By Mark Wachtler
February 3, 2012. Washington. (ONN) There’s been an underground war waging across the globe the past year that has gotten little more than passing headlines in the media, except for days when something big happens. Today was one of those days. The cyber hacker group Anonymous infiltrated a conference call between the FBI, Scotland Yard and other nations’ law enforcement agencies. Members of the group then released the meeting on YouTube, taunting the agents with their ease of access.
Anonymous infiltrated a global law enforcement conference call and released the audio. The topic of the meeting – Anonymous.
The subject of the multi-jurisdictional conference was none other than Anonymous. That may have been the initial reason for the cyber rebel group’s targeting of the meeting. According to the description by the Los Angeles Times, ‘In the obscenity-laced call, which has been posted to YouTube by Anonymous, an FBI agent going by the name Bruce starts off by saying “I’m not sure if we’re the only two on or not.” A Scotland Yard agent responds, “Bruce don’t say anything too bad, I’m here with Matt,” to which the group laughs.’
Watch the video from Anonymous here (WARNING – Adult language and adult content)
The account in the Times goes on to detail other topics of the anti-Anonymous multi-national conference call. LulzSec and AntiSec, two of the other internationally known underground hacker collectives, were discussed. Scotland Yard also told their US counterparts that they have a copy of a hard drive belonging a hacker named ‘Tehwongz’, who the paper quotes the agents as describing as, “a 15 year-old kid who is basically just doing this for attention and is a bit of an idiot.”
Anonymous and its partners in crime have spent the last few years growing up before the world’s eyes. The kids that originally began making headlines were hacking into software companies to steal the latest version of their favorite video games. Any independent-minded reader need only watch the 1970’s movie ‘War Games’ to see how, where and when the international hacker movement started. Somewhere between then and today, those kids and the generation of kids that followed, developed a social conscience.
When Visa, Paypal and the rest of the global banking community froze Wikileaks accounts, Anonymous attacked in response. When the state of Arizona stepped-up its arrests of illegal immigrants, taking parents away from children and vise versa, Anonymous attacked Arizona’s state government’s websites and computer systems. When US record companies sued online music sites, the hackers went after the music corporations.
Empire strikes back
Last summer, law enforcement agencies began making arrests around the globe of suspected Anonymous members. In one sweep in July 2011, the FBI arrested 16 individuals between the ages of 20 and 43 and spanning 11 states. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘Cyber Terror Group Anonymous Busted’ for details. Since then, it’s been a slugfest between the two groups. Anonymous and its partners have successfully attacked every branch of the US government. In its most brazen infiltration, the US State Dept was forced to physically unplug their equipment to stop the leaks of classified information.
On a broader scale, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the National Defense Authorization Act two months ago. The legislation basically classified the US as a military war zone and all Americans as suspected terrorists, capable of being pulled off the streets in secrecy and incarcerated in secret, without even a secret trial.
In response to Congress and President Obama’s apparent attack on the US Constitution and the American people, another video appeared on YouTube claiming to be from Anonymous. Watch the video titled, ‘Anonymous – Message to the American People’ here:
The video ends with the Anonymous voice stating, “Together we stand against the injustice of our own government. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. United as One. Divided by zero. We do not forgive censorship. We do not forget oppression. US Senate, expect us.”
Empire strikes back, again
The next step in US authorities’ effort to fight groups like Anonymous was SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act. The only problem was that the legislation didn’t just stop online piracy. It would have eliminated almost every website the average American visits on a regular basis including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and us here at Whiteout Press. In response, an alleged Anonymous member released a video and statement on the same day the internet went dark in protest.
