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Video: Remember, remember the 5th of November: ‘Anonymous’ followers expected to hold rallies worldwide
‘Prepare for CyberWar’ – Anonymous sources brief right-wing press on May’s ‘revenge’ against Russia...
Tory MP ratchets up Russian fearmongering with study reviewed by anonymous or anti-Moscow academics...
“Anonymous” Releases Name of Alleged Michael Brown Shooter; Governor Relieves Local Police of Protest...
War Games in Cyberspace: NATO’s Cyber Defense Exercises Coincide with “Anonymous” Cyber Attacks against...
Here’s a brand new video from Anonymous and Linkin Park: Anonymous is calling for non-violent revolution. For a rebuttal to those calling for violence, see this. To follow Anonymous’ non-violent campaign on social media: https://twitter.com/WaveOfAction/status/403596626742091777 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Worldwide-Wave-of-Action/176294759231015 https://evolvesociety.org/network/index.php?do=/worldwidewave/ Note: We have … Continue reading →
Anonymous – And Linkin Park – Say Reform Has Failed … Call for Non-Violent Revolution was originally published on Washington's Blog
The Anonymous hacking group has claimed that it hacked into the website of Israel‘s Mossad spy agency, gaining access to top-secret documents.
The Internet hacking group said on its twitter page that it gained access to the personal data of more than 30,000 Israeli officials, including military officials, politicians and Mossad agents, and that it will release the information gradually.
Hacking group Anonymous has launched a series of cyber attacks against Israeli websites since November 2012 in retaliation for Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
Anonymous said it had launched the OpIsrael campaign following threats by Tel Aviv to cut all Gaza's telecommunication links. OpIsrael campaign aims at wipping Israel off the cyber world by April 7.
Shortly after the pro-Palestinian campaign was launched, dozens of Israeli websites were defaced or attacked. Many of the sites had their homepages replaced with messages in support of Hamas and the Palestinians.
Anonymous has struck again in its ongoing campaign against Israeli forces, this time by releasing thousands of names, ID numbers, email addresses and geographic data allegedly corresponding to Israeli politicians, IDF officers and even Mossad agents.
It appears that Anonymous has struck again in its ongoing cyber-war against the state of Israel, this time with the release of a batch of thousands of names, ID numbers, email addresses and geographic information which allegedly correspond to Israeli politicians, IDF officers, and even Mossad agents.
RT has not yet been able to verify the legitimacy of the data, which has quickly garnered thousands of views as the documents spread via social media.
Dubbed “#OpIsrael” on Twitter, various collectives of the amorphous Anonymous community are targeting official Israeli web domains, evidently causing intermittent disruption to the official website of spy agency Mossad via a self-described “sophisticated DDoS” attack.
The data was released by a hacker team going by the name of “The Red Hack,” a Turkish group, while the direct denial-of-service attack targeted at Mossad was attributed to another group operating under the moniker “Sektor 404.”
Published time: March 14, 2013 08:08
Hacktivist group Anonymous, along with numerous other hackers, is planning a massive cyber-attack on Israel, threatening to “erase” the country from Internet. Israel is apparently taking the threats seriously, with defensive preparations underway.
“Hacktivists Starting Cyber Attack against Israel on 7th of April,” Anonymous wrote on Twitter, calling on hackers around the world to join up for a second ‘OpIsrael.’
Israeli government agencies are reportedly readying for the attack: “It’s something being organized online over the past few days. What distinguishes this plan when compared to previous attacks is that it really seems to be organized by Anonymous-affiliated groups from around the world in what looks like a joining of forces,” Ofir Ben Avi, director of online group Accessible Government told Haaretz.
The first ‘OpIsrael’ cyber-attacks were launched by the hacktivist group during Israeli’s ‘Pillar of Defense’ assault on Gaza in November 2012.
“We are Anonymous. We are legion. We will not forgive. We will not forget. Israel, it is too late to expect us,” their message to Israeli authorities read.
Some 700 Israeli website suffered repeated cyber-attacks, including high-profile government systems such as the Foreign Ministry, and the Israeli President's official website. The Israeli Finance Ministry reported an estimated 44 million unique attacks on government websites.
