Greece protests update

Just a short post for now. I may write a more in-depth one later when I have a chance.

BREAKING NEWS: Greek parliament has passed the austerity measures, bowing to the will of the financial collective but ignoring the wills of the protestors who have been demonstrating for months on end. Violence is continuing on the streets. As the Guardian reports:

  • There have been running battles between riot police and protesters outside the Greek parliament again as its MPs prepared to vote on whether to pass the austerity bill demanded by international lenders. The trouble flared after some protesters surged through metal barricades outside the parliament building. Police once again fired volleys of teargas. Some demonstrators hurled projectiles at officers but many fled the square as teargas filled the air.
  • Greece’s parliament approved the five-year austerity plan with 155 votes in favour and 138 votes against.

    Only one member of prime minister George Papandreou’s socialist party voted against the law and the speaker of parliament announced he had been immediately expelled from the party. One deputy from the conservative opposition cast a vote in favour.

    RT @thesspirit: #Syntagma sqr now (4.26pm) People are NOT leaving #25mgr #greekrevolution #28jgr

    kindersurprise

    I was in Syntagma Sq last night and it was an incredibly volatile situation. Teargas and fire crackers were thrown all over the place. One was even deployed into the middle of a group of people having a calm debate, which was totally uncalled for. There was of course a violent element (seemingly a lot of teenagers from what I could make out) who were just basically running around smashing things up, looting the kiosks and having running battles with the police.

    The police were pretty disgraceful (as usual) throwing rocks at groups of protesters (not ‘anarchists’ people of all ages) and generally lashing out and trying to ‘kettle’ protestors into smaller side streets so they could then throw the tear gas at them. Their ‘orders’ were clear.

    The problem is, this was before the measures are voted for. What happens if they pass? The place looked like a warzone and was so fraught the mood would change in a split second. I really wonder what the way ahead is. It doesn’t seem like there’ll ever be a satisfactory one.

Live updates of Greek protests can be found here.

Latest images from Greece protests (Part 3)

Riot police scuffle with a demonstrator during a protest outside the parliament in Athens June 29, 2011. (Reuters)

People run away from tear gases during a protest at Syntagama square in Athens June 29, 2011. (Reuters)

Teargas swirls in the air during a protest at Syntagma Square in Athens June 29, 2011. (Reuters)

A wounded protester is being led away from clashes with riot police as protesters tried to prevent deputies from reaching the Greek parliament in central Athens on Wednesday, June 29, 2011. (Thanassis Stavrakis)

Demonstrators embrace after being overcome by tear gases during a protest in front of the parliament in Athens June 29, 2011 (Reuters)

Strikers chant slogans during a protest in central Athens, on Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Public services shut down across Greece Tuesday as workers walked off the job in a new nationwide general strike that disrupted public transport, left hospitals operating on emergency staff and pulled all news broadcasts off the air. (Alkis Konstantinidis)

Latest images from Greece protests (Part 2)

Public Power Corporation employees hold a banner which read in Greek " We Resist," during a protest in Athens, on Monday, June 28, 2010. Hundreds of Public Power employees protested Monday outside the Greek Finance Ministry (Petros Giannakouris)

Riot police take position outside the Greek Parliament prior of a demo in Athens on Tuesday June 28, 2011 (Dimitri Messinis)

A protester shakes the hand of a riot policeman during a demonstration in Athens on Tuesday June 28, 2011. (Petros Giannakouris)

A protester kicks a tear gas canister thrown by riot police during a demo in Athens on Tuesday June 28, 2011. (Petros Giannakouris)

Protesters shout slogans as riot police stand in Athens' Syntagma square, Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (Thanassis Stavrakis)

A television van burns after been set on fire by protesters during a demo in Athens on Tuesday June 28, 2011. The graffiti reads "Mass Media of deception" (Thanassis Stavrakis)

Obama rebuked by House of Representatives over Libya, whilst Congress challenges his authority

People look at destroyed tanks belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters)

