A Rare Look Inside Anonymous’ Secret Ops (CNN – 15.01.2012)

ANNOUNCER: Tonight on CNN PRESENTS, “Anonymous.”
They live in the shadows. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s the closest thing
to a global revolution that we have ever got (ph). ANNOUNCER: But their message and tactics have
ignited a movement around the world. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are Anonymous. ANNOUNCER: A rare look inside the shadowy
group’s secret ops. This is CNN PRESENTS with your host tonight
Brooke Baldwin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, HOST: Good evening. We begin tonight with a rare look inside Anonymous. BROOKE BALDWIN, HOST: They’re this shadowy
and motley group of hackers and activist who answer to no one, drawn together by love of
Internet mischief. GUPTA: Well, now – now they’re evolving into this movement of social
change, a real driving force behind the Wall Street Occupiers. No surprise, they’re hated
by corporate security, but also hunted by the FBI. BALDWIN: And one of the questions we’re asking
is, who are these people and why are they taking to the streets? To get some answers, Amber Lyon stepped into
the shadows. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, back up, back up,
DOCUMENTARY UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It’s a dark and disturbing vision. A world
where riot police attack with impunity. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened? What happened? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got hit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got shot! LYON: Where democracy is corrupted by greed
and dissent is crushed. That’s how Anonymous sees America and they
say that’s why they’re fighting back. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are legion. We do not
forgive. We do not forget. LYON: It’s a movement that defies description
– leaderless, faceless, anarchic. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our space! LYON: A loose collective born on the Internet,
Anonymous has no official members and no hierarchy, but within the group some individual Anons
have greater standing, earned by their skills as hackers, video makers – UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To see it with my own
eyes and record it myself. LYON: — and increasingly street level activists. Troy (ph), not his real name, is one of them. TROY (ph), PROTESTER: This is what happens
when the people have had enough. This is what happens when greed goes unchecked. LYON: Troy said he was drawn to Occupy Wall
Street after watching his mother struggle with medical debts. He himself is working
two jobs to make ends meet, despite having a college degree. TROY (ph): You lose track of days, lose track
of time but it’s worth it. It’s all worth it. LYON: We met him at the Occupy Wall Street
camp at Zuccotti Park. TROY (ph): There’s no specific person to talk
to. It’s move like a hive, you know, an idea is brought up and whoever agrees with it,
if the overwhelming majority of people agree with it, then we go with it. LYON (on camera): So we’re following Troy
(ph) and he’s been out here policing, kind of making sure that all of these protesters
are getting along with the community and not causing any problems. TROY (ph): We’re handling internal affairs
as far as damage control within the community, making sure that everybody is respecting the
local – the local small businesses around here. LYON (voice-over): But he’s not just watching
over the protests. He’s also watching the police. Part of the evolution of Anonymous from hackers
to activists. Anonymous was born a decade ago in one of the weirdest and darkest corners
of the Internet, an anything goes imageboard called 4chan. 4chan users post Anonymously
and the name stuck. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not forgive. LYON: The group adopted a distinct identity
and its own symbolism, a mask taken from the movie “V for Vendetta,” a retelling of the
story of the English rebel Guy Fox and his plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605. Instead of gun powder, Anonymous uses the
Internet. Anonymous attacks its targets by flooding and crashing corporate and government
web sites, or digging up and publicizing highly embarrassing information. It’s called trolling.
They troll targets out of genuine outrage but also just for fun. GABRIELLA COLEMAN, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR:
The LULZ – it’s a kind of parallelization and bastardization of Laugh Out Loud. LYON: New York University Professor Gabriella
Coleman has been watching Anonymous for years. COLEMAN: It’s a term that kind of denotes
the sort of pleasure, humor, laughter, everything from something which is quite playful, harmless
to engaging in a kind of full-fledged trolling attack that humiliates. LYON: Anonymous’ campaigns, known as Operations
or Ops can be dramatic. In late 2010, a distributed denial of service attack took down the web
site of PayPal after the company cut off support for the online whistle blower site WikiLeaks. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: PayPal continues to withhold
fund for WikiLeaks, the beacon of truth in these dark times. LYON: Sixteen Anons were arrested by the FBI
charged with conspiring to intentionally damage PayPal’s computers. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a message from
Anonymous to the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, BART. LYON: This summer, Anonymous attacked the
San Francisco Area’s public transportation system BART. BART had cut cell service within
the transit system as a way of disrupting antipolice brutality protests. Anonymous’
reaction was devastating and vicious. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not issue anymore
warnings. LYON: OPBART included the release of a naked
photo of a senior BART employee. COLEMAN: Sometimes it kind of makes you laugh,
sometimes it makes you cringe, sometimes it makes you laugh and cringe at the same time.
All of a sudden you’re like, oh, my gosh, there is this, you know, dagger that’s being
thrown. LYON (on camera): And a naked photo? COLEMAN: Yes. A naked photo. LYON: Do you feel like there is a fear out
there of, you know, what they could possibly find or leak about a certain individual? COLEMAN: Absolutely. I mean, that’s what makes
them who they are is that they are kind of bad boys and rude boys to some degree. There
is a dual sort of fascination and horror that goes on at the same time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be aware. Be vigilant. LYON (voice-over): Anonymous was evolving,
using its power to shock and disrupt to effect social change. During the Arab Spring, the collective emerged
as a full fledged activist group, taking up the cause of Tunisians fighting against the
repressive regime – literally saving lives. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Tunisian government
has made itself an enemy of Anonymous. COLEMAN: They did everything from take down
government web sites. They wrote scripts to stop the phishing of passwords. They brought
massive media attention to Tunisia. LYON: And last fall, Anonymous broke cover
