue of being human, not by virtue of being lucky enough to be born in the united states.
posted by empath

At the time if the signing there was no "United States".

A definition of inherent right was needed to justify independence. The colonies decision not King George III. Enumeration is evident but not cohesive when written while people were held in slavery. It did not set its own people free as they were defined not as people but property. The Signers knew this and ‘said’ it despite themselves. Yes, the document has universal appeal, but the act to break was grievous to these men and they knew what they faced. Jefferson wrote about the 'feeble of engines of despotism’ years after the revolution. The Radical power shift in Europe by 1821 left him witness to almost 50 years of the worlds upheaval and wars. The framework for ‘liberty’ is specific in this document. It is in the definitions that matter. It declares independence, not war. It also declared Independence from King George the III not the Tsar of Russia or the King of France.
posted by clavdivs at 4:56 PM on December 9, 2010


Well, now you have a way to turn your phone into a handwarmer.

I think Jefferson would have liked that.
posted by clavdivs at 5:04 PM on December 9, 2010


Maybe I'm naive, but in order to operate as a society, there has to be some sort of trust that someone chosen to act as my representative or even simply to delivery my pizza has good intentions in mind.

I agree with that if I get to review their decision later.
posted by maxwelton at 5:07 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Judging from the source codec of LOIC it defaults to 10 threads on TCP, UDP, HTTP ... each thread goes as fast as it can by default with a maximum of 20 milliseconds delays if the user chooses the slow it down. I haven't executed the code and I may be misunderstanding it but from a cursory glance it seems to be approximately as fast as the JavaScript version.
posted by holloway at 5:14 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


this thread is so full of awesome, am afraid am running out of favorites to give.

just wanted to say though, am sad nobody has mentioned The Zapatista Tactical FloodNet as a precursor to Anonymous. back in the day though they would have been call The Electronic Disturbance Theater.

just pointing them out because the site Marla found looks like an implementation of FloodNet.
posted by liza at 5:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm sorry, but to have knowledge of what every individual or group that claims to be your representative does is impossible, especially if you wish to engage in the wider world. There's going to be instances where my national government, my state government, my city government, my university, my union, my church, my community leaders, my friends, and even my family does things without my knowledge. Just because I'm unaware of certain decisions doesn't automatically make them morally wrong.

I'm not asking to be in on every meeting. I'm demanding the right as a citizen to see whatever transcripts I want. If a tiny percentage were kept secret for a limited time, that would be one thing. But they are classifying information because they are lying to people about very serious matters, and they don't want to get caught.

Where there is zero public oversight there is zero democracy. Sure you need a little bit for temporary reasons, like military operations or attempts to establish relationships with estranged nations, but at this point, the secrecy has led to so many disastrous outcomes that we need to take away the keys until they learn how to drive without killing everyone in the neighborhood.

Sorry for the additional length, but I think it's important to use the Golden Rule whenever possible. Ask yourself a question: are you sounding like Reagan or Gorbachev when it comes to your stated views upon freedom?

(And please, the reality of the situation is beyond the context of this... I'm talking about the ideals behind the rhetoric.)
MOSCOW, 1988 — They came from the far ends of the Soviet Union--human rights activists and Jewish refuseniks, veterans of labor camps and Siberian exile and the wives and children of some still imprisoned--to hear the American President praise their courage and urge them on.

In one of the more unusual meetings held during a U.S.-Soviet summit, the hard core of the Soviet human rights movement spent nearly an hour with President and Mrs. Reagan at Spaso House, the U.S. ambassador's residence. They emerged praising the American chief executive as a bulwark of freedom.

"We saw from the forthright words of the President that human rights for him is not simply a formality but that it really touches his heart," said Father Gleb Yakunin, a Russian Orthodox priest. . .

"I came here to give you strength, but it is you who have strengthened me," the President told his 96 invited guests, who responded several times with applause. "While we press for human lives through diplomatic channels, you press with your very lives, day in and day out, year after year, risking your homes, your jobs and your all.". . .

Soviet officials criticized the meeting, suggesting that it was a lapse of protocol to meet with citizens that the host state considers troublemakers at best. Gorbachev, toasting the Reagans at a state dinner in the Kremlin, noted that the Soviet government "wants to build contacts among people in all forums."

But in conveying his own perspective on human rights, Gorbachev pointedly added that "this should be done without interfering in domestic affairs, without sermonizing or imposing one's views and ways, without turning family or personal problems into a pretext for confrontation between states."
posted by notion at 5:18 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"But you can't use the Declaration of Independence defense if you aren't a citizen / subject of the country."

That's an absurd statement. You might as well say that you only have inalienable rights if you're a citizen.
posted by klangklangston at 5:19 PM on December 9, 2010


ugh, i mean:
just wanted to say though, am sad nobody has mentioned The Zapatista Tactical FloodNet as a precursor to LOIC. back in the day though Anonymous would have been call The Electronic Disturbance Theater.
posted by liza at 5:20 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dutch teen arrested for participating in current DDoS attacks.
posted by Marla Singer at 5:28 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I think that you are wrong about the definition, though."

You know, I'm trying to say this in a nice way, but maybe, just maybe, if your opinion stems from Wikipedia, you don't know what you're talking about and should maybe sit out definitional debates on fascism to avoid getting into arguments you are ill prepared for.
posted by klangklangston at 5:30 PM on December 9, 2010


Hey we all know what happened when a certain someone instructed all the Freikorps members to telegraph an order of pilsner kegs from the same Sudentenland biergarten on the same day.

Are you talking about Anonymous or the US government?
posted by steambadger at 5:43 PM on December 9, 2010


klang: I love you. But from one excitable intellectual to another, I bet you can be nicer than that.
posted by notion at 6:01 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


—Virulent anti-Modernism. The Modern society is somehow tainted and corrupt, decadent and rotting. It must be cleaned by returning to (racial purity/collectivism/Islamic law). Anonymous is as opposite this as is possible, a virulently pro-Modernism (and post-modernism) "movement" (or mob).

The "real" Fascists, i.e. the Fascists of Italy, were immensely popular within a cultural movement known as Futurism, and vice-versa. Indeed, after WWI, the political arm of Italian Futurism, Partito Politico Futurista, merged with a party called Fasci di combattimento, headed up by a fellow you may have heard of. His name? Benito Mussolini.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:35 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


In case anyone is interested as to what a formal complaint will get you:

"Thank you for your recent inquiry. Visa respects and values our cardholders' perspectives and opinions. With regards to Visa's position on WikiLeaks, Visa has temporarily suspended Visa payment acceptance on WikiLeaks' website pending investigation into whether it contravenes Visa operating rules, including compliance with local laws in the markets where we operate."

TLDR; Not much.
posted by dephlogisticated at 6:56 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "real" Fascists, i.e. the Fascists of Italy, were immensely popular within a cultural movement known as Futurism, and vice-versa. Indeed, after WWI, the political arm of Italian Futurism, Partito Politico Futurista, merged with a party called Fasci di combattimento, headed up by a fellow you may have heard of. His name? Benito Mussolini.

IIRC, Futurism was a fringe movement within Fascism (though the second wave of the Futurist art movement, in the 1930s, celebrated martial themes such as air combat), and with the Fascist rank and file, tradition won out, and Futurism was marginalised.

Though, these days, a neo-Fascist party in the Italian parliament calls itself the Futurist Party. I suspect that they don't actually have policies of smashing museums and mechanising everything for its own sake, or indeed particularly forward-looking policies, but are a traditionalist authoritarian Right party invoking the name of Futurism because it evokes Fascism.
posted by acb at 6:59 PM on December 9, 2010


The "real" Fascists, i.e. the Fascists of Italy, were immensely popular within a cultural movement known as Futurism

which was quite a bit about subjecting the staid present to the cleansing fires of change, or to quote a quote from the Wikipedia article, "We will glorify war - the world's only hygiene - militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman" – now, I wouldn't call Futurism an anti-modernist movement, exactly, but you can see where it fits into the whole Fascist enterprise.
posted by furiousthought at 7:06 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boingboing says anon may try a new tack...

Filter the cables, find the biggest stuff that hasn't been reported, leak it on youtube, everywhere, tag it with shit that's like bieber and tea party to get people to look...
posted by symbioid at 7:08 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Symboid, is that implying that someone got the insurance key to work? Or is that from the previously released trance?
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 7:25 PM on December 9, 2010


tranche... obviously these fugue spelling states are getting worse.
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 7:27 PM on December 9, 2010


Are we really accusing /b/ of having ideological roots in early 20th century Italian futurism? No way.

anonymous hates hierarchy and order. The reason is as unknowable there are a million different people with a million different reasons for their hatred (I suspect the mass of those on /b/ are the very base of the societal pyramid, and would just as see the whole thing crumble as stay at the bottom) . The manifestation is they seek to impose chaos where there is order.

Hierarchy, leadership and regimentation are the benchmarks of contemporary political organization from the local college democrats to the Communist Party of China. What is remarkable about anonymous is that it is organized yet maintains the minimal organization possible while committing a mass political act.

Individuals organizing without hierarchy, with the loosest of creeds and out of their own will is not fascism, it is anarchism in its purest form.
posted by banal evil at 7:58 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, but to have knowledge of what every individual or group that claims to be your representative does is impossible, especially if you wish to engage in the wider world.

This totally misses the point. It's not that each citizen should be expected to read and keep up with every piece of policy and procedure the government undertakes, but that such information should be available so that someone who IS interested and has time but is not in on the con can read it and sound the alarm if necessary. It used to be I would expect a free press to play that role, but I'm not sure I trust them these days. Maybe I never should have.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:59 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


thusspakeparanoia: "Symboid, is that implying that someone got the insurance key to work? Or is that from the previously released trance"

I think they just meant the current stuff? I didn't see anything about the key. I think the key is a dud.
posted by symbioid at 8:00 PM on December 9, 2010


Anonymous hates hierarchy and order?

How, then, are these people giving over the control of their computers for DDoS attacks on whatever sites the #loic ops want to bomb?

Some anti-authorianism...
posted by Anything at 8:09 PM on December 9, 2010


Boingboing says anon may try a new tack...

BORING. The hardest thing for Anon to do is boring stuff that involves work. I'm worried they'll drop off like they did near the end of their Scientology projects.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


How, then, are these people giving over the control of their computers for DDoS attacks on whatever sites the #loic ops want to bomb?


They are giving over their computers by free will.

Simply because an act is in concert with others doesn't mean it is a submission to authority.
posted by banal evil at 8:23 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


You could always target something else with the software.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:31 PM on December 9, 2010


Anonymous is the discordian society, except they're for real.

