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Yesterday the Tunisia people overthrew a president that had been more like a dictator for 23 years. This revolution is by no means a settled affair, in fact, it has only begun. While the main struggle took place in the streets, and that's where the people's blood has been shed, an important part of that struggle has also taken place on the Internet and that is the focus of this dairy.

Many are calling this the first WikiLeaks Revolution. That is not without merit. Widespread protests against unemployment and demands for economic relief already had the country in turmoil following the protest suicide of an unemployed college graduate who the police stop from selling fruit without a permit. People already knew that the president and government were corrupt but when WikiLeaks released U.S. State Department cables about Tunisia they had the proof in black and white. The effect was the same as when the little boy shouted that the emperor has no clothes, the struggle turned from economic demands put to the government to a demands for a change in government. The struggle became revolutionary.

News Flash: Anonymous Organizes Global Protest for Today - Jan. 15th Today Anonymous comes out of Cyberspace and into the streets with protests in over 100 cities worldwide. Find your city here.

In support of today's protest they write:

Since its inception, the internet has provided new ways for people all over the world to exercise the rights of free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. These rights are not simply the benefits of a free society--they are the very means of preserving that society's freedom. The recent increase in government interference with these freedoms coincides with the failure of the corporate media to fulfill their vital role in checking the abuse of authority. Censorship and journalistic abdication have left citizens unaware and unable to hold their governments accountable.

WikiLeaks has moved to fill the void left by traditional news media, providing the necessary information for citizens to hold their governments to account. Yet it has not been granted the legal protections generally afforded to journalists. Instead, the organization has been vilified and monetary support has been blocked by governments and private corporations. The vitriol aimed at WikiLeaks demonstrates an unsettling disregard for the fundamental freedom to exchange information and express ideas. Members of a free society must not allow information to be suppressed simply because it inconveniences those in power. We share the responsibility to defend vital liberties. The time to act is now.

We are Anonymous, a leaderless movement that has worked tirelessly to oppose all forms of Internet censorship worldwide, from DMCA abuses to government mandated content filters. Our initiatives include supporting dissenting groups in Iran, Zimbabwe and Tunisia, as well as waging the highly visible information battle against the Church of Scientology. We are now prepared to take the fight to the world stage. Join us on January 15th for the first in a series of global protests in defense of WikiLeaks and freedom of expression. Stand with us to defend your freedoms.

We Are Anonymous And So Are You

ANONYMOUS ACTIVISTS TARGET TUNISIAN GOVERNMENT SITES

The hacker group name Anonymous turned it's attentions to Tunisia after the government there attempted to block WikiLeaks, hi-jacked Tunisian's Facebook and Yahoo accounts and otherwise stepped up interference with people's Internet rights as part of their general crack down on the people.

Anonymous Operation: TunisiaThis is what Technorati had to say about the WikiLeaks connection and the Hacker communities response to the Tunisia situation:

Allegations of the corruption, long suspected by the populace, we’re enhanced by the recent cable releases by Wikileaks. The cables are critical of Ben Ali’s executive policy decisions, cover the First Lady’s actions, and discuss the non-governmental control that Ben Ali’s family exerts over the country.

Compounding the situation was the Tunisian Government’s decision to block its citizen’s access to Wikileaks. Members of Anonymous, the loosely organized network of hackers, have launched attacks at Tunisian Government web sites in retaliation.



This Nigeria forum has a done a lot of reporting on Anonymous. Previously they had reported on the Anonymous campaign against Zimbabwea's Mugabe:


The group also recently targeted the websites of the Zimbabwean government.
...
Those attacks were reportedly in retaliation after the president’s wife Grace Mugabe sued a Zimbabwean newspaper for $15m (£9.6m) over its reporting of a cable released by Wikileaks that claimed she had made "tremendous profits" from the country’s diamond mines.

The attacks, which started in the run up to the New Year, hit the government’s online portal and the official site of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

"We are targeting Mugabe and his regime in the Zanu-PF who have outlawed the free press and threaten to sue anyone publishing Wikileaks," the group said at the time.

