Julian Assange, the co-founder of Wikileaks (a term he is said to hate, according to Daniel Domscheit-Berg, his old partner) is on his way to face American justice, good and hard. Ecuador is saying he broke the terms of his asylum, and in the next few “hours or days“, according to the Wikileaks Twitter account, he will be asked to leave once and for all.
Word has it they have made arrangements with the United Kingdom authorities for his arrest.
Ecuador has not independently confirmed this, but it’s certainly to be hoped that they will. No one has ever more deserved it.
That would just be where it begins, for him. Assange was indicted here in America last year, for reasons that are not known for sure and are obvious. After he gets done with whatever the British have got planned for him, he’ll be on his way here, where he will be charged with a federal crime and sent someplace to learn how to be penitent, since repentance never came on its own.
Quite possibly he could go to our dreaded military prison in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay, for being a terrorist and an enemy of the American people.
Wherever he goes, one thing is for sure. Our justice system may now very well proceed to dispense great misery on Mr. Assange, who has made his living and career out of hurting and embarrassing others.
Then again, why be Russian property? Why sell out the Western world? Why make all the days of your life about whining and malice?
Wikileaks is the organization whose release of hacked e-mails they’d illegally acquired from the servers of the Democratic National Committee spurred the supporters of Bernie Sanders to riot in Philadelphia. The entire Trump era was made possible by him. And in the end, rather than feed the cat, he spitefully let it go.
Moreno denies that Assange has the right to “hack private accounts or phones”. He has been greatly reviled for this modest request by the man whose life and freedom he is preserving. The deal was for him to sit there, shut up, think about where he’s gone wrong with his life, and above all, not intervene in the politics of other countries, especially those that have friendly relations with Ecuador. This seems reasonable enough, considering that they are a small nation, not in the least a world power. They really took a chance for him.
Latin America has a long history of resistance against imperialist powers, and Assange poses as a freedom of speech icon and crusader, so Ecuador took him in. Assange recently rewarded Moreno by digging for dirt on him and slathering it all over the news. What a guy.
Assange pretends to be nonpartisan and whines that he’s only doing his best to bring the truth to light.
The truth is that America is not perfect, any more than any other country is perfect. But it really is as my grandfather the World War II veteran liked to say, God rest his soul.
This is the greatest country in the world.
Without America to uphold it, democracy would disappear from Earth in a single generation, but let’s leave that aside for now. Even if we concede Assange’s point, and assume for a second that the service he performs is useful, wouldn’t it be nice to see it spread out evenly?
America is certainly not any worse than Russia, but Assange never has a thing to say about them. He has been sent many volumes full of dirt to dump on Russian officials and oligarchs over the years, but he never used any of them until after the 2016 United States Presidential election.
Shortly after, this changed for the first time when he released the“Spy Files Russia” dump. According to Wired Magazine, many outside observers consider the most logical explanation for them as having been an approved release direct from the Russian government, meant to defray criticism that WikiLeaks aided the Russian interference designed to help Donald Trump.
“These are tricks that the Russians were willing to give up,” says James Andrew Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who formerly worked as a Foreign Service officer and an information security rapporteur for the United Nations. “I actually thought it was a bit slow and belated. They probably had to get FSB clearance to release anything and that may have taken a while. Think of it as vaudeville for leakers.”
Before that, Assange and Wikileaks had never published a single solitary document that any Russian person might consider offensive in the slightest. He had always found some excuse, proving once more what we’ve been saying for years, that in our world today, those who scream and cry about America’s bad behavior tend to be working for Russia. It is no coincidence that Snowden ended up living in Russia.
Getting back on track, the speculative cause for this most recent development probably came from years-old private photos of Moreno and his family in Europe getting circulated recently on social media. Moreno said he believed the photos were shared by WikiLeaks.
“Mr. Assange has violated the agreement we reached with him and his legal counsel too many times,” Moreno told the Ecuadorean Radio Broadcasters Association.
No doubt he has, sir. Seven years, he’s been wasting their bed space. He also sued them for requiring him to pay his own costs, unbelievably. That’s all over now.
Hours or days. When Assange walks out into the streets, he’s going to get snatched up. He is soon to find out who he’s been crossing all these years. He probably still thinks he’s going to get a pardon from Trump, but one suspects he is not to end up in a cushy Federal Prison Camp like Paul Manafort.
America has a long memory, Julian. If I were you, I’d be looking for a good lawyer.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been indicted by the United States! It’s a beautiful day for a neighbor.
This story’s release was not destined for the front page- at least, not right away. It was found in an unsealed court filing in an unrelated case. The document contained the phrase “Assange has already been charged”. What is thought to be a simple copy/paste error has got the entire world talking.
Assange is and has been a criminal and a digital terrorist worldwide. He also is a suspected rapist. Assange has now been hiding out in his Ecuadorian embassy home for two years. He is said to live in slovenly conditions and recently had to be ordered by the courts of Ecuador to feed his cat. Animal abuse, no less! It’s time to bring this man to justice.
Wikileaks, under his direction, has attempted to cut the throat of American intelligence time and time again. He has disrupted the functioning of our country in every way he’s been able to think up.
