Yes, it's real. Hope everyone had a happy weekend.
Open thread begins below...
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Yes, it's real. Hope everyone had a happy weekend.
Open thread begins below...
A cyber-attack of various government websites by groups of hackers is allegedly underway Tuesday morning, as was warned using social media. A pastebin message begins with, “Let’s hurt them where it’s hurts the most” and the group promises, “Anonymous will make sure that’s this May 7th will be a day to remember” in what the group titles as, #OpUSA. The high profile list of targets includes, Bank of America, Citibank, White House websites, the FBI, among others.
Another message seemingly from a member of one of the hacktivist collectives known as Anonymous states “America you have committed multiple war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and recently you have committed war crimes in your own country. You have killed hundreds of innocent children and families with drones, guns, and now bombs. America you have hit thousands of people where it hurts them, now it is our time for our Lulz. For this you shall pay. Obama you have seen the over three billion dollars worth of damage we have done to Israel in operation Israel. It hasn’t even been a few weeks and the anonymous collective has gotten stronger since then.”
As federal government agencies brace themselves for a large-scale attack, a "Hacker's News Bulletin" is linked on Twitter that claims to be a running "List of Websites,Email Accounts affected under #OpUSA; Updating list as defaced,hacked or down."
"A group of mostly Middle East- and North Africa-based criminal hackers are preparing to launch a cyber attack campaign next week known as “OpUSA” against websites of high-profile US government agencies, financial institutions, and commercial entities," reports security blog Krebs on Security. "But security experts remain undecided on whether this latest round of promised attacks will amount to anything more than a public nuisance."
Last month, Anonymous launched #OpIsrael, which promised to “wipe Israel off the internet,” and well, that turned out to be a big #OpFail.
Thousands of well-wishers witnessed an honor guard of firefighters standing to attention to salute pallbearers carrying Boston bombing victim Krystle Campbell's casket into church on Monday.
The line outside St. Joseph Church on for the 11 a.m. funeral of the 29-year-old stretched down the block as 23 officers on motorbikes joined the procession.
Campbell was one of three people killed near the finish line a week ago. The restaurant manager had gone to watch a friend finish the race.
In addition to the mourners, union members and a local motorcycle club showed up to prevent the Westboro Baptist "Church" from disrupting the funeral after they vowed to stage one of their infamous anti-gay protests outside the funeral. But there was no sign of the Westboro clan to be found...except on Twitter.
"U c us in Boston?" the Westboro Baptist Church tweeted to the Boston Globe, the Boston police and Teamsters. "look around u."
Teamsters Local 25 replied on Twitter: "Show your face. We're here in the open."
More than a thousand off-duty Teamsters answered Local 25 President Sean O'Brien's call to form a human shield to protect Krystle's funeral. We understand UNITE HERE members are also there. Krystle's mother Patty and brother Billy are both long-time members of UNITE HERE Local 26 in Boston. Patty has been a member of Local 26 since 1983, and Billy since 2000.
“I’ve never been prouder to be a Teamster and a Bostonian,” said Sean O’Brien, president of Local 25 in Boston. “The city of Boston is filled with people who care about each other and will lift each other up when we are down or need a hand.”
A side note, it also appears that the hacktivist collective Anonymous may have hacked the Westboro group's Facebook page. The page now features all updated posts and photos, and on Tuesday morning the following message greeted visitors:
"Goodmorning to all you "true WBC followers" we love you!
and from now on any use of the word HATE. will be extremely frowned upon and may cause your post to be deleted!
this is a anti negative zone now."
The hacktivist collective known as Anonymous is calling for an internet blackout on Monday, April 22, in protest of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that recently passed the House of Representatives.
The group is also "encouraging" all web developers and website owners to go dark on Monday, and display a message as to why, and encourage others to do the same.
The call for a blackout is being spread with a newly released video (above) and also on a Facebook page.
Text of the video statement follows:
Dear citizens of the internet,
We are Anonymous.
The United States Government is again attempting to control and censor the internet. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has just recently passed the house.
This bill would allow major internet entities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google to voluntarily share your personal information with the U.S. Government. This will not only effect users in the United States, but also anyone with an account with these companies.
This upcoming Monday, April the 22nd, we invite you to join Anonymous in a internet blackout. We encourage all web developers and website owners to go dark on this date. Display a message as to why you are going dark, and encourage others to do the same.
We hope, just like the successful protest over the Stop Online Piracy Act, we can encourage the senate to stop this bill.
