Monday, October 17, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Ok, in regards to these past few days, I'm going to say something that would probably offend a lot of people who read it:

Any ordinary adult person who suffered as a result of these Tottenham riots, in my mind, deserves no sympathy. It is also the ordinary persons fault if any innocents such as the child minded, the mentally ill, animals or any unheard voices blowing against the hurricane that is the mainstream suffer as as a result of these riots.

How can I can I hold such a 'terrible' and 'heartless' view?

Well ordinary adult people in the UK bear just as much responsibility for these riots as the over emotional, undereducated, badly raised individuals who threw stuff at coppers and pillaged the place, as well as societies orchestrator’s who failed to rectify the conditions that created this riot.

You see neurons are to the brain as we are to civilisation.

If ordinary people actually put in the effort to ensure that every single individual in the UK had a decent education, experienced an adequate child rearing process, had access to the resources they needed to experience a fulfilling existence then these riots would never have happened, simple as that.

So applying the same way of seeing things to other situations, when your daughter dies in a fire it's because ordinary people, perhaps you included, did not strive to ensure that buildings are made from fire resistant materials. When hundreds die in an earthquake its because citizens didn't make sure to quake proof their polis. When a murderer stabs someone it is either because the general population failed to ensure adequate psychological health facilities were in place to pre-emptively isolate the individual and then rectify his/her issues or that they failed to ensure that there was no economic incentive for the crime to be committed. The same can be said of most crime. Officials in both public and private institutions are corrupt because we allow incentives to exist that reward corruption. We also, on the whole, fail to keep watch over these officials and then let these officials get away with crimes we know they're committing. When we see mass unemployment, poverty and nothing but shitty jobs, its because we did not take control over the socio-economic system and ensure that the mechanisation of labour and the economic system benefits all rather than just a few.

So stop pointing the finger, you are to blame for the worlds problems, as am I, as are all who are of sound mind and who have lived long enough to have had enough time to seek the truth. I can't speak for us all but I for one intend to act, I wish to mobilise along with the rest of the Earth's population to rectify our failures, this is why I am Anonymous, this is our potential. If humanity is collectively responsible for its own problems then it must collectively become the authority that acts to resolve them.

This at the very essence of not only what I feel the Anonymous Party is about but also the whole Anonymous Bloc. Each and every one of us is responsible for the conditions of the global civilisation we are all a part of. We must all do our part to ensure that general human well being and the rate of our civilisations progression are at the peak levels of optimality. If we don't, we will never reach these levels and the awe inspiring future we seek will most likely never arrive in our life times, if ever at all.

To my mind, Anonymous represents the dawning of the realisation that every individual on this Earth is responsible for the way things are and that the only way we will ever have things go our way is if we each take action to ensure things do so ourselves.

So when bad crack happens offer help, but no sympathy, tell individuals what they and their community could have done to avoid a bad situation and what they should be doing to avoid any future catastrophe. If, as has happened innumerable times before, they don't listen, they only have themselves to blame.

Right now the catastrophe on the horizon, is martial law, 20,000 US troops are to be stationed in the US in the event of civil unrest, there is similar talk now here in the UK. A lot of it, most of it, from indignant ordinary citizens. We must make it clear this is not what we want, the lower classes must not divide against one another, we all need to realize that it is us, humanity as a whole, against those who do not want to see power and the rewards of progress distributed evenly.

We are legion and we have only just begun.

Expect us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"God Delusions", Hacktivism, and the FBI six months late to the party.

As CNET (and virtually every other able bodied news outlet) reported a few days ago, the FBI has announced the arrest of 16 individuals who were allegedly linked to "Operation Payback". As you may recall, Operation Payback was an AnonOps DDOS response to Paypal's refusal to process donations to the online activist group Wikileaks which started at the end of last year.

In response AnonymousIRC and Lulzsec released a statement to the FBI today, making it clear how not seriously they are taking statements from deputy assistant FBI director Steve Chabinsky. I won't rehash what was said here, so just click through the links if you need to get up to speed on this.

The part of all of this I find amazing is how utterly this series of events and it's responses flies in the face of what is really happening.

First off, Operation Payback was organized under an entirely different effort than #Antisec. Secondly, did it really take the FBI half a year to track down a janitor and a pizza shop employee (two examples of the 16 arrested) using "script kiddy" tools to participate in a DDOS attack?

Operation Payback required little in the way of hacking skill, apart from the ability to click a mouse, and yet the timeliness of these indictments and the #Antisec response to them are both a clear reality distortion field that the press at large seems to have missed entirely. For those of you who haven't thought this entire situation through lets step back a bit and examine the situation.