Hail eris.
posted by empath at 8:34 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, it is important to recognize that the majority of Anonymous thinks this stuff is lame and stupid and they would all rather discuss Pokemon. Only a fraction of Anonymous ever burbles up to the task, but even a little support for a task is rare. You see, anyone can raise the flag and say "let's do this" but for the most part everyone just denounces the idea and slings slurs at the original poster. It is only with the occasional alignment of planets that they ever agree on anything.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:42 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


They are giving over their computers by free will.

Simply because an act is in concert with others doesn't mean it is a submission to authority.


Their computers and bandwith are not merely used in concert with others, it's controlled by a leader without any prior knowledge what it will be used for. Wilfully submitted to an authority.

The next thing you know, the EFF site goes down.

Congratulations.
posted by Anything at 8:44 PM on December 9, 2010


The antimodernism element to fascism is a complex issue. The Nazis were explicitly antimodernist in terms of their condemnation of "degenerate" art, jazz, etc., as well as the broader "corruptions" of modernity (urban industrialization, trade union movements, assimilation of Jews and women into wider social spheres, etc.). And yet, of course, they appropriated the very cultural and technological tools of modernism and modernity that they condemned, brilliantly marshaling radio, film, graphic art and design, architecture, etc. in achieving and consolidating power.

The simplified way of looking at it is that antimodernism is, in general, an essential feature of fascism on an ideological level (the appeal to the clean, happy idealized world of yesterday free of filthy communists/Jews/immigrants/Muslims/gays/etc.) while at the same time the tools of modernism (that is, technology, mass media, etc.) are essential to fascism on a practical level.

As for the Italian futurists: they were an interesting case, but largely isolated in terms of their political affiliation for the time. Many of the avant-garde, modernist art movements in Europe at the time (constructivism, the Bauhaus, de Stijl, etc.) were also fascinated with new technologies, mass media, mass production, etc. The difference is that virtually all of them were either implicitly or explicitly leftist in their politics (including the Russian futurists); the Italian futurists were the odd ones out.
posted by scody at 8:45 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


it's controlled by a leader without any prior knowledge what it will be used for.

You cut/copy the target from an organizing page, thread, whatever-- and then paste it in manually. It isn't like a zombie botnet, it is different.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:50 PM on December 9, 2010


You cut/copy the target from an organizing page, thread, whatever-- and then paste it in manually. It isn't like a zombie botnet, it is different.

https://github.com/NewEraCracker/LOIC/blob/master/README
==========================
|| HIVEMIND/HIDDEN MODE ||
==========================

HIVE MIND mode will connect your client to an IRC server so it can be controlled
remotely. Think of it like a voluntary botnet. They might even make your client
do naughty things, so beware.
posted by Anything at 8:53 PM on December 9, 2010


Yeah, and guess how often that is used?
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:54 PM on December 9, 2010


Now it all makes sense.
posted by scalefree at 8:55 PM on December 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


It isn't like a zombie botnet, it is different.

So by "isn't like a zombie botnet" you meant that it is like a zombie botnet but it's just not used much?
posted by Anything at 9:00 PM on December 9, 2010


No, it's not like a zombie botnet in that people are volunteering their computers on a case by case basis, instead of being an innocent bystander with a virus infection. Zombie implies that the hosts are unaware of what they are doing. The kids know exactly what they are signing up for.
posted by empath at 9:03 PM on December 9, 2010


Ok, I sent a more polite message to you via MeFi as I had sent that short snark a little too off the cuff. But yes, basically the point I am trying to express is that it is all voluntary and there is no true authority structure. It is only as much as you care to put in, and there is no punishment for doing otherwise. The majority of the Anonymous 'soldiers' only run it for an hour because they would rather be playing WoW or watching YouTube.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:05 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


And I don't think much of people who sign up for that sort of thing.

I hope there's more arrests coming.
posted by Anything at 9:07 PM on December 9, 2010


Yeah fucking hippies with their ideals and protests. Throw the book at 'em. That'll show them for standing for something.
posted by empath at 9:09 PM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


I mean really, what are they doing? They're essentially just hitting refresh on a browser window over and over again. You want to ruin some kids life over that?
posted by empath at 9:11 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It is cool. If there weren't people like you, Anything, then there would be no need for all this and they would be out of something to be a part of. I respect that.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:12 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I kind of almost wish I didn't give a shit about my job, since I work for a largish ISP and could pretty easily help them do some real damage(see comment above on bgp filtering). But I like have to pay rent and have responsibilities and stuff and kind of don't find the idea of jail
appealing. So I will merely comment on the revolution instead of participating.
posted by empath at 9:24 PM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Hierarchy, leadership and regimentation are the benchmarks of contemporary political organization ...

Those are benchmarks of PRE-FEMINIST political organization. Feminist theory is not credited with the revival of the shared leadership model (not too different from how Anonymous functions). Hierarchy -- actually, 'authority' -- is functional (i.e., the most skilled for the question at hand is called to lead the group's focus); and 'regimentation' is only seen in the adherence to shared values and processes (that are dynamic and ever open for revision). This is the future (and the present for those who have recognized the flaws in patriarchal domination by forced obedience to hierarchy).
posted by Surfurrus at 9:25 PM on December 9, 2010


I have never heard anyone refer to /b/ culture as feminist before. I wonder how they would react to that.
posted by empath at 9:29 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, I've seen too many baseball bats inserted between too many labia on /b/ to think that their organizational model is based on feminist principles.

Personally, on many levels they are not a force to be admired, the proliferation of child pornography, sexism and racism which are rife on /b/ spring to mind.

I think more so, the only way to organize such a large group is through maintaining the most threadbare of organizational structures. It is not an act of ideology, but of necessity.
posted by banal evil at 9:37 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was thinking the same thing. As for Feminist Theory, theory trickles into the society at large in the strangest ways. Just look at cybernetics, we use the ideas from that all the damn time without realizing feedback loops aren't self-evident. The idea of democracy is another good one. Even if you aren't directly taught about it, you'll likely have some friend clue you in, or even just television. Peripheral knowledge is ridiculous and comes in from all directions.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:39 PM on December 9, 2010


It's more just postmodernism rather than specifically feminism.

Decentralized, bottom up, use of many-to-many technologies to reject hierarchical messages/organizations.
posted by amuseDetachment at 9:49 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


i think the word you're looking for is nomadology*
posted by liza at 10:23 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apparently Assange was allowed some limited internet time recently.
posted by Marla Singer at 10:40 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I'm trying to say this in a nice way, but maybe, just maybe, if your opinion stems from Wikipedia, you don't know what you're talking about and should maybe sit out definitional debates on fascism to avoid getting into arguments you are ill prepared for.

You're assuming my opinion stems from wikipedia. I linked to it because of it's convenience. I suggest going to google scholar and doing a search you will come up with a glut of articles all trying to define fascism. If you have access to JSTOR that is a great resource to explore the many definitions of fascism.

Fascism is probably the vaguest of contemporary political terms. This may be because the word itself has no implicit political reference, however vague, as do democracy, liberalism, socialism, and communism. [...] The problems of definitions and categorization that arise are so severe it is not surprising that some scholars prefer to call putative fascist movements by their specific individual names alone without applying the categorical adjective. Still others deny that any such general phenomenon as fascism or European fascism-as distinct from Mussolini's Italian Fascism-ever existed.(source, pg. 4)

'Although enormous amounts of research time and mental energy have been put into the study of it...fascism has stubbornly remained the great conundrum for students of the twentieth century' (Robinson, 1981, p.1). Such is the welter of divergent opinion surrounding the term that it is almost de rigueur to open contributions to the debate on fascism with some such observation.(source, pg. 1)

"Perhaps the word fascism should be banned, at least temporarily, from our political vocabulary," S.J. Woolf wrote in 1968. Historians who have confronted the problem of defining this mulish concept may sympathize with this modest proposal. Unfortunately, the word "fascism" is here to stay; only its meaning seems to have been banned.(source)

If the number of publications is an accurate gauge, there was a conspicuous revival of interest in fascism during the last decade. [...] As conspicuous as the revivial of interest in fascism is the lack of agreement about it. Close to a decade of scholarly discussion has yielded nothing even approaching a consensus on the essential characteristics of fascism as a generic phenomenon, its causes, or even which movements and regimes properly deserve the label. Indeed, there are almost as many differing theories about fascism as there are treatments of the subject.(source)

Fascism eludes classification. It disorients political analysis in the confusion of left and right, refuses to point the way forward by conflating progress and reaction. Fascism was and is a scandal, both historically and theoretically. No wonder, then, that political theory must reach beyond itself to characterize the phenomenon.(Hewitt, A., Fascist Modernism: Aesthetics, Politics and the Avant-Garde, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993.)

Approaching the dense literature on fascism for the first time, students of history and politics might be forgiven for wondering how it is possible for specialists to explain the phenomenon in such contradictory ways. Most striking, perhaps, is the difference between comparative-analytic studies of fascist ideologies which interpret fascism as a millenarian revolt against the degenerative impact of modernity, and political-economic studies which link fascism to the economic and social-structural crisis of capitalism.(Woodley, D., Fascism and Political Theory: Critical perspectives on fascist ideology, New York: Routledge, 2010.)

To demonstrate the wide range of differing opinion here is a survey of the major schools of thought in the theoretical approach to defining fascism.

Theoretical approaches to fascism

Marxism - (Key authors) --> Pollock, Vajda, Poulantzas, Laclau, Lukács, and Ahmad

Totalitarianism --> Arendt, Talmon, Kornhauser, and Marcuse

Modernization theory --> Lipset, Sauer, Turner, and Gregor

Generic fascism I --> Nolte, Weber, and Linz

Culturalist approaches --> Mosse, Sternhell, Kershaw, and Diner

Generic fascism II --> Griffin, Eatwell, Payne, and Paxton

Critical theory poststructuralism --> Adorno, Benjamin, Hewitt, Lacoue-Labarthe, Agamben, and Neocleous

There are also ideological and sociological approaches which also have various different modes. So as you can see the definition of fascism is not as clear cut as you would like to pretend it is.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:52 PM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Regarding /b/ and feminism: the battle over Privilege Denying Dude happened the week before Wikileaks. I don't even want to try to explain it. Just suffice to say that /b/ is definitely not feminist, or at best the feminists are a minority.
posted by Marla Singer at 10:57 PM on December 9, 2010


OK I guess it was two weeks. Anyway this is such a derail. And it's my bedtime.
posted by Marla Singer at 10:58 PM on December 9, 2010


Clavdiv:
I was thinking about the rise of labor power in the late 19th century, and how this drove the development of the radical left in the US. By radical left, I'm referring to the rise of socialist newspapers and people like Eugene V. Debs. Debs helped organize the railroad workers union. As far as working conditions, the conditions that the typical IT worker faces are of course safer than working the line at a steel mill or working as a brakeman on a steam train. What is similar, however, is that IT workers have direct control over the fundamental infrastructure of our economy.

