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Pro-Assad supporters rally in Syria.  (Source: AFP/Getty Images)
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) attacks USMC website

Given how much money the U.S. spends on cyber-intelligence, it's kind of amazing how woefully vulnerable the frontends of top U.S. government pages have been.  The latest high-profile government page to fall victim to foreign hackers is one of the primary U.S. Marine Corp. (USMC) webpages.

After attacks on The New York Times and Twitter, the Syrian Electronic Army -- a group of hackers in Syria who support President Bashar al-Assad -- hijacked the marines.com domain and redirected it to a defaced page they created.  The site is used as a recruiting page for the USMC, whose primary domain is marines.mil.

The page has a "warning" to U.S. Marines about interfering in the nation's civil war, which states:

This is a message written by your brothers in the Syrian Army, who have been fighting al-Qaida for the last 3 years. We understand your patriotism and love for your country so please understand our love for ours. Obama is a traitor who wants to put your lives in danger to rescue al- Qaida insurgents.

Marines, please take a look at what your comrades think about Obama's alliance with al-Qaida against Syria. Your officer in charge probably has no qualms about sending you to die against soldiers just like you, fighting a vile common enemy. The Syrian army should be your ally not your enemy.

Refuse your orders and concentrate on the real reason every soldier joins their military, to defend their homeland.  You're more than welcome to fight alongside our army rather than against it.

Your brothers, the Syrian army soldiers. A message delivered by the SEA.

The domain remained hijacked for several hours early Monday morning with users redirected to the replacement page.  By 9 am, though, the USMC had regained control of their domain, stomping out the SEA's efforts.

Syrian Electronic Army USMC page redirect
[Image Source: The Independent]

The SEA -- who uses hacker group Anonymous's slogan "expect us" -- has been repeatedly attacking the webpages of governments and media outlets in the U.S. and Europe who have criticized the President al-Assad's regime in recent months.  A twitter statement posted on the SEA's official account brags "Syrian electronic army penetrates [USMC] site [translated]."

The U.S. has been preparing for a potential missile strike on Syria ever since President Barack Obama (D) accused Syria's Bashar al-Assad of using deadly nerve gas missile attacks on rebel strongholds in the cities of Jobar, Zamalka, 'Ain Tirma, and Hazzah, killing over a thousand people and injuring thousands more.

While President Obama has condemned the attacks, he has opted to wait for the UN to complete its analysis of samples gathered from the attack sites and to get Congressional approval before carrying out any military action.  On Sunday various Syrian officials and state media sources blasted President Obama's decision as "hesitant and confused" and described his actions as "[a] historic American retreat".

Sources: Syrian Electronic Army on Twitter, The Independent



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difficult
By GulWestfale on 9/2/2013 11:55:42 AM , Rating: 0
this is a difficult situation. yes, teh syrians have used chemical weapons, but the US has repeatedly used white phosphor and depleted uranium in afghanistan and iraq, so it is in no position to judge syria. that doesn't make syria's actions alright, it just means the US actions aren't any better.

in addition to this, assad is indeed a horrible dictator with a ruthless intelligence agency and prisons the west likes to transport its prisoners to so they can be legally tortured. the guy's a class-A fothermucker, no doubt about it.
but he is fighting al-qaeda. so if the US fights against him, it helps al-qaeda by weakening him.

is this was my decision, i'd simply stay out of it. i'd stop with the BS "tough talk", and stay out of it. neither side deserves any support from the US. let them fight it out amongst themselves.




RE: difficult
By Schadenfroh on 9/2/2013 12:32:29 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think depleted uranium ammunition (which is significantly less radioactive than naturally occurring uranium ore) and smoke grenades are analogous to using Sarin gas... After a quick check of wikipedia, it would seem that white phosphorus is a poor choice if your goal is to kill people with the smoke it generates (as opposed to its typical use as a smoke screen / incendiary / tracer rounds), as it requires 30x the concentration to be as damaging as mustard gas.

