Anonymous press release on Libya: 21st Feb 2011

Dear United Nations:

Anonymous wishes you to act.

We are watching the developments in Libya and are shocked.
Shocked by the images we’ve seen.
Shocked by the things Libya’s Anons have told us.
Shocked by the fact that one man ignores the voices of his citizens and opens fire on them.
Shocked by the fact that even with generals and diplomats deserting, this man is still ignoring the will of his people and unwilling to accept their human rights

People ought not have to fear their leaders; leaders ought to fear their people. In too many places, though, this is currently not the case. A grasping dictator has taken an army to the skies and the streets to shed blood of people whom he should be protecting. Some of them have bravely refused, and thereby done their part; when will the UN do theirs?

We just want the people to be free. Please help us help them. Again, this is not an attack, but rather a bid for your full attention, which ought to be directed towards assisting Libyans in their quest for liberty.

The United Nations has the power to prevent this egregious loss of life, but it must act quickly and decisively to do so, contrary to its usual habits.

We ask not for meetings or referenda. Rather, we demand that you implement the following measures and do so in a manner that will minimize the loss of life among civilians and put an end to the rule of this degenerate tyrant.

1. Provide a blanket no-fly zone to prevent state controlled aircraft from bombing civilians.
2. Provide secured transport of medical supplies to major population centers.
3. Announce the implemention of these measures within 24 hours.

That world which you claim to protect is watching and will respond accordingly.

We are Anonymous
We are Legion.
We do not forget,
We do not forgive.

Expect us.


The tendency to relate past events to what is possible in the present becomes more difficult as the scope of the geopolitical environment changes. It is a useful thing, then, to ask every once in a while if the environment has recently undergone any particular severe changes, thereby expanding our options for the future.

Terminology, let alone our means of exchanging information, has changed to such a degree that many essential discussions in today's "communications age" would be entirely incomprehensible to many two decades ago.

As the social, political and technological environment has developed, some have already begun to explore new options, seizing new chances for digital activism - and more will soon join in. It is time for the rest of the world to understand why.

Service denied

When a release by WikiLeaks revealed the depravity of just how corrupt and horrid the Tunisian government really was, it prompted Tunisians to step up active dissent and take to the streets en masse for the first time.

In response, a loose network of participants within the international Anonymous protest organisation attacked non-essential government websites - those not providing direct services to Tunisians - at the prompting of our contacts.

Several such sites were replaced with a message of support to the Tunisian people, while others were pushed offline via distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, involving thousands of computer users who request large amounts of data from a website simultaneously, overwhelming it.

Other assistance programmes followed, even after the deposed Ben Ali fled the nation that reviled him, with Anonymous and other parties working with Tunisians - both in-country and abroad - to provide the nation's people with the tools and information resources they needed to begin building up new, reasonable political institutions capable of ensuring a freer civic life.

Our "Guide to Protecting the Tunisian Revolution" series - a collaboration between hundreds of veterans of traditional revolutionary movements as well as practitioners of "new activism" - were disseminated both online and in print; aside from tips on safety during confrontation and the like, these also explain how to establish secure yet accessible networks and communications for Tunisians, as well as instructions on establishing neighbourhood syndicates capable of uniting in common cause.

Already, such organisations are being established across Tunisia, just as they will be established elsewhere as the movement proceeds.

The seeds of cyber revolution

Anonymous is a means by which people across the globe can assist in the hard work being performed by the Tunisian people - who have long taken issue with their government, but first began protesting in earnest after a fruit vendor set himself ablaze in response to police cruelty.

The Anonymous movement itself grew out of message boards frequented mostly by young people with an interest in internet culture in general - and Japanese media in particular; in 2005, participants began "attacking" internet venues as a sort of sport, and in the process honed their skills in a way that proved useful in "information warfare".

In 2007, some users proposed that the Church of Scientology be exposed for its unethical and sometimes violent conduct, sparking a coordinated global protest movement that differed from anything else seen, and which still continues today.

