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Saturday, February 5, 2011

2011-02-05 Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause

Al Jazeera says this about the video piece which they showed for the first time yesterday evening and put on YouTube minutes later. It describes how "Tunisian members of Anonymous, the same group of hackers that targeted anti-WikiLeaks sites" are now supporting the struggle in Egypt. The piece features an interview with the Tunisian hacker anon.m. It is less than 2 minutes long.
Social media played a crucial role in organizing the uprising in Tunisia, and now, activists there are focusing their technical skills on helping anti-government protesters in Egypt.

Tunisian hackers say they will attack website belonging to the Egyptian government in solidarity with the pro-democracy activists protesting in Cair, Alexandria and Luxor.

Nazanine Moshir reports from Tunis.

Arab language news video on Tunisian Anonymous members. Can someone please translate. I want to know what they are saying.

Anonymous Attacks Tunisian Government over Wikileaks Censorship

Anonymous | Opération Egypte (#opegypt) French Video
Anonymous - Operation Egypt - Press Release.

Operation Egypt - irc.anonops.ru opegypt SSL # 6697.

Operation Egypt: Anonymous attacking government websites in Egypt. The Egyptian People living under inhumane conditions, his basic rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association and free access to information is violated. By imposing censorship to his people and denying them the simplest freedoms, the government has proved to be criminal and in fact became the target and the enemy of Anonymous ...

This article on January 25 claims OpEgypt is a Success!!

Anonymous  - Operation Egypt
The Anonymous poster gives the URLs for two downloads and the Anonymous Operation Egypt's chat line. The one of the downloads is a 160 page manual on how to circumvent Internet censorship and filtering.

The second download is a 86MB Anonymous "Care Package" uploaded on January 20, 2011. It contains a number of software tools for circumventing Internet censorship and other tools for securing communications and a number of How-To Guides including How to IRC, How to climb a fence, How to deal with tear gas, How to defend against dogs, make wheatpaste, run from cops, military hand signals as well as a cut out Guy Fawkes mask.

Here is a another "How To" that is being distributed on the Internet, printed out and circulated on the ground from an Anonymous source.

Mao Tse Tung famously said "A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire" and lately it has become very fashionable to remember this phase in connection with events in North Africa. Most people who are now raising it are doing so in support of a new domino theory and point to the street vendor who burned himself up in protest that so propelled events in Tunisia and by extension the rest of North Africa and now the Middle East as the spark. Given the inflammatory nature of his original act, it is easy to apply Mao's saying in that way and given our general lack of understanding of the internal organization of these revolutions, it is easy to see them as the more or less spontaneous result of the terrible conditions the people face, the dry grass or tinder, as many commentator have put it.

But outrages and heroic acts of rebellion happen all the time as a result of Imperialist oppression. They don't generally lead to "prairie fires", and I don't think that is what Mao was talking about. In his paper "A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire", Mao was addressing the communist party and party strategy. He was speaking to the critical role of the conscious element, the professional revolutionaries that make a study of revolution and it's tools and are willing to go wherever a spark has flared among the dry kindling and fan those sparks into a roaring fire. I think he was saying that a very small group, a spark, can make a very big difference in the outcome of events.

The hacker group Anonymous certainly didn't cause events in North Africa and they aren't the force behind it. The importance of what they have done, however, should not be underestimated. They have kept the Internet more or less open in spite of the best efforts of totalitarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt to cut it off, and they showed activist how to use the Internet, and provided tools with which they you use the Internet without ending up in some dark dungeon. One writer assessed the role of Anonymous in the Tunisian Revolution this way:

Let’s take the Internet out of the equation. Groups of Tunisian protesters would not have been able to organize themselves so quickly; images of unrest in other towns and cities across the country would not have been there to galvanize the ranks of rioters by showing them their compatriots were taking the fight to the authorities; Ben Ali would have found it easier to kill the unrest in its infancy as state television would have spoon-fed viewers the official line while international channels would not have been able to broadcast mobile phone footage they retrieved from the web. Word would have spread more slowly, buying Ben Ali precious time.

The same can be said about events in Egypt, furthermore, one international body that has been consciously spreading the practical lessons of the Tunisian Revolution to Libya, Algeria and Egypt has been Anonymous. The role of Anonymous is not a sideshow but has been absolutely critical to the development of these movements.

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