With the worldwide coordination against Wikileaks, with the US Justice Department seeking prosecution and the State Department cracking down on its funding sources, with Julian Assange in jail and the press savaging Assange and Wikileaks (and inventing ticky-tack reasons to do so) for making them look bad, you just knew there would be a community-based response. And that’s what we saw today.
A small army of activist hackers orchestrated a broad campaign of cyberattacks on Wednesday in support of the beleaguered antisecrecy organization WikiLeaks, which has drawn governmental criticism from around the globe for its release of classified American documents and whose founder, Julian Assange, is being held in Britain on accusations of sex offenses.
Targets included Mastercard.com, which stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks; Amazon.com, which revoked server space from the group; the online payment service PayPal, which cut off its commercial cooperation; the lawyer representing the two Swedish women who have accused Mr. Assange in the sex case; and PostFinance, the Swiss postal system’s financial arm, which closed Mr. Assange’s account after saying he provided false information by saying that he resided in Switzerland.
Anonymous, a leaderless group of activist hackers that had vowed to wreak revenge on any organization that lined up against WikiLeaks, claimed responsibility for the Mastercard attack, and, according one activist associated with the group, was conducting multiple other attacks.
Wikileaks has basically blown a hole in the culture of authoritarianism and secrecy, and a substantial amount of people worldwide don’t want to go back. Governments around the world can wield a hammer, but the people have some recourse now. Facebook updates on Wikileaks have soared in recent days, and Facebook has not suppressed that.
We’re going to continue to see a kind of cyberwar on this issue, with attacks on both sides. But let’s not lose sight of the real issue here. I give you just one recent Wikileak:
Another international conflict, another horrific taxpayer-funded sex scandal for DynCorp, the private security contractor tasked with training the Afghan police.
While the company is officially based in the DC area, most of its business is managed on a satellite campus at Alliance Airport north of Fort Worth. And if one of the diplomatic cables from the WikiLeaks archive is to be believed, boy howdy, are their doings in Afghanistan shady.
Many of DynCorp’s employees are ex-Green Berets and veterans of other elite units, and the company was commissioned by the US government to provide training for the Afghani police. According to most reports, over 95 percent of its $2 billion annual revenue comes from US taxpayers.
And in Kunduz province, according to the leaked cable, that money was flowing to drug dealers and pimps. Pimps of children, to be more precise. (The exact type of drug was never specified.)
Since this is Afghanistan, you probably already knew this wasn’t a kegger. Instead, this DynCorp soiree was a bacha bazi (“boy-play”) party, much like the ones uncovered earlier this year by Frontline […] bacha bazi is a pre-Islamic Afghan tradition that was banned by the Taliban. Bacha boys are eight- to 15-years-old. They put on make-up, tie bells to their feet and slip into scanty women’s clothing, and then, to the whine of a harmonium and wailing vocals, they dance seductively to smoky roomfuls of leering older men.
After the show is over, their services are auctioned off to the highest bidder, who will sometimes purchase a boy outright. And by services, we mean anal sex: The State Department has called bacha bazi a “widespread, culturally accepted form of male rape.” (While it may be culturally accepted, it violates both Sharia law and Afghan civil code.)
We’re talking about a US contractor facilitating the rape of young boys by Afghan police. It’s a story that should basically send everyone in this country to their phones telling their political representatives to get the hell out of Afghanistan. This information is crucial to a well-informed society. And the US wants it suppressed. MasterCard and PayPal and Julian Assange himself have become collateral damage to this monstrous secrecy. That needs to end.