I'm calling on everyone who thinks this is an outrage, that whoever it is (see below) can just go around violating our - yours and my - 1st amendment rights with impunity, to give to our Spring fund drive. If every time they hit us, our donations go up, they will stop attacking us. Read on and you'll see - this is the only way to stop them.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Three days after the recent US / UK / French missile attacks on Syria, our website was hit by severe DDoS attacks. It's the most common method for rendering a website inoperable, by bombarding it with more server requests than it can handle. We were knocked out for about 50% of the next 3 days, and experienced hiccups for the next 10 days or so. We alerted you about this in an article as soon as it happened.
Our system administrators are top level, and they managed to fight off the attacks, but they continue to this day, a full month since they started. Dealing with this has been expensive, time consuming, and hurt our ability to reach you and produce material.
And it wasn't just us - a lot of alternative sites were hit, and all at the same time. This includes Global Research, SOTT, SouthFront, the Saker, New Eastern Outlook, and several others. A week later the same thing happened to the Gateway Pundit, a highly influential conservative American news site, which is about twice our size, after they published an article critical of George Soros.
Now the thing about these attacks is, it's impossible to know who's doing it. The only thing to go on is - cui bono? Anybody with moderate financial resources can launch one - from state actors to disgruntled billionaires to anyone willing to shell out a few $10s of 1000s.
So let's think about cui bono, just after the Syria strikes. Time to channel Hercule Poirot.
Certainly, the state of Israel is a prime suspect. They have an extremely active state-run internet subversion operation which we have covered recently. See: Meet the Israeli Spies Injecting Fake News Into Facebook's Newsfeed, or How Israel and its Partisans Work to Censor the Internet.
Further suspects are the intelligence agencies of the bombing countries. Moving down the list we have your garden variety wealthy political activists - George Soros, Bill Browder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky - the usual suspects - I don't even have to list them for you.
And that's about it. I can't think of anyone else who would want to do this. Can you? 4 governments, and maybe, 20 or so rich guys. That's not a very long list.
The intelligence operations of the 4 governments can't really be considered separate entities, they cooperate so intimately on so many things - as they certainly did on the Syria attack. Think of them as a kind of blob. And half of the guys on the Richie Rich list are so in bed with intelligence agencies - all three of the ones mentioned above are - there is hardly any difference there either. Alors!, Ze list shrinks again!
Note - any of these culprits could have mounted a much heavier attack that would have knocked out all these sites 100%, for months on end. The reason they don't is this would appear heavy-handed, and raise the ire of the public. No, their preferred method is to cause just enough trouble to dampen our message, reduce our reach by about half during the critical days when it is important. It is the calculated approach of info professionals who know what they are doing.
The timing also betrays a cunning subtlety. Not exactly on the day of the attacks (evening of April 6 - into Saturday the 7th, US Eastern Time), again, too obvious, rather three days later - they started on early Tuesday evening, the 10th, US Eastern Time, still in plenty of time to dampen the public outcry that followed.
The attacks would intensify in the early evenings in the US, when our system administrators were asleep in Europe - did the attackers know where our system admins live? The attacks reached maximum intensity from the 12th to the 14th of April, and then gradually fell off, averaging half the intensity in the following week, and 10% of top intensity today. Again, why? I think to try to distract from the fact that what they really cared about was the news cycle immediately following the attacks, but didn't want to make that too obvious, so they kept them going for a while.
To give you a sense of the scale of the attacks, in the article about the Gateway Pundit cited above, they say they are getting hit with about 1 million hits per day. During our 3 peak days, we were hit with about 150 million hits per day.
Folks, we should be outraged. If this is our own government preventing our right to free speech, it is an outrage. If it is a foreign government, it is an outrage. If it is some rich guy, foreign or native, throwing his weight around, it is an outrage.
The squelching of free speech in our societies is a huge issue we need to address. The censorship of conservatives on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube is at the heart of it. That alone is grounds enough for a major legal and political battle, a popular insurrection.
This is your site. It exists because you send in donations, and because you read it. You should be furious at this un-American dirty play. I certainly am.
Another outrage is the existence of paid trolls in the comments section. It's expensive to pay these losers to sit in a cubicle somewhere and write their goofy comments, which anyone can see are written by paid agitators. And to what effect? Almost zero, as far as I can see. Government work, pure and simple.
Friends, these our OUR tax dollars at work! What the Heck?!! I am glad for one thing - I hope their presence will enrage the citizenry enough to rise up and put an end to this nonsense once and for all! They especially flock to any article where I appeal for funds, because the thing they detest the most is any popular support for publications like ours. So keep an eye out for them below, they will certainly appear there in short order, and we will be zapping them as soon as we detect them. If you see that a comment was deleted, it was a troll. Otherwise our comments section is completely free of censor.
I've given this some careful thought, consulted with IT specialists, and come to the conclusion that there is no technical solution to this (no affordable one anyway). No, the only way to prevent these attacks is to send the attackers a message, that every time they hit us, our funding goes up. That should give them pause, as should the widespread reading of articles like this, which serve to wake up and activate ever larger portions of the public.
For this reason, I have extended our Spring fund drive for a week, to May 8. For one thing, we are falling short of our goal, which, by the way, is a real goal, a number below which we have great difficulty continuing to publish. We are at about $19,000 today, 1/3rd short of our $30,000 goal. If you haven't given yet, please do so now, and so very importantly, please share this article as much as you can.
The 'pledge' amount listed on the website, which now stands at about $16,000, only kicks in if we reach our much more ambitious goal of $300,000. I explain all this in last month's article which launched the fund drive.
Another thing I ask again - this website has a very wide reach, and I know that some of you who like what we do, know people would also like what we do, who could put significant resources into what we do. I implore you, as I have before, to take a few minutes to think about whom you know, and if possible, to talk to them. The small donation model is crucial, and works up to a point, but I have learned from studying the funding situation, that if you want to make a big difference, you have to have a few heavy-hitters.
Partly for this reason I have moved back to the US (I'm in the NYC area) and am available to talk to people who are interested in building something that will have a much bigger impact. Please be in touch with me at the address above if you have any ideas about this. Some of you already have been, and that has generated some leads, so that is proof that this is possible. For more details on my thoughts about this, see my article of a month ago.
The truth is that we are on the cusp of winning this information battle. The rotten old forces that brought us the horrors of the Middle East wars over the last 20 years are stumbling, and stumbling badly. Don't over-estimate them, they are not smart. They are mastadons, rapidly going extinct in an environment they do not understand. The proof is that they have to resort to dirty tricks like these, because they can't win in open debate. With a few more mighty shoves from the likes of us, they will be on the floor. We are the many. They are the few.
I will be writing more over the coming days about why I am optimistic where this is all heading. In the meantime, please send in a few bucks, and let's really put the screws on these monsters.
And to all of you who have already given, a hearty thanks!, and please do spend a minute or two thinking about whom else we can bring to our cause.
Editor, Publisher, and Founder
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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