The End

Stephen Hill

Stephen Hill by April Smith of AHA Media

The world has lost a great man. Well, two counting Nelson Mandela, but you’ve already read his obituary somewhere, so there’s no need to review.

I’m talking about my friend Stephen Hill.

When I was 16 my sister burst into my bedroom first thing one morning and announced, “Wake up. John Lennon and Grandpa are both dead.” This feels much like that day.

You most likely don’t know Stephen. Yet. And if you don’t know Stephen, there’s one thing I know about you: You are not from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Neither was Stephen, actually, as you can tell from the below video, where he introduces the film With Glowing Hearts (of which he was a major financial supporter) to an audience comprised of motley crew of digital rock stars, renegade filmmakers, citizen journalists, activists, and the homeless (dress code the same for all of the above, except the activists are the ones wearing Blundstones). He did make it his own. He was One of Us.

Sounds like Alan Fucking Rickman addressing Noah’s Ark.

Only in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside could a white heckler interrupt a white speaker in front of a 90% white audience in a university named after a Scot to insist that the speaker acknowledge the speech was taking place on stolen First Nations land, and only Stephen Hill could roll with it like that.

Speeches are not easy to write or deliver, and very difficult to write and deliver well.

Eulogies are harder.

Here’s a good one. Stephen wrote it.

Here is another, about a different man. Stephen‘s brother wrote it. Stephen would expect me to snark at the fact that it’s not on WordPress; he’d be disappointed if I didn’t. I don’t like to disappoint Stephen, so: Blogspot? Really???

To get to know Stephen on paper, which is where he’d be more comfortable being known, is impossible now thanks to disposability, but you can come to know him in pixels, which always made him nervous, by looking through his CV, which he made in the (telling) form of a Community Walk map, a format which combines spatial relationships with textual and visual context. He believed very strongly that we exist at all times in intimate relation with our surroundings, and that our physical paths and environments are our life’s journey in more than merely the mundane way. His bone-deep connection to the concept of community was apparently nurtured in his school; they were both lucky to find one another.

On the Downtown Eastside Stephen worked as an employment counselor in his official capacity, and as an inspiration, firebrand, organizer, activist, and icon in his real life. He was everywhere, behind the scenes, generally helping those behind the scenes prevent the scenery from falling over. If I was at a protest or large event and I couldn’t find him, I’d just ask if anyone had seen “the posh Englishman,” and they’d all go “Oh, Stephen‘s over there!” and there he’d be, directing a crew of neophyte sound engineers plucked from the lunch room of the Carnegie or listening to an Elder tell stories of her childhood in a residential school, stories she’d never told a white man before.

Speeches are hard. I’ve made many speeches myself, often about the successes of my students from the Downtown Eastside, but I have a confession to make: they were all Stephen‘s protegees first. Citizen journalist April Smith was part of the Fearless City project which Stephen more or less badgered me into joining (so blame him, Irwin!). Henry Doyle the poet was a regular at Gallery Gachet, and a client of Stephen‘s at the Job Shop. All I did was provide a sort of finishing school for the forces of nature which they are, and which Stephen had helped them to recognize and harness. He was the one picking winners or, to be honest, building them seemingly from scratch sometimes, and convincing them they could win if given the right tools, which he taught them how to build or obtain for themselves. Not for nothing did he win Mentor of the Year from his peers.

He was also a terrific music snob, and I mean that in both senses of the word. No matter what your insidery music story, he could generally casually top it, trying not to show that it mattered to him, but the stories were so good they simply mattered intrinsically. The time Elvis Costello played an acoustic set in his living room, for instance. One wall of his office was covered with a web of steel wires and in this web hung a grid of albums: vinyl only, of course, for visual impact and also because vinyl > CD 4 eva. I knew I’d registered with him in more than a dutiful counsellor way when I rambled on about Year Zero in a meeting and the next week he had removed an old Blues album and put NIN in its place.

He hated NIN, really. That’s how I knew for sure.

In his eulogy for his friend Nigel he said:

Half my vinyl record collection is still made up of often obscure titles which Nigel liked and therefore I did too.

I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many of my albums were given to me by Stephen, who would not rest when he found out I had only Elvis Costello’s Greatest Hits and not Spike or any of the other “good ones, the ones you can’t buy here.” Or how many I bought because he’d mentioned the bands and how many hours I spent on YouTube particularly, trying to do my musical homework before the next meeting. He supplied the best songs on the Soundtrack for Occupy Vancouver, and I know that he donated at least two tents and two sleeping bags, which he’d gone out and purchased new just for Occupy.

God damn him, he even made me like twee hipster troubadors Arcade Fire, although it was their acoustic version of Guns of Brixton, and of course he told me all about the concert hall it was recorded in, as he probably spent more time there than at home for much of the 70’s. We spent a good hour or so discussing this song in the context of Boris Johnson‘s previous essay in which he pined for actual riots instead of quiet ones, now that BoJo had become mayor of London and had gotten (got?) his riots after all.

