John Young is one of my heroes. In many ways he is the prototype WikiLeaks – less showy, less flamboyant, but as honest as a summer’s day in the Arctic is long. He’s like an old-fashioned editor before the money-men took over: publish and be damned, so long as it is true.
Jester is a pain in the backside. Jester is a self-righteous, self-proclaimed, self-promoting hacktivist for good.
Jester doesn’t seem to like the truth. He doesn’t seem to like government sins made public. He seems to think that American and other allied soldiers are fighting and dying in Afghanistan and other theatres of war to protect the western politicians, regardless of how corrupt, or deceitful they may be. He seems to want to be the arbiter of what we are allowed to know. In short, he wants to defend a way of life that isn’t worth defending.
Needless to say, Jester doesn’t like John Young or his websites. He says that Cryptocomb leaked to Fox News the true name of the Navy SEAL who has authored a book due to be published next month on the killing of Osama bin Laden. Cryptocomb says, “The suggestion that Cryptocomb leaked a story to Fox News is simply crazy.” One is an inveterate liar and self-aggrandizing distorter of the truth, and the other is Cryptocomb. The Fox News story, incidentally, is here: Fox News Outs The Navy SEAL Who Wrote An Anonymous Book On The Bin Laden Raid.
But, true to character, Jester took the law into his own self-righteous hands and launched a successful denial of service attack on Cryptocomb. He tweeted:
A quick check on Cryptocomb did indeed show problems:
I’ll come back to that comment later. But then Jester tweets:
and Cryptocomb is back up. The only indication of any removed file from Cryptocomb that I can find is “th3j35t3r takes down Cryptocomb”. It’s gone. Can’t even find it on Google cache. Lucky I took a quick, sadly partial screenshot earlier:
I cannot be certain that this is the file that Jester refers to. It looks possible, and could be used to justify his second tweet; but it’s certainly not a file leaking a SEAL name to Fox News. Is this a victory for Jester? Well he’d certainly like us to think so; but it’s pretty meaningless either way since Cryptocomb still links to the full Fox News expose.
Let’s go back to Cryptocomb’s earlier comment. State sponsored attack? Well I’ve often wondered. Earlier today in the UK it became known that an arrested Facebook troll is actually a serving policeman. The victim commented, “When [Olympic diver] Tom Daley was trolled, within 24 hours someone was traced and arrested.” For her it took nine months and a high court judgement. On Tuesday the FBI arrested at least the ninth alleged member/associate of LulzSec. It seems self-evident that when law enforcement decides it wants or need to catch someone, it can and will. Consequently, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that the FBI is turning a blind eye to the antics of Jester. And if that’s the case, no amount of plausible deniability can change the fact that this was indeed a state sponsored attack by collusion if not direction.
GeneWatch UK today slammed the EU’s new draft rules for approving genetically modified (GM) insects, fish, farm animals and pets. The organisation warned that billions of GM insect eggs and caterpillars would be left in vegetables and fruit if UK company Oxitec’s GM moths and flies are approved by the EU under the new rules. Oxitec’s GM insects have been genetically engineered so their caterpillars die inside olives or tomatoes or on the leaves of cabbages. The company plans to release GM pests across the EU to mate with wild pests in an attempt to reduce their numbers. Millions of GM pests must be released each week to have any effect on wild populations.
GeneWatch UK PR: Billions of genetically modified bugs will spread in fruit and veg under new EU proposals
Jesus wept. Is there no end to the depth of our ethical depravity?
When we finally succeed, as we inevitably shall, in wiping mankind off the face of the earth, Gaia will breathe a sigh of relief.
Peter Hain, the political activist who dug up the Lords cricket pitch in an attempt to intimidate the cricket authorities into not playing cricket with the apartheid South Africa, got hacked by the Anonymous political activist collective – and he doesn’t like it.
It’s intimidation he said, adding, “I have had these attacks for 40 years, mostly from racists and fascists.” He’s got a point. Firstly it is intimidation, because the collective has threatened to unleash a film (V for Vendetta) on him. And secondly he’s right about fascists and racists using intimidation. Here’s another recent fascist (and racist) example:
You should be aware that there is a legal basis in the UK — the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act — which would allow us to take action to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises of the embassy… We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange’s presence in your premises, this is an open option for us.
