Unless the sources of the DDoS attacks being carried out by Anonymous are identified and stopped, there seems to be no end in sight for their deluge of operations. These 'AnonOps' are presented as global outreach operations of sorts, aimed at assisting individuals and organizations subjected to persecution by governments and other institutions aiming to silence free expression and dissent.
The Tunisian people are perceived by Anonymous to be in need of global support and the same can be said of Wikileaks. In particular, the consensus seems to be that governments and other powerful bodies have chosen to pursue Julian Assange and his collaborators for having exposed crimes committed by those same institutions. As Assange has often pointed out himself, it is a disturbing fact about the current situation that upon learning about the horrendous crimes exposed through the leaks, the first impulse has not been to pursue the culprits, but instead to punish individuals who acted on conscience to make those crimes known.
Whether the Anonymous group can succeed in its attempts to raise awareness of these issues and to discourage censorship hangs on the question of whether its members can be stopped. How likely is it that Anonymous members will be identified prosecuted?
As of yesterday, the following 7 Tunisian sites appeared to be down. They remain nonoperational at this time.
The following 2 sites have been down for longer than 24 hours:
In addition to these, the following sites are also down today:
It is likely that the DDoS attacks are being continually carried out on sites that have managed to regain temporary functionality. To verify whether a site is only inaccessible in your own area or more generally, you may enter the site URL here.
The music industry is claiming more than one billion dollars in damages against LimeWire for copyright violations and LimeWire is fighting back by attempting to get subpoenas forcing "third-party licensees to hand over a range of documents, including contracts, royalty payments, accounting books and even internal company communications where executives at leading digital outfits discuss their relationship with the record business.". According to World News Australia:
In further papers to support its motion, LimeWire argues that these documents are relevant, that internal emails from third-party licensees/distributors like Amazon (and presumably, Apple) should be turned over so they can see what really went on during negotiations over licensing songs for sale. The documents, the company says, "could illuminate Plaintiffs' views as to the true value of their works and how Plaintiffs acted toward Amazon and other online digital music providers."
In other words, LimeWire is dragging a whole host of parties into its dispute with the record industry, and looking to shed light on its range of dealings in the past decade. The courts will have to figure out whether this is a reasonable request or too burdensome.
Last week a California court turned down LimeWire's request to subpoena information from MediaDefender, which provides anti-piracy software to the record industry, as being irrelevant to the question of what damages are owed.
Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) have posted an open letter to Robert Gates calling upon him "to rectify the inhumane, harmful, and counterproductive treatment of PFC Bradley Manning immediately."
As an organization of psychologists and other mental health professionals, PsySR is aware that solitary confinement can have severely deleterious effects on the psychological well-being of those subjected to it. We therefore call for a revision in the conditions of PFC Manning’s incarceration while he awaits trial, based on the exhaustive documentation and research that have determined that solitary confinement is, at the very least, a form of cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment in violation of U.S. law.
Submitted by x7o on Tue, 04/01/2011 - 02:57
Today, James Richardson had an opinion and analysis piece published in The Guardian about the fallout in Zimbabwe from the publication of the 09HARARE1004 cable. Information about Morgan Tzvangirai's meetings with US embassy officials was disclosed in the Harare cable, and this will likely be the subject of a politically motivated high treason trial brought against Tzvangirai by Mugabe, the ultimate penalty for which is a death sentence.
It shouldn't be downplayed how serious it is that Tsvangirai might be facing the death penalty. But there are problems with the conclusions that Richardson draws, and they derive from a worrying looseness with the facts.
It would surely be unreasonable to claim that merely expressing approval of the sanctions in private meetings with US officials warrants a treason trial. But these are the sorts of concerns that journalists must consider when conducting harm minimization, and the unreasonableness of a particular regime is always something that has to be considered a factor when assessing the consequences of publication.
But it is in the apportioning of blame that Richardson reveals a troubling lack of balance in his attitude to Wikileaks.
Der Spiegel: USA und Deutschland planen Späher im All (USA and Germany plan to spy on everybody)
"Die USA und Deutschland denken gemeinsam über die Entwicklung von neuen Satelliten nach, die auch für Spionage genutzt werden könnten. Das geht aus Depeschen der US-Botschaft in Berlin hervor. Laut den WikiLeaks-Dokumenten gibt es dabei Widerstand aus Frankreich. (The United States and Germany are considering together the development of new satellites that could also be used for spionage purposes, according with the cables from the American embassy in Berlin. The Wikileaks documents include a strong opposition [to this issue] by France.)"
The Guardian: WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops
"US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for 'retaliation' over opposition to genetic modification.
The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show."
Le Monde: Washington et Berlin développent des satellites espions, affirme WikiLeaks (Washington and Berlin develop spy satellites, affirms Wikileaks)
"Les Etats-Unis et l'Allemagne développent conjointement et secrètement, sous couvert d'activités commerciales, de nouveaux satellites espions malgré de vives oppositions françaises, selon des câbles diplomatiques obtenus par WikiLeaks et publiés lundi par le journal norvégien Aftenposten. (The United States and Germany develop together and in secrecy, under the cover of commercial activities, new spy satellites despite a strong French opposition, according to the diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks and published last Monday by the norwegian paper Aftenposten.)"
Le Monde: WikiLeaks : le département d'Etat américain, VRP de Boeing (The American Department of State, commerce representative for Boeing)
"Des diplomates américains sont intervenus à plusieurs reprises pour favoriser la vente d'avions Boeing face au rival européen Airbus, révèlent des télégrammes diplomatiques obtenus par WikiLeaks et publiés par le New York Times lundi. (The American diplomats are addressed again due to their commercial favor for the planes Boeing instead of their European rival Airbus, has been revealed by the diplomatic telegrams obtained by Wikileaks and published by The New York Times last Monday.)"
Asian Sentinel: WikiLeaks Finds Another Malaysian Scandal
"Prominent UMNO stalwart allegedly raped his housemaid in 2007 but wasn't investigated
The latest round of WikiLeaks cables to embarrass Malaysia alleges that a "VVIP" later identified as Rais Yatim, the Information, Communications, and Culture Minister, raped his Indonesian maid in 2007, but got away with it because then-Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi apparently didn't want an embarrassing confrontation with the Indonesian government."
AntiWar.com: Glaspie Memo Leaked: US Dealings With Iraq Ahead of 1990 Invasion of Kuwait Detailed
"One of the crown jewels of secret pre-Gulf War negotiations was unveiled tonight when the notorious Glaspie Memo, or as it is now known 90BAGHDAD423, was released by WikiLeaks
The cable, whose official title was “Saddam’s Message of Friendship to President Bush” details the meeting between US Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein on July 25, 1990, just a week before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait."
International Business Times: WIkileaks: US Pressures German Internet Privacy
"The U.S. Government had doubts that the German Free Democratic Party would be a reliable partner in combating terrorism on the Internet, according to cables made public by Wikileaks, and after the elections some officials felt those doubts were vindicated."
WikiLeaks' release of 09STATE15113 represents a gross failure of due diligence, presenting a list of targets for terrorist operatives, and endangering the lives of US nationals and national security.
Official attacks on WikiLeaks over 2010 have taken a twofold and often contradictory nature.
The present falsehood is the 'smoking gun' in the "sensitive information" argument, in light of the fact that WikiLeaks has an immaculate record in journalistic responsibility thus far. WikiLeaks' release of 09STATE15113 is lately the sole example raised in support of the idea that WikiLeaks endangers national security. It contains a list of sites compiled by the State Department, and designated as "critical to national security." The document is said to provide enemies of the United States with a useful list of targets.
Further to my open letter on those inciting murder upon Julian Assange, this op ed style post again responds to those who say that Julian Assange should be kidnapped, executed, murdered or otherwise be "whacked", to use a favourite Hollywood gangster expression. It is a much expanded variant of the open letter to the inciters at Wikileaks Central.
The CIA and/or US military forces have been invoked by some, as the agents who would carry out such extra curial "services" of which it must be said, such actions both incitement and carrying the incitement out, are undoubtedly unlawful. Doubtless the early December Assange-illegal-posturing Prime Minister of Australia would not officially, take kindly to the latter course of action.
The web roll of inciters or borderline inciters is growing.
If you thought the The Anonymous Group had hung their suits for the night, think again. The following is a list of additional Tunisian government and financial sites that have been rendered nonoperational; at the time of this publication, each is still down:
www.bmvt.com.tn - Tunisian Stock Exchange
www.sicad.gov.tn - Tunisian Foreign Relations
www.industrie.gov.tn - The Ministry of Industry
www.commerce.gov.tn - Tunisian Government Commerce
www.carthage.tn - The Carthage Palace: Presidency of The Republic of Tunisia
benali.tn - Presidential Elections Site
www.ministeres.tn - Tunisian government site listing various ministries
Expressed motivations for these attacks, as well as yesterday's DDoS attack updates, can be found here.
