There is no book which can equal the rich view of the inner workings of some of the most famous groups associated with Anonymous as The Many Faces of Anonymous. Some of the faces are obscured, others are seen through translucent pseudonyms, and some come waddling in for lunch to give a terrible lesson in realpolitik. Biella Coleman does not simply tell the tale of her wanderings through the recursive labyrinth of IRC chats, but she dutifully leads readers into a crass culture of misfits that once terrified outsiders for kicks and now evangelizes for internet liberties.
Surfin’ the Nerd Scare
Coleman, among a few others, played a central role in the transformation of Anonymous from a demonic in-joke to a typical Hollywood anti-hero. She describes her roles, “. . .editing manifestos, teaching reporters how to find Anonymous, and correcting misinformation.” Although she also seeks to preserve “enchantment” — but the primary spell leveraged in the summoning of the mythical trickster Anonymous was Fear.
Her objective hobbles along on a faulty media-centric point of view, “[T]he public . . . tends to see Anonymous from the vantage point of carefully sculpted propaganda and the media’s rather predictable gaze.” While it is not wrong to say that that news media sensationalizes and propagandizes as normal operating procedure, this is less than a half image. In its formative days, Anonymous purposefully exploited fearmongering, gleefully generating its mythology by feeding tidbits of terror that the news media could not resist. This dynamic continues, although the demon is no longer merely a plaything. To many who first learned about Anonymous through the lens of the news media, it is an earnest ongoing revolutionary movement destined to overthrow all world governments.
Coleman does little to color the give and take in the relationship between Anonymous and the media, even seemingly denying that it is possible for the public to grasp Anonymous, “. . . [Anon]’s machinations [are] incommensurable with the driving logic of the mainstream corporate media . . .” Coleman’s most egregious untruth seeks to dampen the inflated fears, denying Anonymous would dare threaten to disable the power grid, saying, “Anonymous . . . has never been known to publicly call for such an attack.” One might wonder what exactly the demonic, trollish Anonymous of yesteryear is known for, if it ever existed at all. Certainly, Anonymous has called for much worse, and similar threats are a continuing annoyance to Coleman and like minded Anons who prefer the misunderstood anti-hero who evangelizes for internet liberties.
A claim made by controversial Anon, Commander X, does not stand alone, but is one of many examples of the inflated threats and downright ridiculous boasts that are essential to the existence of Anonymous and its continued status as a political force worthy of the news media’s sensational gaze:
Q. What’s next for Anonymous?
A: Right now we have access to every classified database in the U.S. government. It’s a matter of when we leak the contents of those databases, not if. You know how we got access? We didn’t hack them. The access was given to us by the people who run the systems. The five-star general (and) the Secretary of Defence who sit in the cushy plush offices at the top of the Pentagon don’t run anything anymore. It’s the pimply-faced kid in the basement who controls the whole game, and Bradley Manning proved that. The fact he had the 250,000 cables that were released effectively cut the power of the U.S. State Department in half. The Afghan war diaries and the Iran war diaries effectively cut the political clout of the U.S. Department of Defence in half. All because of one guy who had enough balls to slip a CD in an envelope and mail it to somebody.
Now people are leaking to Anonymous and they’re not coming to us with this document or that document or a CD, they’re coming to us with keys to the kingdom, they’re giving us the passwords and usernames to whole secure databases that we now have free reign over. … The world needs to be concerned.
Anonymous has leveraged the public’s fixations and fears to great success, but Coleman seems to mutter past this dark stain to depict the misunderstood nerds with hearts of gold who often are at the heart of many operations. However, the centrality of fearmongering in both the genesis of the Anonymous myth as well as in its continued influence cannot be overstated. It is such an effective and powerful kind of propaganda that venture capitalists as well as terrorists want to emulate it. Certainly, ISIS has taken lessons from Anonymous and employed many of the same or similar propaganda tactics towards its own horrifying ends. An unnamed venture capitalist, who organized protests against SOPA, approached Biella Coleman and from this exchange she concluded that, “Anonymous had become an important, recognized, and potent component of the global political mix.”
