In the wake of attacks on the websites of the Association for the Protection of Rights for musicians (OSA), the Czech government, center-right party the Civic Democrats (ODS), and street demonstrations against the Czech Republic’s signature on the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), the Anonymous movement has been propelled to the forefront of media attention.
The Czech government has now said that it will put ratification of the controversial ACTA accord on hold, a move which Anononymous has already attacked as falling short of its demands.
A Czech Anonymous activist who goes by the name of Great Troll agreed to give an interview to Czech Position on the understanding that he in no way represents the organization. The interview took place last week prior to the attack on the ODS website. Great Troll outlines the loose structure of the movement, albeit accompanies by risks of disciplinary action from certain factions, increasing technical cpacity for joint action, and the absolute determination to stop Czech support for ACTA.
Q: Are you part of Anonymous?
A: It’s not exactly easy to answer that because affiliation to the Anonymous movement is relatively debatable. If you consider Anonymous only as a group of radical hackers, then I’m definitely not a member. But I’m in contact with people who declare themselves to be “Anons” and actively participate in Anonymous actions. When the general media launched an hysterical campaign with the aim of manipulating public opinion about Anonymous, these people came to the conclusion that it would be advantageous to go public and state certain things as they are.
We can’t allow the same hysteria that has emerged elsewhere in the world to happen here, i.e. the digital witch hunts that have taken place in the US, Spain, Turkey, France and Britain. There alleged hackers from the Anonymous group have been arrested. Even 17-year-olds have been arrested because they are supposedly dangerous leaders of terrorist organizations. This could also happen in the Czech Republic if similar popularized hate is stirred up.
Q: Right now do you have permission to give this interview on behalf of Anonymous?
A: I don’t have such permission and would never be able to get it. Anonymous simply acts. If an act gets enough support from the internet community, it becomes official. It’s important that people get to know about an act or operation and that it doesn’t get lost in the flow of digital information.
Q: Does anyone know that you’re meeting with me today?
‘Fortunately, here in the Czech Republic we’re not living in the Wild West, we’re not in America, Russia or China. We live in a small European country which is relatively benevolent and relatively free’
A: Yes, but we didn’t announce it on Facebook.
Q: You say you want to state certain things as they are and at an appropriate level in order to avoid unnecessary hysteria. Why then did you refuse an interview with Czech Television (ČT)?
A: Because Czech Television is a manipulated media. Communication is much simpler when a journalist with an open-minded approach calls from a smaller media outlet which isn’t corrupted.
Q: Does the fact that you are sitting here talking with me here today present any kind of risk to you? From the police for example, or people from Anonymous who are against such meetings?
A: Definitely, but not from the police or the intelligence services. Fortunately, here in the Czech Republic we’re not living in the Wild West, we’re not in America, Russia or China. We live in a small European country which is relatively benevolent and relatively “free.”
There’s a certain degree of risk for me from the so-called Old Fags: they’re the older, or founding, Anons if you like. They like to damage others in malicious ways. They could, for example publish my personal data so that I could no longer participate in Anonymous. They also do things like sending their opponents pizzas, erotic toys, fat prostitutes and so on. … Anonymous is comprised of a large number of opposing movements of opinion. Many individuals and maybe larger groups of people will object to me having talked with you. But that doesn’t change the fact that in other circles it was decided that the interview should go ahead.
Q: Recently a spate of article have been published abroad and in the Czech Republic which label Anonymous activists as cyber terrorists, a sort of digital Al-Qaeda….
‘At the time of the Iranian presidential elections Anonymous helped the country’s Green Party to communicate with the rest of the world, that’s what those evil hackers did’A: It’s laughable. While this mass hysteria quite amuses me, at the same time I realize the risk it poses. The parallel with cyber terrorism only relates to one aspect from a whole range of Anonymous’ digital activities. While Anonymous also concentrates on something which people in government circles interpret as digital terrorism, in fact it’s something more like activism, a necessary part of the struggle against the one percent of the world’s population which owns an unbelievable percentage of all peoples’ resources. I would call it activism, not terrorism.
Q: The first action which brought widespread attention to Anonymous was Project Chanology, a campaign against the Church of Scientology during which activists wore the now-famous Guy Fawkes mask. What happened following the campaign against the Church of Scientology?
A: At the time of the Iranian presidential elections Anonymous helped the country’s Green Party to communicate with the rest of the world, that’s what those evil hackers did, not the kind community of nations which should guarantee freedom of speech the world over. A breakthrough occurred the year before last because of WikiLeaks, when as part of Operation Payback the sites of Visa, Paypal and others were taken out, NATO’s site infiltrated and so on. The Anonymous wave was launched and our ideas began to spread around the world. Operation Malaysia, Operation Egypt and others similar followed. Anonymous played an active role in the Arab Spring by enabling communication and helped the underground to spread news about its situation.