Rebels in Syria fighting the Islamic State (Isis) appear to have a mysterious benefactor. A hacker going by the name of "Phineas Fisher" aka "Hack Back", who claimed responsibility for the breaches against the Hacking Team and Gamma Group claims to have donated $11,000 (£8,000) stolen bitcoins to Rojava – a Kurdish region in northern Syria, located at the borders of IS (Daesh) controlled territory.
The money was donated to a crowdfunding campaign called the Rojava Plan, which has been set up by the members of Rojava's economic committee and has been described by Fisher as "one of the most inspiring revolutionary projects in the world."
The vigilante hacker told Ars Technica that the funds donated to the campaign came from a bank heist that he had pulled but refused to reveal the details of the heist. He also indicated that a much bigger cyber-heist is in the works, which could lead to the Rojava campaign being the beneficiary of a substantial donation.
Rojava, which has been cut off from foreign imports and trade due to the ongoing conflict with IS, has reportedly been at war to establish an independent Kurdish homeland. However, according to a report by the New York Times, Rojava, which is believed to be a haven for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) – a group designated as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department – has found to have stark differences in ideology with IS, including following a constitution that decrees religious freedom and gender equality.
The Rojava Plan intends to use the donated funds to buy farming equipment. "They're in an incredibly difficult situation, with ISIS on one side and US ally Turkey embargoing and attacking them on the other," the hacker said. "Yet, in a part of the world the West likes to look down on as a backwards shithole, they're building a society that takes 'Western' values like democracy and feminism to lengths that put the West to shame. All while fighting ISIS and winning, unlike the US trained and supplied Iraqi army."
"We are part of the economic committee and do civil projects not military ones," said Rojava Plan's Deniz Tarî. "If we get the one million euros [which Phineas Phisher has suggested he will donate] we would use it to fund our other projects that we want to do such as the Kurdish Ubuntu distro and earthbags for construction."