INTERNET – According to a new study, an overwhelming majority of online peace activists just want President Obama to get on with bombing Syria.
The study, conducted by the non-partisan Pew Research Center, found that 91% of internet users who identify as peace activists are increasingly impatient to condemn civilian casualties of the expected U.S. bombing campaign. All of the remaining 9% agreed that although they would rather the bombings not go ahead, they were looking forward to saying “I told you so” if the U.S. accidentally strikes a school or hospital.
“We all know Obama is going to order these strikes no matter what,” said 22 year old Tyson Jaager, an unemployed retail assistant from Ohio who runs an anti-war Tumblr account. “I’m going to make side-by-side composite photos of dead children from the alleged chemical weapon attacks and dead children from U.S. strikes. I’m just waiting for the bombs to start falling now.”
21 year old Amy Brighton, a London barista and active Guardian commenter, agreed: “I’ve written a damning petition to take back Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. I’m ready to post it to Change.org. I just kind of feel like I need to wait for him to actually order the strikes. God, this is taking forever.”
Pranks that required hundreds or even thousands of participants found a regular home at the anonymous humor forum 4chan, where the mythical Anonymous wrote the pranks as much as the pranksters wrote the myths. An all-powerful internet entity whose consciousness was constituted by thousands of individuals, Anonymous, resonated with the default anonymous forum, pranks, and powerless young people who made up the majority of the forum.
This mythical Anonymous and “his” many famous pranks formed a strong and mutually determinate relationship with “events” in the news media. Much early reporting on Anonymous pranks relied heavily on a naive (but sensational) reading of the sinister and all-powerful Anonymous mythology, creating a feedback loop which very quickly inspired emphasis of the powerful aspect, “hackers on steroids,” over the humorous. A distinct ideology and aesthetic constructed and were constructed by this feedback loop, and vestigial values of the prankish, leaderless, and mostly unmoderated 4chan forum became deflated and at times inverted as a consequence of hegemonizing processes — power must preserve and expand power to persist. The faceless green jokester splintered into a sea of Guy Fawkes masks and the Anonymous myth re-centered itself on power as power imposed itself upon Anonymous.
Free speech was a naturally shared value in the barely moderated realm of 4chan, but in this new culture where free speech was merely an initiative subsumed by power, such style of speech could not even be practiced internally. Because hierarchy and control of speech could not be implemented on 4chan, those who wished to continue to build power did so on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels. On 4chan, free speech was inherent everywhere, but in IRC it was everywhere limited by hierarchical channel moderators who acted to preserve their power. The weak response that anyone could create and control their own channel was the stock answer for complaints about the glaring absence of free speech. Rather than an open playground for speech such as 4chan, IRC servers were a place where anyone could set up controls for speech.
Internally, free speech was valued very differently, but differences were also externally manifest in the oft repeated claim that Anonymous would not (or should not) attack “media.” Media used here apparently meant something like news media, and one was left wondering if Anonymous preferred the “legitimate” and powerful news media over independent journalists. Certainly that wasn’t the case. Various Internet and communication media formed precisely the sphere in which relevant Anonymous operations obtained. Denial of Service (DoS) “attacks,” which were some of the rare instances in which post-prank Anonymous acted collectively and spontaneously, targeted communication systems of a subject of protest. Many supporters shared the common metaphor-as-argument which likened DoS to sit-ins. Unlike in the metaphorical sit-in, targeted systems (segregated restaurants) were necessarily less affected by the flood of packets (“sit-in”) than all the systems which relayed the packets (something more like blocking the streets everywhere near the restaurant).
Many of these historic DoS attacks were “successful” only with the use of botnets, or networks of cracked systems. Here, the myth of Anonymous fell into the tomb world of pure fabrication and in a sense was ultimately disconnected from its origin. There were often not enough participants in DoS “sit-ins” to achieve the goal of shutting down the subjects of protest, but that was no longer a central element to the culture or even a relevant point — power was more important. Those who participated acted merely as convenient cover for those who had botnets, thinking themselves part of a collective identity.
Leaders, figureheads, or celebrities also became pivotal actors despite the ideological insistence against this. Barrett Brown, a freelance writer, acted as an intermediary between Anonymous and the news media. After securing a “six-figure” book deal with perennial Anonymous enemy, Amazon, Brown was raided by the FBI and descended into something like a psychosis which came to a head in a series of YouTube videos in which Brown made threats to an FBI agent and his family. Brown was continually forgiven for his celebrity antics by many Anons who cited his contributions to their (fight against) power, showing more strong evidence that power was the central value, one which eclipsed even the eponymous value, anonymity.
Sabu, a prominent cracker, drew the admiration of tens of thousands of fans and acted as an organizer for “Antisec,” an Anonymous operation which purported to centralize and process information stolen from government systems around the world. However, Sabu was targeted by investigators specifically for his influence, which the FBI then wielded to direct crackers, such as Jeremy Hammond, to target systems which potentially provided the US with useful intelligence. This was an unsurprising climax for a culture which valued power above all else.
