Anonymous Documentary We Are Legion Peels Back Hacktivist Group’s History

By Angela Water | January 22, 2012 | 11:33 am

PARK CITY, Utah — New documentary We Are Legion puts an actual human face on Anonymous, the hacktivist group whose members usually are seen wearing Guy Fawkes masks — if they are seen at all.

Considering Anonymous’ retaliatory acts against websites run by the Department of Justice and the entertainment industry just last week in response to the government takedown of file-sharing site Megaupload, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists could almost be mistaken for a 93-minute news segment.
But unlike most news segments about the group, the documentary contains genuine moments with actual Anons (some maintain their anonymity in the doc, but others don’t).

“The last two or three days we’ve seen a lot of what Anonymous does,” We Are Legion director Brian Knappenberger said in an interview with Wired.com here Saturday, the morning after the documentary’s premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival. “You know, there was a film about the Weather Underground that came out a few years ago, and that was made 30 years after they were blowing up buildings, and I love that film. But picture making a film like that while they were still blowing up buildings — that’s what I’m talking about.”

We Are Legion might be the first to portray the group’s members as true revolutionaries, and it could serve as a time capsule if the kind of online sit-ins and retaliatory strikes that Anonymous has helped create become the new model for civil disobedience across the globe.

For those who didn’t hear of Anonymous until Occupy Wall Street started up, We Are Legion effectively puts the group’s current incarnation in historical perspective. The documentary traces the roots of early hacker-activist groups like the Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater before jumping into Anonymous’ roots in 4chan.

The documentary goes deep. Speaking with current and former Anonymous participants — as well as Wired writers Ryan Singel and Steven Levy — Knappenberger gives a thorough chronological account of Anonymous’ exploits, up to the group’s current place at the forefront of online disobedience.

Starting with Mercedes Renee Haefer, who was arrested in conjunction with the denial-of-service attacks against online payment service PayPal last July, the documentary talks to Anons and experts about Anonymous’ vendetta against Scientology, defense of WikiLeaks, and support of the actions in Tunisia and Egypt during the Arab Spring.

Slamdance, the underground alternative movie fest that runs during the Sundance Film Festival here each year, seems like the perfect place for We Are Legion‘s primer on Anonymous. The film might have seemed out of place at a glitzy Hollywood-in-the-hills screening.

“It feels right,” Knappenberger said of the premiere. “Slamdance has a kind of undercurrent of revolutionary, counterculture, slightly anarchic vibe that just seemed to fit [the film] right away.”

Knappenberger is looking for distribution for his film so it can be seen by a wider audience. It seems possible that Hollywood backers will shy away from a film about Anonymous after the group’s actions against the Motion Picture Association of America and other entertainment industry power players. But Knappenberger said he isn’t worried.

“I just want to tell the story,” he said, adding that considering Anonymous’ various targets over the years, “Who aren’t I offending?”

He could also take advice from his subject Haefer, who in the film says that what Anonymous ultimately hopes to protect is freedom of speech, regardless of a person’s opinions or background.

Or, as she says simply, “Your opinion matters.”

Anonymous Documentary We Are Legion Peels Back Hacktivist Group's History | Underwire | Wired.com.

Anonymous downs government, music industry sites in largest attack ever

Published: 20 January, 2012, 01:48
Edited: 20 January, 2012, 08:44

Hacktivists with the collective Anonymous are waging an attack on the website for the White House after successfully breaking the sites for the FBI, Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America.

In response to today’s federal raid on the file sharing service Megaupload, hackers with the online collective Anonymous have broken the websites for the FBI, Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA, Motion Picture Association of America and Warner Music Group.

“It was in retaliation for Megaupload, as was the concurrent attack on Justice.org,” Anonymous operative Barrett Brown tells RT on Thursday afternoon.

Only hours before the DoJ and Universal sites went down, news broke that Megaupload, a massive file sharing site with a reported 50 million daily users, was taken down by federal agents. Four people linked to Megaupload were arrested in New Zealand and an international crackdown led agents to serving at least 20 search warrants across the globe.

