Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Or more specifically, a "Zionist hack".
SF-IMC recovers from Zionist hack
by one of the editors Monday, Jul. 31, 2006 at 10:29 AMIn case you've been wondering why, at this critical juncture in history, one of the strongest voices against racist aggression in the entire Indymedia network was offline, the short answer is that just as the war broke out, we were carpet bombed. Coincidence? Perhaps.
Hundreds of threads were flooded with gibberish:
The perp couldn't resist bragging:
You will note this blog's address appears on the image. Let me be perfectly clear about this: I had nothing to do with it and this is the first time I have seen it. Could someone please translate the text for us.
The SF IMC article doesn't give much more detail, making only a vague reference to "gibberish". I am unable to see the depth of what sounds like a spamming exercise. I really don't know what to say. I assume these are some examples.
What I do know, is I haven't seen enough information to convict anyone. Of course that hasn't stopped a certain group of people being accused without trial. You would think "one of the strongest voices against racist aggression" would be familiar the Dreyfus Affair.
Perhaps not. It's doubly surprising that senior members of a group constantly carrying on about "false flag" operations could so easily jump to econclusions.
Get a clue.
Meanwhile, I have been pointed towards this article (now hidden) on Sydney Indymedia which claims SF IMC may start charging for access.
Long touting it's self the cure to the Ills of society SFIMCIt's almost certainly bogus however let's just say it was true, how much would you pay? Bidding starts at zero. Do I have any higher bids?
has gone it's own way, often with the IMC Collective.
we find SFIMC once again stirring the political pot.
the SF based news group has fallen on hard times.
donations are at an all time low.
the solution a novel one for Indy Media, next month SF will start charging its members who access the site.
(Matt one of the editors) We will require all members to
open a pay pal account and set up a monthly billing schedule to get access to SFIMC. It will be a modest charge of $20.00 a month. And for those who want to post articles and announcements there will be a $5.00 posting fee for each item.
In fact, you could say that nessie's antisemitic flameout a few years ago was one of the first signs that antisemitism among IMC editors was going to be a serious, existential challenge to the network.
But SF-IMC is essentially abandonded; nessie drove everyone off. That makes the current LA Indymedia the most problematic site at the moment, as shown by their failure to hide a scabrously antisemitic post forged in the name of Wehrmacht Wendy Campbell, the very antisemite nessie defended at every opportunity at SF-IMC for an entire year after her antisemitism became apparent.
The editors have hidden several posts within that thread, but the one up top -- the one about kikes this and kikes that and kikes the other -- well, that's editorially approved.
There was some talk of getting SF removed from the Indymedia network, but this never was grounded in what would have been rightful observations of racism. Instead, the calls for SF's removal were solely related to domain name decisions and some final decisions in handling what had been the collective's tech resources.
Personally, I don't see LA Indymedia as the worst case in the network. Their editors are negligent in patrolling the newswire, sure. And yes, the result of their blind eye is an antisemitic site. However, that still (in my mind) is less offensive than the Indymedia sites where editors actively promote to feature status with overtly antisemitic material. (DC Indymedia's repeated history of featuring articles with "zionazi" accusations and using nazi imagery comes to mind as a prominent example of this sort of behavior.)
The de facto reality is that there is no accountability to Indymedia principles within the network. A media network that was grounded in the ideals of open publishing and community-based collectives that followed transparent decision making has been replaced by sites with extremely small cliques (3-5 people) controlling the site, making heavily biased censorship decisions in the interest of pushing their own political agenda, who hide any material critical of the site (some Indymedia sites have less open reader critique than mainstream media these days), and who have closed off any transparency and accountability for their decision making.
Moreover, it's not going to change. The only way a collective is going to get disaffiliated from the network is if there are no site editors whatsoever and it's clear that the site has gone feral and been abandoned. (Even then sites can go on for 6+ months before they're tossed.)
And while the mechanisms exist for sites to be removed from the network, the cultural norm in Indymedia now is for collectives to adopt the attitude of "if you don't say anything about what I'm doing, I won't say anything about your site." And so, while there are some sites and collectives that still adhere to the initial principles of Indymedia and are well done, they won't stand up against the abuses of other collectives.