Not that I'm suggesting juggling smoke grenades or using depleted uranium soda bottles (anymore than lead soda bottles)... I also wouldn't want to get hit with a WP tracer round anymore than I would want to get hit by one of the Soviet AK-74 5.45 bullets that are being used over there (which are designed to wound, rather than kill, by tumbling around inside of you, eviscerating your soft-tissue).

For the record, I agree with you 100% about the West not touching this conflict with a 10' pole. I'm totally against any Western involvement in the Syrian Civil War (including arming rebels) as both factions (Hamas & Al-Qaeda) are openly hostile to NATO & Friends.


RE: difficult
By Schadenfroh on 9/2/2013 4:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
My bad, meant Hezbollah instead of Hamas


RE: difficult
By Gondor on 9/3/2013 3:16:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
depleted uranium ammunition (which is significantly less radioactive than naturally occurring uranium ore)


There is hardly any naturally occurring uranium ore on the surface of our planet - most of it is hidden few hundred meters below the surface and radiation drops off with second power of distance between the source of radiation and the victim, meaning that doubling the distance between source and victim will decrease radiation dose by 4-fold, increasing it from 5 meters to 500 meters will decrease it by 10000-fold etc.

I wouldn't want any of this ~50% "less radioactive" DU landing in my back yard, as opposed to living in an area with deposits of uranium ore (mine is in process of closing, no ore has been extracted for a couple of decades now) roughly 10-15 km (less than 10 miles) away from my home, which I consider to be much less of a threat to my health for reason stated above; YMMV.


RE: difficult
By Lord 666 on 9/3/2013 11:27:15 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously never heard of radon.


RE: difficult
By inperfectdarkness on 9/3/2013 4:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
^Truth.

Complete FUD trying to insinuate that Sarin/VX/etc are even remotely the same thing as depleted uranium (DU)or white-phosphorus (WP). I don't care if the huffington post wants you to believe that--it's utter hogwash. Mercury, Lead and Arsenic poison more people that live in localities where DU rounds were used...than the effects of inhaled dust from expended DU rounds.

As far as involvement, it's a lot sticker than it appears at first glance. There's a lot of innocent civilians affected by the conflict. Unfortunately, there's currently no logical endgame in which a NATO-allied regime would be easily placed in power. Consequently, this means that a long-term occupation would be required to stabilize a new western-friendly regime. I tend to prefer letting the two sides thin their numbers via attrition, which would present a much easier target for future coalition operations--in the unfortunate event they are needed.


RE: difficult
By superflex on 9/5/2013 8:15:40 AM , Rating: 2
Source on that FUD about mercury, lead and arsenic?
I didn't think so.


RE: difficult
By jeepga on 9/2/2013 12:34:49 PM , Rating: 4
Option A: Side with a dictator who poignantly is characterized as a mf
Option B: Side with a group led by a whack job that casually rips open the chests of his victims and eats their heart and other organs
Option C: Mind our own f'ing business

Option C is the right answer if it wasn't already clear...


RE: difficult
By Alexvrb on 9/2/2013 5:50:22 PM , Rating: 4
Option D: Obama gives them a very stern talking to, makes empty threats, and draws meaningless red lines for them to cross.

I know if a gutless all-talk halfacommie mouthed off at me from the other side of the world, I'd be quaking in my boots.


RE: difficult
By FaaR on 9/2/13, Rating: 0
RE: difficult
By KCjoker on 9/2/2013 7:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
You mean Clinton and all those other Dems that voted for the war are Republicans? news to me


RE: difficult
By Alexvrb on 9/2/2013 11:14:18 PM , Rating: 4
I didn't exactly cheer HIM on, either - but thanks anyway. My point is that Obama should close his yapper and stop threatening to take actions he's incapable of doing on his own. Let's hope a majority of Congress disagrees with him on this one. If we go charging in, there's no victory scenario to be had in Syria. If we help the rebels depose Bashar al-Assad, the radical elements will seize power.

