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‘Anonymous’ names Saturday a global day of protest to defend free speech

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Online protest group “Anonymous,” which has in recent months staged some of the most stunning and audacious cyber-attacks yet seen on key corporate Internet infrastructure, has named Saturday, Jan. 15, as a global day of protest to defend the freedom of speech.

In a video published to their central communications blog, “AnonOps Communications” sought to rally others who supported their actions against corporations that censored or otherwise impeded secrets outlet WikiLeaks.

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“Stand up and fight,” an online video pleaded. “Every city, everywhere.”

It featured youthful protesters wearing the mask of Guy Fawkes, a British terrorist who led the gunpowder plot in 1605, which sought to blow up the king and members of parliament. He was revealed, however, and sentenced to death: later to be popularized by graphic novelist Alan Moore in his “V for Vendetta” series, created as a reaction to Britain’s rightward political surge under Margaret Thatcher. Fawkes was again popularized in 2006 by a Hollywood film of the same name, adapted to reflect upon the politics of the Bush administration.

The symbol of Fawkes was adopted by “Anonymous” when the group first formed to take on what they saw as the abuses of Scientology. In recent years, they had been labeled a potential terrorist threat by the US Department of Homeland Security, which mentioned “Anonymous” among a list of other groups they believed could fuel a “resurgence in radicalization.”

Chances are the folks at PayPal and MasterCard Worldwide would say the DHS was right: both major linchpins to the worlds of finance saw their online operations taken down amid voluntary Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in response to their refusals to do business with WikiLeaks.

While some characterized the DDoS efforts as a form of cyber-terrorism, others noted that many participants consciously opted in to the networks, downloading a piece of software that points at a predetermined server and simply asks it to do what it’s made to do: serve pages. When these networks are comprised of volunteers, DDoS attacks are more akin to sit-in protests than terrorism.

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While a real-world protest is a change in tactics for “Anonymous,” it’s not unfounded for the group, which has no real individual leadership save but for the prevalence of ideas that gain popularity online.

Recent calls to action included “Operation Tunisia” — a campaign of cyber attacks on Tunisian government infrastructure, in response to crackdowns on freedom of speech — “Operation Leakspin” — an idea to crowdsource reporting on WikiLeaks through unexpected mediums — and “Operation Loveback” — wherein members sent thoughtful Christmas cards to Fox News conservative talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

Previous protests coordinated by “Anonymous” have largely focused on drawing attention to Scientology in high-traffic areas all around the country. While Saturday would not be the first real-world event staged by the group in response to the censorship and persecution of WikiLeaks, it was their first call to a “global day of action.”

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The group also sought in recent days to put the US Department of Justice on notice about its subpoena of Twitter amid an investigation into WikiLeaks. The subpoena, issued secretly under a controversial provision of the USA PATRIOT Act, demanded information on all 635,561 users who followed updates by WikiLeaks — a list that included Raw Story.

It remained unclear whether the group’s powerful online presence would translate into mass protests in cities around the world on Saturday.

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This video is from protest group “Anonymous,” published Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2010.


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Moon may be richer in water than thought — and it could help propel humans farther from earth

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There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalising prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment -- and maybe even fuel -- on the lunar surface.

The Moon was believed to be bone dry until around a decade ago when a series of findings suggested that our nearest celestial neighbour has traces of water trapped in the surface.

Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy on Monday suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed "cold traps" at lunar polar regions.

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Asymptomatic coronaagvirus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

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Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across England between mid-June and late September showed the prevalence of virus antibodies fell by more than a quarter.

The research, commissioned by the British government and published Tuesday by Imperial, indicates people's immune response to Covid-19 reduces over time following infection.

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2020 Election

Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.

"Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect," the National Hurricane Center warned.

"Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states near and in advance of Zeta. This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding," the center explained.

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