Tuesday they reported on an IRISH WEBSITE ‘HACKED BY ANONYMOUS ACTIVISTS’

The website of Irish opposition party Fine Gael has been hacked, revealing the personal data of 2,000 supporters.

A message posted by the hackers claimed they were part of Anonymous, a group that has carried out attacks against sites perceived to be anti-Wikileaks.

About the Tunisia situation they wrote:

Anonymous activists target Tunisian government sites

Sites associated with Anonymous have also come under attack

Key websites of the Tunisian government have been taken offline by a 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.

The CyberWar goes both ways, they further report:

In a twist, websites associated with Anonymous are also under DDoS attack, according to Netcraft.

The firm said that it had seen attacks against the AnonNews.org site, and the anarchic message board 4Chan, commonly frequented by members of Anonymous.

The attack on 4Chan is the second against the site in the last week.

While Anonymous limited itself to DDOS attacks against Visa, MC and PayPal, they have been more aggressive in the case of Tunisia. For example, they cracked and then posted this to the Tunisian Prime Minister's website (courtesy WL Central) [click to enlarge]:

Anonymous posting on Tunisian Prime Minister's website.
Writing about this Anonymous says:

"We have accessed one of their websites and defaced it by placing our Open Letter to the Government of Tunisia on the main page

"In addition, we have taken steps to ensure that Tunisians can connect anonymously to the internet and access."

Way ta go Anonymous. You make me proud to call myself a hacker. They brought down the official Tunisian government website. Now the website is back up but the president has been taken down.

The governments are fighting back however, and not just in Cyberspace. The FBI has begun a probe into the Anonymous attacks on PayPal because of their censorship of Wikileaks. You can read the FBI affidavit here.


ANONYMOUS - OPERATION TUNISIA - A Press Release

In AN OPEN LETTER TO: ALL MEDIA they take the media to task:

Dear Journalists,
It has come to our attention that the ongoing riots in Tunisia have by and large escaped the notice of the major Western news networks. It is the responsibility of the free and open press to report what the censored press cannot. The people of Tunisia have asked for our help and we have responded through launching a new operation, Operation Tunisia. We are asking you, the journalists, to respond to the
Tunisians' appeals for assistance at this most troubling time.
...
There has been an almost complete absence of prominent coverage. We ask, why is a news source like Al Jazeera one of the few covering these earth shaking riots while the rest remain quiet? The world is getting the impression that unless western economic interests are involved, our media does not care to report upon it.

They certainly have got that right. When I have to watch Russian Today TV is find out what is happening in the world, it means that now it is the American Media that is being censored and the world has been turned on it's head.

WikiPedia is 10 years old today. Happy Birthday WikiPedia. I could not have done these blogs, or my films, without you.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the 25th birthday of the Internet Engineering Task Force here.

UPDATE: An early picture from the Anonymous protest in Los Angeles. It was, as we often say in the Peace Movement "small but spirited", except nobody from Los Angeles peace movement was there. (but me)
Anonymous in L.A.

Here is a recap of my other DKos dairies on this subject:
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!
Free Software & Internet Show Communism is Possible
BREAKING - Digital Sit-Ins: The Internet Strikes Back!
Cyber War Report: New Front Opens Against Internet Coup d'état
Operation PayBack: 1st Cyber War Begins over WikiLeaks
The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next
BREAKING: Goodbye Internet Freedom as Wikileaks is Taken Down
BREAKING NEWS: Obama Admin Takes Control of Internet Domains!
Things Even Keith Olbermann Won't Cover - UPDATE: VICTORY!!!
Stop Internet Blacklist Bill Now!
Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!
Internet Engineers tell the Senate to Back Off!
Why is Net Neutrality advocate Free Press MIA?
Obama's Internet Coup d'état
Julian Assange on Threat to Internet Freedom
FCC Net Neutrality's Trojan Horse
Free Press: Country Codes for the Internet?
The Mountain comes to Mohammad
Keith Olbermann's Deception
Court rules -> Google Must Be Evil & Maximize Profits
EFF on the Google\Verizon Net Neutrality Proposal
Google-Verizon: What is the Free Press Agenda?
End of the Internet As We Know It!
Free Press would make this Illegal!
Google Verizon Announce Terms of Deal

Originally posted to Linux Beach on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Great post, Clay (4+ / 0-)

      Fantastic, even.

