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Japan won’t stop whaling, so Anonymous hacked the Japanese Prime Minister

Aliya Barnwell

Hackers associated with Ghost Squad and the Anonymous collective succeeded in launching a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the official Ku Klux Klan website, the latest move from within the hacking community to bring down the Klan’s glorification of “blunt racism.”

“We targeted the KKK due to our hackers being up in their face, we believe in free speech but their form of beliefs is monolithic and evil,” one of the hackers asserted in an interview with HackRead, “We stand for constitutional rights but they want anyone who is not Caucasian removed from earth so we targeted the KKK official website to show love for our boots on the ground and to send a message that all forms of corruption will be fought. We are not fascist but we certainly do not agree with the KKK movement. They are the Fascists and they are the Racists.”

The attack comes as the latest in an ongoing campaign against the KKK, one hackers initially launched several months ago. In the intervening time, they’ve managed to make quite a dent in Klan activities. As the Epoch Times reports, various KKK-controlled sites have gone in and out of service, member identities have been posted online, and recruiting efforts have come under fire as organizations like Anonymous and BinarySec continue to wage their digital battle against the white supremacist group.

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While the KKK boasts nowhere near the same level of influence as it did in its early days in the antebellum South (and elsewhere in the U.S), it remains a legitimate presence in many areas of the country. “The average American likely believes hate groups like the KKK are all but dead and gone, restricted now to a handful of secret enclaves consisting of a few dying old racist men,” said a BinarySec hacker in an interview on Twitter. “But, part of OpKKK is bringing attention to the fact that these groups are not dead and are in fact finding a new life online.”

But if the Internet has given new life to the Klan, it has also motivated the efforts of hacking groups such as these.

Hacking group Anonymous claimed responsibility for the shutdown of the Japanese Prime Minister’s official website. In a tweet, a hacktivist affiliated with the group asserted the “Tangodown” was a warning to stop hunting whales. Rounds of congratulations and thank-yous from online whaling critics followed.

The site was inaccessible early Thursday morning, and authorities are investigating, with no updates at this time — and possibly none to come. According to The New York Times, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “We have not determined for certain that it was an attack by Anonymous, but we have received reports that they claimed responsibility.”

Related: Anonymous hacks ISIS site, replaces it with Viagra ad

The attack occurred after Japan sent two whalers forth on a supposedly scientific mission to the Antarctic last week. Japan is a member of the International Whaling Commission and agreed to an international moratorium on commercial whaling thirty years ago, but continues to hunt and kill whales under the auspices of scientific research. Japanese authorities claim that the mission to the Southern Ocean is seeking information on minke whales’ reproductive habits and migratory patterns. However, it remains unclear how this information is obtained through the killing of over 300 whales, which are the essential target of this year’s hunt.

Arctic minke whales themselves are listed as “Data-deficient” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List, meaning there isn’t enough information about the species to determine its risk of extinction.

A United Nations Court ruled in 2014 that such “research” killed close to 1,000 whales per year, yet resulted in little scientific advancement, and Japan was banned from further Antarctic hunts. Critics assert that the 300 whales targeted this year are too many, and apparently Anonymous agrees. If research is the true aim, information can be gained without further thinning the world’s whale population.

This is not the first time Anonymous has acted to express its disapproval of whaling. Hackers gave Iceland a similar treatment in November, shutting down the websites of the Prime Minister and the ministries of the interior and the environment for about a day. Iceland is another IWC member, but also claims that its fishermen compete with whales for the fish on which its economy heavily depends. Japan’s economy is more diverse, but whaling has national cultural significance, and so clings on as a commercial enterprise.

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