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Old 01-07-2011   #1
AdamG
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Default Tunisia: catch all

Quote:
Pivotal websites of the Tunisian government have been hacked by pro-Wikileaks activists. Sites belonging to the Ministry of Industry and the Tunisian Stock Exchange were both targeted by the Anonymous group since Monday.
Five other key government sites have also been attacked or defaced because of the "outrageous level of censorship" the Tunisian government enforces. Anonymous have also targeted the websites of the Zimbabwean government recently after Robert Mugabe's wife Grace sued a Zimbabwean newspaper for $15m over its reporting of a diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks. The cable had linked Mrs Mugabe wealth to the country's diamond mines. The attacks also hit Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF political party's website.
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/articl...#ixzz1AJIiu9sW

Quote:
Thousands of Tunisians have taken to the streets in recent weeks to call for extensive economic and social change in their country.

Among the fundamental changes the protesters have been demanding is an end to the government's repressive online censorship regime and freedom of expression.

That battle is taking place not just on the country's streets, but in internet forums, blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

The Tunisian authorities have allegedly carried out targeted "phishing" operations: stealing users passwords to spy on them and eradicate online criticism. Websites on both sides have been hacked.
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth...145839362.html
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Old 01-12-2011   #2
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The battles between Tunisian youth and the government are now being fought on the internet, as much as on the streets of the controlled North African country.

While activists accuse the authorities of hacking into e-mails, blogs and Facebook accounts, some are fighting back, launching cyberattacks against government websites in the same way that supporters of WikiLeaks had done last month.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4a18b4d6-1...#ixzz1ArQ5nVJC

In this latest update, The Tech Herald will address the newest developments in Tunisia. The original story will start on page three. The first update can be found on page two.

http://www.thetechherald.com/article...stors-Update-2
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Old 01-13-2011   #3
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The Tunisian government begins to crack.

Quote:
HAMMAMET, Tunisia — The police on Thursday all but abandoned this exclusive Mediterranean beach town — haven to the capital’s rich and powerful — as rioters calling for the ouster of Tunisia’s authoritarian president swarmed the streets, torched bank offices and ransacked a mansion belonging to one of his relatives.

In the fourth week of protests sweeping Tunisia, violence escalated in the capital, Tunis, as well, where late in the afternoon crowds defied tanks and machine guns deployed around the central boulevards. Witnesses said several were killed, adding to a death toll already in the dozens. There were reports that a general strike had been called for Friday.

In a possible sign of divisions in the government, the Tunisian military withdrew from the capital later Thursday and interior security forces took their place in the streets. In the evening, the president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, delivered a televised address in which he announced major concessions, saying that he had ordered some food prices cut and hinting that he would not run for re-election, The Associated Press reported.
The president fires his interior minister.

Successful police states don't appease demonstrators - they crush them, as in Iran. The Tunisian security forces don't appear to have the vicious brutality of the Iranian regime.

The first successful 'color revolution' in the Arab world?

Brian Whitaker and Arabist.net are providing excellent coverage in English, though I'd imagine our French and Arabic-speaking boarders have even better sources available.

Last edited by tequila; 01-13-2011 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 01-14-2011   #4
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President Ben Ali gave a hastily scheduled televised address on Thursday night, his second in the past week, and this time he appeared rattled. He no longer blamed foreign terrorists or vowed to crack down on protesters. Instead, he pledged to give in to many of the protesters’ demands, including an end to the government’s notoriously tight censorship, but rejecting calls for an immediate end to his 23-year rule.

“I am telling you I understand you, yes, I understand you,” Mr. Ben Ali, 74, declared. “And I decided: total freedom for the media with all its channels and no shutting down Internet sites and rejecting any form of monitoring of it.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/14/wo...a.html?_r=2&hp

From two days ago

Jobless youths in Tunisia riot using Facebook

Quote:
And what has helped to break the barrier of fear that kept Tunisian anger bottled up for so long? Social networks like Facebook, which have helped organize protests and fuel online rage across this North African nation.

Police have fired repeatedly on protesters. The government says 23 people have died in the riots — 21 in the last three days — but unions and witnesses say at least 46 have died. In the town of Kasserine, site of the bloodiest confrontation, police were reported to have killed a man carrying the coffin of a child.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110111/...unisia_riots_4
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Old 01-14-2011   #5
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Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has left the country, amid the worst unrest there in decades. The Arabic language network al-Jazeera says the speaker of parliament is temporarily in charge.

The president was reported to have boarded a flight out of the country Friday evening local time. The military had sealed off the airport and closed Tunisian airspace a short time beforehand.

