“Julian Assange Denounces Hactivists”

That would be an interesting headline to see. Even more interesting is the fact, as far as I know, that we haven’t seen it. For that, there should be consequences. Rant below the fold. Not work safe. Grrrrrrrr.

Julian Assange and his Hactivists can kiss my ass. Did you hear that? KISS MY FUCKING ASS!!!! I’ve gotten more “your password was compromised” emails in the last day or so than I’ve ever seen since the beginning of the Internet. Why? Because you have the maturity and perspective of an overtired baby with diaper rash.

Item: According to their own Rhetoric, Julian Assange is a spokesperson for Wikileaks. A spokesperson. Need I use the word “mere” in this sentence? As a spokeseperson, he is of no consequence to Wikileaks, so any importance I may attach to Wikileaks need not transfer to Julian Assange. In other words, he is replaceable.

Item: Julian Assange has achieved “I want to have your baby” cult status among self styled anarchists, net freedom symps, leftists of all sorts. Amongst these folk, and I generally count myself one of them (except I tend to lean farther left than most) are the so called “Hactivists.”

Item: The Hactivists have carried out activities, oh behalf of Julian Assange, that have caused several of my own personal accounts to be compromised.

Let me explain that a bit further. As a bloggger and science communicator, I’ve found it convenient to get a user name and password for all sorts of on line entities, such as gawker, linked-in, etc. etc. I therefore have more of these accounts than I’m even aware of, and they all run off a limited set of emails that I don’t use for other purposes and they all use passwords that I don’t use for anything that I consider important. In other words, if someone hacks my Gawker.com account, they can do nothing with it of any consequence to me. I could care less about Gawker.com and if one can do something to them… they’re the ones that let the hactivists in the back door, after all. It turns out that for some reason many of these accounts are linked to each other, so the hacking of the Gawker.com accounts has lead to the indirect hacking of others. On top of this, we are starting to see emails form nefarious spammers (perhaps the same hackers as the hactivists?) asking for one’s user name and password in order to ‘fix’ this problem.

So, when I add these three Items together, I get the following gut reaction: Julian Assannge can hang, for all I care. He will not have my support under any circumstances. I will not post requests for funding to help him out of his legal troubles, I will not buy him a beer if I meet him, I will not expend any energy to support him in any way. As far as I can tell, his people have taken it upon themselves to steal my password, an act of vandalism which is the annoying and damaging result of an infantile conniption.

Some of you will undoubtedly jump in and point out that Julian Assange has nothing to do with the hactivists. Bullshit I say. First of all, he has not denounced them, has he? Secondly, the same people who insist that Assange and the Hactivists are unconnected will also claim that the CIA or the US State Department has everything to do with the Swedish Charges against Assannge. So, while you’all are making up your mind as to which tenuous connections you want to insist you know to be real vs. which you insist you know to be fake, I’ll simply repeat my declaration: Julian Assange and his hactivists can kiss my ass.

My collective answer to all the emails I’m getting from various on line organizations telling me what I need to do to reset my password: Delete my account from your files. Now. I’ll be back when I feel safe, and you won’t be aware that it is me if and when that happens.

Comments

  1. #1 Soren
    December 14, 2010

    You’re right. We don’t know squat about Mr. Assange. And Michael Moore supporting his defense on rape charges? Smart.

  2. #2 NewEnglandBob
    December 14, 2010

    For your health, you should stop holding it all in and let it out. Tell us how you really feel about this ;)

    Now, breath…in…out…in…

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    December 14, 2010

    Grrrrrr…

    Then I decided to just quit LinkedIn but there is no way to do that. Like facebook and the Mafia. Once you’re in you can never get out.

  4. #4 James Davis
    December 14, 2010

    Uh… first off, the CIA probably isn’t involved in the charges against Assange. I think it’s completely Sweeden through-and-through.

    That said, what is wrong with you? Do you have any evidence at all that these hacking attempts are at all related to the ‘hacktivists’ supporting Assange? It seems to me that you are engaging in some real ‘post hoc ergo prompter hoc’ thinking here.

