Remember, Remember the 5th of November: Anonymous Gets Things Done

When Anonymous erupted on the streets some five and half years ago to protest Scientology, their branding is what caught everyone’s eyes: The majority of protestors wore the Guy Fawkes mask from the movie V for Vendetta, in part because of the movie’s message and in part from EFG, Epic Fail Guy, a meme on 4Chan, the board where members can post images anonymously.

Anonymous is real a cool guy and doesn’t afraid of nothing.

As thousands of people who had never met joined in the protests and on the online discussion board WhyWeProtest.net,  Anonymous grew and developed . The concept was that anyone is anonymous (though tracing ISPs eventually proved otherwise in arrests for DDOS attacks), and anyone could protest anonymously.

Since that fateful day in February 2008, Anons have gone on to kick some pretty serious butt, and occasionally get theirs handed to them by law enforcement (careful with that Low Orbit Ionizing Cannon, kids!). Anonymous provided tech aid in the Arab Spring, reported on uprisings in Iran, took on San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), supported rape victims and made their accused rapists pretty uncomfortable, supported Bradly Manning and Julian Assange, and have ordered a lot of pizzas delivered. EFG masks could be seen at Occupy, are  at rallies and protests, and at just about any public semi-political gathering. Since anyone can be anonymous, and there is no central organizing committee, sometimes groups of Anons act in apparent cross-purposes. Don’t try to figure out exactly what they stand for except freedom on the intertubes and beyond–that’s the cornerstone of their ideology.

Anonymous’ original goal when we, they crept out of  notoriously Cheeto scented basements was to expose Scientology and have some lulz. It worked. In 2008 a group of Anons marched in the San Diego Pride Parade. A member of Scientology then signed the Church of Scientology on as a supporter of Prop 8. Screenwriter Paul Haggis, a Scientologist and a supporter of LGBT rights saw this and spoke up to the Scientology powers that be. He then very publicly left the organization, Lawrence Wright published an article in the New Yorker about Haggis’ defection, and well, now books have been written, more than ever people are leaving Scientology, the cult is facing court battles, and no one is afraid of them anymore. Well played. >9000 FTW.

Today, November 5th was the Million Mask March where Anons participated in

mass demonstrations in 477 locations around the world this Tuesday. The Million Mask March’s Facebook page states that followers should “remember who your enemies are: billionaires who own banks and corporations who corrupt politicians who enslave the people in injustice.”

Remember, remember this 5th of November:

We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us.

 

Late Night FDL: OpBART-5, The Evolving Aerobic Version

I came to San Francisco for OpBART-5 which, given the detention of journalists and students on Thursday, could have gone one of two ways: Very Badly or Okay. It was the latter, except for San Francisco Police Department Officer A. Mora striking a journalist’s camera. Twice. But But San Fransisco State University student Eri Verducoza, who is with the campus publication Golden Gate X-Press, kept his camera rolling and didn’t back down.

Guess Officer Mora missed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that it’s perfectly okey-dokey to videotape the police.

There must be someone at the SFPD with a sense of humor or at least knows a good photo-op in the making: Officers were staged in front of a donut shop.

There were about thirty protesters tops, only three Anons were present; the rest of the group was No Justice No BART, plus as many media–and at least three SFPD officers for every demonstrator and plenty of BART police in the stations.

Welcome to Anonymous workout program

joked one protester with a bullhorn as we marched from Civic Center Station to the Powell Street Station and back again, repeatedly parading through the free speech areas outside the turnstiles, crossing streets, and weaving around Market and Mission Street. BART police and the SFPD stood back. Everyone is learning:

The protesters stayed off the platforms and the police didn’t arrest them. BART didn’t close the stations and there was no disruption to commuter services.

I do have to say chanting

Fuck the police! Bad cop, no donut! Police! Murders! Killers! Fuckin’ pigs!

while flipping off law enforcement is childish. It accomplishes nothing. However the BART passengers I spoke with all stated that the BART police should not have guns.

The police I spoke with were very nice, and one asked me what I thought of the situation and what could make things better.

The only time it got a little intense was when protesters ended up in front of City Hall with a line of police on the stairs blocking them. After a brief round of yelling at the police, the march turned and strolled down the roadway as an officer pulled up on a golf cart with a megaphone and announced we were an un-permitted protest and to get off the roadway and onto the sidewalk. A very gentlemanly Anon in a suit guided me to safely and kept me out of the police officers’ line. So chivalrous! As we marched back towards the BART station we were were flanked by police, with more rolling up on their minibikes.

There’s another protest scheduled for next week, and Tall Anon told me that they’d be keeping it up until there is change.

What can be done? BART could take side arms off their police, train them in Krav Maga and give them tasers, batons and Mace. BART should also apologize for killing people. And shutting off cellphones.

 

Westboro Baptist Church Learns “Ask and Ye Shall Receive–Anonymously”

Rule 14 of the Internet states:

Do not argue with a troll — it means that they win.

A few days ago Westboro Baptist Church either trolled or got trolled, depending on whoever is telling the story. A post went up on Anonymous’ message board that the zany non-group of nobodies who don’t know each other–the ones who harshed Scientology’s emeters, made their body thetans cry “uncle,” and helped Xenu party at all the best clubs, along doing a whole a lot of other widely reported anonymous actions related to free speech and Wikileaks and whatever–were going after WBC because they don’t care for the Phelps or their methods.

The Phelps family, who think they speak for God and really just like publicity and suing, told Anonymous to

BRING IT

Anonymous who are very, very smart–like 13th level Marcabian chess played on the 5th Fleet– offered a mature, thoughtful and measured response on their  boards (which saw a huge leap in traffic after WBC publicized the “threats” thus proving God in the form of Ad-Sense loves Anonymous):

We know that YOU in fact posted the Open Letter supposedly
from Anonymous…We know how you work. You don’t give a flying fart about what
your God thinks. But you know that putting God and Fag in a sentence
together is guaranteed to make someone angry. You push it. You really
push it. But you stay within the law. And then when some poor fool
snaps, you sue them for infringing upon your rights.

