Technical difficulties @ the new site

•February 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

until i figure out the problems at the new host we’re back here for the moment.

Moving to a new site soon… ghostofvanzetti.net/blog

•February 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

so for a number of reasons I’m moving this to a different host. I’ll probably pay for a redirect on this but if not, check out the news digs!

Not done yet: #Egypt strikes and protests continue #jan25

•February 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Amplify’d from worldblog.msnbc.msn.com
5
hours
ago

Egyptians want better wages, as well as freedom

NBC News’ Ron Allen has been in Cairo for the past three weeks covering the protests that lead to President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. He responded to questions about what was going on in Cairo Monday after the new reality of an Egypt without Mubarak settled in. 

What’s the mood there now a few days after the euphoria of Mubarak stepping down? Is there a feeling that the city is getting  back to normal? Back to reality?  
I think reality is settling back to Cairo. But a lot of workers are emboldened by what has happened over the past few weeks. Everywhere you go in Cairo there are strikes and protests in front of businesses and factories. There was a gathering of bus transportation workers striking near our office today.

The people who are striking now are basically working class people demanding a raise. Bus drivers in this country earn below the minimum wage. One analyst told me that 30 to 40 percent of public sector workers, people who work in government jobs, earn less than the minimum wage here. That’s why so many people are out demanding better treatment. People tell you that even when they work overtime, their boss doesn’t pay it and there is always some excuse why they can’t get their money. 

Read more at worldblog.msnbc.msn.com

 

The Strategy of Anonymity

•February 14, 2011 • 2 Comments

“[The hackers] attack from the shadows and they have no fear of retaliation. There are no rules of engagement in this kind of emerging warfare.”~Charles Dodd, US government consultant on IT security

Recent events warrant warrant this discussion to say the least. Recently there have been the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as internet censorship by a list of other countries. Also there was security firm HBGARY’s (pretty much failed) attempt at doxing or finding and revealing the personal information of members of anonymous. Not to mention the grand jury that has just started reviewing evidence against “members of Anonymous”. And a certain government consultant’s statement about the “cyberwar”. People who stay anonymous and do something are generally considered cowards and immoral etc… And of course the eternal response…

But if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear… right?:

“Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary; that this architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, that the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers.”~from Panopticism by Michel Foucault

From talking to people about the world and society, there are two deterrents preventing the formation of a really effective social movement in the US. Apathy and fear seem to be the two things stopping people from actually taking action, from trying to change things for the better. The apathy is easy to solve. By taking visible and effective action we can convince the apathetic people that it’s worth it to TRY. A successful action, uprising, strike or occupation expands the notion of what is possible and also shows the immediate benefits of becoming involved with a movement. So all we’re left with then is overcoming fear, or gaining a better relationship to fear and what causes fear. To get there I must digress for a moment…

So all the way back in 1785 philosopher Jeremy Bentham developed an idea for a prison. The Panopticon (a sketch of it is above) was Bentham’s attempt to design a prison that functioned as efficiently and as cheaply as possible. The idea behind it being to have the prison administration setup in the middle of the jail. To setup the observation in such a way that the people running the prison could possibly observe anyone at any time. The key feature though, that the prison would be structured in such a way that the inmates would never be able to tell if they were being watched. Here’s another picture of a real life prison based off the panoptic model:

Bentham spawned the Panopticon as a prison design, but the principle behind it was meant to be and has been implemented in other spheres of life. Foucault put it great in his essay Panopticism: “it makes it possible to perfect the exercise of power. It does this in several ways: because it can reduce the number of those who exercise it, while increasing the number of those on whom it is exercised. Because it is possible to intervene at any moment and because the constant pressure acts even before the offences, mistakes or crimes have been committed.” To boil all this down to real life situations… You ever go into a large department store and look up? Some stores have those small cameras, but some have those large black bulbs that obscure where the small camera is actually pointing. A friend once told me “the larger those bulbs are the more bullshit those cameras are”. And it’s true. There came a point when I realized that even if there were cameras, they MOST LIKELY were not pointing at me. And if they were pointed at me, no one was probably watching. If the cameras were even real at all. Speeding by the “This speed limit area is monitored by radar/aircraft/statetrooper/fucking santa claus” signs on the side of the highway… Those days in school when the teacher wouldn’t collect the homework, or give us that pop quiz like she threatened. All this culminating in the liberating realization that there are too many people to watch at once

Considering recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and the US I’m starting to think its really those with “authority” against those without it… After 9/11 world governments had to flex their muscles, showing off their capabilities for surveillance and policing, and afterward it started to look like we were among the most passive of generations... But what of those under dictatorships, what of the people in Egypt who had been living under Mubarak’s rule for 30 years? Or the people of Algeria who with inspiration from their neighbors, have demonstrated in defiance of the 19 year old emergency? The people who risk everything by being in the street alone?

