The year of being silenced


My blogging year started with a trade union official abusing and threatening me – twice. It ends with a lost December, during which the control over my blog was taken away from me by a Jordanian hacker who demanded money in exchange for returning access. My policy has always been no negotiations with terrorists, and unlike the United States government, I have always stuck to it through thick and thin. I made the decision pretty much straight away that even if I were to lose The Daily Chrenk forever I would rather spend the blackmail money on a plane ticket to Amman to track down “Cyber PS”, a.k.a Len Mallak, a.k.a. Mohmmad Meteb Mallak, and break his arms and legs with a ball hammer. As much as I was looking to going to Jordan and visiting Petra while I was at it, in the end it proved unnecessary thanks to good work of Sam and his team at 6YS in Brisbane, who specialise in dealing with creatures like Mohmmad. To them, my eternal gratitude, and to all my readers, a hearty recommendation if you’re after top quality IT, web hosting and cyber-security services.

By all indications, the hacking was non-political. Mohmmad is yet another loser with a miserable life, made more miserable for being a single, clinically depressed virgin in Amman rather than, say, Annapolis. He openly boasts on his Facebook page about hacking a seemingly random selection of Australian websites, in addition to yours truly, for example, the web page of the Spirit of the ANZACs stage show and of Dignity for Disability community group. Then again, the dark side of the web, like the world of espionage, is a veritable wilderness of mirrors; maybe Mohmmad’s lonely and lovesick online persona is an ironic in-joke or a clever disguise for another player with another agenda. We will likely never know. In any case, in the spirit of Christmas, I would like to say this to Mohmmad: I forgive you, you pathetic, miserable, goat-fucking shithead. OK, that wasn’t very Christmassy or Christian of me, but I will work on that.

Being offline for three weeks caused me blogging withdrawals, as well as the inevitable loss of momentum and readership as I’ve been trying to build up The Daily Chrenk after an 11 year blogging hiatus. Someone less – or more – rational than me could possibly see this incident as a sign from the powers above that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on a website I can’t monetise and  instead concentrate on finding more productive ways to use the limited talents I have. But I’m not rational, and I’m also very stubborn, so here I am again.

While I couldn’t write I missed a lot of good stuff – and bad stuff – to blog about. But there will be more; there always is. While Christmas and New Year period is normally a down time for most of you, I won’t be going anywhere, partly because I’ve lost almost a month already. So make sure you pop in and browse, and spread the word that TDC is back – and it’s a good break from all the madness of family celebrations and holiday sales.

Sometimes it’s a trade unionist, sometimes it’s a hacker. More often it’s a government, or pressure groups and lobbies, or the media – social and anti-social – trying to silence views and censor or shut down the debate. We’re all affected one way or another. 2016 has not been a good year for the freedom of speech and 2017 is unlikely to let up in that regard. We need to recommit and rededicate ourselves to the fight to defend one of the most important individual and civil rights in our society. I will be there, and I hope you will too.