Following ‘OpIsrael,’ Anonymous posted the online personal data of 5,000 Israeli officials, including names, ID numbers and personal emails.
Anonymous was also involved in an attack in which the details of some 600,000 users of the popular Israeli email service Walla were exposed online.
Eyes and ears will be on US President Barack Obama Tuesday evening as he presents the State of the Union address from Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Hacktivists aligned with the Anonymous movement have other plans, however.
A call to arms has been issued by Anonymous, the shadowy underground collective of hackers and activists, and the group says they hope to disrupt select online broadcasts of the annual address in protest of President Obama and his administration’s assaults on the civil liberties and constitutional rights of Americans, as well as the world’s Internet.
“Operation SOTU,” or “OpSOTU,” is latest mission from Anonymous, and members involved in the initiative say it will serve as a decisive factor in the “battle royale for the future of the Internet.”
In a statement drafted by members of Anonymous and circulated on the Web early Tuesday, the group recalls a series of recent victories for Internet activists who waged battles and won against proposed legislation that would have drastically changed the modern landscape of computer and technology law.
“Last year we faced our greatest threat from lawmakers. We faced down SOPA, PIPA, CISPA and ACTA,” the message begins. “But that victory did not come easily. Nor did it come without a price.”
While the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act were killed in Congress before they could come to fruition, opponents of those bills argue that Washington’s assault on computer users has only escalated in the year since. In January, 26-year-old anti-SOPA advocate Aaron Swartz was found dead of an apparent suicide in the midst of a heated legal battle with the US Justice Department over his allegedly unauthorized downloading of academic and journal files from the website JSTOR. Other young technologists, including those accused of hacking the Stratfor intelligence firm as members of Anonymous, are facing life in prison for nonviolent computer crimes.
But despite calls for the White House and Washington to relinquish their mission to censor the Internet and strip online freedoms away from Americans, a war against overzealous cybersecurity legislation remains rampant. In lieu of reform — reform even advocated by some members of Congress — both the Executive and Legislative branches alike are preparing to push for new rules that some say will only ruin the Internet.
Pres. Obama is believed to have already signed a cybersecurity executive order this week that, when unveiled, is expected to include privacy-damning provisions that will put in place a direct plan of action for the private sector to share consumer information with the government. According to some reports, the order could be made public as soon as during Tuesday evening’s address. On Wednesday, however, the architects of last year’s Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, plan to reintroduce their bill during a seminar in Washington, rekindling a mission Anonymous says would turn “private companies into government informants.” Regardless of if either is discussed during Tuesday night’s address, however, hacktivists are preemptively asking for a world-wide attack on the State of the Union to be led by a legion of Anons.
“We reject the State of the Union. We reject the authority of the President to sign arbitrary orders and bring irresponsible and damaging controls to the Internet,” Anonymous writes. “The President of the United States of America, and the Joint Session of Congress will face an Army tonight.”
“There will be no State of the Union Address on the web tonight.”
Anonymous is asking for people around the globe to prepare for an online battle Tuesday evening that will take a multi-prong approach in hopes of rendering some Internet streams of the president’s address unavailable and educating the world’s about his administration’s ruthless interpretation of both computer law and the US Constitution alike. In addition to waging a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) against websites carrying the SOTU stream, Anons also plan to spam Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social media sites with information about the president’s cybersecurity order, CISPA and other items likely to be left out of Tuesday’s speech.
“He will not be covering the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act], an act of outright tyrannical legislation allowing for indefinite detention of citizens completely outside due process and the rule of law,” reads the press release in part. “He will not be covering the extra-judicial and unregulated justifications for targeted killings of citizens by military drones within the borders of America, or the fact that Orwellian newspeak had to be used to make words like ‘imminent’ mean their opposite.”
Elsewhere, Anonymous attacks the president’s hesitance to publically discuss Private first class Bradley Manning, the 25-year-old accused whistleblower who has been imprisoned without trial for nearly 1,000 days for allegedly leaking information about the United States’ own war crimes. Nor will he discuss, claims Anonymous, “the secret interpretations of law that allow for warrant-less wiretapping and surveillance of any US citizen without probably cause of criminal acts.”