US President Obama has been facing mounting criticism for the US role in the Libya… what? War? Conflict? Bombing? Mission? ‘Operation’? You see, Obama has recently been keen to stress that the Libya… engagement is not a war amid rebukes from Congress who have been challenging his authority. Now the House of Representatives has stepped in, also rebuking Obama and refusing to authorise the US ‘mission’.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives delivered a symbolic vote on friday to reject a resolution to authorise US involvement in the Libya war. I’m going to call it a war, because I feel calling the military action anything else shapes and desensitises our response to it. Bombs are being dropped, buildings are being destroyed, lives are being lost. To call such violent action an ‘operation’ or a ‘mission’ is an affront to those whose lives are being lost, whatever side they are fighting for. It makes us forget the reality of the situation; this is not some sanitised, smooth military operation. It involves real harm and loss of life, even if those that are losing their lives are classed as “the enemy”. As Jonathon Schell writes:

“American planes are taking off, they are entering Libyan air space, they are locating targets, they are dropping bombs, and the bombs are killing and injuring people and destroying things. It is war. Some say it is a good war and some say it is a bad war, but surely it is a war.”

So anyway. I’m going to call the NATO military intervention in Libya a war, because I believe it to be so. Obama has a rejected this worldview, but I am getting ahead of myself.

The House of Representatives refused to give President Obama the authority to continue US participation in the NATO-led war against Libya, but rejected a call to cut off money for the conflict. In this sense, the House refusal is a largely symbolic gesture. Obama has said he does not need additional congressional approval, as US forces are simply supporting NATO. However, the House has shown its disproval for the ongoing war against Libya, reflecting the disenchantment in the US over the ongoing conflicts.

The House voted 295 to 123 against the resolution to authorise the war. About 70 of the president’s Democratic party joined the Republicans to vote it down. This is the first time since the 1999 Bosnian conflict that either the House or the Senate has voted against a military operation. The House ignored Hillary Clinton’s pleas against voting it down.

“The president has operated in what we now know is called the zone of twilight as to whether or not he even needs our approval,” Republican Representative Tom Rooney of Florida said. “So what are we left with?”

House speaker John Boehner said: “I support the removal of the Libyan regime. I support the president’s authority as commander-in-chief, but when the president chooses to challenge the powers of the Congress, I, as speaker of the House, will defend the constitutional authority of the legislature.”

It is clear there is growing unrest in the US against the Obama administration’s involvement in the US war. It is also evident that the ‘excuse’ of, “oh, well, we’re only supporting NATO” is not going to stick; opponents of the US involvement are, perhaps, becoming riled at the growing culture whereby the Obama administration is becoming increasingly unaccountable for its actions in conflicts.

Republican congressman Tom Rooney, who sits on the armed services committee, said: “The last thing that we want as Americans is for some president, whether it’s this president or some future president, to be able to pick fights around the world without any debate from another branch of government.”

Whether it’s the self-perpetuating “War on Terror” or NATO-involvement, the Obama administration is increasingly avoiding accountability for its conflicts and engagements. Few Republicans or Democrats would wish to be seen to be against the “War on Terror”, which began in ‘self-defence’ (right?), though opponents of the unaccountability are beginning to draw the line; the Libyan war is, rightly or wrongly, aimed at unseating a ‘dictator’ from power rather than aiming to defend US soil… but then again, I have this strange feeling of deja vu…

Libya is not a war, says Obama


A bus burns on a road leading to the outskirts of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Sunday, March 20, 2011. The U.S. military said 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya's air force. (AP)

As I mentioned earlier, President Obama has already been facing criticism from Congress. He has defended his right to take war to Libya without the approval of Congress, after Republican leaders challenged his authority. How? In his administration’s eyes, the issue is one of semantics. The US participation in the NATO-led bombings in Libya do not, in his eyes, amount to a full-blown war.

As the Guardian reported, “this week the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, wrote to Obama telling him that, under the 1973 war powers act, the president was obliged to seek congressional approval for the Libyan venture before Friday.

“The White House replied by saying the law, which says there must be a vote in the legislature within 90 days of the president taking the US to war, did not apply”.

Congress warned Obama that refusal to comply with a congressional request to seek authorisation for military action in Libya appeared to violate the war powers act.

“The combination of [White House] actions has left many members of Congress, as well as the American people, frustrated by the lack of clarity over the administration’s strategic policies, by a refusal to acknowledge and respect the role of the Congress, and by a refusal to comply with the basic tenets of the War Powers Resolution,” Boehner, the speaker of the House, stated in a letter to the president.

