From Editor Robert Parry: Last week, we were told by IT experts that Consortiumnews was the apparent victim of a sophisticated “denial of service” attack that destroyed the site’s functionality by imposing so many commands on the system that it blocked us from updating content or restoring the site to a pre-attack status.
We have spent the past week – and thousands of dollars – recovering as much of our 20 years of content as possible and migrating to a new server where we had to essentially rebuild the site from scratch. It’s still not clear how much of our 20 years of work has been lost. We also will keep working to clear up a variety of glitches that remain.
It’s not clear who may have carried out this clever attack which apparently exploited a tiny flaw in our system, a spot where an older version of the Web site had been merged with a newer version. The encrypted malware was so subtle that it was missed by multiple virus scans and was only spotted by a tech examining the files manually.
But whoever was behind this attack, the ugly reality is that such assaults are the modern equivalent of mobs smashing the presses of old-time newspapers that challenged the status quo. In such cases, the goal was to silence dissent by raising the price for telling the truth.
Today, we find ourselves in what is sometimes called “information warfare,” an insidious concept in which powerful interests view critical facts as “enemy propaganda” that must be shut down. Though these interests already control much of the major media, they are remarkably sensitive to challenges from independent information sources.
By making information simply one battlefront in some ideological war, these forces justify attacks to silence sources of dissent that challenge the dominant official narratives. Cyber-attacking Web sites is just one tactic in that “war.” Shutting down contrary information, in turn, makes people easier to manipulate into actual wars and other costly adventures.
It is important that such intimidation not be successful.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).