I am a member of Anonymous and a long-time reader of this blog. There are a couple of additional points I'd like to add to John's article.Firstly, Anonymous is an example of viral organisation - there is no centralised leadership, and although there are nodes of organisation, these are dynamic - if one goes down or is taken down, others compensate with little damage done to the utility of the network as a whole. Organisation and decisions are made through what I would term "viral consensus" - the facts, questions and opinions are disseminated throughout the network by it's users, the most successful or popular of these possible courses of action are therefore repeated more often and gain traction - mutations to the idea occur and those that are popular flourish. As such, there are no leaders to attack - whilst there may be some individuals who are more visible (such as Mark Bunker) they are not essential-, no easily-accisble points of failure. Indeed, the only thing that would severely disrupt the insurgency as a whole is internal factional problems - which are near-impossible for an outsider to predict or cause due to the shibboleths John mentions; or a total disruption of the internet as a whole.
Secondly, the initial campaign of DDOS and internet insurgency can be seen as an example of the internet as an enabling force - most members of anonymous are not hackers or computer security experts, but the information available on how to conduct operations such as DDOS attacks etc is readily available on the internet, and can be spread concisely and practically throughout the group itself through other networking tools (IRC, message boards, forums, p2p). However, the interesting thing in particular about the methodology of anonymous is that it is intensely adaptable - when the opinions of Mark Bunker that the illegal aspects of anonymous actions (DDOS etc) were tactically efficient but strategically detrimental entered the viral consciousness, the methodology drastically changed - to real life protests organised over a number of countries, and to information dissemination tactics aimed at the public.Anonymous' actions can be seen as Effects Based Operations - they fulfill all three criteria:
- They employ systems disruption of scientology operations both online through DDOS and information dissemination, and in real life through information dissemination and protests aimed at disrupting their activites through altering their legal and public situations.
- Psychological isolation is brought about by isolation of COS views from the mainstream in highlighting cult practices and achieving widespread dissemination of such views, and by engaging in a war of opinion on the internet - colouring public perception, and preventing COS propaganda from being effectively broadcast.
- Minimal collateral damage: aside from one misguided retributive attack in the early stages, the whole operation has been marked by an astounding level of focus. With protests in over a dozen countries occuring on two occasions with over 8000 people participating, there has been only two arrests (for noise violation) and no negative actions. These are the protest equivalent of surgical strikes.
The next round of Anonymous protests will be held on the 12th of April. Codenamed Operation Reconnect we aim to reestablish communication between cult members and their families/friends.Be watching, because we are watching you.