personal timeline

Securing democracy and human rights in Tunisia

personal timeline

Postby kerravon » 2011-01-29 14:54

Here is my personal story with regards to interaction with Tunisia.

I'll skip the dealings with USSR, Eastern Europe, China (1989), Afghanistan and Iraq, and pick it up in 2011, where I occasionally checked in on progress in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that was about it.

2011-01-02 – While Anonymous was issuing press releases, I was busy writing software and had no idea anything was happening in Tunisia. Even if I had known about demonstrations or earthquakes etc etc I wouldn't have taken any interest, as I am interested in political change in the world, and those things normally have zero effect. There was no precedent to doing DDOS attacks or anything else that a citizen could do to assist in a revolution. I was only vaguely aware of Anonymous for that matter.

2011-01-16 – After seeing the news that a dictator had been removed, and that we'd have a chance for change in the Middle East, I started investigating how that had happened, and what exactly that change would be.

2011-01-17 – My investigations led to the fact that there was an entity called Anonymous that had been involved to some extent with the Tunisian revolution, by at least bringing down some government websites. It's unclear what effect that had, but being able to damage a dictator's propaganda machine at all is quite impressive.

2011-01-18 – At this stage I had ascertained that there was fighting between security forces. I wanted to know what the clash was regarding. Both sides were state security forces, both sides were Arab Muslims, both sides were Tunisian – so what was the driving force that was causing people to risk their lives? I like to have a side to support in such battles. Even before 2001 I had made the effort to find out that the northern forces of Afghanistan were the ones most likely to support human rights for women, and that “my” side was unfortunately losing.

2011-01-19 – By now I had made contact with Anonymous and thanked them for doing whatever small thing they could do to try to support the Tunisian people. I asked what I needed to do to join them, and it turned out that just being there offering opinions was sufficient to be a member. I'm not the sort of person who would get involved in DDOS attacks, but I am extremely interested in the political side of things, and managed to meet a couple of Tunisians the same day, to try to find out whether it was possible to secure the freedom or whether it would only last a few days before a new dictator arrived on the scene. I was directly asked for a suggestion, and so for the next week or so nearly killed myself operating with very little sleep and turning up late for work trying to analyze the situation as best I could so that I could at least say “I tried my best to help the Tunisian people”. So the first day I worked with other Anons to produce this document:

It was a collaborative effort and the document was open to the public right from the start, ie before I had had a chance to add any structure to it. It was told a little bit too late that I should add the structure first. (AWW3 was guiding me through the process and he published it). So it wasn't exactly what I wanted to say, but it had enough in it to highlight that freedom hadn't yet been secured from a military standpoint.

2011-01-21 – The Tunisian regime created a joke cabinet where they made Slim the minister for Youth and Sport, as if that would fool anyone at all that this was a new and changed government that supported democracy and could be trusted. A 2-day effort was spent refining another joint document from Anonymous. This time I had written an initial version myself, but in order to get consensus from other Anons the original was slashed and burned and massively rewritten. Only about 50% of the final document was in the original. The final version was then released:

Note that although it was addressed to the Tunisian people, the intended audience was broader than that, as I wanted Anonymous to keep whatever pressure they could on the Tunisian government, rather than saying “job done, let's move on to some of these other countries”, as the job was far from done, and I wanted the Tunisian government to know that they would continue to be attacked, and why.

2011-01-23 – The next letter:

was asking the Tunisian people to forgive the security forces which they were still facing. In what seemed to be a dangerous development, even Slim had given his backing to the new government, as if the job had already been done. The angry people on the street knew that the job hadn't been done yet, but they were still up against a harsh military reality. They were angry and aggressive against men with automatic weapons. That sort of stand-off is usually a recipe for disaster, with the smart money on the men with automatic weapons. What was needed was for the security forces to change sides and support the people instead of the old regime. This is a matter of survival. In life-or-death situations like this, you need to do what is necessary to win, and one of the things that can be done is to reduce the barrier to the opposing forces changing sides. In this case, by giving them a way out - ie amnesty. It may be unpleasant to not get the justice you rightfully deserve, but it'll be even worse if you lose the lot in a bloodbath. This letter was also written then opened up to the Anon community via a “pad”, but for whatever reason there weren't a lot of changes made this time, although one guy was annoyed that his hero Mao got a mention.

This document was translated into French, but by the time that had happened, I had lost my internet access so wasn't able to directly submit it. However, the Tunisian contact I had, posted the French version on his Tunisia facebook page, where it had positive feedback but the whole page was subsequently deleted for reasons still unknown to him.

Another document was put out the same day, addressed to non-Tunisians, after a couple of fantastic videos were posted on youtube:

Also on the same day I uploaded my own video, inspired by one of those youtube videos. I couldn't get youtube to synch the sound properly, so was forced to switch to facebook: ... 0&comments

At this point I posted the facebook link into the IRC chat.

I had also written a “Dummies Guide to Winning Wars” since some people had been confused about (or at least, disputed) the air-to-air missile references in the “forgiveness” letter, so I wanted to spell out where I was coming from.

2011-01-24 - The next day, my internet connection was somehow badly broken. So badly that they needed to go to the exchange to investigate, which takes a week. Almost as if ASIO knew that I hadn't broken Australian law so they couldn't get the courts to arrest me, but did have the ability to pull the plug out of spite. So with my internet connection down, things radically changed as I operated via an independent email lifeline. I asked for my “Dummies Guide” (winwar.htm) to be published (but as a single Anon – Wan Anon – rather than as a collaboration due to the inherently controversial content), but technical difficulties prevented that from happening too. I also wrote an “Anonymous Nations” manifesto that was designed to be collaborative. Technical difficulties held up that being available for peer review also.

2011-01-25 – I sent out to my contacts a “paradigm war” (paradigm.htm) document, giving my explanation for the continued stand-off between the regime and protesters. Ie why these people had radically different views.

2011-01-26 – Facebook closes a critical Tunisian group with more than 2000 members discussing how best to secure Tunisia's freedom. Reason for this is still unknown. I started wondering if some ridiculous conspiracy theory was actually true, and wrote some questions for my neocon ideological allies. Also wrote a response to Tunisia's Foreign Minister regarding the possibility of Al Qaeda taking over (alqaeda.htm).

2011-01-27 – I finalized a document on what options were available to gain victory against the instransigent old regime (attack.htm). With that completed, I then started focussing on how I could use my programming skills to help dissidents have a secure operating system and created a plan for that.

2011-01-28 – I set up a website with a focus on Tunisia, that could potentially be used in the absence of the Facebook group being restored. I started it with a focus of aggressive questioning of the old regime. However, the old regime caved in to the protests the same day, so that night I demurred on the line of questioning, saying that I thought that the circumstances had changed sufficiently that a physical confrontation was probably inappropriate.

2011-01-29 – I found out how to set up a forum, which I think is more appropriate for this sort of open discussion than anonnews articles.
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Location: Australia, Free World South

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