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Atari Teenage Riot tricks Sony into supporting Anonymous legal defense fund

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The frontman for digital punk band Atari Teenage Riot revealed in a lengthy interview published by Wired on Tuesday that he tricked electronics giant Sony into supporting a legal defense fund set up for hackers with the very same “Anonymous” movement blamed for taking down Sony’s own PlayStation Network.

And it could have all been avoided if Sony’s marketing department just stopped and read the dude’s lyrics.

Alec Empire, the band’s lead singer, is very much a political junkie — a fascination evident in his song “Black Flags,” which he dedicated to Pvt. Bradley Manning and the hackers in “Anonymous.”

The video for “Black Flags” makes this ever more obvious, as it features dozens of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks and skirmishing with police in the streets while Empire shouts about corporate control, suppression of journalists and the ongoing “class war.”

“But I’m not an anarchist,” he sings. “I’m on some sickle/hammer shit. Collective Bruce Banner shit. Over a piano pitch, cock and let the hammer hit. We’re here collecting damages, and handing out knuckle sandwiches.”

That video was published in October 2011. Yet, somehow Sony approached Empire in February of this year with a cash offer for him to score an ad for the latest edition of the shockingly unpopular PlayStation Portable game console, bizarrely named “Vita.”

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Reflecting on his history with Sony — having sued them for copyright infringement once before — Empire instantly knew what to do.

“It was this kind of situation… when you feel your whole work has been compromised. We are really and only about the political message,” he told Wired reporter Quinn Norton. “So when something like this happens it is damaging to our credibility and can’t really be repaired with paying some money.”

On his website, Empire explains that he “put ‘Black Flags’ into it… it was all hectic and they okayed [the ad].” And while he didn’t reveal how much they paid him, he added that all the money went to The Anonymous Solidarity Network, dedicated to supporting hacktivists’ legal defenses.

“Yes, I already got some hate, some even attempted to troll me (on Facebook???)…. but you know what? I don’t care because it just FELT V E R Y GOOD! HAHA,” he wrote.

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“Black Flags” has since been re-released with WikiLeaks-related footage stitched into it. Watch the prior version, along with Sony’s rather unfortunate commercial, below.

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This video was published to YouTube on October 19, 2011.

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This video was published to YouTube on February 20, 2012.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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