Anonymous joins the fight against SOPA
The Anonymous message was titled, ‘Bright and Clear, the Future of Free Speech’. It read in part:
‘As we watch the web go dark today in protest against the SOPA/PIPA censorship bills, let’s take a moment and reflect on why this fight is so important. We may have learned that free speech is what makes America great, or instinctively resist attempts at silencing our voices. But these are abstract principles, divorced from the real world and our daily lives. We believe a healthy society doesn’t allow its artists, musicians and other creators to starve. The copyright industry has been justly criticized for abusing the political process in a desperate attempt to maintain its role as a cultural gatekeeper, a business model made obsolete by a digital age of free copies.’
Responding to a united front of outrage by an overwhelming majority of American citizens, the SOPA Bill was withdrawn, half its Senate sponsors demanded their names be removed from the legislation and the President and Congress have agreed to rewrite the law and introduce it again another time.
Occupy the police
When harmless, peaceful, teenage girls protesting in New York were maced and beaten for no reason and the videos went viral across the globe, Anonymous, along with us here at Whiteout Press and millions of others, joined the 99 Percent. According to Anonymous, clubbing and attacking peaceful kids as they sit-in at a peaceful demonstration will not be tolerated. The first offending officer who maced the innocent young girls in New York was identified and had his entire life – family, home, bank accounts, pictures, everything – distributed worldwide on the internet to millions of irate people who watched what he had done to those kids, with total immunity from punishment.
TOP SECRET AMERICA
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Suddenly, local police departments around the country began to take notice. When the city of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Emanuel’s global connections managed to secure the international meetings of not only the G8, but NATO this year, local residents and Chicago Police let out a collective groan. G8 meetings, a collection of the richest and most powerful people in the world, tend to attract as many as 50,000 protesters. With the protests come anarchists. And with anarchists comes violence.
Showdown in Chicago
Last week, Whiteout Press received a news release from a source that claimed to be representing Anonymous. It was a press release, assumedly distributed to more than us here, and it exposed an online Chicago Police blog. Until this time, the blog was exactly what it claimed to be, “sarcasm and silliness from a Windy City cop”. When the topic swung to the upcoming global conferences in May, the officers changed their tone and revealed some of their darker strategies.
The main focus was on using black electrical tape to cover badge numbers and name tags. That’s been a traditional practice by Chicago Police when they know they’re entering a large, violent confrontation and may be required to use tactics that are against the rules, or often the law. The blog went on to discuss topics such as what action to take if an officer is set on fire by a protester’s firebomb. That in itself was a sobering reality check. They also warned each other of the warehouses of weaponry international protesters are planning on bringing to Chicago this summer. Items were non-lethal, but included stun grenades, smoke grenades, mace, stun guns, shields and an arsenal of small, heavy projectiles.
Read the article, ‘Chicago Dilemma, G8 NATO Protesters’ for more details.
Toward the middle of the discussion on the Chicago Police blog, a slight hint of adversarial tension, almost fear, was detected. Officers began warning each other about, “that group called Anonymous.” The local cops warned each other to cover their faces, badge numbers and name tags during the demonstrations. “They have facial recognition equipment” one warned. Not interested in protecting a bunch of wealthy globalists against the likes of the 99 Percent, the CPD is stuck between a rock and a hard place. They’ve peacefully co-existed with Occupy Chicago for months, but violent anarchists are a different story.
The truth is, groups like Anonymous probably do have facial recognition technology and if they do, it’s a safe bet to assume they know how to use it. The police officers’ biggest fear is having every dirty detail of their personal and private lives exposed for a world of angry demonstrators to exact revenge upon. But that’s the only weapon the protesters have.
For now, the FBI, Scotland Yard and Anonymous will continue to wage war against each other while both sides quietly prepare for the biggest battle yet – G8 Chicago. From May 19-21, first the G8 conference will occur, followed immediately by the NATO summit. This is the first time in history the NATO meeting will be held in a US city other than Washington. AdBusters, the group partially responsible for the original Occupy Wall Street protest, has called for 50,000 protesters to descend upon the Windy City this May. Some, including this author, expect that number to be much, much higher.
Until then, both sides will dig in, prepare and await the showdown in Chicago.