My INTERVIEW WITH ANONYMOUS
After writing my article on a rift between WikiLeaks and Anonymous in which I asked Anonymous and WikiLeaks to contact me regarding the situation Anonymous was kind enough to do so. I requested an audio or studio interview but this was impossible due to their security concerns. We agreed on an e-mail interview, below are the results of the first part.
Anonymous: It is important that these questions are being answered as "Anonymous". At a later time if you would like to interview me regarding my own situation that might be possible, but on this issue I am acting as part of the Anonymous collective.
Robles: "Can you tell us any other reasons that have not been publicized as to why Anonymous has decided to part ways with WikiLeaks?"
Anonymous: No I think we were fairly clear and straight forward in the press release we forwarded to you. Assange's reply to us via his public statement on Twitter did not help the situation, as it was generally viewed as condescending and arrogant. So I would say that has exasperated the rift. Beyond that the conflict revolves around the coercive fund raising techniques and a lack of transparency regarding WikiLeaks finances.
Robles: "There have been statements that Anonymous plans to release secret files about WikiLeaks, can you give us a few details about these files and what kind of revelations they will provide?"
Anonymous: Actually the exact statement was that we would release a detailed list of what we view as WikiLeaks ethical violations and lack of transparency problems. There was never a statement made that we possessed or would release any "secret files". What we would like to see released, either legitimately or leaked to Anonymous by a WikiLeaks insider - is the WikiLeaks financial records. We do not possess these, but should they be delivered to us we would certainly disclose them. An organization that preaches transparency to the world should provide it for themselves.
Robles: "If WikiLeaks goes down the tubes how do you think this will affect Julian Assange and his current situation?"
Anonymous: In order to approach that question it is necessary first to define what exactly WikiLeaks is. There is a pervasive myth in the media and the world that WikiLeaks is this vast collective of activists making the decisions for the organization. This is not at all true. WikiLeaks is a publishing business that was solely created, owned and operated by Julian Assange. So apart from a few dozen volunteers, and a tiny cohort of employees -WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are essentially the same entity.
Julian has threatened on at least one previous occasion to pull the plug on the project because the fundraising was not meeting his expectations. It was at that time that Anonymous began planning to field our own alternative disclosure platforms. Julian desperately needs WikiLeaks, and he is the only one that can pull the plug on the project. I rather think that so long as he is in dire straights, he will not do so - despite any threats from him to the contrary.
But this does beg the question, since WikiLeaks and Assange are one and the same - what happens to the project should Julian fall? I rather think that would be an end to WikiLeaks.
Robles: "Can you tell us something no one else knows about TYLER?"
Anonymous: I could, but I am not going to. :-P
Robles: "In what ways will TYLER be better than WikiLeaks?"
Anonymous: First, TYLER is but one of several disclosure platforms fielded by Anonymous and it's allies. There is the wonderful Par-Anoia project. And last year we launched LocalLeaks and HackerLeaks with the assistance of the Peoples Liberation Front. All of these platforms have their strengths, and all are important to Anonymous ongoing mission to find a secure, inexpensive and decentralized way to do disclosure.
What makes TYLER unique as a disclosure platform is that it will not be deployed on a static server. TYLER will be P2P encrypted software, in which every function of a disclosure platform will be handled and shared by everyone who downloads and deploys the software. In theory, this makes it sort of like BitCoin or other P2P platforms in that there is virtually no way to attack it or shut it down. It would also obviously be thoroughly decentralized.
Robles: "Was there any special reason for choosing the date December 21, 2012? Some people believe that on that date when all of the planets align and when the Mayan calendar ends, the world as we know it will end."
Anonymous: Yes the date was chosen to align with the Mayan end of the world myth. However, this was done for publicity reasons - not because any of us actually believe the myth.
Robles: "What is the current status of all of the members of Anonymous who were indicted in the US? Can you give us details about where their cases currently stand?"
