Operation Global Media Domination: The Barrett Brown Situation

Barrett Brown Busted

Barrett Brown Busted

That glum-looking fellow is Barrett Brown: author, journalist, YouTube extraordinaire (really), Anonymous member, and fameball. At that moment, he had plenty to look glum about, having been arrested on a small sampler pack of charges which quickly grew into a basket-crushing potential 110 years in prison for, essentially, shooting off his mouth on YouTube and passing along a link in an IRC. He’s been in pretrial custody with no bail for nearly a year, and he’s about to go to actual real trial as opposed to pretrial hearings, about which we’ve all heard too much lately, particularly if we’ve also been following Jeremy Hammond and Sabu, which we have. For a living.

Yeah, not exactly what the guidance counselor suggested in high school as a career choice, but oh well.

I’ve covered his case(s) several times for the Daily Dot and this blog, and today there was a hearing to decide if the actual trial would be the subject of a media blackout; in other words, Barrett is prevented from speaking to the media about any aspect of his case, or even any topic that might touch on it. Of course it went through, but of interest to certain inwardly-focused-lately bloggers the defence presented a strong rebuttal which included a list of the influential articles by and about BB.

And guess who wrote two of them?

Arrested Anonymous Activist Barrett Brown Sends Letter from Prison

Anonymous Spokesman Barrett Brown Faces New Charges

So, on the one hand it’s good to be a part of this. On the other hand, it sucks that the motion was successful and that BB now has to live in the most unnatural-to-him condition of all; the condition of not conveying information. A lot of people have wanted to silence him for a very long time.

Coincidentally (???) WikiLeaks released new SpyFiles, carrying on Brown’s Project PM work of watching the watchers. Nice timing there, Assange.

In unrelated-but-still-work news, it appears that the Syrian Electronic Army isn’t happy just going after news organizations, but is now going after individual reporters who report on them, even favorably. I got a solid tip that a journalist whom I will not name has had some trouble with relentless attempts to control his Twitter account, and of course I’ve been getting increasing numbers of phishing emails for months now, along with the occasional romantic advance from an African woman on Facebook. Today I found some spammer had managed to put yet another Event on my Gcal, which is just, let’s face it, annoying even when a) the time for the pseudo event (“lets be freinds”)  is already past b) I’m a Vancouverite and therefore my solid commitment to attend an event is zero indication of whether or not I will actually attend.

And, just to up the wordcount, I’m going to copy/paste some material that was cut from my article today. Gee, can’t think why.

Anonymous is having a Hamlet-like crisis of conscience over OpSyria, and there is a significant chance that it will end up costing actual human lives, however it’s decided in the end. We spoke to blackplans, a spokesperson for OpSyria, about what Anonymous has, what it will use, and why (for once) they are sitting on something which could very well literally destroy their enemies.

NYPA. The four most important letters in Anonymous stand for: Not Your Private Army, and they remind everyone that the so-called Internet Hate Machine is an unruly, anarchic collective that cannot be pointed like a gun at any target that takes someone’s fancy. Any Operation has to attract and retain enough committed, talented, and energetic people to accomplish its goals, which is why “totally getting back at that kid who was, like, mean to me once” is never going to become an Op.The decision-making process at Anonymous is messy, time-consuming, and self-selecting; if not enough good people show up, the Op fizzles and subsides and the people move on. It’s a natural, if messy process. But once you’ve got good people, they’ve staked out their targets, they’ve made their attacks, and you’ve got the MacGuffin (documents proving identity, control of a database, a botnet that can DDoS a website into oblivion, or as in OpSyria’s case: all of the above) there is rarely a moment of hesitation. You dump that file, you paste that dox, you fire your lazorz, and then you stick a press release on Pastebin and sit back and laugh as the victim flails helplessly.

Not this time. Here’s what is going down, and why, at OpSyria.

As we reported Tuesday, OpSyria, the anti-Assad operation which includes members of Anonymous along with some non-Anons, claims to have proof of the identities of five key players in the Syrian Electronic Army. Exposing those people, particularly if they happen to be located outside of Syria, would almost certainly mean their targeting and eventual death at the hands of anti-Assad forces, whether the rebel Free Syrian Army or a foreign government that involves itself in the Syrian civil war (as the US may do).

This isn’t hanging out with your friends in front of a Scientology center singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It isn’t sitting in your Mom’s basement DDoSing the Pope’s website.

Shit is very, very real.

[at this point you can go to the article to see the majority of the interview. The below and the above were not included]

Blackplans: I have been told to tell we also have evidence of collusion between personnel of the Syrian Embassy in Bucharest and a member of the SEA who resides in Romania. We have found statements by him online to this effect. “I work most of the interrogation .. figures Syrian embassy in Romania in front of you online. Call and ask.” Apologies for the poor translation, this was in response to allegations of disloyalty from another senior SEA member.

Oh, and I will just leave this here…

http://twitter.com/blackplans/statuses/374984867995717632

[presumably they don't feel so bad about alerting Romania to the possible presence of the SEA operative(s) in their midst. I asked for more details and was told no, they couldn't give them to me without completely doxing the person, and they didn't want to do that. I suppose they just wanted to fire a shot across the bow of the SEA as a show of power]

————————————————————————————————————————–

There you have it: An Operation combining Anonymous and anonymous non-Anons is in possession of information that governments around the world have been pursuing for months. If they use it, those people will almost certainly die. If they don’t use it, what was the point of the Operation? To get to the point of pulling the trigger, and then to walk away instead? In a world at war, whether officially or unofficially, that is power beyond that of the state, of any Nation State. Are they ready for it? Is the world ready for it? Is this the end of the SEA as an entity, or will they double down on Assad and strike back somehow at a headless, faceless, stateless anti-organization? And what will they, or their enemies, do to those whose exposure has threatened the SEA itself, whether that information is revealed publicly or not?

