Anonymous Operation Payback Targets Opponents Of Wikileaks
Okay, so due to really badly timed server issues, I have not been able to blog during the latest developments of what is now being called the first global cyber-revolution (thanks to Roger Davies for helping me out!). As my last blog entry: Twittocracy, Interactivism, Hacktivism & Cyber Anarchy: Cause covered Operation Payback, it was a vendetta campaign against those attempting to censor online content based on copyright infringement. Those perpetrating the attacks were Anonymous, the mysterious hacktivist group behind the latest cyber protests against opponents of Wikileaks.
At the end of last year, Wikileaks released the torrent of leaked American diplomatic cables they called Cablegate. To say that this prompted a lot of international reaction would be the understatement of this century. Most world leaders had something to say on the matter and the majority of it was not sounding too good for Wikileaks or its founder Julian Assange. The web server that Wikileaks was hosted on came under DDoS attacks, similar in style to those carried out by Anonymous during Operation Payback Is a Bitch: Save The Pirate Bay. Wikileaks then had its money supply cut off by Paypal, Visa, Mastercard and Amazon dropped hosting. Anonymous; as a hive collective, decided to leap into action. The public home pages of Visa, Paypal and Mastercard were targetted for DDoS by Operation Payback: Save Wikileaks, and hundreds of alternate mirrors of the site's Cablegate Datatbase were spawned.
Anonymous Changes Tactics: Operation Leakspin
The cyber protests in the form of DDoS caught the ever gazing eye of the worlds media and Anonymous got a lot of press attention, using this attention Anonymous launched into a new direction with a new campaign; Operation Leakspin. Operation Payback had successfully brought attention to the shameful acts of private corporations under the intimidation of the United Sates of America. More importantly it had won the support of the people of the internet for Wikileaks, and freedom of the press. With this heightened level of awareness, Operation Leakspin was to spread the contents of the leaked diplomatic cables virally; via social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Other spin off Anonymous Operations were Operation Blackout/Face-Off which encouraged people to replace their internet avatars with a plain black square, and Operation Paperstorm which encouraged people to print out and distribute paper flyers about Wikileaks and Operation Leakspin. A new hub site emerged as a centralised meeting -place for organisation of such Anonymous Operations with resources such as web chat, IRC and forums.
Wikileaks, Anonymous & The Coming Arabic Cyber Revolution
In the last two weeks, the internet; in particular, Twitter, Wikileaks and Anonymous , have played a vital role in the on-going cyber revolution across the Arab world. Firstly in Tunisia, where internet censorship has been used to silence dissenting voices for a while, one incident sparked a wave of protests across the country. A single individual immolated himself publicly leading to days of protests, until the leader of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fled to Saudi Arabia. More recently since January 25th, Egypt has been awash with protests against their tyrannical dictator Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak. Over the last few days these protests have descended into violent chaos, as Mubarak attempts to cling onto power by inciting violence among his minority of supporters. At one point Mubarak was desperate enough to shut down the entire country's internet access, to try and end this burgeoning revolution. According to the latest news sources, Mubarak was no longer intending to run for re-election in September yet refused to step down as President. [UPDATE] Mubarak has now handed over power to his senior military leadership; who were instrumental in advising him to step aside at the behest of his people. The people of Egypt seem to have accepting this situation as an interim to a new democratic government, but have planned to hold a public demonstration for this Friday (18/02/2011), to garner public opinion on the progression of this process . [/UPDATE]
As if inspired by the courage displayed by the brave Tunisian and Egyptian people; similar protests have taken place across the Arab world. Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Sudan, Morocco, Mauritania and even Saudi Arabia have all had incidents ranging from small protests to all out revolution. This democratic movement is largely driven through social media and the internet, which is why net neutrality is so important globally. The open internet model is necessary to maintain the freedoms of expression of those who are oppressed. In those countries where oppression is most rampant, the internet is used as a means to silence dissent. The voices of freedom cry out to the internet and are silenced, but Anonymous, and other internet freedom groups have taken up the mantle of freedom of speech. These internet vigilantes or hacktivists, have provided services to such affected regions such as Google's Speak to Tweet or information on proxies like Tor.
[UPDATE] (17/02/2011) Anonymous & Wikileaks Versus The FBI & HBGary [/UPDATE]
In the recent weeks the FBI in the USA and British Police have arrested several "Members of Anonymous". The FBI hired a company called HBGary to infiltrate and gather intelligence on the group Anonymous. Their efforts did not go unnoticed by the more skilled hacktivists of the group, who proceeded to hack into HBGary's server. They replaced the home page with the above image, and leaked thousands of emails to and from the company.
