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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WikiLeak Supporters Declare Cyberwar on Palin, Others

Via ABC News:
The website and personal credit card information of former Gov. Sarah Palin were cyber-attacked today by Wikileaks supporters, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate tells ABC News in an email.

Hackers in London apparently affiliated with “Operation Payback” – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks – have tried to shut down SarahPac and have disrupted Sarah and Todd Palin’s personal credit card accounts.

“No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange's antics,” Palin emailed. “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”
Throughout the day WikiLeaks supporters have been mounting denial of service attacks against Mastercard, PayPal, Visa, and others deemed to have impeded WikiLeaks.  Reportedly, these supporters have disclosed large files containing Mastercard account numbers and expiration dates.

But don't call it Cyberwar, you might offend some people. 

And of course, the government of the United States is standing idly by, twiddling its thumbs and dawdling.

And Eric Holder?  He's still reading the Instruction Manual for Attorney General.

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  1. I am pretty sure Eric Holder is still reviewing the efforts to woo the World Cup to America in order to see where he went wrong. Once he figures that out, he'll get right back to this Attorney General stuff. It's all about the priorities. Maybe somewhere along the way, he'll stumble across the user's manual for the secure information sharing network for the State Department.

  2. Video of the day is perfect! I watched and thought maybe Obama should, too. Then I saw your caption. HEH.

  3. At the risk of being contrarian...

    1) Isn't Wikileaks being harassed for exercising its right to free speech and press?

    2) Why should an Australian or British citizen be "pro-American" except to the extent it benefits them or their homeland?

  4. What would you have them do, Professor? Shut down the Internet?

    DDOS attacks are nothing new. They happen all the time. But by blowing this out of proportion, you're playing into the hands of those who would control the Internet.

    Honestly, the tinfoil hat side of me says this is exactly what "they" want.

  5. I mentioned to my fiancé how the cyber pushback against Assange has fantasitcally ended up punishing the Palins, who're not representatives of past and current US policy per se, and he responded that, basically, she's "stupid."

    Wrong answer, dear. I despair of this country's future... and mine.

  6. Where is James Bond when we need him?

  7. f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c.a.l.l.y

    (Why do some here get kindly edited and others not, Mr. Jacobson and Ms. McCaffrey? I can be a fantastic ally, you know.)

  8. Honestly, I wouldn't characterize the people doing the DDoS-ing as "supporters" so much as general-purpose trolls. They do this to one website or another on a fairly regular basis. They're like the "anarchists" who show up at large protests, in that they don't want to support the protest but rather are just there to break things.

  9. @ Andrew:

    #1: How is WL being "harassed?" If people and companies do not wish to do business with them, so be it. They have the right to free speech, but not the right to compel others to support it.

    #2: On this, we agree. Although we are supposedly allies with Australia and the UK, this does not compel blind allegiance from non-Americans. I cringe when I hear screams of "treason," since you can only really be a traitor to your own country.

    I still want to see the little bastard face 200,000 counts of espionage, though.

  10. "And of course, the government of the United States is standing idly by, twiddling its thumbs and dawdling."

    THAT is the real story here, not Wikileaks. There is absolutely no reason why these guys should have gotten their hands on any classified information. They have done nothing that the NYT hasn't already done with even more damaging intelligence.

    If you carelessly pass your cash-swollen wallet through a stadium crowd and someone steals it, who's the bigger problem? The thief? Or the idiot who made it so easy for your wallet to be stolen?

    There is no cure for stupid.

  11. Holder threw the instruction manual for Attorney General out the window on day one of his takeover. Now he's busy trying to get the World Cup, keeping the borders open, helping DHS to stop the sale of knockoff handbags, and protecting the Black Panthers.
    And people actually have the nerve to argue that Obama doesn't hate this country.

  12. A.J., tell your Daddie to break out the Reynolds Foil. DOS attacks may be mere anarchy, but Stuxnet's ability to fake SSL certs should make everyone a bit uneasy.

  13. It's not exactly supporters, except in the way that they're all trolls together-- it's a group of hackers that hang out at the 4chan message boards (bad bad nasty place! NSFSanity, let alone work, children, the delicate minded, etc.) who call themselves "Anonymous."

    The guy is popular, is attacking "the man," and some folks posted calls to action-- so the hive mind has moved. I've got a post on it on my blog, if anyone is just utterly enamored of the information.

    They're sort of supporters, but they're almost assuredly not associated directly with the busont.

  14. Assange needs to be declared an enemy combatant against the US and terminated with extreme prejudice.

  15. I agree with Vicioussss and would love to give Assange what Stalin gave anyone who disagreed with him---seven ounces of lead to the back of the head...!

    The attack on a private citizen like Sarah Palin demonstrates the viciousness that these 'idealists' harbor and the preposterous gibberish by mental defectives like Andrew Glidden above show that hypocrisy is the only consistent habit exhibited by proglodytes.

