It has been intimated that as much as one million stolen euros will be donated in bitcoins to the Kurds via the Rojava Plan, a project that has arisen from what some argue is an anarchist-feminist ideology. Apparently a much smaller donation of $11,000, stolen from a bank, has already been made. The doner, who has been described as a modern-day ‘Robin Hood’, claims to have been behind the infamous hack of the Hacking Team last year and prior to that the Gamma Group. The Rojava Plan is one aspect of the social revolution underway in Rojava, the Kurdistan province in northern Syria, which we have extensively reported on (see up to date links at end of article).
(Note: the video above was made in June 2015. For more current news on what is happening in Kurdistan, click here. See also: “The 7500 remarkable women fighting ISIS.it’s time you know who they are“.)
The hacker goes under the name ‘Phineas Fisher’ and “Hack Back” and uses the Twitter name @GammaGroupPR. The money was apparently expropriated by Fisher from an un-named bank. It is believed that the $11,000 was donated to the Rojava Plan’s Bitcoin address on 5th May.
Phineas Fisher released the following statement on Reddit:
“The money did come from robbing a bank. As I said in an earlier comment, bank robbing is more viable than ever, it’s just done differently these days. There’s a reason in the last hacking guide I wrote (spanish original english translation) I spoke in favor of expropriating money from banks, said you used to need a gun but can now do it from bed with a laptop in hand, and linked a technical report on the Carbanak group. Not that I’m a fan of Russian gangsters robbing banks so they can buy luxury cars or whatever, but there’s a lot to learn from their methods… For something a lot more accessible and with a much smaller learning curve than hacking, you can try carding. It’s not the best way to make money, since it does inconvenience ordinary people, but ultimately the bank has to reimburse victims of credit card fraud, so I see it more as borrowing without permission than stealing. And some of the criminals in that world can be decent people sometimes ”
Fisher also commented: ““Unfortunately, our world is backwards,” Fisher said in his hacking guide. “You get rich by doing bad things and go to jail for doing good.”
Spokespersons from the Rojava Plan said that money donated will be given to the “Feed the Revolution” project. Other Rojava Plan projects include setting up schools and setting up internet facilities.
Her is an interview with Phineas Fisher in Catalan and in English regarding the computer attack on the Mossos d’Esquadra trade union and the leaking of personal details of 5,540 police officers, including their home addresses. Here is a statement by Phineas Fisher on the Mossos attack.
Note… The July 2015 Hacking Team hack saw the theft of 400 GB of internal files, source code, and communications from the company, which the hackers described as “the enemy of the internet”, and made them publicly available for download. The documents revealed details of HT clients, including Arab countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, many of which have dreadful human rights records.
More on the Rojavan revolution can be found here:
- Rojava: the real frontline against ISIS; inside the Kurdish revolution
- The social revolutionary thread that links the Zapatistas of Mexico & the Kurds of Rojava
- While ISIS preaches hate, in Rojava (Kurdistan) a feminist revolution is unfolding…
- Insight into the little-known ‘anarchist’ revolution underway in Rojava (western Kurdistan)
- Resources on the Rojava revolution in West Kurdistan (Syria)
- Joint statement of the academic delegation to Rojava
- Kurds fear massacre by Turkish military: Yezidi women join forces with YPJ to fight ISIS
- Kurdish women fighters force ISIS on defensive at Kobani
- Liberation of Kobani province: when ISIS hears the battle cry of the YPJ Kurdish women’s militia, they flee
Appendix: transcript of video
There is a place where sex, creed and ethnicity do not harbour division. A place where everyone is military trained so that having a police force becomes obsolete. A place where civilian females, instead of asking for permission, instead of waiting for outside help, have taken up arms against their aggressors, against those who intend to rape, enslave and murder them. This is a place that’s giving birth to its own freedom, in spite of the oppressive forces that surround it. This is a place of sincere revolution, and it’s been happening for years. And it’s happening now. This is Rojava.
Where is Rojava?
Rojava consists of three autonomous regions (Afrin, Jazira and Kobanî), on the border of Turkey and Syria.
What is Rojava?
Rojava is an active, historically unique socio-political experiment. It is a stateless direct democracy, consisting of bottom-up self-governing structures. It is a feat of cooporative anarchism. It is a true alternative to the embraced nation state systems that do nothing but dominate and fail, mindlessly looping through history.
How Rojava Operates
Rojava is populated by about two million people. It has twenty-two ministries, each has one minister and two deputies, all three having to be from a different ethnic background, (Arab, Kurd & Syrian) and at least one of the three has to be a woman.
Every street has its own democratic assembly. They try to resolve problems locally, otherwise it gets delegated up if no resolution is found. Municipalities are autonomous and make their own decisions and control their own resources. It is the localities that make demands from the administration. The police and military answer to the localities.
You can own any kind of weapon (guns, rifles, rocket launchers, tanks). There is a police force (Asayaş) that anyone can join after six weeks of training. The goal is to give every citizen training so that, ultimately, they could eliminate the need for police. They also have the HPC (HezênParastina Cewherî or Individuality Protection Force), a network that anyone can claim to be a member of. They are the counter-force against the security apparatus.
