Anonymous preparing for new Wikileaks effort

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Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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51 Responses

  1. Avatar Scott
    Ignored
    says:

    Nice to see this crowd has, like the animal rights crowd, proven themselves me to be terrorists of their own sort. If Master Card or Visa won’t take money for Wikileaks so what? Attacking them only proves that folks like me were right about them them all along.Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t condone what Anonymous is doing, but let’s be clear, they don’t even rate the same degree of a “terrorism” label that branch animal rights activists deserve. A few animal rights activists are actually violent (although I’d constitute them more as criminals than terrorists, but we could quibble over that I suppose). Anonymous isn’t actually, yanno, physically threatening anybody.Report

      • Avatar Scott in reply to Pat Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        I didn’t know physically threatening folks was the sole criteria for being a terrorist. I think shutting down a business’ website over something as inane as not taking money qualifies. At minimum it is a criminal act just like many of the things the animal rights crowd has done in the name of the poor animals.Report

        • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Scott
          Ignored
          says:

          > I didn’t know physically threatening folks was the sole criteria
          > for being a terrorist.

          Okay. What’s the criteria for being a terrorist? Here’s my definition of a terrorist: someone who participates in violent acts against citizenry, in an attempt to create fear in a populace, in supposed furtherance of a political or social agenda.

          Does the Unabomber count (no, he’s just a psycho, Joe Average was never afraid of the Unabomber)? How about Timothy McVeigh (arguable, he certainly targeted civilians, but he clearly wasn’t going to blow up a mall)? John Hinckley (nope, just a nut)? Is the guy who holds up a liquor store a terrorist (no)? What if he shouts racial slurs while he does it (no)? How about the KKK (Historically? Yes)? Scott Roeder (no)?

          > I think shutting down a business’ website over something as
          > inane as not taking money qualifies.

          I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with where I draw the line, but it sure as hell isn’t here.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Pat Cahalan
            Ignored
            says:

            So shutting down websites doesn’t “create fear in a populace, in supposed furtherance of a political or social agenda?” I think it does.Report

            • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Scott
              Ignored
              says:

              No, it doesn’t, dude. Nobody called SQL Slammer a terrorist weapon, nor did they call “ATMs are offline” terrifying. Nobody called the Microsoft DCOM/RPC worm a terrorist weapon.

              If you’re counting this as terrorism, the word literally has no meaning other than “criminal activity”. In which case, the scope of “the war on terror” just freaked out.

              DDOS attacks happen *every day*. Spammers attack screening sites. Russian gangsters take online gambling sites down and threaten to keep them down if they’re not paid extortion money. Most people don’t even know it.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Pat Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                See, this is the kind of “oh it’s just the Internet, it’s not like it matters” thinking that’s getting more and more people in trouble. It’s like people still think the Internet is just for nerds, just a kid thing, just a passing fad and next year we’ll all be crazy about something else.

                Imagine if, instead of a DDoS, this anonymous crowd went out to Visa’s corporate headquarters and glued the doors shut, then threw caltrops and burning diesel fuel all around the building, and then disconnected all the phone lines going in. We wouldn’t be sitting around talking like it was a harmless prank.Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Not really no. The internet is important, but as yet nothing that happens on it can be terrifying. Maybe one day, but not yet. I mean, you can shut down the postal service and I wouldn’t be terrified either. Same goes for spraying people’s fur coats with paint. Terrorism is not the same thing as vandalism. Vandalism is bad, but it does not cause terror.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Simon K
                Ignored
                says:

                Simon:

                “Vandalism is bad, but it does not cause terror.” According to whom is this statement true? The person doing it or the person on the receiving end of it? Sounds like a poor way of rationalizing your actions.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                > See, this is the kind of “oh it’s just the Internet, it’s not
                > like it matters” thinking that’s getting more and more
                > people in trouble. It’s like people still think the Internet
                > is just for nerds, just a kid thing, just a passing fad and
                > next year we’ll all be crazy about something else.

                I would hazard a guess that I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about the Internet, how people interact with it, and the security implications of that interaction than most people have, dude. I’m not sure how you get to this conclusion.

                > Imagine if, instead of a DDoS, this anonymous crowd
                > went out to Visa’s corporate headquarters and glued
                > the doors shut,

                This, by itself? Petty vandalism.

                > then threw caltrops and burning diesel fuel all around
                > the building,

                Either assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, or any one of a number of other actual crimes… (also, obviously dangerous)

                > and then disconnected all the phone lines going in.

                This. Just this, all by itself.

                Taking down a web site is fairly analogous to cutting off someone’s phone line, without doing the other *actually physically dangerous things* you threw in the middle of your comment.