A state of emergency was also declared earlier Friday, with public gatherings banned and security forces authorized to shoot violators.
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/...113607609.html
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Old 01-14-2011   #6
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Did Wikileaks and Twitter Cause Tunisia's Revolution?
http://gawker.com/5733816/did-wikile...ias-revolution

The First WikiLeaks Revolution?
http://wikileaks.foreignpolicy.com/p...nisia_protests

ANONYMOUS on Tunisia, beginning of January
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFLaBRk9wY0
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Old 01-14-2011   #7
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Default Thread title amended after the "Revolution"

After the rapid change of government I have amended the thread title and moved it to a different area i.e. geographical. The title was: ANONYMOUS vs. the Tunisian Government in the Media arena.
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Old 01-14-2011   #8
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Default Light, different reading

Two very different articles - before - the change of governance. The first opens with:
Quote:
In the end one never knows why it is that social conditions erupt into revolt. More often than not they do not. But still, there are a number of factors which might explain the current unprecedented protests.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/rob-pri...%80%99s-enough

The second is rather more polemical, if not outrageous and starts:
Quote:
Abolkacim Ashabi once wrote, "If the people one day decide to live, fate must answer and the chains must break." Bouazizi’s martyrdom may have triggered a popular revival, many now believe, which will ensure that it is only a matter of time before Ashabi’s prophecy is fulfilled.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/dyab-ab...ple-and-beyond
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Old 01-14-2011   #9
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Default BBC News reports

The BBC, which has a reporter there, has reasonable coverage:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12195025

Note the reporter's comment on the prospects:
Quote:
The protesters have put their bodies on the line, and many people have been killed. Tonight, they ignored the curfew to celebrate on the streets. At the end of a dramatic day, President Ben Ali fled, no longer able to hold back the growing tide of public discontent and anger with his regime. Now, the protesters will want to see the fruits of their demonstrations. They won't settle for meagre reform, they won't settle for the same elite remaining in power. They're very happy that the president has gone, but they don't like the regime that surrounded him, and they'll want his cronies out as well.
What I noticed watching the latest newsreel is that those on the streets were not the youth.
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Old 01-15-2011   #10
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Default Exit Ben Ali - but can Tunisia change?

An academic expert adds:
Quote:
Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali came to power in 1987 through a constitutional coup and he appears to have been removed from power through a constitutional coup. The key here on both occasions was not the constitution but the army.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12197343
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Old 01-15-2011   #11
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This is an event that people should take note of. Expect to see far more "Cyber Insurgency" in the future. Expect to see "Cyber UW" as well. It's a bold new world, and it will not be long until the realization that cyber insurgency is more effective, less offensive to the global community, and safer to implement than many of the more violent tactics employed historically.

violent tactics place the pain on a nations security forces, cyber tactics take the pain to the whole of government and the entire populace. The former can be ignored or downplayed for years, but the latter must be contended with immediately.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 01-15-2011   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
This is an event that people should take note of. Expect to see far more "Cyber Insurgency" in the future. Expect to see "Cyber UW" as well. It's a bold new world, and it will not be long until the realization that cyber insurgency is more effective, less offensive to the global community, and safer to implement than many of the more violent tactics employed historically.

violent tactics place the pain on a nations security forces, cyber tactics take the pain to the whole of government and the entire populace. The former can be ignored or downplayed for years, but the latter must be contended with immediately.
I agree, it deals with mobilizing the population on a mass scale in real time, something that used to take a lot more time and energy to do in the past. I disagree from the stand point that it will only be non-violent, it could be used violently also and probably will.
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Old 01-15-2011   #13
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I don't think I said it would "only be non-violent." There will always be violence in insurgency, it is human nature. Non-violent tactics are historically more effective, but require a degree of understanding, a strength of leadership and discipline that are rare.

As in the past, there will typically be a mix of violent and non-violent tactics in insurgency. My point is that cyber opens up a new domain to conduct insurgency within, and it is one that favors the insurgent. It is also a domain that favors the wager of unconventional war as well.

Just as any fat, middle-aged perv can easily pass himself off as a beautiful teenage girl on line; so too can a carefully selected team pass themself off as disgruntled local revolutionary. "Take your team to Lagos and conduct UW" is a damn hard mission. "Build a team and go to the computer lab to conduct UW in Lagos" is also difficult, but much more feasible with far lower consequences, nationally and personally, for failure.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 01-15-2011   #14
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Bob, it is some scary stuff. In Colonel Warden's original article the Enemy Is A System he talked about how in the future whole wars would be fought and won or lost in the Info-Sphere(now called cyber-space). No more foreign boots on the ground.... but platforms in the hands.
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Old 01-15-2011   #15
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Default Could other Arab countries follow Tunisia's example?

An expert comment on this aspect:
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In a string of Arab countries, succession issues loom as ageing autocrats confront the unmet aspirations of their youthful and rapidly growing populations. Mohamed Bouazizi's life and death sum up the condition of the Arab world today.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12198039

Note the side reference to riots in Algeria, which I've seen no reporting on; not that the UK media watch the region closely and Tunisia only as it was relatively open and a winter holiday destination.
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Old 01-15-2011   #16
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/wo...ef=global-home


David,

Actually many states where conditions of insurgency are high, but where no organized violent movement as pressed hard, could well follow this example of Cyber insurgency.

Think how many Arab states that the West considers as allies are described by this quote from your article David links to in the post above:

"For decades, Western governments depicted Tunisia as an oasis of calm and economic success - a place they could do business with.

They turned a blind eye to President Ben Ali's harsh suppression of dissent - and ignored the fact that, while the elite prospered, ordinary Tunisians suffered.""


In fact, those European (which have much lower levels of conditions of insurgency than the majority of Arab states where AQ has enjoyed in roads) states where there have been flashes of uprisings, should be alert to this possibility as well. The car burnings in Paris, the assault on the Royals in England, etc. Cyber insurgency is a powerful, safe, and effective way to act out in escalation of such precursor events.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

Last edited by Bob's World; 01-15-2011 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 01-15-2011   #17
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Posted by Bob's World,
Quote:
This is an event that people should take note of. Expect to see far more "Cyber Insurgency" in the future. Expect to see "Cyber UW" as well. It's a bold new world, and it will not be long until the realization that cyber insurgency is more effective, less offensive to the global community, and safer to implement than many of the more violent tactics employed historically.
The power to rapidly mobilize various groups and individuals via the internet became apparent during the WTO conference in Seattle in 1999, and subsequent WTO events like the one in Genova, Italy resulted in the same type of mass mobilization.

Iran had its twitter revolution recently, but it failed, why? It is much to early to assume this uprising in Tunisa has been successful, since it now appears that military is actually in charge of the government (with a puppet civilian representative as the spokesperson in an attempt to present a veil of legitimacy). The various activists had a common cause, which was to force the President out of office, but now what? One hopes they'll resolve this situation peacefully, but the stage is set for much more violence if a popularly accepted leader is not identified.

It would be a mistake to think that groups of like minded activist couldn't mobilize populations prior to the internet. It happened in Poland with Solidarity and it happened in China during when the movement was crushed during the Tiananment Square event. However, the internet is a powerful tool that "significantly" enhances the ability of like minded people to plan and organize remotely in real time. You can be there without being there.

Quote:
"For decades, Western governments depicted Tunisia as an oasis of calm and economic success - a place they could do business with.
''

I'm not sure what government leaders the author quoted, but when I visited Tunisa around 10 years ago the tension with the population was palapable, and it was recognized by USG officials as a potential time bomb, but there did seem to be the belief that the government effectively squashed any real opposition before it could cause much trouble. Hard to do that when the trouble is wide spread and near spontaneous.
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Old 01-15-2011   #18
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The Wikileaks cables regarding Tunisia are here.
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Old 01-15-2011   #19
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As far as I know the events started with a tiny tragedy that ignited the powder keg. It takes no internet or special software to do this - it's not unlike what happened in East Europe around '90.

The regime was old, it was hollowed out, brittle, and it disintegrated once challenged on the streets.

It seems to me to be over-the-top ego-centricism to think that topics that attracted our attention recently were relevant in this case.
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Old 01-16-2011   #20
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
The regime was old, it was hollowed out, brittle, and it disintegrated once challenged on the streets.
It is also worth pointing out that the regime is still in power. Certainly Ben Ali isn't. However the ruling party (RCD) and the military are. It wasn't just the street demonstrations that forced the President to resign: it was also the decision by those around him to withdraw their support in the hopes of maintaining the status quo.

We'll see what happens. It is entirely possible that the interim RCD-led government will collapse, or have to make major concessions. It is possible that the elections will bring to power genuine (but currently very disorganized) opposition voices.

It is also possible, however, that the RCD will still find a way to survive this, with a face-lift, a new leader, and some political and economic compromises--or that we'll see even more direct military intervention in politics.
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