Regarding the rest of your comment about "suits" and money, I'm afraid I don't understand what you're driving at. If you could clarify, I'd be happy to discuss my p.o.v.
posted by wuwei at 11:26 PM on December 9, 2010


anonymous hates hierarchy and order.

Anonymous loves salty tears and lulz. They would - or rather, some proportion of them would - be just as likely to read these threads, highlight a couple of other threads where MeFi members wring our hands over the finer points of which words we may or may not use because of real or imagined lsights that blah blah backpack blah blah privelege blah, macro up a bunch of pictures of commenters with "U MAD?" "NOT SURE IF SRS?" or whatever the current version is, decide we're got a stick up our arse, LOIC Matt off the Internet for a while, macro up some pictures of the moderators looking angry at something, "U MAD?", crack a bunch of jokes about "sandy vaginas", demand Matt sing an obscene song on YouTube to get his site back.

Then lose interes and start photoshopping PaedoBear into DynCorp logos. Or caption some more cat pictures.
posted by rodgerd at 12:01 AM on December 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


I got simple "wrong key, access denied" errors. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the many insurance files posted were spoofs.

I can think of at least four possibilities:

1/ Spoof by a third party.
2/ False release by WikiLeaks/Assange. Part of an escalating chain that ultimately lead to real releases.
3/ Real release, but there are multiple layers of encryption or obfuscaton. Again, it's part of an escalating chain designed to give a captor a chance to rethink their strategy.
4/ A more elaborate version of a real release: a core encryption that's untouchable by state-of-the-art cryptanalysis/brute-force mechanisms, for which this is the key. There are additional layers that are impervious to, say, me, or the Guardian, but can be cracked by the NSA. The first drop lets bad guys see what's going to be released to everyone after the next few releases.
posted by rodgerd at 12:09 AM on December 10, 2010


"The antimodernism element to fascism is a complex issue. The Nazis were explicitly antimodernist in terms of their condemnation of "degenerate" art, jazz, etc., as well as the broader "corruptions" of modernity (urban industrialization, trade union movements, assimilation of Jews and women into wider social spheres, etc.). And yet, of course, they appropriated the very cultural and technological tools of modernism and modernity that they condemned, brilliantly marshaling radio, film, graphic art and design, architecture, etc. in achieving and consolidating power."

It is, and that's a good parallel to their interaction with democracy as well, and both are good examples of the totalizing nature of fascism. Modern life is bad, but the means of modern life are good; democracy is bad, but legitimacy stems from popularity mediated by ideology.

Part of the problem, too, is that any time you get outside of the big three "Fascist" fascists, it's all polemic by analogy. Which is why it's almost never helpful to describe your opponents as fascists — it's an expletive, not a coherent argument.

That's part of where the disagreement comes over whether "fascist" is settled jargon — the useful, narrow definition pretty much is. The wide, scattershot usage is the political version of "motherfucker," and will never be settled (motherfuckers).

(And to get off on a tangent, if you read things like Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition, they all start by saying that Fascism is vague and internally contradictory and has many different facets, and then they all pretty much set out a typology that hits those main points. It's what you do when you argue — first you acknowledge a need for defining your terms, then you define your terms pretty much the same as everyone else does because it saves time. )

I tried to, but probably failed, emphasize Modernism as distinct from moderniNietszchesm, in part because Modernism comes with a raft of assumptions that are good contrasts for Fascism; Fascism is to Modernism as Elisabeth Nietzsche is to Friederich Nietzsche, a misappropriation used to negate.
posted by klangklangston at 12:31 AM on December 10, 2010


Whups. That's Modernism as distinct from modernism. I wondered where that Nietzsche got off to.
posted by klangklangston at 12:32 AM on December 10, 2010


With regards to the long discussion on what is and isn't fascism: This is why we have Godwin's Law.
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:37 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Puddi puddi, puddi puddi puddi. Puddi puddi?

Puddi.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:56 AM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


wuwei.
What is similar, however, is that IT workers have direct control over the fundamental infrastructure of our economy.


Debs is a fine example and you are correct the working conditions are much different. IT workers are an important if not essential part of the economy. Having more direct control over the means of production does change the degree of suffering imposed by working conditions as varied from the past as they may be.
‘suits’ an ideology is…it was and is late.

The last thing that our government and business leaders should want, is a radicalized IT sector. I really hope that cooler heads prevail and the leadership of the US will take the necessary steps to reform the bad behavior exposed by Wikileaks.

I get that. And your realistic analogy is apt. I did not clarify my inevitable part. Means and ends. Basic. You understand that and why it is phrased so. Workers that are not IT may have a varied opinion. Is it Inevitable this radicalized IT sector IMO that is like smoking pot. The question of Historiography, historical inevitability, a pet peeve of mine, is another discussion and that would be most welcome. But I come to an end that is not mine but something Paul Nizan wrote.

“But the bourgeoisie wants to destroy the apparent external causes of its sickness, and it can restore it self to good health by applying old remedies (plus a few new ones), without having to give up the world it has made and loves so dearly. To ensure this world’s survival, a special division of labor will be necessary: to the politicians will fall the task of crushing revolution, while the thinkers be called upon to concoct an assortment of remedies and recipes that will serve both to inspire confidence in the bourgeois and dissuade the forces of the Revolution from severing ties with the bourgeois world. But what are our professional thinkers doing at this moment? What are the licensed spokesmen for intelligence and mind saying, as the walls of their universe begin to crumble?”


If you took offense it was not intended so. I disagree with wikileaks being a means to an end.
posted by clavdivs at 1:03 AM on December 10, 2010


Clavdivs,
No offense taken, I was just unsure of your point which made it difficult to reply coherently. I try understand where someone else is coming from before I respond. I thought perhaps you were referring to "suits" as in the American IT slang for management/sales/marketing.

I don't see IT sector radicalization as a certainty-- just a potential outcome. Historical inevitability is one of the worst features of Marxism and not something I embrace. I was merely analyzing the situation by looking at the synchronization (or lack thereof) between values and environment, a methodology outlined by Chalmers Johnson in his monograph on revolutionary change.

As to the Nizan quote, I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with his work to offer an informed commentary. Thanks for the reference-- a quick Google search shows that a number of his essays are available online. I will check him out.
posted by wuwei at 1:48 AM on December 10, 2010


I find it sad that seemingly the only active protests against the behavior of the lackies and lickspittles of Empire seems to be confined to a small group of spotty youf sitting in their bedrooms and doing it for the lulz. Peace and Love doesn't work in the real world.
I would like to see a little more public humiliation of the faces behind the logos.
Bad guy gets caught, tried goes to jail, end of story doesn't happen (Ken Lay) at the top echelons, or only very rarely (Madoff).
Visa, Paypal, DynCorp etc. all have boards of directors.
Whatever happened to Pieing?
The Medium is the Merangue.
Ingrediants required: one pie, one video camera and one activist and voila... In yer face motherfucker.
It might not solve the problem but it sure as hell would make me feel good.
posted by adamvasco at 3:42 AM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think that if you want to do your part in this particular struggle, you might be better off trying to build a Wikileaks alternative than DDOSing Mastercard. Maybe something more decentralized, since the weakness of Wikileaks is apparently it's centralization.

Also, RE: the debate about fascism, I have pretty much come to the conclusion that calling something fascism as part of any discussion is counter-productive, since it pretty much leads to a debate about the structure and definition of fascism. It's probably more useful to use terms that more precisely define the aspects that you associate with fascism that you are referring to, such as media manipulation, authoritarianism, government collusion with corporations, etc.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:55 AM on December 10, 2010


Somebody doesn't have a fucking clue what Fascism actually is.

As noted in the 1984 themed thread
http://www.metafilter.com/98304/The-telescreen-struck-fourteen#3410365
there is a spot O text penned by none other than George Orwell where he talks about Fascism (Hint: Fascism is just something you don't like)

If "we" are gonna talk about the topic, should we not go to the 1930's source or to someone who was a far more popular commentator?

After "we" have solved the 'whats Fascism' question (and then decided if the US of A is already there) we can move onto the unsettled comments of Norman Thomas and Gus Hall, the U.S. Communist Party Candidate, both quit American politics, agreeing that the Republican and Democratic parties had adopted every plank on the Communist/Socialist and they no longer had an alternate party platform on which to run. Now THAT will be fun, right Comrades?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:01 AM on December 10, 2010


Zombie implies that the hosts are unaware of what they are doing.

Well, fuck you too.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:05 AM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have never heard anyone refer to /b/ culture as feminist before. I wonder how they would react to that.

TITS OR GTFO
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:06 AM on December 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe I never should have.

Mr. Wimp I have a letter from the 1880's. From a Mr. John Swinton. Will you sign here for delivery?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:06 AM on December 10, 2010


Because I'm guessing no one is going back to the Easy DNS post I bring you:
A DNS provider that suffered backlash last week after it was wrongly identified as supplying and then dropping DNS service to WikiLeaks has decided to support the secret-spilling site, offering DNS service to two domains distributing WikiLeaks content....“We’ve already done the time, we might as well do the crime,” Mark Jeftovic, president and CEO of EasyDNS, told Threat Level about his decision.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:22 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Interesting post on Reddit from someone claiming his pops dropped the dime on him to his employer over reading leaked cables.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:09 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Norman Cohn had a slightly different definition of fascism in his book The Pursuit of the Millenium: a millenarian revitalization movement.

There are so many different perspectives on fascism/totalitarianism because it seemed like such a historical aberration. So every sub-discipline came up with its own definition. This says more about the narrowness of sub-disciplines than it does about fascism. Each of those many definitions is useful in narrower or broader way.

Generally speaking, the more widely a viewpoint finds fascism around it, the less likely that viewpoint will be correct: if somebody says everything is fascist, they are pretty clueless.

At the end of WWII, Cohn was in British Intelligence interrogating Nazis. He spent a lot of time thinking about how that mess happened and whether is was a total sui generis exception or if it was just a very rare case of a long standing historical pattern that only occasionally succeeded in capturing society.

Looking back, he found the Brotherhood of the Free Spirit and the Crusades as an exemplar of the Nazi experience. Hence his book, The Pursuit of the Millenium.

