Anonymous Hackers Take Down French Jihadist Forum

After threatening to retaliate for the Charlie Hebdo attacks a few days ago, hackers affiliated with Anonymous have taken credit for hacking a French Jihadist forum called ansar-alhaqq.net. But according to Mashable, the forum was only down for an hour. I just checked and it's up now. The hackers' press release says:

It is clear that some people do not want, in a free world, this inviolable and sacred right to express in any way one's opinions. Anonymous will never leave this right violated by obscurantism and mysticism. We will fight always and everywhere the enemies of freedom of speech.

Charlie Hebdo, historical figure of satirical journalism has now been targeted. Anonymous must remind every citizen that the freedom of the press is a fundamental principle of democratic countries. Freedom of opinion, speech and to publish articles without any threat, and stress is a right "inalienable." Anonymous has always fought the slayers of these rights and will never allow a person to be shot down radically for publishing an article, a drawing, an opinion.


Freedom of speech and opinion is a non-negotiable thing, to tackle it is to attack democracy. Expect a massive frontal reaction from us because the struggle for the defense of those freedoms is the foundation of our movement.

It's not clear if this effort by Anonymous members is an official Anonymous action. Anonymous has no central committee, no leaders, no hierarchy, no defined roles. Anyone can say they are Anonymous. However, the effort is being publicized in several countries and languages.

Mashable notes:

#OpCharlieHebdo hasn't received any endorsements from the more well-known Anonymous Twitter account @YourAnonNews.

On a related note, Barrett Brown will be sentenced on January 22. Some say journalists should be "chilled to the bone." (Personally, I think the two years he's been in pretrial confinement are more than an adequate punishment for his offenses.)

At a hearing the Government alleged Anonymous was an "anarchist hive." They tried to use Brown's statements to the effect he was a leader of Anonymous against him.

When questioned on whether Anonymous was an Anarchist hive Brown answered, “Anon does not like to define itself and my Anarchism is my own.”

So, as with Barrett Brown' past claims to be a leader of Anonymous (which he later said were not true) the Anonymous effort to take down jihadist websites, like previous threats Anonymous has made against ISIS, are coming from individuals, not a central command. It could involve 50 people, or 5,000. There's really no way to know.

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  • Display: Sort:
    How does someone rationalize (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 10, 2015 at 09:35:04 PM EST
    shutting down the free speech of people who are in general agreement with the religious/political tenets of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, as a way of supposedly demonstrating to them that freely allowing the offensive speech of all is a core principle of democracy and of civilized societies?

    exactly (none / 0) (#2)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Jan 10, 2015 at 10:05:00 PM EST
    but i have noticed that Anonymous (in its various manifestations) just hates to be upstaged by anything or anyone & loves to be what it apparently regards as the center of attention

    You can't yell fire in a crowded theatre (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 11:23:15 AM EST
    IMO, that is the "freedom" Anonymous is attacking here.

    And yes, the U.S. government... (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 11:24:46 AM EST
    ...yells fire in crowded theatres every day, that's how we got into these wars of insanity.

    From The Open Society and Its Enemies (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 11:43:40 AM EST
    by Karl Popper:

    Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. -- In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

    It isn't just the government (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 01:30:56 PM EST
    It is media, news, everyone generating something provocative in order to seek viewers and readership.  All I can say is THANK ALL THE GODS that France turned out today for a unity rally that has set the news cycle whether it wanted to be or not.  Yesterday with all the hyper hyped hysterical sensationalism of anything sort of factish even if it wasn't factual, it was pathetic.  Almost shoot the television worthy.

    I watched some of the live feed earlier. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 02:03:59 PM EST
    It was refreshing to see so many hand-made signs that seemed to be individually generated, and not just copies of the same slogans and designs.

    And (personally) I only spotted one sign that was in English. The whole thing seemed to be a sincere French and European event, instead of something that just tried to fit everything into a conveniently managed show for the media.


