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Independent Journalists, Activists Politically Targeted in Criminal Hacking Campaign

Jason Robinson
21st Century Wire
I.T. Features

Now criminal hacking activity has drifted into the grass-roots political arena…

The digital realm has never been more politicized as it is today. Never has the discourse in news and information been so diverse and expansive. Readers are happy, content consumers are happy. Many see this as progress for society as a whole, but unfortunately, others do not – and they are even prepared to go to extreme criminal lengths in an attempt to shutdown freedom of speech and expression online.

There’s high-brow hacking – like when Anonymous takes down a transnational corporation’s website, or a government department (most of the time to a cheering public). Then there’s low-brow hacking: criminal malware, phishing scams and malicious hacking – mainly confined to privacy invasions, and perhaps more serious felony crimes like identity theft, and credit card theft. All these have become part and parcel of life on the internet.

Well, there is now an even lower, type of gutter-brow category, where hackers are being deployed to attack… political dissenters, free speech advocates and independent journalists.

In the last six months, a string of criminal hacking scams has been exposed, ones that are targeting individuals (watch their videos below) from highly successful alternative media outlets, including Stuart Rhodes founder of the organization Oath Keepers, Dan Johnson of PANDA (People Against the NDAA), Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange.org, and most recently, Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton of TruthStream Media – to name only a few who have been targeted so far. 

In each instance, hackers used fake email with various file attachments, most likely in an attempt to plant illicit pornographic material onto activist and journalists’ hard drives. Once infected, hackers would be expected to break into the infected computer, take screen shots of the planted material along with other ID documents, and then post these online – in an attempt to frame their ‘target’ in the court of internet opinion.

A similar such attack was also exposed recently, where hackers unsuccessfully attempted to frame one prominent internet talk radio host as being “an FBI informant” by hacking his eFAX account and sending a forged FAX to an FBI office in California, then posting it online, alongside his social security card, marriage certificate, phone library contacts and personal family photos. 

Watch these three videos below, explaining the politically targeted, malicious hacking scam:




Alinsky Tactics?

This latest string of attacks is sophisticated and organized, but aside from obvious malicious attempts to slander activists and journalists, there is likely a larger, political intent at play here: to disrupt, and destroy organizations and alternative media coalitions from within. Students of ‘Saul Alinsky Techniques’ will quickly see how such targeted campaigns are straight out of the “Rules for Radicals” playbook. Sabotage, scare, intimidate – all techniques proven in the field of radicalism.

It’s sophisticated Cointel Pro, and not dissimilar to the types of operations carried out overseas when intelligence agencies work to increase divisions in tribes, labor unions, communities, before softening them up and preparing a region for an election, regime change, or even a foreign invasion. 

Even if hackers perpetrating these crimes may be working autonomously, you cannot rule out the possibility that they are being managed in some way by a third party, be it gov’t or corporate. This is evident by the overt political nature of these related attacks. 

In addition to alternative media attacks, similar malicious attacks have also been used to target activist campaigns. According to McAfee Mobile Security, hackers attempted to disrupt and derail the Oct26 Driving campaign in Saudi Arabia which aimed at winning the right for women to drive in that country. McAfee explains:

“After numerous attempts to sabotage the Oct26 Driving Campaign online, by repeated hacking of sites/accounts as well as defacing of websites which included the official website for the campaign hxxp://www.Oct26driving.com twice in a span of a few days. Additional attempts to derail the movement are now coming to light. Hacker(s) not deterred by just the act of defacing sites have also created and released malware to spread their message.”

Are they working alone?

These are just a few examples of organized criminal hacking activities that are clearly targeting political, or ideological opponents who oppose state policies, and mainstream media failures. It’s difficult to physically prove whether or not these attacks have been sanctioned, or are being managed government agencies, or corporate intelligence departments, but there should be no room for doubt that they are all operations carried out with the ultimate goal of shutting down political discourse.

Lawlessness and double standards are fast becoming the order of the day. In the post-Snowden world the public have also been privy to the lengths that governments, particularly those in North America and Europe, are prepared to go in terms of spying and collecting data on their own citizens. It’s a disturbing trend for sure, but more than anything, it signals a kind of vacuum of ethics at the government level, as mandarins attempt to rewrite what passes for legal in the digital age. The fundamental problem here is that if the public lose faith in the state’s own ability to conduct its affairs in a moral fashion at the government level, then history tells us that what tends to follow is a complete breakdown of morals and ethics down the social chain. 

The war for free speech

It’s no longer a secret that government bodies and certain corporations have a burning desire to regulate, control, and eventually shut-down the free internet as we know it today. Elite social engineers and media monopolists are scared of how successful and well-organized alternative media has become, not to mention the incredible stories which online, independent outlets are breaking to the public on a daily basis. Does that mean dirty tricks campaigns will be unleashed? It depends how desperate they are shut up dissenting voices.

Ultimately, a ‘divide and rule’ scenario would be needed before any sweeping regulations could be successfully implemented. 

Sound familiar? Look at your history books.

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