The White House responded to the warning with a 38-page report to Congress, describing the Libya operation not as war, but a mission to remove Muammar Gaddafi from power. As stated earlier, the administration considers the war as an operation, a mission, a military ‘intervention’, shall we say, rather than considering the bombings as an act of war. And why do they not consider the bombings as an act of war? Because US troops are not directly under fire. The Obama administration only considers a conflict as being a ‘war’ when there is US soldiers at risk.

“US operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve US ground troops,” the 38-page report said.

Boehner dismissed the White House position on Thursday. “It doesn’t pass the straight-face test in my view that we’re not in the midst of hostilities,” he said. “It’s been four weeks since the president has talked to the American people about this mission. It’s time for the president to outline for the American people why we are there, what the mission is, and what our goals are.”

In an article published in the Guardian,  denounced the White House’s report, stating: “In other words, the balance of forces is so lopsided in favour of the United States that no Americans are dying or are threatened with dying. War is only war, it seems, when Americans are dying, when we die. When only they, the Libyans, die, it is something else for which there is as yet apparently no name. When they attack, it is war. When we attack, it is not.”

This is very worrying thinking from the leaders of the United States of America. Would it be naive to suggest that this worldview may represent a new age of warfare? An age of unaccountability? As Schell writes, “In the old scheme of things, an attack on a country was an act of war, no matter who launched it or what happened next. Now, the Obama administration claims that if the adversary cannot fight back, there is no war.”

In the age of the predator drone, when war can truly be waged with no damage or sacrifice, government’s can claim that bombing a country (before, a clear act of war) is simply an operation, a mission, designed to bring about a set agenda with minimum civilian casualties. Of course, civilian casualties are inevitable, but the less the better, right? When war can be waged without a soldier’s boot on foreign soil, does that end the meaning of the word, “war”?

In an act of double-think that George Orwell would be proud, War is not War – War is Peace. War is not war when there are no “active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor [when] they involve US ground troops”. But surely this means that it is in the best interests of the adversaries of the US, the ‘enemy’ that the US is (at the time) engaged with, to ‘actively exchange fire’ with US drones/planes? For then, the adversaries are suddenly turning the one-sided conflict into a war – where they are then afforded the ‘rules’ of warfare, and the US is suddenly subjected to International Law and the like? They are, essentially, suddenly held accountable for their actions, like some child that has been caught out?

Schell concurs: “It follows that adversaries of the United States have a new motive for, if not equaling us, then at least doing us some damage. Only then will they be accorded the legal protections (such as they are) of authorised war. Without that, they are at the mercy of the whim of the president.”

“The War Powers Resolution permits the president to initiate military operations only when the nation is directly attacked, when there is “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces”. The Obama administration, however, justifies its actions in the Libyan intervention precisely on the grounds that there is no threat to the invading forces, much less the territories of the United States.”

It is, perhaps, a sign of things to come. Much of the media outlets have been picking up on the government’s use of language; the subtle semantic changes that government’s implement into their vocabulary. Much like in Orwell’s 1984, governments realise the power of language and carefully shape and construct their verbiage for their benefit, be it influencing public opinion or escaping the nuances of their own laws. Those who construct the laws evidently and innately hold the power to escape the law – either overtly, by changing the very law itself, or covertly, by slipping through loop-holes and the like. By deciding that the Libyan war is actually a ‘mission’ or ‘operation’, the Obama administration has seemingly escaped accountability and the force of the law.

Schell continues: “In a curious way, then, a desire to avoid challenge to existing law has forced assault on the dictionary. For the Obama administration to go ahead with a war lacking any form of Congressional authorisation, it had to challenge either law or the common meaning of words. Either the law or language had to give.”

“It chose language.”

And as we enter an age of predator drones, “War on Terror” and a newfound distaste for ‘evil dictators’ residing in the Middle East, are we also entering an age where the self-proclaimed “protagonists” of the world (the US, the UK, NATO, and the like) are becoming unaccountable for their actions? Are we entering an age where war ceases to exist, merely because language is changing? Wars become conflicts; conflicts become operations; operations become missions; missions become peace.

Iraq belongs to the US now

iraq

Image by The U.S. Army via Flickr

The US will not be withdrawing from Iraq in the foreseeable future. Despite promises made by the Obama administration, and declining public support for the occupation, it is becoming increasingly clear that US control over Iraq is there to stay. A cynical person might suggest that this was pretty clear from the start, but I suppose there are those who genuinely believed in their government’s promises for withdrawal.

On Thursday (June 9th) the current CIA Director, Leon Panetta, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee that Iraq will request US military presence to remain in the country.

Panetta said: “It’s clear to me that Iraq is considering the possibility of making a request for some kind of (troop) presence to remain there (in Iraq).

“I believe that if Prime Minister al-Maliki – the Iraqi government – requests that we maintain a presence there, that ought to be seriously considered by the President” as the situation in Iraq remained “fragile,” he added.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in April that soldiers could stay in Iraq even after the withdrawal date, provided Baghdad made a request which is becoming a possibility.

The US currently has about 47,000 troops in Iraq, none in a combat role. Under a 2008 deal, they are expected to leave by 31 December 2011.

The BBC stated that it is likely that the US has offered Iraq some inducements to maintain its troop presence. This should come as no surprise given US commercial interests; last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened a business forum attended by senior executives from major US corporations that focused on discussing business opportunities in the “new Iraq”:

According to the IMF, Iraq is projected to grow faster than China in the next two years. Now, let me repeat that, because when I read it I said, okay, are you sure because we always think of China as being the juggernaut? But no, indeed, Iraq is projected to grow faster than China,” Clinton stated.

Clinton also stated that “President Obama and I and our government believe strongly that expanding economic opportunity is as essential as building democratic institutions

The video of the Clinton speech can be found here or the transcript can be read here.

Not only are there business opportunities in war-torn Iraq (no better opportunities for growth than in a country decimated by years of war, eh? – Clinton and co. generally sound enthusiastic about the money to be made there), but Iraq is already sitting on the world’s third-largest oil reserves. No wonder the US is not keen to withdraw.

Even if there was a withdrawal of US soldiers (which is looking increasingly unlikely), the US would still maintain a powerful presence in Iraq, potentially controlling the power there still. As warcriminalswatch.org states:

“There are thousands of U.S. employees stationed in Iraq at the largest U.S. embassy in the world. Over 100,000 U.S. contractors are still present in the country. Many of these are armed mercenaries who have routinely killed Iraqi citizens. In addition, Iraq is surrounded by a massive U.S. military presence in nearby countries and seas. This includes air and naval armadas and tens of thousand of troops stationed within striking range of Iraq.”

Latest images from Greece protests

Moltov cocktail explodes near riot police guarding the Greek parliament in Athens, June 15, 2011. Tens of thousands of grassroot activists and unionists converged on Athens' central Syntagma (Constitution) Square Wednesday as Prime Minister George Papandreou prepared to push through a new five-year campaign of tax hikes, spending cuts and selloffs of state property to continue receiving aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund and avoid default. (Reuters)

A Greek riot police officer kicks a protester that was trying to calm other protesters down during clashes in Athens' main Syntagma square, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens Wednesday as a major anti-austerity rally degenerated into violence outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks to avoid a disastrous default. (Lefteris Pitarakis)

Greek riot police officers throw tear gas as they chase protesters during clashes in Athens' main Syntagma square, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. The banner reads in Greek: 'Continuous strikes, until victory'. Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens Wednesday as a major anti-austerity rally degenerated into violence outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks to avoid a disastrous default. (Lefteris Pitarakis)

A Greek riot police officer chases protesters during riots in central Athens Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Riot police made heavy use of tear gas Wednesday to disperse groups of masked anarchists hurling firebombs and rocks on the sidelines of a major rally outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks required to avoid a debt default. (Petros Giannakouris)

A Greek protester throws plastic bottles into a fire that was lit by protesters to combat the effects of tear gas, thrown by riot police, not seen, during clashes in Athens' main Syntagma square, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens Wednesday as a major anti-austerity rally degenerated into violence outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks to avoid a disastrous default. (Lefteris Pitarakis)