Oh, and you're clearly not familiar with the radical tendencies of his parents, maternal grandfather, and good ol' "Uncle" Frank Marshall Davis - or any of the others who molded him, and influenced his life and career prior to becoming a Senator. You'd be proud to know that he continued to keep such great company in college too!

But tighten that wool down, elite! You've earned it.


RE: difficult
By flatrock on 9/3/2013 11:52:14 AM , Rating: 1
There's no evidence that the Bush administration lied.

Government's around the world believed Iraq has WMDs.

Stockpiles of WMDs were not found, but the components and means to spin up production of them were found, so the threat wasn't imminent, but was still there.

At the time we had a serious issue with poor intelligence. Our intelligence community was gutted under Carter, built up under Reagan, took pretty deep cuts under Bush Sr despite his history with the community. The economy was in pretty horrible shape at the time, and some cuts were needed. Clinton kept cutting even more deeply and we started seeing the results of it with incidents like the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

By the time 9/11 hit us our intelligence community was in disarray and was crippled by policies that while they were explicitly about protecting civil liberties had far more to do with each organization trying to hang onto their piece of the pie.

Bush made his share of mistakes. But saying he lied about the reasons for the war in Iraq requires an awfully lot of ignoring evidence to the contrary and a lot of blind hate.


RE: difficult
By johnsmith9875 on 9/4/2013 12:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously with the revelations that we are spending 52 billion dollars in intelligence, that we never had "gutted" funding as you claim.


RE: difficult
By shaidorsai on 9/5/2013 7:14:35 PM , Rating: 1
I think we all know who has no clue what they are talking about. The only thing longer than the list of Lies from Obama is his Pinocchio nose...


RE: difficult
By cruisin3style on 9/2/2013 9:32:30 PM , Rating: 2
Option E: you look back to the events of 2011 and stfu


RE: difficult
By Dr of crap on 9/3/2013 12:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
YES !! WHY go in where we are not wanted !!???

ITS NOT our fight. Let them fight it out!

Haven't enough died over that sand over there??


RE: difficult
By NellyFromMA on 9/3/2013 7:15:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that worked out really well for us in Afghanistan. Oh wait, 9-11.


RE: difficult
By Reclaimer77 on 9/2/2013 2:55:38 PM , Rating: 3
Al-Qaeda being gassed to death is no different than fumigating a house for an insect infestation. It's not an atrocity, it's a cleansing.

After all these years of war, how can our President seriously intervene, FOR our common enemy, just because he doesn't like the methods used? It's insanity! How pro-terrorist can you get!?

If one cent, one soldier, is wasted on protecting these "rebels", Obama needs to be impeached.


RE: difficult
By Lord 666 on 9/2/2013 5:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
Obama's a Muslim... what else do you expect?


RE: difficult
By ritualm on 9/2/2013 6:14:41 PM , Rating: 2
By the way, this might surprise you.

The largest shareholder of Fox is, of course, Rupert Murdoch.

The second largest shareholder of Fox is a Muslim. A Saudi prince at that.


RE: difficult
By Reclaimer77 on 9/2/2013 6:22:56 PM , Rating: 1
So what???

Holy shit do you people honestly think EVERY Conservative viewpoint from EVERY person just automatically comes from Fox News?

What in the hell does this have to do with ANY news station in the first place?


RE: difficult
By ritualm on 9/2/2013 8:04:12 PM , Rating: 3
To reply to your previous post:
quote:
Al-Qaeda being gassed to death is no different than fumigating a house for an insect infestation. It's not an atrocity, it's a cleansing.

After all these years of war, how can our President seriously intervene, FOR our common enemy, just because he doesn't like the methods used? It's insanity! How pro-terrorist can you get!?

If one cent, one soldier, is wasted on protecting these "rebels", Obama needs to be impeached.