As it happens, much of the founding leadership of Indymedia has quietly exited the project, and what's left seems likes a ghost ship without any real crew. For the time being, it's made for a nice ride for the fringe and hate groups that have latched on, but ultimately it's probably a boat that's going to sink.
The dismal thinking of "we're not going to register as a non-profit, because that's just buying into the state, coercive, capitalist, blah blah blah system" thinking that won out at that the global level means that the entire indymedia domain is under a private individual's name. Ultimately, Indymedia global is successfully going to get sued for libel or rampant and persistent copyright infringement, that person will bail, and no individual is about to pick up that hot potatoe. Moreover, then local collectives not under the shield of nonprofit status will find probably find themselves in similar boats.
The fact is, many of the people who hold the domain name rights (and with that the legal responsibilities) of Indymedia sites have left the network and aren't about to protect what they've abandoned. And in the few cases where fringe individuals have gone ahead and taken up legal accountability, I expect they'll quickly jump ship too. (My experience is that the fringe and hate groups that have taken the reigns of the worst sites are fairly lazy, legally inept, shallow opportunists. It was one thing when Indymedia had ideological support behind it, but now that it's a medium of convenience for hate, it'll be more readily abandoned under pressure.)
And while the likes of EFF have (very kindly) offered a great deal of legal assistance to Indymedia in the past, it seems just a matter of time before the racist baggage that Indymedia is increasingly mounting up will make them an unattractive (for damn good reason) client for any group to defend. The Indymedia of today is very different, very much more decidedly racist and militant, than the Indymedia these legal defense groups initially signed on to assist.
And if the legal downfall scenario doesn't unfold (crap this is long, sorry), it'll be the lack of tech assistance that cripples many collectives. Indymedia used to have a flourishing tech community, locally and at the global lever. There also used to be several active open source projects in the pipeline for providing better software tools (Active, Mir, Dada, and Freeform). Now most have been abandoned or left with only one or two developers. So while techs as a group haven't done a great job of loudly speaking up against the racist crap and increasingly authoritarian behavior of Indymedia editorial cliques, a large number of them have at least had the decency to just stop volunteering support to a project that's gone so terribly awry. As a result, these are sites back-ended by open source projects that have been abandoned or fallen behind in patches, sites that are hosted on poorly-adminstered servers, sites run by groups that many of the former indymedia tech community have said good riddance to. I sure am not advocating trying to crash or corrupt a website, no matter what it's political views; that's both illegal and ethically wrong in me eyes. However I suspect that what happened to SF's site is going to become increasingly common across the network as people get angrier at Indymedia and more and more techs get increasingly disinterested in supporting the mess that many collectives have turned into.
In case you've been wondering why, at this critical juncture in history, one of the strongest voices against racist aggression in the entire Indymedia network was offline, the short answer is that just as the war broke out, we were carpet bombed. Coincidence? Perhaps.
As any child can figure out, it's an inside job.
I should note that I don't claim that nessie's antisemitism was the key factor in the SF schism, and I don't claim that either side of the schism is spotless. But nessie's a particularly combustible combination of bullshit and bullheadedness, and the antisemitism is just one of the many heads on his hydra.
His posts are currently hidden on my collective's site, and will stay that way until he meets a very simple criterion -- or at least, one that should be quite easy for any genuine anti-racist:
But nessie, once you get past his incessant self-promotion, is only a symbol of a larger problem: Indymedia wasn't set up to be a PR newswire for theocratic fascist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. But open publishing is based on a simple idea: there are significantly more sane people than crazy ones, and the sane posts will outbalance the crazy posts.
And on the organizational level, the openness of the organization is based on the ideas that (a) there are more sane people than crazy ones, and (b) that the organization itself will remain open.
What that calculation didn't take into account, though, is the degree of obsession to which the crazies would go. Earlier today I took a look at the "national newswire" on Vancouver -- it was 70% about Israel. Guess not much happens in Canada.