Staying Visible All the Time: Knowing When to Stay Anonymous

Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends“~Shirley Maclaine

Just because someone wears a mask doesn’t mean they did nothin’ automatically”~lyric from “The Mask” by Danger Doom

There’s a fine line to walk between anonymity and invisibility. Staying Anonymous is a strategy to

1)avoid repression

2)disprove the myth of the all-seeing State

3) Inspire others by showing them it is possible to evade government repression. Anyone can shame and slander those who choose to stay anonymous. Many may even take what’s said at face value. Regardless, every action has an implied message, or gesture. Protesting (illegally when necessary) and hiding your identity resonates with people. If a member of Anonymous’ DDoS’es a site and doesn’t get caught, if a group of masked protesters riot and get away with it, that sends a clear message. These things say: “We know the situation. We know the risks and we came prepared.”  Staying anonymous signifies a switch in thought, from state “victim” to the opposition. And people recognize that. I know I did.

With all that said, anonymity is only one strategy, one strategy out of many. It’s great if all you’re trying to do is avoid arrest. But if you want the added benefit of inspiring others and dispelling fear,  you must be visible as well! Too many well-meaning people have gotten too caught up in their own anonymity, too paranoid to realize they’ve missed the point. An effective action minimizes risk to the participants, and presents a viable alternative to the status quo. It solves an immediate problem and is relate-able. It’s repeatable. Gone are the days of armed vanguard-ist rebellions; “revolutions” forced on many by a few. Take Egypt for example. The opposition in the country had been demonstrating for years against Mubarak’s rule. Only once there were thousands of people in the street, teaching each other how to stay safe in the street, how to make a mask out of a shirt, how to get on the internet despite censorship… Only once there were thousands demonstrating and sharing the means of resistance, did we even begin to see any movement towards the opposition’s goals…

In short, learn when to stay anonymous and when to reveal yourself. Never sacrifice your efficacy, your freedom or your worldview just for some publicity. In the same breath, don’t sacrifice the natural appeal of CHANGING THE WORLD by becoming too attached to your anonymity.

P.S. Expect another post on practical ways to stay anonymous when protesting in real life and on the internet… Also none of the photos are mine, bottom two are taken from Crimethinc.com

-vanzetti

..

Repost from @news: “An #Anarchist Report from #Egypt” #jan25 #anarchism

•February 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Amplify’d from anarchistnews.org

An Anarchist Report from Egypt

Last night an anarchist from Lebanon gave a report on the situation in Egypt at our social center, and I wanted to pass this information on to English-speaking comrades. This is a series of notes extracted from the talk, highlighting questions anarchists who have read mainstream coverage are likely to have about the situation.

The person who gave the talk has been involved in organizing solidarity with people in Egypt, and as a part of the talk he skyped a friend in Tahir Square so we could ask her some questions directly.

The revolution in Egypt has been spontaneous and self-organizing, spreading from Cairo and other major cities to the countryside, where in some areas Bedouins took up arms against the police and the military. The revolution has not been peaceful, but in most cases it has been unarmed, owing to the simple fact that most people don’t have recourse to weapons beyond stones, clubs, spray paint, and molotov cocktails, all of which have been used against police forces in abundance. (The spraypaint is for the cops’ visors, and once they have to lift those up in order to see, for their eyes). When government paramilitary thugs attacked the protestors on Tahir Square (the incident initially described by Western media as a clash between Mubarak supporters and Mubarak opponents), they were expelled with violent force.

Because Egyptians have lived under dictatorship for so long, only the elderly have any experience street fighting, so a major form of solidarity by comrades in other countries has been the creation of informational flyers in Arabic explaining what are essentially Black Bloc street tactics. Given the participation by anarchists and anti-globalization activists in this direct aid, the reference to the Black Bloc is not intended as metaphor or exaggeration.

Another major form of solidarity was reconnecting Egypt to the internet. Either through personal connections or even in many cases faxing infosheets to random fax numbers in Egypt, hundreds of people outside Egypt showed protestors in Egypt how to get around the blocks and reconnect to the internet.

Participation in the uprising has been general and multigenerational. In a country of 80 million, 3 million have regularly come out in Cairo and many millions more in other major cities. The rural population is less likely to mobilize in central locations but they have participated in the uprising in other ways.

So far, comrades in Egypt have generally turned down offers of fundraising so the regime could not say the rebellion was being funded by European anarchists.

Many Western media outlets have tended to focus on male participation in their images, but from the first day many women have participated in protesting and street fighting. The comrade we talked to in Tahir Square is a queer anti-authoritarian, so when she says “everyone [over there] is united,” we are inclined to interpret this differently than if a union representative had said the same thing.

Read more at anarchistnews.org

 

Status on #Protests in #Iran, #Algeria, #Italy, #Spain and the Corresponding #Anonymous Operations

•February 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

so there’s a lot going on but I’ll try to get the essential stuff here as tersely as possible:

Iran:

The Iranian “Green” Opposition STILL plans to go ahead with their demonstration today. This news comes after the gov’t has denied their application for a permit (big surprise there) along with arresting opposition leader Karroubi and other dissidents, and cutting off access to many sites in Iran. Also a unified co-ordination council has been formed of Iran’s opposition.