    Their hate for normal Americans is far greater than their concern for free speech and the other high ideals these vermin scamper behind when their vicious agenda is unmasked.

    I'm not planning to vote for Palin, but I love her for the enemies she's made!

  16. What to do? Lets start by declaring Wikileaks and the Anonymous group to be engaged in warfare against the United States and that US citizens who assist them are engaging in insurrection. Give fair warning and then proceed from there. Failure to act hasn't limited the escalation so far.

    Or, more simply, put Hilary in charge.

  17. This is like looting in the LA riots after the Rodney King verdict.

    It's just something they wanted to do.

  18. She did basically say she thought Assange should be assassinated. That kind of incendiary response to someone beloved by hackers is asking for trouble. Deal with it.

  19. I suspect the hackers attacking Palin are Democrats. The entire Democrat population of the US seems to to live in fear of her. May the same thing happen to these hackers as happened to the last one that was caught. Jail time for all of them.

  20. "I still want to see the little bastard face 200,000 counts of espionage, though."

    I'll settle for having him shot in a back alley.

  21. "the government of the United States is standing idly by"

    If the alternative is 100,000 new government employees fighting the last cyberwar while racking up time towards a government pension in an unaccountable bureaucratic mess, then that's exactly what I want.

    Yes, Stuxnet and thousand other scary things are floating around out there ... but imagine if you had to get your virus protection software from the government :-)

    ... you'd be afraid to open up a browser while government employees would have special browsers with extra protection built-in to ease their journeys through cyberspace on separate special government networks while the rest of us suffered ...

  22. Niki, I'm about as conserative as they come, but I'm still wondering why everyone is calling for Assange's head. I'm not trying to be flip, but can someone express to me in calm terms the difference between Wikileaks and the Pentagon Papers? If I draw a parallel, Pfc. Manning is Daniel Ellsberg and Assange is the NY Times. Unless Assange actually aided Manning in his espionage, I find it hard to see the outrage.

    If people are actually being put in harm's way because of these leaks then that's something of a different issue. But that's a very specific situation: blowing the cover of agents, not people getting mad because they find out the government has been lying to them. The former directly leads to someone getting killed, the latter simply brings to light bad behavior.

    What am I missing here? Seriously, I don't like to think that I'm somehow failing to be patriotic. But I'm just not feeling as outraged as many other people, and I don't know why.

    Here's another thing to think about: do you really think Julian Assange is a more capable spy than our enemies? Do you REALLY think that Pfc. Manning is the only idiot with access to that network?

    Yes, it's a pain in the arse that this stuff was leaked, and hopefully it doesn't cause death. But man, Assange is just the messenger. A staggeringly conceited and scuzzy messenger, but a messenger nonetheless.

  23. I have to agree with AJsDaddie, Assange is just an opportunist. The real scandals are the leaks to Wikileaks not from them. I'm not impressed by the revelations of the leaks so far other than making a few diplomats look like idiots. If anything, they have confirmed what we have long suspected about some of our allies and adversaries. Assange is a contradictory person with a mix of intense arrogance, megalomania, and odd delusionary Marxist ideas about bringing world peace by destroying the influence of American power. We need to ignore him and focus on the sources of the leaks.

  24. I wish people, at least people claiming the conservative mantle, would stop with the Assagne is just the messenger arguments. I mean, it's expected from his supporters, the kind of people who still think having a tat of the anarchist circle-A is edgy and rebellious, but the rest of you please stop.

    He and his minions stole classified documents and released them. That's not just being the messenger.

  25. @Adrian: No, Assange didn't. Pfc. Manning stole them. Assange released them. I'm a conservative because I believe the laws should be applied consistently, and I'm having trouble with understanding how Assange committed espionage. Did the NYT or the Post commit espionage?

    The precedent is unclear to me. From what I understand the papers were still liable to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, but since they never were, I still wonder. If someone gives you classified information and you publish it, are you a spy or exercising free speech? Seems like a VERY fine line, especially since the only thing that makes something "classified" is that the government says it is.

  26. Assange is a terrorist, a cyber terrorist. Who is paying him? Follow the money, people......

    If this were happening to ANY other country, there would be worldwide outrage. Putin would have had Assange - and his henchmen - poisoned or worse by now. China would have tortured then executed these guys by now. Manning is still sitting in the brigg, Assange is getting gentle treatment from the Brits. Too good for them, IMHO.

    It is just a matter of time before these "anonymous" hackers are traced; it is not impossible to find them, if any resources and intelligence are put out there to find them. The Brits and others have vast intelligence networks, believe it or not. They are not as bumbling and inept as they are portrayed to be.