Spread the message, and inform the world.
We are Anonymous
We are the people
We are the internet
Knowledge is free
Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman -- goes bankrupt? Satire website The Daily Currant posted just that story, which was picked up as fact by a number of websites, including Breitbart News. Tipped off that it was duped by the fake news, the conservative site quickly took down its own reporting of Krugman’s not-real bankruptcy. Now the old link returns a “Page Not Found” message.
Breitbart.com ridiculed Paul Krugman for filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in the since-deleted post, after just last month castigating a news outlet for running with a story from that same website. Breitbart.com editor-at-large Larry O'Connor tweeted, saying he "trusted Boston.com as the source for that Krugman piece, but they were duped by Daily Currant, therefore, so was I!"
Media Matters noted:
In his post, O'Connor jabbed Krugman for supposedly spending "$84,000 in one month" on Portuguese wines and "a dress from the Victorian period," and concluded that "apparently this Keynsian [sic] thing doesn't really work on the micro level." O'Connor sourced the report to a Boston.com post written by "Prudent Investor." The post by "Prudent Investor" sources an Austrian website, which reprinted the original Daily Currant story.
Just last month, the Breitbart team laid into the Washington Post when the paper's website adopted a satirical story about Sarah Palin from Daily Currant. In a post about the snafu, Breitbart blogger John Nolte ripped the paper for not letting "facts get in the way of a good Narrative." According to Nolte, if Post blogger Suzi Parker "had a shred of self-awareness, integrity, and dignity, she would have changed the headline to 'Too Good To Check,' and under it posted an essay about how shallow, smug, bitterly angry partisanship can blind you to common sense."
But when his website ran with a too good to check story about Paul Krugman, they merely deleted the post without explanation.
Then a truly hilarious ending to the Breitbarting of Paul Krugman, from Paul Krugman:
OK, I’m an evil person — and my scheming has paid off.
On Friday I started hearing from friends about a fake story making the rounds about my allegedly filing for personal bankruptcy; I even got asked about the story by a reporter from Russian television, who was very embarrassed when I told him it was fake. But I decided not to post anything about it; instead, I wanted to wait and see which right-wing media outlets would fall for the hoax.
And Breitbart.com came through!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give a lavishly paid speech to Friends of Hamas.
He who laughs last and all...
John Amato: What a great birthday present.
Not everyone can be a comedian, especially in 140 words or less. Senator John McCain tweeted a joke calling Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a monkey. The tweet read, “So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space—wasn’t he just there last week?” and linked to a news article about Iran launching a monkey into space. When many Twitter users blasted McCain for the joke’s insinuation, he told them to “lighten up.” Arab American congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.) then tweeted back at McCain, “Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes.”
Naturally, pointing out that racism exists at all sent Republican tweeters into a frenzy. According to the wingnut tweeters, it's *okay* to be racist if your target is an @sshole, that is, "if" racism existed at all in conservative land. Also it's apparently okay with wingnuts if you're only insulting an individual, and not a group.
Some of Bank of America's 40 million customers "were unable to access their online banking accounts, mobile payment systems or the company’s telephone call centers on Friday," reports the NYT. An internal breakdown, rather than a hacking attack, is suspected, but the bank continues to investigate.
More from Reuters:
Since last fall, U.S. bank websites have faced a blitz of "denial of service" attacks in which hacker activists disrupt operations by flooding them with information.
Customers logging into Bank of America's website on Friday received a message that said the site was "temporarily unavailable." Some customers took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.
Until...Twitter came under attack!
In a blog post titled "Keeping Our Users Secure" from Bob Lord, Twitter's Director of Information Security:
As you may have read, there’s been a recent uptick in large-scale security attacks aimed at U.S. technology and media companies. Within the last two weeks, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have chronicled breaches of their systems, and Apple and Mozilla have turned off Java by default in their browsers.
This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.
We also echo the advisory from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and security experts to encourage users to disable Java on their computers in their browsers. For instructions on how to disable Java, read this recent Slate article.
This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked. For that reason we felt that it was important to publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users.
The report cast a sharp glare on the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that Eric Holder's justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable. It revealed Breuer to be an arrogant twit who insisted the DOJ couldn’t prosecute despite a plethora of evidence of crimes presented in the show.
From Frontline's interview with Breuer:
NARRATOR: FRONTLINE spoke to two former high-level Justice Department prosecutors who served in the Criminal Division under Lanny Breuer. In their opinion, Breuer was overly fearful of losing.