Anonymous (the online activist group) continues their #OpIran, or Operation Iran. As I write this their current target for the DDOS (distributed denial of service) sit-in is http://www.iribnews.ir. This phase DDOS began at 5am GMT. Along with DDOS members of Anonymous have started a sub-op, operation iran fax, which involves supporters sending black faxes and white faxes to certain fax machines inside Iran. Here are the instructions for the Op gleaned from the topic in channel #opiran on the irc.anonops.ru IRC server.

Algeria:

The Algerian PRO-democracy opposition held their demonstration this weekend despite a massive police presence (30,000). The demonstration seems to be a massive success considering the nearly 20 year ban on ANY protests in algeria. Reading articles I’ve seen estimates for the turnout range from 1,500-10,000 people. The success here being people’s willingness to demonstrate (and even clash with police) despite an oppressive government, and despite this being the first large demo in Algeria in recent memory.

I feel safe in assuming the successes of Tunisia and Egypt have something to do with this… As far as Anonymous goes, #OpAlgeria is still swinging, with the target at the time of this post being http://www.interieur.gov.dz (Pictures from algerian demos are not mine. all copyright and credit to AP and daniel lee who put together the gallery here)


Italy:

The anti-Berlusconi opposition in Italy demonstrated yesterday drawing hundreds of thousands! of women to over 230 cities to call for better treatment of women in Italy as well as Berlusconi’s resignation. (This of course after Berlusconi’s new scandal involving him paying a 17 year old for sex). There is no current target for the #OpItaly DDOS but the channel is still active.

And another Anonymous op I havn’t had the chance to cover yet:

Spain and #OpGoya:

Dear Anonymous from around the World:

Once again, we at Anonymous Spain, are forced to ask for your help regarding a subject that affects us in Spain directly.

On January 16th, 2011, we asked for help from Anons around the world, to participate in a DDoS attack as a sign of protest against the “Synde Law”, which is intended to close any web page which they considered illegal without the need to go through a judge.

The Senate vote for this law was planned for the 23rd of February, 2011, but without any warning, the 8th of February (15th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the CyberSpace) it was announced that the “Sinde Law” would be voted the next day, the 9th of February, 2011, taking everyone by surprise and jeopardizing our capacity to react… The Goya Cinema Academy Awards will be celebrated on Sunday 13th in Spain. This Academy has clearly shown their support of this law, and we believe that it is itself entirely corrupted. In short, they are using public money in their own interest, diverting public subsidies, at the pleasure of an also corrupt Ministry of Culture.-

On February 13th hundreds of us will attend the Goya awards, and invade the red carpet as a sign of protest against the Sinde Law with our masks and suits.

A DDoS attack has also been scheduled against the Cinema Academy website. “~from #OpGoya press release

I”m going to refrain from writing too much since I plan on writing something more in depth , but here are the bullet points of the situation from what I can gather. Spain’s new “Ley Sinde” gives the government the power to take websites off the internet much like we’ve seen in other countries. In response, Anonymous began #OpGoya or Operation Goya.

This op seems to have two parts, a real life and a virtual component. The physical demonstration seems to already have happened at Spain’s Goya (film) awards.

And as I write, a DDOS on http://www.academiadecine.com/home/index.php is in full swing in channel #hispano. More news and info as this story develops definitely.

And now for something completely different:

Operation Dogfight:

And to finish off, here’s an Anonymous op I feel like a lot of people can support. Operation Dogfight in short is the effort to find the asshole who tortured two dogs and fucking posted it online. more info @ http://www.operationdogfight.info/

That’s it for now, but surely this is not even the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.
-vanzetti

edit: Another Algerian demonstration has been called for the 19th

#Iran Opposition Rally to Go Ahead As Planned Despite Gov’t harrasment, #opiran #iranelection #anonymous #jan25

•February 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Amplify’d from www.washingtonpost.com

Iran opposition renews calls for rally; government forbids any marches

TEHRAN – A Web site connected to one of Iran’s opposition leaders on Sunday renewed calls for a rally in support of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, setting the stage for a possible confrontation Monday between the government and its critics.

The statement on the site – the unofficial outlet of former presidential challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi – stressed that any use of violence by security forces would be an international “disgrace” and would undermine the government’s public support for the protesters in Egypt and Tunisia.

Iranian officials have refused to grant a permit for Monday’s demonstration, but the text posted on Kalameh.com said that the Interior Ministry would be held responsible for the safety of the protesters.

“Do not allow the infiltrating agents of those seeking violence to derail the demonstrations with their aggressive behavior under any circumstances,” the statement reads. “The noble people of Iran should participate in the peaceful demonstration, with calm and resolve.”

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com