    Let me get this straight, you are saying “Hacktivists are doing something to support Assange and Wikileaks” and then “I am seeing signs of hacking against me” and assuming that the two are related? This is a serious logical misstep, the kind I wouldn’t have expected from you after our previous conversations.

    Also, to correct some of the factual errors: 1 – The hacktivists are attacking Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Amazon, and a few other places because they have attempted to cut off the flow of money and hosting to Wikileaks. They are not fighting so much for Assange’s sake as they are for the sake of Wikileaks’ money flow. 2 – The hacktivists are using mostly dDoS attacks, which stop websites from working, not password stealing attacks which attempt to gain control of people’s stuff. 3 – The hacktivists are mostly ‘members’ of Anonymous. (Member is a very strange term to use for a ‘notgroup’ like this.) As such, they take their orders from the group and not a particular person. They go after things in totally disorganized fashion, not a concerted central effort.

    In short, I hate to say it Greg, but you are totally misinformed about the whole situation. What looks more likely to me is that you happened to have a group of accounts broken into (happens to most people at various times) and that this just happened to come after a major ‘Hacking’ news story so you assumed the two were related. They almost certainly are not.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    December 14, 2010

    ‘post hoc ergo prompter hoc’

    Exactly! I saw the Latin American connection too!

    but seriously, James, you do know about the Gawker attack, yes? Claims were made. That’s all I’m sayin’

  6. #6 Irene
    December 14, 2010

    Greg, I love your sense of humor but you need a straight man to point out when it is in full form.

    Not that any of this is funny or anything. De-dum-dum.

  7. #7 Tom S.
    December 14, 2010

    James Davis, what’s wrong with YOU? Do you support the lack of denouncement by Assange of those who hacked the Gawker.com site?

    I agree. His silence on this matter is deafening.

  8. #8 James Davis
    December 14, 2010

    Greg. I had not heard of a Gawker hacking attack. Let me look it up for a moment and reconsider my position.

    From what I’m seeing on http://www.pcworld.com/article/213679/gawker_hack_exposes_ridiculous_password_habits.html and http://www.businessinsider.com/fbi-meeting-with-gawker-tomorrow-2010-12 there doesn’t seem to be any relation at all to the ‘Hacktivists’.

    In regards to Irene’s comment, if I’m the one who didn’t detect that this post was in jest. (Which, given how out of place it is, it just might be.) Then I apologize, but invoke the law of ‘hard to read sarcasm in text’ to mitigate my mistake.

  9. #9 Nemo
    December 14, 2010

    I thought you’d already seen that the two events (credit card company DDoS and Gawker et al. password theft) were apparently unconnected, with only the former being attributable to WikiLeaks supporters — given your note here: “[No, wait, probably not. Updated.]“

  10. #10 Ax
    December 14, 2010

    Its part of a patern. Julian Assange set up a time bomb to go off if anything bad happens to him. He can no longer claim to be careful about what is released because the time bomb contains damaging information. He has had his associates carry out illegal and unethical acts against entities that have worked against him, and he has a private army of hackers who can claim deniability but carry out acts of sabotage. There is no measurable difference between Julian Assange and any of the corrupt governments he claims to be exposing. It takes one to know one, I suppose.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    December 14, 2010

    Nemo, I saw a mis-attribution of this event to one group corrected, but not a denouncement of this from Wikileaks or Assange. Those are totally different things. I’ll be happy to be corrected on that. Indeed, if there is someone else I’m supposed to be mad at for this particular hack job, tell me who it is and I’ll happily blog their sorry asses.

  12. #12 James Davis
    December 14, 2010

    Strange, my comments seem to have stopped appearing? I’m guessing I’ve been black or greylisted?

    At any rate, I see no evidence that the Gawker password hack and the Wikileaks dDoS attacks are related except by temporal proximity. I really think you’re misdirecting your anger Greg.

    Either that or this all really is one big joke and I’m the punch-line. Wouldn’t be the first time…

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    December 14, 2010

    James, you’ve not been [color]listed. Comments with links often (but strangely, not always) get quarantined, and other comments get snagged for reasons that are confidential but unimportant. (I don’t discussed operational details for security reasons.) But then I release them. I’m like my own home-grown personal WikiLeaks!