That means that, on the network level, there's a serious feedback loop -- the crazier Indymedia gets, the more it drives away sane people, and therefore the crazier Indymedia gets. And, again, the antisemitism isn't the only sign of it, but it's arguably the most blatantly in contradiction of Indymedia's founding principles.
And I have to admit to a particular frustration, because there was a time when I could assume that someone on the IMCs was acting in basically good faith on the antisemitism issue, and now I simply can't.
That means that the individual collectives are sorting themselves out into two groups. There are going to be ones that nutjobs run into the ground, and there are going to be ones that have more going on than just a website, and who will survive even as the IMC network goes to pieces.
Does that help? :-)
I can't imagine why that paragraph was chosen out of all the possibilities available to a hacker.
There's _zero_ evidence that a web site was hacked leave alone one that was hacked by Israeli terrorists or supporters of Israel's terrorism.
At the same time there's no evidence that "Nessie" is "anti-Semetic," nor a shred of evidence that Los Angeles IndyMedia is "anti-Semetic."
Don't agree? Then post URLs from Nessie. Post URLs from the editors of LAIndyMedia or the contributors.
What you'll find is that -- what? 90%? -- of the postings to LAIndyMedia are about the latest wave of Israeli terrorist atrocities with any remaining postings that describe the terrorist State _maybe_ being posted by people who harbor hatred or bigotry against Jews.
Here's a clue: Israel's crimes against humanity does _not_ mean that people don't have the moral right to point at them and denunce them. Israel's atrocities are a legitimate cause for world-wide denouncement and we're seeing that.
At the same time pointing at people who denounce inhuman crimes against humanity are _not_ "anti-Semetic" -- if anything they're "pro-Semetic" since they're denouncing the wonton and indiscriminate slaughter of innocent Arabs whose only crimes are having brown skin, worshiping the "wrong" gods, and defending themselves against Israeli terrorism.
The comments I've seen posted from others try to pretend that some how IndyMedia is at core "anti-Semetic." The evidence? A small percentage of contributors post comments expressing fundamentalist Christian bigotry against Jews.
This is telling: The Israeli terrorists have justified their latest wave of atrocities against every citizen of Lebanon on the actions of an extremist few.
The 90% to 99% of the IndyMedia contributors don't harbor such ideals which the commentors here want to pretend are rampant in IndyMedia.
What's rampant in IndyMedia is the unvarnished truth about what's going on in the world -- with the occasional conspiracy kook or other unfortunate individual posting something, and anti-Semetics and neo-Nazis et al. _are_ kooks; they're the extreme minority.
So bullshit. I call bullshit down on almost all of you. You're trying to pretend that denouncing war crimes -- committed by Hezbollah, Israel, and the Bush regime -- some how means "anti-Semetism" or maybe "anti-America" sentiments. It's not. It's denouncing crimes against humanity.
Pretending otherwise is one way to defend and support crimes against humanity.
My opinions only and only my opinions.
But I am also QUITE aware that these two categories aren't 100% free from overlap. Calling a post "anti-Israel" isn't some magical get-out-of-jail-free card that prevents it from also being antisemitic. Too many Indymedias seem to think so, however. And that's the core of Indymedia's antisemitism problem: they can't distinguish between acceptable, non-racist criticism of Israel and unacceptable, antisemitic criticism of Israel.
And I'm particularly sick and tired of the slack Indymedia attitude that Indymedia's inability to make this simple distinction is just a little idiosyncracy of the medium, something to be death with with a simple shrug of the shoulders. That's exactly the attitude that's earned Indymedia its reputation as a conduit of antisemitism.
Be very clear on what I'm saying. Actual antisemites like nessie are pretty rare among IMC collectives. But IMC collectives who wink away antisemitism when it appears on their site are not rare at all, unfortunately. I don't claim that the entire IMC network is full of antisemites; I claim that the IMC network, through its own moral blindness on the issue, enables antisemites.
If the Indymedia network's reaction to its being used as a channel for disseminating antisemitism is "so what," then it has lost the moral right to claim to be anti-racist.