A protester tries to cover her face from the effects of tear gas shot by police during clashes in Athens' main Syntagma square, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens Wednesday as a major anti-austerity rally degenerated into violence outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks to avoid a disastrous default. (Lefteris Pitarakis)

A demonstrator argues with a police officer outside the Greek Parliament during a rally against plans for new austerity measures, in central Athens, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. A 24-hour anti-austerity strike by Greece's largest labor unions crippled public services Wednesday, as the Socialist government was to begin a legislative battle to push through last-ditch cost-cutting reforms that will extend beyond its own term in office. (Lefteris Pitarakis)

A protester throws stones towards a riot policeman taking cover behind a shutter at the ministry of Finance during riots in central Athens Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Riot police made heavy use of tear gas Wednesday to disperse groups of masked anarchists hurling firebombs and rocks on the sidelines of a major rally outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks required to avoid a debt default. (Petros Giannakouris)

Police arrest a demonstrator trying to block the road to the Parliament during a rally against plans for new austerity measures, in central Athens, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. A 24-hour anti-austerity strike by Greece's largest labor unions crippled public services Wednesday, as the Socialist government was to begin a legislative battle to push through last-ditch cost-cutting reforms that will extend beyond its own term in office. (AP Photo)

A Greek protester runs with a baton to hit a riot police officer during clashes in Athens' main Syntagma square, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens Wednesday as a major anti-austerity rally degenerated into violence outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks to avoid a disastrous default. (Lefteris Pitarakis)

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

Anonymous, ‘The Hydra’, warns NATO: “This is no longer your world”

KTTV Fox 11 investigative report on Anonymous.

Image via Wikipedia

In a response to a recent NATO security report regarding ‘Anonymous‘, the mysterious online ‘organisation’ (I use the term loosely) has posted a lengthy public response cautioning NATO that “This is no longer your world”. [The full response will be posted at the end of this article, for the website that it was posted on is currently experiencing server issues]

The underground group – responsible for the attacks on MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Amazon and, allegedly, Sony – posted the public message as a response to NATO’s report, issued last month, which warned about the rise in politically-motivated cyberattacks and singled out Anonymous as the most well-known and sophisticated of the so-called ‘hacktavist’ groups.

The NATO report stated that: “Today, the ad hoc international group of hackers and activists is said to have thousands of operatives and has no set rules or membership. It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths. The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted,” the report read, also asking, “Can one invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty after a cyber attack? And what response mechanisms should the Alliance employ against the attacker? Should the retaliation be limited to cyber means only, or should conventional military strikes also be considered?”

Recently, the UK and US have suggested that they consider such cyber-attacks as actual acts of warfare. The Washington Post reported that “The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.”

“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a military official.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that “The UK is developing a cyber-weapons programme that will give ministers an attacking capability to help counter growing threats to national security.”

“The armed forces minister, Nick Harvey, told the Guardian that “action in cyberspace will form part of the future battlefield”, and though he said cyber-weapons would not replace traditional weapons, he admitted he now regards them as “an integral part of the country’s armoury”. It is the first official acknowledgment that such a programme exists.”

Anonymous’ response to NATO began by stating: “you have singled out Anonymous as a threat to “government and the people”. You have also alleged that secrecy is a ‘necessary evil’ and that transparency is npt [sic] always the right way forward.”

The public statement laid out clearly that Anonymous and Wikileaks are “distinct entities”, describing how they were not working together but that they do share a common attribute: “They are no threat to any organization – unless that organization is doing something wrong and attempting to get away with it.”

Anonymous continued by seemingly berating NATO for acting as if the organisation were some kind of cyber-terrorist organisation, or were somehow acting for their own agenda and not for the good of the masses: “We do not wish to threaten anybody’s way of life. We do not wish to dictate anything to anybody. We do not wish to terrorize any nation.

“We merely wish to remove power from vested interests and return it to the people – who, in a democracy, it should never have been taken from in the first place,” the statement continued.

Anonymous also state: “You know you do not fear us because we are a threat to society. You fear us because we are a threat to the established hierarchy. ”

The statement concludes with the warning: “Do not make the mistake of challenging Anonymous. Do not make the mistake of believing you can behead a headless snake. If you slice off one head of Hydra, ten more heads will grow in its place. If you cut down one Anon, ten more will join us purely out of anger at your trampling of dissent.

