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March 31, 2015 0

Rival Hackers Overcome Differences For Anti-Israel Cyber Campaign

What has become an annual cyber cam­paign against Israel, “OpIs­rael” – which coin­cided with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day in pre­vi­ous years – is once again tak­ing place this year; this time, by a broader coali­tion of hack­ers than ever before.AnonGhost OpIsrael 2015

In light of the uptick in attacks against Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites in the U.S. by inter­na­tional hack­ing groups over the past few years, both Israeli and Jew­ish web­sites world­wide are expected to be tar­gets of the cyber campaign.

In 2014, “OpIs­rael” was pri­mar­ily led by an Arab sub-division of Anony­mous, which called for a cyber-attack against Israel on Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, threat­ening to launch “elec­tronic attacks against as many Israeli web­sites as pos­si­ble.” The group also threat­ened Israeli cit­i­zens: “Your credit cards, your bank accounts, your servers … are ALL in a dan­ger!” In 2013, the group called for a sim­i­lar cam­paign timed with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day to “wipe Israel off the Inter­net.”

This year, the Arab sub-division of Anony­mous, in one of the videos it posted on YouTube, described “OpIs­rael,” as an “Elec­tronic Holocaust.”

There are strong indi­ca­tions, how­ever, that AnonG­host, a promi­nent hacker group known for tar­get­ing Jew­ish and Amer­i­can web­sites, is seek­ing to replace Anony­mous in spear­head­ing “OpIsrael.”

For exam­ple, ear­lier this month, AnonG­host launched and pro­moted soft­ware enabling users to con­duct cyber-attacks against Israeli (and other) tar­gets. The soft­ware appears to enable users to ini­ti­ate denial of ser­vice (DOS) attacks. AnonG­host has already claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack­ing of sev­eral Israeli web­sites in the past week in the lead up to “OpIsrael.”

On March 31, AnonG­host mem­bers claimed that they started mes­sag­ing Israeli cit­i­zens with warn­ings about OpIs­rael. The threat­en­ing mes­sages included an image of an ISIS fighter with the cap­tion, “We are com­ing O Jews to kill you.” Under the image, AnonG­host mem­bers intro­duce them­selves and ask the recip­i­ents to deliver the warn­ing to the Israeli government.

An image of the threatening message sent to Israeli citizens featuring an ISIS fighter

An image of the threat­en­ing mes­sage sent to Israeli cit­i­zens fea­tur­ing an ISIS fighter

By inject­ing itself into “OpIs­rael,” AnonG­host may take the cam­paign into a more extreme direc­tion. For exam­ple, AnonG­host has been unam­bigu­ous about sup­port­ing ISIS and has car­ried out hacks on its behalf. This activ­ity dif­fers from the Anony­mous col­lec­tive, which has launched cyber-campaigns to counter ISIS’ online pres­ence. In Jan­u­ary 2015, for exam­ple, they­launched a cam­paign against Jihadist web­sites titled OpChar­lieHebdo in response to ter­ror­ist attacks in France.

There are indi­ca­tions that AnonG­host and the broader Anony­mous col­lec­tive have even engaged in a cyber-conflict against each other; Mau­ri­ta­nia Attacker, the osten­si­ble leader of AnonG­host, claims to have hacked a group of Anony­mous mem­bers known as “Anony­mous Squad No.035,” the Ser­bian sub-division of Anonymous.Anonymous OpIsrael 2015

The appar­ent con­flict between AnonG­host and the Anony­mous col­lec­tive, how­ever, does not seem to have pre­vented them both from par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s “OpIs­rael.” Oppo­si­tion to Israel seems to be a com­mon cause.

It is impor­tant to note that ADL is cur­rently unaware of any spe­cific cyber threat to the Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­nity. Nev­er­the­less, we are urg­ing Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties to revisit and reassess their cyber-security plans, mea­sures, and procedures.

Related Infor­ma­tion:

ADL Alerts U.S. Syn­a­gogues to Pro­tect Against Online Hackers

ISIS Estab­lishes A Cyber-Alliance With Anti-Israel Hackers

Hack­ers Post Anti-Semitism On U.S. Uni­ver­si­ties’ Websites

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March 31, 2015 2

Governor Pence’s Empty Defense of Indiana “Religious Freedom” Law

Indi­ana Gov­er­nor Mike Pence is receiv­ing national back­lash for sign­ing a so-called “reli­gious free­dom” law that is caus­ing major cor­po­ra­tions to rethink their activ­i­ties in his state.  The Gov­er­nor claims there is a “tremen­dous amount of mis­in­for­ma­tion and mis­un­der­stand­ing” about the law, which many are call­ing a license to dis­crim­i­nate. Yet he has repeat­edly refused to answer the sim­ple ques­tion: does the law legal­ize dis­crim­i­na­tion?  He likely won’t, because the hon­est answer is “yes.”