The PayPal DDOS, which was just a part of the larger focus of "Operation Payback" was a DDOS, or Distributed Denial Of Service attack, one of the most basic of attacks. A successful DDOS is all about bandwidth and numbers, and requires (in the case of individuals utilizing their own bandwidth against a network behemoth) a LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE PARTICIPATING. Far larger than 16 to be successful against a network giant like PayPal. And yet here we are six months later and the FBI proudly announces its progress in arresting less than two dozen people, all of whom seem to possess about as much hacking skill as your average Farmville whore? This is akin to the FBI going after Pablo Escobar and coming back with an indictment of that cousin of yours who wouldn't stop smoking weed and living on your couch, six months after he entered rehab and started working at Denny's. Is the press really this dense?

Curiously enough the combined #Antisec response I linked above sort of just played along with this, so as to have a reason to respond, and I'm sure the above facts were not lost on those guys at all as they lulz their way  to their next activity.

It is going to be an extremely unfortunate next few months for the 16 who have been arrested, as they are now the poster children for the FBI's effort at putting lipstick on a pig in it's "War on Cyberterrorism". They are the hacktivist equivalents of Jammie Thomas, the Minnesota mother who in 2007 was found liable and fined $1.5 million for allegedly using Kazaa to download 24 songs.

I interviewed Jammie Thomas in 2007 for a tech publication I worked for, and found her to be (after the fact) someone who was really on top of the ethical and legal morass she had found herself in. I only hope the victims of this latest legal farce will be able to come up to speed as quickly and effectively as she did. Nothing like being a scapegoat hunh?

The larger point I want to make is to those of us who might decide in future to participate in grassroots "hacktivism". Just be aware of the real risks before you decide to partake in a crusade of any kind. Most of the critical decisions in life are really just exercises in risk assessment, and it's best to do this with information, so that you're feelings are kept in check with reality.

As I've blogged about before on my personal blog, people are far more apt to do things that make them feel good about themselves regardless of whether or not what they are doing is actually doing any good. As one of my mentor's Penn Jillette said "If feeling good and wasting your time is a good idea, maybe heroin is for you."

That's not to say that I think people participating in grassroots hacktivism are stupid or wrong headed, not at all. It's just that I note over and over again in commentary how many of the participants in such endeavors are called "delusional", or accused of having "god complexes". The solution is simply to know, really know why you are a part of something. Be critical, skeptical, do the research, grow your awareness, and do so yourself outside of the influence of others (including me) before you "step aboard the lulzboat".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Where War Has Gotten Us - A Math Lesson

As we sit today wondering whether or not those in Congress and the Executive Branch of our government will sit down and decide what to do with our debt ceiling, just consider a few inconvenient truths, one only recently come to light thanks to Wikileaks.

We've been at war in the Middle East for twenty years now. A war propagated by neocons convinced that reshaping the Middle East was in the U.S. interest. Think this is conspiracy theory driven fallacy? The Wikileaks dump of over 400,000 diplomatic missives has certainly caused much in the way of public embarrassment for the U.S. and it's allies, but there are a few choice and damning tidbits, like how we gave Iraq the green light to invade Kuwait just to give us an excuse to brand Iraq a threat worthy of invasion.

What does this have to do with a budgetary crisis? Our own General Accounting Office still pegs military expenditure as roughly 20% of our annual budgetary expenditure. The problem with this lies in the accounting, because the GAO includes the Social Security Trust Fund as part of its budgetary calculation. Keep in mind the important but often forgotten fact that the SSTF is fed by FICA taxes and not Income Tax.

If we do a few things the budgetary problem becomes much different. If we take the SSTF, Social Security, and FICA off the table a very different picture emerges. And let's take the looming insolvency of the SSTF off the table for now. It is a concern, but not a pressing one in the immediate term.

If we do this and run the numbers against the U.S. Governments own accounting figures, the Military and all of it's obligations end up being around 54% of the annual expenditure. 54% of an expenditure where we are also borrowing roughly 40 cents on the dollar to pay for it.

So the question becomes, why are we at war?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Day The Universe Changed

(note: Apologies if this blog post comes across as some academic sociology/history lesson...this is how my mind works :P)

Pretty grandiose title there right? I use it symbolically, but there is also a practical reason why I choose it as the title of today's post. And to be clear, I'm totally plagiarizing the title from an old documentary series made by the scientific historian James Burke called amazingly enough “The Day The Universe Changed”. I encourage anyone with a dose of patience for the strangeness of deep history to watch it.

