Cyber attacks on anti-Duterte media linked to US-trained local cyber group

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MANILA, Philippines – Underground rebel organization blames US-trained local cyber operatives for the series of cyber attacks on Philippine media.

This was exposed by the clandestine Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which denounces the “heightened fascist cyber-attacks and assault against the media by agents of US-Duterte regime.”

According to CPP, in a statement, that over the past few weeks, websites of progressive outfits and alternative media organizations have been subjected to relentless large-scale DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks which have resulted in the websites being repeatedly taken down.

Also since December 26 last year, the CPP’s website, the Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) [https://philippinerevolution.info] has been subjected to similar DDoS attacks in the futile attempt to “deny the revolutionary forces an online channel to broadcast its views and calls.”

These DDos attacks are likely the handiwork of the AFP’s newly-formed cyber group and its social media cell, assisted and funded by the US embassy and the US Army’s Cyber Command which has been widely reported to have launched similar DDoS attacks against US adversaries in the past.

“These websites are targets of AFP cyberattacks for actively publishing content which exposes widespread abuses being committed by military and police forces and the lies that accompany the Duterte regime’s brutal counterinsurgency campaign,” CPP said.

Describing the modus operandi by state cyber group, CPP said the AFP cyber group has been actively monitoring and targeting the social media activity of activists and revolutionaries, deploying trolls and bots that spit out invectives and insults against targetted Facebook accounts and pages.

Citing an example for these cyber-attacks, CPP said “the Duterte fascist regime has intensified its assault on the media with the recent arrest and detention of Rappler executive Maria Ressa, a staunch Duterte critic, who has been charged with a highly questionable cyberlibel case. The Ressa arrest clearly aims to intimidate journalists and demonstrate Duterte’s limitless penchant to punish those who criticize his reign of terror.”

Even before Ressa’s arrest, journalists have been targets of a “Red-tagging” campaign.

Since late last year, malicious reports have been simultaneously published in Manila tabloids tagging the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) as a “CPP front.”

“Such Red-tagging of the NUJP clearly aim to intimidate media practitioners and set them up as targets of the fascist zealots and mercenary killers of the Duterte regime,” CPP said.

CPP continued: “The continuing assault by state security agents against the media forms a crucial component of Duterte’s tyranny and scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship. Duterte’s de facto martial law regime aims to “control the information environment” in order to direct the headlines and set the national discourse in line with the narratives set by Duterte and the AFP.

While the media is being targeted, Duterte’s military and police continue to go on a rampage of abuses against a broad range of forces. The recent killing of NDFP peace consultant Randy Felix Malayao, himself a former journalist, aims to send a death note to those who are actively resisting Duterte’s fascism.”

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