      This is the lesson of hope and optimism. People do have power when they take their lives and power into their own hands. The people can bring down the servers of oppressive governments and those governments themselves.

      Tiny acts of rebellion gather power when merged with small acts of rebellion by others.

      Do not weaken Social Security. It pays for itself and has nothing to do with deficit.

      by skywriter on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 11:27:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Way cool. (7+ / 0-)

    Too bad anonymous wasn't around during the Bush era.

    'Compulsively masturbating hobbit witch' - Gawker on Christine O'Donnell

    by MBNYC on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 10:48:28 AM PST

  •  Anonymous doesn't do Arabic? (0+ / 0-)

    Unfortunate for them.

    TeaParty = KKK + better coaching

    by Explorer8939 on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 11:17:46 AM PST

  •  One down (4+ / 0-)

    Many to go.

  •  It's interesting (0+ / 0-)

    but I'm even more curious about what exactly is going on in Tunisia, and the rest of the north Africa.

    "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

    by gjohnsit on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 11:49:15 AM PST

  •  :) (4+ / 0-)

    "Acting on Hate does not require guns" - Deoliver47

    by kestrel9000 on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 12:25:41 PM PST

  •  Thanks Clay C. (0+ / 0-)

    I believe the fallout from the Wiki Leaks is simply too massive, there is too much stuff there.

    The leaks affect pretty much every country on earth.

    I also believe that ultimately, it will be a good thing.  

    Wiki Leaks = good

  •  Wikileaks Revolution? Please... (0+ / 0-)

    When Iran was in an uproar last year, tech-loving Westerners were quick to dub it the "Twitter Revolution" due to the use of Twitter and other gadgets by part of the opposition.  That meme sort of fizzled, as the Iranian mullocracy retained power.  But the fact of the matter was that the conditions that prompted the unrest were long-standing and that technology played a minor role.

    Now we have Tunisia, and the dust has not yet settled over Act I (the flight of the corrupt ex-President) and Wikileaks supporters are already running victory laps.  Supposedly this is because some of the leaked US State Department cables contained disparaging information about the rampant corruption in the ruling family.  The rather arrogant assumption here is that Tunisians were not already well aware of the negative conditions under which they lived.  Or that they needed the confirmation of a westerner - a US diplomat no less - to light the spark of revolt.

    So how do people loop around to give Assange and Wikileaks credit?  I think this is the "Avatar syndrome" in another guise.  The James Cameron movie "Avatar" had as its hero a non-native (a human) who came to the Na'vi (the indigenous) and through his unique awesomeness organized them into a force to be reckoned with.  The "white savior" myth had been a staple of the ages of imperialism and colonialism.  Cameron knew his audience would respond to this instinctively, as it was a familiar construct.

    I won't belabor the point, but instead flag this useful article:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/...

    As the article points out, rather than crediting Julian Assange in his English castle estate with this, people are better directed to the local Tunisian who sacrificed himself by setting himself on fire in political protest.  He - as with the Iranian girl shot by security forces on video - is a true catalyst and hero.  But something like that is not 21st-century enough to grab the imagination.

    Even if one goes with the "white savior" meme here, the likelier candidate for that is the former US Ambassador to Tunisia, who had the confidence and assurance to put honest assessments like that into writing in a cable.  The Wikileaks movement - which seeks to undermine the ability of governments to communicate confidentially - seeks to punish that sort of candor.  Such honest official cables will become less likely in the future, as diplomats self-censor and governments over-classify.

    Wikileaks revolution?  I think not - this one belongs to the average people of Tunisia.  And beware celebrating too soon - events have a way of taking surprising and sometimes unpleasant turns.  Just ask the Russians who overthrew the Czar in 1917...

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 03:08:42 PM PST

    •  Grapes sour much? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, Cliss

      Of course Wikileaks' exposure of power is a revolution. The Tunisians wouldn't have done it without seeing leaked cables.

      Even if the same leaders try to come back, they've been exposed.

      Another big demonstration of Wikileaks' value.