MARTIN SMITH: We spoke to a couple of sources from within the Criminal Division, and they reported that when it came to Wall Street, there were no investigations going on. There were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.
LANNY BREUER: Well, I don’t know who you spoke with because we have looked hard at the very types of matters that you’re talking about.
MARTIN SMITH: These sources said that at the weekly indictment approval meetings that there was no case ever mentioned that was even close to indicting Wall Street for financial crimes.
LANNY BREUER: Well, Martin, if you look at what we and the U.S. attorney community did, I think you have to take a step back. Over the last couple of years, we have convicted Raj Rajaratnam. Now, you’ll say that’s an insider trading case, but it’s clearly going after Wall Street. We—
MARTIN SMITH: But it has nothing to do with the financial crisis, the meltdown, the packaging of bad mortgages that led to the collapse, that led to the recession.
LANNY BREUER: Well, first of all, I think that the financial crisis, Martin, is multi-faceted. And what we’ve had is a multi-pronged, multi-faceted response. And it’s simply a fiction to say that where crimes were committed, we didn’t pursue the cases. And that’s why, where crimes were committed, you have more people in jail today for securities fraud, bank fraud and the like than ever before.
MARTIN SMITH: But no Wall Street executives.
LANNY BREUER: No Wall Street executives.
"More people in jail today for securities fraud, bank fraud and the like than ever before," not true, Mr. Breurer.
In the wake of the savings and loan debacle in the 1980s, special government task forces referred 1,100 cases to prosecutors, resulting in more than 800 bank officials going to jail. Among the best-known: Charles H. Keating Jr., of Lincoln Savings and Loan in Arizona, and David Paul, of Centrust Bank in Florida.
Then, the DOJ threatened Frontline that they would take their cookies and go home, never to cooperate with them again, see the tweets below:
Next, this ridiculous piece appeared in the Washington Post announcing Breuer’s imminent departure that paints him as some sort of persecuted white knight:
"A former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Breuer came to the Justice Department well versed in white-collar crime. He has been a driving force behind the prosecution of banks involved in rigging the global interest rate known as Libor. His efforts helped produce a $1.5 billion settlement with UBS and led to criminal indictments against two of the bank’s former traders in December."
In all, not a bad day's work for Martin Smith. But no doubt Breuer's replacement will be another balding guy in a suit just like him.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing recorded the highest levels of air pollution on Saturday since it began its monitoring system in 2008. The Environmental Protection Agency deems air pollution levels between 301 and 500 to be “hazardous,” meaning people should avoid all outdoor activity. On Saturday night the air-quality monitoring device above the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took a reading of 755, which the embassy’s @BeijingAir Twitter feed called “Beyond Index.” Using the same standards, the air quality index in New York City was found to be 19 at 6 a.m. on Saturday.
In online conversations, Beijing residents tried to make sense of the latest readings.
“This is a historic record for Beijing,” Zhao Jing, a prominent Internet commentator who uses the pen name Michael Anti, wrote on Twitter. “I’ve closed the doors and windows; the air purifiers are all running automatically at full power.”
Other Beijing residents online described the air as “postapocalyptic,” “terrifying” and “beyond belief.”
It was unclear exactly what was responsible for the rise in levels of particulate matter, beyond the factors that regularly sully the air here. Factories operating in neighboring Hebei Province ring this city of more than 20 million. The number of cars on Beijing’s streets has been multiplying at an astounding rate. And Beijing sits on a plain flanked by hills and escarpments that can trap pollution on days with little wind. Meanwhile, one person hiking at the Great Wall in the hills at Mutianyu, north of Beijing, took photographs of crisp blue skies there.
In a 2009 State Department cable obtained by WikiLeaks, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official, Wang Shu’ai, told American diplomats to halt the embassy Twitter feed, saying that the data “is not only confusing but also insulting,” and that the embassy data could lead to “social consequences.”
I'm not certain how the destruction of all life on Earth gets filed under "Potential Social Consequences," but clearly this accentuates the need for every able-bodied person to be screaming out for efforts to save the planet to become the primary concern for all governmental leaders and heads of state.
Mark Horvath has been a drug addict, a con artist, a producer for Christian television, and for a time, homeless. Now, he's using social media to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty in America. Armed with a website (invisiblepeople.tv), Twitter account (he goes by @hardlynormal), and a camera, Mark's on a mission to give "a face and a voice to homelessness."
Watch, and meet the guy who just might solve homelessness with his Twitter account.