Self-deprecating as they are, Anonymous would be the last to agree with the assertion that as a champion for revolutionary change they have evolved into nothing less than a channel for the social conscience of the world. Yet, time and time again, Anonymous have stepped in where, literally, governments fear to tread (below, we provide just a handful of the many campaigns Anonymous have spearheaded over the last two years). Thus, people in power are right to fear Anons – not because of their hacking skills, but because they express values that governments only pretend to espouse and by their deeds expose the moral bankruptcy of those governments to the world. And this is why governments and major corporations will do everything in their power to thwart, imprison and even kill Anonymous’ most prominent activists, while at the same time cynically exploit the fruits of Anonymous’ endeavours for their own commercial or strategic gain.
Note: Anonymous is not an organisation, it has no leaders; nor can anyone ‘join’, but is a movement based around internet communications and at times it appears that many of those who use its appellation have common ideals. The above video is from early 2012 and is one of many released by Anonymous over the last two years.
In January 2011, Anonymous hacked several government websites in Tunisia after the dictatorship there blocked access to Wikileaks (which had published damaging cables about the corruption of the Tunisian presidents) and social media sites. Anonymous issued a statement. In part, it said…
Anonymous activists target Tunisian government sites. Key websites of the Tunisian government have been taken offline bye group that recently attacked sites and services perceived to be anti-Wikileaks. Sites belonging to the Ministry of Industry and the Tunisian stock exchange were amongst seven targeted by the Anonymous group since Monday. Other sites have been defaced for what the group calls “an outrageous level of censorship” in the country.
Anonymous also distributed a care package containing stuff to work around privacy (restrictions in Tunisia), including a Greasemonkey script to avoid proxy interception by the Tunisian government on Facebook users.
With the success of the revolution in Tunisia, the dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country. It is widely agreed that the revolution in Tunisia inspired the same in Egypt, Libya and Syria.
Right from the beginning of the occupation of Tahrir Square and the Jan. 25, 2011 “Day of Revolt”, Anonymous started to set up lifeline internet connections and target government servers to DDoS, just as they had in Tunisia. Three days later, Mubarak turned off the internet. Anonymous was aghast, both at this display of existential threat to the net as a way of political expression, and to their impotence in the case of a nation just taken offline. Here is part of the communique that Anonymous issued to President Mubarak…
Anonymous wants you to offer free access to uncensored media in your entire country. When you ignore this message, not only will we attack your govt websites, we will also make sure that the international media see the horrid reality you impose on your people!
To see the full Anonymous communique, click here .
Mubarak fell on Feb. 11, not having lasted much longer than Ben Ali. To find out more, click here.
Last November, Israel attacked Gaza disproportionately. Anonymous stepped forward to assist the people of Gaza, bringing down, literally, hundreds of Israeli websites, including the Bank of Jerusalem, the Israeli Parliament and Israeli Police HQ. Other major websites attacked included the Israeli Defense Forces, the Prime Minister’s office, airlines and security companies. In total, they took down over 700 Israeli websites.
Here is part of the communique, Anonymous issued…
For far too long, Anonymous has stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people in the so called “Occupied Territories” by the Israel Defense Force. Like so many around the globe, we have felt helpless in the face of such implacable evil. And today’s insane attack and threatened invasion of Gaza was more of the same. But when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand.
As the former dictator of Egypt, Mubarak learned the hard way – we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch.
To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the “Occupied Territories”, and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous. And like all the other evil governments that have faced our rage, you will NOT survive it unscathed.
To the people of Gaza and the “Occupied Territories”, know that Anonymous stands with you in this fight. We will do everything in our power to hinder the evil forces of the IDF arrayed against you. We will use all our resources to make certain you stay connected to the Internet and remain able to transmit your experiences to the world. As a start, we have put together the Anonymous Gaza Care Package (mirror) which contains instructions in Arabic and English that can aid you in the event the Israel government makes good on its threat to attempt to sever your Internet connection. It also contains useful information on evading IDF surveillance, and some basic first aid and other useful information. We will continue to expand and improve this document in the coming days, and we will transmit it to you by every means at our disposal. We encourage you to download this package, and to share it with your fellow Palestinians to the best of your ability.
We will be with you. No matter how dark it may seem, no matter how alone and abandoned you may feel – know that tens of thousands of us in Anonymous are with you and working tirelessly around the clock to bring you every aid and assistance that we can.
For more on this, click here .
The Gaza-Israel crisis is likely to remain unresolved for a very long time, though it is now more difficult, thanks to some extent to social media, for the truth of what is happening on the ground to be hidden.
On October 31, Anonymous hacked into the Greek Ministry of Finance. The documents they subsequently leaked included various classified data from e-mails that were exchanged between the Greek Ministry and envoys from international lenders negotiating more austerity measures and bailouts, to thousands of passwords of Greek individuals and evaluations of banks.
In a communique, Anonymous stated…
The Greek government is prepared to testify to a vote in the Greek Parliament the new package of economic austerity measures of 13.5 billion euros which are expected to prolong the recession in Greece. Under the austerity measures, pensioners have seen a 60 percent fall in their pensions –meaning their life savings are now less than half what they expected. Meanwhile, the government is considering more cuts, raising the retirement age and putting a cap on free healthcare provision of just €1,500 per person per year. Greece used to have one of the lowest suicide rates in the EU but since 2010, the number of people taking their own lives has increased by 40 percent, with a large proportion from the older generation. Sixty-eight percent of Greece’s population living below the at-risk-of poverty rate (ie, having an income below 60 percent of the national median) were spending over 40 percent of their income on rent or mortgage payments. More than 439,000 underage children are living below poverty level in Greece due to the ongoing crisis, according to a UNICEF report released on Oct. 16 on the occasion of the World Feed Day 2012 and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The popularity of far right parties, including the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, has risen in tandem. Your government failed you.
To see more on this, click here .
Greece is still in turmoil, a corrupt Government is still in power, social revolution is still very much on the agenda.
D. SYRIA 1
Last year, in solidarity with the oppressed of Syria, hactivists from Anonymous organised an early intervention that some might say prepared the groundwork for the revolt that came about not long after. Below is the communique from Anonymous, exposing what happened…
On February 5, 2012 at approx. 4:00 PM ET USA an Anonymous Op Syria team consisting of elements drawn from Anonymous Syria, AntiSec (now known as the reformed LulzSec) and the Peoples Liberation Front succeeded in creating a massive breach of multiple domains and dozens of servers inside Syria. This team had been working day and night in shifts for weeks to accomplish this feat. So large was the data available to be taken, and so great was the danger of detection (especially for the members of Anonymous Syria, many of whom are “in country”) that the downloading of this data took several additional weeks.
On March 14, 2012 after analyzing the truly staggering trove of E-Mail recovered in this hack, participants in Anonymous Op Syria isolated the personal E-Mail of the dictator Assad and his wife and publicly released this small trove to the world via a press release similar to this one. This disclosure made headlines around the world, but it remained just a tiny fraction of the total data recovered in the original hack. Anonymous Op Syria, and indeed the entire global collective – were at a bit of a loss as to exactly how to deal with and properly disclose such a vast trove of important information. But there is one organization that is supremely well equipped to handle a disclosure of this magnitude, WikiLeaks. Having already formed a partnership with WikiLeaks in the disclosure of the “Stratfor Files”, it seemed natural and obvious to continue this historic partnership between Anonymous and WikiLeaks with the disclosure of the “Syria Files”. And thus…
On July 5, 2012 – Five months virtually to the day after the brave hackers of Anonymous and the PLF breached the Assad regime servers, WikiLeaks released to the world 2.4 million E-Mail files belonging to the Syrian regime and various Syrian companies. And this is just beginning, expect many more disclosures of this type in the future as this wonderful partnership between WikiLeaks and Anonymous continues to grow stronger and change human history.
