The Jawa Report: The 2012 Anonymous Primer – What Anonymous is and What Anonymous is not Guest Post by Natter
Which brings us back to Anonymous and what Anonymous once was and has since become.
Anonymous is currently, at best 10,000 to 20,000 vocally supporting individuals online world wide at any one time and depending largely on what time it is in the Western worlds school year. The vast majority of that membership is located within the US/Canada and Europe, with some large South American contingents. That vast majority is also little more then virtual cannon fodder in an online guerrilla war with very real consequences (long prison sentences and heavy fines in Western nations, torture and death for dissidents elsewhere).
Anonymous is also some 100 to 250 individuals of differing status, faction leadership, and skill level, many of whose faction members share membership among some or several faction leaders at any one time. Those upper level leaders are almost exclusively Western or Western based. While many of those leaders have openly denied membership in Anonymous, others have openly admitted to at least verbal support.
The part about Anonymous being born on the 4Chan website sub board /b/ in 2003 is true, but only to a certain extent, as many of the current upper level members can also be found in comments and posts/diaries on Daily Kos and other like politically like minded blogs going back to the same era. The part about confronting Scientology is also true, although most, but not all, of the Chanology era members have long since drifted away, disenchanted with the cult like atmosphere that has infested present day Anonymous.
There are also a handful of skilled professional “black-hat hackers” within that upper level of Anonymous. Some are coders and vulnerability/exploit hunters, defacement artists, credit-card account thieves, and/or stolen information dump specialists. Some of whom are very good at what they do and some whom are known to be employed by some of the largest ISP’s and information security companies in the world (think Comcast and McAfee size). At least one worked as the network admin of a frighteningly popular porn website, where he had access to the real names, passwords, and credit card account details of every single paying customer, including law enforcement and military customers.
The remainder of Anonymous leadership are the propaganda specialists, drawn from various educational and journalistic fields. Some of whom already have book deals and some of whom work for very large mainstream media outlets (think Guardian, CBS, RussiaToday, Wired sized).
Yes, Anonymous is connected to Wikileaks, at the hip, shoulders, and ankles. While Julian Assange has not been proven to direct or give orders to Anonymous, he clearly seems to use the power of suggestion to influence Wikileaks staffers (there aren’t many of those) who are also upper or leadership level Anonymous members (there are even fewer of those).
Yes, Anonymous is connected to Occupy Wall Street. By an umbilical cord. OWS began under the Anonymous name OpESR (Operation Empire State Revenge/Revolution). Canadian anarchist publisher Adbusters joined shortly thereafter. Anonymous and Adbusters were in the park weeks before the Day of Rage protests (which were also the single largest one day turn out for the Occupy Movement). The unions and other professional Left groups joined OWS during and after Day of Rage, bringing money, organization, numbers, political connections, a quickly disenchanted and abused Nancy Pelosi with the DNC, and as per usual, a take over by purge attempt. The Red Block always attempts to eat the Black Block after they mate. It is not always successful in this attempt.
Yes, Anonymous does have connections to certain Middle Eastern Islamist hacking groups, most of those Middle Eastern and Islamist groups are individual factions in and among themselves, forming temporary and uncertain alliances of convenience with Anonymous against mutual targets. At least some of those Islamist hacking groups are sponsored or run by their respective governments. Certain leadership members of Anonymous have also demonstrated direct and open communication with the social media accounts of known terrorist groups.