FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Curious Origins of Political Hacktivism

Real hacktivism is at least as old as October 1989 when the US Deptartment of Energy and NASA machines world wide were penetrated by the anti-nuclear WANK worm. The worm was the second ever to be unleashed, but its provenance was a curious contrast to its forebear. For you see, worm #1 had been traced to the son of National Security Agency chief cryptographer Robert Morris.

That WANK had a bold political intent was immediate. WANK penetrated machines had their login screens altered to:

W O R M S A G A I N S T N U C L E A R K I L L E R S

_______________________________________________________________
\__ ____________ _____ ________ ____ ____ __
_____/
\ \ \ /\ / / / /\ \ | \ \ | | | | / / /
\ \ \ / \ / / / /__\ \ | |\ \ | | | |/ / /
\ \ \/ /\ \/ / / ______ \ | | \ \| | | |\ \ /
\_\ /__\ /____/ /______\ \____| |__\ | |____| |_\ \_/
\___________________________________________________/
\ /
\ Your System Has Been Officically WANKed /
\_____________________________________________/

You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war.

In our book Underground, Suelette Dreyfus and I trace the source of the worm to Melbourne, Australia. At the time there was considerable cold war fueled anti-nuclear sentiment in the country. Australia had (and still has) a number of US spy, early warning and nuclear submarine communications bases, most of which were first and second strike soviet targets. Australia would not otherwise be a nuclear target, a fact charismatic Soviet foreign minister and Gorbachev confidant Edvard Shevardnadze frequently drew to the attention of the Australian people before finding himself a loved and reviled President of Georgia.

Additionally in 1984, New Zealand, a country with which Australians feel a special affinity, had under Labour pri-minister David Lange, made NZ a nuclear free territory, precluding the admission of nuclear armed or powered warships into NZ ports. The US in response rescinded its defence treaty obligations to NZ, cut intelligence ties (or at least pretended to, see Nicky Hager’s excellent book “Secret Power” for futher details) and instigated a number of trade sanctions against the country.

But New Zealand’s nuclear woes were not to end there. At 11:59 pm on the night of July 10 1985 the Greenpeace flag-ship “Rainbow Warrior”, docked in Auckland harbour preparing to sail in three days time to Mururoa Atoll to demonstrate against French nuclear tests, was bombed by amphibious DGSE (French Secret Service) agents, killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira. Within days, two DGSE agents Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur were arrested, following an investigation by Australian journalist Chris Masters, plead guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced by the NZ high court to 10 years. The other DGSE agents escaped via a French Nuclear sub off the NZ coast. The French, a significant NZ trade partner, immediately instigated trade sanctions against the country. In June 1986, a political deal was struck; France would lift sanctions, pay a few million in blood money, and the two agents would be transferred to Hao Atoll, a French military base in the pacific, where they would supposably serve out the remainder of their sentences. However, by May 1988 both had been smuggled back to France.

Examination of the worm source code show specific instructions to avoid infecting machines New Zealand.

Policy always has unpredicted consequences, but it should be remembered that some are blessings!

JULIAN ASSANGE is president of a NGO and Australia’s most infamous former computer hacker. He was convicted of attacks on the US intelligence and publishing a magazine which inspired crimes against the Commonwealth. He is the co-author of Underground and can be reached at http://iq.org/

 

 

More articles by:

Julian Assange is the founder of Wikileaks. His most recent book is The Wikileaks Files (Verso).

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail