When I wrote my WikiLeaks post last week, I was on the fence regarding Assange. Since then, the reaction by various organizations around the world have placed me firmly on the side of WikiLeaks just on principle, regardless of whether or not I agree with their MO. This is the sequence of events as I’m aware of them, leading up to Saturday. I was out cold most of yesterday; if I missed anything important, my apologies. And no, the fact that Julian Assange has an OKCupid profile doesn’t count as important.
WikiLeaks releases cables on November 28th. They announce that they are sitting on documents that could harm a major American Bank on December 1st. Their servers move to Amazon’s cloud service on December 2nd, but are kicked out almost immediately again due to external pressure. Republicans call for Assange to be assassinated that same day. DNS support for WikiLeaks.org is removed on December 3rd, mirrors are created around the world as a show of solidarity.
PayPal freezes the WikiLeaks’ donations account on grounds of illegal activity.
Twitter is accused of censoring WikiLeaks tweets; their official defense is so far unconvincing.
The loose internet association Anonymous, more a concept than a group, launches a massive DDoS attack against PayPal. This attack expands to include MasterCard and Visa when they also suspend funds to WikiLeaks. (Meanwhile, it’s pointed out that the Ku Klux Klan continues to enjoy financial freedom.) Credit Card services are severely severely disrupted as a result of these attacks, dubbed Operation Payback. Even Sarah Palin isn’t safe from them. The founder of Pirate Bay steps up with support from his own micropayment service, Flattr. The US Library of Congress, normally champion of free speech and media freedom, blocks access to WikiLeaks from all Congress computers.
Swiss Bank freezes Assange’s bank account. Swiss police issues arrest warrant on charge of rape (that had previously been dropped); Interpol marks Assange as International Wanted Man, Anti-rape groups point out disproportionate response to the crime, which is only illegal in Sweden anyway, and note history of using rape charges for political agenda with no regard for actual women’s rights.
Columbia students are warned not to read or comment on WikiLeaks if they want future government employment. Julian Assange turns himself in in England, is denied bail (which not even Polanski, confirmed pedophile, was). WikiLeaks’ IT support firm announces intent to sue Visa and MasterCard for the causeless suspension of service.
PayPal partially capitulates to Anonymous’ demands and agrees to at least release the funds in WikiLeaks’ account, though the account itself remains frozen. Twitter is identified as a potential next victim for Operation Payback. A 16-year-old boy is arrested for having staged attacks on WikiLeaks’ enemies as part of Anonymous.Wikipedia deletes a list of WikiLeaks mirrors from its website, but this is just regular policy enforcement. Ironically, EasyDNS, the service accused of pulling DNS support for WikiLeaks (it was actually EveryDNS) begins hosting two of WikiLeaks’ domains.
Anonymous takes down the Dutch prosecutor website in retaliation for arresting their brethren. MPs and citizens alike in Australia condemn PM Gillard’s refusal to stand up for Assange’s rights as a citizen. Demonstrations are held across Australia.
Anonymous threatens British government website if Assange is extradited. OpenLeaks, the competitor whistleblowing site started by defectors from WikiLeaks, announces that they will begin operations on Monday.