The Australian government was later attacked for introducing new internet censorship laws, and in the meantime, those within Anonymous who see the subculture as a potential force for justice have launched other efforts while also building new strategies and recruiting individuals from across the globe - some of whom hold significant positions in media, industry, and the sciences.

For great justice

In the meantime, there are obstacles to overcome. Those within the Tunisian government who seek to deny liberty to "their" people are easy enough to deal with; the greatest threat to revolution comes not from any state but rather from those who decry such revolutions without understanding them.

In this case, the idea that a loose network of people with shared values and varying skill sets can provide substantial help to a population abroad is seen as quixotic - or even unseemly - by many of those who have failed to understand the past ten years, as well as those whose first instinct is to attack a popular revolt rather than to assist it.

Elsewhere, a number of US pundits decided to criticise the revolution as possibly destabilising the region; many of whom once demanded the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan - and greeted every Arab revolt as the work of President Bush - but now see nothing for themselves in the cause of Arab liberty.

Some have even portrayed the movement as the work of radical Islamists - yet most cannot find Tunisia on a map.

Suffice to say that the results of our efforts are already on display and will become more evident as Tunisians use our tools and resources to achieve their greatest triumph. Those who wish to assist and are competent to do so can find us easily enough; the Tunisians had little trouble in doing so.

Although we have made great progress in convincing individuals from across the world to join our efforts in Tunisia, other campaigns, such as those taking place in Algeria and Egypt - both of which have seen government websites taken down and/or replaced by Anonymous, more must be done before the movement takes the next step towards a worldwide network capable of perpetual engagement against those who are comfortable with tyranny.

The revolution will be broadcast

Whatever effort is required, such a goal is not only possible, but rather unambitious.

There is a reason, after all, that those of us who have seen the movement up close have dedicated our lives to what it stands for, and have even violated the modern Western taboo of believing in something.

I have been involved with Anonymous in some capacity or another for about six years.

Looking back at my writing over that time, I have found that my predictions, while always enthusiastic, nonetheless turned out to have been conservative; when Australia became the first state to come under attack by this remarkable force, I proposed that we would someday see such allegedly inevitable institutions begin to crumble in the face of their growing irrelevance.

Someday turned out to be this year.

Today, I predict that Anonymous and entities like it will become far more significant over the next few years than is expected by most of our similarly irrelevant pundits - and this will, no doubt, turn out to be just as much of an understatement as anything else that has been written on the subject.

The fact is that the technological infrastructure that allows these movements has been in place for well under a decade - but phenomena such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous have already appeared, expanded, and even become players within the geopolitical environment; others have come about since.

This is the future, whether one approves or not, and the failure on the part of governments and media alike to understand, and contend with the rapid change now afoot, ought to remind everyone concerned why it is that this movement is necessary in the first place.

The author identifies as part of Anonymous, a loose collective of internet hacktivists which uses the technological infrastructure on which the globalised world depends to maintain a vigilante presence online.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Libya is one country where the army has permanently failed, and become an instrument of regime thugs, like in Germany, Iraq or Amiland. People there cannot chose the Egyptian way but are at the mercy of their oppressors. Gaddafi is not an exception. He just added the immediate killing order to all the ongoing crimes the other regimes are committing as well - the targeting of political dissidents, the irresponsible surveillance attacks and mean dehumanisation campaigns, and all the rest that the so-called civilised heads of state deny until they happen to make the same decision. The man is not out of the box - he is playing by all the rules of the West, taking them to their final purpose. If that has now convinced you that these rules are evil in the first place, fine let's finally abolish them.

This is not about oil-for-food scam reenaction. This is about naming the other secret police regimes who have not yet come out of hiding, and about making no distinction between those who target dissidents and those of them who have already pulled the triggers. It is not just about saving a sparsely populated country from its lone surveillance regime but also about the preemption of similar massacres waiting to happen under the less isolated ones. After all the so-called civilised heads of state wanted to entitle Gaddafi with a UNSC veto privilege precisely because they felt besides all superficial rivalry he is just as much of an evil oppressor as themselves. If these developments should in any way be related to the fact that this dissident went off the radar of his pursuers, then I definitely should do so more often.