As more and more companies bow to the pressure by the USA and lackeys to destroy Wikileaks (what does not seem really possible, specially now that has become a cause célèbre) hacktivists around the world have reacted with cyberattacks against such sites. At the moment of writing this Mastercard services are at best unstable.
The list of attacked sites include PayPal, Mastercard and the Swiss Bank Post Finance.
According to BBC a notorious hacktivist group by the name Anonymous are the main ringleaders. A member said that the attacks are meant to be just a wake-up call to the companies. There has been no judicial action against Wikileaks as such and, as has happened in previous less notorious cases, the closures have been triggered by mere assessment notices from the executive branch (the White House, as most of these companies are based in the USA). It is a clear case of "guilty till declared otherwise"
The actions also mean loss of credibility for US and Switzerland based companies, which are showing to the World that they are anything but safe hubs for trade. Naturally I'd be doubly wary of doing transactions with PayPal now that I know that a mere executive branch commentary can render my account null without notice and without trial of any sort.
(see BBC for instance, if you need a source)
Will the USA use this matter to prompt the application of Internet emergency procedures? The USA has been planning towards cyberwars and Internet control and it has become a matter of speculation if they will launch a self-attack (much more severe than this "soft warn" by what seem genuine hacktivists with best intentions - even if also rude manners).
The plans do exist and are considered central to the (doomed) US empire-building strategy. This hackstivism will probably not be enough pretext for their implementation in full but may bring the USA (and many satellites) to decide that parts of it be implemented as soon and as widely as possible.
It is very possible that, in order to gain a better pretext they may orchestrate a self-attack. It was a possibility already but I suspect that now the imperial rulers may think such plans as more urgent than ever before.
But can the Internet be controlled? I doubt it very much.
Class War in the Net
In spite of Assange, who at least once showed himself hostile to the very concept of Communism, the rising tension around the Wikileaks affair (not anymore just the leaks but every day more for the repression that is going on), has a Class War dimension to it.
Even if highly specialized, hackers are workers who possess, as all qualified workers, a precious know-how. Knowledge that is more and more a central component of Capital (and hence the attempts to copyright/patent everything). By using this know-how to sabotage the system, they remind the oligarchs where the
Essentially this is not different than striking workers seizing refineries, slowing traffic, blocking trucks from entering distribution lounges...
But today knowledge, know-how and also more or less raw science, is one of the main battlefields of the Class War. Now a major apportion of Capital exists in intellectual form, part of which is patented/copyrighted/secret but piracy, Wikileaks, alternative online media, etc. all show that capitalization (appropriation) of knowledge is very feeble.
Another key element here is money, electronic money in all variants, which has been shown to be highly vulnerable and which is central to the very functioning of the system as most rewards and punishments are administered with this tool of monetary virtuality. We are talking of the very financial system at its very core potentially. What would happen if millions of accounts were erased or blocked in a cyberattack. I doubt that there is any way of totally preventing such thing other than shutting the Internet down altogether, what is a clear case of cure worse than the illness or trying to kill mosquitoes with a cannon.
How far will this conflict, described by some Anonymous as a clash of "the people versus the government", will go? Will the Empire try to classify these kind of actions as "terrorism"? Will they succeed in imposing this ideological tag? How? What means will it use? Will it make a fake attack against itself?
I'd say that we are at the eve of some such attempt of regain control of the virtual zone, of intellectual property by means of censorship and inquisition, which will try to improve their moral stand by presenting all opposing them as terrorists. However 2011 is not 2001, now the economic and social situation is bad and only seems to deteriorate even further, including too many obvious cases of abuse of power in favor of the oligarchies (from the BP catastrophe to the mortgagegate in the USA to the debt-related blackmailing of the popular classes in Europe). People today is much less likely to believe the official lies and accept as necessary increased institutional repression.
The USA and the late capitalist oligarchies that rule the World are hysterical and behaving like the proverbial elephant in the china shop. They are scaring everybody, getting nearly everyone against them...
They are completely failing in their role as leading elites of society. If Capitalism managed in the past to generate large consensus it was because the elites dedicated at least some effort to keep large swathes of population more or less content. However now they seem to have decided that, as the Cold War is over and it is therefore less likely that established powers such as the former USSR could capitalize the discontent, they can afford now to get people unhappy and even angry.
That is why it is so important to react and draw red lines as this group of hacktivists is doing, because each action that shows how workers wield real power on the system, not only helps to contain the offensive of the masters of Capital but also builds strength for an eventual revolutionary solution to this dead end.
Everyone or no one, everything or nothing,one alone cannot save himself.Everyone or no one, everything or nothing,either the guns or the chains.Bertolt Brecht
It has been a long transgenerational struggle but the scenario we are in is very much suggestive of that of a final struggle. All elements converge: an advanced working class with possession of key power over the whole Capitalist system and that is becoming more and more conscious and daring, a global communication network that allows for real time transfer of information (the real nature of power is connection and knowledge, nothing else except maybe consciousness and willpower), a system in clear accelerated decadence and degenerated up to the point of losing all credibility in a matter of months or years at most, a determined but aimless offensive of the Capitalist oligarchy against the working and middle classes (yes, small companies are also set to be plundered), an excessive dependence on delicate systems such as the Internet or the more generic social knowledge (two sides of the same coin) and totally unreal pillars such as the degenerated monetary system in all its aspects.
So it looks to me like we are already in the final class struggle, which can only have one final outcome (other than catastrophic failure as species) but too many uncertain ways to arrive there.
Of course, all finals are new beginnings and that's precisely what we want, right?