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Update on the DDoS defense of alternative media outfits

Respondents Suniway and IP Converge, in their respective answers filed in court, deny any knowledge in the cyberattacks launched against us. Both absolve themselves of any accountability to the three-month long distributed denial of service attacks despite the fact that their infrastructure were used in these attacks.

How could one then explain that after the filing of civil case against these companies, the cyberattacks stopped?

We also decry the counterclaim filed by both companies in the total amount of P6.5 million for allegedly besmirching their reputation. It’s clear that we, the plaintiffs, have no malice and only state, as a matter of fact, the results of forensic investigation done by Qurium identifying them as sources of DDoS attacks.

The filing of counterclaim is an act of harassment against non-profit media outfits and meant to intimidate us. We are not backing down.

Altermidya

Bulatlat

Kodao

Pinoy Weekly

Alternative media outfits fight back, file complaints vs. cyber-attacks

Alternative media outfits identified two companies where the intense cyber attacks against them since December are coming from.

Bulatlat, Kodao, and Pinoy Weekly, as well as the People’s Alternative Media Network (Altermidya) filed a civil complaint at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court this morning against IP Converge Data Services, Inc. and Suniway Group of Companies they believe are where the cyber-attacks are coming from.

“Through the solid and thorough digital forensic investigation of Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation over time, it was discovered that the cyber-attacks were coming from companies IP Converge and Suniway,” Altermidya national coordinator Rhea Padilla said.

According to their respective websites, IP Converge Data Services, Inc. is the country’s first cloud services provider while Suniway is an internet services provider.

Exposed IP addresses

Padilla said the digital forensic report revealed that despite hiding behind a Virtual Private Network (VPN), one of the attackers exposed their real IP addresses when they accessed the website without turning on their hidden IPs.

In another instance, one of the attackers also revealed his IP address when he used his Samsung Android phone to check the websites of alternative media groups under attack.

The exposed IP addresses, she added, may easily be traced to IP Converge based on the findings of Qurium.

Meanwhile, Qurium learned that the infrastructure of networks being used to launch the attacks belongs to Suniway, which holds business addresses both in Hong Kong and in the Philippines with two Chinese national listed as among its officers.

“The user agents who conducted the attacks using devices within the premises and under the control and supervision of Defendants IP Converge and Suniway are unidentified at this point,” their complaint said.

First-ever complaint

Padilla said their civil complaint against cyber-attackers is the first ever in the Philippines.

“This is definitely a first and it will serve as a testament that we will neither be cowed nor will we allow these cyber-attacks to continue,” Padilla said.

The complainants were assisted by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers.

Since December 2018, alternative media sites have been subjected to sustained cyber-attacks in the form of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

DDoS refers to the malicious attempt to overload the server of a website, aimed to shut it down.

Padilla said this kind of attack “denies legitimate readers of access to truthful reports.”

“Plaintiffs have reasonable ground to believe that there are more than one of them, each one targeting a particular organization,” their complaint said.

Padilla added that launching a cyber-attack with this kind of magnitude and immensity is impossible without the knowledge of the companies.

The alternative media outfits maintained that these relentless cyber-attacks are politically-motivated.

They called on the two companies to reveal their real clients.

“We believe these attacks are state-sponsored and are part of the Duterte administration’s attempt to stifle press freedom in the country. It seems cyber censorship is one of the administration’s tactics to make way for an open dictatorial rule,” Padilla said.

The filing of the complaint coincided with the 25th anniversary of the internet in the Philippines.

In March 29, 1994, the first ever internet message were sent between the University of San Carlos in Cebu City and Syracuse University in New York. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP denounces ‘CPP legal front’ tag, news website takedowns

Dec. 26, 2018

On December 26, 2018, several news outfits carried stories about a certain Mario Ludades, who claims to be a former ranking officer and founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, accusing the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines of being one of the supposed “legal fronts” of the revolutionary movement.

On the same day, the alternative media outfits Bulatlat and Kodao – which both house NUJP chapters – were taken down almost simultaneously before noon.

That these assaults on freedom of the press and of free expression took place on the 50th founding anniversary of the CPP is clearly no coincidence.

This is, of course, not the first time the NUJP has been the target of such lies. The organization was also one of those identified as “enemies of the state” in the PowerPoint presentation “Knowing the Enemy” created in 2005 by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and which the military showed in schools and other venues.

In the case of Ludades, who identifies himself as spokesman of the “No to Communist Terrorist Group Coalition” and an indigenous people’s leader in the Cordillera region, it does not take rocket science to guess who is behind him and the lies he spouts.

The charge of being a “legal front” of the communists is so absurd it is tempting to dismiss it outright. Nevertheless, we are treating it seriously because it puts the organization, its officers and members in potential risk.

On the other hand, the takedowns of Bulatlat and Kodao, which state security forces have also time and again accused of links to the revolutionary underground, bear similar signs as the attack that led to the shutting down of the NUJP site a few months back.

The attack on the alternative media outfits happened soon after they posted stories about the CPP.