Cohn wrote before Anthony Wallace described revitalization movements, but the concept is very similar. The Wikipedia article on revitalization is incorrect in suggesting that it only applies to primitive societies. Most successful social movements are revitalization movements and some of the most influential (Civil Rights in the US, for one example) were progressive revitalization movements with millennial aspects without the regressive implications of "primitive." Likewise, Steampunk can be seen as a very small revitalization movement among some artists and their audience. So it's a fairly broad concept.

The problem arises when totalistic revitalization movements seize control of entire states: this frequently becomes totalitarianism. Not just Nazi Germany, but recently Iran and North Korea for two currently salient examples. This tendency is not explicitly fascistic, but it is totalistic. Hence the concern about the Tea Party's fascist tendencies: they have all the hallmarks of a regressive revitalization movement.

So revitalization movements have a bright side (Civil Rights) and a dark side (Nazis.)

Ronfeldt has outlined a TIMN framework of societal evolution that incorporates some of these ideas.

According to TIMN, groups that partake of both tribal and network forms of social organization will have very considerable influence in the world about now. So Anonymous and Al Qaida both do this, but otherwise are not very similar in any cultural or political sense (except to complete moral imbeciles like Lieberman.) These TN forms will kick the crap out of IM forms in social skirmishes, though the mass power of IM forms gives them some advantage. However, the IM forms are also a case of "the bigger they are, they harder they fall" as we have repeatedly seen in the last decade.

Ronfeldt and Arquilla coined two little words you see bandied around these days: cyberwar and netwar. So the general outlines of what's going down these days isn't exactly unanticipated or uncontemplated. Interestingly, they also proposed an information strategy for the US which was utterly rejected by the powers that be, but is still very interesting: Noopolitik. Definitely worth a look.
posted by warbaby at 7:13 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


"But you can't use the Declaration of Independence defense if you aren't a citizen / subject of the country."

That's an absurd statement. You might as well say that you only have inalienable rights if you're a citizen.


It really isn't, and no I wouldn't. Everyone has the rights. It is simply that Country X can't possibly violate those rights if Person Y isn't subject to the laws or whims of that country. The US isn't (or at least wasn't) oppressing Assange any more than the Austro-Hungarian Empire is oppressing me.

There are a variety of plausible defenses for what Assange was doing. Oppression by the US isn't one of them.
posted by gjc at 7:15 AM on December 10, 2010


I think the definition of "mission creep" is when feminism is also a management structure.
posted by gjc at 7:16 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I kind of almost wish I didn't give a shit about my job, since I work for a largish ISP and could pretty easily help them do some real damage(see comment above on bgp filtering). But I like have to pay rent and have responsibilities and stuff and kind of don't find the idea of jail
appealing. So I will merely comment on the revolution instead of participating.


There are other ways to offer support. /b/ runs on shopped propaganda posters, so if you know how to use Photoshop/Illustrator, there's always that. Or if you have google-chops, you can get on the irc and try and convince people to help you with a dox hunt. /b/ would love to target VISA/Mastercard execs with pizzabombs etc.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:50 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


On Fascism: Way to overthink it, everybody.

It's really very simple. The original extremely stupid comment was "/b/ is a proto-fascist organization."

Now, while there are a lot of ways to approach the question "what is fascism," one thing that every single one of them will have in common is an authoritarian power structure. Once you remove the idea of a powerful leader or elite making and strictly enforcing the rules, I don't think you will find many people who are willing to define the result as fascism by any school of thought.

Now, /b/ is exactly the opposite of this. They are if anything crypto-anarchists; they are allergic to the very idea of power structures, and much of their effort is devoted to breaking rules and abusing the frameworks by which they are enforced. This is exactly the opposite of fascism pretty much no matter whose definition of fascism you use.

So it doesn't really matter exactly which kind of proto-fascists /b/ aren't, because no matter which kind you favor /b/ will be antithetical to it.

As for their volunteer botnet, consider the difference between an army which requires an oath of service and vigorously punishes those who desert or disobey orders, versus a voluntary militia where it's understood that the organization only exists because the members want to be there and that if there is a disagreement between the men and the leaders it will be negotiated, not imposed by dictat and if anybody doesn't like the result they are free to leave.

A fascist state -- again, by just about every definition -- is more like the army except that you are born into it. /b/'s collective effort is more like the militia, which is very different.

(One could also make the case that, in an exchange between the two, the militia will be weaker -- certainly the case a fascist would make. The American revolutionaries didn't seem to get that memo, though. Neither did Julian Assange. That's the very thing asymmetrical warfare is about.)
posted by localroger at 7:51 AM on December 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Speaking of the military, Military Bans Disks, Threatens Courts-Martial to Stop New Leaks. As predicted.
posted by ryoshu at 8:09 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't Rip, Don't Burn.
posted by cortex at 8:13 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Assuming that the Republican party were a major player in the nation's power establishment for the sake of argument (heh!), if so, would the fact that the Republican party centrally coordinates it's political talking points with the nation's most popular news outlet qualify at least as evidence of fascistic leanings? In so much as it's evidence that the Republican party has no reservations whatsoever about subverting the public airwaves for the propagation of its political propaganda? In other words, not because the particular tactics used are fascistic but because those tactics embody a political outlook that's essentially fascistic in its understanding of the ideal power relationship between the ruling party of the state and the media?

But yeah, there's really not much point in debating which terms to use. Fascism might be usefully understood as more or less a general, pejorative term for any state with a rigid state-sponsored ideology and strong, top-down authority (even nominally "Democratic" states can be fascistic, to the extent that their democratic institutions are merely symbolic and/or part of the window dressing of the state apparatus' national myth). Such debates don't really change anything, they just have the effect of dividing people and slowing down the development of consensus in practice.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


would the fact that the Republican party centrally coordinates it's political talking points with the nation's most popular news outlet qualify at least as evidence of fascistic leanings?

One can apply all kinds of emotive labels to things, depending on what reaction you want.

One can point to the "communist" Willi Münzenberg -The Münzenberg Trust is an example of talking points to a journalistic group. Ol' Willi's methods is how Mr. Goebbels learned his trade.

Is such a tactic "bad" because it was used by a "communist", by the 3rd Reich or just showing the John Swinton was right?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:49 AM on December 10, 2010


My entire point is that I don't trust wikileaks and I don't appreciate them telling me that what they're doing is in my best interest. I'm not sold on that conclusion.

I have to agree. But Wikileaks doesn't have to, and indeed can't, hold that kind of authority as an inherent property, it stems from their actions and what they reveal in their words.
They have to put up or die. You don't have to accept wikileaks at their word.
You look at what they do, what they've put out. It's either legal, or it's not. In this case, even if it was illegal, it did reveal some duplicity. Not that I think this was a high priority issue just now (with the diplomatic corps anyway) but the proof is in the pudding. We can simply ignore them (like Fox news). Or charge them if they go over the line.

With PayPal, etc. Their authority is inherent. Without them, you don't get money. They can't be safely ignored. Therefore their authority is far more dangerous. Other entities, yet more so. And so should have greater attention put on them.
In this case, perhaps the messenger is an asshole, but what is it he's saying about Hannibal coming over the hills with elephants?

"...that the individual may defy the government when in their own mind they serve a higher purpose"

Not all stupid is equal. The intent in defying/overthrowing the government, at least from Jefferson's perspective, is to remind people of their responsibility AS the government.
Most of the terrorists you allude to have no interest in becoming authority and accepting responsibility. (Which, typically, is why they're terrorists, not guerrillas).

"I feel apprehensive of what these jokers will do next - and I feel they have done little to enhance transparency"

I have to agree. The shame of it is - this is what we're reduced to. People have gotten fat, dumb and happy and been that way for too long. I'm not pointing there to some idealized past.
I'm saying we've literally gotten fat (easy to look up, but if for no other reason that we need less manual labor and food is more plentiful), dumb (in that we do less things ourselves -- I walk into the store and there are rows and rows of shelves stocked with pre-mixed powders like
flour, sugar, etc. I made pretzels from scratch the other day. People looked at me like I was Harry Houdini. "WOW, from SCRATCH!?" Uh, that's a big deal? I didn't know I'd have mad baking skillz, but working with explosives makes you serious about measuring) and t.v. makes us all happy. TONS of youtube, etc.)

Again, not a BAD thing per se, but not something real or genuine. It's a defacto dream world. Which is fine to get out into, but it can't be a replacement for being involved in life. And what we're fed, by so many sources, is an illusion that acts as a surrogate for life.

Metafilter and other places on the internet to some extent do this. But here at least the discourse is genuine, not really knee jerk (which, political alignment aside, seems to be the cardinal sin - not thinking, rehashing worn rhetoric and concepts, etc.), and can lead to some enlightenment.

So, we've got wikileaks to say "hey, look at this real world thing you should pay attention to" - instead of the many news organizations that should be doing their jobs.
Which can't because of manpower cuts, conglomeration and mergers, all the business side stuff. Which seems designed to grind idealists into frustration and emptiness and obscurity by fixating on irrelevant trifles (Paris Hilton news f'rinstance).


"The problem with all of this is that it's morally wrong for my representative to secretly determine my future without my knowledge. It's far more of a grave injustice for my representative to determine whether some people like me across the globe get to live or die based on market access to natural resources, or perceived ideological threats."

Yeah. And the flip side of that - if our representative determines in secret a given path - they are no longer our representative. Even if they believe the are acting on our behalf.

Some people have argued (elsewhere) that it's perfectly ok to, say, go to war over natural resources (if you're going to go to war over something). And in the U.S., the dance seems to be, just b.s. us about it. Call them bad guys (remember the Maine!) just don't tell us explicitly why you're doing what you're doing for us.

So citizens are sometimes culpable in their own manipulation (Memento, the film, comes to mind actually).

But the problem is not just the four wolves and a sheep deciding what is for dinner in democracy, but rather, taking responsibility for the action. And recognizing the logical consequences.
As a sufficiently advanced predator, the wolves eat the sheep. They keep making those decisions and eventually they run out of sheep.
Unless one has been a shepherd, or has been in the wild as a wolf getting prey legitimately (that is, not by consensual validation for the coercion of a minority), one probably won't realize the limits reality has that the maps don't.
(again - belling the cat)

Which is what irritates me so much about people who wish to go to war but refuse to, or have never, served themselves. Seeing the reality of a battle. Suffering the consequences directly. Doing oneself what is necessary, is critical to democracy because it's critical for citizens to not only have their eyes open, but to feel responsibility for and to experience the effects of their actions. Is it worth $2 a gallon if you have to go off and fight someone for it yourself? $3? Howabout just rationing in other ways? Maybe biking a little?

