March 07, 2012

Can't Say Nothing

Lucky you, I'm still on regular hours and just awoke. The real overtime starts this Friday so I'm still on normal hours. And because of this I find it impossible to not make a mention of some of the latest goings-on with Anonymous. Lucky you, like I said.

It's Anonymous, whatever that is, that informs most of my outlook these days and - if pushed - I suppose if I had to declare a "party affiliation" these would be the guys I'd probably slide in next to. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, to me it's all the same mush. Relics of the past, to be perfectly frank. So I happily take on new symbols and metaphors - mostly in response to the stasis of modern politics and all the petty nonsense that defines it these days. Or perhaps has always defined it.

The fact of the matter is that, no, I'm not part of Anonymous. This is true mostly because you know who I am. Plus I don't have the mad internet skilz needed to do raids and the kind of civil actions Anonymous is known for. In fact the only direct dealing I've ever had with it is directed at the Church of Scientology's fraud and abuse. And, because the "church" knows me and I never signed onto anything without using my real name, what I'm actually a part of is a subtext known as "Project Chanology." What developed after, or along with, that project went on to Wikileaks, skirting around the Iranian internet blocks, the Arab Spring and, finally, the Occupy movement. Anonymous, or at least people who have some sort of nebulous connection to Anonymous, had a hand in all of that. The DNA can be traced back to the "leaderless group." They've also helped me track down a long lost classmate, but that's neither here nor there.

Anonymous has also battled neo-Nazis, child molesters, and evil neighbors of dying little girls. You should really read this short history to get an idea about the group. And, in that article, you will also see negative stuff. And that right there is the point.

The single most important thing people need to remember is something that runs counter-intuitive to standard analysis. The fact is that anybody can claim to be "Anonymous," and anybody basically has.

I've no doubt that the recent arrests of "hackers" that operated under the Anonymous banner are, in fact, targeted actual regulars within the group. But, like Islam, if you want to view the whole thing as a monument or a monolith you'd be way off track.

When my involvement with Chanology started to taper off, the demands of real life and the pursuit of long neglected dreams taking over, the only thing for sure I could say about the group was that there was - and so far as I can tell still is - a lively debate about internet activity. Denial of Service attacks, website content altered to say embarrassing or opposite views than those intended, are believed by some to be a legitimate tactic in the culture wars. Others think them counter-productive. That's not something that will be resolved soon, because there is no leader. There is the "hive-mind" (Read "on the internet" definition) and there is individual action.

So the recent arrests of people alleged to be part of Anonymous (which, laughably, could be anyone who claimed it whether they did anything or not) did get my attention.

There's a pretty well-informed article here at the Chicago Tribune today, which I strongly recommend you take five minutes to read - if nothing else than because it is one of the more cogent explanations from the "outside" as I've seen in a while. But the thing you have to remember is that what constitutes a "member" of Anonymous ("member of Anonymous" being a term which in and of itself is virtually meaningless) is wide open. You'd be surprised to learn who is part of it or supports it. If you think it's hackers on steroids operating from Mommy's basement you'd be believing exactly what "Anonymous" wants you to believe. The actual participants come from every walk of life. From professionals to people with well-known names. Don't laugh at that.

Laugh at this instead.

Anyway is this the end of Anonymous? Everybody scared off now?



Brian said...


If someone had to break my year+ streak of not being RickRolled, I'm glad it was you.

Anonymous gives me hope for the future. One of few things that do.

sybil law said...

I love Anonymous. I wish I had those skillz, actually - but it's probably better for a shit ton of people that I don't. (I like to think I'd use it for good, though.)
And hell no it's hardly the end - if anything, it's just the beginning.

B.E. Earl said...

I love reading about stuff I no next to nothing about. Like Anonymous. I've understood the concept (kinda), but never really knew all the stuff they were involved in.

And whatever happened to WikiLeaks? I know it's still out there, but it seemed like there was always more a promise of what they were going to deliver rather than them actually coming through with the big blow. I just popped over the site, and it seems...corporate. Like the outsider isn't outside so much anymore. I dunno.

B.E. Earl said...

Yeah, I totally spelled "know" as "no" in that first sentence. I could blame auto-correct, but I'd be lying. Sigh.