On July 19, 2011, Rupert Murdoch “died” from an overdose of palladium in his garden, according to The Sun. The false article makes humorous insider references to images of “Murdoch in his early days, donning a top hat and monocle” (LulzSec), mirroring the Lulz Boat icon, and “Butler Davidson,” referencing the infamous David Davidson. Moreover, Murdoch’s demise occurred in a topiary garden, following the arrest of LulzSec member Topiary, which was at first shrouded in a chaos of social engineering and judicial bumbling. This online vandalism unbalances our expectations of online security, as any Trickster maneuver would do, and while it fell short of creating large-scale spectacle or embarrassment, it apparently precedes a to-be-leaked email cache. If the point is to create a stir, it may have failed, but if the point is to announce, We’re still here, motherfuckers, then I think the maneuver counts as a success.
This is additionally significant as it comes on the heels of Anonymous’s mourning of Topiary’s passing, seemingly confirming his arrest in a Pastebin communique: “If the light of Anonymous and AntiSec could be extinguished with the vanning or death of someone, it would have been already. Alas, it is not so.” In lofty, eulogizing language, Topiary is praised for making his “words truthful to his actions” and being “vanned in a moment of truthfulness.” The document ends with this: “He [Topiary], bless his soul, tweeted a message one week before he died, which included guidance that will soon, lulz willing, be disseminated. His message was this poetic verse: ‘You cannot arrest an idea.'”
AntiSec, or Anti Security, called for supporters and participators to leak all classified documents they could obtain. Instigated by LulzSec in May, the movement was joined by Anonymous in June, after much speculation that infighting between the two collectives would dissolve both groups. Banks and corporations were suggested as potential targets. LulzSec disbanded at the end of June after their “50 Days of Lulz” mission. Many read this as a tactical retreat after Topiary’s (Jake Davis’s) arrest, now confirmed as the real deal, but LulzSec garnered international publicity and confirmed the solidarity of the Anonymous movement: Topiary may be arrested, but the rest are unvanned. Unknown. Untouchable.
Operation PayPal, jointly initiated by Anonymous and LulzSec, illustrates this best:
Dear PayPal, its customers, and our friends around the globe,
This is an official communiqué from Anonymous and Lulz Security in the name of AntiSec.
In recent weeks, we’ve found ourselves outraged at the FBI’s willingness to arrest and threaten those who are involved in ethical, modern cyber operations. Law enforcement continues to push its ridiculous rules upon us—Anonymous “suspects” may face a fine of up to 500,000 USD with the addition of 15 years’ jailtime, all for taking part in a historical activist movement. Many of the already-apprehended Anons are being charged with taking part in DDoS attacks against corrupt and greedy organizations, such as PayPal.
What the FBI needs to learn is that there is a vast difference between adding one’s voice to a chorus and digital sit-in with Low Orbit Ion Cannon, and controlling a large botnet of infected computers. And yet both of these are punishable with exactly the same fine and sentence.
In addition to this horrific law enforcement incompetence, PayPal continues to withhold funds from WikiLeaks, a beacon of truth in these dark times. By simply standing up for ourselves and uniting the people, PayPal still sees it fit to wash its hands of any blame, and instead encourages and assists law enforcement to hunt down participants in the AntiSec movement.
Quite simply, we, the people, are disgusted with these injustices. We will not sit down and let ourselves be trampled upon by any corporation or government. We are not scared of you, and that is something for you to be scared of. We are not the terrorists here: you are.
We encourage anyone using PayPal to immediately close their accounts and consider an alternative. The first step to being truly free is not putting one’s trust into a company that freezes accounts when it feels like, or when it is pressured by the U.S. government. PayPal’s willingness to fold to legislation should be proof enough that they don’t deserve the customers they get. They do not deserve your business, and they do not deserve your respect.
Join us in our latest operation against PayPal—tweet pictures of your account closure, tell us on IRC, spread the word. Anonymous has become a powerful channel of information, and unlike the governments of the world, we are here to fight for you. Always.
Signed, your allies,
Lulz Security (unvanned)
This communique summarizes the solidarity of these factions: the strength of the motivating ideology: the ability to evade: above all, the ability to persevere.
This work by V. Manivannan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at vyshalimanivannan.wordpress.com.