An interview with LulzCart, Romania's most notorious hacker
It's Judgment Day for the hacker cognoscenti known as LulzSec. First, the "teen queen" of Anonymous pleaded guilty to one count of computer crime—outing herself as a 26-year-old man in the process. Then Jake Davis, known as topiary, a 20-year-old from Scotland, had his guilty plea on multiple DDoS attacks accepted. Ditto London-based tflow, a.k.a. 18-year-old Mustafa Al-Bassam. At 3:30pm ET, accused Stratfor master hacker and longtime anarchist Jeremy Hammond will once again go before Judge Loretta Preska. A noisemaker rally was held outside the courtroom in a show of solidarity.
We'll call it LulzDay. And who best to give us the Anonymous perspective but Gabriel Baleasa, better known as LulzCart, the Romanian member of LulzSec, surely the highest-profile hacker to have come out of the country since the end of the Cold War?
When not causing individuals, governments and corporations to erupt with frustration (I know a man whose credit card, hacked by LulzSec, was used to purchase him a horse, just for the lulz), LulzCart is an enthusiastic member of the car-racing community and a Web designer. His latest project is the Free Anons store, where supporters can buy merchandise from tees and flags to posters and albums, and all the profits go to support incarcerated Anons and those fighting for their liberty. He himself has, through a lengthy battle with the court system and with financial support from Free Anons, escaped incarceration, and is now free under certain conditions, effectively on parole for the next six years.
This is him now:
We took the occasion of the launch of the Free Anons store to ask him about the project, his work, and what would happen if Sabu requested help from the Free Anons organization. LulzCart lived up to his name, bringing a shopping cart full of lulz and attitude to our Facebook message exchange ([sic]s all around). It was abruptly truncated when he was suspended from using certain Facebook features; he explained it was because he had been spamming the link to the Free Anon store too freely for Facebook's liking. His Facebook timeline, incidentally, lists his former occupation as "Terrorist" for Anonymous Romania from 2009 to 2011. Must be hella tricky when new employers ask for references.
Daily Dot: Just recently, Free Anons merchandise became available from its own store on the FreeAnons.org site; before that, it was widely distributed by Blasted Rat, an online shop for alternative wares. How is Blasted Rat different from the Free Anons store?
Blasted Rat is an independent vendor that has existed, in some form or another, for several years. This website and those persons affiliated with it have very graciously cooperated with the Anonymous collective and have donated money to aid Anons facing prosecution in the past years. Blasted Rat was mainly about Anonymous-related products and some other random products, and we decided to make an online shop dedicated to Anonymous-related products only and to donate most of the money to help the persecuted Anons in their time of need, and that’s how MyAnonStore was born. MyAnonStore is based in the U.S. State of Florida and is a honest vendor providing high quality products. The sincerity of this vendor can be measured by its contributions to the Anonymous collective and the authenticity of fund raising efforts can be verified at freeAnons.org, Anongroup.org and freehammond.org.
Image via MyAnonStore.com
The original blastedrat.com wasn’t built by me, but at an earlier point, we made a new website blastedrat.net which was built by me, and then we took it down and decided to make myAnonstore.com, an online shop with Anonymous products only, dedicated to help arrested Anons.
DD: What's the official goal of the Free Anons store?
It’s not only the FreeAnons Store, but a big part of the whole income from any of the website product is being monthly donated to FreeAnons Solidarity Network to help arrested Anons with their legal defence, care packages and other things they need and that requires money. Another amount of money will be donated to AnonOps network monthly to help with server costs and etc, and the rest (which is a very small amount of money) goes to Larry, the guy who makes all the products and ships them in U.S and worldwide. I can tell you from the start that no one is seeking to make a fortune from this online shop and no-one will not drive any Lamborghini in the future. This online shop is dedicated to help FreeAnons, AnonOps and our prosecuted brothers!
