Note: This article was first published by Revolution News on February 23, 2016 but disappeared from that site (along with other stories) in the course of their overhaul. The Fifth Column is republishing the piece to make the reporting more…
While many lament on Anonymous being ineffective, offensive, and out of control and/or ineffective, there does remain many successes that Anonymous has been attributed to. Some in fact are solely as a result of Anons and their on and offline effects. Partly for the Lulz and partly for the protest, the Anons who worked against the Church of Scientology gave way to new range of exploitive and innovative attacks on organizations and entities that are seen to be oppressive and in violation of human rights. It also propelled the movement of Anonymous to the public eye and garnered more recruits and members as a result.
The Church of Scientology has lost huge influence and is highly restricted in its ability to affect defectors and whistleblowers. Once the organization held so much power in this regard that defectors had their lives shattered and their reputations maligned so severely that the Scientology Church operated with impunity and suffered little to no recourse. The Church had been so skillful and manipulative that its members would be subjected to infinite levels of a cacophony of programming and social manipulation; one ex-member described it as “…a slow train of mind control”. (Perhaps not unlike what we experience in our day-to-day exposure to nationalist and capitalist propaganda)
On 28 June 2016, ten days before the start of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, hackers from an international collective known as Anonymous published a photocopy of a confidential report by Ukraine’s First Deputy Defence Minister, Ivan Rusnak, entitled «On the implementation of information and psychological operations in 2015». The document, which is addressed to the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Alexander Turchinov, contains, among other things, data on information warfare operations carried out by the Ukrainian military against a number of European countries (including those with which Ukraine is bound by the terms of the EU Association Agreement).
The document is written in Ukrainian, so European audiences are largely unaware of it, although it deserves the utmost attention. According to the document, targets of the information and psychological warfare being conducted by the Ukrainian military in Europe include «the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands».
Hacktivist Guccifer 2.0 strikes again, sending a steaming hot cache of DNC documents to WikiLeaks. While some documents indicate internal skepticism of the Iran agreements, others are more jarring. Leaks outline how DNC officials literally conspired against Senator Bernie Sanders’ run for president. These new leaks offer a panoramic view of the party’s augmentation of Clinton’s campaign, while exploiting the weakness of others.
At least some of the material to pertaining to the Iran agreements were sent to The Hill. The deal was mentioned in notes sent between DNC political consultancy partners discussing tactics. Certain politicians were described as “wobbly democrats” who wanted to “scratch this thing.” Other notes on immigration called the current congress “the most anti-immigration” by far.
The FBI’s decision to not indict Hillary Clinton has been largely overshadowed by ongoing police killings and reputed retaliation. If it were getting appropriate media attention, then perhaps more of us would’ve heard of an unusual feature of the Clinton case. FBI investigators were ordered to sign irregular non-disclosure agreements forcing them into silence, unless called to testify. The latter, of course, isn’t happening, much to public and FBI suspicion alike.
Anonymous FBI officials who commented on the agreements felt they resulted from an “inside deal.” “This is very, very unusual”, said one unnamed official, claiming to never have signed or distributed one before. Some even felt the so-called “deal” may have had something to do with Loretta Lynch’s controversial meeting with Bill Clinton. No, this isn’t the talk of conspiracy theorists. According to Free Thought Project, a massive delay in a batch of Clinton emails came just days following the meeting. The specific form agents signed, New York Post reports, is dubbed a “Case Briefing Acknowledgement”.
Recently, hackers breached the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) servers, making off with political opposition files. Although initial reports outed a collective of Russian hackers, a lone infiltrator now claims full responsibility. What the files reveal, as well as the drama surrounding their identities, offers an unusual view of modern digital espionage.
It began with the infiltration of the DNC’s servers by adept virtual spies, and the confidential files they downloaded. Hackers, noticed a month ago, first accessed DNC data for over a year. Their breach of communications was described as “unimpeded” by New York Times, requiring outside intervention. Cyber-security firm CrowdStrike, founded in 2011, was then recruited to expel and identify the hackers.
Human rights should be considered proportionally in any governmental policy related to the Internet, in a way which will hopefully spur the private sector to follow.
The Internet has become an essential platform for the exercise of free speech, especially in oppressive environments where freedom of expression, freedom of association, and/or freedom of assembly are hindered. The main reason why the Internet is the preferred channel for dissidents is the possibility of maintaining one’s anonymity, which is vital for protecting citizens from state power.
It is a remarkable achievement how the Internet has revolutionized traditional communications channels by allowing more virtual space for the activist community in order to exercise its rights.