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Larotonda reports: "Activists from the hacker collective known as Anonymous assumed control over the homepage of a federal judicial agency this morning."

Anonymous hacked the Department of Justice's website yesterday. (photo: unknown)
Anonymous hacked the Department of Justice's website yesterday. (photo: unknown)

FOCUS | Anonymous Hijacks DoJ Website

By Matthew Larotonda, ABC News

27 January 13


ctivists from the hacker collective known as Anonymous assumed control over the homepage of a federal judicial agency this morning.

In a manifesto left on the defaced page, the group demanded reform to the American justice system and what the activists said are threats to the free flow of information.

The lengthy essay largely mirrors previous demands from Anonymous, but this time the group also cited the recent suicide of Reddit co-founder and activist Aaron Swartz as has having "crossed a line" for their organization. Swartz was facing up to 35 years in prison on computer fraud charges.

Prosecutors said he had stolen thousands of digital scientific and academic journal articles from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the goal of disseminating them for free.

Anonymous says Swartz was "killed because he was forced into playing a game he could not win - a twisted and distorted perversion of justice - a game where the only winning move was not to play."

"There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused," it reads, also mentioning recent arrests of Anonymous associates by the FBI.

In their statement, the hackers say they targeted the homepage of the Federal Sentencing Commission for "symbolic" reasons.

The group claimed that if their demands were not met they would release a trove of embarrassing internal Justice Department documents to media outlets. Anonymous named the files after Supreme Court justices and provided hyperlinks to them from the defaced page.

As of press time the commission's site had been taken offline but an earlier attempt by CNN to follow the files' links yielded dead-ends, mostly offline sites.

The file names use an ".aes256? suffix, denoting a common encryption protocol. The same system was used to encrypt the Wikileaks Afghan war documents before their release. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+242 # Dumbledorf 2013-01-27 12:48
GodBless Anonymous and the wounderful work you are doing!
-65 # Quickmatch 2013-01-27 17:07
Yes! Anonymous is pure, and good and fights evil wherever it sees it. Unfortunately, Anonymous is also secret and hidden and operates from that position; it dishes out punishment as a police force, prosecutor, judge and jury and there is no court of appeals. If the American system of justice is broken, Anonymous has no system, except that it be the system of kings, emperors, despots and dictators. They may be right in what they do or they may be wrong, but it is only Anonymous that decides the cut of the knife. Most people hate the faults in the American Justice system and most support reform, but not through the unguided actions of an invisible group not responsible to the people.
+66 # tingletlc 2013-01-27 20:32
Welcome to the world as it actually is.

Power is by definition unaccountable: to the extent that we can hold our government accountable, it is powerless to dictate. In a polity where consent of the governed is the principle, whistleblowers are power's worst nightmare.

Anonymous is a temporary countervailing power, no more or less answerable to you, Quickmatch, than the part of the government that you can't see. Whom do you trust more? Somebody spilling secrets that may be vital to you, or somebody hiding them?

Anonymous hasn't the motive, the means or the opportunity to murder you under color of law, but the government does, the moment you're identified as an enemy. The great writ used to provide a line of defense. It no longer does. You might want to reconsider where the actual threat to your welfare is coming from.
+4 # WestWinds 2013-01-29 12:43
Brilliant, #tingletic! Well said!
0 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:14
Eloquently stated.
+31 # Phlippinout 2013-01-27 21:20
Quickmatch, its kind of like my belief that schools need more funding but would i trust the government to make sure the money went to the right place? NO. I believe in registering guns, but do i trust that our government would not misuse the data base? No way! Our government has become the unguided and is responsible to none of us. So, who are you defending? Anonymous is up against the biggest form of corruption, government run by and for the fat cat. GOOD LUCK, I cheer for little guys.
+2 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:19
Supporting entities that can thwart government's CURRENT abuses of power is not the same thing as the Libertarian arguments that mistrusts government, entirely, to administer such worthy things as a public education system.

In this era where phenomenal sums of money are in the hands of amoral entities who use is to bend policy to their advantages, it's wiser to end the marriage between lawmakers and high stakes donors, rather than nullify government... since it's largely the only force strong enough to stand up to Big Money.

It's Big Money that makes sure that alternatives to fossil fuels never get put into wide enough practice.

And it's Big Money that is turning prior retail into the Wallmart serf model of labor.

It's Big Money that saw to it that the banks would get bailed out and underwater home owners (mortgage-wise) left to drown.