That's not the point, in fact this has nothing to do with protecting al-Qaeda militants from chemical attacks.

Obama, like Churchill and - gasp! - Hitler, isn't fond of chemical warfare. It's like Iran threatening to use nukes against Israel. Why haven't Tehran done it already? Because it opens a whole can of worms and they will lose so much more than they can possibly gain i.e. wipe Israelis out of the Mideast.

Punishing Syria for using chemical agents against its own people is better than the other alternative: legitimize chemical warfare. Heck, an all-out nuclear war is still more preferable than chemicals, because a fast death is easier on the human soul than slowly dying under excruciating agony.
quote:
do you people honestly think EVERY Conservative viewpoint from EVERY person just automatically comes from Fox News?

Nope, but you can trace the origin/involvement of these viewpoints to them.

Use your head, for jebus christ sake.


RE: difficult
By ritualm on 9/2/2013 8:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, to qualify one bit: Churchill wanted chemical warfare. Members of the British Parliament at the time wanted none of it, and he had little choice but to bow to their will.


RE: difficult
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/2013 12:31:37 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Punishing Syria for using chemical agents against its own people is better than the other alternative: legitimize chemical warfare.


You're talking about a President who actively campaigned against NOT trying to police the world like his arch nemesis George Bush.

How are chemical weapons being "legitimized" if the United States doesn't go arbitrarily invade Syria? Is that our job now? Someone else can deal with Syria, someone who has an actual stake in this fight. Syria is NOT a threat to anyone militarily. This problem doesn't require the most powerful military on Earth to solve.

So far Obama is indicating he'll act on his own, without consulting Congress as the Constitution demands. If he does that, if he ignores the Constitution and Congress, if he decides to behave more like a military dictator than a President with limited powers, then Congress should move immediately to impeach him. As he would have done this not once, but twice. Remember Libya?

And if you think THAT is just "Fox News" talk, you've lost your mind.

quote:
Heck, an all-out nuclear war is still more preferable than chemicals, because a fast death is easier on the human soul than slowly dying under excruciating agony.


It's official: you're a dumbass. Like 20 times more people die or have life-long complications due to fallout than the actual nuclear blast. The effects can persist for decades! But oh yeah, chemical weapons are way worst. Are you some kind of retard?


RE: difficult
By Rukkian on 9/3/2013 11:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
I actually think we need to stay out of this and let them wipe each other out, but:

quote:
So far Obama is indicating he'll act on his own, without consulting Congress as the Constitution demands. If he does that, if he ignores the Constitution and Congress, if he decides to behave more like a military dictator than a President with limited powers, then Congress should move immediately to impeach him. As he would have done this not once, but twice. Remember Libya?


Not sure where you are getting that, as he has asked congress to act. He has not indicated (that I have seen) that he will ignore them if they say no. At this point, he is asking for permission.


RE: difficult
By Paj on 9/3/2013 8:57:01 AM , Rating: 2
It's not just al Qaeda. The civil war began as an offshoot of the Arab spring and has now morphed into a hodgepodge of many different groups - al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other Muslim sects who are rebelling against Alawite rule.

Some of these groups are comprised of genuine freedom fighters who, rightly so, take umbrage at seeing their children gassed by nerve agents.

One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist (just ask the British what the thought of the Boston Tea Party). The problem is, now that external militant groups are involved, it becomes much harder to support the 'correct' group.


RE: difficult
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/2013 3:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you're forgetting other civil wars that we've intervened in, and how that's worked out for us?

We seem to have a habit of supporting warlords and dictators come to power then later deposing them while the once-stable country degenerates into a lawless nightmare.

Syria is the ultimate no-win scenario for the US. Goddamn, didn't we learn ANYTHING from Iraq and Afghanistan? I'm shocked that the same people who have been screaming about Iraq and Afghanistan wars for like a decade, now suddenly are silent or support Obama's wish to attack yet ANOTHER former-friend we helped put in power.