As it is, an incredibly small minority pays the price in blood, sweat, toil, for the illusion based decisions made by masses of others - whether in execution or opposition (not just the military, peace activists, human rights activists, lawyers, doctors, many many people sacrificing enormously - whether we agree with their respective positions or not, whatever ethic drives them, one has to respect they accept responsibility for acting in the world.

So the connections between the two must be made manifest. It's not enough we know what our representatives are doing. Wikileaks takes it perhaps that far. It is that we know that our representatives do what they do, or don't do something, as our proxy. So we must feel that connection.
To some degree that is what Anon is doing as well.
And, it's shitty, but it is what it is.

Of course, that doesn't grant elite folks the right to subjugate people either. What you tame, you are responsible for. (Which is why I don't go into politics myself (although I probably should,I could use a good beating. ). I own two dogs, some other animals, I clean up enough shit.)

"There are a variety of plausible defenses for what Assange was doing. Oppression by the US isn't one of them."

One of the areas where I depart from your arguments, which I am otherwise fairly sympathetic to.
Assange is pursuing his agenda - whatever that might be, laudable, or degenerated, whatever, and for whatever reason.
Either he has broken the law (in this case, of the U.S.) or he hasn't.
If he hasn't, he should not be subject to the kind of pressure he is being subject to. Easy.

If he has broken the law - there should be consequences, but we can debate whether those are proportional and warranted. And we should most certainly use the expected and proper legal avenues of execution of the law.

Big however - Where we do not use the law to prosecute someone in a legal manner, then it is right and proper to oppose those actions - whether the initial action that prompted the response was legal or not.


If a cop pulls me over because I'm speeding, it is within his legal authority to write me a ticket, search my car if he's suspicious that I'm doing drugs (probable cause - say a big bag of white powder sitting next to me), impound my vehicle and imprison me until trial.

If a cop pulls me over for speeding and starts shooting my children (say, because he doesn't like half-breeds) there's not a jury in the world that would convict me for opposing him by any means necessary up to and including killing him. (And if there is a legal system that says it's ok to kill people based on ethnicity I would oppose that system with lethal force if I had to. And I have. And I encourage(d) others to as well.)

You can't retroactively justify Assange's release of the documents because of U.S. oppression. I would argue (as blisteringly hateful as I am of the collateral destruction of diplomatic work) that there is some journalistic merit to the release and he's got the right to do it.
As it is, bit of a moot point either way right now.
The AG has said Assange might be charged under the espionage act or under other statutes.
Know what potentially being charged means? It means you're NOT CHARGED.

As much as I don't like the idea of some single point like wikileaks being the discriminator of classified (?) information, I really really really hate the idea of a government determining what a 'legitimate news' outlet is and what isn't.

And if the information was obtained illegally, swell - prove it. Everyone from the DoD to the social security agency has lost data, left laptops in their cars, dropped jump drives, picked lost jump drives up (a neat bit of social hacking if done on purpose, although most places are wise to it by now), any number of things.

Even at that, in the past the U.S. has charged the guy doing the leaking, not the people who publish it.
(Although good luck going after Jane's, IHS has more powerful allies than Switzerland).

Still, holding the bank info as a sort of 'ace.' Yeah, that does give the U.S. AG some meat. Assange can't legitimately argue from that position he's not a blackmailer or something and doing it for the public's right to know.

But in any case, it's akin to the old saw: "treason never prospers, because if it does, it's not treason"
Illegal force by authority can only be met with illegal force, unless said opposing force is successful. Any opposition to authority will always be seen as illegal whether it is moral or not.
The critical difference, on the part of the resistance, is whether or not they accept responsibility for upholding equity and principle. This can be in action or after engagement. One can be Gandhi, Steve Biko or Mao, but once the fighting is over, you damn well better walk the walk otherwise you're no different, in form, from the injustice you opposed in the first place. Meet the new boss.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:56 AM on December 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


That's part of where the disagreement comes over whether "fascist" is settled jargon — the useful, narrow definition pretty much is. The wide, scattershot usage is the political version of "motherfucker," and will never be settled (motherfuckers).

What do you mean by "narrow definintion"? Could you please cite peer reviewed work stating a consensus on what this might mean?

And to get off on a tangent, if you read things like Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition, they all start by saying that Fascism is vague and internally contradictory and has many different facets, and then they all pretty much set out a typology that hits those main points.

Your contention that there is some kind of catch all typology of fascism is demonstrably false. I pointed out that the definition of fascism is widely debated. You then responded by claiming

But really, fascism's definition isn't all that much debated in poli-sci, at least from what I've seen. At the edges, of course, but that's true of any academic discipline. The fundamental points are pretty much repeated over and over again.

No fundamental points are not "repeated over and over" because there is a huge debate about what those fundamental points are. If you had any acquaintance with the academic literature surrounding this debate you would know this.

It's what you do when you argue — first you acknowledge a need for defining your terms, then you define your terms pretty much the same as everyone else does because it saves time.

Again you seem to have it stuck in your head that there is a consensus on what the main characteristics of fascism are. Let's look at the ideological positions on fascism, nationality and modernity and see if your claim has any merit.

Analyzing fascism through the lens of totalinarianism Arendt and Kornhauser see fascism as a totalitarian reorganization of society where the accumulation of power by the state is seen as rational in itself. This is seen as a consequence of modernity.

With modernization theory Parsons, Turner and Dahrendorf view fascism as a pathological development of industrial society which is an irrational anti-liberal ideology. It is described as a quintessentially modern ideology.

The generic fascism school of thought describes fascism as a continuity of industrial-technical development which can be categorized as irrational/vitalism. Sternhell, Gentile, Griffin, and Antliff view it as a revolutionary movement embracing modernism.

The marxist critique(after Lukács and Benjamin) sees fascism as the direction of industrial means towards barbaric ends and is the destruction of reason; it is basically irrational subjectivism. Fascism is vitialist anti-modernism; it is the aestheticization of politics.

I could go on but I think the point has been made. Here I have summarized a few of the schools of thought about just the ideological positions. This is but one facet of the debate. There are many more and all have a similar variety of differing opinions.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:21 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we quit the fascism derail and get back into how awesome this raid is becoming?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:29 AM on December 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can we quit the fascism derail and get back into how awesome this raid is becoming?

It's not just awesome, it's TOTALLY RADICAL!!!

[Operation Re-Derail Thread Via Emphatic Yet Quite Arguably Not Entirely Accurate Use of "Radical" is GO!]
posted by Sys Rq at 9:59 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


STAY RADICAL and KEEP FIRING
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:14 AM on December 10, 2010


Related
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:15 AM on December 10, 2010


TOTALLY RADICAL!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:26 AM on December 10, 2010


"Your contention that there is some kind of catch all typology of fascism is demonstrably false."

Well, that's not my contention at all, actually. My contention is that there are many typologies of fascism (such as on page seven of the Payne you cited above), and that there is enough of an overlap to talk about fascism coherently, and that under no definition of fascism does the US or /b/ fit.

Throwing up a wall of google scholar, especially misrepresenting the writers that you mention — Dahrendorf makes note of fascism's anti-modernist bent in his "Temptations of Totalitarianism," Gentile's definition of modernism is the processes of technological change, and he specifically says that the appeal of fascism comes not from embracing those changes, but from mastering them and conquering them (which fits in with the heroic, traditional, anti-Modernist narrative), Sternhell's discussion of modernism comes from treating fascism as an outgrowth of French revolutionary syndicalism, Arendt very much does not see fascism and totalitarianism as an outgrowth of Modernism, instead it's the use of modern technologies in the service of anti-Modern and anti-liberal narratives, in large part because of her incorporation of Heidegger's views on the spirit of technology (and the idea of people as "standing reserve") while rejecting fascism for many of the same reasons that Heidegger loved it (explicitly the Romantic and poetic narratives forming a powerful state) — again and again, you posit these claims, and again and again, you've either missed or elided the fact that the three central points I mentioned, the anti-Modernism, the post-democratic nature, and the totalizing ideology are present in nearly all of them.

It says more that you want an argument than that you have anything worth contributing.
posted by klangklangston at 10:48 AM on December 10, 2010


Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States.
posted by adamvasco at 10:49 AM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry, missed the machine that killed fascists. Still think those three points are pretty much sine qua non for fascism, but I'll shut up.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on December 10, 2010


wuwei:
Historical inevitability is one of the worst features of Marxism and not something I embrace.

Then the misunderstanding is mine. I too do not embrace it other then a theory to be examined which is another topic, i would like to think we see that in the same light as aphiliosophy that bascially 'begs the question' in my view.
Nizan quote is from "the watch dogs" the american edition.

a methodology outlined by Chalmers Johnson in his monograph on revolutionary change.

Now you have given me some knowledge which i thank you for with respect.
posted by clavdivs at 10:52 AM on December 10, 2010


Fasces. which i always say as "face-ez" and a dam odd weapon IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 11:01 AM on December 10, 2010


How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States.
posted by adamvasco

or how to turn the people against themselves.
Hmm... PAGING: MR. ADAMS, MONSIEUR JEFFERON, DR. FRANKLIN.
posted by clavdivs at 11:08 AM on December 10, 2010


If only Assange was a Murdoch operative sent to run the UK government, he'd be safe from prosecution.
posted by rodgerd at 11:10 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am amazed that critical art ensemble foresaw the useless of civil disobedience of physical infrastructure back in 1993 with Electronic Disturbance. Perhaps the references above cite earlier sources, but that's quite prescient.

That being said, I hope that the general payment processing systems are quite securely designed. After living in an american city largely without power for a week (when massively dependent on it), I start to wonder how things would go without these things working as well as they do.
posted by zangpo at 11:10 AM on December 10, 2010


*uselessness
posted by zangpo at 11:10 AM on December 10, 2010


zangpo: not positive if this is accurate yet.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:33 AM on December 10, 2010


misrepresenting the writers that you mention

I am confident that anyone who cares to read the academic literature will find that I am not misrepresenting anything. Dahrendorf mention's anti-modernism in relation to fascism one time and only in reference to fascism's inherent contradictions. If you read his book "Society and Democracy in Germany" you will see that I have not misrepresented his views. The rest of the authors I mention do in fact hold and argue for the opinions as I describe them and reading the linked material will bear that out whether you believe it or not.

the three central points I mentioned, the anti-Modernism, the post-democratic nature, and the totalizing ideology are present in nearly all of them

Simply not true. The frankfurt school, critical theory, and postmodern views on the ideology of fascism all reject anti-modernism as a central part of their definitions of fascism. If you take the time to analyze the sociological perspectives on fascism you will find that there is a wide variety of opinions on modernization, democracy, and totalizing ideology.

This is a huge derail and our discussion started with you claiming:

But really, fascism's definition isn't all that much debated in poli-sci, at least from what I've seen.