The cessation of Public Education would mean that nothing but charter Christian schools would remain... to condition citizens to obey authoritarian father figures.

Sure. That sounds like progress. Not!
+1 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:09
Those who make apologies for government agencies that have effectively spat upon the law, The Constitution, Habeas Corpus, The Geneva Conventions, etc. would have been formerly welcomed into the ranks of the Brown Shirts. If you had the faintest inkling of what a Free or Democratic society looked like, you could not post such dangerously deluded garbage.
+164 # DaveM 2013-01-27 12:59
Good for them! Have at it! A digital eye for an eye only makes the crooks in our government blind. Hopefully this is only the first shot in a lengthy salvo.
+208 # Street Level 2013-01-27 13:01
Yes! Gotta love these guys! This kid's "fraud" was nothing in comparison to what's still going on by Wall Street for starters.
The Koch's, Ailes and Murdock's would have burned the library in Alexandria if they lived that long ago.
-2 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:21
When the belief in reincarnation enters the picture, it's plausible that these were the same odious human creatures. If evolution took place speedily, there'd be no Grand Canyon. Some souls require about as much time to etch out their "inner landscapes."
+92 # Douglas Jack 2013-01-27 13:04
At issue is multi-stakehold er participation in the justice & other essential service processes by which our lives are affected. Legal Jurisprudence is such right to a fair 'dialectic' ('both-sides') trial, 'Trial by jury & Trial by peers', Open transparent dialectically governed press & media, Dialectics in Education (a la Socrates), Non-privilege in Information Systems (violated by MIT) and other processes of institutional privilege which are ignored by our present judicial oligarchy. Aaron Swartz was standing up to the oligarchy for degrading long-standing justice procedures & popular rights.
+121 # WestWinds 2013-01-27 13:07
The people that have taken over control of our government in recent decades have made it so that death is the only justice in America today.

Anonymous is the only true representative of the best interests of the people and bless them for their courage to stand against such evil.
+57 # Joe Bob 2013-01-27 14:38
Sorta makes you think of the English and the radical Americans. The radicals ambushed and beat the marching Redcoats.
Today the English are the Gov. powers, Banks, and Corp. interests. The radicals will beat them with digital ambushes, leaderless OWS and whatever else comes up.
Never fear, those who abuse power never last. Read History.
+28 # mdhome 2013-01-27 15:38
One can hope those who are abusing the public will come to great harm.
+1 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:25
Justice works in my book. To ask for harm puts you on their level.
0 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:24
It's certainly brave, daring, innovative and smart... but let's not toss the efforts of Green Peace,, OWS, The Southern Poverty Center, Ralph Nader, Medea Benjamin, Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges and so many individuals and groups who are doing their utmost to fight this beast. One intelligent commenter terms it Empire. I think the pharaohs have been resuscitated... only in this 21st century era, they come in the disguise of the corporations.
+98 # Douglas Jack 2013-01-27 13:10
Aaron Swartz' mandate
Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
+39 # mdhome 2013-01-27 15:41
This time the government will be overthrown with bits and bytes rather than muskets and canons.
+3 # RLF 2013-01-29 09:01
When bits and bytes start to threaten the powers that be, the muskets and cannons will appear and we will be told that the perpetrators are 'terrorists' as they are killed. 100 years and people have forgotten that we have been here before?
0 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:28
The Surveillance State is sure setting this rationale into place. It's bolstered, too, by the "Guilty as Charged!" calls for Julian Assange & Bradley Manning's heads; its atavistic bloodlust is fueled by pro-torture films like "Zero Dark Thirty," and it's already used the loose language of the NDAA to conflate the acts of principled environmentalis ts with those of terrorists. Plus it's recently been revealed that those protesting at OWS were considered as targets... to be shot at. The will of the governed is not even a footnote in this rabid march into Inverted Totalitarianism .
+9 # 6thextinction 2013-01-27 23:04
We must join Anonymous as the new Guards of our future security....pic k a wrong today and begin to right it!