Image via MyAnonStore.com
FreeAnons will help any Anon in trouble with the law, but the only exceptions are the snitches, I think. FreeAnons is an collective and we all take decisions, so I can`t talk in their names or take decisions by myself or even represent FreeAnons by myself, but as far as I know, we won`t help snitches. And why would snitches need our help? Since they choose to help the government and the feds, I think they got all the support they needed from the other side (for example, see Sabu’s case, and how is he still free, with help from government).
DD: What would happen if Sabu asked for help from Free Anons?
First of all, from my point of view, he will first have to suck my middle finger, and some more middle fingers I think, and even more things than a finger. And second, www.rezoAnonymous.eu made some really nice posters with him and judge Preska, and I think we will ship them all to him right away!
DD: What was the goal of the redesign of the site? How long has the site been running?
As I said, the goal of the redesign of the site was to make an online shop related to Anonymous collective only, in first hand. People should consider this site (myAnonstore.com) as a part of FreeAnons project to raise funds for our prosecuted brothers. There have been many people who donated money to help the arrested ones, and this site is like a ‘Thank you!’ for those people, and aiming to give something back for their donation, like a T-shirt, a sticker, flag, etc. So at least people who want to make a donation now can enjoy getting some cool Anonymous related stuffs too, for the amount of money they are willing to donate. Of course, they can also directly donate to FreeAnons without buying anything from myAnonstore (see Donations & Disclosure section from www.freeAnons.org ) MyAnonStore.com website is running since last week, but Blasted Rat has been out there for some years.
Image via MyAnonStore.com
DD: Where are things manufactured, because the prices are very low?
All the products are manufactured in United States and I can guarantee that all of them are high quality products. We only have to thank Larry for being able to get so cheap all the materials he need to make the products, so the final price for any of them is a decent price that most people can afford to spend on getting something cool and help the cause.
DD: What's your bio? In other words, tell me about yourself. Your real name is out there in the media, but I know you mostly as LulzCart.
Well yes, sadly my real name got all over the media (especially the Romanian mass-media), but it’s not such a big problem for me at all, because I have nothing to hide. Before I was getting involved in Anonymous operations and things related to Anonymous, I was part of the first and biggest racing club here in Romania, called NoSpeedLimit Romania Club, organizing meetings and racing events in the city where I live to promote our passion and mostly to have fun, and as you can see, this was documented in the mass-media too, when I got arrested. And beside this, I think most of people know what LulzCart did and did not when it comes to Anonymous related activities, so there is no need to talk about that anymore.
DD: Do you have any conditions that the court imposed that mean you can't do some things online?
I’m glad you asked. First of all, I am happy that I live in a country that it’s not so retarded as United States when it comes to laws, even if it’s a small and poor country. Second, let’s make this clear for people that are not updated with the news:
Last year I was arrested alongside with 11 other Romanians for hacking some stuff around and for giving president a new haircut on government website (see the t-shirt in freeAnons store section)... ahh yes and for leaking the Nuclear Department financial situation (no nukes this time ). After a long night of interrogations, out of 11 persons, only 2 of us got jailed for 2 months while the investigation was still on-going. I told the Feds I would plead guilty on all the accusations and that they should let the others free, but that was not possible because they are retarded and considered us a ‘group’, and that I was the ‘leader’, and according to Romanian laws, when Feds assign you to a group, there must be at least 3 persons accused, and this is why 2 of us were arrested (me and Silus) and the 3rd one was free during the investigation. After they did the IT expertise and other Fed related shit while we were arrested, they had almost no evidence because everything was encrypted and my hdd drive was wiped the night before they came. [A process laid out on a Pastebin called Lulzcart & the fedz in which he explains how he protected himself online and speculates on how the police were able to learn all they did; of course, at the time nobody knew Sabu was in the employ of the FBI] All they got was some irc conversations they tapped, but those could be easily interpreted in many ways and thanks to my lawyer (one of the top lawyers of the country that offered to help me) we managed to squash those at trial. So after 2 months, with almost no evidence at all, they set us free until the trial, and thanks to FreeAnons and to everyone that helped me, I was able to get in time to all my court appearances to Bucharest (the capital city) and to pay my legal defence.
