Bombay Martini with a Rainbow Chaser

Yup, winter is over. I gather from seeing Game of Thrones memes that for fans of the series that saying’s never quite true, you just have two seasons: bodies don’t rot and bodies do rot. But here in BC (as opposed to AD or even AC/DC) it’s rainbow season, and that’s a good thing.

It’s a rather paranoia-making, creepy-ass thing when you take off from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and the mainland vanishes altogether in the mist mere moments after departure. Mountains and all. And them are some big-ass mountainry, I’m saying. It’s even more paranoia-making and creepy-ass when your large industrial ferry is tailed by rainbows all the way through Active Pass, whereupon they execute a 90 degree turn and follow you to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

And speaking of paranoia, why doesn’t Foursquare work on BC Ferries? Eh? Are they really some sort of extra-dimensional transport and the aliens have to block those servers lest we realize we’re really disembarking at a cunningly camouflaged space/ferry port on, say, a minor planet in the Alpha Centauri system?

It’s important to ask the right kinds of questions, in this crazy, mixed-up world. Seriously, when aliens are sending rainbows to trail us for all the world as if they were masterfully inconspicuous master spies…

We're er, tourists from Seattle, baby!

We’re er, tourists from Seattle, baby!

I mean, it’s like being tailed by a herd of airborne My Little Ponies. Honestly, look at this. Aliens! Bitches (or Assholes, as appropriate), please!

Double Sunset Rainbow & BC Ferry Spirit of British Columbia at Swartz Bay Terminal, Vancouver Island

Oh. Wait.

I know what this is.

They have had enough.

Just as in the Olden Time, meaning about the start of April in 2007, the Little People, and by that we do not mean anyone with a reality show about life on the farm, however awesome that show is (even if he IS kind of a dick), are preparing their return. Last time they were turned off by the overwhelmingly unscientific reaction, when the entire world rejected their very existence, physical proof and photos with POLICE EVIDENCE BAGS, HELLO! be damned.

The fairies are back. Prepare to be pixielated!

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We’re BAAAAAAAAAAACK!

me and the fairies, man. me and the fairies.

me and the fairies, man. me and the fairies.

And we will be back to our irregular posting schedule just as soon as I rid us of this heinous white space and bring back our beloved tentacles.

My jimmies, they remain serene.

OpFreeSnowden launches today

Snowden. Edward Snowden.

Snowden. Edward Snowden.

In an effort to bring greater awareness (if such a thing were possible) to the plight of now-stateless leaker Edward Snowden, Anonymous has announced #OpFreeSnowden, which takes the form of a Tweetstorm today, starting at 10am Pacific Standard Time. The stated objective, to “Take our PRIVACY BACK!” is clearly not going to be won by any action on Twitter, but in a propaganda war every little bit helps. The Tweetstorm package is designed and distributed in French and English, and signed by Anonym Hope and Anonymous Ekspct.

 

A scant handful of previous Anon-sponsored tweetstorms have been successful at trending globally, and with the widespread awareness of the Snowdon situation, this hashtag has as good a shot at the top as any Anonymous has ever launched. Clearly it will appeal only to those who support the ex-Booz Allen employee and his revelations of government spy programs, most famously PRISM and Tempora. There are no shortage of these; although surveys indicate the average American is content to give up the right to privacy for government surveillance, Americans also like a good David and Goliath story, and this one has one hell of a narrative.

 

EU nations banding together to pin the Bolivian ambassador’s plane and force it to land in Austria, on the off chance Snowden was aboard? No screenwriter would pen such a far-fetched scene. A marriage proposal from the most famous spy in the world? A legended white-haired hacker ensconced in an Ecuadorean embassy in deepest, darkest Knightsbridge, apparently pulling invisible strings? A flame-haired ingenue accompanying the leaker around the world and vanishing with him into the mysterious international zone at Moscow’s airport? And now, the internet’s most famous hacktivist hivemind, banding together to drive his name to the top of Twitter? Check, check, check and check.

 

The ground rules of a tweetstorm are simple: instead of retweeting the posts, you copy and paste them into your Tweet box, so that they seem to be original to you. Tweetstorms were developed in response to widespread Anonymous frustration that they could get hundreds of retweets but never, ever make it to the Trending list. With copy/pasting, they can. If you can’t think of anything to say but want to support the hashtag, they’ve already gone ahead and made up some tweets; some quotes from Snowden’s interviews, some simply statements of support. You’re allowed to make your own original tweets in a tweetstorm, the Tweetstorm Police won’t throw you off the hashtag, but the concept of repetition is important to the strategy: in marketing they say it takes nine exposures to make an impression, and Anonymous is counting on the power of repetition to get noticed.

 

What difference that makes to the fate of Edward Snowden, or the American people, remains to be seen. This is far from the last item in Anonymous’ bag of tricks.

DramaSec: unintended side-effects

The fearsome Goofy Elk

The fearsome Goofy Elk

One of the unintended side-effects of staring too long at a DramaSec op (previously known as Dramz, Flamewars, or Fucking Pointless Internet Drama Put Your Big Girl Panties On And Cut It Out FFS) is the contagion of the Derp Factor.

You have been warned.

Christopher Dorner: The New Guy

Dapper Fawkes

Dapper Fawkes

Hero. Revolutionary. Soldier. Assassin. Loser.

Guy Fawkes? Or Christopher Jordan Dorner?

#Dorner killed two civilians. But the State is making it about much more than that. This is a message about social control. #wakeup”
L3ft-Libertarian

Mainstream media and the general public reacted with understandable consternation to the news that Anonymous, or at least parts of the famously fractious internet hive mind, adopted accused spree killer the now-late Christopher Dorner as a new icon, a rallying point if not a hero. Dorner, a former University football star, LAPD officer and Navy pilot, was on the run from the police and accused of killing three people when he died of a single, allegedly self-administered gunshot as police burned the cabin in which he was hiding to the ground. A million-dollar bounty had been put on his head, and in a contentious move the government authorized the use of drones to locate, if not assassinate, him, one of the first times drones have been used against American citizens on American soil.

“One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.”
Jeremy Hammond

Dorner’s fame stems not primarily from his actions, but rather from his powerful manifesto shared on Facebook in which he stated his intention to kill as many police officers as he could, in what he said was revenge for institutionalized racism among the LAPD and the way he himself was victimized. His first two claimed victims, however, were guilty of nothing more than being related to an officer who had drawn his ire. Meanwhile, the LAPD seemed like a more-malevolent Keystone Kops, having failed to located Dorner, mistaking two little old ladies for the so-called “Chocolate Rambo” and firing on them.

“Anyone else feel like the safest place to hide from LAPD gun fire is directly behind dorner? @YourAnonNews #Dorner #LAPD
TheRaven

At first glance, Dorner seems little different from many another political revenge killer, from Andrew Kehoe to George Sodini: above average intelligence, good training, strong work ethic, and a powerful moral center. A man, in short, with every reason to expect success in life, who nonetheless tragically failed at the goal closest to his heart, and snapped as a result. For Dorner, it was a career as an LAPD officer.

For Guy Fawkes, it was bringing about a Catholic revolution in Protestant England by blowing up Parliament.

Unlikely icons for any movement, however splintered and self-contradictory, but it is their very failure which makes them eligible for the role.

“Guy Fawkes, as far as Anon is concerned was chosen because he failed. Fight Club is much closer to Anon’s culture. If people wonder whether Anon supports Dorner (no, just the LAPD meltdown) because of Guy Fawkes, G.F. was always a joke. What’s clear here: the subtext. Drones, fear, Erin Burnett the shark jumping drone hawk, this is like with Kony: war mind games, the whole lot of it. We cut thru dog and Kony show early on. Same here. Dorner is LAPD’s karma. Guy Fawkes a failure.”
Hectoring Hegemon

Anonymous’ public “face” was once a faceless stick figure cartoon known as Epic Fail Guy, a self-deprecating identifier for 4chan members, a group which at the time largely saw itself as basement dwelling wankers. But awesome basement-dwelling wankers. Anonymous emerged from 4chan, essentially evolving into its internet pranking arm. Not long after his creation, Epic Fail Guy stumbled across a Guy Fawkes mask, put it on, and the rest is history. Truly: English history.

Once OpChanology, the in-person protests against Scientology, was initiated in 2008, Anons needed a way to identify themselves as Anons while hiding their faces, and facelessness of the shiny green morph suit (another 4chan/Anon favorite) was not accessible to many people. The Guy Fawkes mask was chosen because, thanks to the anarchist (originally anti-Thatcherite) movie V for Vendetta, it was both affordable and ubiquitous worldwide. Revolutionary echoes handed down from Fawkes himself added to its appeal, as long as you didn’t look at the history too closely; however, the semiotics of the mask were actually directed at Scientology, intended to brand it a failure. Fawkes, after all, had to replace his gunpowder stock when the first stash deteriorated, failed in his attempt to get Spain to invade England or support his revolution, failed at this ultimate attempt to take out Parliament, and at last succeeded in killing himself. Score one for the revolutionary.

Instead of registering as a symbol of “Fail,” the heroic/outsider aspects of the mask were taken to heart by the public at large (who had no knowledge of 4chan’s history) and ultimately by Anonymous itself, which is not immune to the warm fuzzies given to our cultural icons. It’s better to be a lost, noble cause than a basement-dwelling wanker, no?

Remember: Epic Fail Guy = failure. Guy Fawkes = failure. Christopher Dorner?

A colleague and friend of Dorner’s was interviewed on KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio, and claimed the benefit of small-A anonymity, calling himself “Ben.” When asked why, he said, “I have an interest in raising my children. Someone might have an animus against me for speaking the truth, and that’s what I don’t want to happen.” And that is what Chris Dorner was talking about.

A new Facebook manifesto, written by former LAPD officer Joe Jones, has surfaced, and echoes many of the accusations of racism and nepotism that Dorner made. Jones, however, repeatedly stresses that taking lives is not the answer, is never the answer, and is clearly not about to “go rogue.” Respect for the rule of law is currently unfashionable, and is insufficiently controversial to make Jones a renegade hero, however much courage was involved in speaking out with honor about dishonorable truths.

Was anyone, ever, willing to put money on Dorner’s achieving the goals of his manifesto? To eliminate institutional racism in the United States, to retroactively win his police hearing, to clear his name, and yet to simultaneously die while killing as many LAPD officers as he could? Would he ever have been embraced, even conditionally, if people truly believed that there were any chance of his ultimate success? People prefer dead (or obviously doomed) martyrs to live, inconvenient revolutionaries. They are easier to incorporate into political narratives. They are less likely to repudiate their earlier beliefs.

They are simply more convenient.

Christopher Dorner the man had already passed into legend long before his mountain hideout was surrounded and burned.

“Whatever pre-planned responses you have established for a scenario like me, shelve it. Whatever contingency plan you have, shelve it. Whatever tertiary plan you’ve created, shelve it. I am a walking exigent circumstance with no OFF or reset button.

The only thing that changes policy and garners attention is death.”
Christopher Dorner

“The real story here is that methods of oppression by our corpos are now coming home. From PERF to drones, we. let. it. happen.”
Hectoring Hegemons

But when it comes to what Hunter Thompson used to call the shitrain it’s always easier to watch a movie than to look in a mirror.