Anonymous Plays Peacekeeper in Southeast Asian Standoff
A Google Maps detail of the area being fought over. Part of Malaysian Borneo is on the left; part of the Sulu Archipelago, belonging to the Philippines, is on the right.
CREDIT: Google Maps
Anonymous is known for its antagonizing antics, but this week one member of the hacktivist organization found himself playing mediator in an online dispute between patriotic Malaysian and Filipino hackers that mirrors a real-life war on the Pacific island of Borneo.
The war, a territorial dispute between the government of Malaysia and some 200 Filipinos who claim part of Malaysian Borneo in the name of the former Sultanate of Sulu, began last month.
Around 30 people have been killed, and today (March 5), Malaysian military jets were bombing the invading Filipinos. Former Muslim rebels from the southern Philippines have promised to join the fight.
The government of the Philippines maintains its claims to parts of Borneo, but has not endorsed the invasion and has called for an end to the conflict.
The fighting has spilled onto the Internet in a series of hacking attacks across the Sulu Sea. The most serious, carried out by a group identified as the MALAYSIA Cyb3r 4rmy, took place Sunday and knocked out several Filipino business websites, including that of communications company Globe Telecom.
Several Malaysian sites were then hacked by a group calling itself Anonymous Philippines, which demanded that Malaysia "Stop attacking our cyberspace! Or else we will attack your cyberworld!"
Despite the Filipino group's self-proclaimed affiliation with Anonymous, a hacktivist called TheAnonCause, who apparently has more online street credibility and claims to speak for Anonymous as a whole, took to Pastebin to clarify that the movement had not chosen one side or the other.
"As far as we are concerned, Anonymous has nowhere to side yet over this concern," TheAnonCause said in his Pastebin post.
Instead of staying out of the matter, TheAnonCause asked both sides to produce official documents to back up their territorial claims.
"We can study the historical nature of this dispute and we would be able to determine the strength of the claim, and if tyranny is clouding this matter so we can take a united action as needed," TheAnonCause wrote.
"If governments try to hide information that [is] vital to peaceful resolution, and seeks to bend information to gain leverage over the other, then that would be the perfect time that we will need to step in ... and leak the truth out in the open for both countries to see, and for the whole world to see."
Based on this post, Anonymous appears to be interested in keeping the peace and hasn't picked allegiances. But that doesn't mean it won't in the future.