Anonymous: I will answer the best that I can, however there are others that can answer this question better, such as Jay Leiderman and attorney in California who acts as an un-official legal liaison for Anonymous. And there is an online tracker deployed that follows all the arrests of Anons around the world. But I will share what I know. LINK1
The "Anonymous 16" in the USA; this group has one thing in common, they are all indicted for conspiracy, aiding and abetting and participating in Cyber-Sit Ins or DdoS attacks on political targets. One individual is indicted for organizing and facilitating a DdoS campaign against the web assets of the rock musician Gene Simmons of the band KISS for his staunch support of anti-piracy laws and policies. I have no idea where his case stands, but I know that Simmons has openly boasted of his arrest and prosecution. Another individual, known as "Commander X" aka Christopher Mark Doyon - stands indicted for organizing and participating in a DdoS of the Santa Cruz County (California) website in defense of local protesters being oppressed. His prosecution is on hold because he has, rather publicly - fled into political exile in Canada due to the indictment. The remaining 14 individuals are sometimes called separately the "PayPal 14" as they are all indicted for conspiracy, aiding and abetting and participating in the very famous DdoS attack on PayPal in defense of WikiLeaks. Their trial is, much like Bradley Manning's trial – being extremely dragged out by the US prosecutors. It has been over a year since the process began winding it's way through the courts and they are no closer to the trial itself.
Jerremy Hammond, who is alleged to have been part of the LulzSec/AntiSec hacking crew and also an Anon stands indicted for among other things breaching the servers of the private intelligence firm Stratfor and liberating the so called "GI Files" which consisted basically of Stratfor's E-Mail spool. Those files are now featured on WikiLeaks.
Hammond was denied bail, and as with the other Anons his legal process is painfully slow while he languishes in custody. Hammond remains defiant, and will challenge the case to the end I believe.
Another AntiSec hacker known as Neuron recently plead guilty to charges related to the Anonymous breach of the Sony servers in 2011. He is awaiting sentencing. There are several other cases involving LulzSec and another hacking crew called CabinCrew of which I am not familiar.
End of part 1…Stayed tuned, more to
Anonymous: Greetings --
Below are the second set of questions and answers. As with the last batch, the answers must be attributed to "Anonymous".
Robles: "What is the underlying philosophy of Anonymous?"
Anonymous: Freedom. And the defense of the Internet because it is the greatest tool of liberation in the history of humanity.
Robles: "What would you say to people who say you are criminals?"
Anonymous: What would I say to them? I would shrug and decline the semantic argument. One man's criminal is another man's freedom fighter. Whichever label you choose to attach to us says far more about you than it does Anonymous.
Robles: "Please describe the decentralized nature of Anonymous, why there are no official spokespeople and why this is the case?"
Anonymous: The journalist Quinn Norton really summed it up the best. Anonymous is a "do-ocracy". Certain individuals within the collective will simply start an action or operation and based on how well they sell it to the collective that is how big it will become. Other times a trigger event, such as a massacre or brutal repression of a protest somewhere or the arrest of some prominent freedom of information figure will catalyze the collective and bring key organizers together to plan an operation.
As for the why, that should be obvious. If you tag individuals with the"official" label you paint a big target on them. There is also the anarchist ideal of horizontal decision making involved as well. Our strict adherence to the decentralized concept is one of our greatest strengths.
Robles: "Can you discuss some of the attempts by intelligence agencies and law enforcement organizations to infiltrate Anonymous?"
Anonymous: For law enforcement, the most effective way to penetrate Anonymous is by capturing and then subverting an active known participant. Probably the most well known case of this was the very famous compromise of a popular Anon known as "Sabu". Depending on the influence of the individual "turned", the damage to the movement can be severe - as was the case with Sabu.
