Lately, I have been intrigued by Anonymous, and have blogged my thoughts about them here and here.
They seem to be very busy lately. Here are just two of the little fights they have picked lately: Fox TV (because Anonymous does not approve of their coverage of the #occupy movement) and a Mexican drug cartel (for kidnapping one of their own).
Both of these are rather troublesome, though each for a different reason.
Threatening an attack on Fox (pretentiously scheduled for ‘remember, remember, the 5th of November’), just because they don’t like the way they are describing the #occupy folks, is very ‘easy’ to condemn. The very idea that someone should be shut up (through being shut down) simply because someone else does not like their opinion (whatever that opinion is) is odious and despicable and all kinds of other really bad, more colourful expletives.
It runs contrary to the principle of defending freedom of speech – and is dangerously close to being diametrically opposite to the founding principles (if I may stretch the term in this manner) of Anonymous itself…at least, judging from their past actions and condemnations of corrupt organizations like Scientology.
This is the type corruption which one associates with ‘absolute power’: at first, one considers themselves to stand for justice and all that is ‘right’ but as one begins to feel all-powerful, one begins to defend one’s position/reputation even though it means compromising the very principles that brought one there…
Well, it looks like at least some parts of Anonymous are drinking their own Kool-Aid.
Of course, this shows that the very thing which made Anonymous strong may be its undoing: it is a hydra, with many heads. Is this what happens when one of the heads gets so big, it turns against the more principle-minded parts of the collective?
Because as much as Anonymous or anyone else may wish, we – humans – do NOT have a hive-mind!
We may be capable of acting collectively, when necessary: but to be effective in an extended collective action, we do need a hierarchical structure, if only to keep from interfering with things that other bits of the collective are doing. This is both the strength and the weakness of our species and no amount of technology will deny our nature.
The very autonomous-ness of its members may be the undoing of the whole Anonymous collective if the loose canons among them drag the name of the collective into unfortunate actions like this and thus devalue its brand and sully its reputation.
The second fight Anonymous has picked is much more intriguing.
In a nutshell, this is my reading of it:
- a guy works in a pamphlet campaign to raise awareness about Anonymous
- said guy gets kidnapped by the Zetas, a drug cartel in Mexico (I am given to understand this is one of the ‘traditional’ ways these drug cartels raise cash – through kidnap-for-ransom and not because of any action of the kidnapee)
- Anonymous threatens to expose names of Zeta collaborators unless their guy is released
- nearly three dozen Zeta collaborators are killed and dumped on a Mexican highway, apparently killed by a rival cartel
Well, this teaches us some things: Anonymous is willing to stand up for their own (good, very good) and they are not afraid to get people killed (bad, very bad).
While I do appreciate the ‘wild justice’ angle Anonymous has taken in the past, there is a big difference between messing up someone’s online life or even forcing them to sell their business – and getting almost 3 dozen people killed.
There is no coming back from ‘killed’!!!
And being killed by a rival gang – not usually a ‘clean kill’, either.
Extrajudicial killings, too – so the information on which these people (yes, people!!!) were killed has never undergone any kind of a judicial oversight or indeed any kind of a test to prove its accuracy!!! That, in my never-humble-opinion, is beyond bad.
If Anonymous is willing to go there – probably justifying it to themselves that they did not do the killings directly, but used the rival cartel as proxy – it is not inconceivable that they would be willing to instigate violence on a greater scale.
That is troubling, to say the least.
H/T: Just Right