INTERNET — Julian Assange’s highly publicized bid for the Australian senate has failed after his controversial Libertarian-allied Wikileaks party received just over half a percent of votes. Other fringe parties which received even less votes, such as the Motoring Enthusiast Party, gained seats due to a quirk in the Australian electoral system which allows losing parties to pass their votes on to a second choice. No parties passed votes on to Assange.
Members of Anonymous are convinced that the Australian election was “rigged,” and have launched several high-profile attacks on what they call a “Conspiracy of fringe Australian political parties to deny Freedom for Assange.” An election to the Australian senate would have secured privileges which could have allowed Assange to leave his “confinement” at the Ecuadorean embassy without facing prosecution for minor sex crimes in Sweden.
Anonymous members defaced the Sex Party’s web site, replacing images of candidates and rallies with pornography depicting so-called “Bukkake” sex parties in which one woman is treated as a semen receptacle for hundreds of men. Anonymous also launched a Denial of Service attack on the Motoring Enthusiast Party, mobilizing thousands of enraged teens to overwhelm the site using the freedom software tool known as “Low Orbit Ion Cannon.”
Aaron Brown, who repeatedly denied acting as spokesperson for Anonymous before speaking to the press, told reporters, “If we can just keep the public eye on this injustice for another day or two, whatever the cost, it’ll bring the social change and freedom we’re all hoping for. Just another hour of exposure and it may have untold repercussions for freedom a hundred years from now. But if we don’t do something, soon it will be too late to do anything at all!”
When pushed on the ethics of attacking the free speech of political opponents, Brown told reporters, “Anonymous is often defined by its defense of free speech, and that’s why we don’t support attacks on the media, but since the Internet is a kind of media, we can’t really do anything but attack media.”
BANGOLA — “Cancer Delis” are making waves across Southeast Asia, as jet-set tourists seek increasingly bizarre and rare foods. Many different types of tumors are served at these delis with malignant pig brain tumors fetching some of the highest prices. Critics believe eating tumors can be dangerous because farmers now have an incentive to induce tumors in livestock using carcinogens which may wind up in the bodies of Cancer Deli patrons. Andrew Zimmerman, host of television’s Bizarre Food, said, “Naturally occurring tumor flesh is some of the most delectable and safe food there is, but you’ve really got to watch out for farmers who have found out how valuable it is and feed carcinogens to their livestock.”
A Cancer Deli owner in Bangola who wished to remain Anonymous told Internet Chronicle reporters, “Some people value burled wood the most because it is so rare and has many unique and appealing characteristics. It is cancerous parts of a tree, just like the tumors we serve. The flesh is fatty and delicious, and when prepared correctly it is not dangerous.” When pressed for details of how he obtained the cancerous flesh, the deli owner broke off the interview.
The Internet Chronicle‘s new Australian reporter, Anime El Khalifi, speaks exclusively with the graphic designer who produced the government-in-waiting’s new Online Child Safety policy document… twice.
INTERNET — Iranian sources report that small chips implanted in squirrel populations have been found containing data on sensitive nuclear weapons projects. These advanced chips are powered by kinetic energy from the scurrying of the animal. In the presence of other nearby chips, each squirrel forms a node on a “mesh network” which exchanges and processes data according to an advanced algorithm. When one squirrel picks up wireless signals from a target, such as a nuclear weapons facility, this data proliferates through the mesh network until it reaches a hidden satellite transmitter, which relays the information back to the NSA headquarters.
An Anonymous source told the Internet Chronicle, “Practically every squirrel in Iran has been incorporated into this mesh network with the use of automated traps which both capture the squirrels and insert the chips. Thousands of squirrels can be chipped this way with only a few traps . . . Nearly all wireless communications in Iranian areas populated by squirrels are making their way to the NSA headquarters, and we’d be foolish to not assume this isn’t also taking place on American soil . . . [There] is so much distributed potential computing power that significant decryption or data analysis may also take place within the squirrels.”
Iranian authorities have offered a lucrative $100 bounty for each squirrel killed which has been implanted with an NSA chip.
WASHINGTON – The president of the Germany’s foreign intelligence service said Monday that his organization had wiretapped a high-level Lebanese militia member, who believed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons. In a secret briefing to lawmakers, Gerhard Schinder, president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND – the nation’s foreign intelligence service – related what he said were the results of the wiretapping of a high-level Hezbollah member.
Lebanese militia “Hezbollah” – literally, the Party of God – is allied with the beleaguered Syrian president. Assad himself has denied the use of chemical weapons.
Matthias Gebauer writes for Der Spiegel:
“[T]he BND listened in on a conversation between a high-ranking member of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah … and the Iranian Embassy. The Hezbollah functionary, Schindler reported, seems to have admitted that poison gas was used. He said that Assad lost his nerves and made a big mistake by ordering the chemical weapons attack.”
U.N. investigator Carla Del Ponte suggested in May that the Syrian rebels fighting Assad’s government had used chemical weapons as well.
You can read more here about the German government’s wiretapping, its evidence that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons, and the effect they both may have on the rapidly escalating war in Syria.