That is also intimidation. It says, “if you don’t do what we want, we can use force to come and get what we want.”
Hypocrisy, thy name is Hain (and Hague and Cameron and Clegg – otherwise known as the UK parliamentary collective).
Here’s a timely albeit co-incidental link between two of my stories on Infosecurity Mag today:
Ever since I read the article in InformationWeek about hackers and girlfriends, I’ve felt sorry for all those poor geeks (not all geeks, I hasten to add) who can’t get a girlfriend. Well, worry no more. Free enterprise to the rescue:
Well, as you know, I got in a bit of a mess over my BT password. All sorted now.
One of the reasons for choosing BT was to avail myself of the 3 million free WiFi hotspots it offers (and yes, when available in the right place, it’s a very, very good service). But, oh, those passwords again. My new BT account password didn’t work with BT WiFi. Nor was my BT account username recognised by BT WiFi.
So I contacted support. Let’s not go into all those recorded messages advising you to check their website for a solution to your problem (which is, of course, that you cannot check their website). No matter. Persist. There is a human being at the end of the monologue. He may not be in the same country, and he is almost certainly difficult to understand – but he exists and is polite so long as you don’t venture off the hymn sheet.
Turns out I needed a BT email address which I didn’t have. It’s OK, he said, I’ll give you one now. Which he did. And your password, he said, is…
Whoa, I said. Couldn’t you mail it to me? No. What about email, and I’ll change it as soon as I get it? No. What about security, I asked? This is secure, he said. What about eavesdropping, I said? It’s not possible, he said. This is secure.
OK. He didn’t actually know he was talking to me over a VoIP phone which I had on speaker in a crowded – but quiet – room. But, well…
This, he said, is your secure password: paris123.
Umm. If you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because our local terrorist or his file-sharing brother sniffed the details and used my account before I changed my brand new secure password.
HOORAY! I’m rich. I won.
But dear honoured friend, I live in the UK and have a philosophical dislike of the Euro. So, since you are a person of integrity, I believe I can trust you: and I’m offering you 50% – that’s nearly €500,000 – to convert my 50% to £Sterling.
All you have to do is send me your name and phone number and we can take it from there. I’ll get the full amount paid into your bank account, and you can than transfer my share to my account.
Anyone? Please? Email me…
Notice the subtle shift in terminology engineered by William Hague in his statement about Assange. “The UK does not accept the principle of diplomatic asylum.” The implication is that Assange is not seeking asylum for political reasons, but to escape criminality. As a criminal, there is ample precedent for physical arrest; and Hague is preparing the ground for the forcible removal of Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy. He adds, “the United Kingdom is not a party to any legal instruments which require us to recognise the grant of diplomatic asylum by a foreign embassy in this country.”
But there are two points. Assange has not been granted diplomatic asylum, he has been granted political asylum. Hague can play with words as much as he likes; but that’s what Ecuador has offered – political asylum. The UK is most certainly bound by the Vienna Convention. Article 22 states, “The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.”
Hague certainly does like to play with words. In further efforts to paint Assange as a criminal, he says, “He faces serious charges in a country with the highest standards of law and where his rights are guaranteed.” This is untrue. Assange faces no charges. He has not been charged, far less convicted for anything. He is wanted for questioning. Assange himself has several times offered to answer questions, provided that the questioning is not used as a means to incarcerate and extradite him. And Ecuador offered to deny political asylum if Sweden would guarantee not to extradite Assange to the US. Sweden declined.
Furthermore, Hague’s comment about ‘rights’ being guaranteed is meaningless. Assange is already extradited (legally, not physically) to Sweden. So UK rights are irrelevant. And for onward extradition to the United States, all that is required is for the US to say it will not execute him. So any rights he might have in Sweden are also meaningless – and we all know he will have no rights in the US. He will be classified as a terrorist and taken out of the civilian judicial system and placed into the military system. After that, all bets are off.