I think I have demonstrated that this is simply not true. So in the interest of not continuing the derail I won't be commenting on this topic anymore in this thread. If you want to continue this conversation you can mefimail me.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:41 AM on December 10, 2010


Can we quit the fascism derail and get back into how awesome this raid is becoming?
Or as awesome as it can be without lolcats.
Teh Manz. Halp us fitez dem. Kthxbye!
posted by Smedleyman at 12:40 PM on December 10, 2010


True, but most of us can do without kitty cat boutique or our new metafilter account (with all due sympathy to the proprietors, who more or less can't). Gasoline, food, and cash transfers/dispensation however... I would reassure myself by assuming that this obvious risk-management challenge is well in hand, but one wonders.
posted by zangpo at 12:42 PM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


How important are these cables to Democracy? Check this motherlicker out:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/207723
2. (S/NF) Mubarak is 81 years old and in reasonably good health. . . He is a tried and true realist, innately cautious and conservative, and has little time for idealistic goals. Mubarak viewed President Bush (43) as naive, controlled by subordinates, and totally unprepared for dealing with post-Saddam Iraq, especially the rise of Iran,s regional influence.

3. (S/NF) On several occasions Mubarak has lamented the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the downfall of Saddam. He routinely notes that Egypt did not like Saddam and does not mourn him, but at least he held the country together and countered Iran. Mubarak continues to state that in his view Iraq needs a "tough, strong military officer who is fair" as leader. This telling observation, we believe, describes Mubarak's own view of himself as someone who is tough but fair, who ensures the basic needs of his people.

4. (S/NF) No issue demonstrates Mubarak,s worldview more than his reaction to demands that he open Egypt to genuine political competition and loosen the pervasive control of the security services. Certainly the public "name and shame" approach in recent years strengthened his determination not to accommodate our views. However, even though he will be more willing to consider ideas and steps he might take pursuant to a less public dialogue, his basic understanding of his country and the region predisposes him toward extreme caution. We have heard him lament the results of earlier U.S. efforts to encourage reform in the Islamic world. He can harken back to the Shah of Iran: the U.S. encouraged him to accept reforms, only to watch the country fall into the hands of revolutionary religious extremists. Wherever he has seen these U.S. efforts, he can point to the chaos and loss of stability that ensued. In addition to Iraq, he also reminds us that he warned against Palestinian elections in 2006 that brought Hamas (Iran) to his doorstep. Now, we understand he fears that Pakistan is on the brink of falling into the hands of the Taliban, and he puts some of the blame on U.S. insistence on steps that ultimately weakened Musharraf. While he knows that Bashir in Sudan has made multiple major mistakes, he cannot work to support his removal from power.

5. (S/NF) Mubarak has no single confidante or advisor who can truly speak for him, and he has prevented any of his main advisors from operating outside their strictly circumscribed spheres of power. Defense Minister Tantawi keeps the Armed Forces appearing reasonably sharp and the officers satisfied with their perks and privileges, and Mubarak does not appear concerned that these forces are not well prepared to face 21st century external threats. EGIS Chief Omar Soliman and Interior Minister al-Adly keep the domestic beasts at bay, and Mubarak is not one to lose sleep over their tactics. Gamal Mubarak and a handful of economic ministers have input on economic and trade matters, but Mubarak will likely resist further economic reform if he views it as potentially harmful to public order and stability. Dr. Zakaria Azmi and a few other senior NDP leaders manage the parliament and public politics.

6. (S/NF) Mubarak is a classic Egyptian secularist who hates religious extremism and interference in politics. The Muslim Brothers represent the worst, as they challenge not only Mubarak,s power, but his view of Egyptian interests. As with regional issues, Mubarak, seeks to avoid conflict and spare his people from the violence he predicts would emerge from unleashed personal and civil liberties. In Mubarak,s mind, it is far better to let a few individuals suffer than risk chaos for society as a whole. He has been supportive of improvements in human rights in areas that do not affect public security or stability. Mrs. Mubarak has been given a great deal of room to maneuver to advance women's and children's rights and to confront some traditional practices that have been championed by the Islamists, such as FGM, child labor, and restrictive personal status laws.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to undeniable reality: we have the same foreign policy objectives and principles as an Egyptian dictator.

Give me stability, or I'll fucking kill you.
posted by notion at 1:14 PM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


we have the same foreign policy objectives and principles as an Egyptian dictator.

Are you sure about that?

No issue demonstrates Mubarak,s worldview more than his reaction to demands that he open Egypt to genuine political competition and loosen the pervasive control of the security services. Certainly the public "name and shame" approach in recent years strengthened his determination not to accommodate our views.

unless by 'same' you mean 'different.'
posted by anigbrowl at 2:55 PM on December 10, 2010


Well, then, it sounds like a horoscope, you get to read into it whatever you want! Now I understand why Reagan and Myanmar had astrologers... It all makes sense now.
posted by symbioid at 3:42 PM on December 10, 2010


According to that, both Egypt and the US see things their own paranoid way and refuse to accommodate others. Sounds similar to me.
posted by cmyk at 4:29 PM on December 10, 2010


Pakistan ISI creates fake Wikileaks cables
posted by humanfont at 4:49 PM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am amazed that critical art ensemble foresaw...

He sure is! That was his first comment since November 27, 2001.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:13 PM on December 10, 2010


Or her. Zangpo. And I don't mean to be rude by pointing it out.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:14 PM on December 10, 2010


unless by 'same' you mean 'different.'

The US feels differently only about it's own population, and only slightly. Let's go through the similarities:

Hatred of democracy when it's against State interest? Check. Hatred of freedom of speech when it's against State interest? Check. Willingness to use illegal torture against suspected criminals? Check. (Egypt even does some of that torturing for us.) Willingness to assassinate citizens suspected of terrorism? Check.

I could go on. The only difference between the two views is how many of their own citizens they are willing to kill. The principle -- security at the expense of liberty -- is exactly the same, as is their views on foreign policy.
posted by notion at 5:27 PM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anonymous cyberwarriors stun experts
"Just as Anonymous welcomes all who subscribe to its extreme free-speech agenda, it is merciless to those who – like a 16-year-old Dutch member arrested this week – get left behind."
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:42 PM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


EXTREME-FREE SPEECH AGENDA

and there was not even an ounce of snark going into that sentence.
*sigh*
posted by liza at 5:52 PM on December 10, 2010


All anonops twitter accounts just got taken down in the past couple hours. So did the IRC channels. anons are freaking out. Any insight mefi?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:24 PM on December 10, 2010


operation round phase three: "sending out the message" subset, rip and you might burn.
first example...arresting a teenager for hacking
posted by clavdivs at 6:47 PM on December 10, 2010


kidding
posted by clavdivs at 6:49 PM on December 10, 2010


isoteemu on reddit noticed that CIA was running a wikileaks mirror. Supposedly setting up a mirror a really nice way to get updated on the newest leaked cables directly from wikileaks, among other speculation on why they were setting it up.
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:48 PM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


So did the IRC channels.
I guess the internet does not get protected in terms of Freedom of Assembly.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:12 PM on December 10, 2010


A Letter from Anonymous: Our Message, Intentions, and Potential Targets.
posted by scalefree at 9:31 PM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Game Theory and Why Diplomatic Transparency is a Good Thing.
posted by scalefree at 9:32 PM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


isoteemu on reddit noticed that CIA was running a wikileaks mirror. Supposedly setting up a mirror a really nice way to get updated on the newest leaked cables directly from wikileaks, among other speculation on why they were setting it up.

TBH, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the CIA was running the original WikiLeaks. The thing has "honey trap" written all over it.

It'd be quite the "so crazy, it just might work" counterintelligence operation, but hot damn! What better way to keep tabs on leaks, moles, and whistleblowers than to simply pose as a third party and actively solicit your own classified documents? It's so simple.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:32 PM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Pakistan ISI creates fake Wikileaks cables

WikiLeaks should hash each document release.
posted by ryoshu at 1:23 AM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


America's copyeditors will probably disapprove of Aussie policital writer Annabel Crabb's Twelve Days of Wikileaks due to it's use of a Christmas cliche. And possibly because of it's questionable punctuation too - I think semi-colons are being used incorrectly here, although I could be wrong. But I found it amusing all the same.
posted by harriet vane at 6:43 AM on December 11, 2010


Well, for one thing, America's copyeditors disapprove of you not getting its/it's right.
posted by emelenjr at 6:52 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


D'oh!
posted by scalefree at 8:27 AM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


D'oh

That's hacktivists for you. Hackt now, think later.
posted by Elmore at 9:18 AM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


His name is Alex Tapanaris!
posted by Anything at 9:41 AM on December 11, 2010


Robert Paulson?
posted by Elmore at 10:09 AM on December 11, 2010


actively solicit your own classified documents? It's so simple.

Now that is funny.This would make Assange, what is called in the trade, a RAVEN.
posted by clavdivs at 10:33 AM on December 11, 2010


>>actively solicit your own classified documents? It's so simple.

>Now that is funny.This would make Assange, what is called in the trade, a RAVEN.


Precisely. Or possibly a double-agent, with the actually-leaked leaks (which, let's face it, aren't exactly revelatory; they mostly just validate preexisting assumptions) as chicken feed, possibly even cooked up special. And his easy capture (surrender, even) might point to an exfiltration.

But there's another suspicion nagging at me about Julian Assange. It's all these chunks from WikiPedia:
Starting around 1997, he co-invented the Rubberhose deniable encryption system, a cryptographic concept made into a software package for Linux designed to provide plausible deniability against rubber-hose cryptanalysis; he originally intended the system to be used "as a tool for human rights workers who needed to protect sensitive data in the field."

...and...

Rubberhose works by initially writing random characters to an entire hard drive or other dynamic storage device. This random noise is indistinguishable from the encrypted data to be stored on that disk.

...plus...

The project was originally named Rubberhose, as it was designed to be resistant to attacks by people willing to use torture on those who knew the encryption keys.

...(more on that)
Imagine this scenario: What if, encoded in the "random characters" layed out by such a program, there was hidden a wad of spyware that could phone home whenever a connection to the internet was detected? I.e., what if such security software, ostensibly designed to protect its users by obfuscating their data, were in actual fact rogue security software, designed to exploit its users by stealing their data? What could be more ripe for the picking than whatever's so valuable that it needs to be protected against torture? What would that information look like? What would it contain?

What if the Honeypot is the Pooh, too?

(Dun, dun, DUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNN!)