“Decentralization is power”
“Decentralization is power” ~ Sabu
Coleman writes, “Anonymous abides by a particular strain of what geeks call “do-ocracy,” which may intend to show there is no theory or politics that precede or unify its actions. Yet, taken as a whole, it is apparent that libertarian concerns for a “free internet” as well as populist outrage at various media sensations are what most intensely focus the “do-ocracy” into unified action. Yet Coleman wants to deny that there is a libertarian streak at all, even as she cops to it, “. . . the geek and hacker are not bound to a single political sentiment, such as libertarianism, and they certainly don’t agree on how social change should proceed . . . even those aligned on the same side of the struggle for civil liberties–were wary of the tactics employed.” [Emphasis is mine]
The book does not look too critically at “the struggle for civil liberties,” or what Anonymous might bring about through its actions, but focuses questioning on the tactics that are employed to these ends. The critique of ends instead of means may simply be outside the scope of the work and instead something for a political theorist to untangle, but Coleman’s exuberance after Anonymous was given a thumbs up from an unnamed Silicon Valley venture capitalist is a sure sign that Anonymous is up to something that badly needs to be criticized and theorized before the criticism-proofed “do-ocracy” charges into its next action. A minority of operations tend to the poor or the weak, and the concerns of the geek are most important. Those concerns tend to align perfectly with the aims of billion dollar computer corporations that employ only hundreds and exacerbate the ever-growing plight of the poor, even as they capitalize on their data.
Coleman wrote around certain far right tendencies in Anonymous and dampened its sensational relationship with news media in her book as well as in her cooperation with the group. Whether this does a great service or disservice to Anonymous — a constellation of sometimes contradictory myths — isn’t a heavy ethical concern. As Anonymous changes, its troubling ethics are on full display in its objectives and its tone. The lulz-seeking prankster and even the lulzy activist are already yesteryear’s Anonymous. Instead of going after 11 year old megalomaniacs, private security contractors, and bad geek religions, increasingly it is a banner for populist far-right libertarian maniacs who want to tear down governments and police forces everywhere, citing conspiracies of pedophiles in high offices or whatever reasoning can be plugged into the sensational news cycle.
INTERNET — Fans mourn the loss of Nadia Tolokonnikova, feminist singer for the anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot. Tolokonnikova was shot dead in Moscow, Tuesday, by unknown assailants as mourners gathered at Boris Nemtsov’s funeral.
Tolokonnikova’s death marks the second assassination of a famous Putin critic, just one week after Boris Nemtsov was assassinated.
Pussy Riot previously faced street violence from police and thugs during a paint attack in Moscow’s McDonald’s and during the filming of a video at the Sochi winter olympics. Tolokonnikova was imprisoned in Siberia for blasphemy after filming an anti-Putin music video at Moscow cathedral.
Tolokonnikova was also affiliated with Voina, an activist performance art ensemble which staged a famous anti-Medvedev public orgy at a Moscow biology museum. Tolokonnikova also recently appeared on the Netflix original series House of Cards.
Putin continues to enjoy nearly 90% approval ratings in Russia as he concentrates military forces in Crimea.
Kanye West is “not happy” that fans don’t like the leaked track from his new album.
INTERNET — Fans were excited to get an early listen to All Day, a leaked track from Kanye’s new album, So Help Me God. Their excitement quickly turned to disappointment, as the track’s unremarkable hip hop degenerated into a mess of robotic sound effects, tinny acoustic guitar, and whistling that meandered into a narcissistic and pointless trap.
The unfulfilled promise of good music that Kanye has come to represent, especially through his multiple interventions at pivotal moments in award shows, seems to have crystallized into song. Neither Kanye nor his fans are happy about this travesty.
Glenn Greenwald disappeared at LAX and is presumed in CIA custody
LOS ANGELES — Glenn Greenwald, columnist and reporter who broke the Snowden leaks and featured in Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winnning Citizen Four, disappeared Saturday at a US airport before boarding a flight back to his home in Brazil. Friends and family have not heard from him and fear he has been subject of an extraordinary rendition to a CIA torture site.
Jeremy Scahill, co-anchor of Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, said, “This is what we always feared, and right now I’m barricaded in my home with shotguns at the ready. Today is the day when they’re finally going to make their move against real journalists in the US. It’s finally happening. Protect yourselves, people.”
Edward Snowden appeared today at the Libertarian National Convention, via a remote robotic interface, and grew red in the face as he quoted the founding father Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety!”
