Exclusive Interview: #Anonymous #OpNimr Seeks Mercy for Saudi Teen Sentenced to Crucifixion

OpNimr via AnonymousVideo

OpNimr via AnonymousVideo

Arab Spring: for supporters around the world, it marked that glorious season when the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East rose up against oppressive governments to reclaim their human rights. To seventeen-year-old Ali Mohammad Al-Nimr of Saudi Arabia, it marked the end of those rights, and the countdown to his eventual beheading and crucifixtion for the crime of demonstrating against the government. The government further claims that he robbed an entire police unit of uniforms and arms, single-handed.

That gruesome end to a young life was to have come earlier this week. That it has not is due at least in part to an enormous effort by Anonymous to bring awareness of the case to the rest of the world, and perhaps also to the relentless and embarrassingly successful cyberwar Anonymous has been waging on Saudi government sites for the past several days.

OpNimr launched with a YouTube video September 22nd, and hit Twitter with shortly thereafter, to huge effect. Al-Nimr remains in custody in Dammam Administrative Detective Prison outside of Riyadh, but according to his family he at least remains alive. We spoke to the main Twitter account, @OpNimr, operated by @AnonVoxi. But first, some background.

OpNimr via AnonyInfo on Twitter

OpNimr via AnonyInfo on Twitter

The Op is well-coordinated, with a significant Twitter following of both the @OpNimr account and the hashtag, a dedicated IRC channel, two YouTube videos, and several Pastebins laying out the goals, tactics, and targets of the operation.

The two videos have between them garnered nearly 100,000 views.

The main paste reads, in part:

Greetings from Anonymous and LevelTwo Security. It has come to our attention that the Government of Saudi Arabia has condemned to execute a 17-year-old boy named Ali Mohammed al-Nimr for his actions in anti-Government protests against them. They have thrown false charges at him such as the possession of a firearm even thou that there has been no evidence to support that claim. It is clear that the Government of Saudi Arabia simply doesn’t want activists(or the people) to expose their wrongdoings. We have already infiltrated servers belonging to the Gov’t of Saudi Arabia. TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SAUDI ARABIA: We will not allow you to slide with this act of inhumanity. Free Nimir and attacks will cease, keep up that attitude and this will just be the beginning.

The operants in OpNimr are not content with simply DDoSing websites offline; a DDoS attack does not actually penetrate the website’s databases, it merely buries a site under a flood of false traffic, with the effect of pushing it offline. The actual files remain undamaged and unaccessed.

In OpNimr, while there have been numerous TANGODOWNS (successful DDoS attacks) some participants are actively hacking Saudi government sites and dumping email exchanges, passwords, and other embarrassing information on Pastebin, Ghostbin, and other similar sites. While people are routinely prosecuted for DDoS attacks both in SA and the US (just ask the Paypal 14), actually leaking proprietary information and breaching websites is a much more serious issue, and can garner some equally serious punishment, even in countries that don’t have cruxifiction and beheading as punishments. Many Anons, of course, do not consider DDoS an “attack” at all; rather, they define it as a protest, like picketing, only with the effect that you cannot break through the picket line even if you want to. Law enforcement does not see it this way.

This tweet screenshots the Norse IPViking map of the DDoS attacks:

OpNimr hasn’t been so much a Tweetstorm as a continuous Twitter blizzard since September 25, now approaching 30,000 tweets. The #OpNimr hashtag builds off the momentum from the #FreeNimr hashtag, which predates it and refers not only to Ali but to his uncle, also imprisoned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for speaking against the government. Many in the op believe that the youngster was targeted because the government wishes to make an example of the entire family.

It is worth noting, in this context, that “government” in Saudi Arabia officially referrs to the Royal Family and their staff, but practically it also refers to the religious leaders and religious police, who control the prison system, the courts, and have the power of arrest. Earlier this week it was announced that Saudi Arabia is heading up a UN panel on Human Rights. It is also, lest any particular country get too smug, not the only government that orders the execution of minors: others are China, the Congo, Nigeria, the Sudan, and the United States.

