If you’ve turned on the news any time in the last few weeks you’ve heard of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
Julian Assange is the site owner of Wikileaks, and has published more than 250,000 classified US Documents. They have ranged from benign to downright embarrassing.
Watching our leaders scramble to understand the internet at this point is little like watching Keystone Cops. Lieberman and some dopey anchor can’t understand why Assange wasn’t charged with treason in the US.
Could it possibly be because Assange isn’t American, therefore his acts cannot be considered treasonous?
Sweden has issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest for sexual assault. Since I can’t read the original documents I’ll have to rely on the *gasp wait* Today show anchor who says that it’s really about the women wanting him tested for STD’s. I have a hard time trusting the Today Show with my news, and an even more difficult time believing that INTERPOL would go to these lengths to make sure that Assange doesn’t have a sexually transmitted disease. I’m sure we’ll have details of the Assange arrest and extradition, I’m equally sure that his life will be destroyed before we get that data.
To those who value secrecy (which should not be confused with the reasonableness of privacy) Assange is evil incarnate.
For the citizens of the world who believe that their governments should practice transparency, and serve their citizens, Assange is a demigod, and Wikileaks is their chapel.
Assange’s Swiss Bank Post Finance came under attack first by members of Anonymous and 4chan when they closed Assange’s accounts. There have been massive denial of service attacks on Paypal and Mastercard.com as well. Neither Paypal nor Mastercard will allow for donations to WikiLeaks. Operation Payback is claiming victory.
I expect we will see Visa.com shut down at some point today, and Amazon was already crippled by attacks.
If this isn’t a war I don’t know what is. Governments and corporations around the world have made a concerted effort to hide information from citizens, and then to financially destroy any place where information is shared. Hackers have organized and, in turn, shut down the financial institutions that the Governments used as weapons.
PandaLabs.com has a page about Operation Avenge Assange, but of course their host is down too. You can see a cached version here.
When I think of our Country’s humble beginnings, with a bunch of pissed off settlers dumping tea into Boston Harbor, and I try to find a modern day correlation this is it.
Since most of us slept through Net Neutrality hearings in 2006 and most recently this summer, I’m going to have to ask you to get involved. It’s critical that the Net stays open and neutral. Google has a good starting point, and Wikipedia will probably continue to be a great source.
Is Assange a hero or a heretic? I don’t know.
I do know that we have an open web, and I’ll fight like hell to keep it that way.
What about you? Are you looking at the web differently today? Do you have cash on hand?