Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christian tradition disappearing in Finland

I say, good on you!

There’s discussion in the Finnish media about tradition (read: christian tradition) disappearing in our schools. Some schools are downright outlawing songs and plays that portray christian values. Funny by the way, how the word christian, no capital C, is listed as misspelled in WordPress / Chrome.

This whole issue just makes me angry. And to top things off, one of our tabloid “news” “papers” have started a poll, where people can vote to either keep or abandon these christian traditions. At this time, something like 34 000 people have voted, which isn’t a lot. They should have added boobs. Or something. And now the headline is “Removal of christmas traditions causes minor citizen uproar!”. Free advertisement over an issue they have no control over, and that the majority doesn’t really give a shit about. Good work.

Basically songs that come from christian hertitage, anything containing jesus, god, angels and other christian bullshit, are being removed from Finnish schools. Christmas celebrations are in no way affected, but the issue is that “tradition” is being trampled.

So my question is, do we need religion to have tradition? Do we need the bible to have morals? Scarily, i’ve heard that an atheist cannot have morals, because the bible, the word of god, is the only source that teaches morals to people.

I think not. We can still celebrate, and have all kinds of fun without religious context! It’s like people want to continue old traditions just to continue them. How many people in Finland are actually Christians? I mean people who pray, go to church and read the bible? Not too many people i would wager. So what’s the fuzz?

“My Daddy and his Daddy before him always dropped bricks on their cocks. So you, my son, will continue to do the same thing!”

-“But why Dad, why?

“Because it’s always been done that way. Now get ready, here it comes!”

Wikileaks and the revenge of Anonymous

Let’s get a few things straight. Anonymous is not an organized group. It’s a bunch of people, mostly hailing from the online forum 4chan, who are out to do anything they damn well please. They are seldom politically motivated, and usually just do whatever feels like fun at the time. They do not have a leader. If Anonymous posts something, it’s just.. a guy. A regular person acting as the voice of this internet flash-mob, if you can call it that.

Basically how it goes is: Someone thinks something needs to be done. They make a post on 4chan, and if this person is successful in rousing enough interest, something happens. This is a pure game of luck. Most of the time, people will call you names, and tell you to go have intercourse with your mother, or a goat. But sometimes, you can get enough people, critical mass, and then get them to do something.

Various things 4chan “anonymous” has done in the past, include: Posting threats on the door of a Swedish forum operator (a forum which allows the posting of child pornography) and videotape the proceedings, to placing pubic-hair inside various (mostly Scientology related) religious books in bookstores around New York. Now, this random “Eye of Sauron” has turned it’s gaze upon those who seek to harm wikileaks.

Operation Payback is the name of this particular set of fun. Some anonymous created a tool called LOIC (low orbit ion cannon), which works on all platforms and makes participating in a distributed denial of service attack so easy, that you hardly need any skill at all. This is not hacking and most people using LOIC have no idea of what they are doing. Basically it has a nice GUI which allows you to type in a target website or IP, and then hit “Fire!”, to start attacking the host. Just like in the movies. So far they have targeted the Swedish Justice department, taking down their site for a good while, disrupting mastercard.com, and even causing payment verification to fail according to some reports. Visa.com was next, after they announced their block of wikileaks. Amazon was on the menu today.

Basically it’s just people doing stuff that seems fun. Like people demonstrating without really knowing what or who they are demonstrating for. They see it as fun, being a part of something bigger. Again: It’s very vaguely co-ordinated, and a group of Anonymous can disperse as quickly as they gathered. Next week maybe they will paint penises on bus stops. Who knows.

I’m not quite sure these DDOS attacks are a good thing. First of all they are not hackers. They are script kiddies at most, and i would bet even they would be insulted if these people were given that name. Yes. I think Visa, and Mastercard, Amazon and Paypal, Easydns, and a number of other companies need to think very carefully about what they do, if they intend to keep their clients.

I do realize the government can do really scary things, especially the US government. But you need to keep in mind that the people of this world will not look at your cowardly actions for much longer. You need to draw lines, agreed. But do so across the board. And once you go down the path of censorship, there is no turning back. If you do choose that path, go all the way. But don’t block one site, and leave others, like Paypal, still accepting donations for foundations supported by the Ku Klux Clan, an inherently evil racist group. You can’t donate to promote freedom of speech, but you can donate to support racism and hate.

Am i the only one who does not find any sense in this?

The other half of me thinks that the attacks on these companies serve no purpose, and are no better than the people opposing wikileaks. Isn’t preventing these sites from being accessed the same damn thing? Preventing these companies from exercising their own brand of freedom of speech? Though they have acted cowardly, and clearly under duress, do they deserve the same treatment. I haven’t decided. But i do think there is an inherent “Lulz”-factor in all of this. Visa denies donations to wikileaks, and they are taken down, costing them money as well. While i don’t condone clearly illegal activities (both those against wikileaks, and the companies mentioned), i don’t feel sorry for them either. You reap what you sow.

Somehow there is a curious sense of justice and irony to all of this, dontcha’ think?

 

Wikileaks and The Coming Revolution

God damn it! I kind of promised myself i wouldn’t write this post, but i’ll do it anyway!

So the topic of the past few weeks for anyone who has even tried to follow the news, has of course, been wikileaks. For those box-dwellers among you, Wikileaks is simly a site that accepts “leaked” information sent to them by anyone. The recent hubbub started when US Private First Class Bradley Manning (currently in prison) sent in what would later be called the “Collateral Murder” video. This video shows a US helicopter gunning down innocent people, among them, two children (who survived with serious injuries), and two Reuters Journalists, who did not survive the attack.

This leak did not go over well with the US government, and the game was on.