He is an enemy of America, and he made himself that way, for no real reason. He did this to himself for fame and glory. Still, American law has been hesitant to condemn him, for fear of setting a precedent of discouraging investigative journalism. It’s important to be decent, even when the guy you’re up against is not.
Assange claims to be neutral, both in general and in regard to our 2016 election, but every single leak ever released by his outlet was designed to hurt Hillary Clinton and no one else. He claimed that was because no data was ever sent to WikiLeaks, about the Sanders or Trump campaigns.
However, the decidedly non-neutral Roger Stone had what he called a “Perfectly Legal” back channel to Assange, who got the electronic documents from the entity known as Guccifer 2.0, who was later proven to be a Russian intelligence officer working for the GRU.
There is nothing more important than a free press, an independent press like the one Putin destroyed in Russia. That is not in question. But there is a big difference between journalism and doxing, and the difference is that one is edifying and one is malicious. One seeks to educate and enlighten, and the other seeks only to destroy. In the last analysis, intent speaks for itself, and you get what’s coming to you.
Humanitarian concerns keep us from wishing physical harm on the man. The death penalty is wrong, and torture is wrong, regardless of the circumstances, no matter how egregious the criminal. We don’t feel he should be waterboarded at Guantanamo- the hole at United States Penitentiary-Leavenworth is hard enough. And even though the slipup was actually revealed in a pedophilia case, it is important to note that Assange has only allegedly raped two women in Sweden. Those are two more of the reasons why he needs to be taken somewhere and tried.
When Ecuador first gave asylum to Assange, he was still a hero to many on the left, and to many opponents of “US imperialism”. This sentiment runs deep in South America, and not unjustly so. So he was given asylum; a very decent act on the part of Ecuador.
But that was before he started using their place to hack our elections and do harm to everyone who’s breathing. What a guy. If I were Assange, I would start a GoFundMe for commissary.
We have received numerous requests for a focus piece regarding cyber-defense for Democrats, especially right now as we are going into the midterms. In it is an introduction to a number of the techniques we can use to defend ourselves going forward. Knowledge is power. Pass it on.
Regular readers of Millennial Democrats will not require a lot of explanation as to how and why the threat of Russian hacking is real. We have been up against it for years. The time has come to soberly and objectively assess Russia’s cyberwarfare capabilities, and examine how we plan to fight back.
In 2016, America was caught off guard and we got a bloody nose. Guys like Roger Stone’s buddy Guccifer 2.0, or the guys in Fancy Bear pulled a fast one, to be sure.
They had the element of surprise back then. Most people had no idea what they were doing(and rolled their eyes at those who were trying to warn them, but that’s another subject). These days things are very different.
Regardless of the lies of the great orange malignance, America knows the Russians are out to get us. Trump is sticking his head in the sand on this and will do nothing to help us, so we’re going to have to learn to help ourselves, and each other.
It’s too bad we’ve got no national leadership on this, but it is what it is. We’ll get by on our own.
In starting out, the most important thing to keep in mind is this: Hackers rely on our mistakes, and mistakes are most often made when we don’t know we are making them. They need to catch us off guard, and their job is to find creative ways to use their tools to get us to slip up.
The first place a smart hacker will look is outside the box, so to speak. They’re always looking for ways to burrow in that you wouldn’t think to look for.
Employing a given system, be it a human being or a PC, for a purpose it wasn’t designed for is what hacking means. However, if you’re careful, neither you nor your computer will end up thus employed. It’s all about being careful.
Hackers are clever, be they Russian or from elsewhere, but they are far from invincible. We’ve already stopped a number of Russian cyber-assaults directed at Democrats this year, such as the ones aimed at our Claire McCaskill.
Without the element of surprise, hackers have many limitations. It’s not that easy to brute-force open a website. Just ask these guys:
Basic cyber-hygiene techniques would cut down on more than 80 percent of cyber attacks and cyber thefts, according to Herbert Lin, senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. It will benefit us to learn a few.
There is a great deal of white-hat(ethical hacking) work that can be done to defend America in this realm, and most of it has to do with how careful we are.
We repeat- It’s all about being careful. This cannot be repeated too often.
In this piece, we’re going to talk about a few common mistakes made by end-users(that means us, the consumer) and how they are exploited by criminals. We’re also going to talk about some of these cyber-hygiene measures and assign them three rules of thumb.
Don’t open strange emails.
Don’t click on strange links.
Don’t accept chat messages from people you don’t know, particularly on Facebook.
Before we get started, think for a second about all your other social media accounts. Are they just as secure as your Facebook or Twitter? Make sure they are! That’s the first place a hacker will go to collect more data about you. You’re particularly vulnerable to having your account on the ones you don’t often use pried open.
As an aside, this is also why you don’t want to use the same passwords for everything. Passwords are obviously critical, as somebody who’s got them has got all your information at his fingertips. Be careful!!
A great deal of a hacker’s job revolves around getting the passwords of their victims. Their most popular tools are all various ways to apply “spear-phishing” hacks, designed to steal passwords and personal data. The unlucky “phish” who opens one has become a victim and is now open to all kinds of trouble.