I watched this documentary series during its first go around, right when I was graduating high school twenty five years ago, and I've taken the lessons learned from this and other experiences to construct my way of thinking about the world.

Perhaps the most important lesson one can bring away from this series or indeed from any deep and critical study of history is that what we institutionalize as right, just, ethical, moral, or true are very malleable concepts.

Human beings are in a constant state of flux where we express our individuality and liberty, alongside our desire for systems, institutions, and rules. Which systems institutions and rules survive are entirely dependent on the desires of individuals expressed both individually or collectively. When systems arise that take for granted their very existence as systems and do so without taking into account the collective needs and desires of individuals within those system, those systems are either modified or abandoned entirely.

Again and again throughout history are examples of systems modified or abandoned for ones that not only work better, but work the way we collectively want them to work. And when these paradigm shifts occur the universe itself changes because our view of the world around us changes.

We've lived now for centuries taking for granted such vaulted concepts as liberty and representative democracy, and many of our views of these things have become quite powerful institutions in and of themselves. Individually and collectively we've also had for an equal amount of time the ability to be critical of such institutions. One need only look at the campaigns of our earliest presidents here in America to see how important an expressive role that the press had and has had over the centuries. But it's equally clear that the nature of things has changed somewhat from the time when we were a tiny collection of colonies in an underpopulated hinterland.

How does representative democracy work in a nation of 311 million people, when it was a concept originally developed to deal with transportation problems in ancient greek city states with populations nowhere near that? How does the citizen become an active participant in such a system in a country where only seven large corporations are responsible for all the news and information we receive? Take these concepts to a global scale now, given that things like borders and country mean less and less and eventually will mean nothing at all. How can we have investigative journalism, oversight, or any sort of watchdog activism in such an environment?

The only way people can make good decisions is to have good information. One can debate all day long what to do with information, but in a vacuum of information we cannot even do that. In many areas of our lives we rely on the transparency of good information, but we can only be assured of that transparency when the information itself is available for scrutiny.

To me, the Anonymous movement is precisely about the nature of information and its transparency. Rather than debate endlessly about where we all might stand politically about what we think about the world we live in, the focus should be on ensuring the transparency of information around us. Institutions live and thrive on their information, and that's all fine and well. But when such information becomes “secrets”, one must not only question the secrets themselves, but the reasons why they are secrets. In a process of critical inquiry secrecy is an anathema. The mere concept of secrecy implies that critical examination is not only unnecessary, it is undesirable.

The only way to reconcile this view against the critical and necessary exercise of logic and reason is to reject it entirely. In this information riddled age we live in, secrecy simply does not work. Not only because it limits the public's ability to know and make reasonable decisions, but also because of the dangers of insularity. Systems that do not embrace critical inquiry are ones that simply fail to work well, or work for any interests other than self interest. We have centuries of history showing us the obviousness of this conclusion.

As is the case throughout history, new inventions become fundamental catalysts for change, often in ways unforseen. From the wheel, to paper, to the printing press, to the rediscovery of geometry and countless other technologies this pattern repeats over and over again.

The internet, and the entire worlds reliance on it as a medium for social, political, and economic exchange is as pivotal an invention as any in human history, perhaps the most pivotal one. And the efforts of Antisec, Anonymous, Lulzsec, Wikileaks, and countless others funneling out of the woodwork as we speak are the tip of the iceburg in a sea change of the very nature of what it is to live on the third rock from the sun and to know what it is to exist.

It is, and as uncomfortable as every other shift in human history has come, the day the universe changed.

Responding to Aiguru.

Ok. While replying to Aiguru’s comment I ended up with another blog post more or less, so here it is. You can read the actual comment in the comments section of the blog post titled: Breaking into Politics: The Hydra.

What I meant by 'Injecting our way of doing things' actually doesn't change the political system ‘proper’ at all, at least, not unless we actually get a majority, then the people on the party websites could do pretty much what they want with politics in the territory under that parliament more or less. See, we'd be operating our way on the net, our house, and as far away from their way of operating as we can get away with in parliament, their house. (Whoooose house!?) Anonymous would use the net to decide how our ministers will act on our behalf before our representatives actually go into the parliament/senate, whatever, and do so. See what I mean? It might not be ideal early on for certain types of political structure where small parties struggle, but in nations with proportionate representation, smaller parties will have more influence. Anonymous represents a global front, and our approach should incorporate the whole spectrum.