As for intelligence agencies, their goals and methods are quite different. There is probably not an intel organization on earth that is not trying to actively penetrate Anonymous. And this is not at all difficult, as we are a very open movement that encourages mass participation by the public. But rather than try and subvert us for the purpose of capturing Anons, the "spooks" are looking for information. Where better to find it than hanging out with "information activists". Depending on who the intel people work for, they might not even be at cross purpose with Anonymous.
Robles: "Can you tell us about the death squads that are hunting Anonymous members and about contracts that have been put out on Anonymous?"
Anonymous: Well known Anonymous organizers are threatened with physical violence on an almost daily basis. We have been threatened by former US Secret Service agents, the secret police in various mid-east countries - and those strange breed in the USA known as "Guardians Of The Republic" or "Patriot Hackers". Then you can also add the random deranged individuals from all over the world. We took on the Zetas drug gang in Mexico last year, and there are a number of outstanding threats and contracts from that confrontation.
Any group or movement that takes action against powerful entrenched interests is going to get this sort of thing, it comes with the territory. But it's not just those involved with Anonymous directly that are in danger, any journalist or academic who takes an active interest in us will also quickly become a target of threats.
Robles: "Can you give us any specifics about FBI/CIA/MI-6 attempts at getting at your people, influencing Anonymous and infiltration etc?"
Anonymous: I think I answered this question above. But I would add that it is not just western intel and law enforcement that are after Anonymous. I would be VERY surprised if Russian agencies were not looking into us, especially after our defense of Pussy Riot. And certainly mid-east and Israeli agencies are very interested in our activities. Turkey in particular has tracked down and arrested quite a number of Anons in that country.
Interpol, the EU - Brazilian agencies. Pretty much ever intel and law enforcement group on the planet at this point is looking closely at Anonymous. With the recent launch of Op Vatican you could even add to the list those vaunted Swiss Guards!
Robles: "Why are your members ready to put their lives on the line for the cause?"
Anonymous: Because somebody has to do it. In every generation, individuals must step forward into danger in order to do battle with the forces of tyranny. Oppression and the greed for power are perennial, which is why revolution must be perpetual.
Robles: "Can you go into some of the steps that the US Government and other governments have gone to in order to control and censor the flow of information?"
Anonymous: Lulz. You could write a book and not cover them all. That is why a project like WikiLeaks and other disclosure platforms are so vital. The use of "national security" to over classify information, primarily to hide corruption and wrong doing - would be one of the biggest techniques.
Another way, and one that is of great concern to Anonymous is the mis-use and abuse of copyright laws to impose defacto censorship. Another technique that Anonymous has most prominently been involved in circumventing the past few years is government attempts to filter or shut down the Internet around the world.
Robles: "What is the Anonymous position on the media, on copyrights, on file sharing and on content?"
Anonymous: Our position is that the value of an idea to humanity is more important than it's authorship. Copyright laws, especially since the UN mandated DCMA treaty - are being used towards two very destructive ends. First, these laws are used to enrich a very small group of incredibly wealthy and powerful publishing interests and "artists". And second, these laws are increasingly being subverted for the purpose of censoring dissent.
Robles: "What are some of the other events that are being planned in the context of project Mayhem?"
Anonymous: The release of TYLER. Massive global street protests. The disclosure of "secret" information that will be seriously embarrassing to governments around the world.
Robles: "What country in the world does Anonymous feel has the freest system in the world?"
Robles: "What is the Anonymous position/opinion on the Russian Federation, the Russian net, and the flow of information to, from and within the Russian Federation?"
Anonymous: Russia is a modern and relatively free democratic country. And like all nations it's size it has problems, it has issues. And some of those issues are of concern to Anonymous. But that said I would like to add that Anonymous is keenly aware of how the western media spins and propagandizes against Russia to make it seem far worse than it is. For instance, the recent treatment of protesters on the streets in Russia pales in comparison to the absolutely brutal crack down on Occupy protesters in the USA. And while Anonymous would love to see Pussy Riot freed, their treatment can not even come close to the mass round up, harassment and persecution of dozens of activists in the USA under the Obama regime.