“Writing is a struggle against power and silence” ~ unknown

 

Most writers would agree, the lead of your story is critical. It grabs the reader, pulls them in and hopefully snags them long enough to read your story.

But when the RCMP helicopter is flying overhead so low again that the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now plays in your head, it’s kind of hard to muster up something really intriguing. I ended up putting this post to bed last night and started again this morning.

Despite the concern over what may or may not be happening in my city,I’m so happy to be back in my blog here, blogging. The last two weeks have been pretty interesting…

It didn’t just start with the events that unfolded live on twitter and resulted in the contents of my blog being deleted and my accounts being hijacked, it actually started a few weeks earlier. I’d noticed a few concerning incidents but when I logged into my blog account one night and saw that a very astute comment a reader had posted on the BC Hydro WAC Bennett dam post had been moved into the trash bin- a manual action in this platform,not automatic- I knew someone had access to my blog.

I moved immediately to a  secure location to make the needed changes to secure all my accounts but it didn’t end there.I ran scans on my pc,but nothing was picked up and that didn’t surprise me-I know that malware or malicious programs can rewrite the definitions of your security software to avoid detecting the offensive program.

The evening it all went down, whomever was in my accounts and PC was no longer even trying to hide their presence. I was able to sit and see things happening right before my eyes, and out of my control. I reached out for help to secure my accounts but it was all over in minutes. A new account was started on twitter using my name-the first tweet was that my blogging career was ended and the second was that my blog had been taken over and no one would assist without interference. The account claimed to be Anonymous but it was clear that it wasn’t right from the start.

I started a new twitter account to let people know what had happened and wrote this blog post with a screen shot from the account.https://thereallailayuile.wordpress.com/   The morning after I filed an RCMP report but it didn’t end there. Concerned readers were asking what happened and when I advised them that a police report had been filed, the hacked account responded to me, CKNW and Surrey RCMP on twitter. Then the account tweeted a direct threat of kidnap and death to me, visible and seen by thousands.

RCMP were called again and responded to take statements and gather evidence. Thankfully readers following the drama took screen shots of everything while I was busy with RCMP and as if this wasn’t already bizarre enough, while that was going on,people on twitter were asking Anonymous why they hacked my account and they responded that they didn’t and my coverage of Site C was excellent. Shortly after an Anonymous support account confronted the hacker and hacked the account back,again in front of everyone watching on twitter.

RCMP and other agencies have been investigating so that’s as much as I can say as far as that goes, but it is clear now that what was happening prior to this event was not a random act. Thanks to some excellent cyber security professionals who’ve taken a look at this, the shared opinion is that it looks like a paid job to gather information as well – “SOP” standard operating procedure they say, at least in the corporate world. At some point I will be able to share more-there is much more to tell. You think you’ve seen the darkness of the world and then you see an entirely different level of it. Yet another moment of innocence deconstructed.

If there is a silver lining to be found it is the wealth of information I’ve gleaned from the people who stepped up to assist on the tech side, and the friends,readers and colleagues who assisted financially in getting me back online so quickly. Words aren’t adequate to express my gratitude for so much support- Thank you. 🙂

Now some items to help those around me, particularly other bloggers or individuals out there fighting the good fight online.Always use two-step authentication on your accounts. Use military strength passwords -long and indecipherable. If you use twitter, go into your settings,go down the options until you hit Apps. Disable them all and revoke permissions- apps are the fastest way into any account or device and Twitter cannot ensure the security of those apps when they aren’t theirs.One of my helpers compared it to leaving your screen door wide open and then wondering how a crook walked right into your house….

When you are done that, go down the menu to Your Twitter data- you will be asked to enter your password again. This shows you every device and IP address that has logged into your account  and it might surprise you if you find something there that shouldn’t be.

The week before this happened, an app that I had used once briefly and then revoked access to more than a year earlier,accessed my twitter account in the middle of the night. That same app accessed my account just hours before this all went down on the evening of the 23rd. The hacker had used that as a backdoor entrance into my account which tells me some research was done to determine what apps I might have been using.

The same applies to Facebook, or your phone and even your laptop. Go into the settings on these devices and accounts and you might be surprised to find out which apps are already authorized to access and use your camera,your sound system, your contacts and pretty much anything else you assume incorrectly,is private.

Talk via direct messages in twitter or Facebook? Delete them on both ends of the conversation right after you do. Better yet, use the phone next time 🙂
More than likely the majority of the public don’t have to worry about things like this but if you are writing about the kinds of things we do, you must. And you must take this seriously.When there are billions of dollars on the line for contract work and you are exposing flaws and wrongs in the process, when you are writing about patronage grants and cushy rides on the gravy train or when you are simply blogging about the waste and favours of government, you need to take this to heart. Piss off the wrong person and bam.

What shone bright through much of the darkness of the last two weeks was the extent and strength of the community we bloggers have built online. I would not be here right now,without the efforts & contributions from my friends and readers. Many of our readers are shared, stopping at Norm’s place and then RossK’s before making the rounds. Our social media presence is growing – with nearly 4000 followers and a devoted following that shares and retweets, I can make hundreds of thousands of impressions. That makes our collective presence a powerful force to get information out fast and each of you is an important part of that.

I took the opportunity to change the format here and I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you encounter any kinks or bugs. I’ll have a new post for you shortly so check back soon. Until then, take care and thank you for all that you do. Writing is a struggle against power and silence, but together we can make a difference -I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe that with every single bit of my being.