Indeed, the matters of Pfc Manning and the recent renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and other Fourth Amendment-eroding legislation have been by-and-large removed from talking points touched on by the president during his first term in office. Next, Anonymous fears, a tightening grip on the Internet could mean even more infringement, authorized by an administration that aims to gain control of the world’s main method of communication.
“We will form a virtual blockade between Capitol Hill and the Internet,” warns Anonymous. In a separate statement issued by the AnonRelations sect, one member writes, “President Obama and the State of the Union Address will be BANISHED from the Internet for the duration of live delivery.”
“This action is being taken to underline a fact that appears to be sorely unrecognized by the Obama Administration — that the Internet is a sovereign territory, and does not fall under the jurisdiction of any nation state.”
In a public discussion held for planning purposes online, one Anon writes, “Anyone and everyone on the Internet who opposes the current efforts by the US government to control the Internet and their actions against liberty at home and abroad will be DIRECTLY ENGAGED in LULZ WARFARE.” The group has since collected a number of news links relating to relevant White House policies and the URLs for websites that might be momentarily brought down by a coordinated DDoS attack, including the official White House stream for the president’s address. FBI.gov, House.gov and the website for C-SPAN have all been listed as potential targets as well.
“Armed with nothing more than Lulz, Nyancat and PEW-PEW-PEW! Lazers, we will face down the largest superpower on Earth,” the AnonRelations bulletin reads.
OpLastResort, the Anonymous-led mission launched in retribution for the death of Aaron Swartz that is largely attributed to alleged prosecutorial overreach by the Obama administration, has endorsed the planned assault on the State of the Union. On the website OpLastResort.com, the administrator insists there will be no State of the Union broadcast on the Web “for freedom, for Aaron Swartz, for the Internet, and of course, for the lulz.” A member of AnonRelations calls the latest action a continuation of OpLastResort, but also “a direct response to intelligence gathered about upcoming executive order.”
Since Mr. Swartz’ passing in December, Anonymous has hacked into a database of Federal Reserve emergency numbers, defaced the website of the US Sentencing Commission and posted the log-in credentials for over 4,000 US banking executives on a hacked frontpage for the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center. When asked whether he thought these maneuvers were making a difference, former Anonymous member Gregg Housh tells RT that the operations are not going unrecognized.
“I think the ops are having an interesting effect,” Housh says in an online chat hours before Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. “It has their attention . . . in a way I haven’t seen before.”
“I think something is happening,” adds Housh, “it is just happening at the pace at which Washington is used to going, and the Internet is used to ‘Internet time,’ which is much faster.”
Truthdigger of the Week: Anonymous Obamacare Explainer
Posted on Feb 9, 2013
|LaDawna's pics (CC BY 2.0)|
The best journalists are also teachers who, mindful of the bewildering complexity of the issues they report, patiently explain their deep meanings and consequences in language literate audiences can understand.
President Obama’s devoted supporters hailed the passage of his 2010 Affordable Care Act as a legislative victory for the public over a pro-corporate Republican Party. What many of them did not and still don’t seem to know is that the measure, which will go into full effect in 2014, is another instance of government and business coming together to pick the pockets of the American people. An anonymous writer on the website of former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts explains how.
“The ACA was not selflessly designed with the intent of providing affordable and equitable medical services to those in need,” the author writes, “but rather to acquire taxpayer money for the private insurance companies under the seemingly helpful guise of health care and the ideological excuse of personal responsibility. It takes money from ordinary people and gives it to a medical insurance industry that profits handsomely from this legally-enforced corporate welfare—all while keeping Americans locked in the same broken system that puts profit before patients.”
