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article imageOp-Ed: Anonymous — The complexities of a role of conscience and media

By Paul Wallis     Mar 1, 2015 in Internet
Sydney - Anonymous started as “hacktivists”, but soon enough became a lot more. This amorphous group of people is now the front line of effective progressive action. A role of conscience in this world is no simple thing.
Anonymous keeps growing and diversifying. It’s the diversity which is the hallmark of Anonymous, and the basis of the sometimes mixed messages the group sends about itself. Anonymous individuals and groups do their own things. You may or may not agree with them, but the role of conscience is the common element. The basic tenet is that Anonymous attacks things which cause human suffering and injury.
That’s a pretty broad range of targets, including among many others:
• Governments
• Islamic State
• Pedophiles
• The Church of Scientology
• Banks
• Corrupt police and officials
• Rapists
We’ve covered a lot of Anonymous activities on DJ over the years. Anonymous will respond to incidents, individual cases, and broad-brush issues. Try saying media and governments respond to anything and taking that statement seriously. A group of unknowns is more likely to react to an issue than your overpriced government. That’s a testimony.
Activists, effective and otherwise
Those familiar with online activism and its seemingly endless list of atrocities online activists expose will be aware of another issue – Online activists tend to be ignored.
The culture of “ignore everything” in government and politics is the working culture which allows endless breaches of human rights, almost infinite corruption, and enables organized and corporate crime, serial abusers of humanity, to flourish. Politics is actually a form of crime, an enabler of human suffering. It simply depends which criminals you’re supporting.
In this culture, Anonymous is highly unusual. Anonymous can’t be ignored. Anonymous can hit targets. It has more clout and credibility than some poor bastard trying to do the right thing, even at great personal risk.
In this environment, what is known is a matter of convenience, not fact. Witness the Julian Assange case. A vast amount of information was released, showing government mistakes, lies, and hypocrisies. Result? Zero. A charge of sexual offense was used as a way of “managing” the issues. The endlessly nanocephalic mainstream media instantly dropped all Wikileaks information news and focused on the only non-issue in the case.
Not one damn thing was done about the actual information or the appalling breach of security. When Bradley Manning strolled in and breached military security, not one person was really held responsible. Everyone called Manning a traitor, pinned medals on themselves and the US military apparently went back to sleep.
Anonymous, on the other hand, can deliver a range of physical effects on systems and on people, creating a spotlight. DDOS attacks are one thing, publicity is a lot worse. If you check out #Opdeatheaters, you see a tale of odd priorities when it comes to charges and how issues are managed, as well as the anti-pedophilia message.
That’s one of the less obvious roles of Anonymous, and an unintentional added value. They raise these background issues, too. They illustrate how things are mismanaged, as well as what’s wrong.
Anonymous and the world
The global role of Anonymous is now creating a very strange situation. In the case of Islamic State, which recruits online, Anonymous has apparently done more than conventional agencies. Anonymous recently claimed to have taken down jihadi Twitter accounts, which will definitely affect the group’s communications and probably disrupt some operations.
The theory of conventional intelligence operations is that you listen to chatter, identify parties and act when necessary to prevent terrorist acts. You penetrate networks on multiple levels and nobody knows if they’re under surveillance.
Whether or not that’s a good working option when any nut with a gun can go and massacre people is debatable. Islamic State isn’t famous for its subtlety and tact. They typically go from A to B in terms of actual actions, regardless of the length of time it takes to go from A to B.
That said - Putting them on the defensive, which neither the military nor intelligence organizations seem to do, is rare. Islamic State doesn’t seem particularly intimidated by the global sabre rattling. They would be far more worried about their money getting stolen by hackers than yet another press release from Washington.
Anonymous is capable of delivering serious damage to an organization like Islamic State which is totally communication dependent. Islamic State couldn’t function without its various media.
#OpISIS is a multicultural effort, targeting sites, accounts and emails. Anonymous says in its video that nowhere is safe. They also point out to Twitter that its claim of 1500 closed jihadi accounts doesn’t quite stack up against the number of active accounts, and ask if they should hack them, or will Twitter shut them down.
Rhetoric aside, the idea that “nowhere is safe” is an interesting statement for another, quite unrelated reason – Nobody else could really make it. The inherent corruption of global politics and business is based on “safety” for those breaking or “interpreting” the laws. Every country creates safe havens for its acceptable offenders.
The entire history of humanity in some ways relates to the theory of getting away with things. It’s the reason most politicians, organized and corporate criminals are never prosecuted. “Nowhere is safe” is the antithesis of that idea.
The role of conscience
Conscience isn’t a simple thing. It’s a burden, in many ways. It's also the antithesis of a society which seems determined to never fix anything and keep falling apart. The irony here is that Anonymous, acting in the role of conscience, is having to break laws which routinely protect lawbreakers.
Conscience acts, usually, when not acting is no longer acceptable. The large global following which Anonymous has achieved may well be the first stirrings of a recognizable global conscience. It’s an interesting thought, and like Anonymous, it’s un-preventable.
If you want to do something useful, you can’t be part of a useless system which invariably achieves nothing. You have to make your own way. Most people wise up sooner or later and stop expecting any results from the nutcases-only masturbatorium we call global society. You make your own system, and you try to get things done.
“System”, in fact, is another issue. Systems evolve to replace outmoded systems. It’s a survival method, responsible for the original human tribes, which were much better survival options than small family groups.
The global system of awareness is a case in point. If the theory of collective consciousness/ unconsciousness is right, an active conscience is a likely product. This conscience couldn’t be well developed. It hasn’t had time to develop. It would start like a child, by trying to focus on everything, then becoming systematic when it realizes that it needs a system to achieve anything.
Anonymous are a question which need an answer, too – Is this how the world’s problems have to be solved? By hackers and activists hitting them with software and media? If so, why are we bothering to elect governments which simply create problems?
Put it this way – If you were in real trouble, would you put your faith in a mainstream system which will talk you to death rather than help you or group of well-intentioned if semi-comprehensible people on your side who actually do achieve things?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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