here at home, stepping out from behind their secure computer screens for a new cause, Occupy
Wall Street. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a revolution brewing. LYON: Suddenly the symbols of Anonymous were
everywhere, in flags, masks, banners. CROWD: We are the 99 percent! LYON: When we return, pepper spray and Anonymous
strikes back. (on camera): How are they getting the personal
information of these officers? TROY (ph): I’d rather not say. (END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BALDWIN: The shadowy Internet group known
as Anonymous has grown now far beyond its hacker roots. It’s now emerging as a forceful
public relations weapon for the Occupy protest movement. Amber Lyon takes you inside Anonymous. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are Anonymous. LYON (voice-over): Anonymous likens itself
to the Air Force of the Occupy movement. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone, everywhere will
be occupy their towns, their capitals and other public spaces. LYON: Anonymous has an array of people on
the streets. We’re talking medics in San Francisco, tech support in Washington, D.C. And here
in New York, guys like Troy (ph). Troy (ph), not his real name, is part of an
army of citizen journalists documenting the movement and the police by broadcasting live
video over streaming sites. When they see evidence of what they believe is police misbehavior,
Anonymous strikes back, releasing personal information about specific officers. TROY (ph): And hopefully he’ll think twice
before he pulls out his baton against somebody who is holding a sign saying we just want
peace. LYON (on camera): And how are they getting
their cell phone numbers and personal information of these officers or bankers? TROY (ph): I’d rather not say. LYON (voice-over): In September an NYPD officer
named Anthony Bologna was filmed pepper spraying two protesters. Anonymous took direct action. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will unleash all of
your phones, your servers and anything else we can find. LYON: One of the most active subgroups within
Anonymous is called the Cabin Crew. Their specialty is doxing. It’s shorthand for combing
the Internet for all the information you can find about a target and then releasing it
publicly. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cabin Crew have noticed
injustices being committed by the New York Police. LYON: Cabin Crew compiled Bologna’s
name, his home address, past legal actions, even the names of his family members and put
it all online. After a police investigation and public pressure,
Bologna was placed on leave and reassigned to Staten Island. (on camera): What do you think that did to
the NYPD when they saw this officer’s information get posed online? COLEMAN: I think that they would see it as
a form of vigilantism. They’re pushing the boundaries of the law. But I think some of
their actions also reveal the ways in which either private security companies or police
are also acting outside of the boundaries of the law. LYON (voice-over): Anonymous’ biggest coup
in the propaganda wars was this. An Anon group by the name OperationLeaks posts the clip
on YouTube. The next day the clip tops 100,000 views. Three days later one and a half million.
The casually spraying cop had it all. It was outrageous, ridiculous, lulzy and effective. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police in riot gears spraying
students. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pepper spraying student
protesters. LYON: The incident was picked up by mainstream
media and replayed over and over again. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very shocking. LYON: Anonymous wants to frame the narrative
of the Occupy movement as a contest between peaceful protesters and a militarized police
state. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh. LYON: Reality, though, isn’t quite so clear
cut. At Occupy Oakland, some protesters attacked the police with rocks and bottles. Others
erupted in a fury after the city tore down their encampment. (on camera): Some people are trying to tear
down this fence and head into the main area, but others are trying to keep them quiet and
calm so that the police don’t have to get re-involved. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need some help. We need
some more help over here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We’re non-violent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you [bleep] believe
you’re willing to fight us but not the police? And you’re doing their job. LYON (voice-over): The Anonymous PR machine
focused solely on instances where the cops got out of line – and they have plenty of
ammunition. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened, what happened? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got hit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got shot! LYON: During one night of chaos, police apparently
fired a projectile directly at a former Marine named Scott Olsen. He was peacefully protesting
against the crackdown. Anonymous went into overdrive, scanning the video for police badge
numbers and names, offering a reward for anyone who could identify the officer responsible.
The case is still under investigation. The Department of Homeland Security has put
out several alerts to law enforcement and corporate security focused mainly on the group’s
hacking activities, and the FBI has made more than a dozen arrests. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are living in a police
state – LYON: But there’s no indication that has cramped
Anonymous’ style. Their latest op? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Merry Christmas and a Happy
New Year to all on planet earth. LYON: On Christmas Day, members crashed the
web site of a security research company, hacking its client list along with their credit card
numbers in order to steal $1 million for donations to charity. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are Anonymous. Expect
us. GUPTA: And our correspondent Amber Lyon now
joins us here in studio. A little frightening, a little scary. LYON (on camera): Yes, especially for law
enforcement in many aspects. GUPTA: I’ve got to ask you. What if they get
it wrong? What if they put up some personal information that is inaccurate? Do they have
any accountability? LYON: There’s very little accountability because
of the way Anonymous is organized, anyone can claim to be Anonymous. There’s also a
lot of extreme outliers. And, you know, law enforcement is intimidated
by Anonymous. We tried to get an interview with anyone federally or locally and they
refused to send an officer forward kind of to the chopping block because they feared
that if this officer appear on camera, they could become a target of Anonymous. BALDWIN: All right, Amber – GUPTA: Amber, thanks a lot. Great story.

7 thoughts on “A Rare Look Inside Anonymous’ Secret Ops (CNN – 15.01.2012)”

  1. Anonymous is the best we have to "Superheroes". This is what we have right? Then why do we fear them? We should welcome them.

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