    I thought Obama (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Green26 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 04:10:26 PM EST
    should have gone to Paris. I just looked and see that AG Holder, who was in France for other reasons, also didn't attend. Not even Biden. Seems like bad form to me.

    i agree with you, Green26 (2.00 / 1) (#16)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 05:49:44 PM EST
    i too think it was bad form - downright embarrassing, imo

    Obama can speechify in Cairo (& then quote himself speechifying), but it seems that showing up in Paris is just not on

    Benjamin Netanyahu, with antisemites on the French right & abundant antisemites on the French left, had the courage to stand front & center in Paris today, whatever else one may think or say about him

    apologies, Jeralyn, if we're OT here


    I think I'm okay with it (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 04:23:34 PM EST
    As the most recent Evil Empire offenders with the Iraq War, maybe it is okay that we sat this unity rally out.  France knows where we stand, we stand with them.  I think the world knows that too.

    We were the last great big ugly war based on lies and deceit destabilizers.  Let's let everyone remember that France had learned certain ugly truths through its own mistakes and was having no part in that.  It's a good thing to remember.


    "America snubs historic Paris rally" (none / 0) (#17)
    by Green26 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 07:06:02 PM EST
    is headline in this DailyMail article. This is the full headline: "America snubs historic Paris rally: Holder skipped out of proceedings early, Kerry was in India, Obama and Biden just stayed home"

    Headlines these days are (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 09:16:31 AM EST
    Too often only provocation. A lot of journalism only attempts to create controversy to generate readership instead of report on the controversy exactly as it exists on all sides, and accurate numbers on who is on what side and why at press time.  Because that story gets boring, no juice.

    The DailyMail often conducts itself in that fashion.


    Given the high level of security (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 08:37:28 PM EST
    Needed when Obama travels, I don't know why they act that all Michelle has to do is swing by the DC airport in the SUV and then Obama can take the red-eye to Paris.

    Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 02:54:19 PM EST
    (when there is no fire) is not a close analogy.  The problem here is not what the State can do about verbal malicious mischief, but rather what the limits of free speech are in the area of incitement. The current test in U.S. First Amendment law goes very far in the direction of mandating tolerance.

    What do you think (none / 0) (#9)
    by Green26 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 04:06:02 PM EST
    of the Karl Popper quote above? I've been thinking about that subject for some time. Also, wonder about the thinking behind the PC impact on free speech, especially at universities. Haven't really figured out the subject or my views yet.

    I, too, think this issue needs (none / 0) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 04:33:13 PM EST
    further clarification.

    I don't think we're talking about a group who's philosophy is just different than ours, and, who are, simply, using the internet to further their philosophy. We are talking about a group that has declared war against us, and, is giving strategic & tactical advice/instructions to its followers.

    Hypothetical question:.....What if one of these groups announced through their website that they have just received information that the President, or anyone else, would be at such & such a location at such & such a time, and then instructed its followers to carry out an assault against that person? Would taking down that website violate their 1st amendment rights?


    Are "Fighting Words" involved here yet? (none / 0) (#13)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 04:57:11 PM EST
    From wikipedia (for what it's worth):

    The Court, in a unanimous decision, upheld the arrest. Writing the decision for the Court, Justice Frank Murphy advanced a "two-tier theory" of the First Amendment. Certain "well-defined and narrowly limited" categories of speech fall outside the bounds of constitutional protection. Thus, "the lewd and obscene, the profane, the slanderous," and (in this case) insulting or "fighting" words neither contributed to the expression of ideas nor possessed any "social value" in the search for truth.

    But that was back in the dinosaur days. Things might be different now, in the new and better millennium.


    Murphy was a great civil libertarian (none / 0) (#15)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 05:13:43 PM EST
    and his conception of a two-tiered First Amendment continues to hold sway, but the category of "fighting words," as a First Amendment exception (akin to obscenity, etc.) has not fared well.  The Court hasn't invoked it in decades, and most scholars consider it a dead letter.