DISCLAIMER: The above is not an assertion, accusation, allegation, claim, charge, etc. of misbehaviour or ill will of any sort whatsoever on the part of Julian Assange or any other person(s) or people(s), living, dead, or unborn. It is not meant to besmirch, defame, slander, or sully any name or reputation. Rather, the preceding commentary has merely been an exploration into the realm of possibility without regard to practicality, feasibility, plausibility, likelihood, or indeed anything else, undertaken solely for the purpose of entertainment. All of the above is informed by nothing more than 1) the linked WikiPedia articles, as quoted, which are liable to be chock full of mis- and disinformation (especially given the current circumstances), and whose sources I haven't bothered to read (let alone verify); and 2) my own wildly overactive imagination, which, with regard to the subject at hand, is highly dependent on hazy memories of a few Oliver Stone films that I've only ever watched partway through.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:49 PM on December 11, 2010


Sys Rq:
Thanks for attaching the disclaimer to your conspiracy-theorising so that I don't have to point out how silly it is. Unfortunately, despite the disclaimer, the fact that you spent time typing out your 400 word post means that you must see some merit in it. So:

Technical points: (a) If the insurance file were code, downloading the torrent would not make it run - someone would have to actually run it. (b) Given the amount of hackers that have downloaded that file, they would have detected if it was executable, and notified us (c) like all well encrypted files, the file checks out as almost perfectly statistically random. If it was executable, it would be a lot more ordered and people would have identified that when they ran their statistical analyses.

The fact that Julian spent a lot of time working on cryptography is in no way 'suspicious' given his interests.

Saying 'hey man, what if everything is actually completely the other way round from what people think it is' is not insight. And in an era in which every thriller plotline runs off that exact inversion, its not even that interesting anymore.
posted by memebake at 2:31 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, maybe you were saying the output from 'rubberhose' could be a virus, rather than the insurance file? Anyway, point (a) would still apply.
posted by memebake at 2:34 PM on December 11, 2010


Speculation's fun & all but I've known the guy going on 20 years now. Nobody's capable of holding a cover that long under the circumstances he's been through. And even if they were, is this the thing his handlers would decide is important enough to activate him for?
posted by scalefree at 3:17 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


[adds scalefree to list of mefi cia moles]
posted by empath at 5:23 PM on December 11, 2010


Argh, a variation of Muphry's law strikes again, emelenjr. Funnily enough I never get it wrong in handwriting, only when typing.
posted by harriet vane at 5:33 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the trade it is known as the 'Rubber Truncheon'

with the actually-leaked leaks (which, let's face it, aren't exactly revelatory; they mostly just validate preexisting assumptions)

This would suggest the leaks are a PLAYBACK. Which would mean assange is a CANNON and is now NAKED.


What if the Honeypot is the Pooh, too?
Then Assange is, what they call in the trade, GARDENING.

that I've only ever watched partway through.

this is called 'unprepared.'
posted by clavdivs at 5:57 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


memebake : Saying 'hey man, what if everything is actually completely the other way round from what people think it is' is not insight. And in an era in which every thriller plotline runs off that exact inversion, its not even that interesting anymore.

Not everyone understands how computers work to the level required to decide which parts of their AV software simply waste system resources.

I won't expand on your points, because you made them, and well. But even I don't expect the average user to understand the difference between a driveby MSIE exploit and random (potential) code living on the HDD in an untrusted file.
posted by pla at 6:10 PM on December 11, 2010


But even I don't expect the average user to understand the difference between a driveby MSIE exploit and random (potential) code living on the HDD in an untrusted file.

There are cases where it's exceedingly hard to tell the difference. Data files that become executable under certain circumstances aren't unknown. Even something as harmless as an an MD5 hash can become executable & break security under the right conditions.
posted by scalefree at 6:48 PM on December 11, 2010


NEW - 1840s unusual General Hail Storm Insurance Society leaflets
posted by clavdivs at 6:55 PM on December 11, 2010


This would suggest the leaks are a PLAYBACK. Which would mean assange is a CANNON and is now NAKED.

Mornington Crescent.
posted by acb at 7:07 PM on December 11, 2010


Ok memebake and sys rq. Let's play this game. Assange is a genius with encryption. The insurance file is a clever buffer overflow attack on the aes crypt software. Anyone attempting to decrypt the file with a rubberhose extracted key gets a rootkitted on their super spy network and promptly a nations secrets are posted to priate bay.
posted by humanfont at 7:34 PM on December 11, 2010


Speculation's fun & all but I've known the guy going on 20 years now.

Well, so have international law enforcement agencies, if the scant info on the internet is to be believed. I want to be 100% on his side, cheering him on, defending him to the death--if he's the real deal, especially--but I just can't help tonguing the dang sore.

Oh wait, maybe you were saying the output from 'rubberhose' could be a virus, rather than the insurance file? Anyway, point (a) would still apply.


Actually, I said "such a program" and "security program." Definitely not the insurance file; that wouldn't make a lick of sense. Not necessarily Rubberhose--and, really, I can't stress this enough, not necessarily Assange or anyone else--but something like it would seem to suit the purpose quite well. Basically, any piece of software that is deliberately installed and run by the user for some ostensibly protective function, that does some extra things the user is oblivious to. A good candidate would be something closed-source that sits in the background and runs half a dozen processes that do god-knows-what, one or more of which periodically auto-connects to a server, perhaps to "check for updates" or something similar. Bonus points if it's supposed to prevent exactly what it's doing itself. ("Potentially unwanted programs" making "outgoing connections" much?)

Go ahead and Google up some rogue spyware detection software; there's a lot of it. (Just, y'know, don't touch it.) But what about the real, reputable stuff, those behemoths that just sit there sucking up half the CPU? What's all that doing? Or, heck, Windows! Don't even get me started. Ever tried to figure out what the products Microsoft Update pushes actually do? The information provided by the publisher is, to say the least, abstruse; I'd like to see someone two offices over from the author try to make heads or tails of it. The vast majority of users don't know what their own computers are doing right under their noses, and it's getting harder every day for even the nerdiest of nerds to stay vigilant.

Do the software companies even know what their own software is doing? Quality control can't be an easy task, what with all the unwieldy bloat to keep track of these days. Remember the McAfee svchost quarantine fiasco? That shouldn't have made it out of the gate, right? Well, what if, instead of accidental incompetence, someone at some software giant were to deliberately inject some malevolence? Is there anything keeping that from happening? Has it happened already? How would anyone know?

On the other hand, have you seen what worms have been up to lately?

*updates AV suite*
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 PM on December 11, 2010


Mornington Crescent.

This the WHITE apsect of TRACING THE CAT.
posted by clavdivs at 9:47 PM on December 11, 2010


Now now, acb, you know perfectly well that there's a green counter on Paddington and Vauxhall is straddled, so while we're all effectively still in knip there are still a couple of legal moves left but that isn't one of them. May I suggest Oxford Circus?
posted by motty at 10:27 PM on December 11, 2010


>Mornington Crescent.

>>This the WHITE apsect of TRACING THE CAT.


That face George Clooney pulls when Frances McDormand tells him the address and he suddenly realises he's being followed by government agents and everyone is against him. That face.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:15 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm now hearing suggestions that we might all be living in a Stieg Larsson novel.
posted by memebake at 6:57 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or a Gary Larson cartoon...
posted by unSane at 7:11 AM on December 12, 2010


Report: Assange accuser flees to Middle East, may not be cooperating with police

According to a report at Australian news site Crikey.com, Anna Ardin has moved to the Palestinian territories to volunteer with a Christian group working to reconcile Arabs and Israelis.

One source from Ardin’s old university of Uppsala reported rumors that she had stopped co-operating with the prosecution service several weeks ago, and that this was part of the reason for the long delay in proceeding with charges — and what still appears to be an absence of charges.

Ardin's blog shows that she has recently posted from the Palestinian territories. Her most recent blog posts make no mention of WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange.

Some of Ardin's most recent Tweets suggest sympathy for WikiLeaks.

"MasterCard, Visa and PayPal -- belt them now!" Ardin urged in a Tweet Wednesday...

posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:18 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since Anna tweeted that, she seems to have reset her Twitter account. There's just one tweet there now, from about 6 hours ago, and its rather opaque:

"Är så less på allt som händer, tar det aldrig slut? Vill iaf meddela teoretikerna att "den andra" var lika mycket drivande."

Google Translate: I'm so sick of everything that happens, does it ever end? Want anyway inform theorists that "the other" was as much a driving force.

This could mean a number of things. Anyone Swedish care to offer a better translation?
posted by memebake at 9:01 AM on December 12, 2010


George Smiley drove a Vauxhall.
posted by clavdivs at 9:34 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Various european Amazon sites were down for 45 minutes earlier today.

Trying to find out why ... there's much speculation about Anonymous involvement, but word from the chatrooms is that they are still targeting Mastercard and so the Amazon outage might just be coincidence.

However given their decentralised nature, it could have been some of them ... waiting for news ...
posted by memebake at 2:56 PM on December 12, 2010


In a London bedroom, the 24-year-old computer hacker is preparing his weaponry for this week's battles in an evolving cyberwar.

Sorry for the crosspost; I just slapped this on the first big Wikileaks thread but realised it might be more relevant here.
posted by Chichibio at 3:18 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guardian report on the Amazon outage - probably not Anonymous seems to be the best guess.
posted by memebake at 4:07 PM on December 12, 2010


th3j35t3r claims he took Wikileaks.org down back on the 28th:
As you may know I normally target Jihadist sites, but recently turned my attentions to Wikileaks.

So what was I thinking?

Initially, hitting Wikileaks servers hosted by OWNI (France), PRQ (Sweden), and BAHNHOF with ease, had the desired outcome of ‘coralling’ the Wikileaks operation onto a US hosted platform that could resist XerXeS – Amazon EC2.

The WL perceived victory was short-lived as enough pressure was now building both politically and technically (by that I mean service providers were aware that WL was now a prime target and couldn’t risk their own operations by providing services to WL).

As predicted, providers to WL started dropping them – first EveryDNS, then Amazon, then Paypal and Mastercard soon followed. The service providers acted as a force-multiplier, leaving the Wikileaks name nowhere to go except rely on volunteer mirrors.

So the head of the snake is almost cut off. The Wikileaks name is something few people, as far as service providers, will deal with. Their supply chain is being cut off.
posted by memebake at 4:12 PM on December 12, 2010


Netcraft now has a handy scorecard, updated every 15 minutes, showing the cumulative downtime of the various sites involved in the Wikileaks cyber war (wikileaks, mastercard, sarah palins site, anon ops sites, etc)
posted by memebake at 5:22 AM on December 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Visa and Mastercard are under investigation in Iceland over their actions against wikileaks. PostFinance has come under investigation in Switzerland. Via wlcentral.org, which also summarizes the cablegate coverage nicely. Btw, it's obvious from the source code that the JaveScript LOIC does absolutely nothing fancy.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:26 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


jeffburdges: "Btw, it's obvious from the source code that the JavaScript LOIC does absolutely nothing fancy."

