Tiresome security vulnerabilities and wannabe l33t h4ckerz

The 11112018 organisation web site got hacked last week.  Some child replaced the site with a pro-Islamic page that boasted of their l33t h4ck1ng skillz and claiming to be an Afghanistani member of a hacker team:

Screenshot of the hacked 11112018 web site

Hacked 11112018 web site

Meh.  The page was the sort of thing one saw on bulletin boards back in the early 1990s with a link to an (uncredited) image of a Moslem knight.

It is a shame that in doing so, they trashed the 11112018 anti-war web site. How to make friends and influence people, not.

They managed to do so because I had not applied an update to the Drupal web content management software I was using; the version had a security vulnerability this person took advantage of.  A quick Google search shows they have uploaded identical content to over 700 web sites.

What amazes me is the poor quality of their work.  The HTML is full of stupid errors that shows the child responsible did a simple cut ‘n’ paste of downloaded code into existing HTML without knowing what they were doing.  It also includes embedded JavaScript, some of which does not execute at all because it is incorrectly implemented.  The layout of the HTML also demonstrates a total lack of understanding of what they were doing.

This is the technology equivalent of putting sugar in someone’s petrol tank or letting their tyres down.

(But they were unwise to leave log file traces, names, IP addresses, traceable script and a trail of identical destruction to other web sites online.)

My To Do List for June included replacing Drupal with something else and putting up a load of content onto the 11112018 organisation site.  Well, now it seems I’ll be replacing the site completely.  Time that would have been spent working on peace studies and pro-peace activity.  But now with slightly less motivation than I had before.

Although I could claim “Hey, I’ve arrived!  A pro-Islamist activist group have targeted my peace web site for taking down and replaced it with their messages of hate!”  But the reality is they have an automated script that just trawls the domain lists for sites due for renewal and searches for this specific vulnerability, then automatically applies their—rather awful—content.

They have just as mindlessly replaced a web site for childcare and a children’s skateboard park web site.

It’s just the same childish, mindless vandalism as spraying swastikas on bus shelters.

I am so disappointed.

What’s in a name?

Google searches for “No New Wars Foundation” and “No New Wars Organisation” only came up with links to web sites I have created.

Phew!  I’ve come up with a globally novel name.

I really should have checked that eight months ago.

Eight months since I thought of the 11/11/2018 campaign – where did that time go?

No New Wars – but what does that mean?

No New Wars 11 11 2018.  Meaning, “let’s ensure No New Wars start as from 11th November 2018“.

How?  By making it clear we expect our leaders to use other means to achieve change.  It will have been a hundred years since the Armistice, a hundred years in which we have learned an awful lot not just people’s ability to harm other, innocent, people, but also about communication, reconciliation, change management, energy creation, environmental management, understanding, and sharing.

In our name, and with our financial support through taxes, people are dropping air-bombs, firing guided missiles, shooting long-range heavy-calibre machine-gun fire, remotely-controlling armed drones … to kill people including civilians.  And is a person who picks up a gun to defend their home a soldier or an armed civilian?  Much of the 20th century involved the deaths of tens of millions of civilians; the 21st century so far has comprised the deaths of 100,000s of civilians, and if you include civilians carrying guns, it is already in the millions.  And the media is glorying in the “Arab Spring” ignoring that it is the worst kind of war: a civil war.  A civil war that is being armed, funded, supported and maintained by external forces who benefit financially or politically from the suffering and deaths of those involved.

Wars are the principle cause of this suffering, and it is time they stopped.  They are not necessary for peace. There are other means, and not just financial sanctions which are only a feeble exercise in trying to show the futility of peaceful solutions. Governments and politicians are just not trying to end war; it neither adds to their power nor is it financially attractive for their sponsors.

Wars are started by politicians being manipulated and promoted by the media.  If politicians can be made to see that war-mongering is no longer going to create votes, they will become peace-makers.  And if the media are hit financially by not getting readers and web page hits, they will lose advertising revenue and so will cease that behaviour.

The trite cliché “War is the continuation of politics by other means” is not only facile, but also two hundred years out of date and inappropriate in a nuclear-energy, internet connected, post-empire world.

I am not so naïve as to think existing wars can be just stopped.  But we can do out bit to create a world where it is not necessary or politically wise to start any new wars.

  • We – that means you – can tell politicians they will lose their jobs if they start down the path of war.
  • We – that means you – can tell the media they will lose advertising revenue and sales if they promote war.

I am not saying we should not support our troops nor have a defence facility.  I am not saying the campaign to stop population growth is wrong.  But I am saying we must actively prevent our leaders from starting down paths that lead to the deaths of thousands of civilians just because that is easier and more attractive to them than any alternatives.

We must make peace more attractive.

Every blog has to start somewhere

It’s been 2 or 3 weeks since the epiphany (that was first written in September 2012): plenty of time to go off the boil, forget what I thought, or just give up.  But I haven’t.  So here goes.

A plan has been put together, initial domain names are registered, and the installation of the blog, forum and wiki begun.  I have a number of articles sitting in text files ready to be uploaded.

Hosting is by HostPost, the same provider as is used by the Blue Lamp Foundation, so that’s a good start.

Now I just need to get on and fill in the details, then start the marketing of the two ideas.

