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Cyber-guerrilla “Commander X” explains attacks on Orlando websites on behalf of Food Not Bombs

June 21, 2011
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The internet hacker collective known as Anonymous (which also identifies itself as the “People’s Liberation Front”) today issued another press release regarding its ongoing campaign against the city of Orlando for its enforcement of the controversial “Large Group Feeding” ordinance.  Twenty-one activists affiliated with the group Orlando Food Not Bombs (OFNB) have been arrested since June 1 for sharing free food at Lake Eola Park without a permit, and in response, Anonymous shut down the website of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce yesterday by overloading its server with a tidal wave of automated emails. In addition, it plastered this message, over and over again, on the website of Universal Studios’ “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” attraction: “BOYCOTT ORLANDO – FnB #OpOrlando.”

“The public space being used to peacefully offer [the hungry] food is a human right you must not interfere with,” today’s message states. “Anonymous is reasonable. We are not here to harm, but to help. We will therefore be generous and call a 48 hour cease fire in Op Orlando.”

The message is bizarre for a few reasons, not least that the statement can also be heard as read by a robotic female voice, in full, in an accompanying YouTube video. There’s also the matter of what fire there is to be ceased—the much-hyped attacks against the City of Orlando’s website never materialized, and in addition, OFNB roundly condemned the cyber attacks yesterday as “counterproductive to our cause and as a distraction from addressing issues of poverty and hunger in our community.” So we emailed “Commander X” today with a few questions about Anonymous’ “Op Orlando” campaign, and below is our exchange over a series of emails.

Why did the cyberattacks against the City of Orlando’s website fail?

The site was to well defended. Apparently the City of Orlando expected us. Rather than use more destructive methods to down the site I chose to back off and chose another target.

You mention fighting for free speech, but isn’t shutting down the websites of the city government and private companies infringing on their right to speak/share information freely?

The short answer is yes, it does interfere with their speech and their ability to conduct business. But corporations and governments do not have the same level of speech and expression rights as individuals do, or at least they should not. Their right to do business and express their message must always be tempered with the peoples right to demonstrate and participate in civil disobedience to petition for redress. What we do online is no different than taking up seats at the Woolworths lunch counter.

…you say ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ when referring to the cyber attacks. Are these attacks being conducted only by you? Are there any others participating in ‘Anonymous Operation Orlando?

“I” am Anonymous. “We” are Anonymous. It’s all the same. Operation Orlando is a fully Anonymous Operation and is growing in popularity daily with thousands of “Anons” participating from all over the world. In addition the following groups have also joined with Anonymous to fight in Op Orlando. The Naija Cyber Hactivists – Nigeria, The Peoples Liberation Front – Global, and the Chaos Computer Club – Germany. As time goes by I expect even more individuals and groups to present arms in Operation Orlando.

What ‘more destructive methods to down the site’ do you speak of?

No comment.

Do you not believe in representative government? One could argue that by silencing a government webpage, you are silencing the people who elected them.

We have no more faith in a democracy than any other sort of government. If a democratic City Council can not protect the people from a law like this, how should it be more respected than say a dictatorship ?  This dilemma is proof that your representative government has failed in it’s duty to protect the rights of the people. What we are doing in cyber space is the virtual equivalent of a sit in at city hall. We are not silencing anyone, simply taking up some virtual space and obstructing city business as a form of civil disobedience.

Also, what is your position on Food Not Bombs’ condemnation of your actions yesterday?

We find it sort of lulzy that they (FNB) referred to us as criminals when, ahem…it’s they who are getting vanned everyday. I guess we are all criminals according to the City of Orlando.

Why include the group in your attached graphic if it appears they want nothing to do with you?

See our Press Release for depth on this question. Bottom line this is an issue that we do not need permission for from anyone to involve ourselves in. See the Press Release for a more eloquent answer to this question. Enjoy the video.

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