Take a look at this post on LA:
That post stayed up on LA Indymedia for an entire day, while the LA Indymedia editors found time to hide literally dozens of posts in the same thread, even the posts explicitly calling out to the editors and explicitly pointing out directly and plainly that the initial post was filled with antisemitic -- not just anti-Israel -- rhetoric and used the word "kike" three times.
Yet read the thread, and see what happened when readers quite rightly called bullshit on the original, antisemitic post: dingdongs start running interference, trying to defend the original post or to change the subject away from the fact that there's a blatantly antisemitic post on LA Indymedia. You'll even see a dude named TW argue that even though everyone knows full well that it's an antisemitic post, LA shouldn't hide it.
And as far as nessie's antisemitism, he hates 99.5% of American Jews. Just ask him. He'll talk in circles around it, but he won't deny it.
IMCs seem to be rather variable in this respect. DC, depending on what editor is "on duty" at any given moment, can take a pretty rigorous stance about keeping hatefreaks of all species, paranoid conspiracy theorists and crackpots off the newswire, which is quite a change from their previous pattern of behavior. OTOH, Boston seems to be deteriorating as far as effective moderation is concerned, though my impression is that this is more due to apathy and indecisiveness rather than to malice.
I will hug a terrorist today!
> Sorry, but I am QUITE aware
> of the difference between
> antisemitism and criticism
> of Israel. I do not throw the
> accusation of antisemitism
> around lightly, and I certainly
> don't throw it around as a way
> to silence cricitism of Israel.
You're "QUITE aware" and yet you lie about it any way. 90% to 99% of the coverage of the Israeli terrorist State's crimes against humanity are just that -- legitimate denounciation of terrorism. The complaints here on this web site attempt to depict IndyMedia as awash with anti-Semetism which is a lie.
You claim you distinguish between discussing and denouncing Israeli terrorism from anti-Semetism. Curious how this web site's contents state otherwise.
I think what we're seeing is dishonesty from someone who's greatly disgruntled about something he or she things IndyMedia people did to him or her. Accusations of rampant anti-Semetism would appear to be unevidenced vindictiveness instiugated by someone who doesn't care to back up his claims with supporting evidence so long as he or she gets to vent anger at some conceived wrong doing against him or her.
Have you noticed that LAIndyMedia contains participanmts who protest _against_ neo-Nazis and other white supremacists?
Right. Intellectual dishonesty is easilly discerned.
Right. Intellectual dishonesty is easilly discerned.
That's funny. I haven't discerned anything concerning the "of color" supremacists, such as the Muslims and Mexicans. It's always about Whitey, ain't it?
So much for intellectual dishonesty from the self loathers.
In one sentence, you just proved your opponent's argument.
You also proved how entirely loose you are with facts, figures, statistics and evidence. This does not come as any surprise to most people who know you for what you are. You however should really take a good look at yourself.
What you don't get, Rice, is this: even if only one out of every ten posts about Israel on Indymedia is antisemitic, then Indymedia has a big antisemitism problem all the same.
If there are ten cars in a parking lot and one of them is stolen, saying "nine out of those ten cars aren't stolen" doesn't miraculously make everything okay.
Indymedia should be a forum in which no antisemitism is acceptable. It fails miserably at this.
And a good chunk of the reason Indymedia has no credibility on the antisemitism issue is that people like you try to pull exactly the argument you're pulling here.
Perhaps one of our critics can explain what they require as proof?
I hate 100% of all racists. I don't distinguish between Jews and non Jews. To do so would be racist by definition. When deciding who to hate, gehrig distinguishes between Jews and non Jews. Ergo, he's a racist by definition. So I hate him, too. If you don't, you're a racist, and I hate you, as well. Either you hate *all* racists or you're a racist yourself. There's no middle ground. Hating only some racists, *is* racism. A racist is a racist is a racist. Throw them all out.
By the way, did you notice the part where he said "I don't hate nearly every Jew in America"? What you missed it? Maybe he didn't say it. Maybe he couldn't. Maybe his blatant antisemitism wouldn't let him.
Your turn, nessie.
And custom-engineered to smear 99.5% of the Jews of America.
Are 99.5% of American Jews racists?
Yes or no?
Not "yes, no, or here's another giant slab of arglebargle."
Oh, and let me edit that Nazi's scrivening.
Anybody who believes that members of one ethnic group should have more rights than members of other ethnic groups, is a racist by definition. Whether they are Jews, or Serbs or Hutus or Palestinians or whatever, is completely and totally irrelevant. Period. End of story.
That's enough thanks.
I'm not yet convinced it was "hacked" in the first place. I don't include widespread spamming as a hacking attempt which suggests some form of technical subversion of a website. I'm happy to stand corrected, but haven't yet seen logfiles or anything other than a throwaway reference to a "zionist hacking attempt". Sorry, that just doesn't cut it.
Also, he's been documented as saying that no publicity is bad publicity, although he'll now tell you that was Zionist agents that posted in his name. The Mossad is his "back door", a means of escape.
There was an article a while back about the best IMC's, and IndyBay made the list, which enraged him. He's desperate for publicity, and there are now rumors about him charging for access. True, I don't know.
Ultimately, this little escapade is just his way of stirring the pot. Lots of things have been festering for a long time.
It wasn't "throwaway." It was repeated many, many times:
He apparently just couldn't resist the urge to brag. This is common among hackers. Read hacker websites and literature. Bragging is the main thing they do.
And make no mistake about it, this was not spam. Spam is generated by hand, and is repetitive. What hit SF-IMC was a fully automated process. Note the time stamps:
Each instance was unique. It was not some schmuck in his mommy's basement, hitting the [return] key over and over. This was a well thought out script. It's origins were apparently disguised by TOR. It was was a clever and skillful attack at the server level. It took articles from the database and republished them with new names, apparently drawn from a pool of random names. Each article retained the original summary, making it necessary for the editors to open and examine each post individually to see whether it was real or not. This tactic actually worked for the first five of six times. Then we noticed the speed at which they were coming in, and realized we were up against a script that had been written by someone who had studied our software and was thoroughly familiar with its weaknesses. After that, we hid everything that came in, until we figured out that only shutting of the [publish] function could stop the attack. This was, of course, the whole point of the attack in the first place.
>he's been documented
This is almost certainly "SmashTheLeft" talking. He's pathologically obsessed with me, and spends at least some of pretty much every single day posting slander and forgeries in a transparent attempt to discredit me. His "work" is familiar to anyone who studies Indymedia.
This is his story:
"Smashy," as we call him, is not the only one who uses forgeries to promote and anti-IMC agenda on Indymedia, far from it. He is just among the most blatant examples. Some forgeries are extremely clever, well thought out and set up long in advance. Others are crude and transparent. Smashy tends toward the crude and transparent end of the spectrum.
For reasons which have nothing to do my real role in the movement, which is minor at most, Smashy and his crew have apparently assumed I'm someone important enough to mount a smear campaign against. For a taste of how extensive it is, Google "nessie indymedia forgeries" and see what comes up. The short version of the story is that unless you see it on SF-IMC, my signature is simply not to be trusted.
The use of forgeries to discredit political opponents has a very, very long history.
As for COINTELPRO, it is extremely difficult for anyone familiar with the history of repression to even imagine that an operation like Indymedia could exist without being attacked. Perhaps it is a mere coincidence that many of the techniques being used against Indymedia, and against the progressive left in general, are precisely and exactly the same techniques that we now know were the mainstay of COINTELPRO. After all, anything's possible. Maybe the coincidence theorists have been right all along.
But remember this. We have only the US government's word that they discontinued the COINTELPRO program. Not only do we have much evidence to the contrary, but this is exactly the kind of thing that the US government is most famous for lying about.
Remember also, that the US government is only one government on a planet with many governments. Indymedia is a global phenomena. It is inconceivable that none of the governments whose job it is to preserve their own existence by suppressing dissent, would take aim at Indymedia.
Remember as well, that now that the techniques of COINTELPRO have become public, they are no longer the sole purview of the nation state(s). Non state organizations, even individuals, can easily make use of them, and do. Even a cursory perusal of Indymedia by anyone familiar with the history of the phenomenon, reveals their presence almost immediately. But what else can we expect. C'est la guerre.