I believe in the whole Op Payback/Anti-Sec approach, its performing a very important role in exposing the corruption and ineptitude inherent in the system. I may need to re-clarify that the Anon Party approach shouldn’t at all be about changing Anonymous or putting a stop to our current methods, I for one love them. But many people do not see that we're exposing corruption and ineptitude, they see it only as us threatening their cosy state of affairs. So we need as many ways as we can to reach people and have them all working alongside each other in concert.
The Anon Party should be just another facet of Anon working along with the rest, it absolutely shouldn’t be a replacement for the current methods used by Anonymous. Anti-Sec will grow and continue to get support from people attracted by that area. With any luck the Anon Party will get people who are attracted by their area. That is why I call this way of dealing with the wider picture 'the Hydra approach', it's lots of teeth coming from all angles and the Anon Party and the ‘hacker front’ of Anonymous are merely two sets of teeth. There are a lot of Anon supporters who feel that they're useless to Anonymous because they can't hack or reach where the activist action is in person and we must find all the ways we can to unleash their potential. So I agree, we need to grow and spread awareness and expand our member base, this is just another way we can do so.

What you say about millions having not yet expressed their opinions, well, when they are ready, they can join the party. It’ll be there for them as will the rest of Anonymous and they can then try and take things where they want. That's how Anon is, so, in my opinion, that's how the party should also be. See, most parties base what they’ll do on a structured manifesto and election promises, these things often get broken, and the party can’t be flexible when the situation changes without running into criticism, or when they do so they can get accused of being morally flexible when, well …they are. So the manifesto I advocate is we'll promise people the ability to take things where they want to take them and also offer a safe guard against the corruption that’s making things crap like they are now, all by utilizing this open source and transparent approach and then basically offering nothing else. I can’t really see how you could offer to represent the people anymore than by saying: ‘look, you tell our ministers and MP’s/senitors where to take things and they will follow your lead, if they deviate you can remove them from the party.’ For me that's an example of real democracy, as apposed to the: 'We vote once every few years then, you lot in power pretty much so what the hell you want' approach..

Though 'winning' via this method would be fantastic, it’s not necessarily entirely about winning elections. It's also about understanding their system, and feeling out how the corruption and everything else works. I mean, christ, we can then inform everybody about it in detail. If they change the laws or do whatever to stop us from operating in politics our way, we will forever be able to say: 'Look how corrupt they are, they even stopped us from playing ‘fair’.' So I disagree with what you say about not trying to understand these men in politics, I think it’s vital, they’re a part of the ‘system of control’ that common humanity needs to rise above. I understand how you feel that the part of Anon you’re familiar with may want nothing to do with this, but Anon is the whole internet, and many of us do want to test the water and see what happens. It’s not going to be as if we're pulling hackers from the front lines.

If they can't get rid of us, we'll be there, in there base, trolling their dudes, for a very long time, bringing the issues of the 21st century to the 19th century’s attention. I wouldn't expect immediate victory, thus immediate changes within the system, but I would expect growth as the number of people in the population that are actually with us in our 'era' also grows.

Thanks for the questions; I hope we can keep this all going.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breaking into Politics: The Hydra.

Thanks to Zorgarath for inviting me to post here.

I'd like to emphasis that the following article reflects my opinion and that in no way am I trying to speak for others in Anonymous.

Anonymous has a way of doing things that many people who have had at least some interaction with groups based on the internet can instinctively pick up on. However there are still too many people who struggle to understand how Anonymous functions. It’s incorporeal nature and complete lack of any hierarchy or any ordained structure makes it utter anathema to the worlds systems and organizations that most individuals have spent their lives trapped in. Most people in Anonymous who understand our anarchic ‘system of no big overriding system’ will know that that it is a precious and rare thing that needs to be kept alive because of the equality and means to action that it grants us. It is an obscured glimpse of a better world and for most it’s an integral part of our culture and identity …and we really don’t want that to be fucked with.

So for a lot of Anons when a video comes along saying that a bunch of other Anons are going to utilize a modified version of this structure, or perhaps break from it all together, to suit a new task their first reaction is: ‘ZOMG! They’re fucking with Anonymous! This needs to be stopped! They’ll ruin and change everything!’ Now gentlemen, relax, that thesis is flawed. Anonymous is made up of branches, vectors that vie for influence over the future, heads on a hydra, if you will. If a new head grows and becomes healthy and strong, the rest aren’t necessarily going to be effected negatively, on the contrary they will have a new set of teeth which will then assist them in devouring and processing the sheep of this world.