    Anonymous has declared war on "us"? (none / 0) (#25)
    by ZtoA on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 03:50:24 PM EST
    From what I've read and heard from those who could hack (cyber security people) Anonymous is a group of individuals, from all over the globe. They are for freedom of the internet and freedom of ideas. They may link to other hackers, but also, they don't need to since they can route hacks thru whatever remote computers they want to, making them virtually impossible to discover. They are discovered when other hackers out them.

    NEW YORK -- Helping federal investigators disrupt cyberattacks and nab hackers was more than just a tough job for the computer maven known by his one-word nom de Net: Sabu.
    Flipping Monsegur gave the FBI a prized informant in a battle against growing intrusions on government and private-sector computer networks -- an informant who had collaborated with international hackers, was well-versed on cyberattacks, had up-to-date Internet and Dark Web knowledge and regularly chatted online with admiring fans.

    He was a skilled "rooter," who analyzed computer code for vulnerabilities that "could then be exploited," Assistant U.S. Attorney James Pastore wrote in a sentencing memo in May. For months, Monsegur worked around the clock, communicating with fellow hacktivists about prospective attacks while investigators monitored the activity.

    Federal prosecutors estimated his assistance helped disrupt at least 300 cyberattacks.


    They are also for the most part, young people - teens, 20s, some 30s. They also test code.


    Popper's view is not sufficiently supportive (none / 0) (#14)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 05:11:17 PM EST
    of free speech principles. What is a challenge is the application of the Brandenburg rule (see my previous comment), which was devised with a face-to-face speaker/audience situation in mind, to the Internet age.  

    Wrong (none / 0) (#24)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 08:42:24 PM EST
    He's basically saying that incitements to violence and suppression of certain kinds of speech are not free speech in a free exchange of ideas.  That is so evident a principle, I think, that your objection doesn't really make sense.

    there are those who might argue (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 10:33:22 AM EST
    that publishing those cartoons in a country where relations with the local Muslim population is already alienated is akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater these days.

    it does deserve discussion (none / 0) (#21)
    by FlJoe on Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 11:07:12 AM EST
    that publishing those cartoons in a country where relations with the local Muslim population is already alienated is akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater these days.

    Victim blaming is rarely if ever called for but the deification of the victims can be just as troubling.
    Do I hear je suis Daniel Pearle, je suis James Foley or je suis Stepehen Sotloff ?  They were the real heroes who gave their lives in the search of truth. Charlie... not so much, they gave their lives in search of satire. Of course none of them deserved to die at the hands of these unforgivable brutes. Unfortunately I suspect Charlie Hebdu's name will be remembered as martyrs long after the real heroes  have been forgotten. It just seems to me that we often choose (or have chosen for us) the wrong heroes.

    The optimist in me sees the crowds in Paris as a huge slap in the face to the tyranny of terrorism.
    The pessimist in me knows that the jihadists will read all those je suis Charlie signs as we are blasphemers come kill us, and the beat goes on.


    No need to rationalise it (none / 0) (#18)
    by FlJoe on Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 08:37:59 AM EST
    We should demand it. For obvious reasons goverments should not be able to "mandate tolerance", after all who and how can such be "tolerance" be defined. One man's joke is another mans blasphemy as the events in Paris tragically showed. It is the right of all decent people everywhere to shout down and shun the purveyors of hateful speech and actions. That's the only way it can work. You are allowed to say what you want I am free to tell you the STFU if I consider your words to be hurtful or hateful. If I am just a lone voice crying about some imagined or  marginal grievance I would rightly be ignored and marginalized. However if I am joined by a chorus of my fellow citizens willing to shout down the haters it will be the haters who are marginalized and hopefully silenced.

    "Freedom of Speech Inciting Terror" (none / 0) (#22)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 11:38:01 AM EST
    Mr. Hangman, I know you're in a hurry to proceed with my hanging, but first, there's the matter of that fifty cents a foot for the rope I sold you...