Anonymous launches new effort, clarifies own nature
I have just received the following press release in which a contingent of Anonymous spells out its general aims and practices while also announcing another effort, Project Truth is Revolutionary.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Project Truth is Revolutionary
December 17th, 2010
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
A Message from Anonymous.
Greetings. We are Anonymous. A lot has been said over the last few days, however, not all of it was fair or accurate. We would like to set the record straight.
Anonymous is not unanimous. We use the Internet as a tool to congregate, communicate, and articulate; but we speak and act with many different voices, and in many different places. As the net has evolved, so have we and our methods.
Today, technology allows states to be more intrusive than ever, and governments are making the most of these new abilities. In recent years, we have witnessed intrusions on privacy that would have been dismissed as dystopian only a few decades ago. Left unchecked by democratic control, and unconstrained by national sovereignty or respect for fundamental human values, the legitimate actions of corporations or governments can easily turn into abuse.
Yet the same tools that facilitate these actions provide us with the ability to fight back and safeguard our rights as citizens. It also gives us the power to expose crime, corruption and government abuse that would otherwise remain hidden. Our campaign to support WikiLeaks is not about petty vandalism. It is about supporting digital whisteblowers, to promote the values of a democratic society for the benefit of all.
We believe that free expression, a free press, and most of all, a free and open internet, are the lifeblood of a democratic society: they allow us, as citizens, to effectively evaluate our government. If you too value these rights, then you too are Anonymous. Our adversaries should question neither our dedication nor our resolve. We are determined to continue the struggle for as long as necessary to achieve our goal.
WHO WE ARE
We are not ‘hackers’. We are not criminals. We are not terrorists. We are neither digital vandals to be vilified, nor caped heroes to be lauded. We are everyday citizens, common women and men of a digital world, concerned with protecting basic freedoms. In short, we are you, we are your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters, your friends and co-workers. Our ranks are made of individuals from many nations and ethnicities, unified by digital camaraderie and the knowledge that we fight for the good of the whole and not the greed of the few.
Anonymous is the voice of those who believe in truth, liberty and the freedom of expression. Anonymous believes that it is the small actions of a unified whole that make a difference. Freedom of speech does not fall along national or party lines. We are faceless and nameless, separate yet struggling together for a common cause. We ask you to support us, not for our sake, but for your own. Do not allow governments, corporations, or anyone else to control what you are allowed to see, hear, and think. Censorship will not be tolerated.
ON DIGITAL WHISTLEBLOWING
An assortment of states and global corporations is trying to destroy or silence WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks, IndoLeaks and similar whistleblower sites. They portray their actions as innocuous, or justify them with dubious appeals to some national interest; on the contrary, the suppression of free speech is harmful to every nation, and every human being. Any institution that seeks to blockade, disrupt or attack these sites simultaneously attacks free speech, the free press, the free internet and other core democratic values.
There is absolutely no evidence that any individual has come to any harm as a result of anything released by WikiLeaks, despite some governments’ assertions to the contrary. WikiLeaks and similar sites are part of the press, and co-operate with renowned media partners as equals. Digital whistleblowers are a force of good in an increasingly interconnected world – it is our collective duty to protect their right to exist.
To show our support and solidarity for the ideas behind digital whistleblowing, and to extend support beyond just mirroring, we started a campaign consisting – for now – of the following three steps:
1. Creating Public Interest for Anonymous – Operation Payback:
We have used a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) campaign to draw attention to abuses of power and the criminalization of dissent. Some of us participated actively in these attacks, and while we are aware of the severity of those actions, we believe they were in service of a greater good. Operation Payback aimed to tarnish the public image of those entities who aided in the attempted censorship of WikiLeaks. The carefully chosen targets included Visa, Mastercard, Postfinance Switzerland, and PayPal.
Our actions did no physical damage or hampered payments, they merely occupied bandwidth and system resources. During a sit-in, protesters disrupt business or government actions by obstructing the flow of normal traffic, in order to make a political point. During Operation Payback, Anonymous acted as sit-in protestors of the digital era, no different than the sit-in protests used non-violently throughout history.
2. Spreading the Leaks – Operation Leakspin:
Operation Leakspin introduces the concept of ‘crowd-journalism’ to the investigation of leaked material. Reports are posted, reviewed and if necessary corrected on the Quality Control System. The goal is to give everybody the possibility to get involved in order to attain totally independent reporting. By these means, the power of many eyes is bundled to scour the WikiLeaks cables for under-reported leaks, and to publicize them for maximum exposure and effect.
3. Undergirding a Movement – Operation Truth is Revolutionary:
Anonymous is a movement without a figurehead. This has many advantages, but also many disadvantages: those who want to know more about Anonymous do not know where to turn for information, and co-ordination between different Operations is more difficult than it should be. Operation Truth is Revolutionary addresses these problems, and acts as the linchpin of Anonymous actions.
We provide infrastructure for communication and co-operation between the many different branches of Anonymous, both online and on the streets. We collect information and reflections from and on the various Operations. We offer our own opinion where we consider it needed, and archive other Anonymous voices when we find them.
The Internet is a stronghold of freedom in an increasingly authoritarian world. It is capable of connecting and uniting all of humanity by lowering the barriers of language and distance. When we are connected, we are strong. When we are strong, we need not fear tyranny. Governments and corporations are moving against WikiLeaks because they fear our united global power; they fear our ability to demand truth and accountability. Do not forget this.
This is a critical moment for the fate of free speech in our ever-evolving, information-dependent society. These attacks on freedom of expression, if unchecked, will have negative implications for all of mankind. Our peaceful activism will focus on anyone who intends to infringe on the freedoms of speech, information, and expression – regardless of the power they wield. The entities that we campaign against are denying everyone a basic human right. Any person, corporation, government, or other entity that turns against this pattern of censorship, and instead starts promoting freedom of speech, will become our ally. Anonymous aims to educate our opponents rather than harm them; we are campaigning for freedom for everyone, even those who criticize and attack us.
Anonymous urges the people of the world to join us against all forms of censorship, in defense of freedom both online and off. We exist in all societies, on the fringe and in the center. If you search, you will find us, all around you.
We are Anonymous.
We are the Internet.
We are You.
We, Anonymous, the collective authors of the work “A Message From Anonymous” (December 17th, 2010), irrevocably renounce all current and future legal rights to the work in any medium whatsoever. We stand behind the merit of the work, but disclaim all liability for it under law. We encourage you, the audience, to share, copy, distribute, perform, remix, mash up, interpret, excerpt, translate, and otherwise enjoy and use the work as you will. Learn more at pleasepirate.org.
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