This, though. This is the most typical Stephen Music Story. It comes from the eulogy that he wrote for his old school friend Nigel Graves.

Then new wave appeared just before we began to part – a Christmas Eve Roundhouse concert featured ‘Eddie and the Hot Rods’ and we were so drunk and otherwise empowered by ‘Do anything you wanna do’ that on the way home we gave all our money to the striking firemen; working class politics indeed.

Here’s his musical scrapbook for July of 1969 alone. God, doesn’t that look exhausting?

This way of being we were creating included embracing contradictions and not toeing any one line. It was indeed possible to love Beowulf and Steppenwolf at the same time and with the same intensity.

You didn’t have to believe that you had to be this or that, you could be this and that. I carry this catholic view of passions, beliefs and ideas with me still, and in a world with increasing pressure to conform I will always be well pleased and plain relieved that early in our lives, with each others help, we were able to be true free thinkers.

I suppose one thing we learned together was to be ourselves; it’s funny how you often need someone else to help with that.

And that’s what he made his life’s work: to help others to find, and be, themselves.

I’m tempted, very tempted, to make a comparison between the Old Boys of his school, who are called Old Gowers or OGs for short, and the more widespread contemporary understanding of “OG” but I won’t, because it is just one of those overreaching, ridiculous, vulgarly amusing things that would bring the familiar pained, forbearing expression to Stephen‘s face and the eyes rolling heavenward, and we all do hate to disappoint Stephen.

He knew. He knew and he didn’t tell us, any of us.

He left Vancouver a year and a half ago, saying that he was going back to London to be with his mother while she was still here, and I had a few email conversations with him after that: he was living on a converted barge, tied up on the Thames somewhere far out of the centre of things for cheap moorage, which was the only way civilized people Bohemians could afford to live in London any more. I saw him just before he left, running into him at the Waves which served as a sort of community centre for everyone who was just well off enough not to have to hang out at the Carnegie, or on the sidewalk. We talked for a bit, and although we never talked about trifles (we usually talked about music, literature, politics, or other people) just what we talked about escapes me, but there is one thing I remember. He was silent for a moment, which is how you knew something big was coming, and then he looked at me and said, “There are a lot of people who you meet, and you get on fine and eventually go your separate ways, and that’s that. You don’t think anything about one another after that. But there are some people who go further. Some people who really care. People who give you the sense that you really matter to them, they’ll remember you, and you them. They stick with you. And that matters.” And then he couldn’t say any more but just hugged me. And I thought he was just going back to London and I’d see him for the Million Mask March on November 5.

I wonder if he made it to the march.

He died of scleroderma at the end of November.

Now is the time for that overreaching, ridiculous, vulgarly amusing thing without which this eulogy would not be complete. Because I could never stand to leave a meeting without giving Stephen a chance to show off his long-suffering basset hound look (it was a thing of beauty and a joy forever, and that’s another thing we took great pleasure in disagreeing about; my persistent dismissal of Byron and Shelley as second-rate pained him, but he had to admit he couldn’t trump my pair of Wordsworth/Keats).

This comes from a letter from the American political prisoner Jeremy Hammond, imprisoned for the next ten years for performing the Stratfor hack, releasing to WikiLeaks thousands and thousands of emails which came to be known as the Global Intelligence Files, and shining a light on the dark underbelly of the for-profit infosec world. It reminds me of Stephen for many reasons. He knew I drank coffee, he knew that I loathed the standard weak, cheap office coffee that his office supplied, and he believed, as all Englishmen do, that all right-thinking people should drink tea, preferably without milk. Stephen‘s esteem mattered so much to me that in meetings with him over the years I must have drunk enough black tea to float the Bluenose, even though black tea without milk gives me nausea. I never mentioned it. I would never have disappointed him by asking for milk. Four years, five years, how many years, and I never mentioned it.

Here is the kicker, courtesy of Jeremy Hammond, Prisoner #18729-424, MDC Brooklyn. In the last email exchange we ever had, I told Stephen that when he was being sworn in at his plea hearing, Jeremy had raised his hand in a power salute instead of laying it on the bible. And at roll call at lockdown, when his name was called instead of saying “Yes” or “Here” or whatever people in prison usually say, Jeremy yelled out, “LET MY PEOPLE GO.” Got solitary for it, too. I bet Stephen liked that story.

Come to think of it, I wonder if my Julian Assange crush springs from the fact that for years he had exactly the same hair as Stephen. Hm.

But to the punchline!

Why do anarchists drink instant tea?

Why do anarchists drink instant tea?

Actually, I think I heard that from Stephen first.

