As the Wikileaks saga continues to unfurl offline and on, Anonymous, the collective noun for members of internet community 4chan (widely regarded as the internet’s pre-Assange provocateurs du jour) have launched an “internet attack” dubbed Operation Avenge Assange in a bid to fight censorship and “the oppressive future which looms ahead”.
Though primarily associated with LOL cats, trolling, inane memes and juvenile, offensive and mostly anonymous commenting (hence the name) – 4chan represents the good parts of the internet too, namely its ability to mobilize and unite strangers via what can be loosely described as the internet’s premiere guerrilla task force. The collective’s past exploits include hacking Sarah Palin’s personal email and inflating Time Magazine’s most influential person poll such that 4chan founder Christopher Poole, also known as Moot, was crowned winner ahead of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Oprah Winfrey.
This latest attack however, is the collective’s most political to date. In a call-to-arms document released yesterday, 4chan have outlined plans to actively shutdown Pay Pal, spread current leak cables “as much as possible”, inflate Assange’s votes in Time’s person of the year poll (incidentally Assange covers the most recent issue) and create awareness through physical and online protest. Specifically, 4chan will inundate Pay Pal with DDos (distributed denial-of-service) attacks which prevents websites from functioning efficiently, if at all (as retaliation against Pay Pal’s decision to discontinue services to Wikileaks). Interestingly, the payment service provider along with Interpol, Julia Gillard and Sarah Palin have been flagged as potential targets in 4chan’s document (see below) though it is not currently known what Anonymous plans to do to the others.
We have an idea though and it could be disastrous. Especially since Gillard, who publicly maintains that Wikileaks is “illegal” and “grossly irresponsible”, was condemned by Assange during a live Q&A hosted on The Guardian last week: “Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return impossible but they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people.“. 4chan describe Australia’s reluctance to protect Assange more succinctly, “his own country has abandoned him to the wolves”.
Check out the document below…