    And Holder?! Holder doesn't want to stop the attacks. He and his boss want America to collapse. The WikiLeaks debacle just helps their unspoken cause.

  27. So you think the Pentagon Papers were espionage as well? The case law never was settled as far as I can tell. From my reading, the Times and the Post could still have been charged under the Espionage Act. But since they never were, I don't know what the outcome would have been. The only thing I'm sure of is that trying to stop Assange from publishing seems to be prior restraint, which was ruled unconstitutional.

    I don't think any conservative is a fan of Assange. I'm not. But I also don't think he's a spy. Just a shmuck.

  28. A good many of the secrets were stolen by others and made available to Wikileaks. I don't think anyone here condones the theft of classified documents or the intent of doing harm to the US. Assagne, left to his own devices will self destruct if he isn't killed first by Russian, Iranian or Saudi operatives. What he wants is the media attention he's now getting. The more we focus on him, the more he becomes the hero and ultimately the martyr of the sleazy underworld of hackers and fringe leftist groups. Sure, we should prosecute him if we can but I don't think it will be an easy task. But, we really need to prosecute and penalize those in our country who made the initial leaks. We also need to investigate those in the government who unwittingly made it easy to access these documents, especially in the current administration.

  29. @Chris: Absolutely. Another danger of focusing on Assange is to put the blame for this on the Internet, which in turn can be leveraged as argument for government control of the Web.

  30. I wish simple-minded, unsophisticated knee-jerk anti-liberals like Adrian would take a deep breath before calling people like me and AJsDaddie faux conservatives.

    We don't know a damn thing about this other than the narrative we are being fed from our various "inkblot interpreting"intermediaries. Most of us are hearing what we want to hear and seeing what we want to see. Stop it! Think! This whole thing stinks of US-driven disinformation. It's an old ploy that happens all the time.

    Just because "classified information" was "stolen" and published by an "anti-American" stooge doesn't mean that someone has stolen vital secrets and caused irreparable harm to our national interests. All it has caused so far is embarrassment among officials who deserve to be embarrassed, confirmation of many things we already knew and the revelation that that classify too much trivial information as "top secret".

    Secrets have been the means for concentrating power in the hands of the few for millenia. Secrets are the enemy of modern democracies. Let's keep things in perspective. Think about what you are saying.

  31. Oh, pish-posh. Conspiracy theories about being "fed" information is more of the liberal parody of what conservatives are than actual conservatism.

    We know the documents were stolen, from multiple sources. We know that they were published, from multiple sources. We know that there's damaging information there, from multiple sources.

    You act like we don't live in the time of the internet, where said ass has loudly claimed credit for all of the above.

    It's sort of like the Truthers making the same argument in the face of the terrorists claiming credit for 9/11.

  32. Andrew Glidden asked:

    "1) Isn't Wikileaks being harassed for exercising its right to free speech and press?

    2) Why should an Australian or British citizen be "pro-American" except to the extent it benefits them or their homeland? "

    1.) Wikileaks is being investigated because it is attempting to help others kill Americans and their allies. They did this with people elsewhere, like Kenya, by Assange's own admission. He's a repeat offender. We have every right to keep people from helping others kill Americans.

    2.) A citizen of a country (Australia, in this case) that benefits profoundly from participating in the growing networks of industrial society around the world should be cognizant and careful to minimize the damage he does to his own nation. He should be cognizant and careful to minimize damage to the allies of his nation, in defending against assaults on industrial society, such as those of the International Islamic Front, its "base" Al Quaida, and their allies, like the Taliban.

    Assange's actions reveal him as the same sort of anti-industrial bigot we saw during the rise of the wave of socialist camp reaction against industrial society. We now see a wave of similar assaults on industrial networks again, (this time mostly against intellectual networks, rather than market networks)in the rise of the International Islamic Front and its associated groups.

    Wikileaks has chosen to use one of the primary intellectual networks of industrial society, the internet, to help people who assault that society around the world.

    Industrial society feeds 5.8 out of the 6.8 billion humans on this planet today. Assange and his foolish followers are acting like narrow-minded bigots, handing targets to those people madly chopping away at the industrial networks that keep most humans alive.

  33. Unsophisticated and simple-minded? Oh my, I've upset a random, but apparently sophisticated, internet guy. What do I do now?

    As for being anti-liberal, yes, I'm absolutely, 100% anti-liberal. But it's not knee-jerk.

  34. "Wikileaks has chosen to use one of the primary intellectual networks of industrial society, the internet, to help people who assault that society around the world."

    Assuming your assessment of Assange's intent is valid and that he's an Al-Qaeda enabling anarchist, that still begs the question:

    If Assange had stolen classified documents that would HELP industrial society (say, information that made it easy to destroy the Iranian nuclear plants) and published them, would you be okay with that?

