Act, React- Wikileaks Part Two

As I always say to anyone who asks me about Crisis PR, it is rarely the initial problem that is the crisis; it’s how the protragonists react that creates the real crisis. As my earlier blog (see below) recounts, the original Wiklileaks exposure of diplomatic cables was not cage-rattling, at least in my view. And the media hype was only to be expected, at least to my cynical and jaundiced eye. Even the hysterical, over-the-top reaction of the right wing American commentators (Assange can’t be tried for treason, as he isn’t a US citizen) provoked a slightly bemused reaction from me.

But, when a concentrated cyberattack by US Government elements tried to put the Wikileaks website out of action, my attention was drawn. And the reaction of the cyber-community that backs Wikileaks has now made this into as complusive as a Stieg Laarson novel. Is this the wave of the future we are seeing here- when freedom of speech provokes denials of service that get the hacktivists to work on the “third parties” like Visa, Paypal and the like, caught in the crossfire?

Scary stuff, this- which is part of the reason why this blogger does not use internet banking, does not use wireless computing, does not use a credit card online, or put any confidential financial data in accessible formats. Maybe, I am old fashioned, but when this sort of cyber warfare starts mucking up everyday life, it is no longer the realm of thriller fiction, but something more worrying.

OMG-STUCK IN AMERICA!

AeroplaneWhatever I thought might have happened to mess up my trip to the USA, I can’t believe that it was a volcano! I am currently dealing with the fact that my Virgin Atlantic flight home tonight has been cancelled, and the next flight I could get on is not until Sunday- that is, assuming that it goes at all, and the ash does not keep getting worse, or fail to clear. It’s really weird being so totally out of control. Normally, it’s an airline(eg BA’s strike pushed us to use Virgin) or a freak snowstorm, or even a terrorist event that affects one’s travel plans. And that only lasts for a short while. Here we are nearly a week after the eruption and still nothing is moving. That’s a lot of frustrated passengers. It has made me realise how much we all depend  on air travel. I stupidly asked a relative to post me a prescription for medicine because I did not bring enough to last me indefintely- and only afterwards realised that the chance of the package getting to me was nil- as airmail isn’t coming across the Atlantic any more than I am! Sea mail takes five weeks, so I hope to be back before then.  It is affecting students in a big way too. The one lifeline that makes it all just about bearable is the internet and e mail. At least I can stay in touch remotely. If you are one of my students, just e mail…