Ah, I see anon have grown a few extra brain cells & decided to go after the Verified by VESA servers rather than the PR website.

Oh, and that webserver has just gone catatonic on me...
posted by pharm at 8:55 AM on December 13, 2010


Crikey, yes Verified By Visa seems to have having problems according to twitter

Any news on that from Anonymous?
posted by memebake at 9:56 AM on December 13, 2010


Interestingly, JS LOIC cannot clear your cookies for verified.visa.com or any other domain. I'd imagine the /b/tards are mostly using the windows client though.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:03 PM on December 13, 2010


Netcraft now has a handy scorecard, updated every 15 minutes, showing the cumulative downtime of the various sites involved in the Wikileaks cyber war (wikileaks, mastercard, sarah palins site, anon ops sites, etc)

Wow. Looking at that chart, you can see that the main Wikileaks site and its sister Cablegate site have been hit far harder than Paypal, Visa, Mastercard or Amazon (or even all of them combined), yet all of the official outcry is over the the attacks on corporate interests, all the threats of government legal action are in defense of those interests, and no one seems to have any interest in prosecuting Wikileaks' attackers. Such bald faced hypocrisy.
posted by Marla Singer at 12:28 PM on December 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Correction: it's the Warlogs and Cablegate sites, both sister sites to Wikileaks, that have suffered the most downtime.
posted by Marla Singer at 1:47 PM on December 13, 2010


Wikileaks exposes Eric Clapton as an American Agent. Maybe Layla was about enhanced interrogation.
posted by humanfont at 1:55 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mao jacket blues, you made me cry.
I don’t want to lose this Juche.
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in Pyongyang.

posted by scody at 2:57 PM on December 13, 2010


Marla Singer: Wow. Looking at that chart, you can see that the main Wikileaks site and its sister Cablegate site have been hit far harder than Paypal, Visa, Mastercard or Amazon (or even all of them combined)

Yeah it shows how much of the underdog Anonymous are. I logged onto IRC last night to see how they were getting on, and it was complete chaos - their IRC servers being attached from all sides (you can see the anonops downtime on the scorechart) and complete confusion as they hop from one server to another trying to get a critical mass for the 'hive mind'. "Who's attacking us?" "Dont know" "The goverment?" "Whats the target" "holy fuck anonops.eu is down" "shit" "Keep firing" "how many in the hive?"

As the Guardian says "Though it sounds like a coordinated organisation, the reality is that it's more like a stampeding herd". I am pretty amazed that this disparate group have managed to organise themselves (in a completely ad-hoc experimental way) to get enough cohesion to take down Visa and Mastercard. That they've managed to act at all is pretty impressive.
posted by memebake at 3:05 PM on December 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Here's another one of those wacky NMA animations of the Wikileaks saga. This one predates the previous one by a week, and is more about the cable contents than Assange.
posted by Marla Singer at 6:07 PM on December 13, 2010


their IRC servers being attached from all sides

I guess we know what Conficker was for.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:26 PM on December 13, 2010


I wonder how big a botnet the U.S. military has?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:34 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder how big a botnet the U.S. military has?

What a fascinating question. All possible answers to it sound completely paranoid and conspiracy theorist.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:44 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


All possible answers to it sound completely paranoid and conspiracy theorist.

Paranoid and conspiracy theorist, you say?

The U.S. would not, and need not, infect unwitting computers as zombies. We can build enough power over time from our own resources.

Rob Kaufman, of the Air Force Information Operations Center, suggests mounting botnet code on the Air Force’s high-speed intrusion-detection systems. Defensively, that allows a quick response by directly linking our counterattack to the system that detects an incoming attack. The systems also have enough processing speed and communication capacity to handle large amounts of traffic.

Next, in what is truly the most inventive part of this concept, Lt. Chris Tollinger of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency envisions continually capturing the thousands of computers the Air Force would normally discard every year for technology refresh, removing the power-hungry and heat-inducing hard drives, replacing them with low-power flash drives, then installing them in any available space every Air Force base can find. Even though those computers may no longer be sufficiently powerful to work for our people, individual machines need not be cutting-edge because the network as a whole can create massive power.

After that, the Air Force could add botnet code to all its desktop computers attached to the Nonsecret Internet Protocol Network (NIPRNet). Once the system reaches a level of maturity, it can add other .mil computers, then .gov machines.

To generate the right amount of power for offense, all the available computers must be under the control of a single commander, even if he provides the capability for multiple theaters. While it cannot be segmented like an orange for individual theater commanders, it can certainly be placed under their tactical control.
(source)

Just this week, an American newspaper reported that the Pentagon was indeed developing offensive cyber-weaponry - although it remains heavily classified. [...] When asked whether the US military might already have created an offensive botnet, Col Williamson replied: "That's entirely possible. It's just my hope that it becomes public because we can't have a deterrent that adversaries don't know about."(source)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:12 PM on December 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


"We have to have offensive capabilities, to, in real time, shut down somebody trying to attack us," Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the Pentagon's new Cyber Command, told an audience in Tampa this month.

The command - made up of 1,000 elite military hackers and spies under one four-star general - is the linchpin of the Pentagon's new strategy and is slated to become fully operational Oct. 1.
(source)

LandWarNet opens with 4 keys to Internet security
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:25 PM on December 13, 2010


Guardian Blog (10.20) states RBS has confirmed that there are currently problems with its website. In a cable released late last night The RBS chairman said directors 'failed to live up to their duties'. A week ago the FSA controversially closed it's investigation.
posted by adamvasco at 3:03 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


In fact, Verified By Visa is still running pharm & memebake. Yes, verified.visa.com:80 responds extremely slowly, or not at all, but verified.visa.com:443 (https) responds as 404 almost immediately. In any case, their actual transaction url, as reported by google, responds almost immediately. Just try :

https://verified.visa.com/aam/data/default/landing.aam?partner=default&resize=yes

I'd imagine Visa has simply redirected all the port 80 traffic off into the void, thus protecting their web servers. We'll see if the /b/tards are clever enough to go after the https port 443. It's even possible they'd actually read the api specks to go after the underlying application, not just the web server.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:40 AM on December 14, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar: ""We have to have offensive capabilities, to, in real time, shut down somebody trying to attack us," Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the Pentagon's new Cyber Command, told an audience in Tampa this month.

The command - made up of 1,000 elite military hackers and spies under one four-star general - is the linchpin of the Pentagon's new strategy and is slated to become fully operational Oct. 1.
(source)

LandWarNet opens with 4 keys to Internet security
"

Why the FUCK are we letting the Military have "command" over our network. If we have rules barring them from Domestic activity, shouldn't they be barred from Domestic networks? Leave it to the FBI (not like I'm a huge fan their, either) or... wouldn't it be more aligned with the NSA's domain? (not a huge fan their either). But all this rhetoric of "hunt down, destroy" etc... Just like when we militarized the fucking pigs in the drug war. It's just fucking stupid.

Fuck this militarization of every goddamn thing that has to do with the state.
posted by symbioid at 7:44 AM on December 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


In fact, Verified By Visa is still running pharm & memebake.

Yeah, havent heard any news about it being knocked out. I was having trouble making a visa purchase yesterday via the third party Arcot system which (I think) is a wrapper for Verified by Visa and the Mastercard equivalent. But a few hours later it was OK. It might just have been naturally overloaded because this is the busiest time of year.
posted by memebake at 7:57 AM on December 14, 2010


Fuck this militarization of every goddamn thing that has to do with the state.

Shhhhh, symbioid, that's just crazy paranoid conspiracy theorist talk...I guess that would make you a paranoid symbioid. Kinda like paranoid android but without Thom Yorke.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:38 AM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


For MetaFilter comment junkies who are working their way through this:
This thread was one of a series of long threads about the Wikileaks Cablegate saga. Here's the sequence so far:

Nov 28th
http://www.metafilter.com/97964/States-Secrets
Dec 3rd
http://www.metafilter.com/98182/Government-reaction-to-Wikileaks
Dec 7th
http://www.metafilter.com/98280/Julian-Assange-Turns-Himself-In
Dec 9th
http://www.metafilter.com/98335/For-the-Chaotic-Good (this thread)
Dec 14th
http://www.metafilter.com/98518/Julian-Assange-free-on-bail
posted by memebake at 9:15 AM on December 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Julian Assange like a hi-tech terrorist, says Joe Biden
posted by clavdivs at 4:13 PM on December 19, 2010


Joe Biden like a wealthy hobo, says Sys Rq.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:32 PM on December 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, I saw the Meet the Press, and to be fair to Biden, he was given an either/or:

Asked if he saw Assange as closer to a hi-tech terrorist than the whistleblower who released the Pentagon papers in the 1970s, which disclosed the lie on which US involvement in Vietnam was based, Biden replied: "I would argue it is closer to being a hi-tech terrorist than the Pentagon papers."
posted by misha at 6:29 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Julian's former blog, iq.org, in 2006 & 2007.
posted by scalefree at 8:02 PM on December 19, 2010


There is now a Cablegate game tangentially related to Anonymous' Operation Leakspin.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:38 AM on December 20, 2010


There are also a number of new leaks sites, although maybe not as many as you'd expect given the revelations about Assange's sex life. ;)

We don't know which are honeypots for some nation's intelligence services of course, but openleaks.org sounds 'clean' by virtue of Daniel Domscheit-Berg's past association with wikileaks. And I'd imagine the honest sites like wikileaks will occasionally honeypot the honeypots. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 5:47 AM on December 20, 2010


Anonymous Infowar: Battle for a New Intelligence
posted by adamvasco at 8:51 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


We've known for some time that bittorrent could be used for ddos attacks, but now anonymous has noticed this approach might improve their anonymity. Btw, there is an updated list of new leaks sites and wikileaks games too.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:49 AM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is now more information about the investigation into the control of LOIC via IRC.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:05 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anonymous is now DDoSing the Zimbabwe government and Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. (see the Bruce Sterling Wikileaks thread for background)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:03 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anonymous Attacks on Tunisian Government Sites
Update: The Wrath of Anon in Tunisia
Tunisian Stock Exchange; Tunisian Foreign Relations; The Ministry of Industry; Tunisian Government Commerce; The Carthage Palace: Presidency of The Republic of Tunisia; Presidential Elections Site; and Tunisian government site listing various ministries all taken out.
posted by adamvasco at 8:59 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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