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Anonymous OpLebanon Announcement

Lebanese government and security-related websites hacked overnight by a group calling itself "Raise Your Voice" were back online early Tuesday afternoon (April 17, 2012).

Visitors to security-related sites like that of the police and State Security as well as ministry websites were confronted with a message from the group to the government.

“We are RYV, short for Raise Your Voice, and we are simply a group of people who could not bear sitting in silence, watching all the crimes and injustice going on in Lebanon. We will not be silenced and brainwashed by your media. We will not stop until the Lebanese people mobilize, demand their rights, and earn them,” the message read.

“We are RYV, expect us to break the silence, whether in the streets or on the Internet. Silence is a crime,” the message ended.

Hours after the websites were back online around noon, the group posted a video on Youtube.com announcing that they have joined the collective Anonymous worldwide community, an Internet meme, “to liberate the minds of our people at most and create hope.”

A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask whose appearance was deliberately distorted in the black and white video read from a paper: “We are Anonymous, we have been watching recent events with great agony and rage as they surpass our patience levels and threaten significantly the fundamental expectations of our society.”

“So it’s fair to say we are angry; the attitude of the Lebanese government and financial elite strictly opposes the values and principals we uphold. The government must exist to serve the will of the people not the will of the financial elite,” he added in a one minute and 44 second video.

“We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us,” he said.

The man voiced dismay over what he described as an “organized malicious conspiracy on the labor, human and women’s rights” and lamented social injustice and “vicious” practices on the part of the media.

Several ministry-related websites took several to resume normal functioning, including those of the Foreign Affairs, Energy and Justice Ministries. These sites were back online at around 1 p.m only to be hacked again.

The country’s National News Agency was also among state-related websites targeted in the hacking. Its online services resumed at around 10.20 a.m. but the website was later hacked again.

Also Tuesday, MTV website experienced a cyber attack, a different kind of attack from a hacking, in which hackers try to overload the server. MTV was back up and running at around 1 p.m.

“Raise Your Voice” said that they did not have anything to do with the media website.

On the “Raise Your Voice” Twitter feed, a post read: “@MTVLebanon Dear MTV, We are not the ones responsible for taking down your website. #Lebanon #Beirut #RYVLeb.”

Patrick Risha, head of the MTV website, said that the site had been experiencing difficulties all day and that the reasons behind “the continuous” attacks on MTV could be political.

“This is not the first time that the website was under attack but the effect is usually minimal. This time, it seems it is a continuous attack,” Risha told The Daily Star.

He added that the attack could be for political reasons or “because MTV has raised the bar for news websites and there is now competition.”