As should be expected from a bill fashioned by hordes of lobbyists (in 2009, the health insurance industry had six lobbyists for every member of Congress), mere mortals hoping to understand how the Affordable Care Act works have to find their way through “a complex, convoluted maze of regulations and procedures.” With Americans working longer and harder than they have in previous decades, or suffering the overwhelming, mind-sapping anxiety that comes with being un- or underemployed, who has the time and sophistication to devote to such study? Aside from a few intellectual and independently wealthy oddballs, only those who are paid to, that’s who. It’s from this understanding that Roberts’ anonymous author must have written his or her explanation, which, while lengthy and demanding of some time, appears to be one of the most concise attempts to clarify in sufficient detail how the law will contribute to the already considerable “financial distress” of many Americans.
Although “a few websites” contain explanations of the law, often “very important details have either been left out or glossed over,” the author says. “These details are well worth understanding so you will know what’s at stake for you and your family.”In the article, the author discusses the roles that the following factors play in the Affordable Care Act: 1. Modified Adjusted Gross Income, 2. tax credits, 3. the customer’s share of the insurance premium, 4. the return of tax credits to the IRS, 5. the expansion of Medicaid and estate recovery, 6. inadequate coverage in most subsidized plans, 7. penalties and 8. exemptions and more.
“The way this law works is fundamentally unfair and will not bring medical care to the many,” the author explains, “but, instead will progress to greater personal debt for individuals and families who can’t afford the ‘affordable’ insurance as well as those who must keep an eye on their income to avoid the many traps and false ends this law creates. At their expense, the forced purchase of health insurance will bring increased revenue to the industry, not to mention more kickbacks to Congress, and in the very near future, the health insurance industry will be ‘too big to fail.’ ”
Rather than leading Americans to quality, low-cost health care, the Affordable Care Act was passed to enrich the executives and stockholders of the corporations that wrote it, evidence-based accounts indicate. For giving the much-needed medicine of information to his or her audience, we honor the anonymous author of Roberts’ Obamacare clarification as our Truthdigger of the Week. Read it here.
Hear Bill Moyers explain how lobbyists tanked the public option—a proposed government-run program that would have forced health insurers into competition—below.
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Anonymous Said to Breach Federal Reserve
Posted on Feb 6, 2013
|alexander amatosi (CC BY-ND 2.0)|
The Federal Reserve confirmed Wednesday that one of its internal websites was accessed after the hacktivist group Anonymous claimed to have stolen information on more than 4,000 banking executives.
“The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product,” a spokeswoman for the U.S. central bank said.
“Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system,” the spokeswoman added, saying that everyone impacted by the breach had been contacted.
The acknowledgement came after a message posted via the Twitter account OpLastResort, which is linked to Anonymous, said the group hacked the bank Saturday. “The technology news site ZDNet separately reported that Anonymous appeared to have published information said to [contain] the login information, credentials, internet protocol addresses and contact information of more than 4,000 US bankers,” The Guardian reported.
The bank would not say which site was attacked, but information provided to the bankers showed that it was a nonpublic database of contacts for use by banks during a natural disaster.
OpLastResort is a campaign that hackers associated with Anonymous started to protest against the government prosecution of Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself last month to avoid a possible 31 years in jail for stealing more than 4 million articles from JSTOR, an online scholarly journal distribution and archive service.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
A copy of the message sent by the bank to members of its Emergency Communication System (ECS) and obtained by Reuters warned that mailing address, business phone, mobile phone, business email and fax numbers had been published. “Some registrants also included optional information consisting of home phone and personal email. Despite claims to the contrary, passwords were not compromised,” the bank said.
The website’s purpose is to allow bank executives to update the Fed if their operations have been flooded or otherwise damaged in a storm or other disaster. That helps the bank assess the overall impact of the event on the banking system.
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Federal Reserve building.(AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
Days after the personal information of over 4,000 banking executives was leaked to the Web by a group affiliated with the hacktivist movement Anonymous, the Federal Reserve admits to having suffered an online security breach.
Spokespeople for the Fed alerted customers on Tuesday that private information stored online was compromised during a weekend hack, all but confirming the source for a trove of data published two days earlier by the loose-knit Anonymous collective.
"The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a spokeswoman for the bank tells Reuters.
Currently, the Fed maintains that the incident was mild in nature, “did not affect critical operations” of the bank and has been resolved. An admission from the Fed does suggest, however, that hackers are capable of compromising data that is presumably well protected.
During Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Twitter account @OpLastResort announced that personal info pertaining to thousands of banking executives had been obtained, and a tweet directing followers to a hacked Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center website linked to the data. Now the Fed says that an emergency notification system was indeed breached, thus compromising private but not necessarily secret user names, phone numbers and other credentials stored on the server.
The exploit, admits the Fed, allowed for the release of user contact data stored within its Emergency Communications System, or ECS, “a system used by the Federal Reserve and state banking departments to notify depository institutions of operational status in the event of natural or other disasters.”
“Information obtained from the registrants consisted of mailing address, business phone, mobile phone, business email and fax. Some registrants also included optional information consisting of home phone and personal email. Despite claims to the contrary, passwords were not compromised, but nonetheless, have been reset as a precautionary measure,” continues a spokesperson for the St. Louis Fed in a statement first obtained by ZDNet.
A source speaking to ZDNet on condition of anonymity adds, "The banks on the list were not compromised." On the website Reddit, however, one user claims to have called some of the phone numbers published on the Alabama CJIC site and adds some insight into the severity of the breach.
“What must be so problematic for the Federal Reserve is not the information so much as this file was stolen from their computers at all. The ramifications of that kind of loss of control is severe,” Reddit user PericlesMortimer writes.
OpLastResort is an Anonymous faction of sorts that was spawned after last month’s untimely death of Reddit co-founder and computer whiz Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide at age 26 while awaiting trial. The US government was charging Swartz with violating the Computed Fraud and Abuse Act because he allegedly accessed millions of academic and scholarly articles from the website JSTOR without explicit authorization. Swartz was facing decades in prison if convicted, but OpLastResort and similar campaigns have strived in recent weeks to make progress in reforming the CFAA.
Aaron Swartz (Reuters / Noah Berger)
Members of the hacktivist movement Anonymous gained access to MIT’s website over the weekend and published a statement celebrating recently deceased info activist Aaron Swartz while attacking the justice system that stood to imprison him for decades.
Swartz, who co-founded both the website Reddit and the activism organization Demand Progress, passed away Friday of a reported suicide. And while he openly discussed his bouts with depression in the past, Swartz’ parents and advocates alike have suggested that a serious legal fight that has dominated the activist’s life in recent years played a role in his passing.
The 26-year-old Harvard fellow was slated to appear in federal court during the coming weeks because the United States says he illegally download millions of academic papers from the website JSTOR, presumably for public distribution, while logged onto the computer network of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. David Segal, the executive director of Demand Progress, originally equated it to “checking too many books out of the library.” If convicted, however, Swartz could have been sentenced to upwards of 35 years in prison.
In a statement published shortly after his death, the family of the activist said, “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death.”
“Unlike JSTOR,” wrote his family, “MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.” Hours later, Anonymous hacked into MIT.edu and posted a statement on two pages echoing that sentiment.
“Whether or not the government contributed to his suicide, the government’s prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice the Aaron died fighting for — freeing the publically-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it,” the message read in part.
Through his alleged crime, wrote Anonymous, Swartz “enable[ed] the collective betterment of the world through the facilitation of sharing — an ideal that we should all support.” But while JSTOR elected to avert following charges against him — and even planned to release much of their library for free — the Justice Department soldiered on with plans to prosecute Swartz to the fullest extent.
“Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars,” said Carmen M. Ortiz, he United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, after an indictment was filed against Swartz in 2011.
In addition to staring at a possible 35-year sentence, Swartz also faced up to one million dollars in fine. After an indictment was filed against him in July 2011 for wire fraud, computer fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer and criminal forfeiture, he was released on $100,000 bond.
"The situation Aaron found himself in highlights the injustice of US computer crime laws, particularly their punishment regimes and the highly-questionable justice of pre-trial bargaining,” the Anonymous-penned message said. “Aaron's act was undoubtedly political activism, it had tragic consequences."
In addition to the unauthorized posts made in memory of Swartz, hacktivist took down MIT.gov and the website for the Department of Justice, DOJ.gov, using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Sunday. The White House has recently been petitioned to make that method of digital demonstration a protected form of First Amendment-protect protest.
