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]

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less