It’s not too much to say that the fate of this not-officially-declared-yet cyberwar rests in the hands of Anonymous and its allies. And they do not leave fingerprints.

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Vince in the Bay Podcast: Disorderly Conduct – Hammond Plea Deal

Save Jeremy Hammond

Save Jeremy Hammond

Tonight I was a guest (one of a mob, really) on the Vince in the Bay radio podcast, talking about the Jeremy Hammond plea deal that was announced today.I didn’t do too badly, considering I haven’t slept since Sunday. Once again I think how nice it is to talk with people who don’t jump out of their skins when you talk about the coming revolution. Although it’s doubtful some of the more conservative people I work with will be thrilled to the very core of their beings at some of what I said. Take a listen to me, Vince, Subverzo, allshiny, Andrew “Panda” Blake, ShadowDXS, FuxNet, Hammurabis Code, Nicole Powers, Neal Rauhauser, and shokufeyesib.

If you want to see what the back row of the audience looks like at a podcast, you can scroll through the chatroom log. Enjoy?

Jeremy Hammond’s Bail Hearing Record

Keanu knows

Keanu knows

LulzSec hero Jeremy Hammond had his bail hearing (denied) last week, and now the transcript has been uploaded to Issuu, so here it is. Sixty-five pages, but they seem to be mostly about half full, so it’s not as intimidating as it seems.

And here’s video from the press conference once it was revealed that the judge’s husband is a Stratfor client (Stratfor, as you may know, was allegedly hacked by LulzSec, a circumstance which may lend some skepticism to the concept of a fair and impartial trial).

Noisemaker Rally for Jeremy Hammond, November 19th UPDATE: Nov 20th instead

Save Jeremy Hammond

Save Jeremy Hammond

UPDATE: The bail hearing was moved to Tuesday at 11, so the rally has been moved as well, to Tuesday at 10. Everything else remains the same.

Here’s the word straight from his step-mom’s mouth:

OK WE HAVE A NEW TIME AND DATE FOR THE HEARING: The date is Tuesday 11/20 and the time is at 11am. We will meet at Foley Square at 10am and head to courtroom 12A. Can I please get a like from the people who are going to confirm this. I was told that it is likely that the courts are changing the dates to minimize the number of people attending the hearing. DO NOT LET THEM BEAT US!

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time (and if you haven’t, just nod your head as if of course, who hasn’t been following all along?) you’ll know that my day job, usually performed between the hours of 7pm and 6am, is that of a journalist, freelancing at the Daily Dot, Slate, and elsewhere, as well as the Manolosphere (when I’m not AWOL with the flu, sorry boss!). I’m supposed to have a certain degree of objectivity while performing my job, but there are entire minutes of the day when I am not performing (or even procrastinating) my job, and I may make completely subjective statements such at the following:

Jeremy Hammond is a fucking hero whose only crime was fucking up an FBI entrapment operation he had no particular reason to know existed. If I had a son or daughter, I would hope they’d turn out like him. I hope, put to the test, that I would as well.

What is alleged is that when LulzSec (remember LulzSec? You should, people will be reading about them in history books in the future) hacked private security and intelligence company Stratfor, Sabu, the de facto leader, who was also secretly working for the FBI (stories about hackers have a lot of conditionals: phrases, morals, you name it), attempted to entrap WikiLeaks into paying for the secrets, which would have been a whole bundle of felonies. Hammond allegedly said (quite rightly) “Fuck that shit” more or less, “We didn’t hack this for money, we did this because it’s the right thing to do,” and allegedly handed the leaks to WikiLeaks for free, blowing the FBI‘s plan out of the water.

As the FreeAnons site says,

There is ample evidence to show that the Stratfor hack was organized, planned, and orchestrated by the FBI, through the agency of Hector Monsegur, [Sabu] for the expressed purpose of entrapping alleged Anonymous hacktivists. We understand that Jeremy’s years of organizing for social justice show him to clearly possess a more noble character than that of his accuser, Hector Monsegur, best known for hacking into the website of an online casino and using his former employer’s credit card in 2010 to make $15,000 in unauthorized purchases. These things clearly show that Monsegur is not a reliable witness or person of good moral character.

November 19th Hammond, who has been held for months without a hearing, will finally be given a bail hearing. Supporters are calling for all like-minded people to attend, in Anonymous wear if they prefer, at a noisemaking rally and then in court. You can indicate your attendance on Facebook or simply show up. Here are the details:

9:15 am, Monday, November 19th, 2012, ie one week from today

Foley Square, Manhattan

On the 19th of November 2012, the Jeremy Hammond Support Network will sponsor a rally in NYC at Jeremy’s bail hearing to show support for the accused hacktivist. Friends and supporters of Jeremy Hammond will gather at Foley Square for a brief march to the Metropolitan Correctional Center where we will pack the courtroom in solidarity with Jeremy Hammond.

We wish to make clear our intent to peacefully fill the courtroom. We are there to support Jeremy and the more people that actually make it into the court

room the better. We have been told that in the past individuals have been denied access to the court for wearing Anonymous-related emblems. Jeremy wishes to make it clear that he encourages people to wear their Anonymous gear if they so wish.

The event will be covered live on irc.anonops.com #freeanons via sms-irc, courtesy of the the Freeanons Solidarity Network (www.freeanons.org).

If your support doesn’t extend to physical presence, taking the day off work, or you’re not handy to Manhattan (as I, myself, am not), you can support Jeremy Hammond and other incarcerated Anons by:

If you have the mailing address for any incarcerated Anons, you can post them in the comments below. And no, I’m not trying to get your IP. I assume all Americans still use AOL anyway.