This whole process smells. The extent to which the UK government is dissembling in order to comply with US demands despite – and potentially in direct conflict – with its international legal obligations is demeaning. I have no words. Where is our honour? Where is truth? Where is justice? Flushed away down the sewer of British politics.
Well, first the serious bit. Kudos to Ecuador for having more balls to stand up to the bull of Cameron than Cameron has to stand up to Obama. We thought Blair was a poodle to Bush; Cameron is no different to Obama. And if you think I’m extreme, please read this analysis from a retired diplomat: America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally. It’s enough to make you ashamed of your own country.
The less serious bit, marginally, is the effect of Twitter on the nation’s literature. Consider this official statement on the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
It’s a bit terse. Terse comes from its short sentences. Short sentences are punchy. They get straight to the point. No frills. Now consider the Foreign Office twitter feed (@foreignoffice):
It’s the same statement in four neat, self-contained chunks. British foreign policy is now clearly designed to suit the requirements of Twitter. God, please help us all. However, I’d just like to point out to Mr Hague that if the author had written “Under UK law” rather than “Under our law”, he/she would have freed the 140th character for the full stop at the end of the third tweet down. Accuracy is all. I am available.
But then, it seems that the FO cares nothing about international law; so why should it bother about grammatical laws?
Life is a game of cricket – sometimes you face bouncers, and sometimes beamers; but usually it’s spin and swing. The internet is full of spin and swing, with business, government, law enforcement and hackers all trying to spin the news to their own advantage in order to swing public opinion behind their own position. It’s called disinformation, and everyone’s at it. But like cricket, you only need one ball to spin or swing, and you cannot trust anything ever again.
So with that introductory warning that I really haven’t got a clue, we can ask, what’s going on with WikiLeaks? This is one possibility. It’s all down to TrapWire and the information about TrapWire coming out of the latest WikiLeaks Stratfor emails.
TrapWire seems to be an international surveillance system centred in and run by the US. It makes Cameron’s Communications Bill look pedestrian. That’s not strictly accurate, since the Communications Bill watches people’s cyber movements, while TrapWire watches real world movements; that is, pedestrians (and cars and anything else that moves). It connects the nation’s CCTV surveillance cameras. As an aside, we can be pretty confident that when (not if) the US gets its Cybersecurity Act, that data will be connected to the TrapWire data. What’s more worrying for Brits is that when (not if) Cameron gets his Communications Bill into an Act, that data will also be connected to TrapWire.
This latter is just conjecture, but look at the parallels in UKUSA and do the math. Also consider this from one of the WikiLeaks emails (dated 22 September 2010):
This week, 500 surveillance cameras were activated on the NYC subway system to focus on pre-operational terrorist surveillance. The surveillance technology is also operational on high value targets (HVTs) in DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and London and is called TrapWire (www.abraxasapps.com).
So TrapWire was already operational in the UK almost a year ago.
Well, of course I checked on the Abraxas site (a company apparently populated by a high density of ex-CIA staff), but got nowhere.
It’s not just me.
There’s no buzz on the internet (yet at least) that Abraxas has been tangoed down by Anonymous (in retaliation for Antileaks taking out WikiLeaks). So – pure conjecture – they’ve taken it down themselves.
Thank goodness for Google cache (if you’re quick, it might still be there…)
It wouldn’t be surprising if Abraxas has disconnected itself. This TrapWire thing is big, and the Stratfor emails show it’s being used much wider than published. It’s bad enough that the UK government wants to spy on its own citizens (using our taxes to pay for it, of course), but that it has already opened the door to facilitate US government spying on the British people is quite simply obscene. Or, to be British, unacceptable. I can’t begin to think what the American people will make of it.
So, to go back to the original question, what’s going on with WikiLeaks? The obvious conclusion is that it has been taken down (well, effectively blocked) by a continuing DDoS that has been claimed by Antileaks specifically to suppress the emerging information about TrapWire (WikiLeaks is still down as I write this). This is just conjecture on my part; but, well, the dots connect. Under the guise of anti-terrorism western governments will stop at nothing in their determination to have absolute control over us.