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Operation Payback - is US Wikileaks censorship unleashing cyber war?

Revelations by WikiLeaks have hit a raw nerve. In the face of embarrassing revelations, the US government is doing what it can to try and close the floodgates of its own documents, leaked by disgruntled employees and given an outlet to the world through WikiLeaks.

Pressure is being brought to bear on domain name routers, internet hosting companies, money transfer services and governments of various countries. There is even an attempt to use trumped up sexual charges to personally criminalize Assange, the most exposed link in the chain of transmission, in addition to DDS (distributed denial of service) attacks on the WikiLeaks servers - but nothing so far has had the desired effect of burying the site and stopping the leaks. 

There is however one unintended consequence: The campaign against WikiLeaks initiated by the US government has led to hacker-activists setting their sights on those payment services that have - on the insistence of the US State Department - suspended any payments to the people running the WikiLeaks site.

It is called Operation Payback, and it's being organized by a hacktivist group that goes by the name of Anonymous. Their first target: Bring down the websites that are following the lead of State Department officials to cut off financial flows that sustain the WikiLeaks campaign. Using its own brand of DDS organizing software, anonymous was successful in taking some of those payment sites off line.

Two articles that report on the anonymous campaign:

WikiLeaks: Who are the hackers behind Operation Payback?

The Story Behind the Mastercard and VISA DDoS Attacks

With hundreds of mirror WikiLeaks sites springing up all over the world and with the documents being passed on from user to user, it seems increasingly unlikely that the campaign to shut the leaks is going to work.

Has anyone in the US State Department or, for that matter, in the US government apparatus, got a full understanding of what they are up against? I very much doubt that.

Douglas Rushkoff, in an opinion piece on CNN, says it isn't a war quite yet. He points out that we really aren't ready to face down the giants. See

No, the real lesson of the WikiLeaks affair and subsequent cyberattacks is not how unwieldy the net has become, but rather how its current architecture renders it so susceptible to control from above.

It was in one of the leaked cables that China's State Council Information office delivered its confident assessment that thanks to "increased controls and surveillance, like real-name registration ... The Web is fundamentally controllable."

The internet's failings as a truly decentralized network, however, merely point the way toward what a decentralized network might actually look like.

Instead of being administrated by central servers, it would operate through computers that pinged one another, instead of corporate-owned server farms, and deliver web pages from anywhere, even our own computers.

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