                There are exceptions, of course. Taking down a hospital’s information systems could be actually harmful. Taking a power grid down could be disastrous. Those might actually *qualify* as terrorism. This does not.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Pat Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                *sigh* so in other words, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, sticks and stones can break my bones but (lack of) words can never hurt me, and a company that depends on communication services as the fundamental basis for its operations can’t be said to be harmed–in any way!–by having those communications services shut off.

                That’s what you’re saying here, right?Report

        • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to Scott
          Ignored
          says:

          I should know better at this point than to speak to you as if you were an intellectually honest person, but I’d just like to note that although I strongly dislike the “animal rights” movement, its members have not exactly perpetrated any more violence than has the pro-life movement.Report

  2. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
    Ignored
    says:

    I for one welcome our new cyberpunk overlords.Report

    • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      Heh. If you’d like to meet a couple of them, including Housh, you’re more than welcome to join us tonight at 7 EST for our weekly Project PM IRC meeting. Housh will be “present” but may not say much since he’s doing interviews all evening.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Barrett Brown
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, I’m too late for tonight’s meeting, but next time tell them for that they’re a bunch of numskulls. Visa’s a private corporation, so they’ve got a right to do business with whom they want, and not do business with whom they don’t want. Even those who support wikileaks ought to be able to recognize that nobody else should be coerced into doing so. I don’t see how substituting an authoritarianism of anonymous and self-appointed juveniles for our current authoritarianism of public and publicly appointed juveniles is any kind of improvement.Report

        • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          VISA is a node of the mercantile power structure insomuch as that it makes financial contributions to politicians both directly and through its PAC and benefits from government regulation (while also successfully steering some of that regulation through what are essentially bribes to officeholders). It is a legitimate target by virtue of its connections to and influence over the state, which is itself the largest violator of rights both actual and ideal. The fact that it no longer allows its customers to make contributions to Wikileaks despite the fact that they may still make contributions to any number of terrible organizations, coupled with the fact that there is currently a struggle between the various degenerate nation-states and their supporters on one hand and an array of individuals who are seeking to reveal the misconduct of those nation-states on the other, makes Visa an even more attractive target. Note that no one on our side is calling for anyone’s murder, whereas even actual officeholders on the other are pressuring their fellow statists to kill one of our leaders. Meanwhile, Visa is getting its website taken down temporarily in a move that is entirely akin to any number of civil disobedience measures that have been directed towards both states and companies for a hundred years now.

          Edit

          I should also note that no one present at tonight’s meeting was involved in any attacks on Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, or anything else. Housh does not participate in DDOS attacks but is instead involved in organizing and information distribution. I’ve never engaged in a DDOS attack against any non-governmental body other the the Church of Scientology, which I won’t even bother extolling as a legitimate target, given their activities.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Barrett Brown
            Ignored
            says:

            Marx, yadda yadda yadda. So find some other way to make contributions to Wikileaks. All I hear is a lot of whinging that “the node of the corporate power structure isn’t making it easy for me so I’ll have to work a little harder–I know, I’ll attack that node.” Jesus, anarchy is supposed to be about people working peacefully together, not anonymously attacking each other. I stand by my claim that it’s basically an adolescent way to act.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Barrett Brown
            Ignored
            says:

            Barrett:

            I see, so now interfering with lawful commerce and possibly damaging private property is civil disobedience. Just so you know, it is entirely lawful for Visa to decide how folks can use their services. Clearly some folks will rational anything. These folks sound more like the anti-abortion and the ALF/ELF wackos all the time.Report

  3. Avatar Emma
    Ignored
    says:

    Twitter has just suspended the @Anon_Operation account, which had 22,173 followers…Report

  4. Avatar Robert Cheeks
    Ignored
    says:

    Man, you dudes and dudettes are way ahead of me. Hell, I’ve only got dial-up and a bad land line at that.
    I’m still reeling from the fact that our Kenyan-Marxist president is the new, improved George Bush. At this rate the TPers going into the House in a few weeks won’t have any work to do.Report

  5. Avatar Bryan
    Ignored
    says:

    Hey. I am getting a 404 when I try to use the link: https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2010/12/07/question-for-readers/ Any ideas why?Report

  6. Avatar Christopher Carr
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m watching Anonymous with bated breath and all, but I’m a bit concerned that stuff like this could be used as pretext to come down hard on the Internet in general.Report

  7. Avatar Keljeck
    Ignored
    says:

    Is it helpful to call Anonymous a “movement”? It’s more of a cyber-organism, or a hivemind.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Anonymous will be able to focus on this until about the time that Tron: Legacy comes out.Report

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