Michael Pence, Governor of Indiana

Michael Pence, Gov­er­nor of Indiana

Civil rights orga­ni­za­tions do not stand alone in their strong oppo­si­tion to this law.  In the 5 days since Gov­er­nor Pence signed Indi­ana Sen­ate Bill 101 into law, busi­nesses, sports leagues, and local and state gov­ern­ments have voiced their deep con­cern about the law and threat­ened action in response.

Two major busi­nesses have already restricted their Indi­ana oper­a­tions.   Salesforce.com announced that it will “dra­mat­i­cally reduce [its] invest­ment” in Indi­ana, will can­cel pro­grams that would require its cus­tomers to travel to Indi­ana, and may even help its employ­ees move out of state.  Angie’s List halted plans for a $40 mil­lion expan­sion in Indianapolis.

The gov­er­nor of Con­necti­cut, as well as may­ors of San Fran­cisco and Seat­tle recently announced plans to bar publicly-funded travel to Indi­ana.  Even Indi­anapo­lis Mayor Bal­lard sharply crit­i­cized the law. And other major busi­nesses and groups are also express­ing con­cern.  Apple Chief Exec­u­tive Tim Cook expressed deep dis­ap­point­ment with the new law, and the Indianapolis-based NCAA said the law could lead it to move events out­side of the state.

The NBA, WNBA, and NFL also voiced con­cern.   Just yes­ter­day, CEOs of nine major cor­po­ra­tions, includ­ing Eli Lilly and Co., Roche Diag­nos­tics, and Indi­ana Uni­ver­sity Health, hand deliv­ered a let­ter to Gov­er­nor Pence, the Sen­ate Pres­i­dent and the Speaker of House stat­ing that they are they are “deeply con­cerned about the impact [the law] is hav­ing on our employ­ees and on the rep­u­ta­tion of our state …” and urg­ing them “… to take imme­di­ate action to ensure that the Reli­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act will not sanc­tion or encour­age dis­crim­i­na­tion against any res­i­dents or vis­i­tors to our state by anyone.”

In 2014, the Ari­zona leg­is­la­ture passed a sim­i­lar “reli­gious free­dom” law.   But under pres­sure from the civil rights com­mu­nity and busi­nesses such as Amer­i­can Air­lines, Google and the NFL, Gov­er­nor Jan Brewer wisely vetoed the ill-advised legislation.

Gov­er­nor Pence, how­ever, con­tin­ues to defend the law and argues it is just like the fed­eral Reli­gious Free­dom Act (“RFRA”) and other sim­i­lar state laws that have been on the books for years.  It’s not.

Although the new Indi­ana law never men­tions sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or dis­crim­i­na­tion, it effec­tively allows all Indi­ana busi­nesses, except per­haps large, pub­lic cor­po­ra­tions, the right to dis­crim­i­nate against the LGBT com­mu­nity and oth­ers under the cloak of “reli­gious free­dom.”  The law does so by pro­vid­ing them with a pow­er­ful and vir­tu­ally insur­mount­able religious-based defense to any state or local civil or crim­i­nal law.

In con­trast, the fed­eral RFRA only applies when an actual gov­ern­ment entity “sub­stan­tially bur­dens” reli­gious exer­cise and is a party to a sub­se­quent legal pro­ceed­ing.  Fur­ther­more, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s deeply trou­bling Hobby Lobby deci­sion, RFRA was under­stood as only pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tions to indi­vid­u­als and reli­gious insti­tu­tions – and not for-profit, closed corporations.

So what does this mean in prac­ti­cal terms?  For exam­ple, let’s say that a gay cou­ple goes to tuxedo rental store to try on and reserve gar­ments for their wed­ding.  Based on the new “reli­gious free­dom” law, the owner refuses ser­vice to the cou­ple, claim­ing that serv­ing them would “sub­stan­tially” bur­den his or her reli­gious beliefs.  At this point, the cou­ple might seek a legal rem­edy.   Of course, law­suits are pro­hib­i­tively expen­sive and take years to resolve, so most denials of ser­vice will go unchallenged.