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    December 14, 2010

    Not seeing something is hardly ever evidence that it isn’t there:

    “After months of taunting over various extensive 4chan campaigns, someone purporting to be a member of internet “hacktivist” collective Anonymous now appears to be claiming it has hacked into Gawker Media and stolen 1.5 million usernames, emails, and passwords. Except their goal this time was not to silence Gawker’s insolence at their online behavior, but all for a good cause: to support Wikileaks. And, if the reports are true, they have done absolutely nothing to prove it. Update – Gawker Editorial Director Scott Kidder says via Twitter “No evidence to suggest any Gawker user accounts were compromised, and passwords encrypted anyway.” ”

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/report-operation-payback-strikes-gawker-media-claims-to-steal-passwords/

    “In a separate development, an attack which exposed the email addresses and passwords of 1.3 million Gawker users was also today linked with the thousand-strong Anonymous group.

    A subgroup of the amorphous “hacktivists” is preparing to hack and deface U.S. government websites with pro-WikiLeaks propaganda, according to a Sky News journalist. Anonymous has previously made explicit its ambition to bring down the websites belonging to the U.S. Senate and Swedish government. ”

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article953789.ece

    “Messages were left Sunday night for Gawker chief Nick Denton.

    Gawker’s Gizmodo tech blog gained fame in May when it posted pictures of an iPhone prototype. The phone was lost by an Apple engineer in a Silicon Valley bar.

    The Gawker breach is the latest in a recent series of cyberspace attacks on websites. Last week, the Visa and MasterCard sites were inaccessible for a short time likely because of attacks by supporters of the WikiLeaks website. Supporters were angry that the credit card companies had stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks.

    Both MasterCard and Visa said that cardholders’ accounts were not at risk and that people could continue using their credit cards.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40634232/ns/technology_and_science-security/

    Messages?

    Probably in retribution for this piece on gawker.com: http://gawker.com/5611692/what-happened-to-wikileaks-founder-julian-assanges-weird-hair

    To be honest, and I’m not joking, there really should be a denouncement of the hactivists in general from Wikileaks. This gawker.com thing probably is connected … call it a hunch. It may be, probably is, hackers acting independently. But none of that matters. When crazy islamic bombers bomb shit, islamic heads of state and/or religious leaders denounce them (In public. Then they say all sorts of embarassing shit in the diplomatic cables, apparently. But whatever.) Where is the denouncement?

  15. #15 Charles Sullivan
    December 14, 2010

    This post made me laugh.

  16. #16 Dev
    December 14, 2010

    Are you seriously pushing the “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” card? That is the sane sloppy, unscientific thinking that threatens to drown this country, and frankly I expected far better from you.

  17. #17 CherryBomb
    December 14, 2010

    Welcome to the new morality, Greg. It goes kinda like this: If it is possible to mess with any of your accounts, it is your own fault because you did not secure them properly. No blame is accepted by the hackers, because if you left those flaws in there, you have invited attack. Actually, you are the one should be punished. In this moral order, anything that is possible is de facto moral, and there is no such thing as an innocent victim.

    You see this mentality a lot in on-line gaming situations, where people argue it is perfectly ok to exploit any flaw they can find. Obviously, I am just an old crank, so ignore me, maybe.

  18. #18 Webs
    December 14, 2010

    The connection is pretty weak. Not to mention there is no motive for Anonymous. Every attack anons have ever orchestrated have been for a reason. What is the reason here? What purpose? This sounds like a conspiracy. Ugh…

    Not to mention Anonymous has already stated they are going to stop attacks after the first day anyway? There was a big public release and they posted a new operation on their website. It makes ZERO sense to try to connect them or WikiLeaks to these stolen passwords.

  19. #19 Paul Murray
    December 15, 2010

    And how many people have the hactivist’s drones killed? Oh that’s right – the drones are only killing muslims, and they just don’t count.

  20. #20 Ellie
    December 15, 2010

    Read this. All of you. Right now. FFS.

    http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/12/interview-with-julian-assanges-lawyer.html

    The reason JA hadn’t previously denounced the hacktivists is because he’s been locked up in isolation without bail for a week because apparently… nope, actually it seems there isn’t a good reason. Make of that what you will.

    Anyway, I heard he has now finally been given bail but I wouldn’t expect him to come out with all guns blazing either in support of or against the hacktivists (beyond his statement of non-support made in the blog entry I have linked to) – I suspect he has more important things on his mind than your sloppy internet security Greg!

    Just because a group of internet revolutionaries are acting up to show their support for his actions doesn’t make him The Puppet Master. Your conspiracy theorising and paranoia is a little over the top.

  21. #21 MadScientist
    December 15, 2010

    Let me see – wiki guy is in jail but expected to know what’s going on and get on the internet to say “hey, those assholes stealing personal information have nothing to do with me!” Not that I’d expect him to give a shit and make any statement about it even if he were a free man.

    Obama never condemned the trade of blood diamonds – he must be in on the racket! After all, he’s a Kenyan muslim – or something.

  22. #22 Ian, Brighton
    December 15, 2010

    Today’s XKCD made me laugh: http://xkcd.com/834/

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    December 15, 2010

    Those representing Wikileaks and Assange have had multiple opportunities to denounce these actions.

    And Mad, you’re right … they don’t have to. But then we know where they stand. Trampling innocent people is part of their MO. Nice.

    I’m still not buying him a beer.

    Read this. All of you. Right now. FFS.

    Ellie, what does “FFA” mean? Is that some sort of thing you will do to anyone who does not do exactly what you tell them to do the moment you scream it at them? Nice.

    I expected far better from you.

    Absence of evidence for what? Your claim is ironic at many levels.

    If it is possible to mess with any of your accounts, it is your own fault because you did not secure them properly.

    Good point. I’d like to see an effort to correlate current Assange Fanbodies with those tauting that morality in earlier contexts (i.e, [blogosphere > filter for statements about anyone using google/facebook/etc. email is asking for trouble] X [blogosphere > Hactivists' victims are asking for it]) … and then control for attitude shifts in those who actually got hacked.

    The connection is pretty weak.

    Webs, you make me laugh!!!! Or did you just not read the post? Oh. Right. Didn’t read the post.

    Paul: And how many people have the hactivist’s drones killed?

    Paul, right! Which is why we like Wikileaks. It’s not Wikileaks that is the problem, it’s the hero worship and the fanbodies the prob… oh, wait. Right. You didn’t read the post either. Oh well.

  24. #24 Webs
    December 15, 2010

    I did read the post and comments. I see no logical connection between the two.

    Greg, I can find countless number of articles linking 9/11 and Bush but you would probably say its a conspiracy and nonsense right? You are basically creating your own conspiracy here.

    But really what would the motivation be for anonymous to do this? What would they stand to gain to steal other people’s info? So far anonymous has said they are going to go after those that attack WikiLeaks funding. Gawker has nothing to do with that and neither does McDonalds. Yes that is right, in all of these attacks McD’s website was hacked too. I’m waiting for an explanation…

    Further, after the first attacks against the banks and Amazon, Anonymous stated they are done attacking and going to instead move to a political campaign. It was widely publicized and they stated they are going to release more cables each week until the attacks against WikiLeaks cease.

    Knowing all of this it makes zero sense to attempt to connect dots with anon and these recent attacks on websites for usernames and pwds.

    And no I’m not going to provide any links here. Part of being scientific is seeking out information that contradicts what you know and attempting to create a better informed opinion about things and the world. Do your homework people.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    December 15, 2010

    Webb, this post (and many of the comments) are 90% joke. The one serious thing that I’m saying here is that it does not matter what the connections are or are not between the gawker.com hit, the paypal/MC/etc hit, Wikileaks and Julian Assange. The latter in not denouncing the former, which are either explicitly connected or guessed by some to be connected, is implicit support. (MadScientist: Are you sure Obama never concemned blood diamonds? But even so, that is not an appropriate comparison. Nobody is bloodying up diamonds as a way of acting out against, say, teabaggers burning Obama in effigy.)