The way I see it, the Anonymous Party is going to be an Anonymous style organization to the core. Only it will be adapted to wedge into the gaps of the Earths archaic political systems. It represents a valuable opportunity for us to inject the Anonymous way of doing things into politics. It is an opportunity work out humanities political system’s by worming our way into them, obeying only what rules we have no choice but to obey, and then fucking with it all to suit our purposes. Its not hacking but it still has the hacker mentality all over it.

Many people have said: ‘This isn’t Anonymous at all. How can you have a party without leaders?’ My answer is swift: The Internet. Our party will be open source, and reliant on humanities greatest tool to keep it that way. Our candidates, senators, MP’s, ministers and, one can only hope, premiers and un prezidentes, will not be leaders at all, merely our puppets. The actions of party official’s and the structure of the organisation will be totally transparent and watched closely by Anonymous Party members from all corners of the Earth. Our official puppets will follow the Anonymous consensus, for example they won’t vote in a direction unless Anons are voting in that direction on their websites or they might not make a speech unless the transcript has more likes than dislikes. See where I’m getting at? If our representative’s act in a way that Anon’s disagree with, everyone will ensure they are removed from their place in the party and replaced.

So you see power is still delegated evenly between Anon’s just like in the rest of Anonymous. Bribes on the voices that grant us our power would be pointless as they won’t have any effect on what actions are taken unless, somehow, the majority of anarchic puppet masters behind the minister or whatever are also bribed. These puppeteers would also remain Anonymous so whoever is dishing out these bribes wouldn’t know our names or know how to find us anyway. So the party I advocate really puts power into the hands of its supporters, it’s also offers a safe guard from corruption. It’s a way of introducing direct democracy while cutting past the crap that takes years, of having to change anything legally. As for things such as disruptive bots and that program known as Metal Gear… I’m no advanced techie but many other Anons are, meaning, as usual, it’s highly likely that the collective wisdom of the Anonymous swarm will find a way to overcome these issues.

Collective wisdom > The wisdom of a few.

So you see, people in traditionally authoritative roles are not leaders at all within this party, they’re public servants of the Anonymous collective in the truest sense in that they are servants of the publics whim. They’re our voices, tools to push our collective agenda, tools to inject our way of operating into the system and hopefully eventually change it. We will do this to demonstrate that our methods work in areas beyond what those who aren’t up to date with human progress see as an organisation that is fundamentally flawed. This is usually only due to their feeling that it’s lacking any of the respectability and credibility that’s offered to shit that’s old. We need something that operates like a growth in the mainstream to try and reach these old fashioned throwbacks who are still strapped into the charade.

You know what? Our unfixed methods have already ran many rings around more traditional organisations in all other theaters Anonymous has operated in, so why can’t we beat the throwbacks in their political field as well? Yes, they have the money to fund campaigns and use the mainstream media, but Anonymous understands the internet, it is the internet, the alternative media is largely our realm and that’s where humanity is heading. Yes, the system is on their side and so are most of the sleeper sheep, mere domesticated humans awaiting their awakening into the Anonymous pack. But Anonymous has the awake and the intelligent, those that now refuse to be brought to heel like dogs. We also have a system of our own that need not necessarily be paid for, we each play our part voluntarily, we accept our responsibility to try and shape our own future.

We deny that we need our appointed nannies to decide our future for us, we are not dribbling infants. Yes our opposition have the illusion of credibility, but the rest of Anon and Wikileaks are shattering that illusion by exposing the truth that is: They lie and suffer greatly from ineptitude. Many of our lulz come at their expense; their swipes at the mist serve only to amuse the unseen spectre. So when you look at our opponent, don’t see the unassailable monolith that they’re blasting hundreds of $billions, potentially $trillions, trying to fool you they’ve built. Instead, see a tiny minority of mostly old men and their many dogs. These old men have been fazed by progress, frightened by our future. They’re afraid of us. Wire tapping, reading our emails, infiltration, false flags, media brainwashing, their pipe dream of an ‘internet kill switch’, anti-piracy. None of this is a sign of unassailable strength; this is cotton wool they’re using to block the holes of their sinking ship. It is only a matter of time before they sink. The questions are: Will it happen in your life time? Will our people be established and in a position of relative safety when it happens?

You’re efforts will decide the answers.

We are the Hydra attacking on all fronts, including the ones our opposition think they own.

We are the future.

We do not forgive. We do not forget.

Expect us.