Swartz, a frequent guest and commentator on RT, passed away Friday in New York. Services will be held Tuesday outside of Chicago.
In response to what has been described as prosecutorial bullying, inflated sentences, "grotesque miscarriage of justice" and subsequent tragedy of Aaron Swartz's suicide, the hacker collective Anonymous broke into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology website over the weekend and replaced the homepage with a tribute, “In Memoriam, Aaron Swartz.”
Swartz, an outspoken advocate of open information, had been recently embroiled in a legal battle over digital copyright for allegedly harvesting four million academic papers from MIT's JSTOR online database.
Salon's Natasha Lennard adds that, "although JSTOR told federal prosecutors it had no interest in pursuing charges against Swartz, the DoJ, led by a harsh and zealous Boston prosecutor, threw everything they could at the young activist."
'The government's prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for.' Calling for computer crime law reform, Anonymous's statement decried the lawsuit, writing:
The government's prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for—freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it—enabling the collective betterment of the world through the facilitation of sharing—an ideal that we should all support.
Additionally, a statement released by the web pioneer's family and partner on Sunday directed their grief over Swartz's tragic suicide towards the institutions —the U.S. government and MIT—that threatened the brilliant technologist and social justice activist with jail for, by some counts, up to 50 years:
Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.
In a blog post this weekend, Swartz's longtime friend and mentor Lawrence Lessig called the prosecution a "bully," writing:
From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way. The “property” Aaron had “stolen,” we were told, was worth “millions of dollars” — with the hint, and then the suggestion, that his aim must have been to profit from his crime. But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.
For remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House — and where even those brought to “justice” never even have to admit any wrongdoing, let alone be labeled “felons.”
In that world, the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.” For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept, and so that was the reason he was facing a million dollar trial in April — his wealth bled dry, yet unable to appeal openly to us for the financial help he needed to fund his defense, at least without risking the ire of a district court judge.
Swartz's trial was set to start this spring and his attempts to reach a plea-bargain with the government recently fell apart after Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann told Swartz's lawyer, Elliot Peters, "Mr. Swartz would need to plead guilty to every count, and the government would insist on prison time."
The Washington Post reports, in an update to the statement (which has since been taken down), Anonymous said it "does not blame MIT for Swartz’s death," citing a letter from MIT President Rafael Reif that said the school would investigate the role MIT played in Swartz’s case.
In response to the tragic news, supporters have started a White House petition to remove U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who supervised the prosecution of in Swartz’s case, saying that "a prosecutor who regularly uses the threat of unjust and overreaching charges... is a danger to the life and liberty of anyone who might cross her path."
At an August football party in Steubenville, Ohio, a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped by multiple athletes as she lay unconscious. Now, because of social media, horrific details of the case have been leaked to the masses, inspiring a call for increased accountability and a protest last Saturday.
While two boys were arrested and charged in relation to the alleged rape, several others have been accused of playing a role in the crime, either by watching without intervening or disseminating photographs of the attack. Due to the small town’s close-knit nature, accusations of a coverup have emerged.
According to various reports, an alleged “rape crew” dragged the young girl from party to party before she finally passed out. Testimony from witnesses suggests that she faced multiple sexual assaults while she was unconscious. One tweet suggests she may have been urinated on.
The victim did not realize she had been raped until she heard about the photographs, and then saw the images. One image shows two football players carrying the girl -- who has not been identified because she is a minor -- by her hands and ankles, as she hangs limp above the ground. The New York Times reported that another image shows her lying naked on the floor.
Despite the disturbing nature of the case, for months only Alexandria Goddard of Prinniefied.com reported on the rape, documenting social media evidence with screenshots and suggesting a handful of perpetrators were to blame. Now that the hacktivist collective Anonymous has taken an interest in the case, new details are emerging. Photographs and other evidence on social media have raised questions about local authorities’ investigation.