They also come after an incident last week when armed men in civilian clothes believed to be military or police operatives were seen in the vicinity of the office building that houses Kodao and a number of activist organizations that the government openly tags as “front organizations” of the communist revolutionary movement.

We stress that the “alternative media” are a legitimate part of the Philippine media community whose take on current events and issues broaden the national discourse and provide an invaluable contribution to the growth of democracy.

Only those who seek to suppress freedom of thought and of expression would seek to silence them and, for that matter, independent media as a whole.

If Ludades and his handlers, and those behind the taking down of the Bulatlat and Kodao sites, couldn’t be more wrong if they think they can intimidate us with stupid stunts like these.

The NUJP and all independent Filipino journalists have not and will never be cowed into giving up the continued struggle for genuine freedom of the press and of expression in the country. This is not a boast. It is a fact.

See related article here: https://www.gmanetwork.com/…/ex-cpp-member-exposes-…/story/…

NATIONAL DIRECTORATE

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Podcast on Mamasapano encounter

Panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison hinggil sa madugong sagupaan sa pagitan ng SAF at MILF sa Mamasapano, Maguindanao noong January 25, 2015.

February 1, 2015

Ano ang inyong masasabi sa pahayag ng FBI na walang kinalaman ang US sa naganap na Mamasapano encounter?

JMS: Nasa katangian at papel ng FBI na magsinungaling tungkol sa covert operations o lihim na operasyon nito. Mahaba at malalim ang pakialam ng FBI sa proyekto na hulihin o patayin si Marwan at Usman. Nahahalata naman ito sa lantarang pagtanggap ng FBI na sila ang bahala sa reward money at sa DNA analysis. Pero may kinalaman din ang FBI sa pagsasanay sa Special Action Force, sa intelligence at pagsasagawa ng Oplan Wolverine.

May papel ang FBI sa porma ng bilateral police cooperation. Pero kasangkot din ang iba pang ahensya ng Amerikano,tulad ng US Army Special Forces. US Army facility ang GPS surveillance at real-time monitoring sa communications gadget na ipinain kay Marwan at mga aide niya. At malamang na si US Ambassador Goldberg o ang CIA station chief ang nag-utos kay Aquino.

Ayon sa mga tao sa baryong pinangyarihan ng sagupaan, may blue-eyed na Amerikanong sundalo na nakita nilang patay. At nakunan naman ng retrato ang Amerikanong sundalo mula sa Joint Staff Special Operations Task Force. Kasama sila sa pagtingin, pag-usisa at pagkuha sa mga bangkay ng mga sundalong SAF. Lumabas ang mga retrato sa mga peryodiko.

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Podcast on Charlie Hebdo massacre


SAGOT SA MGA TANONG NG KODAO UKOL SA CHARLIE HEBDO
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
January 9, 2015

Tanong 1: Ano ang inyong pagtingin sa pagkakapaslang sa mga staff/journalist/cartoonist ng Charlie Hebdo?

JMS: Kinokondena ko ang pagpaslang sa mga editor, cartoonist at staff ng Charlie Hebdo. May karapatan silang mabuhay at magpahayag. May karapatan sila sa due process. Hindi lang basta kung sino na lang ang pumaslang sa kung sino pa. Hindi sapat na dahilan ang mga sinulat at drawing nila para patayin sila.

Nakikidalamhati ako sa kamag-anakan, mga kolega at mga kaibigan ng mga pinaslang. Malalim ang simpatya ko sa kanila. Pero may kalipikasyon at hantungan ng aking simpatya. Hindi ko iproproklama ang sarili ko bilang Charlie Hebdo. Hindi ako sang-ayon sa anti-Islam at racial prejudices ng Charlie Hebdo at ang ginawang pang-iinsulto, panunuya at panghahamon sa mga Muslim at mga taong hindi puti.

May karapatan ang Charlie Hebdo na mamahayag, magpuna at magmungkahi. Pero may responsabilidad na igalang ang karapatan ng iba, mga indibidwal man, organisayon o komunidad. Lahat ay may mga karapatan at may responsabilidad na igalang ang karapatan ng iba. Maglalaro ka sa apoy kung saktan mo ang niloloob ng maraming tao, tutuyain mo at hahamunin mo pa dahil lamang sa relihyon nila o kulay ng balat nila.

Tanong 2: Ano po kaya ang maaaring impak sa buong daigdig ng massacre sa Paris, sa bansang maunlad gaya nito na sinasabing may kalayaan naman daw sa pagsasalita at pamamahayag ang mga tao.

JMS: Sa Pransiya mismo at sa ibang bansang imperyalista, may mga pwersang reaksyonaryo na gustong gamitin ang insidenteng Charlie Hebdo sa ngalan ng pagtataguyod ng press freedom para palitawin na terorista ang mga Muslim at mga taong hindi puti ang balat at para gawing lalong maigting ang represyon o terorismo ng estado at para bigyan din ng katwiran ang mga digma ng agresyon ng mga bansang imperyalista sa Middle East at North Africa.