    And I reiterate my earlier question, which ought to be very easy to answer: was publishing the Pentagon Papers an act of espionage? I'm just trying to clarify your position.

  35. AJsDaddie wrote:

    "If Assange had stolen classified documents that would HELP industrial society (say, information that made it easy to destroy the Iranian nuclear plants) and published them, would you be okay with that?"

    If it were classified by the Islamist government in Iran, with the intent of allowing them to expand their means of pursuing Jihad against the industrial world, then I would support it completely. I am a partisan of industrial society, without a doubt. IMHO, we are in World War IV, against those who call themselves the International Islamic Front, and their co-belligerents, who declared war on us, just as another group, the Muslim Brotherhood did recently.

    "And I reiterate my earlier question, which ought to be very easy to answer: was publishing the Pentagon Papers an act of espionage? I'm just trying to clarify your position."

    Yes. That was easy, because, IMHO, the Vietnam conflict was part of World War III, declared by Stalin on behalf of "the socialist camp" in his secret speech to the Soviet Politburo in January of 1946. (Since revealed by those who searched the Soviet Party archives after the fall of the USSR.)

    It was one of the conflicts we should have won, but refused what was needed. That was cutting supply lines where and when it was easiest, putting mines in the harbors of the North no later than August of 1964, and possibly as early as August of 1961.(As recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

    Bui Tinh, ...Giap's Logistics Officer, ... later testified in Paris about how those mine fields shut down the PAVN efforts to 1/10 previous levels, till the mines were removed.

  36. Some people seem to be unclear on the subject of spying. Manning was the agent of Assange in stealing classified material and passing it to a foreign national. Assamge was acting in the capacity of a priciple agent, like a Russian spy who services a mole in the US government. Even if he does this from overseas he is still participating in the espionage operation, a criminal act that took place in America (and such an act could also take place outside American soil and still be a hostile act against America, in a combat theater, for example). Thus Assamge counts as a spy, dircecting, planning and helping to carry on criminal acts in the USA, and ought to be indicted for it and extradited.

    As for harm, his earlier releases of DOD files certainly endangered American soldiers and agents of the US, in particular Afghans and Iraqis who provided intelligence to American services. By releasing their names and other information to the public Assange endangered their lives.

    We might note that diplomats have a very difficult time achieving their tasks of informing their governments of what is going on, informing their host governments of the policies of the US government, and carrying on negotiations if their communications are plastered all over the world. It appears Assange wants to bring diplomatic business to a halt. Negotiations, in particular, need secrecy to progress. For international affairs crippling diplomacy means increased hostilities. In trying to cripple diplomacy, therefore, Assange is a warmonger for all practical purposes. I'm being a bit snarky here, but the release of diplomatic files definitely harms the practice of diplomatic negotiations.

    As for the New York Times and other outlets that published the stolen, classified information that Assange provided to them, they have culpability for endangering America troops and American agents too. They have committed a crime too. They have endangered our troops and agents too. They have attempted to cripple diplomacy too. Are the reporters and editors of the Times, and other media operations, a privileged caste to whom the law does nto apply?

  37. Michael Lonie: "As for harm, his earlier releases of DOD files certainly endangered American soldiers and agents of the US, in particular Afghans and Iraqis who provided intelligence to American services. By releasing their names and other information to the public Assange endangered their lives."

    Really? That's what I thought, too, but I have yet to find any evidence of that. In fact, what I read directly contradicts your assertion.

    "A Pentagon letter obtained by The Associated Press reported that no U.S. intelligence sources or practices were compromised by the Afghan war logs' disclosure."

    This was from Fox News, not known for it's anarchist leanings.


    When we have real problems here in our country, politicians who are actively subverting the will of the people, activist judges eviscerating the constitution, attacks from unions and open-borders fanatics and multi-culturalists, I just seem to be having a hard time ginning up a lot of outrage because a bunch of government officials are made to look petty and incompetent (or am I being redundant?).

    I know I should be more angry, but I just can't do it. Somebody publishing the truth just isn't a big deal to me. Unless you can show me where American soldiers have been put in harm's way and I just missed it.

  38. If you are wonder about the legal aspects, try reading the relevant laws.

    The Espionage Act. See also section 794

    Crypto and SIGINT protection

    Computer fraud and related, especially (a)(1)

  39. The part about that that aggravates me is that the tyrannical vigilantes performing these attacks (attacks on Sarah Palin's husband's personal credit account?) want me to believe they're "standing up for liberty".

    Sure, they're doing something that they'd rightfully castigate any government for even contemplating, but since they can press a button and cause trouble for "badman", who cares?

    (As far as I'm concerned, I'm never going to take a "due process" complaint from any of these people seriously, since obviously they don't really believe that any legal process should be necessary before the use of coercive force and intimidation tactics.

    The difference between these people and mobsters is that mobsters have some discretion and sense.)