  1. No New Wars.  We do not need to start wars to solve the world’s problems any more. There are better alternatives to resolving problems than using our tax money to kill people including innocent civilians.  Let’s explore those options and ensure our politicians, civil servants and media are aware of them, and make sure these alternatives are used instead.
  2. Eleven-Eleven-Twenty-Eighteen.  The Great War, the “War to end all Wars” finished on 11th November 1918.  In just a few years we will have had 100 years’ experience to learn from that horror.  Long enough to know better.  So let’s get a commitment from the politicians in our own country that we will not let them start any new wars as from 11/11/2018.  We do this as individuals by telling our own elected and hopeful candidates, and the media, that this is a number one priority for for us and that if their party approves starting a war, or they personally vote for war, we will NEVER vote for them nor their party ever again.  That is, if they individually or jointly try to start a war, it will cost them their political career for life.

What is this blog?

Featured

The purpose of this blog is to allow me to record my journey, the formation of the No New Wars organisation (whatever form that may take), the Eleven Eleven Twenty-Eighteen campaign and the supporting resources and networks of people and organisations.

This idea crystallised for me in 2012 when I decided it was not enough to be angry about wars being started in my name (that is, by my government) that I could not prevent.  Instead I would do something.  Not march with a banner, or send a letter to my MP, or write to the embassy of the enemy state, but instead stop the war in the first place.

I realised that I could not stop foreign countries starting wars.  But I can do something to influence my own government.  I could start a movement that makes it clear to our politicians that we do not want war, and that we will make them pay if they start one.

In a democracy we have only one tool available: our vote.  If enough of us pledge to remove our vote from any politician promoting an unjust, illegal or unnecessary war and to instead give that vote to an opponent, then we can make the politicians and major political parties too frightened to want to start a war.

It does not even need many of us to sign up to this.  In many constituencies it would only take about half of the MP’s majority to take the pledge to make the MP realise their next election might be their last.  And if people who do not vote – which is most of us – sign this pledge saying we will turn up and make a protest vote, it will make the political parties sit up and think about the consequences of the actions of a few war mongers.

I haven’t done the sums in detail, but if this campaign had been in place by 2003 when the 2nd Gulf War started, and if just 1% of the electorate had signed this pledge, then 170,00 non-voters voting against Labour plus 1% of Labour voters voting for either of the other major parties, would have resulted in Labour losing the 2005 General Election.

Between 750,000 (Police figures) and 2,000,000 (organisers’ figures) people marched in London alone to protest against the 2nd Gulf War.  Just 400,000 registered voters making a pledge would have more effect.

We actually can stop wars from starting by targeting the real cause: politicians who want to start a war.  By telling them we as voters will end their political career and wreck their party’s future prospects of power at the same time.

Would you consider war prevention a big enough cause to change your vote, or to make you go out and vote?

No New Wars 11 11 2018

No New Wars 11 11 2018

Meaning, let’s ensure No New Wars start as from 11th November 2018.

How?  By making it clear we expect our leaders to use other means to achieve change.

It will have been a hundred years since the Armistice, a hundred years in which we have learned an awful lot not just people’s ability to harm other, innocent, people, but also about communication, reconciliation, change management, energy creation, environmental management, understanding, and sharing.

In our name, and with our financial support, people are dropping air-bombs, firing guided missiles, shooting long-range heavy-calibre machine-gun fire, remotely-controlling armed drones…to kill people, including civilians.  And is a person who picks up a gun to defend their home a soldier or an armed civilian?  Much of the 20th century involved the deaths of tens of millions of civilians; the 21st century so far has comprised the deaths of 100,000s of civilians, and if you include civilians carrying guns, it is already in the millions.  And the media is glorying in the “Arab Spring” ignoring that it is the worst kind of war: a civil war armed, funded, supported and maintained by external forces who benefit financially or politically from the suffering and deaths of those involved.

Wars are the principle cause of this suffering, and it is time they stopped.  They are not necessary for peace.  There are other means, and not just financial sanctions which are only a feeble exercise in trying to show the futility of peaceful solutions.  Governments and politicians are not ”’trying”’ to end war; it neither adds to their power nor is it financially attractive for their sponsors.

Wars are started by politicians being manipulated and promoted by the media.  If politicians can be made to see that war-mongering is no longer going to create votes, they will become peace-makers.  And if the media are hit financially by not getting readers and web page hits, they will lose advertising revenue and so will cease that behaviour.

The trite cliché “”War is the continuation of politics by other means”” is not only facile, but also two hundred years out of date and inappropriate in a nuclear-energy, internet connected, post-empire world.

I am not so naïve as to think existing wars can be just stopped.  But we can do our bit to create a world where it is not necessary or politically wise to start any new wars.

We—that means you—can tell politicians they will lose their jobs if they start down the path of war.

We—that means you—can tell the media they will lose advertising revenue and sales if they promote war.

I am not saying we should not support our troops nor have a defence facility.  I am not saying the campaign to stop population growth is wrong.  But I am saying we must actively prevent our leaders from starting down paths that lead to the deaths of thousands of civilians just because that is easier and more attractive to them than any alternatives.  We must make peace more attractive.

Other thoughts: I’ll need leaflets, email signatures and other means of publicity.  Also, a blog, a wiki and a forum.

I need to form a No New Wars movement.

I need to start a 11112018 – The Eleven Eleven Twenty Eighteen campaign.

Other thoughts: the modern heroes – the new Ghandis – e.g. the Tienanmen square person with shopping bags in front of the tanks; the people who stand in front of Israeli guns; wikileaks to expose the leaders who lie.  They should not be needed.

(This article was originally published on or before 13/09/2012.)