In Julian Assange's Nov. 29, 2010 interview with Forbes magazine, he indicated that he had information on a major US bank, to be released early this year. He did not specify the Bank of America, but they have been preparing anyway. The NY Times writes:
Since then, a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials, led by the chief risk officer, Bruce R. Thompson, has been overseeing a broad internal investigation — scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public, reviewing every case where a computer has gone missing and hunting for any sign that its systems might have been compromised.
In addition to the internal team drawn from departments like finance, technology, legal and communications, the bank has brought in Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting firm, to help manage the review. ...
“This is a significant moment, and Bank of America has to get out in front of it,” said Richard S. Levick, a veteran crisis communications expert. “Corporate America needs to look at what happens here, and how Bank of America handles it.” ...
Last month, the bank bought up Web addresses that could prove embarrassing to the company or its top executives in the event of a large-scale public assault, but a spokesman for the bank said the move was unrelated to any possible leak.
Booz Allen Hamilton, who has been brought in "to help manage the review" is one of the largest and most controversial US intelligence contractors.
With revenues of $3.7 billion in 2005, Booz Allen is one of the nation's biggest defense and intelligence contractors. Under McConnell's watch, Booz Allen has been deeply involved in some of the most controversial counterterrorism programs the Bush administration has run, including the infamous Total Information Awareness data-mining scheme. As a key contractor and advisor to the NSA, Booz Allen is almost certainly participating in the agency's warrantless surveillance of the telephone calls and e-mails of American citizens.
Truthout has an article about quickly crumbling legitimacy of US empire written by Francis Shor:
Perhaps the drive to shut down WikiLeaks and prosecute Julian Assange is the last gasp of a dying empire to shore up its fading legitimacy in the world and among its own citizens. Hence, the hyperbolic criticism by US Attorney General Eric Holder that WikiLeaks has put "the lives of people who work for the American people at risk; the American people themselves have been put at risk." As the WikiLeaks publications make clear, the diplomatic corps is just another instrument of the US empire. Indeed, it is the empire itself that is putting its own citizens at risk through the reckless, illegal and immoral actions perpetrated around the globe.
The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Culture and Information has adopted regulation for internet publishing, including electronic newspapers, forums, and blogs. aitnews.com outlines the regulations in an article.
Besides the electronic press, forums and blogging, the thirteen forms of internet publishing include websites, electronic ads, mobile phone or other broadcasts, email groups, electronic archives, room dialogues, and "any form of electronic publishing the ministry wishes to add".
There are ten terms required to obtain a license, including good conduct and behaviour.
Tech Eye reported on an attack on various Zimbabwe government websites by Anonymous in response to censorship of WikiLeaks cables:
Graham Cluley writes from his bog, AKA Naked Security: "Grace Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, was recently reported to be suing a newspaper for $15 million after it published a WikiLeaks cable that claimed she has benefited from illegal diamond trading."
Now government websites, including the Ministry of Finance, have been hacked and suffered from DDoS attacks. One page displays an outline of a black suit with the message: "We Are Anonymous. All your base are belong to us. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us..."
Anonymous hacktivists have been busy today carrying out attacks on the Tunisian government site located here (IP address: 18.104.22.168). The site is still down as of the publication of this update, and has been down for several hours.
According to IRC chats with various Anonymous members who appear to be well-informed regarding current events in Tunisia, the motivations for the attacks are numerous, ranging from Tunisia's general and long-standing affinity to Internet censorship, to recent riots in Sidi Bouzid and surrounding towns being covered by various media sources.
Another relatively recent act of censorship that seems to have served as the basis for the present call to arms is the Tunisian government's decision to censor online access to Wikileaks and other whistleblowing sites (like TuniLeaks) that make reference to Tunisia or contain certain keywords that might suggest reference to Tunisia.
The Anonymous group, while diverse, intractable and virtually indefinable in terms of a steady membership class, is nevertheless united in its ideals pertaining to freedom of expression and a collective distaste for censorship, inspiring this most recent declaration:
The Tunisian government wants to control the present with falsehoods and misinformation in order to impose the future by keeping the truth hidden from its citizens. We will not remain silent while this happens. - Anonymous
There have been rumors of possible imminent attacks on 3 further Tunisian sites but they do not appear to be in progress at this time.
Update 2 :
The following sites have also been taken down: www.marchespublics.gov.tn and www.pm.gov.tn. As of 9:05 Eastern Standard Time, the former site displayed this message. This is the welcome page for Mohamed Ghannouchi, the Tunisian Prime Minister. A cached version of the page can be viewed here.
Go to the third update, containing a more exhaustive list of sites taken down.