So the next big releases concerned “war journals” from Afghanistan and Iraq, detailing many of the reported incidents of casualties and other such events. In them, we can find out how many friendly-fire incidents there have been, and how many civilians have died since 9/11. Someone equated this to one 9/11-event every 8 months. And where are the memorial events for these people? Observances of silence? Haven’t heard anything so far (no pun intended).

The thing that broke the proverbial camel’s back was what has become known as “Cablegate”. The release of over 250 000 variously classified US embassy communiques. Basically messages sent between various State leaders, US embassies around the world, and the US state-department.

Wikileaks reportedly received these from Pfc. Bradley Manning, though this isn’t entirely certain, as far as i know. Wikileaks are releasing the cables in small increments, to give justice to the material being released. So far, around 1000 documents have been released. Which means there is a lot to go, and a lot of embarrassing moments various politicians.

The response so far has been US pressure against sites and service providers, such as Amazon, Paypal, Mastercard and Visa. I’ll go into more detail later on. Basically they are thinking pretty one-dimensionally. Stop wikileaks.org, and stop the problem, right? Wrong. There are as of this writing over one thousand mirrors, providing the same content. Even though the US government is known for being pretty fucking stupid, they cannot seriously be this naïve. Once information enters the internet, it can never be taken out again. Ever.

So how did the US government think to stop this problem. Here are a few examples:

  • Probably coercing Mastercard and Visa to stop taking donations to wikileaks. Wikileaks has lost a lot of money over this issue. Visa and Mastercard are both citing Terms of Service violations, but they have been vague at best, since there is still no idea of any law that Wikileaks might have broken *anywhere*. They are distributing already leaked material. Once it was leaked, it ceased to be private, and therefore, the only guilty party so far, is the person or persons who exfiltrated the data from “Secret” US government networks, such as SIPRNET.
    • Secret in t his case meaning that about 3 million people worldwide have been granted access to the same data.
  • Probably coercing Paypal to kill Wikileaks’ account, and so deprive them of funds that people would have donated through paypal, which i previously thought was a pretty decent company. Not anymore.
    • Note, that while wikileaks is in breach of Terms of Service, you can still donate money to such admirable organizations as the Ku Klux Clan through paypal. So get those dollars flowing people!
  • Forcing Amazon to stop hosting wikileaks.org in their cloud service. Of course, the DDOSing of wikileaks.org placed significant stress on Amazon’s infrastructure, but again, citing TOS violations are pretty funny.
    • I can’t even being to list all the similar items either on sale, or hosted at Amazon, providing equally “damaging” information, but Wikileaks was apparently different. Or then you just wanted to play nice with the Government bullies.
  • Forcing various DNS service providers from hosting wikileaks DNS records, therefore making you unable to access wikileaks.org by name.
    • This as we have seen is — uh — very effective. Over a thousand mirrors have cropped up so far, offering the same exact site as the now downed wikileaks.org. Also if a DNS server is removed, you can still access a site by its IP-address, unless they take more drastic measures, such as DDOSsing sites (such as wikileaks.ch, which is down from having to serve excessive requests). Speculation suggests the attackers are affiliated with the US government, who are waging a desperate and inane war against an “enemy” they do not comprehend.
  • Telling various government agencies and institutions that accessing wikileaks or any of the published cables is illegal or against regulations. These include at least the state department, military institutions (like soldiers overseas fighting for this very country). Rumors are even abound that schools are suggesting or prohibiting students from discussing or writing essays on the subject. I will repeat that these are unsubstantiated rumors.

So where do things stand now? Julian Assange, the “leader” of wikileaks is now in Brittish Custody, and soon to be turned over to Swedish authorities for trial on two alledged sex-crimes he committed. Now, while most media sources speak of rape, this is not the case. Is a journalist someone who does not check their facts? I think not. Rape has never been the charge. In stead, the crimes is that when two people agree to consensual sex in Sweden, and during intercourse, your condom breaks, the woman can sue you. Two women did. Two very interesting women. One may or may not have CIA ties. The other, a noted feminist, studied an article on how to take legal revenge on men before suing Julian.

As soon as news of the arrest came out, talk of extradition to the US appeared. Curious. A bunch of idiots have suggested he might be tried for treason, and various other ludicrous crimes. How can a non-US citizen be accused of treason? Well, in works by various other idiots, is now a revamping of the old espionage law, that would give US authorities the leverage they need to prosecute pretty much… anyone anywhere for spying and causing harm to US interests. I have no doubt in my mind that the Swedish authorities will hand him over just gladly, bending over to the will of the US government. If Julian is extradited, which is very likely to happen (if he isn’t assassinated first), he will probably never see the light of day again.

While my sympathies are with Julian and his family, taking him out of the equation will not affect Wikileaks in any way. In fact, it will only re-envigorate the cause. He would become a de-facto martyr for this “cause”, if you can call it that. Wikileaks will live on as long as the people decide it will. And there is no amount of government hoo-haa they can pull out of their ass that will change any of that. If they want to do something, i suggest owning up to the diplomatic disasters they themselves have created over the last few decades. The age of diplomatic secrecy and fucking the people of this world in the ass is over. As in nature, either you adapt, or you die. In this case, we can’t lose. Either governments will change to face this new reality, or they will crumble like a deck of cards.

Next in line is an exposé on the corrupted world of US banking! Rumors say it’s Bank of America that is being targeted, with some 5 gigabytes of data leaked  from the hard drive of a bank executive, supposedly revealing a culture of corruption, fraud and worse. I say go for it. If it costs us a re-collapse of the global economy, i say bring it. I am not afraid.

The world is in need of a decent shakeup.