** A few must reads for you this weekend:

~Our favourite contractor here in BC, Kiewit is under fire again in the US courtesy of the best headline ever ( Imagine seeing this in your local paper!) http://www.laweekly.com/news/mta-shells-out-an-extra-100-million-on-screwed-up-405-shitshow-6198880

~What? BC Hydro is paying Independent Power Producers to NOT make power? You don’t say… H/T to Desmog for this excellent piece  http://www.desmog.ca/2016/04/05/b-c-hydro-paying-independent-power-producers-not-produce-power-due-oversupply

~And,two months after I reported this to DFO,it’s making news… Non-compliance by contractors at Site C https://lailayuile.com/2016/02/10/more-questions-raised-about-site-c-construction-compliance-with-provincial-and-federal-fisherieswater-regulations/

~ You’ve got to read it, to believe it…. http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/04/09/How-Clark-Talks-Kids-Taxes/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=040916-1&utm_campaign=events-0416

 

26 thoughts on ““Writing is a struggle against power and silence” ~ unknown

  1. Laila Yuile

    I’ve heard from many people across the spectrum and what happened online was so far over the line and quite different from the quiet activity I’d previously noticed and attempted to stop.

    There have been a lot of people who’ve written about Site C. A lot of people have written about government malfeasance and the friendly treatment friends and supporters of government have gotten.This was very targeted to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see attempts to get into other bloggers systems.

    Like

  2. e.a.f.

    so happy you’re back!!! missed you a lot. it was a big shock when I went to read your blog and found an advisory to “check in”. re tried several times and then wrote RossK thinking there might be something wrong with your blog. Gee was there ever.

    As to who did this, I don’t need to know the person. your blog may have bothered some because its emphasize is on people and the effects the government has on them. its not just opinions and facts, its about people and that last post, with the eagle, that was so human and given how many hits eagle cameras get, in my opinion, some one thought that had to end. Your post also had pictures, which are clear and can make people cry. To see our land devastated is horrible. Its one thing to read about it but to see the pictures, that hits home.

    I would suggest your blog was hacked because it appeals to people on an emotional level. Once people are appealed to on an emotional level, governments get tossed.

    So welcome back.

    Like

  3. After I was attacked I did not have the strength to continue as you have so eloquently displayed here. Do not trust the RCMP as you seem to indicate you do in this post. They are no longer the friends of Canadians.

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  4. The resource extraction sector along with the electrical energy producers are the most powerful entities in our global community. They are more powerful then the bankers, You and I threaten the exposure of their control. Politicians are simply peons compared to these entities. Since 1988 I have played with these boys. They take no prisoners. You only endured a small indication of their powers. Be very aware. In other parts of the world you would just vanish.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hawgwash

    Happy to see you back, Laila
    Deeply concerned at the efforts made to silence you…scary!
    Now, the skeptic in me says there will be no arrests over this. Not that they won’t know who was responsible; just no arrests.
    If I am wrong about that, I will admit it here.

    Your work is vital, keep it up.
    Thank you.
    Hawgwash.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laila Yuile

      First death threat is always a learning experience….I doubt to see any arrests in this either but one can hope. Thanks for your support – I appreciate it.

      Like

    1. Laila Yuile

      Not sure how many people were involved and not sure if the nastiness was just overt trolling to distract from what else was going on, or what, But the threat to end my blogging career was chilling.

      Like

  6. You’re so happy to be back in your blog? That goes double for us, your readers, without a doubt. Keep up the good work and be careful! I get up every morning just to make sure I’m around when you finally win the war against these despots! Stay well, and don’t forget the fishing. They’re running about five pounds now. I’ll drop the cauliflower.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Laila, thanks for working so hard to get in position to welcome us back to your site.

    Your work in the public interest is invaluable, and whoever attempted to stifle it lost this battle. It reminds us however that there is an ongoing war surrounding how or even whether the public is informed, and yours is one of many battlefronts. The tactics for now may be more subtle than outright destruction of property and death threats, but let’s make no mistake; in the pursuit of political, corporate, and big media interests any method to control the message is still on the table.

    I know one of your tenets is to know the enemy. Hopefully you’ll be able to introduce us to this one some day.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. erik

    I wish to join all the well wishers by saying you and your passions are standouts in these deliberately misty times. Like others I do hope for disclosure of the anti-democratic folks because that has to be the best way to head off more of the same. Name and shame works wonders when it comes to dealing with parasites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ernest RB Titcomb

      @asnomadas:

      I would suggest that the perp. IS the BC gov!!!!!

      Welcome back, Laila. I was extremely worried about you during your absence. You must be very careful about your security when you criticize a criminal organization such as this gov. (as you now well know!) Please continue your good work but be vigilant.

      Cheers;
      Ernie T. (Long time follower but first post)

      Like

      1. Laila Yuile

        Thank you 🙂 Funny not so funny moment. RCMP officer taking report asks if there is anyone that might want to do this,someone who might be upset with me? I had to raise my eyebrows and shrug my shoulders.The list of people upset with what I write is long-nature of the beast.

        Like

  9. Good to see you back again. I have switched to two step verification and I use a password generator (Universal Password Manager). Thanks to your advice I have just discovered there are 80 apps associated with my facebook account! But then facebook is a very strange thing – with a place where it hides messages from people I actually know, am related to and even a few I really care about, but fills my feed with guff from Suzanne Anton.

    I hope that the miscreant that wreaked havoc has been or will be identified. Possibly too much to hope that (s)he will suffer suitable consequences, but I do find it encouraging to know that there are resources that helped you to get back again.

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  10. e.a.f.

    “some one who might be upset with” you? gee, might want to send him your postings for the last few years and the officer can pick out any of the names he/she would like to. On one level the answer is sad, on the other level, its great. Your writings have most likely upset hundreds of politicians, their supporters, benefactors, etc. I’d say you have done a great job. If no one were upset with you, you might be doing something wrong. the fact that many are upset with you, means your are doing your job at an incredibility good standard.

    Like

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