American audiences discovered that Bill O’Reilly’s career was a total sham, collapsing his ego and triggering a psychotic fit.
INTERNET — Saturday morning Bill O’Reilly was hospitalized after suffering what family said was a psychotic episode. O’Reilly recently fell under fire after researchers unveiled his false reporting of the Falkland War.
Family and friends of O’Reilly have kept his secret battle with chronic mental illness under wraps for decades and are not surprised by his latest psychotic break.
O’Reilly’s wife told reporters, “It’s a chronic problem and it never really goes away. One day he’s the Bill I know and love, and the next day he’ll start getting these grandiose ideas. He said he was an archetypal construct summoned by an internet demiurge he called Inglip, and it wanted him to breathe white light and trigger fifteen trillion hydrogen bombs, among other things.” Amidst tears, she added, “But he’s always a bit over the top, adding in details to make for a better story, it’s just how he is.”
Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. Angstrom H. Troubador said, “Stress is the most common trigger for mental illness, especially stress of the kind that deflates a greatly inflated ego. Narcissistic personalities like O’Reilly’s make for entertaining talking heads, but a narcissist affirms itself out of its own essential weakness and is prone to rapidly break down during a psychotic fit.” Dr. Troubador heaved a sigh and continued, “You can bet that O’Reilly experienced such powerful shame and psychological nudity that his former self is toast and may never come back. But he’s resilient, I’ve seen his medical records, and hopefully audiences will like the new Bill O’Reilly, whoever he is when he resurfaces.”
Pierre Omidyar helped the CIA execute “Operation Snowjam” and suppress Snowden documents
INTERENET — Pierre Omidyar, eBay billionaire, spent 50 million dollars to launch First Look Media with the promise of popularizing Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill’s popular brand of American advocacy journalism.
Strange stories from disgruntled employees are circulating, describing a bewildering and mysterious boondoggle behind the scenes at First Look, but thankfully a confirmed and trustworthy anonymous leaker close to Omidyar has come forward with startling evidence explaining that the CIA granted Omidyar lucrative overseas business privileges in return for temporarily tying up hundreds of the best and brightest advocacy journalists.
According to the leaker, Anchors Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill acted as de facto editors, barking down nearly every story that made it to their desks. Their egos were set against one another and inflated with tremendous paychecks, bizarre massage-desks, and holographic monitors. Every trick in the CIA playbook was brought to bear on First Look’s boardroom. Subtle annoyance tactics were employed by CIA moles who succesfully instigated daily shouting matches and ruined any chance of publishing stories.
The leaker suggests that Glenn Greenwald, after promising to publish a list of names of citizens under illegal NSA surveillance, was shouted down by the whole office after Omidyar spread rumors that Greenwald found Edward Snowden “a repugnant traitor.”
The anonymous leaker wrote,
The CIA drew up First Look under code name Operation Snowjam, engineering it from top to bottom for optimum dysfunction. They had already worked with Omidyar extensively, as eBay features hugely in the CIA’s meddling in foreign markets, so he was quite willing to cooperate. The ‘best and brightest’ — that’s the CIA, not me — in advocacy journalism were brought in at dream-job pay, and they were lucky to publish anything at all!
It should be obvious to anyone with a skeptical mind that things are not as they seem. Just look at those with access to Snowden documents, that should tell you what you need to know. They never complain because they have been treated like royalty, handled so gently that they will never suspect a thing or give credence to the complaints of other journalists at First Look.
This is a crucial moment, and the image of the US is at its lowest point perhaps in all of history. Operation Snowjam is, for the CIA, small potatoes. But right now, every little bit counts.
INTERNET — Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon played Phil Och’s satiric song, “Love me, I’m a Liberal” at a fundraiser for Paul Williams, who requires expensive care after injuring his brain in a bike accident.
The lyrics of the classic and funny lampoon were updated, seemingly so that the audience could grasp the dated jokes of Phil Ochs. Names of typical liberal politicians and publications were changed, but a line condemning the racism of liberals with the satiric use of the word ‘Negro’ was removed.
Ochs lines, “I love Puerto Ricans and negros / As long as they don’t move next door” became “I love blacks and gays and latinos / As long as they don’t move next door.”