There are all kinds of ways to go spear-phishing. A brand new one showed up not long ago when U.S. government agencies recently received letters via snail mail.
One example that all readers of this blog will vividly recall took place on March 10, 2016, when the first volley of malicious e-mail messages hit the inboxes of thirty people who were closely associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Inside them were links that were actually viruses, like worms on a hook.
Nearly all of them were failures. All but one, actually. But one was enough.
Within nine days, a horrendous amount of critical data had been stolen and passed along to Wikileaks, to be strategically released in a way they figured would hurt us. It did.
Those leaked e-mails, in which Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was seen to be fussing over Bernie’s lack of ability to fill out campaign finance forms correctly, were spun up into a narrative that Bernie(who lost by four million popular votes) had been cheated.
Bernie or Bust bought it, there were riots in the streets of Philadelphia, and a rift was torn in the Democratic Party that still has yet to heal.
All of that was made possible, with just a few phished passwords.
To combat phishing is to make sure everyone knows how common and damaging these attacks can be. Everyone should keep their guard up when checking emails, and they should report any email they find suspicious.
It’s necessary to point out here that Facebook phishing in particular is horrendously easy. They can hack you right through your chat box. We recommend in the strongest possible terms that you put as little of your personal information as possible on Facebook.
Facebook presents about a million added vulnerabilities to all of us that use it. When Edward Snowden was asked what to do to keep your data safe on that platform, his response was, “Delete your account.”
We can’t recommend that, as Facebook gives us access to 2 billion people, but we can recommend this much. If people you don’t know send you strange messages on Facebook, don’t accept them.
“We are looking at just some of the malicious material that already may be circulating or will be released before the midterms. It also bears repeating that we know the campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was targeted.”
Cyber-intelligence experts see this as being major, and with clear reason.
Moving on, it isn’t only Facebook and social media you’ve got to be careful with. Websites too are vulnerable.
Anecdotally, the webmaster of this site has seen hackers from all over the world try to take us down, from Beijing, China to Lviv, Ukraine, from Adelaide, Australia to Beauharnois, Quebec. They use all kinds of tricks, but they’ve never gotten in and they never will.
This is not because I’m a cyber-genius who speaks binary code, but because WordPress is awesome.Sucuri, the plugin that keeps safe all of us Millennial Democrats, is likewise excellent. They care about their clients and they hold the same liberal values sacred that we do.
WordPress users should strongly consider using Sucuri, not least for the reverse IP trace it automatically performs. This has the benefit of letting you know a lot more about who’s trying to hack you. Sometimes it will tell you everything.
Once a flower store owner from Adelaide, Australia tried to hack us. By using a reverse IP trace, Sucuri let us know who she was as soon as she had done so. Then we went to a site called WhatismyIPaddress.com, put it in, and voila.
We were able to get the name of her business by looking at the name of her domain. We then used that to look her up, and jackpot. We found the store’s address, website, and owner. We also found far-right garbage smeared all over her life.
I could put her on blast right here with a screenshot like this one:
Luckily for her, I’m not that mean. But the next guy might be. It’s a dangerous game for newbies (noobs- learn your hacker-ese) to play. It’s easy to run into trouble.
Change your life, would-be hacker flower store owner! Mend your wicked ways, before it’s too late.
Speaking of WordPress, using the two-factor authentication feature they offer as part of their platform is another good idea. This is a highly effective security measure and is available for Facebook, Gmail, WordPress, and many other major platforms.
Using this feature means a second device’s input will be required to access email accounts or websites on new computers, usually by prompting you and sending an SMS code to your phone or whatever. This can prevent scammers from accessing compromised accounts.
In addition to good cyber-hygiene, which amounts to common sense, caution, and our three rules of thumb, there are some tools we can use to make our online experience safer still. You may find this necessary, from time to time.
Guccifer 2.0 recently made a mistake and forgot to turn his VPN on, and we connected him to an IP address connected to Russian intelligence. Now his whole identity is blown because he didn’t use his VPN.
We strongly recommend getting one of these, specifically IVPN. They take protecting their customers super seriously and they are located on the Rock of Gibraltar. That fortress strikes me as a good place to keep anything valuable.
HotspotShield is another good one, and also NordVPN. There’s a lot of them; shop around and find one that’s right for you. We feel it’s worth repeating that they are a very good investment.
Additional tools include TOR(The Onion Router), which offers a former naval encryption system that we can now all use. Tor takes all your internet traffic and routes it through its own network, providing total anonymity.
The DuckDuckGo browser, which Tor employs, is good to know about also. It has a number of different features that keep you safe, including a “Flame” feature that burns up all your cookies in a second. Pretty cool.
Now, just as then, there is a need for deterrence, to defend the nation and hopefully prevent a further escalation of tensions. There is more at stake than we can even put into words. We need to be ready.
There are bigger dangers here than the usual America vs. Russia, liberal world order vs the new world order that the extremist crazies keep screaming that they want kind of thing. This is different completely.
One superpower actively destroying the democratic process of another is new and very dangerous, especially since Russian destability tactics rely heavily on disinformation and a systematic devaluing of the truth.