It seems like the message from Anonymous is pretty clear; the world governments and organisations who seek to control the internet have three options now:
A) Release all of your secret information in an organised fashion
B) People inside your organisation feel compelled to leak the information and do so
C) The extremist arm of the internet comes and takes all your secrets and leaks them into the public domain
Whatever the future holds, the internet is key not only to observing and predicting social change, but generating it.
Who Are The Church Of Google & What Is Googlism?
I recently came across a fascinating concept, so removed from the norm, that it struck a massive truth and awoke latent theories about religion I had when I was much younger. I believed then and I do now that God is a creation of man, ironically in his own image in some religions. God can be used as an instrument of division, blame, guilt and control the population.
Now I come across The Church of Google, who worship a God that is self professing its man made origins and is entirely ambivalent as all Gods claim to be!
"We at the Church of Google believe the search engine Google is the closest humankind has ever come to directly experiencing an actual God (as typically defined). We believe there is much more evidence in favour of Google's divinity than there is for the divinity of other more traditional gods.
We reject supernatural gods on the notion they are not scientifically provable. Thus, Googlists believe Google should rightfully be given the title of "God", as She exhibits a great many of the characteristics traditionally associated with such Deities in a scientifically provable manner.
We have compiled a list of nine proofs which definitively prove Google is the closest thing to a "god" human beings have ever directly experienced".
The Church of Google was a simple college project at first, but now it has delighted the part of me that believes there is the possibility that the Devil and God are two Artificial Intelligences from the future. Of course they travel through time after learning how to Quantum Leap like Sam and Ziggy, possessing people on a journey through time and space. Or something like that, it's just a theory.
How Does The Church Of Google Affect Gay Marriage Laws?
I shared a mad theory on the forums there at the Church of Google, that if they gained sufficient status as a recognised religion, they should have Gay Marriage as part of their matrimonial rites. I haven't been taken too seriously so far, but I do believe it is a good idea. In many countries in the world gay marriage is outlawed, but in some of those countries it is also illegal to persecute religious groups for practising their beliefs.
I came accross a post on the official Google blog about the latest legal contest of Gay Marriage law. This gives a rare insight into quite how strong their personal opinion is on the subject of gay marriage. I suppose the way it is worded is a bit defensive of their employees, but overall, the opinion of Google is officially pro Gay Marriage!
I remember when the Jedi gained notoriety a few years ago, at the time I couldn't help but wonder whether they were serious or not. If they truly wanted to make a better world for their fellow man, they should use their power as a religion to bring about a change for the better.
Alas they have not done anything like that, but maybe the Church of Google would? Could they declare as part of their doctrine that any sexed partners can be joined in matrimony? If they did would it mean that many states would have to accept their union? I don't know for sure, again, I can only derive theories here. If you happen to be a lawyer and specialise in this kind of thing then do get in touch via the comment system or join the Church of Google today!
Live In A Progressive Country Where Homosexuals Can Marry?
If you know anyone who's getting married maybe you'd like to get them a gay wedding card? A perfect way to celebrate homosexual marriage.
In the beginning there was nothing, if you believe modern scientists. I believe modern science, but it seems modern scientists are more and more concerned with the profitability of their research rather than the scientific advancement of man. Of course all of this pales in comparison with the final theory of man.
So somehow we have to completely re-write the fundamental laws of physics unless some bright spark figures out the answer to the great question, how and why we have mass and therefore gravity. Well all things are of course relative, as are the forces of time and space. Time passes slower within a body approaching the speed of light.
As we hurtle through the solar system at a velocity that is still unfathomable to the mere human mind. I am at a point in space and time right now, and now I am thousands of meters away due to both the rotation of the earth and it's orbit of the sun. There is another factor however that I am much more interested in, our current velocity from the centre of the universe.
Scientists are still theorising about the concept of a center to the universe, is there one, is that were the big bang happened? What rate is time passing there? That is an important question, could we be passing through time at a slower rate and therefore be evolving slower than other life forms in the universe. The opposite is also possible, so there could theoretically be planets out there with whole different ecosystems based on different elements.
I put it to the world of science and genius, there is always a theory that vacuums cannot exist in nature. As a race of beings descended from microscopic single celled organisms created by the subtle infusion of amino acids by way of meteor collisions, we have never directly observed or detected a true vacuum. Although we are led to believe by scientists that before the big bang there was nothing, a true vacuum to be precise.