Stephen Hill doesn't let it get him down

Stephen Hill doesn’t let it get him down

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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.

OpVendetta Roundup: November 5 hacks, defaces, tricks, and dox

 

OpVendetta

OpVendetta by Jason Reeve Photography on Flickr

Remember, remember the Fifth of November. Which you should, as it was only last night.

While much of the world was asleep, at work, or filling out forms in an unemployment office, Anonymous was busy around the world hacking, doxing, defacing, and even marching IRL (In Real Life). And, as always, assorted others were busy making mischief and blaming it on Anons. As Hell opens its mouth and releases its demons on Halloween, as well-kept households sweep out the accumulated dust of the winter in spring cleaning, so Anonymous on November 5 releases all manner of flotsam, jetsam, and doxam of the internets, regardless how monumental, or otherwise. I’ve rounded up the most prominent actions of the last 24 hours.

VMware sourcecode

This proprietary code was leaked November 4 North American time, and confirmed by the company itself in a hastily-issued advisory which pointed out the code leaked dated to 2004, and encouraged users to update their software.

28,000 Paypal ID’s and passwords leaked

A very splashy leak indeed, the money shot of November 5, this sent thousands of netizens scuttling to their keyboards to hastily change their passwords. Very wise; however, this turned out to be a high-profile fakeout, as it was actually data from Zpanel instead, a open source web hosting control panel. It’s never a bad idea to change your passwords anyway. The original paste links are all down now.

ImageShack and Symantec leaks

These were real, although picture hosting site ImageShack no longer cuts quite the swathe it did in its heyday. The actual databases and code were leaked in an enormous paste which also included personal dox. Somewhat more serious for Symantec, an anti-virus, anti-malware personal security provider than for ImageShack. This and the ZPanel hacks were claimed by Hack The Planet, a group which has often been in opposition to Anonymous. They released an enormous “zine” of leaks, which they had apparently been saving for some time.

Law Enforcement Credit Card Leaks

A cornucopia leak collecting Columbian prison emails, Stratfor Latin American intelligence leaks, and alleged law enforcement officer credit card details appeared on the http://sprunge.us/ site. Coincidentally (?) all the credit cards expire this month. No harm no foul, eh?

Anonymous vs NBC

Indeed, something took NBC’s video site offline early in the morning, and credit, such as there may be, was quickly claimed by someone named “pyknic,” but the connection to Anonymous is tenuous. The deface specifically referenced Anonymous and the 5th of November, but Anonymous has no known beef with NBC. The same hacker defaced Lady Gaga site Gaga Daily for a short time.

Defacing Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Turkish, and Australian Websites

No particular reason was forthcoming for the multiple attacks on Peruvian websites, but Australia has been in Anonymous’ sites since its Prime Minister labeled Aussie Julian Assange a “criminal,” and its privacy campaigners are some of the most assertive in the world, in contrast to a government which seeks greater control and surveillance. Defaces included many government sites as well as SharpCopiers.com.au. Ecuador has famously offered asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but that didn’t save it from a half-dozen defacements and outages. In Turkey, the site for the national justice system was taken offline for an indeterminate period today. RedHack has been a very active Turkish branch of Anonymous, and as of this writing the Turkish state railroad site is still defaced.

Canadians getting angry

I know! How likely is that? But #StopHarper and #OpPartyCrasher were a real thing, if only moderately effective. Striking back at Canada’s Conservative government for what many see as draconian privacy invasion, they took victoews.ca offline for several hours (he was the MP who sponsored the most contentious laws) and attempted to DDoS the website of the Finance Minister, which they claim they took offline for 3.25 hours. CanadiAnons were also encouraged to flood the communication lines of Blake Richards, who sponsored a bill making it illegal to wear a mask during a protest or riot.

UK Department of Defence passwords leaked

Again, real. But not Anonymous per se: this was done and claimed by Nullcrew, a separate hacker group, and released on AnonPaste, the leak platform hosted by Par:AnoIA. Was it really an “easy as fuck SQL injection” that got this info? “Your webmaster made a terrible mistake… You may criticize us on the simplicity of the vulnerability. But if you can get so much useful data so easily, why wouldn’t you? We hope that all governments and organizations realize that #FuckTheSystem is definitely not a joke.”

Anonymous vs Zynga, Facebook, and Karl Rove

Alas, despite massive PR buildup, this was a complete squib. Nothing whatsoever happened to any of the three today. Other than that bitch that unfriended you (oops, spoiler!).

Database leak of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

This broke on the Par:AnoIA site today, an apparent database breach of the purportedly high-security OSCE. The statement says, “The material was presented to us to bring attention to the attempted election manipulation in the Ukraine, with which numerous observers concur.

LG Smartworld hack

A very real hack, although it’s not clear what possible advantage could be gained by hacking an appliance app company. If your toaster sasses you this morning, blame these guys.

