Over the weekend, activists with Anonymous and RevoluSec hacked into and defaced the official websites of every major city in Syria, along with the websites of several Syrian government departments and ministries. The hackers posted caricatures of President Bashar al-Assad on these sites and more importantly gave tips to Syrians about how to avoid detection while online from the Syrian government. As Amira Al Hussaini noted on Global Voices, they also posted on the government websites:
an interactive map of Syria, showing the names, ages and date of deaths of victims of the Syrian regime since the protests started in March.
In a secure online chatroom, a member of RevoluSec told Al Jazeera yesterday about how they see hacking playing into the overall movement against Assad:
It works a few different ways. First, it raises awareness in places where, perhaps, public awareness has not been raised regarding the extent of the atrocities committed by the regime. Particularly in the city websites, we wanted to send a very strong message about the numbers of Syrians killed thus far in the uprising and really present it in a visual way to casual observers who may not be familiar with the intricacies of the events in Syria.
Really sending that visual message that we essentially plastered in the faces of government officials is intriguing – they cannot look away from those numbers of dead people, and people looking at these statistics for the first time will really get a grasp of just what the casualty numbers are there.
Second, the messages are also a strong show of our support and solidarity with the Syrian people. The Syrian demonstrators and the defecting soldiers are actively challenging the accepted scope of the government’s authority – despite the knowledge that each day that they take to the streets to protest, record an act of violence, write a critique of the regime, etc, they face the very real threat of being arrested, disappeared, detained, tortured or possibly murdered.
Waging Nonviolence is hiring a writer to interview leading movement figures and analysts and produce one Q&A-style article per week. The writer will work with our small editorial team to identify the interview subject each week. For the most part, we’ll be looking to hear from activists, organizers and scholars who can shed light on… More
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Democratic reform isnt always all it’s cracked up to be, as can be argued from the examples of Afghanistan and Iraq. NATO intervention in these countries has resulted in crippled economies and deadly streets, along with whatever examples of improved democratic rights the proponents may wish to cite.
I am no expert on Syria. My general impression of the current government is that it is repressive and is tending to overreact . The overreactions get pretty good publicity, thanks perhaps to the availability of satellite communications gear provided by freedom-loving people in the USA, donated through organisations like AVAAZ, and available elsewhere in the world through agencies of the US State Department.
Alan Gross, an American who is currently imprisoned in Cuba, was convicted of bringing in similar equipment, supposedly for the benefit of Cuba’s Jewish Community. If you are interested, you can draw your own picture of Mr Gross’ understanding and intentions, regarding his actions, which were unambiguously in violation of Cuban law.
I am hoping that Anonymous and Revolusec are not, like Mr Gross, in the position of appearing at any stage as patsies of the US State Department and its crusade to make the world safe for [it’s kind of] democracy. Anonymous and other groups are in a good spot to cast an investigative net.
At about the same time the brutality of the Libyan regime was being used to argue intervention on the basis of R2P, the Bahraini regime was committing atrocities against peaceful protesters. Of course there is a very large US naval base in Bahrain, but that may have nothing to do with the difference in the slant of press coverage. At the same time that the Syrian regime is cracking down on civil disruption, not all of it nonviolent and some of it arguably provoked by armed groups funded from outside Syria, a Saudi Arabian heroine who refuses to stop driving an automobile is (I understand) about to be given the lash for her crimes. I don’t expect to hear much about that in the mainstream press. Perhaps if she were living in Iran, and women drivers were outlawed there, it would be different? Who knows.
I’m just hoping that Anonymous will do themselves the intellectually honest courtesy of interrogating Syrian sites and comms withour fear or favour, and acting further on a policy that will not help replace bad government with worse government.
percentage wise; obviously by number there will be more since the population has ballooned, but since the availability and quantity of information, especially scientific information has increased exponentially since the 1950’s or so it would make sense that we’d see more people exploiting that knowledge today by way of scientific careers and such, yes? so are there more scientific types in the world today that there were in the age before television & the internet?