There has been keen media interest in the op, and it has been featured in stories in IBTimes, the Daily Mirror, the Telegraph, and Hacked.com, among others, and the Avaast.org petition to stop the execution of Al-Nimr has over 100,000 signatures, and is gaining more at the rate of one every three seconds.

Media awareness has been heightened by the recent coverage of imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes for calling for a more liberal society, and the arrest last week of a Saudi princeling in Los Angeles, on suspicion of having attempted to force one of his household staffers to perform oral sex on him; she was rescued, naked and bleeding, by neighbors, who found her attempting to scale the 8-foot wall around the property, trying to escape. Four more women allege similar attacks by the prince.

Well, you can’t say the Saudis are not thorough.The Cryptosphere: Is there any firm word on when Ali will be executed?

OpNimr: It was [supposed to be] a few days ago but we haven’t had any updates yet. He’s still alive though.

Has he been tortured? 

Yes, he got tortured years ago into signing a confession. No info was released on how [he was tortured]. His uncle also have had the death sentence, he was supposed to be killed Thursday, but [again] we’ve had no update. [There have been] 100 executions since January 1.

How long can they keep him without either fulfilling the sentence or releasing him?

As long as they want.  He was arrested in 2012, when he was 17. He’s 21 now.

Only a handful of countries allow the execution of children. The US is one. Has that influenced the campaign’s approach?

Yes, other countries are next, we’re changing the way people think about their government and to show them what really goes on.

How have different countries reacted to OpNimr?

The USA has ignored us. The Labour leader in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn has sent a letter and directed [Prime Minister] David Cameron in a speech to help.

When it comes to the hacks, are ALL Saudi sites targeted, or just some?

All saudi .gov .sa are getting targeted and more.

Are real life protests planned and where?

Maybe. Ali is on the death sentence for protests, however. We dont want people in danger of this as well.

How many are on the core team? 

40 maybe, more. Anonymous is an idea, anyone can be Anonymous, people I have never spoke to have hit sites off [DDoS’d] in protest of #OpNimr.

How many Saudis would you estimate are participating?

Thousands! They protested before the Op was setup, using #FreeNimr & #SaveNimr.

What do you think of the way Anonymous has taken up the Op? It is rare that an op unifies the collective in this way.

Well, this Op went viral very quickly showing that it is an important subject, meaning we should do something.

Have you gotten hostility from anyone and if so, who?

Yes: Saudi website owners, other Anons saying we’re putting newbloods (new members) in danger, we’re not we warn[ing] them when they join IRC.

What will the future bring for the Op?

We’re changing the way of corrupt governments and stopping [them from giving] the death penality to innocent people.

As OpNimr mentioned, not all Anons are happy about organizers’ calls to hack, leak, dump and deface. We spoke with one experienced Anonymous campaigner who called such requests “Sabutage,” referring to Anonymous turncoat Sabu, who infamously instructed his sometimes-reluctant colleagues in LulzSec and AntiSec to go farther in their offensive actions than they themselves would have chosen to do. He’d gotten at least some of those instructions from the FBI. The felonious results can be read in his associates’ court histories, public statements, and the history books. Spoiler: it did not turn out well for anyone but the FBI.

Time will tell where Ali Mohammad Al-Nimr’s place in those books lies: whether martyred and mourned across social media or spared, even freed, as the result of worldwide outrage and more than a little cyber-inconvenience, courtesy of #OpNimr.

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Categories: Activism, Anonymous, Cyber, Cyberwar, DDoS, Hackers, Hacktivism, Interviews, News, OpNimr, Ops, Police, Prisoners, Sabu, Saudi Arabia

5 replies

  1. I think theyr a bunch of wuss, who been controlled by the system 4 a while… more then half of them have IQ under 120…..

    Like

  2. voxi is not a hacker, hes just a wannabe that does not know how to hack, voxis uses people to hack for him whilst he takes the credit for the hacking and falsely claims on twiiter about all the hacking he does (lol). Unfortunately for voxi saudi intelligence are going to assassinate him ( x D ).

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=232230&cid=23&fromval=1v

    http://pastebin.com/ANKx8CfQ

    Like

Trackbacks

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