Which should have just stopped the issue. But no! Shirley Phelps went on David Pakman’s show to debate the issue with an Anon. And surprise: The Phelps’ sites got hit with a DDOS (distributed denial of service). In the Pakman interview with Shirley Phelps, Anonymous said that The Jester (th3 j35t3r)–an anti-jihadist hackivist–was responsible for that attack, confirmed by the The Jester himself.

And as the interview with Shirley Phelps and Anonymous was  being conducted, the WBC spokesprophet taunted the Internet legion–who had successfully taken down Paypal’s blogs and the front pages of MasterCard and Visa, plus the websites of the Swedish and Tunisian governments, as well as facilitating info transmission from and within Iran, Libya, and Bahrain–calling Anons some fairly rude names and claiming that Anonymous couldn’t affect them–Anons put up this message on  a WBC site:

Um, neener. Maybe Ms Phelps needs to review Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9 and John 16:24, as well as teh Rules of the Internet. Though actually in her case, Rule 34 scares the shit out me.

[HT: Dangerous Minds, TheNewCivilRightsMovement]

Anonymous Runs Operation Payback on Tunisia, Net Wars Heat Up

Websites run by the Tunisian government have been successfully targeted by Operation: Tunisia, a cell within Anonymous’ Operation Payback, in a distributed denial of service  action, which dropped this image and message on several government sites before the Anon-fueled DDoS knocked them offline. (Reminder: DDoS is illegal, and people have been arrested for it).

The message from Anonymous is to the point:

The Tunisian government wants to control the present with falsehoods and misinformation in order to impose the future by keeping the truth hidden from its citizens. We will not remain silent while this happens. Anonymous has heard the claim for freedom of the Tunisian people. Anonymous is willing to help the Tunisian people in this fight against oppression. It will be done.

This is a warning to the Tunisian government… It’s on the hands of the Tunisian government to stop this situation. Free the net, and attacks will cease, keep on that attitude and this will just be the beginning.

The sites affected include: pm.gov.tn, rcd.tn, benali.tn, carthage.tn, bvmt.com.tn, sicad.gov.tn, indrustrie.gov.tn, commerce.gov.tndouane.gov.tn and ministeres.tn. You can see screen shots of  some  pages here and here and here.

Anonymous has been assisting Tunisia dissidents with a strong efforts and dedicated actions, much as they did–and continue to do–in Iran responding to that country’s post-2009 election revolts, with codes, the manual mean of DDoS, and with spreading the word about what is happening in the country.

It is reported that many of the Tunisian DDoS-ers are based in that African nation, but with Anon being an Erisian global disorganization, there is help from around world with a bunch of people supplying code that helps Tunisians move past Internet filters and surf anonymously.

The country’s already tense situation escalated on after New Year’s Day when Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s  government blocked WikiLeaks, a Tunisian WikiLeaks mirror and media sites reporting on Wikileaks; several cables from Embassy Tunis released by Wikileaks going as far back as 2008 were highly critical of the Tunisian government.

Within nine hours of the government shutting down access to Wikileaks, numerous sites linked to the government were decorated with Anonymous/Operation: Tunisia’s message, then knocked offline.

As of this writing many government sites still remain offline. Tunisian pro-government hackers have returned the favor according to more than one report; Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni, a university assistant, told Al Jazeera:

The government has cracked down on activists by hacking our emails, facebook and blogs. They have deleted a few pages in which I was writing about the public protests.

According to reports on Facebook, there have been dozens of injuries and at least four deaths in the recent spate of protests, though this is difficult to confirm.  Al Jazeera is covering the protests–which include police surrounding high schools and colleges to prevent demonstrations after

[A]bout 250 demonstrators, mostly students, attended a peaceful march on Monday afternoon to express their support for the protests in the region of Sidi Bouzid, a union source told AFP.

The march then turned violent when police tried to contain the protesters by firing tear gas canisters, one of which fell into a mosque.

Enraged, the protesters then reportedly set fire to tyres and attacked the local offices of the ruling party, the source said.

Because of tech issues centering around  DNS servers hosting governmental as well as business and media sites (DNS=domain name service, a hierarchical naming system built on a distributed database for computers, services, or any resource connected to the internet), some non-governmental sites have been unavoidably affected.

As pointed out in the Wikileaks cables, corruption in Tunisia is rampant, so Operation: Tunisia has also targeted Tunisian President Ben Ali’s wife, Leila Ben Ali and her extended family the Trabels are knocking off websites linked to the  family’s businesses.

In an egregious and morally reprehensible move, the government has cracked down on access to religious leaders and local police and officials are harassing Muslim men with beards. According to the Tech Herald which has done excellent reporting on the Tunisian situation:

One [internet relay chat/IRC] user explained how local mosques are only available during certain times of the day now.

“In the mosques we have not the right to learn our religion, we do the prayer, and they close the mosques,” a Tunisian explained to us on IRC.

“We have five prayer sessions a day. We go to the mosque, do it, and then they close the mosque until the next prayer. In the past there is Imam (religion man) who [teaches] people the Quran, now we have nothing.”

This is the second African nation which has been the focus of an Anonymous DDoS action; in late December Anon instigated a DDoS-ing of  a complete takedown of the ZANU-PF website, the Zimbabwean government portal, and the Zimbabwean Finance Ministry website, as well as posting their message on Finance Ministry website, stripping all other news content and offering a message that said simply:

We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.


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