Thursday, December 09, 2010

wikileaks a warground: people vs. empire


Video - X-Clan Heed the Words of the Brother

Counterpunch | The leaks have been hailed as a blow to US criminal activity by people around the world, including staunchly American US Congressman Ron Paul, and condemned by lovers of US empire such as former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who called for Assange to be "pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders". Former UK Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said WikiLeaks' actions were "active assistance to terrorist organisations", neglecting to reflect on the UK's own long history of worldwide terrorist activities.

The 39-year-old Assange is an Australian citizen, though his Prime Minister Julia Gillard has threatened to cancel his passport. He is described by colleagues as charismatic, driven and highly intelligent, with an exceptional ability to crack computer codes. To his critics, he is just a publicity-seeker and womaniser.

In 1995 he was accused with a friend of dozens of hacking activities and fined, promising to be a good boy. He quietly co-authored Underground with Suelette Dreyfus, dealing with the subversive side of the Internet. Dreyfus described Assange as "quite interested in the concept of ethics, concepts of justice, what governments should and shouldn't do".

He began Wikileaks in 2006 as a "dead-letterbox" for would-be leakers — the real heroes of this saga, the unknown soldiers disgusted with their role as hired killers. His collective developed a Robin Hood guerrilla lifestyle, moving communications and people from country to country to make use of laws protecting freedom of speech. Co-founder Daniel Schmitt describes Assange as "one of the few people who really care about positive reform in this world to a level where you're willing to do something radical".

Wikileaks was forced this year to switch to a Swiss host server after several US Internet service providers shut him down, claiming he was endangering lives, though he made clear he was careful to vet the military cables from Afghanistan and Iraq precisely to avoid this. His site also came under cyber attack and PayPal cut off his ability to raise funds.

There is no doubt that Gillard, the Swedish prosecutor, PayPal, etc are all being pressured by the US government to help snuff out this ray of light exposing its many crimes. Only French Internet service provider OVH said it had no plans to end the service it provides to Wikileaks, and a judge threw out Industry Minister Eric Besson's case to force it to.

Hackivist admirers of Mr Quixote have set up mirror sites faster than traditional servers can shut Wikileaks down and are launching denial-of-service attacks targetting its Internet enemies. Coldblood, a member of the computer group Anonymous, told BBC, "Websites that are bowing down to government pressure have become targets. We feel that Wikileaks has become more than just about leaking of documents, it has become a war ground, the people vs the government."