February 23, 2013. It’s been one terrible February for Whiteout Press. In addition to the periodic cyber attacks, this independent news outlet was also hacked through its web host’s servers for the first time. That caused the unfortunate dilemma where the more traffic the site received, the more it crashed. And worst of all, Google temporarily suspended Whiteout Press’ advertising account, cutting off all revenue for the cash-strapped news site.
“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” – Mark Twain, 1904.
It’s no secret that Whiteout Press seems to get cyber attacked every time we publish an article critical of some powerful, multi-national corporation. It happened after our stories about JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, General Electric and even some unknown criminal Russian cyber security company. All the attacks were somewhat amateur in nature and were easily fixed once they were detected.
That appeared to be the case once again when we observed one very old article from our ‘Timeless’ section that was using up the bandwidth of 10 websites. The article being cyber attacked was called, ‘Is the Media controlled by Jews?’ We’re not anti-Semitic here at Whiteout Press. But that question is one of the longest-asked and challenged topics in America. And while it seems obvious, we’re not going to point fingers at who the culprits might be.
It’s also not the only religion we’ve published blacked-out articles about. That particular report is listed on our site just above ‘Is the Pope’s Number 666?’ and ‘Is Prince El Hassan the Anti-Christ?’ It’s also included with other fascinating and unusual topics like Nostradamus, banned poems, UFOs, 9/11 questions, the Illuminati, Trilateral Commission and a host of other essays on America’s theories, conspiracies, wives tales and folklore. As our readers and subscribers can see, we’re an equal opportunity news outlet. We cover all the censored and taboo political subjects. But hopefully, always in a professional, unbiased and impartial way.
Web host’s servers hacked
Typically when cyber attacked, your editor simply goes into ‘Edit’ mode and deletes all the fraudulent or infected content from the disabled web page. This time, upon deleting the comments section on the above article, it crashed Whiteout Press completely…for two days.
After spending two nights on the phone with our web host’s tech support, we discovered the problem. The ‘Comments’ section I attempted to delete was too big to be manually deleted. It caused a log jam in the servers. Together, tech support and I went into the guts of Whiteout Press’ coding and databases and we deleted every single comment throughout the entire website. Why did we have to do that? Because whoever cyber attacked the article did so by breaking into our host’s servers and launching a virus that inserted over 2,000,000 comments onto that one web page.
Thinking that deleting all 2,000,000 comments from inside the database itself with one click of the mouse had solved the problem, Whiteout Press was back online. Unfortunately, that only lasted a few minutes. In an attempt to remove the millions of comments from the site’s memory and cache, we cleared the cache. But again, flushing that much data overwhelmed the host’s servers and crashed our site yet again.
Frustrated, our web host simply disabled Whiteout Press until we could fix the problems on our end. Not being webmasters and not having the funds to hire our own trouble-shooter, the site was down for another two days. We finally convinced the host to bring it back online, but that only lasted one day before the bandwidth spiked again and crashed the site. We were now pulling our hair out, and also not publishing any articles.
After spending a full day and night upgrading every single program, application and plug-in used by the Whiteout Press website to their most current versions, our problem appeared to be solved and the site has been functioning fine. But with one major problem solved, another one emerged.
Google Adsense suspension
For the past century, America’s advertising industry consisted of thousands of corporations. They chose from hundreds of advertising agencies to buy and place their ads on the thousands of media outlets, whether they be newspapers, magazines, television, billboards or any other vehicle that sold ad space. Those thousands of media outlets put the actual ads into the hands of the hundreds of millions of consumers.
That formula has changed, and changed drastically. Now days, most advertising is being done online instead of traditional mediums, and in a greater percentages every year. And every step of the above process is the same except one.
Thousands of corporations still want to get their ads in front of hundreds of millions of consumers. But instead of having hundreds of advertising agencies to choose from, any brand that wishes to advertise online must take their business to Google, the one and only online advertising agency. There are other amateurish, garage-sized programs, but none of them work. Take it from us. We’ve tried them all. The result is a Google monopoly on America’s online corporate advertising dollars.
So when Google emailed us here at Whiteout Press five days ago informing us that our account had been suspended for violating their advertising guidelines, we were devastated. While nobody’s getting rich from Whiteout Press, or even earning the equivalent of a paycheck, the little bit of revenue we do receive is what allows us to publish and pay the laundry list of small bills we incur to bring you the nation’s blacked-out, covered-up and censored news every day.
The violation and next steps
Google automatically gave us the option of appealing the suspension, which we did immediately. As it turns out, the article in violation was one year old and innocently reported on how brick and mortar casinos were rapidly turning to online gambling, and unfairly shutting out the smaller, older start-ups in the process. Apparently, it’s against the Google advertiser agreement to promote gambling on any pages that use Google Adsense ads.
We immediately deleted the entire page from Whiteout Press and reviewed the rest of the site to insure there weren’t any other violations. That was five days ago, still without a penny of income in that time. The Google notice said they would respond within 72 hours, and we’re going to continue to wait with our fingers crossed. If Google rejects our appeal, we’re doomed. We’ll still continue publishing Whiteout Press, but we won’t be able to make it our primary responsibility like it is now. If Google accepts our appeal and restores our advertising account, we’ll be ecstatic.
For readers that are curious if and when our advertising account is restored, just check out any Whiteout Press articles. If they contain Google ads, we’re back in business. If they don’t, then that means we’re either still appealing or have been denied. Hopefully, by Monday everything will be back to normal…from my lips to God’s ears.
At some point during the past two-week nightmare, I had the urge to delete the page that was cyber attacked to avoid any future confrontations. And that’s what 95% of the sites out there would have done, but not us.
"The news shouldn't be left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal. It should be the news. It should be independent" - Mark Wachtler, Whiteout Press founder
Looking back, if I’d always given in to those secret, powerful forces trying to silence our various voices, I never would have been sued by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schultz in 1988, or been legally victorious against the San Francisco Police and the Anti-Defamation League in their illegally spying on me in 1993, or had my house raided by the FBI in 1994, or been elected to office in 1995 – all by doing nothing more or less than writing articles that expose the truth to the American people. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and much better for your soul. But it’s that craziness that has made my life so exciting. I wouldn’t trade those memories and learning experiences for anything.
Take heed all you defenders of freedom out there. This is no game. It’s serious and it’s dangerous. Just ask all the kids from the rebel hacker group Anonymous that are finding themselves sentenced to unbelievably lengthy prison terms for simply disrupting a corporation’s website for an hour. Or ask all the Occupy kids who’ve been attacked with military grade chemical weapons, batons and stun grenades, just for holding peaceful sit-ins. Liberty and freedom are a dangerous and deadly business these days. And if you still don’t believe it, just ask Aaron Swartz or Keith Ratliff. Actually, you can’t. The 1st Amendment advocate and the 2nd Amendment advocate are both dead now.
Regardless of the outcome of our current website troubles, you have my promise that we’ll continue fighting the good fight and giving a voice to the voiceless, one way or another. If I’ve learned one thing over past 25 years in the trenches, it’s that as noble and honorable as the cause of Truth, Justice, Liberty and Freedom is, there are powerful forces lined up against us. They include politicians, governments, corporations and mysterious secret societies with sinister goals. And you and I stand in their way.
To them, I have no comment. Instead, I'll just play them a song…
“I learned a safety rule
I don’t know who to thank
Don’t stand between the reservation and the corporate bank
They'll send in federal tanks
It isn’t nice but it’s reality…
…Bury my heart at Wounded Knee”
-Buffy Sainte-Marie, 1990