Mass hacks and online demo

Cyberactivists protest against the war in Iraq and still independent observers report directly from Baghdad

Apparently, the mass hack of the Islamic group USC ("Vive Iraq!": Mass hack from criticism of Iraq war) also served as a model for other hacker groups. Another group from Malaysia has also set out to hack as many websites as possible in the service of the Muslim resistance. But another familiar form of Internet activism has now begun: Online demos against U.S. and British government websites.

Mass hacks and online demo

Overwriting websites in order to spread one’s political opinion has become a well-known phenomenon in conflicts. And it is contagious, especially when the owners of the sites do it easily.

Following the example of the hacker group USC, which hacked a few hundred websites in solidarity with the Muslim cause and Iraq right after the war began, and continues to do so, equally indiscriminate and worldwide dumbshots have now been launched.my and tum.my, in order to bring attention to their opinion – and certainly also to their persons and their hacker tons. Their opinion cleanliness is scarce, but at least goes hand in hand with love:

"BUSH IS GAY!!! STOP WAR, STAY LOVE AND PEACE!!! By dum.my and tum.my From Malaysia With LOVE!"

This is undoubtedly a bit simple-minded and shows adolescent activism. Lapidary the group leaves "kn0w" leaves the slogan on numerous websites: "no war peace fuck you bush". And USC is also still active and has developed a new slogan: "War is terrorism, stop the terrorists. Justice For All."

Webcam picture from Baghdad, Saturday 7 p.m

But the question is also, whether with the opinion magic, which is on the hacked "leaflets" of the online activists, sophisticated arguments play a rough role. After all, this is not the case with the slogans chanted at demonstrations either. Moreover, online activists who enter not only an urban, but in principle a global public sphere, do not have to come together as a coarse group in order to achieve significance through mass. Sometimes even one person alone can have a major impact.

This is of course different with the online analogue to demonstrations or blockades, as some hacktivists organize . Here again it depends on the mass. It is not forbidden to invade the property of others, but only to make access to a virtual place more difficult or to block it temporarily. The difficulty is, of course, that in democratic countries, the rights of access have so far stopped at the Internet. There are no designated public spaces – and thus no right to online demonstrations. The purpose of demonstrations and sit-ins is always to draw attention to the content of the protest by means of mass or temporary blockades. to draw attention to the content of the protesters. However, this right, protected by the catch, does not always exist on the Internet, which is why demonstrations or sit-ins are illegal here and are also occasionally dealt with under cyberterrorism.

For example, the British Cyberhippies, who have been carrying out actions on the net since 1999 (The "Electrohippies" (the Internet is also a very important tool), once again the possibility of permanently accessing the Web site of the White House and Downing Street, through a Web site or by downloading a Java program, in order to protest against the war, which this time is unjustified. Saddam was indeed a terrible man, say the Cyberhippies, but that did not justify a military attack on Iraq to supposedly liberate the Iraqi people. In 1988, one of the members of the Cyberhippies had participated in a demonstration to protest the poison gas attacks on the Kurds. At that time, the demonstration took place under heavy police control and surveillance, "because at that time the British and US governments were supporting Saddam. In our view, the current shift from acquiescence to daisy-cutter diplomacy is merely a cynical change in Washington’s political priorities."

However, in order to make the websites more difficult to access, thousands of people have to participate in the online protest at the same time. This is because the activists want to create an analogue of collective action in public space on the Internet. The more people participate, the stronger the effect should be. The two official sides of the British and American leaders were chosen because they spread the official justifications for the war in Iraq. They are also legitimate targets of the protest because they are used, "because they are used to publish false information and half-truths about the events in Iraq". Before the "Cyber Sit-Ins" the cyberhippies notified the operators of the two websites to announce the protests and give them the opportunity to respond or try to have them legally banned.

Webcam image from Baghdad, Saturday afternoon

Spanish activists allegedly wanted to install a webcam in Baghdad. Promised, at least before the war broke out, was that an Iraqi from Barcelona would go to his home country and set up the camera there. But it seems to have remained with the announcement. For this, however, a site www.waitingforthewebcaminiraq.org, on which one must wait probably actually for a long time. It is not possible to install the webcam now, they say, but they will do it when the war is over. Here the mainstream media like MSNBC or n-tv were faster and offer live pictures from Baghdad.

And Salam Pax, the alleged blogger from Baghdad, posted something yesterday for the last time:

"please stop sending emails asking if I were for real, don’t belive it? then don’t read it. I am not anybody’s propaganda ploy, well except my own. 2 more hours untill the B52’s get to Iraq.:: salam 7:05 AM."

Massenhacks und online-demo

Kaum ein Schutz vor den Bomben. Bild: al-Dschasira

Die unabhangigen Beobachter vom Iraq Peace Team, die sich in Bagdad aufhalten, konnen auch nicht mehr Informationen liefern als die ubrigen Journalisten. Aber sie leben wie Kathy Kelly in engem Kontakt mit irakischen Menschen und konnen so den alltaglichen Wahnsinn eines Krieges schildern. Kathy Kelly schrieb am Samstag nach den ersten "shock and awe"-Bombardements:

" Tomorrow we’ll plan a birthday party for Amal who turns 13. Last night, a cake appeared in the tearoom in celebration of Mother’s Day. Tiny Zainab and Maladh, daughters of the hotel night manager, have warmed up to me and let me help their parents rock them to sleep. And so it goes. As Operation Iraq Freedom storms on, we’ll liberate ourselves from any government’s efforts to sever natural bonds between us.

As I write, I can hear explosions in the distance. Clouds of smoke are billowing in every direction. We’ve heard that last night’s casualty list includes 207 wounded, four of whom died in hospitals. News reports say that more than 1,000 cruise missiles were launched last night, and the US may be planning to release many more tonight. On a beautiful spring day, welcome to hell."

And Rosemarie Gillespie, who is still in Baghdad as a human shield (As a human shield in Baghdad), today called on peace activists to engage in civil disobedience to end the war:

"Last night the United States bombarded Iraq with 1000 missiles. Three hundred and twenty of them hit Baghdad. One of them landed near the April 7 Water Treatment Plant where I am living. The missile struck at about 10pm. There was a deafening explosion, shaking the building where we sleep. One of the other human shields, Donna Mulhearn, also from Australia, was nearly blown off her feet from the impact of the blast.

The missile explosion set off a major fire, which sent a great cloud of smoke spreading across the sky above us, in much the same way billowing clouds of smoke spread across the sky during the recent Canberra bushfires. The fire spread. It took hours before the fire was brought under control. We could still smell the acrid smell of something burning as the night turned into dawn.

The missile had landed little more than a kilometer away from where we were standing. Just a small difference in the trajectory would have had the missile heading straight for us. There are thirteen Human Shields living at the site, three Australians, one American, two from Britain, three from Japan, one Norwegian, one Belgian, one Italian, and one Dane. If the US tries again, misses again and hits us instead, we will be just become an unrecognizable mass of bits of concrete, human flesh and broken furniture. Not only would the missile kill all of us, it would also destroy the water treatment plant, which processes water for three million people. To hit the site would also destroy the special unit run by the International Committee of the Red Cross which processes water for use in the hospitals of Baghdad."

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