I think Al-queda is smarter than we give them credit for. We're being played so hard here. This can only end badly for us, very badly.


RE: difficult
By johnsmith9875 on 9/4/2013 12:59:55 PM , Rating: 3
I think you don't quite understand the war Paj. Hezbollah is not an enemy of Syria, and the Alawites are an offshoot of the Shia, and Hezbollah is Shia.

Assad has support from most Syrians, Christians who make up 10% of the country's populace, Shia, Alawites, secularists and moderate Sunnis.

The opposition is now mainly sunni islamist fundamentalists, takfiri and salafists and a bevy of foreign fighters from a dozen nations that aren't Syria.


RE: difficult
By toolazy666 on 9/5/2013 12:51:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
quote:
Assad has support from most Syrians, Christians who make up 10% of the country's populace, Shia, Alawites, secularists and moderate Sunnis.


so basically everyone is with assad, except "just a few sunnies", yet he went ahead and bombed the 2nd & 3rd largest cities in the country ? you're either wrong or he's an idiot....

as for Hezbuallah, he's interfering in another country's internal affairs on behalf of iran, and last I checked you and other assad supporters were/are against foreign involvement, so yay to hypocrisy

Please don


RE: difficult
By voronwe on 9/3/2013 2:45:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Al-Qaeda being gassed to death is no different than fumigating a house for an insect infestation. It's not an atrocity, it's a cleansing.

After all these years of war, how can our President seriously intervene, FOR our common enemy, just because he doesn't like the methods used? It's insanity! How pro-terrorist can you get!?


Are you able to comprehend that the al Qaeda fighters who are now in Syria to get martyred are not the same as the people who grew tired of Assad's boot heel and have now rebelled against him? Or are all Muslims just "al Qaeda" to you?

If we draw a red line against chemical weapons in Syria, and then we change our minds, should North Korea pay attention to us on nuclear weapons? Should Iran? Should China pay attention to us when we tell them to stay away from Taiwan? Should Russia pay attention to us when we tell them not to invade their old satellites? Does what the US says matter any more?

Newsmax has dulled your brain, Reclaimer77. Your words are based on bad data and faulty reasoning. In short, you are a troll.


RE: difficult
By shaidorsai on 9/5/2013 7:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
Are you unable to comprehend that most of the "rebels" are Islamic extremists from countries around the middle east and not from Syria? The Salafist Ahrar ash-Sham brigade, one of the most powerful factions fighting in the war, has 10,000 to 20,000 fighters. If the actual Syrian rebels work with and support those same Islamic extremists whats the difference between the two besides semantics ? President Obama had no right to draw any red lines anywhere in Syria for use of chemicals weapons. Enforcing the UN ban on chemical weapons is a job for the UN...not the US by itself without UN authorization. Because President Incompetent decided to act tough doesn't obligate American troops to go enforce a UN treaty...especially when the treaty violation has ZERO impact on the US or our national interest.


RE: difficult
By toolazy666 on 9/5/2013 12:44:10 PM , Rating: 2
wow dude, I think 400+ kids killed in the attack are also considered terrorists to you ?

No matter what or who you are fighting, children should never become war victims, or that's how things used to be, unless you're coming from the "doesn't matter as long as they are not americans" pov, which is too low for anyone


RE: difficult
By shaidorsai on 9/5/2013 7:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
Those dead kids fathers were busy gutting and eating the organs out of dead Syrian soldiers when the gas fell. I don't think the US taking either side in this is a good idea regardless of who died.


RE: difficult
By toolazy666 on 9/7/2013 6:27:03 AM , Rating: 2
because anyone who doesn't like assad is a monsonster, right ?

I can see now how those low armed fighters (even the assad government says they are low armed) managed to destroy half the country, arrest +150k people, and kill 110k others, it all now makes sense...NOT


RE: difficult
By Jeffk464 on 9/2/2013 8:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
He dumb asses how about you wait tell after a strike, this might only encourage Obama.


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