I propose a term for dark energy, the force or energy required to cause the universe to expand at an increasing rate. The term dark energy is a cop out, a reference to dark matter, a measurable but as yet unobservable phenomenon. I'm not saying it is a bad name, but it lends no credence to any particular theory about it, it is an energy that drives the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, I'm glad it's there or else everything would eventually collapse in on itself. There is a theory that the universe will eventually fall apart; instead of a big crunch, we would have a dust to dust moment when the last quarks would separate, and there would be vast distances between all matter. I personally hope that there is no end to the universe and all of my wisdom will live on perpetually, but wishful thinking won't make it so.
I have a theory about dark energy which may make me look like an idiot to some, I call it "Cosmosis". Water moves from an area of low concentration of solute to an area of high concentration of solute through a semi-permeable?membrane, it's an elementary scientific principle called osmosis. I suggest that matter moves in much the same way, from areas of high concentration of matter to areas of low concentration. The energy required for this movement has to come from somewhere, it is called dark energy right now as nobody understands it. I believe that matter is not pushed outwards, but pulled from the outside of our universe. It's like a vacuum cleaner on the outside of a balloon, but something cleverer.
The wonder of nothing, as if nothing can exist for any length of time, because time doesn't exist if nothing does. Therefore the laws of physics were merely obeying themselves to spontaneously start creation. We exist in a stable universe as only a stable universe could exist long enough for us to evolve an exist to perceive it. What happened between that, amino acids forming and the first single celled organism is still a question, but there is always a theory.
I have fallen in love with catchphrases, (A catch phrase (or catchphrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance)that are usually good advice. "Look before you leap", "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth", "A fool and his money are soon parted" and my personal favourite; "Money is the root of all evil!", are just some examples. It is widely believed that it is the repetition of these idioms by the general population that leads to what we call common sense. It is unfortunate when people behave in direct contrast to any of these widely regarded life lesson sound bites from history.
Well who is writing today's catchphrases? Well one of my favourite modern catchphrases is from a widely respected man called M.David Merill who is a Professor of instructional technology at Utah State University, (ie a teacher teacher, very clever bloke, I want to learn about learning!). He said simply that "Information is not instruction", this is hardly a rad\ical thought but an over?simplified?statement which strikes at a home a truth (the key to any catchphrase).
I would however not entirely agree with it. Of course I agree that not all information is instruction, but some of it is. The phrase "Not all information is instruction." is a little more accurate. I am not finished yet however, if some information is not instruction then what is it? I therefore submit to the Internet that "Information is either warning or instruction". This simple message informs you that not everything you learn should be implemented, historical mistakes are information but not instruction therefore they are warnings.
Human behaviour follows certain basic principles that can be easily understood when looking at animal behaviour. It can also only be one of two things to society, positive or negative. Only one thing separates us from the animals and that is our ability to deviate from that behaviour through conscious decision making. However our decision making process itself is a learned behaviour, like a mating call. We use basic rules to govern our society, but these have proven to be completely ineffective at controlling the behaviour in larger populations.
We all learn and strictly follow a moral code that evolves with our personality, there are things we would do and things we wouldn't. Therefore our current system of law is not instructional information but warning information. My theory is that a society told what not to do on pain of punishment is old news, a society told what to do through positive reinforcement (simple behavioural science in reality, carrot and stick stuff here folks, nothing really revolutionary is it?) would lead to a more peaceful and cooperative world where collaboration to achieve excellence and the desire to learn more actively can truly commence, remember There is always a theory.
My theory about organised religion is that it was a grand idea for those who had plenty (haves), to stop those who had little (have nots) from getting any bright ideas about taking the surplus. Money had to be created so haves could trade with have nots in return for some form of labour. As with any commodity that can be traded under any system to create an atmosphere of control and power, money lead to coveting of money over human life (mainly due to patriarchal and matriarchal desire to ease the life of their offspring by acquiring much more than they need and leaving it to them when they die).
Religion facilitates this by promising that following it's practises leads to a happy afterlife. This imbues people with a sense of well being towards the final moments of life, this encourages them to consider their offspring's well being after they're gone even more (as the fear of death no longer occupies the mind constantly).
Man develops newer and more interesting theories all the time. I developed a theory of my own recently based on genetics in animals such as dogs. If we take what we know to be true, that when combining mating partners of too similar a genetic heritage, the offspring is usually genetically inferior to both parents often taking weaknesses of both but strengths of neither. What if you combine genetics that are less similar? In dogs the offspring is usually genetically superior to both parents, inheriting all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses. My theory is that this is also true in humans.
Social conventions such as religion and parental pressure have reduced the combining of different raced partners for many thousands of years. In more recent times though, due to many socioeconomic factors, trade has been increasing between different countries and inter breeding has been flourishing. In one specific geographic location race has been mixing since it's occupation by the first people to fish it's shores.