But even if the cou­ple chooses to bring a law­suit under Indi­ana law, they would have an uphill fight to meet the rel­e­vant legal stan­dard  “strict scrutiny.”   Lit­i­gants who must prove this stan­dard usu­ally lose.  Because fed­eral and Indi­ana state law do not pro­vide anti-discrimination pro­tec­tions based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity,  the LGBT com­mu­nity is the most vul­ner­a­ble to the “reli­gious free­dom” law.   But the law also could be raised as a defense to legal actions brought by cou­ples who are denied ser­vice because of their reli­gion, eth­nic­ity or national origin.

Dur­ing the civil rights move­ment, efforts by busi­nesses to cloak dis­crim­i­na­tion against African Amer­i­cans in the guise of “reli­gious free­dom” were ulti­mately defeated because our nation’s true reli­gious free­dom pro­tec­tions were never intended to be used as a sword to harm oth­ers.  But the new Indi­ana law does just that by allow­ing for-profit busi­nesses to use reli­gion as a vehi­cle to dis­crim­i­nate in the mar­ket­place.   Undoubt­edly, as long as it remains on the books, this law will fur­ther dam­age Indiana’s rep­u­ta­tion and economy.

With a month left in its 2015 leg­isla­tive ses­sion, the Gov­er­nor would be wise to push for a repeal of this odi­ous law.

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March 30, 2015 42

White Supremacists Protest Against Purported “White Genocide”

White suprema­cists in loca­tions across the United States recently took part in demon­stra­tions, leaflet­ings, and indi­vid­ual acts of protest to pro­mote an increas­ingly pop­u­lar con­cept within the white supremacy move­ment: the notion of “white genocide.”

Doggett at Starbucks

Doggett at Starbucks

The Anti-Defamation League tracked inci­dents in at least 11 states, includ­ing Alabama, Arkansas, Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Ken­tucky, New Jer­sey, North Car­olina, North Dakota, Ten­nessee, Texas, and Vir­ginia. Activ­i­ties also occurred in other coun­tries, includ­ing Aus­tralia, Canada, France, Great Britain, Hun­gary, and New Zealand.

All actions took place on March 21, 2015, a date white suprema­cists have for sev­eral years declared to be “White Pride World Wide Day.” Described as part of the “March against White Geno­cide,” the actions were orga­nized and pro­moted by Fight Wide Geno­cide, a self-described “col­lec­tive of…activism” led by white suprema­cist Laura Fitzger­ald, who is based in the Colum­bia, South Car­olina, area.

The term “white geno­cide” is a rel­a­tively recent phrase coined by white suprema­cists to describe one of their long-held con­vic­tions: that the white race is “dying” due to non-white immi­gra­tion and “forced assim­i­la­tion.” White suprema­cists com­monly claim that Jews are behind this “geno­ci­dal” action.

Fitzger­ald, the cam­paign orga­nizer, is a dis­ci­ple of Robert Whitaker, an elderly guru in the white suprema­cist move­ment. His fol­low­ers have coined what they term the “Stop White Geno­cide Mantra.” Fitzger­ald encour­aged white suprema­cists to par­tic­i­pate through demon­stra­tions, post­ing “#WhiteGeno­cide” stick­ers in pub­lic loca­tions, hold­ing up ban­ners at high-traffic loca­tions, or hand­ing out literature.

A few white suprema­cists even tried to exploit Star­bucks’ recent “Race Together” diver­sity cam­paign. Ron Doggett, a long­time white suprema­cist based in Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, and sev­eral oth­ers demon­strated out­side a local Star­bucks, hold­ing up a “Diver­sity = White Geno­cide” ban­ner and other white suprema­cist signs and plac­ards. Doggett is a for­mer sup­porter of David Duke, as well as Fra­zier Glenn Miller, the sus­pect in the 2014 fatal shoot­ings of three peo­ple at Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in Over­land Park, Kansas.

Another white suprema­cist posted on-line a photo of a cup of Star­bucks cof­fee with “‘Race Together’ is a code word for WHITE GENOCIDE” writ­ten on the sleeve.

Most demon­stra­tions and actions were small in scope. The largest occurred in Flo­rence, Ken­tucky, where 10–15 white suprema­cists led by neo-Nazi Robert Rans­dell car­ried a “‘Diver­sity’ = White Geno­cide” ban­ner and waved white suprema­cist flags and placards.

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