While the United Nations sat back and theorized on the situation in Syria, Anonymous took action. Assisting bloggers, protesters and activists in avoiding surveillance, disseminating media, interfering with regime communications and networks, monitoring the Syrian internet for disruptions or attempts at surveillance – and waging a relentless information and psychological campaign against Assad and his murderous and genocidal government. When world governments would not send so much as a single bandaid worth of medical supplies to the protesters in Syria, it was a team of six European Anons who donned back-packs and walked almost 400 pounds worth of medical supplies over the border (along with ten pounds of chocolate candy for the children) and into Idib, Syria – risking their very lives to assist our dear freedom seeking brothers and sisters inside Syria. And as long as the tyrant remains defiantly in power, Anonymous will continue to work relentlessly day and night – from every country and every timezone, to assist the courageous freedom fighters and activists in Syria.
For more on this, click here .
E. SYRIA 2
Last November, Syria pulled the plug on all communications, including the Internet and all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks became unreachable. Anonymous confirmed that Assad had severed fiber-optic and coaxial cables going into Syria. A retaliatory campaign by Anonymous commenced at 6 pm on 30 November, dubbed “Operation Syria”, and was aimed at removing all Web assets belonging to Assad’s government hosted outside the country.
In a communique, Anonymous announced….
Today, at precisely 10:30 AM ET all Internet traffic into and out of Syria ceased. Within a half hour of this sudden shut down, the PBX land-lines were degraded by 90% and Mobile connectivity was degraded by 75%. The nation of Syria has gone dark. And Anonymous knows all to well what happens in the dark places…. Fortunately, Anonymous has been working with Syrian activists for well over a year in anticipation of this moment. We produced and disseminated the Syrian Care Package – http://bit.ly/Wxx0ev and there are emergency independent media centers already set up in every city of Syria. Activists and independent journalists in Syria will be able to utilize these media centers to get news and media out of Syria, and Anonymous will assist in propagating that media to the world. Anonymous will keep open the lines of telecommunication with the free Syrian people. We will be the voice of the voiceless in Syria.
For more details on precisely what Anonymous did in this campaign, click here .
The war in Syria continues, with many casualties. The governments of the West are cynically manipulating events behind the scenes, while people continue to suffer.
Just over a week ago, Anonymous intervened again – this time to help the Rohingya people of Myanmar. Here is part of their communique…
It is vital the information we are going to share with you is made viral as quickly as possible. The ethnic Rohingya people of Myanmar Burma in Southeast Asia are about to be massacred. Barbarous acts are being carried out by Neo-Nazi racist groups like the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, Arakan Liberation Army, NaSaKa border police and 969 monks led by Monk Wirathu, the self proclaimed Bin Laden of Buddhism. The Government of Myanmar is orchestrating these crimes.
The persecution of the Rohingya people is severe. The Burmese junta considers them to be sub-human and denies them almost all basic human rights. They are subject to torture, gang rape, starvation, slave labor, and forced to reside in the most dire camps in the world – some call these refugee camps but they are actually concentration camps. Over the past few months, thousands of Rohingya have been encouraged onto boats and sent out to sea with not enough food or fuel, and left there to die. Many boats were attacked and sunk, with women and children on board.
Already the violence in Burma has spread beyond the Rohingya to include all Muslims, with ‘warm ups’ to the anticipated massacre taking place against Burmese Muslims in Meiktila, Naypyidaw and Yangon. Dead and burning bodies, including children, are now lying in the streets.
While the United States claims to defend human rights, their record clearly reflects a government that will only intercede when their business interests are threatened. While politicians occasionally pay lip service to the horrific conditions in Myanmar no action is ever taken. The only people neglecting the situation in Myanmar worse than the U.S. are the press who consistently ignored these atrocities or reported them as ‘ethnic clashes’. We consider the media to be complicit in concealing them from the rest of the world.
The Rohingya have been told to expect a third massacre starting the last week in March. Rakhine have declared they will leave no Rohingya left on the land, just a few left as exhibits for the museum.
The acts of genocide being committed against the Rohingya people must no longer be ignored. We call on the Anonymous collective to stand with those for whom no one else will stand. We call on Anonymous and all supporters of human rights to stand against this great injustice, to give the Rohingya a voice, before they are completely eliminated.
To see more on this, click here .
The genocide continues as the West props up the present regime, now back in favour. The country is awash with oil and what happens to an ethnic minority is of little concern – though others, including Anonymous, are ensuring that the fate of Rohingya and other oppressed minorities in Myanmar remain high on the radar.