New York Times: Diplomats Help Push Sales of Jetliners on the Global Market
"The king of Saudi Arabia wanted the United States to outfit his personal jet with the same high-tech devices as Air Force One. The president of Turkey wanted the Obama administration to let a Turkish astronaut sit in on a NASA space flight. And in Bangladesh, the prime minister pressed the State Department to re-establish landing rights at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York."
El País: América Latina recela de la expansión de China (Latin America mistrusts the Chinese expansion)
"Los cables de la diplomacia estadounidense revelan desconfianza entre los líderes latinoamericanos tras la gira por la región de los dirigentes comunistas chinos Xi Jinping y Hui Liangyu y el aumento de las inversiones del gigante asiático. (The American diplomatic cables reveal mistrust between the Latin American leaders over the increasing investments of the Asian giant after the tour made by the Chinese communist leaders Xi Jinping and Hui Liangyu all over the region.)"
Aftenposten: Amerikansk ambassadør advarte mot Khader (U.S. ambassador in Copenhagen warned three years ago against the Danish politician and writer Naser KHAD and stamped him as too extreme in his attacks on Muslims.)
"We no longer see KHAD as a useful contact to promote Muslim integration in Denmark ... He has been so extreme in his attacks on both Muslims and believers in our programs that we are alienating more Muslims by working with KHAD than by ignoring him, writes the American ambassador."
SFGate has an article about facebook and the internet translated from Philippe Rivière of Le Monde:
The world's most powerful online architects and its political leaders plan to "civilize" the free Internet, which they still see as a lawless zone. If they succeed in domesticating the Internet, stating your real identity will be the price you have to pay in order to enjoy full access. The word "web" was originally an image used to describe a decentralized system of interconnected information networks. Nobody imagined that a spider would actually take up residence at its center and start spying on the activities of all Internet users.
According to Haaretz, Israel has only 12 minutes to respond to an attack by Iran. This insight into military preparedness comes from a leaked cable released today.
The cable quotes Ashkenazi as saying that Israel is preparing for a large-scale war with Hamas or Hezbollah. Ashkenazi said that he believes Hezbollah to possess 40,000 rockets, while U.S. officials put the number at closer to 50,000 rockets. "Hamas will have the possibility to bombard Tel Aviv, with Israel's highest population concentration," Ashkenazi reportedly said.
El País: Pacto fallido entre EE UU y Japón para reducir la caza de ballenas (Failed agreement between the United States and Japan to reduce the whale hunting)
"Tokio solicitó mayor dureza contra los ecologistas 'piratas' que acosan a su flota A. Hillary Clinton estuvo de acuerdo, pero Australia impidió el pacto. (Tokyo asked for a rougher attitude towards the "pirat" ecologists that harass their A fleet. Hillary Clinton agreed, but Australia stopped the agreement.)"
El País: EE UU no dio 'luz verde' a Sadam Husein para que invadiera Kuwait (The United States did not approved Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait)
"El presidente iraquí, desesperado por la ruina del país tras la guerra con Irán. (The Iraqi President, desperate due to the ruin of his country.)"
Romanian online media organization cotidianul.ro has given the Press Freedom award to Julian Assange for service to freedom of expression and democratic values.
Criticizing Europe for today handing over the EU presidency to Hungary, which just implemented a widely condemned new media law severely curtailing freedom of expression in that country, the organization warns against trying to conceal dangerous and questionable decisions in countries vulnerable to economic and financial crisis. Besides a vote of solidarity with Julian Assange, the award is meant as a call to all fellow free citizens to "Defend freedom of expression!"
A game of cat and mouse and an actual “cyberwar” is taking place for two weeks now between Tunisian netizens and “Ammar”, the nickname of the very elaborated censorship system deviced by the Tunisian minister of interior. Blogger Astrubal explains its secret techniques.
Tunisian bloggers have long been using circumventing softwares, getting news on facebook and share censored posts, videos, photos or news updates ( like the beating of a journalist) on the main Tunisian blogging platforms and information gateways hosted overseas or via twitter and key words like #sidibouzid.
Still, “Ammar” also seem to want to be rid off social media network: ...
Tunisian netizens- the most connected community on facebook in North Africa- could not upload any photos or videos on facebook on the afternoon of december 30. ...
Demonstrations of support to the #sidibouzid movement took place in Paris, Munich, and Beyrouth. The “media black out” by the main international media outlets and western diplomacy, in addition to the domestic censorship, was a frequent subject of bitterness amongst many Tunisian activists. ...
No internet in Tunis but the media says that the situation is stable yet the protests continue in all regions #sidibouzid ...
The English press seems mostly exempted from the accusations of blackout directed at others.