The Hacker Wars, a documentary by Vivien Lesnik Weisman, features Barrett Brown, Joe Fionda/Subverzo, Jeremy Hammond, and essentially everyone who was anyone in the Anonymous hacktivism scene in 2012-2013. It had a limited run in theatres earlier this year and has just been released on all digital platforms including torrents (yes, authorized by the producer herself). This is a special guest review by Kitty Hundal with contributions by Raymond Johansen, Global Pirate Party Activist.
Hanging out on 2600, the Hacker Quarterly Facebook group usually nets people all sorts of interesting information and fun facts. Here’s one: During their Hope X Conference this year, attendees had the opportunity to hear a panel discussion on The Hacker Wars.
You’re probably aware of various Hacktivists who have been arrested in recent years for engaging in civil disobedience by enforcing transparency. This film is their story.
In related news: Another cool hangout is AnonUK Radio. The April 19, 2015 #T0pG3arLiv3 show, featured hosts, t0p and G3ar. Guest Lorraine Murphy, journalist and founder of The Cryptosphere, and recent target of a rather lame drama launched by AnonHQ discussed the Great Anonymous Divide by Fruzsina Eördögh of Passcode. Also participating in the show was, Joe subverzo Fionda, hacktivist, actor (Boardwalk Empire) and one of the people interviewed in The Hacker Wars.
After all of this interest and discussion on The Hacker Wars movie, I just had to see it. I curled up the next night on the couch and watched it. I was so inspired that I simply had to write this review. It’s a fantastic movie filled with heroes, martyrs, and ethical dilemmas handled with courage and fortitude. These are the issues we face today, and this movie is a powerful wake-up call.
Techie? Geek? Social Activist? Hacktivist? Whatever you are, whoever you are, if the words Digital Revolution resonate with you, this is probably the movie for you.
The Hacker Wars, a Vivien Lesnik Weisman film is a fascinating look behind the curtain of the Hacker world, as well as a serious social commentary and exploration of the state of the nation today.
The names of those interviewed may be familiar to you: Jeremy Hammond (anarchist hacktivist), Barrett Brown (journalist), Andrew Auernheimer (hacktivist and troll), asshurtmacfags (co-founder of Rustle League, a first-rank trolling crew), subverzo (hacktivist), Gregg Housh (hacktivist),Thomas Drake (former Senior Executive at the NSA, now whistleblower) just to name a few. Some are associated with either Anonymous or LulzSec, but some are free-ranging.
It’s an interesting introduction into the culture, beliefs, and motivations of this generation of Freedom Fighters engaged in the New Civil Rights movement. A CyberActivist and social movement focusing on using enforced transparency as the main vehicle for exacting accountability and justice, in order to invoke meaningful change, and re-establish the civil rights previously won. Rights which are currently being lost.
In their words:
“The Internet is a powerful new medium where just a handful of people in small groups just by shifting data around in the right direction can make big changes and do big damage.” ~Jeremy Hammond (Anarchaos, O, Sup_G, Burn, POW), Hacktivism Panel, Defcon 2004.
Jeremy Hammond was convicted for the Stratfor Hack after being entrapped by an FBI snitch into hacking the site. This hack exposed their procedures, policies and active operations to the light of day. Stratfor is a private security and intelligence contractor engaged in a documented range of shady practices, both governmental and private. It is also known as “the Shadow CIA.”
“The fundamental unit here is Information Warfare.” ~Barrett Brown Interview on The Agenda with Steve Paikin “Information is the weapon and information properly understood and properly used in an honest way is more effective than anything else in the world.”
Project PM was an ongoing investigation by Barrett Brown and others into the private Intelligence Contracting industry, including the CyberSecurity industry. It is an industry which provides contractors to both governments and corporations, often for activities the clients don’t want to conduct under their own names. The contractor formerly known as Blackwater is an IRL example of one such company, less digital and more “wetware” than most. Barrett Brown is serving a four year sentence in prison after having been convicted of threatening an FBI agent.
“We’re gaining back the freedoms that the forefathers assured us through technology and we can’t allow these freedoms to be taken away. I will put my body on the Altar of Liberty again and again and again ….” ~Andrew Auernheimer (weev), Internet Troll.
Andrew Auernheimer was convicted of computer crime simply because of AT&T’s complete lack of security. He exposed a vulnerability in their web site which left their customers personal email addresses publicly accessible. The information was so easily accessible that it wasn’t even necessary to hack the site to access it. Aurenheimer won on appeal, is now free, and is contemplating suing the US government.
“There is a congruence between whistleblowing and hacktivism and hacktivists. The similarity is speaking truth to [..] power, revealing the power structure whether it’s corporate, whether it’s government or both.” ~Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA
Thomas Drake was convicted of espionage after he blew the whistle on the secret surveillance program called Stellar Wind.
One of the most interesting explorations in the film (for me) was the comparison between the impact that boots-on-the-ground activism has versus the impact that cyberhacktivism has. It certainly explains the extreme over-reactions of the powers that be to the acts of cyberhacktivist dissent and protest.
“The United States unchained itself fully from the Constitution. People still don’t fully appreciate it. … This is an alien form of government. It is completely anathema to democracy.” ~Thomas Drake
“I’m not running. This is MY country.” ~Andrew Auernheimer
Watch it. It’s well worth the 90 minutes spent.
The Hacker Wars is available at paid services, stream & torrent:
Stream by Jahba Don
#TPB torrent 1080p: https://thepiratebay.se/torrent/11823601/The_Hacker_Wars_1080p_%5BPhr0stY%5D.mkv
#TPB torrent 780MB: https://thepiratebay.se/torrent/11829567/THE_HACKER_WARS_(2014)_WEB-DL_XVID
Torrents are now going viral, tens of thousands are sharing the documentary as we speak.
The documentary includes tunes by #YTCracker.