Save the Whales! And the Dolphins too! It’s a nearly 40-year-old war cry from Greenpeace, and on Friday the 14th of November it was taken up (again) by Anonymous, as their #OpKillingBay topped trending lists worldwide in a Tweetstorm tsunami.
the#OpKillingBay is a year-long Anonymous action in collaboration with other activists and organizations, an attempt to draw attention to the annual dolphin hunt at Taiji Cove in Japan. Dolphins are herded into the bay, cut off with nets and then harvested; some are sent to aquariums around the world, while most are slaughtered and sold for meat. The harvest causes the cove to turn bright red from the spillage of dolphin blood; activists will tweet “The cove runs red” when this occurs. In the last year the actual beheadings and butcherings take place under tarps, so as to avoid the prying cameras of activists and observers, dubbed “Cove Guardians,” poised on nearby hills.
The mayor of Taiji has suggested assuaging the worldwide PR fail by building a sort of theme park where tourists could swim with dolphins in the morning and devour them at lunch.
The world, predictably, reacted with a gigantic “EW.” The theme park is currently on hold.
Actions by OpKillingBay have focused around getting volunteers who are willing to go to the cove and observe, and to raise awareness worldwide of the ongoing dolphin hunt. Friday’s tweetstorm was their most successful to date, with 40,728. Yes, 40k+. I thought it was a typo. It’s just under half their 100k lifetime total.
We contacted #OpKillingBay on Twitter and interviewed project spokesperson @GunchimpVA via email.
“The objective of OpKillingBay is to end dolphin fishing and whaling in Japan and to end the supply of dolphins and orcas to aquariums,” said their spokesperson. S/he told us that the operation will not be a success until the world sees complete cessation of both meat hunting and aquarium hunting of whales and dolphins. “[In the meantime we want] to increase global awareness of the brutal methods as well as the highly emotional and intelligent nature of dolphins and orcas. To see an increase in the number of supporters and to see pressure applied on the Japanese governments via objectives such as #BoycottJapan.”
“Right now we just want Japan as a whole to become aware that they are under the scrutiny of the whole world. And ideally to change local perceptions and attitudes so that pressure is applied internally. We will re-engage each year for the duration, or until our demands are met.
Anonymous is not the only participant in OpKillingBay. “There are many groups all working towards the same goals, all with different methods and tactics, and not always working together.” There are multiple tensions between groups: some ethical, some stylistic, some personality-based, and some (perhaps surprisingly) monetary. “Animal rights activism can be a frustrating thing to be involved with, and there is often drama in the community. However, with a common goal and interests, generally the action is positive and we continue to urge groups to tolerate each other and work together. Unlike Anonymous, in the rest of the animal rights community there is much fundraising, and therefore the temptation to compete rather than collaborate is often a problem.”
“[OpKillingBay] pretty much trended number one on Twitter everywhere for two to three hours. Our main aim, however, was to penetrate the Japanese twittersphere and interwebz. This time we collaborated with Japanese-speaking Anons and worked with translation tools to generate a lot of Japanese tweets, and also numerous infographics using anime characters, movie stars, and pop stars from Japanese culture, in line with our attempts to get support from inside Japan itself.”
The activists are pleased with the impact of the operation to date, and particularly the recent tweetstorm. “Global awareness has skyrocketed since we and others started focusing on Taiji last year. With this latest instalment of Twitter domination, and many supporteres mirroring our efforts on Facebook, I am certain that those who have contributed have made an enormous difference. Of course, until we get some sort of government capitulation (as with the proposed legal changes in Denmark further to #OpNullDenmark) I fear that many will feel that we are yet to accomplish anything. If this is the case, and Japan doesn’t seem to change its attitudes, then we will focus on attacking from the outside in instead of from the inside out, with boycott strategies instead.”
We asked what individual supporters could do to support the operation. The answer was clear. “Do what you do best. If you tweet, tweet. If you make posters or videos, fantastic. If you hack or DoS, DO EEET NAAAOW!”
We asked how the team had coalesced, and how the spokesperson had become active in the operation. “We launched Operation Funkill [to oppose sport shooting, particularly of endangered animals] shortly before OpKillingBay was launched by another Anon last year. We made the video and supported the op until circumstance led to the aforementioned Anon abandoning his account and running for the hills. We then inherited the responsibility and took it onboard.”
“If you liked this Op, stay tuned for the other issues being tackled by the team at #OpFunKill. Coming soon: #StopVivisection and #TeamVirunga.”
“And Seaworld can fucking expect us too.”
UPDATED TO ADD:
The team behind #OpKillingBay contacted The Cryptosphere to clarify that @OpKillinBay, ironically, is not a part of the operation. In their opinion that account is a domain squatter who hoped to coattail on the operation, registering the account once it became apparent it would make a – forgive me – splash. @OpFunKill told us, “They registered it before we had the chance after it the op was announced last year without making an actual Op account. There’s been a lot of confusion and arguments about it, but they refused to give it up. It’s some ARA from Facebook who thought he’d become ‘OpKillingBay.’ It’s the same guy that launched his own tweet storm an hour earlier, with tweets stolen from our package with hash tag renamed. Please delete any mention of @ account. They are not, and have never been, Anonymous or part of the Anon action. There are various people with names like @ and @ etc. @ is the op account now.”
RE-UPDATED TO ADD:
Also, after all the credit-grubbing butthurt in the comments, I edited this post to remove the name of a certain oceangoing society altogether. And I left in Greenpeace. Suck it, Paul Watson.
Featured Image from Cryptostorm Network on Twitter