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    December 15, 2010

    Mad: I’m interested in blood diamonds, so please tell me if you actually have something on that. What I know about vis-a-vis Obama is that he signed this act:
    “The Clean Diamond Trade Act (Public Law 108-19) (the “Act”) authorizes the President to “prohibit the importation into, or exportation from, the United States of any rough diamond, from whatever source, that has not been controlled through the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.” The Act takes effect on the date that the President certifies to the Congress that (1) an applicable waiver that has been granted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) is in effect, or (2) an applicable decision in a resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations is in effect. The Act remains in effect during those periods in which, as certified by the President to the Congress, such an applicable waiver or decision is in effect.”

    Was there some way or place he was supposed to condemn blood diamonds?

  27. #27 Ender
    December 15, 2010

    Yeah, I bet he doesn’t have anything better to do than specifically rebuking a hacking he almost certainly had no prior knowledge of which affected Greg Laden. It’s clear from his laziness that he is a bastard. You tell him.

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    December 15, 2010

    Ender: Finally, someone who understands.

  29. #29 Kapitano
    December 15, 2010

    The Hactivists

    Are they a band?

    have carried out activities

    What? All of them, in unison?

    oh behalf of Julian Assange

    …therefore on his personal orders. I see. Thank you Mr Poe.

  30. #30 Greg Laden
    December 15, 2010

    Kapitano: Exactly. I’m gad you picked up on the carefully chosen phrase “on behalf of” which is explicitly ambiguous.

    And it shall remain ambiguous. Until the much awaited denouncement.

    Oh, an a satire can’t be a poe. Can it. But a fanbody can be a fool, yes indeed.

  31. #31 Jim
    December 15, 2010

    Someone claiming to speak for “Anonymous” (though he was later disavowed) was on “The Today” programme here in the UK earlier in the week. With no irony, while talking about their DDOS attacks he said
    “Our actions are to ensure the openness and availability of the internet for everyone”.
    (Failing to add, ” by forcing people we don’t like off it”)

    Duh

  32. #32 Mike from Ottawa
    December 15, 2010

    Is “denouncement” some sort of foul Americanism? In the civilized world, it’s “denunciation”.

    As you were.

  33. #33 aporeticus
    December 15, 2010

    All the while, David Miscavige is probably particularly gleeful that the foremost Scientology protest “organization” has been completely discredited. Never mind that the intersection of Anonymous protesters and Anonymous hacktivists may be thin. Those who label themselves “Anonymous” now implicitly agree with the hactivists in the eyes of the public.

  34. #34 Doug Alder
    December 15, 2010

    Greg – something must have changed information wise since I first read about Gawker yesterday morning as in that article (sorry not going to go look for it but I think it was Wired’s coverage) stated that it was 4chan not anonymous that was the source of the hack (and no doubt there is some commonality between the two groups) and that it had nothing to do with Assange or Wikileaks but was retaliation for Gawker’s ongoing dissing of 4chan.

  35. #35 Greg Laden
    December 15, 2010

    Those 4Chan people need to be exposed by Wikileaks.

    But actually the point is the same, then, isn’t it? Isn’t 4Chan highly disliked by those who would restrict the internet, and isn’t 4chan all about countering censorship, etc.? What buisness to those people have forcing zillions of people who have nothing to do with them, or who may even support them, to spend any time at all fixing the mess they created? Infantile.

  36. #36 Ellie
    December 15, 2010

    “FFS” not “FFA”. Here, let me Google that for you…

    Apparently, whilst accusing your readers of not being able to tell when what you write is “90% a joke” you can’t tell the difference between a tone of amused resignation and “screaming it at them”. Even though the only capitals in my post were the grammatically required ones.

    Also, you don’t appear to have read my post past the “FFS” or to have followed the link, or you would know that JA has stated via his lawyer that he “does not support” the DOA attacks. I won’t say too much on the absence of evidence bit, except to note that JA has stated his position and you don’t appear to have heard.

