As the streets of Bahrain filled with tear gas during two days of intensified protests and a continued government crackdown this week, a group of hackers retaliated. Anonymous, a prominent hacktivist organization, took down the website of Combined Systems Inc., the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of the tear gas which has been used widely by security forces in Bahrain, Tunisia, and Egypt.
Pepe Escobar wrote today at Asia Times, "Late January, Amnesty International called [the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry] to 'investigate and account for the reports of more than a dozen deaths following tear gas use' and called Washington to 'suspend transfers of tear gas and other riot control equipment to the Bahraini authorities'. [Bahraini] local security relies heavily on...made in USA tear gas and stun grenades to disperse every single peaceful anti-government protest. Scores of senior citizens and kids have died from asphyxia after regime troops fired tear gas in residential areas and even into homes."
To mark the anniversary of protests in Bahrain, Anonymous took Combined Systems' website offline and posted its employee and client data on the Web.
The website of an American company which makes tear gas has been attacked by hackers aligned to the Anonymous movement. They accuse Combined Systems of selling "mad chemical weapons to military and cop shops around the world."
The hackers also say they have stolen and published personal information belonging to clients and employees of the company.
In an Internet statement, the Anonymous activists allege Combined Systems are war profiteers whose ammunition has been used against demonstrators in Egypt and elsewhere.
"You shot and gassed protesters, running them off public parks in the US. Several dozen died because of your tear gas used in Egypt. Did you think we forgot? Why did you not expect us?" read the statement. [...]
"Combined Systems, lay down your arms: you just lost the game. In the past we have marched on your offices in Jamestown, Pennsylvania: now it is time to march on your websites."
Atlantic Wire reports:
The Combined Systems website was unresponsive on Tuesday morning, as were the websites for surveillance hardware manufacturer Sur-Tec, Thompson Handcuffs, and weapons maker Penn Arms, all of which Anonymous claimed credit for knocking offline. The loose-knit hacking collective promised more such attacks for Valentine's Day, tweeting: "Stay tuned for more Valentine's Day Hacks. Have you enjoyed the show so far?"
Today Medea Benjamin, cofounder of human rights group Global Exchange and peace group CODEPINK, tweeted live from the Bahraini protests. She uploaded a photo of a colleague holding a Combined Systems tear gas canister found in the street:
Other Benjamin tweets state, "I can hear protests in village nearby and see tear gas flying like fireworks. People yelling Down Down w the King," and, "#bahrain police shot teargas directly at our heads when walking w hr leader."
Today, CODEPINK calls for the US to end arms sales to Bahrain: as the Obama Administration is pushing a $53 million dollar arms sale to Bahrain, using a legal loophole that would "allow him to avoid notifying Congress and the public, by breaking up the sales into small packages of under $1 million each."
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