After demanding a public apology from the boys they identified by name as the so-called “rape crew” by January 1, the rape-specific arm of Anonymous, KnightSec, released a disturbing video of a teenage boy who appears to be speaking moments after the rape occured. In it, he laughs at how the unconscious girl is “deader than Trayvon Martin,” was raped “quicker than Mike Tyson” and “more than [by] the Duke lacrosse team.” The same boy tweeted about the night, with disturbing posts like “Song of the night is definitely ‘Rape Me’ by Nirvana,” “you don’t sleep through a wang in the butthole,” and “some people deserve to be peed on.”
While Anonymous appears to have uncovered information that mainstream journalists could not, the police released a statement following the video’s release saying that law enforcement was aware of the footage and had interviewed the teen who made it. While police say witnesses have not heeded their calls to come forward, there appears to be an abundance of evidence suggesting other individuals were involved. But according to the New York Times, deleted images were unretrievable:
Eventually, 15 phones and 2 iPads were confiscated and analyzed by a cyber crime expert at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. That expert could not retrieve deleted photographs and videos on most of the phones.
In the end, the expert recovered two naked photographs of the girl. One photograph showed the girl face down on the floor at one party, naked with her arms tucked beneath her, according to testimony given at a hearing in October. The other photograph was not described. Both photographs were found on Mays’s iPhone. No photograph or video showed anyone involved in a sexual act with the girl.
Anonymous complaints and chatter on the Internet about a less than fully aggressive investigation have perhaps not surprisingly proliferated.
Adding to the Anonymous-led conspiracy theory is that Steubenville High head coach Reno Saccoccia did not bench or in any way suspend the players involved. According to the Times:
Saccoccia, pronounced SOCK-otch, told the principal and school superintendent that the players who posted online photographs and comments about the girl the night of the parties said they did not think they had done anything wrong. Because of that, he said, he had no basis for benching those players.
Approached in November to be interviewed about the case, Saccoccia said he did not "do the Internet," so he had not seen the comments and photographs posted online from that night. When asked again about the players involved and why he chose not to discipline them, he became agitated.
"You made me mad now," he said, throwing in several expletives as he walked from the high school to his car.
Nearly nose to nose with a reporter, he growled: "You're going to get yours. And if you don't get yours, somebody close to you will."
Anonymous also claimed to have uncovered additional information suggesting a coverup. While the county prosecutor and the judge in the case recused themselves because of their ties to the football team, the hackers say there are more attackers, as well as more victims. Moreover, they claim the alleged rape occured at prosecutor Jane Hanlin’s home, and that her son may have been involved. They also point to ties between Steubenville law enforcement and the football team. From the Leaks:
When the family of the victim went to file the charges, Jane Hanlin [the prosecutor] was present. She strongly discouraged them from filing. Hanlin frightened not only the victim, but the parents as well. Telling them that her name was going to be dragged through the mud, she will be in and out of court for well over two years, the press wouldn’t leave any of the family alone once the crime was made public. Scared out of their wits, the parents said they didn’t want that and Hanlin then said not to worry just leave it up to her and the detectives on the case.
The town has been called “divided” on the rape, split between blaming the victim and her attackers. Here, social media also gives a glimpse into the way some in the town seem to trivialize rape. As one student posted on Facebook:
A football coach, too, blamed the victim. From the New York Times:
"The rape was just an excuse, I think," said the 27-year-old Hubbard, who is No. 2 on the Big Red’s career rushing list.
"What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that?” said Hubbard, who is one of the team’s 19 coaches. "She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it."
If one thing is clear from the video it's that the boys who commited, witnessed, or heard about the rape found it funny. Dubbing themselves the “rape crew,” they certainly understood that what happened was, indeed, rape. To the dismay of many, most of them appear to have gotten away with participating, watching, or disseminating pictures of the attack. Some locals have said that the lack of punishment is linked to the boys’ football celebrity in an increasingly poor town.
At the very least, the case is a disturbing reflection of America’s rape culture. But it’s also an interesting glimpse into social media, and how it can not only implicate people in a crime, but also be used to hold them accountable when the justice system has not. Should Anonymous be correct that there was a subpar investigation of the alleged rape, social media has allowed Americans outside of the town to rally for the victim and demand justice. Without that, her case may have been confined to the small town where half of the residents reportedly believe that she is the one to blame.