Tags: Hacktivists

We Are Legion: Anonymous’ Presence in the U.S. Military

Are we going to see more leaks? 

Yes. A lot [of Anonymous members] are mid- to high-rank NCOs. They are well-respected, have connections, and overly large security clearances. A lot of people who are part of the [Anonymous] culture are just dying at this point for something to come across their table that isn’t already out there. It is so easy to leak information that if you want to, you can do it.

– From Buzzfeed’s recent article Anonymous’ Secret Presence In The U.S. Army

It was only after watching the excellent documentary We Are Legion: The Story of Anonymous, that I really understood the history of the decentralized hacktivist collective. It was also where I first learned of Barrett Brown and his groundbreaking investigative journalism into the murky world of defense contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton.

People’s opinion’s on “Anonymous” are varied and often confused, which makes sense considering it is more of a collection of ideas, rather than a top down organization with a specific and well defined platform. However, no matter what you think of it, there is no doubting the movement’s political influence. An influence that now extends deep into the bowels of the military-industrial complex. From Buzzfeed:

An active-duty Army captain and member of Anonymous describes how the organization operates, his own involvement in the Arab Spring, how the crackdown on Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden has affected soldiers, and how more leaks are on the way. He has agreed to speak with BuzzFeed on the condition of anonymity.

Are there a lot of members of Anonymous in the Army?

There are more than you would think, more heavily in the techie world [of the military] — especially at Fort Huachuca, where all the intel people are. A lot of them wanted to get the job [there] because they want to learn secret stuff and have a better personal understanding of how the world actually works.

What are the most popular operations amongst soldiers? 

Anonymous is so distributed and leaderless that everyone has operations they love and hate. Operation Cartel, especially at Fort Bliss. Operation Dark Net was universally loved. And Operation Payback was pretty well received.

Why do Anonymous members outside the military trust you? 

My credibility is incredibly suspect in the group. I admit I work for the feds, and I provide information on myself so that they are comfortable. There are people who I only know as screen names but I have put my career in their hands.

Are the retaliations against Manning and Snowden discouraging Anonymous activity and the desire to leak information? 

A lot [of Anonymous members] have been in long enough and are jaded. They are watching as the government comes down harder and harder. There is a growing sense of disdain and hatred because we are complicit in it. There are some secrets that need to be secrets but the stuff [the military] keeps secret just to protect the bottom line — you just feel like you are selling your soul every day. That is a lot of the motivation. Especially for people of the generation that believe that information should be free.

Read the Full Article »

Great News: Introducing the “Whistleblowers Defense League”

The U.S. government has a particular disdain for activists with computer chops, folks often times referred to as “hacktivists.”  This was put on full display for the entire world earlier this year when an overzealous and vindictive federal prosecutor’s witch hunt against prodigy Aaron Swartz drove him to suicide.  This same contemptuousness has also resulted in the recent trumped up charges against and, imprisonment of, Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond.

Well every action has a reaction and now California criminal defense attorney, Jay Leiderman, has started the Whistleblower Defense League.  We find out that:

IN DEFENSE OF JOURNALISTS, ACTIVISTS, WHISTLEBLOWERS

Washington DC— We have entered a dangerous time in America. The FBI and Department of Justice are using harassment and prosecution as a tool to chill and silence journalism, on-line activism and dissent.

 
“People are being subpoenaed, indicted and incarcerated for simply exploring the truth,” says co-founder Jay Leiderman.
 
The government has amended the constitution with fear.  In response, a nation-wide group of expert criminal defense attorneys have formed the Whistleblower Defense League to defend and encourage those willing to investigate and speak out against the corporate and political forces threatening our democracy.

“We stand with the courage our clients,” says co-founder Dennis Roberts. “We are the legal arm, the firewall, for those who place facts over propaganda.”

To Jay and all of the other attorneys involved in this important project: Thank You.  This is the definition of public service, and we need a lot more of it.

Learn more and find contact information here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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A Letter from Solitary Confinement

For those unfamiliar with Jeremy Hammond, he is the 28-year-old web developer accused of hacking Stratfor and subsequently leaking the information to Wikileaks.  For this, he faces a 30-years-to-life sentence.  Jeremy is currently being held without bail at the Manhattan Correctional Center, a federal jail in lower Manhattan in solitary confinement. Incredibly, the federal judge who is hearing his case, Lorraine Preska, has refused to step aside despite the fact that her husband was a victim in the hack Hammond is accused of.  Now that’s a justice system!

Well Hammond recently penned a letter from solitary in which he discusses the rampant corruption in the criminal justice system, the very dangerous Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and the tragic death and over-prosectution of Aaron Swartz.  His character really comes through in the fact that he barely even discusses his own case, despite the awful situation he finds himself in.  So without further ado, below is his entire letter, with my favorite passages highlighted.

February 20, 2013

Jeremy Hammond on Aaron Swartz and the Criminalization of Digital Dissent

The tragic death of internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz reveals the government’s flawed “cyber security strategy” as well as its systematic corruption involving computer crime investigations, intellectual property law, and government/corporate transparency.  In a society supposedly based on principles of democracy and due process, Aaron’s efforts to liberate the internet, including free distribution of JSTOR academic essays, access to public court records on PACER, stopping the passage of SOPA/PIPA, and developing the Creative Commons, make him a hero, not a criminal. It is not the “crimes” Aaron may have committed that made him a target of federal prosecution, but his ideas – elaborated in his “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto” – that the government has found so dangerous. The United States Attorney’s aggressive prosecution, riddled with abuse and misconduct, is what led to the death of this hero. This sad and angering chapter should serve as a wake up call for all of us to acknowledge the danger inherent in our criminal justice system.

Aaron’s case is part of the recent aggressive, politically-motivated expansion  of computer crime law where hackers and activists are increasingly criminalized because of alleged “cyber-terrorist” threats. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, whose office is prosecuting me and my co-defendants in the Lulzsec indictment, has used alarmist rhetoric such as the threat of  an imminent “Pearl Harbor like cyber attack” to justify  these prosecutions. At the same time the government routinely trains and deploys their own hackers to launch sophisticated cyber attacks against the infrastructure of foreign countries, such as the Stuxnet and Flame viruses, without public knowledge, oversight, declarations of war, or consent from international authorities. DARPA, US Cyber Command, the NSA, and numerous federally-contracted private corporations openly recruit  hackers to develop defensive and offensive capabilities and build Orwellian digital surveillance networks, designed not to enhance national security but to advance U.S. imperialism. They even attend and speak at hacker conferences, such as DEFCON, offer to bribe hackerspaces for their research, and created the insulting “National Civic Hacker Day” – efforts which should be boycotted or confronted every step of the way.

Read the Full Article »

We Are Legion: The Story of Anonymous

I watched this movie last night at the precipice of the end of the world and it blew my mind on so many levels.  I had no idea about the history of this movement or even any of the central players involved.  It’s sad what many of them have been put through just to send a message, but the good news is that it proves the establishment is scared.  It’s really an incredible documentary.  I waited until this evening to post so that it would go up when people might have the time to sit and watch.  I highly suggest you do.  If for the lulz if nothing else.  I’m glad these guys are on our side.  Enjoy.