      The State Department spying on diplomats, hacked videos of massacres of reporters and civilians in Iraq by US forces, news of the Sec of State selling Visa cards in Russia (what an image). Now Tunisia.

      Long live Wikileaks!

      Bradley Manning is being tortured

      by bob zimway on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 03:30:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

        "The Tunisians wouldn't have done it without leaked cables"

        You prove my point with that rather breath-taking judgment.  

        And why would I have sour grapes?  If Wikileaks supporters want to step up and take credit for various world events, be my guest.  I assume the Wikinauts will claim credit for good things and dodge blame for any less-good things.  I am sure there is an audience of true-believers for that sort of game.

        But folks outside the charmed circle - especially those familiar with the events themselves - are not going to buy it.  And as I said before, it is far too early for anyone seeking credit in Tunisia to claim it anyway...(see Iran, e.g.)

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 03:44:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  WikiLeaks definitely (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lysias, bob zimway

          had a large part in it

          Any private US citizen can see that clearly

          All private citizens can also see clearly that the Plutocrats and their supplicant drones working in the US Govt are very afraid of the POWER of WikiLeaks

          The Plutocrats and the supplicants of the US MIC have had their day, now their time is over

          Time for the people to take charge again

          WikiLeaks empowers the people

          "Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it" Mohandas Gandhi

          by CMikkelson on Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 04:31:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You sound more like a Truman Democrat to me. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, alizard, Terra Mystica

      You brought race into this conversation and you brought Assange into it so that you could belittle what is truly new here.

      Of course the hacker movement is composed of people who have had ready access to computers and the education to use them and given the historic development of Western Imperialism, the majority of those people are in the west and are white males. I was the only black in Computer Science 101 in 1966 and I don't remember any women, but those facts have changed and are now changing rapidly. There are lots of women hackers [half the protesters at the Anonymous rally in LA today were women], and hackers of all races, and growing rapidly in the 3rd world. China now has more Internet seats than the U.S. India? Nigeria, you know they have some hackers! You also seem to assume that there were no Tunisians on the Cyberspace side of this struggle. You may be right but I don't assume that. The closer you are to the PM's server, the more options you have in cracking it. You don't think there are any Tunisian hackers? Or you don't think they have a dog in this fight?

      And Julian Assange. WikiLeaks is not a one man act. I don't believe that he has ever tried to portray it as that but he is a founder and a spokesman so both the Media and the Law have landed on him because it's easier to demonize one 'bad guy' than acknowledge a movement. Anonymous clearly is not a one man act, here's a list of cities that held Anonymous rallies today:

      Aarhus, Ankara, Athens, Athina, Barcelona, Belfast, Bilbao, Boston, Brisbane, Bucharest, Calgary, Cincinnati, Copenhagen, Dallas, Dover, Denver, Dublin, Edinburgh, Elkton, Eugene, Glasgow, Geneva, Göteborg, Hobart, Istanbul, Key Biscayne, Lisbon, Liverpool, Łódź, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Málaga, Miami, Minneapolis, Missoula, Montreal, München, Newcastle Upon Tyne, New Haven, New York, Paris, Peterborough, Piła, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Ortonville, Raleigh, Rotterdam, Saint Louis, Saint Paul, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Sanford, Seattle, Sydney, Tampa, Valencia, Vancouver, Vitoria Gasteiz, Washington DC, Zurich  

      Finally, I don't think anyone is trying to take away from the victory of the Tunisian people. There have been many very good diaries about that at DKos in the past few weeks. I linked to many of them in my diary yesterday and I say as much in the 1st para of this diary but I also say "an important part of that struggle has also taken place on the Internet and that is the focus of this dairy."

      That is why I titled it "The WikiLeaks Revolution", this dairy was about that aspect, it was not saying that aspect was the main thing. That being said I think I was very precise about how the WikiLeaks revelations made the struggle that was already in progress, revolutionary:

      when WikiLeaks released U.S. State Department cables about Tunisia ... the struggle turned from economic demands put to the government to a demands for a change in government. The struggle became revolutionary.

      Apparently you belong to the 'nothing new under the sun' club. Well, I've got news for you, new things are being born all the time. WikiLeaks is one and so is Anonymous.

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