[OpLulzCart assisted him with the costs of getting to and from court, a 10-hour drive away, and the cost of the hotel and meals, for each of several court appearances. Money was raised not only by donation, but also through sales and special offers from the Blasted Rat store.]
At the trial, even with Feds having almost no evidence at all, I plead guilty on all the accusations and this way 8 out of 11 got all the charges dropped, and the last 3 of us, the mighty ‘group’ of terrorists, with "Bin Laden Junior" as a ‘leader’ (me) got a 3 years of suspended jail sentence and another 6 years of probation, probation period that only implies visiting the probation officer once a month to sign a stupid paper and to announce them if you leave the city for more than 8 days and where are you going, and to prove that if you earn any amount of money monthly, you do it in a legal way. There is no restriction at all for using the internet.
The final court sentence, alongside with what I am allowed and not during the probation period can also be found on the official Romanian Justice portal: www.portal.just.ro (Bucharest – Judecatoria Sectorului 5 – Glossaries – search it by my name Balaeasa Gabriel where it says “Parte” on the middle table). I am very glad that this info can be found online too, and this way people can see that I am not a snitch like others used to be around (most of Romanians have dignity, something that I’m quite sure many people are lacking of). And at least, people now know who I am and can be sure that there is no stupid Fed getting involved in all the projects aiming to help arrested Anons.
DD: What did you like about this project? Did YAN etc support you?
This project is vital for our arrested brothers because I was in the same situation and I know how important is to receive help exactly when you need it. For me, if FreeAnons hadn’t existed, alongside with other people that helped, probably I was going back to jail after I was set free because my financial situation was bad and I wouldn’t be able to get in time to all court appearances and pay my legal defence.
I personally consider this one of the best Anonymous-related projects (though I wish this wouldn't exist and nobody get arrested), a project that needs a special attention and as much help as it can get from anyone willing to help.
Also, I want to make something else clear: there is another so called FreeAnons network trying to help, but in fact they are trying nothing and they do nothing else than trying to impersonate us and cause disruption. I am talking here about this website: www.freeAnons.info, which has nothing to do with us and obviously is a fake. The one and only FreeAnons Solidarity Network is www.freeAnons.org, a LEGAL corporation founded by Nancy Norelli (nix) who is a lawyer in Florida, and a great person dedicated to the cause as well. She is the one dealing with the donations, contacting imprisoned Anons and talking to their defence, getting updates and so on.
Back to MyAnonStore.com, I will take the responsibility for keeping the website up and running, and Larry will deal with making and delivering the products. I know the purpose of this website will piss off the Feds as well (and mostly the US Feds), but we are doing everything ‘legal’...we don`t steal any money and we don`t post any hacking related stuff on it, and if they will try to stop us, me and my lawyer are ready to encounter them again, because last time, when I got arrested, U.S Embassy came and requested $43,000 as tech damages and stuff for Lake County Sheriff’s hack, and all they got was a middle finger. So if they will try to stop this, they are welcome to come and get more middle fingers. I wish to remind them that U.S laws doesn’t apply in Romania and if they will try to do the shit they did to Barret Brown for sharing Anonymous-related links (because it’s the only thing they can try about this), they will fail hard ;)
About the support, yes, I think everyone is supporting us, and I expect even more support from YAN and anyone else fighting for the cause and especially for our brothers that are being jailed now. And with your help, I hope we will get our voice heard and spread the word far away, as Jeremy Hammond alongside with other Anons are having hard time in a f*****g jail cell and they need all the help they can receive by sending care packages, money to get their medicine and etc. So I encourage everyone that wants to help us to spread the word and together I hope we will be able to rise all the needed funds for all our incarcerated brothers and sisters.