Malamang na ang pumaslang sa tauhan ng Charlie Hebdo ay kumilos dahil sa labis na galit sa pambabastos kay propetang Mohamad at mga Muslim. Pero pinapalaki ng mga imperyalista ang insidente at tinataguriang terorismo para ilihis ang pansin ng mga mamamayan sa krisis sa ekonomiya at sa mega-terorismo o malakihang terorismo ng mga imperyalistang estado sa loob at labas ng bansa nila.

Sabi ng ilang ulat na ang dalawang magkapatid na suspetsado ay mga miembro ng Al Qaida o Islamic state ng Syria at Iraq (ISIS) na sumasalanta ngayon sa Syria at Iraq. Kung kailan lang, ang ISIS o ISIL ay pinondohan, inorganisa, inarmasan at sinanay ng mga imperyalistang ahente ng US, Inglaterra at Pransiya tulad ng dating ginawa sa mga tinaguriang Islamista na nagpabagsak sa gobyerno ni Qadaffi sa Lybia. May teorya ng ilan na mga ahente mismo ng gobyernong Pranses ang nagpakana sa Charlie Hebdo incident para gawing sangkalan ng terorismo ng estado ng mga imperyalista at mga papet nila.

Ang mga tunay at malaking o dambuhalang terorista ay mga imperyalistang kapangyarihan na pinamumunuan ng Estados Unidos. Kasama riyan ang Pransiya. Sa mga gera ng agresyon nila, milyun-milyong tao ang pinapatay at pinalilisan at winawasak ang kabuhayan at social infrastructure nila. Dahil sa paglubha ng krisis, ibayong lumilitaw ang rasismo, represyon at pasismo sa mismong mga imperyalistang bansa na nagyayabang na mga sentro sila ng demokrasya at kalayaan.

Pooled editorial | FIVE YEARS AFTER THE AMPATUAN MASSACRE: AQUINO MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE

end impunity
Five years after the massacre of 58 men and women including 32 journalists in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao, justice remains elusive and impunity still reigns. The promise of President Benigno Aquino III to help speedily resolve the case that has put the Philippines in the limelight as one of the most dangerous places for journalists not only remains unfulfilled; through his statements and actions he has downplayed the killing of journalists and ignored the possible accountability of military officers in the Massacre.

Something is already terribly wrong with the country’s justice system when a warlord clan can murder 58 people in broad daylight and still get away with flooding the courts with petitions and motions so as to delay the proceedings, and worse, probably cause the murder of four probable witnesses to the crime.

The majority of the suspects, mostly police officers and members of the private army of the Ampatuan clan, remain at large. Forty-one, including the policemen who flagged down the convoy on November 23, 2009, have been granted bail. The government prosecutors are accused of accepting bribes. Just four days before the fifth year of the Ampatuan massacre, another possible witness was again gunned down.

All these favor the Ampatuan clan, allowing it to show the families of the victims and the witnesses that they are still in power and can play with the courts until public interest on the case wanes so that they can forge out- of- court settlements and strike deals with the government.

A welcome development in the midst of many disappointments is the Supreme Court’s release of guidelines in December 2013 to expedite the case. However, there is still no cause for celebration as the case continues to drag on.

end impunity1

The Ampatuan Massacre is a key issue in the Filipino people’s struggle against the culture of impunity that has afflicted the country for so long. A decision favourable to the masterminds and killers will encourage more killings of and human rights violations against journalists, activists, and other sectors.

Time is of essence. It has long been recognized that it will take the intercession of President Aquino himself to speed up the case. But instead, the Aquino administration promoted the two military officers who refused to provide security to the victims at the time of the incident—Col. Medardo Geslani and Lt. Gen. Alfredo Cayton, who were promoted to brigadier-general and major-general respectively, thus sending across the country and to the armed forces and police that the Aquino administration is not interested in putting an end to the culture of impunity.

Under the Aquino administration, 25 journalists have been killed for their work since 2010., making the Aquino record second only to that of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime. Instead of recognizing the political nature of the killings, Aquino has also blamed the victims themselves and dismissed the cases of journalists killed as merely the consequence of personal disputes. This does not only aggravate the pain of the bereaved families whose lives are also at risk amid the lack of meaningful government support, but more alarmingly feeds the culture of impunity and the reign of injustice in the country.

red candle

For these reasons, the President and his administration should be held accountable as well.

Despite the declarations of President Aquino that his administration has been implementing “reforms” in the country’s system of governance, traditional patronage politics still characterize the policies and official acts of the Aquino administration, and political dynasties and local warlords still lord it over the country.

white candle

Attaining justice for all those killed not only in the Ampatuan massacre but in the many cases of extra judicial killings as well lies in the hands of the Filipino people. The people and not only the journalism and media community must remain vigilant. They need to monitor developments in the Massacre trial and other cases closely, exert pressure on the government, and demand justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and other killings of journalists as well as those of activists and human rights defenders. But even more crucially should they continue to monitor the policies, acts and statements of the Aquino regime towards holding it to account for helping perpetuate the culture of impunity.

AlterMidya is a nationwide network of independent and progressive alternative media outfits in the Philippines that promotes journalism for the people.