Alan Moore releases song for Occupy

Nobody saw this coming, but it did. Alan Moore, author of Anon-inspirational text V for Vendetta, released a single in support of the Occupy movement. It’s called “The Decline of English Murder

TYLER

Anonymous’ touted peer-to-peer, censorship-free platform has apparently entered beta-testing, although with something as opaque as TYLER it’s hard to tell what that actually means.

OpVendetta Trending

The Anonymous hashtag for November 5 operations trended globally and locally according to this map passed along by Cypherpunks.

OpVendetta IRL

Anonymous’ premiere event, OpVendetta, was a real life homage to the finale of Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta. Thousands of mask-wearing Anons marched on the Houses of Parliament in London, in a simple show of solidarity and power. Lowballers set the attendance at a mere 200, and boosters set it at “over 9000,” but photos, along with more credible onsite reports estimated about 2000 real life V’s converging on Westminster at 8pm, the fateful hour of November 5. Neither explosions nor fatalities were reported. The press release said, “This is the centrepiece of a worldwide Anonymous operation of global strength and solidarity, a warning to all governments worldwide that if they keep trying to censor, cut, imprison, or silence the free world or the free internet they will not be our governments for much longer.Change is coming.”

Whether or not the world is any different today…well, that’s up to all of us.

I’ll just leave this here

I hear this all the damn time

I hear this all the damn time

A 500% (PERCENT!) increase in incarceration rates over the past thirty years. But don’t sweat it. You keep your head down. You focus on your work. You do what you’re told.

You just keep telling yourself everything’s fine. It’s what THEY would want.

I am Free

I am Free

The Most Important Person in the World

Nothing to see here. Problem, Officer?

Nobody. Nothing to see here. Problem, Officer?

I’ve been missing a lot of important stuff lately, including this message.

From nobody.

So I thought I’d share. Maybe someone out there who doesn’t exist yet will read it and start to.

Anonymously.

So, here we are, at the end of TeaMp0isoN.

I just wanted to say few words before I leave, you can consider them to be motivational or

just bullshit, honestly I dont care.

So, few years ago we started this cause, fighting for freedom, activism, hacktivism etc…

We raised alarm in the government, they have seen that we can win this war, that we can take our

own freedom back, our own lives back.

They started fighting back, but we have choose to not give up, to not bow in front of them

and let them take our souls and imprison them.

But im glad to see US all united, painters, musicians, teachers, wives, kids, doctors, lawyers,

im glad that all those people are now united, and they act as one.

War in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Libya etc…

People, realise thats just start, thats not even a glimpse of whats coming,

Im not gonna talk about illuminati, about satan, about faith or religion,

Im just going to tell you that you should check your own town and see how many poor people is there.

How many people were fucked by government, how many people were fucked by banks,

how many homeless people are dyeing in the streets during winter, how many poor people are dyeing from hunger.

Im not gonna tell you that hacking or hacktivism is not illegal, and not dangerous,

im not gonna tell you I enjoyed it.

I wake up 20 times during night because im paranoid, I dont want to end in jail…

You can call me a coward, you can call me whatever you want,

but I, I was here for years, I did fight for people, I did fight for freedom,

but now time has come that I feel im not good for it anymore,

this has drained so much life out of me, and I feel I didnt get enough people to hear

what I fight for, what WE fight for.

Im just begging you one thing, not just hackers, but everyone, even politicians.

Do not be ignorant towards US who are fighting for our freedom,

dont judge us for what we do, we are not terrorists,

we are just normal humans, who are fighting for better cause, fighting for people,

fighting for better future for our kids.

Do not fight each other, there is no sense in that, you are just runing each others

lives, if you hate someone who is fighting same cause as you, dont attack him,

dont troll him, dont prank him, dont ruin his life over little things.

Think bigger, think about future, because today you are a kid, but tomorow you will

have your own kids, and then you will realise how much you could do to help them

live better, to help them not be afraid of their own government.

Dont do work on this cause because of fame, work on because its right.

I ve lost so much in this fight, like every soldier on this battlefield.

So many friends got arrested, TriCk, MLT, Phantom.

I call them heroes, I call them freedom fighters.

I know that they and I will be forgotten in few months,

but I hope this msg will remain on the internet,

and that you the people will share it amongst urselves.

So now, im telling you goodbye.

Thanks for all those supporting us, and helping us fight this war.

Thanks for all those that respected us, and didnt leave us when things went bad.

Thank you alot.

#FreeTriCk

#FreeMLT

#FreePhantom

#FreeUsAll

#Freedom

So this is the end of TeaMp0isoN, we arent coming back anymore,

whoever tells you he is TeaMp0isoN or starts using our name,

do not believe him, because this is the end of us.

root@TeaMp0isoN:$ shutdown -n

Selah.