The latest of sites to fall is FBI.gov, which finally broke at around 7:40 pm EST Thursday evening.

Less than an hour after the DoJ and Universal sites came down, the website for the RIAA, or Recording Industry Association of America, went offline as well. Shortly before 6 p.m EST, the government’s Copyright.gov site went down as well. Thirty minutes later came the site for BMI, or Broadcast Music, Inc, the licensing organization that represents some of the biggest names in music.

Also on Thursday, MPAA.org returned an error as Anonymous hacktivists managed to bring down the website for the Motion Picture Association of America. The group, headed by former senator Chris Dodd, is an adamant supporter of both PIPA and SOPA legislation.
Universal Music Group, or UMG, is the largest record company in the United States and under its umbrella are the labels Interscope-Geffen-A&M, the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group and Mercury Records.

Brown adds that “more is coming” and Anonymous-aligned hacktivists are pursuing a joint effort with others to “damage campaign raising abilities of remaining Democrats who support SOPA.”

Although many members of Congress have just this week changed their stance on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, the raid on Megaupload Thursday proved that the feds don’t need SOPA or its sister legislation, PIPA, in order to pose a threat to the Web.

Brown adds that operatives involved in the project will use an “experimental campaign” and search engine optimization techniques “whereby to forever saddle some of these congressmen with their record on this issue.”

via Anonymous downs government, music industry sites in largest attack ever — RT.

Occupy protesters kicked off bus on way to Washington

By Muriel Kane
Sunday, January 15, 2012 19:08 EST

A group of Occupy protesters from California, who were heading to Washington, DC to participate in the Occupy Congress protest on January 17, were kicked off their Greyhound bus on Saturday night and left stranded in Amarillo, Texas.

The driver, Donald Ainsworth, allegedly called the Occupiers “you people” and told them they were not welcome in Washington or anywhere else. It is not clear whether there had been any precipitating incident.

According to an account posted at Reddit by Road2CongressOSD, “Donald Ainsworth immediately began yelling at all passengers in the lobby. Once he realized 13 passengers were with Occupy he began making personal and rude comments towards members when boarding with tickets. No one responded. Once the bus was boarded he began shouting ‘Sit down and shut up! Anyone standing is getting kicked off the bus.’ Several passengers, not just Occupants, began addressing the driver’s conduct. He left the bus, and locked all passengers within for over an hour. He made a lengthy phone call and before too long the police had arrived. The officer came on the bus and spoke with us, stating he knew Don’s attitude was poor but he had the right to remove us.”

The account goes on to say that the police offer and the driver then walked through the bus together “and Don asked every passenger ‘are you with Occupy?’ To the 13 of us who responded yes, the police ordered them to exit the bus. Then Don said ‘Anyone else support Occupy? You can get off too!’”

The Reddit post concludes by saying, “Also, a few random acts of pizza would be nice:)” According to Crooks and Liars, pizza did arrive from a local Papa John’s, and by Sunday morning the protesters were back on another bus and on their way. They say, however, that Greyhound has so far refused to offer any compensation for their inconvenience.

There does not yet appear to be any published explanation of the driver’s conduct or comment from Greyhound management. It is also not clear whether the driver would have been within his legal rights to order the protests removed without cause or whether his actions were in violation of anti-discrimination laws.

Greyhound’s own regulations specify that “carriers reserve the right to refuse to transport a person under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, or who is incapable of taking care of him/herself, or whose conduct is such or likely to be such as to make him or her objectionable to other passengers or prospective passengers, or who refuses to comply with any lawful rule or regulation of the carrier.” Nothing in what the occupiers have said indicates that they were in violation of any of these criteria.

This video was posted to Youtube on January 15, 2012 by occupy17.

Muriel Kane

Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane

via Occupy protesters kicked off bus on way to Washington | The Raw Story.

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