“Your only chance of defeating the movement which binds all of us is to accept it. This is no longer your world. It is our world – the people’s world.”

I shall post the full response below. It is well worth a read, and it will be interesting to see whether NATO responds with a statement in return, or whether they ignore it. Time will tell, but it is clear that we are entering an age where, truly, “action in cyberspace will form part of the future battlefield” – for good or for evil.

The public statement:

Greetings, members of NATO. We are Anonymous.

In a recent publication, you have singled out Anonymous as a threat to “government and the people”. You have also alleged that secrecy is a ‘necessary evil’ and that transparency is npt always the right way forward.

Anonymous would like to remind you that the government and the people are, contrary to the supposed foundations of “democracy”, distinct entities with often conflicting goals and desires. It is Anonymous‘ position that when there is a conflict of interest between the government and the people, it is the people’s will which must take priority. The only threat transparency poses to government is to threaten government’s ability to act in a manner which the people would disagree with, without having to face democratic consequences and accountability for such behaviour. Your own report cites a perfect example of this, the Anonymous attack on HBGary. Whether HBGary were acting in the cause of security or military gain is irrelevant – their actions were illegal and morally reprehensible. Anonymous does not accept that the government and/or the military has the right to be above the law and to use the phoney cliche of “national security” to justify illegal and deceptive activities. If the government must break the rules, they must also be willing to accept the democratic consequences of this at the ballot box.We do not accept the current status quo whereby a government can tell one story to the people and another in private. Dishonesty and secrecy totally undermine the concept of self rule. How can the people judge for whom to vote unless they are fully aware of what policies said politicians are actually pursuing?

When a government is elected, it is said to “represent” the nation it governs. This essentially means that the actions of a government are not the actions of the people in government, but are actions taken on behalf of every citizen in that country. It is unacceptable to have a situation in which the people are, in many cases, totally and utterly unaware of what is being said and done on their behalf – behind closed doors.

Anonymous and WikiLeaks are distinct entities. The actions of Anonymous were not aided or even requested by WikiLeaks. However, Anonymous and WikiLeaks do share one common attribute: They are no threat to any organization – unless that organization is doing something wrong and attempting to get away with it.

We do not wish to threaten anybody’s way of life. We do not wish to dictate anything to anybody. We do not wish to terrorize any nation.

We merely wish to remove power from vested interests and return it to the people – who, in a democracy, it should never have been taken from in the first place.
The government makes the law. This does not give them the right to break it. If the government was doing nothing underhand or illegal, there would be nothing “embarassing” about Wikileaks revelations, nor would there have been any scandal emanating from HBGary. The resulting scandals were not a result of Anonymous‘ or Wikileaks’ revelations, they were the result of the CONTENT of those revelations. And responsibility for that content can be laid solely at the doorstep of policymakers who, like any corrupt entity, naively believed that they were above the law and that they would not be caught.

A lot of government and corporate comment has been dedicated to “how we can avoid a similar leak in the future”. Such advice ranges from better security, to lower levels of clearance, from harsher penalties for whistleblowers, to censorship of the press.

Our message is simple: Do not lie to the people and you won’t have to worry about your lies being exposed. Do not make corrupt deals and you won’t have to worry about your corruption being laid bare. Do not break the rules and you won’t have to worry about getting in trouble for it.

Do not attempt to repair your two faces by concealing one of them. Instead, try having only one face – an honest, open and democratic one.

You know you do not fear us because we are a threat to society. You fear us because we are a threat to the established hierarchy. Anonymous has proven over the last several years that a hierarchy is not necessary in order to achieve great progress – perhaps what you truly fear in us, is the realization of your own irrelevance in an age which has outgrown its reliance on you. Your true terror is not in a collective of activists, but in the fact that you and everything you stand for have, by the changing tides and the advancement of technology, are now surplus to requirements.

Finally, do not make the mistake of challenging Anonymous. Do not make the mistake of believing you can behead a headless snake. If you slice off one head of Hydra, ten more heads will grow in its place. If you cut down one Anon, ten more will join us purely out of anger at your trampling of dissent.

Your only chance of defeating the movement which binds all of us is to accept it. This is no longer your world. It is our world – the people’s world.

We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us…