Syrian pro-Assad hacker insists attacks are funny: ‘Haters gonna hate’

May 9, 2013

Abu Mahmud, a 20-year-old technician, works on a laptop in Aleppo. (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/GettyImages)

When hackers with a pro-Assad collective known as the Syrian Electronic Army took over The Onion's Twitter feed on Monday, sending out a stream of fake messages criticizing U.S. policy on Syria in a quasi-satirical tone apparently meant to mimic The Onion, I wrote that one giveaway of the hack was that the messages weren't very funny.

It turns out that at least one self-declared member of the Syrian Electronic Army disputes this: not that they hacked The Onion, for which the group does take credit, but the idea that they're unfunny.

Vice Magazine, in its latest interview with a pseudonymous hacker named Th3 Pr0 who claims to be a Syrian Electronic Army member, asked him about my characterization and got a response that concluded, "Haters gonna hate." Vice initially linked up with Th3 Pr0 by reaching out to the Syrian Electronic Army's official Facebook and Twitter accounts, suggesting he is in fact with the group.

The pro-Assad hacker also noted my previous characterization of the group's hacks as occasionally "juvenile." The group has seized high-profile Twitter feeds to mock such perceived enemies as Western celebrities and the emir of Qatar or to spread spurious rumors that, for example, the head of FIFA had resigned or that President Obama had been injured in a bomb blast.

Here's Vice's question and the hacker's response.

Max Fisher, while writing for the Washington Post blog, said that you guys aren't very funny. Do you have a response for him?
Max Fischer most likely based his "they're juvenile" comment solely on the E! News hacks where it was announced that Justin Bieber was gay. This was the first time the SEA hacked an entertainment outlet. We did in fact do the hack "for the lulz," especially since so many fans demanded it inside and outside Syria. The sharp eye would have picked up a story behind one of the tweets: the Angelina Jolie tweet. She has visited in December 2012 a Syrian refugees camp in Jordan and was video taped teary eyed, voicing her sympathies to the refugees. We know the likes of Jolie, who under the "humanitarian" cover only serve American imperialism. Furthermore, the timing of the hack with the visit by Bieber to a Gulf state conspiring against our nation shouldn't be ignored.

As for us being "unfunny," one only has to observe the replies and the reactions to the hacked tweets to see that the majority of the "Twittersphere" that has interacted with or encountered the SEA find us witty and informative. We can't please everybody and Fischer's comment is just another opinion. What can we say? Haters gonna hate.

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Max Fisher · May 9, 2013