Blowback: Hacktivists versus Dictators

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

  The Egyptian government shut down most of the internet on Thursday, on the eve of what should be a massive protest march.

 A group of internet activists collective, Anonymous, warned the Egyptian government against this very action just hours before.

 “Anonymous wants you to offer free access to uncensored media in your entire country,” it said in a Facebook posting.

  “When you ignore this message, not only will we attack your government websites, we will also make sure that the international media see the horrid reality you impose on your people!” it said.

“Operation Egypt” has already been in effect ever since Egypt cut access to Twitter on Tuesday. Today it kicked into full operation.

 An image posted on Facebook urged interested individuals to join IRC chat rooms, where, Netcraft said, new recruits were being asked to download and install the Low-Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), software that makes DDoS attacks easy to stage.

 What we are seeing in Egypt, where the social media is on the front lines, is a repeat of events that happened in Tunisia just a few weeks ago, events that continue even today.

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[Update: With Egypt completely cut off from the world via the Internet, Anonymous has resorted to an old-school method: the fax machine.

 On Friday afternoon, the loose hacker group Anonymous began a campaign to fax thousands of copies of WikiLeaks’ latest missives-a series of State Department cables revealing human rights abuses under Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and tacit U.S. backing for his administration-to Egyptian numbers.

This is a throwback to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest.

  All ISP’s in Egypt have been turned off, as has most local cell phone service, but landlines remain operational. A French ISP is offering free dial-up internet access.

 BTW, Egypt’s stock exchange is still operating.

“We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

 – Anonymous

 One of the most under-reported aspects of the epic political change in Tunisia concerns a largely unknown international political party known as the Tunisia Pirate Party.

 During the demonstration, two of the leading members of this tiny political party were arrested and beaten by security forces. Just one week later, after Ben Ali’s regime ended, Slim Amamou was released from prison and made a Minister in the new governing cabinet.

 How did Amamou go from blogger to high-ranking politician virtually overnight? To answer that you need to look at how events transpired in the Twitter Revolution.

 I would suggest that analysts not think about the effects of the new media as an either/or proposition (“Twitter vs. Al Jazeera”), but instead think about new media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SMS, etc) and satellite television as collectively transforming an complex and potent evolving media space. Without the new social media, the amazing images of Tunisian protesters might never have escaped the blanket repression of the Ben Ali regime — but it was the airing of these videos on Al Jazeera, even after its office had been shuttered, which brought those images to the mass Arab public and even to many Tunisians who might otherwise not have realized what was happening around their country.

 The Egyptian government learned a lesson from Tunisia, and that’s why they’ve shut down the internet. Dictatorships can’t last when information is democratized and the populace is engaged.

  The protests in Tunisia got out of the government’s control when Wikileaks released the State Department cables detailing corruption within the Tunisian government.

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 So what does the Pirate Party and Anonymous and Wikileaks have to do with all this?

Back on January 4, long before the western news media was even aware that something was happening in Tunisia, Anonymous had launched Operation: Tunisia in support of the protest movement.

   The Tunisian government wants to control the present with falsehoods and misinformation in order to impose the future by keeping the truth hidden from its citizens. We will not remain silent while this happens. Anonymous has heard the claim for freedom of the Tunisian people. Anonymous is willing to help the Tunisian people in this fight against oppression. It will be done.

   This is a warning to the Tunisian government… It’s on the hands of the Tunisian government to stop this situation. Free the net, and attacks will cease, keep on that attitude and this will just be the beginning.

– Anonymous

 One of the tools that Anonymous distributes is code that allows people in Tunisia and Egypt to get around internet filters. The Guardian noted that Tunisia was just one of the Arab countries that tried (and failed) to filter Wikileaks, the primary reason that Anonymous attacked them. That failure was instrumental in the downfall of the Tunisian government.

 The Pirate Party, Wikileaks, and Anonymous all came together in the summer of 2010 when the collective governments of the world decided that the citizens of the world didn’t need to know what they were doing in our name. The attempt to silence Wikileaks, because of the public embarrassments to the ruling elites, caused the Pirate Party International (a five year old, grassroots political group) to come to their rescue.

   On August 17, 2010, the Swiss Pirate Party announced that it would donate servers and bandwidth to Wikileaks free of charge. Technicians from the party would manage the servers, thus putting themselves on the front lines of the Wikileaks saga.

 Pirate Party’s from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, and Serbia have also offered to help host Wikileaks.

“This is a fight for fundamental freedoms on the Internet. Pirates will not accept governmental attempts to restrict access to free press and constrain freedom of speech.”  

 – Gregory Engels of the Pirate Party Germany

 It seems wonderfully ironic that the attempt by the governments of the world to censor Wikileaks has managed to unite a chaotic and disparate group of internet activists into an organized and effective force that threatens to upset the plans of the architects of the New World Order.

  There is no leader to this youth movement, so you can’t kill it by arresting a few kids. Normally the tactic is to discredit it, but that doesn’t work very well when you can’t control information. They can try to cut off the internet, but that didn’t work very well for Tunisia.

 It appears to be only two choices left for the repressive governments of the world: more freedom, or the naked iron fist.

4 comments

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    • gjohnsit on January 28, 2011 at 4:00 am
      Author

    I loved the V for Vendetta movie too, but I don’t wear a mask.

  1. It’s now Sunday and I’m moving around the blogs having spent the last 3 days glued to Al Jazeere. harder to have a New World Order when people are globally connected via the web  their cells. I just read a piece about Anonymous and another hacker group that said that they have been getting information out and in using even Morse code, and faxes. Globalism works two ways and it’s harder to write off the truth as CT when it occurs and all can read or hear it in real time or from the belly of the beast. Interesting to watch people refuse to look at what is going down and instead prefer the live feed from powers that create the false narrative and the PR propagandists including the puppet pols. to bad I didn’t catch this Thrusday I was too busy hanging out in the political swamp at GOS.      

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