There is a huge emphasis on education; permaculture, history, languages (Kurdish, Arabic, French, English, Assyrian, Chechen) and philosophy in particular. Rojava has hundreds of co-operatives (500 alone in the Jazira Canton) each consisting of 50-100 people. The majority are agricultural co-ops (mostly wheat). These cooperatives form a network which helps work out demand. Their goal is to eliminate the necessity for money by enabling cooperatives to trade goods based on need. The emphasis is on self-sufficiency & empowering all people.
No one is forced to be part of a co-operative, and some of the co-ops compete with each other. You can be an independent farmer and sell your goods as you like. People have private property and own businesses. You can buy and sell houses, but you must go to the local courts to register the new deeds. You can own land but before you build something, but you must go to the assembly for that street and make sure it’s ok with the people there. Basically, you explain your project to your neighbours first. It’s all about mutual respect.
Oh, and there is absolutely no tax.
Rojava defends itself with DIY weaponry and anything they can get off the black market or scavenge from ISIS (captured or killed). It has diverse voluntary forces: YPG- The People’s Protection Units; YPJ – Woman’s Protection Unit; PKK- People’s Defense Force. Other supportive forces include the “The Lions of Rojava”, which consist of western volunteers
Rojava’s forces are currently the only boots on the ground fighting against ISIS. They are incredibly heroic. They recently conducted a successful rescue mission of over 20,000 Yezidi people, who were trapped and defenseless against ISIS in the Sinjar mountains.
This all sounds amazing, and it is, but Rojava is crippled. It receives zero direct help from the West, from NATO, or from neighbouring countries who should be unifying in the fight against ISIS. Worst of all, NATO member Turkey has assisted in the crippling of Rojava through the denial of aid and the enforcement of trade embargoes.
Turkey and Other Political Players
Turkey has been oppressing the Kurdish people and their culture as far back as World War One. The Kurds are a large minority in Turkey, and were promised independence – a promise that was broken. Since then there have been numerous battles in order to regain cultural independence. Turkey does not acknowledge the Kurds as a people, denying them the ability to educate in their own language or give their children Kurdish names. In short, there has been an ongoing ethnic elimination of Kurds that continues to this day.
Turkey’s behaviour throughout the current conflict has at best, been incompetent. Turkey denies supporting ISIS, yet the strongest ISIS bases all border Turkey, and ISIS has had a suspiciously easy time crossing the Turkish-Syrian border to invade the Rojavan cantons.
Turkey has made public statements such as “Kobanî will not fall”, meanwhile refusing to provide aid to Kobanî, take refugees, or allow trade channels by which Rojava could acquire supplies. Turkey has gone as far as unleashing severe police action during peaceful protests in support of Rojava, and enacting curfews against the demonstrators.
Some sources say as many as 30 protesters have been killed
One of the ways Turkey and NATO dismiss Rojava is by classifying the PKK as a terrorist group.
The PKK was formed as a reactionary force to the oppressive actions of Turkey in the early eighties. Both the Turkish army and the PKK wrought havoc on the region, killing 35,000 people, many of which were Kurdish villagers accused of allying with the PKK.
The PKK’s leader is Abdullah Öcalan, who is currently in jail. He has completely abandoned his Marxist dogma, now preaching peaceful solutions and encouraging an investigation into the war crimes committed by both sides. He currently teaches “Democratic Confederalism,” a spin on Boockchin’s communalism, and is still a leader for many of the PKK (The PKK also studies Foucalt, Proudhon, Nietszche).
It’s difficult to deny that Öcalan is a divisive character, but he does not represent Rojava, and we cannot look to the past and the hypothesized future; we must look at he current situation.
Rojava is under extreme threat. Kobanî has been demolished by ISIS. NATO member Turkey sees an autonomous Kurdistan as a threat. The Geneva 2 peace conference was supposed to bring a resolution to the Syrian conflict, but it left out the Kurds entirely. Rojava is the only place with boots on the ground, yet no one has showed any support for these brave individuals; they casually bomb away now and then.
But what do we expect from Western forces that have crippled the entire region through their illegal wars and economic assassinations? The West created ideal circumstances for the birth of oppressive forces, so now they have the worst of them all; the decentralised horror that is ISIS.
Rojava is in a region of the world where if you are the wrong gender or the wrong religion you are severely oppressed. And yet it has managed to sustain its people on the basis of self-organization, religious tolerance, and mutual respect between genders. I don’t care if Rojava doesn’t fit your idea of anarchism, communalism or direct democracy; what matters is it’s a unique, sincere socio-political revolution; what matters is that Rojava is an ideal representation of the human spirit. Its people are unified, transcending deep-rooted cultural differences, and standing strong against all odds in the midst of war. It’s not about independence for a specific ethnicity; it’s about human independence from all power structures. This is rare.