The New COINTELPRO: Cyberwarfare ‘hacktivists’ and the Subversion of Anonymous

SOTT

In recent years, a new form of activism has cropped up on the Internet. With their numerous ‘leaks’ and ‘ops’, groups like WikiLeaks and its ‘hacktivism’ off-shoot known as ‘Anonymous’, have achieved major mainstream media exposure. With V for Vendetta’s character ‘V’ as inspiration, youths the world over are rallying behind the idea that “something is terribly wrong with this country” and are letting everyone know via anonymous protests, online hacktivism against groups and organizations they see as part of the problem, or the support of the revolutions taking place in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere.

The rise of Internet hacktivism comes with a price however. From ‘home-grown terrorists’, we now have the potential for ‘home-grown terrorist hackers’ and major Western governments and media corporations have wasted no time in touting this new angle in the ‘war on terror’. The Economist, for example, described cyberwarfare as now “the fifth domain of warfare,” and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, William J. Lynn, stated in 2010 that “as a doctrinal matter, the Pentagon has formally recognized cyberspace as a new domain in warfare . . . [which] has become just as critical to military operations as land, sea, air, and space.”

The real potential problem with the rise of ‘hacktivism’ however is the potential for such groups to be infiltrated by government operatives and their righteous agendas diverted to serve the agendas of the US government and military. While nominally directed against hostile foreign powers, cyberwarfare is very much COINTELPRO’s baby brother. Just as the so-called ‘terrorist’ threat has crept closer and closer to home, with the propagandistic association between social dissidence and the threat of ‘homegrown terrorism’ being increasingly stressed, cyberwarfare has increasingly targeted those citizens who take a critical stance against the crimes of current corporate, economic, military and political powers. After all, the only way to stifle dissent against crimes and corruption that are so systemic and obvious is through information warfare: propaganda. Cyberwarfare and ‘hacktivism’ are therefore likely to play a central role in 21st century COINTELPRO.

It is not surprising therefore that cyberwarfare has spawned an entire industry of private and military-based firms and organizations specializing in this new form of ‘counter intelligence.’



As Sott.net has been saying for years, COINTELPRO is alive and well, but you’re not likely to read about it in the corporate media. Members of the public, as well as participants in new forms of ‘anonymous’ activism might be shocked to learn that such groups are actively infiltrated and even created for purposes of division, diversion and disruption of the aims of social activism. The recent case of Aaron Barr, CEO of ‘security’ company HBGary Federal, who allegedly infiltrated Anonymous in order to discover their true identities only to have his own company and email account hacked in retaliation by Anonymous, is a case in point.

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