This despicable effacement of Phil Ochs’ and his mild satire was perpetrated by the man whose songs once proudly proclaimed, along the same lines as Ochs, only with more punk rock snarl:
Play ethnicky jazz
To parade your snazz
On your five grand stereo
Braggin’ that you know
How the niggers feel cold
And the slums got so much soul
Has Jello Biafra been abducted and replaced? Has he grown too old for the shocking, confrontational satire of the Dead Kennedys? Perhaps.
I can read the tweets, already, saying things like, “Phil Ochs is only funny for people with white privilege,” or “Ochs — typical white ally,” or maybe “To people of color this just represents a violent system.” And then, when the Butthurt Black Panthers bust into Phil Ochs’ house and gun him down, these same people will be tweeting #JeSuisPanther.
Satire isn’t always funny, and oftentimes it is downright offensive, and a song like Phil Ochs’ “Love me, I’m a Liberal” would surely be viewed as an incontrovertible act of violence in the contemporary liberal atmosphere, where terrorists who murdered the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo are sympathetic victims of systemic racism. Tolerance and sensitivity have been so emphasized by moderate liberals to the point where it’s a racist superiority trip. Right below the thin veneer of this new brand of “radical” liberalism is something pathetic and moderate, a liberal who wants to be loved, and desperately — the niggers and the towel heads are babies who can’t read big boy jokes.
Swarms of aircraft were spotted flying out of these deep craters that appeared recently in Siberia and are now assembling
SIBERIA — A fleet of alien airships is assembling in Siberia after witnesses say they ascended out of tremendous craters previously believed to be created by methane explosions and climate change.
The ships have assembled into three constantly spiraling swarms that are slowly coming into formation as they move west. Each individual ship appears to be two conjoined eggs with no discernible seams or lights of any kind.
The Russian Military broadcast a message in Siberia directed at the alien ships, “We offer friendly greetings to the explorers from under the earth. But our citizens are terrified and we will open fire should you make a move to threaten any of our cities.”
Addressing citizens later in the broadcast, the Military said, “Do not panic, do not provoke or fire upon the alien craft.”
President Putin then gave a few words on national television, reassuring the country with a light-hearted joke, “Maybe they will listen to reason and help liberate Ukraine.”
Reports of strange lights, eruptions coming from under the ground, appearance of tremendous craters, and even alien bodies and wrecks are in the news and even commented on by President Putin himself, but why are these reports suppressed in the West? Could these ships be a top secret Russian weapon system that could help Putin start pushing into Western Europe?
Flint Citizens died in the thousands after drinking piss-colored public water
FLINT, MICHIGAN — Thousands of frozen dead bodies filled the streets of Flint, Thursday morning, as the cumulative effects of tainted, poisonous water proved too much for infants and the elderly.
Flint’s water is discolored and heavily infected with bacteria, and the cash-strapped city government chose a cheap solution, dumping deadly amounts of disinfectants into the water supply.
General Motors refused to use the tainted water in its manufacturing process because all the bleach in it would corrode the steel in its vehicles.
Activist Michael Moore said, “This is the first test run of a top secret population control program that aims to cull overpopulated areas that drain the American economy and harm its geopolitical stance. Flint’s citizens have become a target in the war on terror.”
Obama got stoned at midnight as Marijuana legalization went into effect
INTERNET — Just minutes after a new Washington DC law legalized recreational marijuana, President Obama lit up a fat Dutch Master packed with presidential-quality marijuana. The president rolled the blunt himself, accidentally tearing the Dutch Master and joking, “Maybe we should get some wrappers from Cuba! Hah!”
Leaning back in his chair, Obama exhaled a smoke ring expertly. Sensing the tense room around him, he offered the blunt to his staff, “Calm down everybody, take a hit. It’s legal now, we changed that law.” However, staffers in the room shuffled around uncomfortably.
One secret service guard reached out for the blunt, and Obama said, “No, not you!” but laughed.
“Just kidding, just fuckin’ with you.” Obama’s eyes were already bloodshot.
A representative from the American Christian Alliance told reporters, “Marijuana is the drug of choice of the House of Islam, and in Christendom we drink alcohol, the blood of Christ. We’re watching you Obama, and we see through your facade.”
Jillian Page, spokesperson for Mothers Against Drugs and Alcohol said, “Just think of the example that sets for our children, if the president is out there toking up. It’s an outrage, and I hope he is impeached.”