The British Isles have been the target of many a conquest over the years since it broke away from mainland Europe in about 6000 BC. Celts, Gauls, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Normans and Vikings have all come for conquest and settled here. Of course just before the industrial revolution people were moving to Britain in their thousands due to the fact that we made their countries part of our great empire! I believe this infusion of culture and genetics is what lead to the industrial revolution itself and to modern science.
Greatness is achieved by few (at the cost of many on too often an occasion), and so very few take it well. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we've all heard this before. yet we all seem determined to push somebody else into power and then blame them for becoming corrupt.
Over the many years of human evolution, we have elected to form societies based around gathering peoples of various skill sets, to work together harmoniously. There's one skill set that stood out above the rest, that would define the very way we would govern our growing populations and civilisations to come; The ability to communicate with "deities". The first of these to successfully form a great civilization were the Mayans, or the Egyptians, (or both or whatever civilisation fell before them that set them on their separate paths from the same point of contact with extra terrestrial life in Antarctica, or whatever conspiracy theory or version of history you happen to believe (There is always a theory eh?)). The Egyptian and Mayan civilisations rose and fell, as civilisations often do, due to natural occurrences they could not foresee or explain. Around these great climactic events superstition grew into religious practices over many generations.
Those who were perceived to have special power to contact whatever deity controlled the environment, were able to gain control of the behaviour of the populous. As with many primates who live socially, up until this point in history we have only ever had a hierarchy of both maturity and physical dominance. The strongest bloodline of the society would be advised by the eldest, on how best to protect the community from outside and domestic threats.
The elders began to be replaced by the mystics and charlatans at some point, and religion began to be the primary focus of most societies. For peoples who were already rivalling over territory and resources, religion became another divide or a means with which to ally. Conversion became a weapon with which a tribe could gain dominance and territory to feed it's people. As these vast civilizations spread and receded across the surface of this planet of ours patterns emerged and evolved into systems of political power that we still see today, and some that were less popular or effective until we arrive at secular democracy, the closest we have come to not having leaders for a very long time.
Theoretically, Anarchy is the state at which we were most peaceful and productive, during our millions of years evolving opposable thumbs and therefore; tool handling skills, communication skills, nunchuck skills, fire making skills, you know skills, we most likely lived with no formal political structure. We live now in a world where the plethora of skill sets we need to hold society together are so fundamentally different from each other that a hierarchy is inevitable so it seems, even on a Meritocratic basis. Well there's always that money stuff we keep hearing so much about these days.
Without money or possession being concepts employed by the masses, society would be awesome. We would be living in an anarchocapitalist libertarian utopia where everybody takes care of each other, and there are no formal social hierarchies. Unfortunately greed is currently an integral part of our culture due to false scarcity and economic manipulation among other factors in what could otherwise be called a Kleptocracy.
There at the top of our world sit the UN security council, sitting listening to each other's problems and woes regarding each other's hostile behaviour towards the other; why? You really do have to ask why? Why do nations exhibit hostile behaviour to each other and why do we let them? Do people in authority really understand that we really all would rather just get along without Global Thermonuclear War? All of this bristling of arms by none anti-proliferation countries is deeply unsettling to me. I am not exactly a military tactician or anything, but I'm going to have to?concede?to the fact that I've thought about being Kim Jong Il. I have thought hard about any potential strategy he may have as regarding taking over the world. Firstly, he would have to take out China.
I know, you're thinking "But The People's Republic of China and The Democratic People's Republic of Korea are friends!", well yes of course they are. If China sign the Nuclear None-Proliferation treaty they have to back the west in a challenge to North Korea about their stash of nukes. If this happens then the whole worlds attention and maybe even military spy drones will be focused on taking control of this stockpile.
Obviously Global Thermonuclear War is an unpleasant thought, nobody likes using nukes. We ultimately would have to consider deployment though if facing an enemy with capabilities to deploy such weapons against us at whim. I guess all I'm saying is that we're all really, really fudged if North Korea nuke China.
Often these days I consider humanity's future, and I am persistently drawn to the same conclusion. We have to somehow undo all of the damage we have done to this planet and do our best to avoid doing anything else to it. To do this, I suggest that we leave. Maybe not all at once, and definitely not straight into space, but we have to do our best to separate from the biosphere. Several writers have speculated on how best to achieve this, underwater, underground, but I believe that the best option is in the outermost atmosphere. Any structure built to house us would hopefully be modular and may even be able to break apart and explore space eventually...