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Anonymous Declares Cyberwar Against 'the System'

Posted: 06/03/11 09:08 AM ET

On Tuesday, someone claiming to speak for the underground group Anonymous released a video declaration of war against "the system."

The YouTube manifesto is a call to everyone in the online world to get off the couch, pick up their cell phones and laptops and join a revolt against governments and corporations that are intent upon stifling free speech online.

"It's time to hack the planet. It's time to turn the tables on the powers that be and show them that we have had enough," a narrator declares in a computer-generated voice used to mask his or her identity.

"This is our challenge," the narrator continues:

The revolution must take hold as a peaceful revolution. We must build our strength and unity through ideas, ingenuity and creativity. We must tear down the barriers that have existed to this day only because we allowed them to. The revolution must be televised. We must utilize the tools that we have and apply them with existing technology: computers, cell phones, internet and media.

Anonymous consists of a loose-knit collective of underground hackers and Internet freedom advocates that grew out of the 4Chan forum and other online networks of political activists.

The group seeks to unite hackers and culture jammers behind a singular purpose: to tear down digital-age barriers to free expression. With Tuesday's video manifesto, Anonymous has apparently widened its target to wage war against all entities that "are taking steps to make the Internet a less friendly and tolerable place for expression."

Given the elusive nature of the group, it's hard to determine whether this Anonymous manifesto came from the organization's leadership -- if they exist at all -- or simply bubbled up from within its loose structure.

It is, however, something that should not be taken lightly.

Anonymous has launched several successful "operations" to bring down the websites of governments, corporations and political groups it sees as oppressors. Earlier this week a NATO report warned member states of a serious Anonymous threat to their military security.

It has also followed up on WikiLeaks, hacking into the confidential files of these groups and releasing them to the public.

Earlier this year Anonymous released the emails of Aaron Barr, the executive of security firm HBGary, including a PowerPoint proposal to smear writer Glenn Greenwald, who is one of the most outspoken defenders of Wikileaks.

In March, Anonymous released emails it claimed to have obtained from Bank of America, allegedly exposing corruption and fraud related to mortgage foreclosures in the U.S.

The manifesto is pretty compelling stuff, written by someone familiar with the history of seminal political texts. And it's told to a danceable backbeat:

[the revolution] must begin immediately because as you are listening to this address world governments are taking steps to make the Internet a less friendly and tolerable place for expression. This is a direct attack on your rights.


As a response Anonymous calls upon "all those who possess the ability to alter cyber barriers" to hack the oppressors using peaceful means, including art, graffiti, fliers, music, lectures, assembly and protest. It also called upon those with technical know how to use their skills to become "digital warriors of the underground," presumably to help hack into systems of the groups they oppose.

"This is not anarchy this is resistance," the manifesto claims. "The time is now. The revolution has begun."

 

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