Anonymous Fights Whale Hunting by Taking Out Icelandic Government Websites

#OpWhales pits eco-minded hackers against one of the biggest whaling nations in the world.

Image via (cc) Flickr user Leif Hinrichsen

Loosely knit hacker collective Anonymous has been keeping pretty busy lately. In early November, members of the group began leaking the online identities of alleged members of the Ku Klux Klan. Then, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Anonymous chapters turned their cyber-sights toward ISIS, launching a global effort to expose and curtail the militant group’s shadowy digital communications. Now, for the third time in just over a month, members of the hacktivist network have made major waves online, reportedly knocking out a series of government websites in Iceland in protest of that country’s ongoing hunting of whales.

On November 25, a video uploaded to an Anonymous-affiliated YouTube channel announced the launch of #OpWhales, a directed online effort to “expose the cruelty behind Iceland [sic] whaling industry.”

“Iceland’s escalating whale hunts are clear and willful abuses of the IWC's [International Whaling Commission] moratorium, as well as the ban on international commercial trade in whale products,” explains the video’s masked speaker. “Selling to Japan to fulfill the seemingly insatiable need for whale products. It has even been reported as being made into dog treats.” The speaker goes on to accuse Icelandic company Hvalur H/F of slaughtering and selling the meat of more than 500 fin whales for a profit of around $50 million, before calling for “tweet storms to spread awareness” as well as “combined attacks on websites and databases.”

The same day the video was posted, Reuters reported a number of Icelandic government websites—including those of the prime minister and the Environmental and Interior ministries—suddenly went dark, allegedly taken down by hackers participating in the #OpWhales initiative. Those sites stayed offline through midafternoon of the next day.

Iceland, while a member of the International Whaling Commission, has not abided by that body’s 1986 moratorium on commercial whale hunting, resulting in repeated clashes with the IWC, as well as various anti-whaling organizations.

In addition to the website outages, a resource site created as part of the initiative offers a list of sample tweets meant to raise awareness for the campaign. It also features several pre-written anti-whaling messages that can be sent to members of Iceland’s parliament and to companies accused of being linked with Icelandic whaling operations.

“Whales do not have a voice,” proclaims the speaker in the Anonymous #OpWhaling video. “We will be a voice for them.”

[via trueactivist, reuters]

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading