I can’t speak for the experience of other bloggers, but from time to time my experience is that the site gets inundated with showers of phantom “hits” from specific countries, for no reason I’ve ever been able to fathom. The latest such phenomenon is that, since 24th April, I have had literally thousands of hits from the usually uninterested city-state of Singapore. In fact, Singapore’s hits have more than doubled the total visits over the last month, though they seem not to have actually read any of the articles.
I first noticed this phenomenon back in the days when most of my content was on biological origins. I would suddenly get weeks when there were multiple visits from all over China, for example. In that case it was easy to conclude some kind of official government surveillance, though to what end other than some general probing of “the West” I never guessed. I now have a genuine readership across China, and the pattern is completely different.
It was even stranger when, for a while, a similar pattern occurred from multiple sites in France, where usually I could identify, from the stats, a single fan in a town I’d never heard of. Why would French intelligence take an interest in an obscure blog on science-faith questions? More recently Finland had a similar burst of unaccustomed activity.
More recently still, that is about a couple of months ago, a rather more explicable burst of activity came from two cities in Ukraine. I have posted a lot of content relevant to the conflict there, and anybody with any insight will know that their security services are paranoid about any opposition to their regime anywhere in the world, even when it has an insignificant profile. No doubt I’m on a list somewhere to be dealt with by car-bomb once Kiev wins the sweeping victory over Russia that our press continues to trumpet, and Zelensky is elected chief of the UN.
But Singapore? Politically, as I understand it, Singapore’s sympathies lie with BRICS, membership of which it is seeking. As far as I can see it is trying at the same time to maintain its trading and diplomatic ties to the West – a difficult task for any nation when the West sees neutrality in terms of “Support our imperialist policies 100% or face crippling sanctions.” But it does not seem to be the kind of state to offer its security services as a proxy to the US.
Or at least, to offer them voluntarily. The paranoic in me suspects that the folks in Langley, VA, or GCHQ are quite capable of surveilling websites (or attacking them or whatever they do) and fooling the web-host’s servers into thinking the traffic is coming from France, or Finland, or Singapore. It’s fascinating, guys, but couldn’t you make life more interesting by generating ten thousand or so hits from Burkino Faso or Papua New Guinea?
The non-paranoic in me has no idea whatsoever of the purpose of these cyber-blitzes (which so far have had no visible effect on the usual business of the blog). So maybe this is one of those many cases in which the most plausible explanation is the conspiracy theory.
“Once you have excluded the impossible…” etc, as Sherlock Holmes often remarked.