    What does Ender apparently understand that the rest of us seem to have missed? Ender’s point seemed to be substantively the same as mine and MadScientist’s, so I’d be interested to have spelled out to me what I am obviously too stupid to understand.

  37. #37 Greg Laden
    December 16, 2010

    “A has stated via his lawyer that he “does not support” the DOA attacks.”

    Seriously? Cool. Never mind, then.

    It is a shame, though, that the not very strong statement “does not support the attacks” is incidentally mentioned almost as an afterthought on a blog in which someone reports a conversation with someone. That is a far cry from what should really happen. In fact, its deniable. In fact, it’s probably playing both sides of the fence.

    Yeah, not cool. I’m still pissed. This is not good enough. But it is something, thanks for the info.

  38. #38 Irene
    December 16, 2010

    Ellie, considering the two posts (this one and the one you insist we read NOW) came out at almost exactly the same time, and as noted this has not been said anywhere else, the FFS was probably over the top. And I agree with Greg. This is not a “denouncement”. It is a casual statement made off the cuff that reached our ears by chance and not as a formal statement. If some guy decided to not write a blog post it would not be known at all, would it? Julian Assange is in his own world with his own problems, understandably, but Wikileaks is an organization and not just him, isn’t it?

  39. #39 Ellie
    December 16, 2010

    “considering the two posts (this one and the one you insist we read NOW) came out at almost exactly the same time, and as noted this has not been said anywhere else,”

    Well quite, Greg can’t be expected to know everything, which is why I posted it :/ I don’t think I’ve said anything to imply I thought anyone reading this should have known already have I? And seriously, you guys are still unhappy because a man who is still locked up in isolation (he was granted bail but it is being appealed so he’s still inside at time of writing) hasn’t done more to decry something as unimportant as this? What would satisfy you? An affidavit written in blood? How about the likelihood that his lawyer has mentioned it to press other than JoK and they just haven’t reported it? Would that be his fault too for not making them? And the rest of organisation are probably too busy defending against the various attacks the US government are using to get them taken offline to have time for press conferences. Funny how you don’t seem too concerned about that threat to global freedom of speech…

    As for my “FFS” and “now*” you think *that* was OTT but loved the humour in Greg’s original post?! I was responding to the mood in the rest of the thread and that intro line was “90% a joke”.

    * no caps in my original version, that’s you own addition and, I assume, reflects how you read my words. You’ve offended yourself by reading emphasis where the was none.

  40. #40 Sailor
    December 16, 2010

    Julian Assange the man of Wikieleaks and Ickyleaks

  41. #41 Robert S.
    December 16, 2010

    Does not ‘support’ the attacks? BIG FUCKING DEAL! This is from the Wikileaks official statement on the DDoS attacks.

    “We do not condemn nor approve of DDoS attacks”

    http://wikileaks.ch/articles/2010/Statement-on-DDOS-attacks.html

    Look’s like wikileaks doesn’t ‘support’ the attacks either.

    By the way, back in ’08 wikileaks published the addresses of every childporn site that was being blocked by the danish govt, that was when they crossed the moral event horizon.

    How exactly is wikileaks not the exact sort of organization that Assange claims to be fighting against.

  42. #42 Virgil Samms
    December 16, 2010

    “Greg Laden denounces Somali pirates.” That would be an interesting headline to see. Even more interesting is the fact, as far as I know, that we haven’t seen it. For that, there should be consequences.

  43. #43 Mankel
    December 16, 2010

    No matter what you do, “Mr.” Laden. There will be consequences…

  44. #44 Greg Laden
    December 16, 2010
  45. #45 Greg Laden
    December 16, 2010

    Virgil, the last time Somali Piracy was claimed to hav been carried out on my behalf by the pirates, I did too totally denounce it!

    Mankel, I have no idea what you are fucking talking about. Explain yourself.

  46. #46 lawguy
    December 16, 2010

    If this is supposed to be funny it isn’t and if it is serious it is sad.