Mine will be the Keystone tar sands pipeline. Who will join me in DC on Feb. 17?
+6 # DPM 2013-01-28 16:16
Can't join you, but I demonstrate with a small Occupy group, in a rural area, each week and have since 10/11.
So, I agree with you. Making comments here is just fine, but more needs to be done by all of us that are unhappy with the current state of affairs.
+87 # spenel334 2013-01-27 13:15
Some of you are too optimistic, I fear. Republicans may have become a minority party, but they will not rest until they find a way to win, regardless. Their chicanery knows no bounds, as evidenced by their attempts to change the entire voting system in states they control, not to mention continued attempts by the Kochs et al to purchase more states. And let us not forget McConnell, Hatch, and (Baucus)'s latest sorcery, just to think of a few examples of deceit, of which Dems are guilty as well. And of course they haven't stopped working on voter suppression, while still being fought, more often successfully, by Democrats. We are being forced to spend more and more money to fight smarmy tactics than we spend to support our tenets and beliefs. Of course I do hope you optimists are right, and the Republicans continue to sink under their own ballast.
+17 # Vardoz 2013-01-27 16:09
We are looking a lot more like Russia. So far there has been not like at the end of the tunnel for those who live under their Mafia rule.
+1 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:30
You're quite naive about the complicity of much of the Democratic party and a president who has advanced the Bush agenda of foreign wars, punished key whistle-blowers , and with great stealth (hardly the stuff that resonates with Freedom) signed the NDAA on New Years when most of the citizenry was caught up in the holiday drinking ritual.
+58 # dquandle 2013-01-27 13:41
They should release the incriminating files no matter what. The DOJ need to be brought down. It is a terrorist criminal agency.
+57 # Susan1989 2013-01-27 13:42
It feels everyday as though the people of this country are becoming increasingly powerless over tyranny by the few...and that these are very dark times.
+46 # David Starr 2013-01-27 13:45
Anonymous = An effective challenge to U.S. empire.

"True Americans" = Protecting secrecy of same empire.

Whether or not Anonymous is stopped, the challenges will not.
+71 # Archie1954 2013-01-27 13:45
Anonymous is simply reminding that government department that its duty is to provide justice not politics!
+51 # Vardoz 2013-01-27 14:01
The more people are subjected to serious abuses of power, the more things like this will happen. Some people refuse to roll over and play dead in the face of such extreme constitutional, economic and environmental exploitations. So many life threatening things are happening to tens of millions, even billions of people around the world in secret. Our environment is on the brink, our economies are collapsing, our environemt is being poisoned as is are food safety system and our civil liberties have been thrown out the window. People are being assaulted so that a few can enrich themselves. We now have an aggressive corporate state that is backed by a corrupt justice system and a broken house and congress, a military that is above the law as are bankers, Wall st and corporations. So in the face of all this should what should we do? Some have decided to take action. They are like the underground in Nazi Germany. Perhaps it has gotten to that point. They already know so much more than we do,
+32 # divadoc 2013-01-27 14:37
Catharine Austin Fitts (radical economist, see said many years ago, having been subjected to an Enemy of the State sort of prosecution, that the Department of Justice was being run as a criminal organization. And HUD too.
-44 # Activista 2013-01-27 14:44
Can you people explain how by destruction/CEN SORSHIP of the "opposition" website ONE PROMOTES FREE INTERNET?
Let these "punks" create something - like Aaron Swartz did - provide MORE FREE Information - NOT " an earlier attempt by CNN to follow the files' links yielded dead-ends, mostly offline sites."
How hypocritical the RSN is - it is easy to take the site down (Mossad, CIA etc do it all the time . and have resources ..).
The revenge obsessed Americans ... destroy, kill - this is SICK.
+11 # Luis Emilio 2013-01-27 16:44
Activista: Can YOU explain to me how, by killing the English soldiers, Washington was defending freedom etc., ... and the pursue of happiness?
+14 # Dirk 2013-01-27 16:57
Dismantling the facade of powerlessness helps to empower others who might not stand up, who may have believed the Thugs In Charge to be invincible.

The first step in any action, protest, or counter-action is to make a spectacle, drawing attention to the issues at hand. The next is to organize in more meaningful ways, once others have been convinced that Goliath ain't all -that- big.... He just looks that way (and 'He' gets off on causing folks to fear him...).

But yes, dissemination of useful information, and a strategy beyond the initial protest or spectacle -is-, and will be, necessary.

Got any constructive ideas?.
+1 # Activista 2013-01-27 20:57
Got any constructive ideas?
Yes - Aaron Swartz - how many websites did he destroyed - how much of information he got OUT for free. HOw much he created - and how much more he would create ...
+2 # Douglas Jack 2013-01-28 22:59
Activista, You are right that its more about building & constructive work. We have to become the change which we want to see in the world. Aaron Swartz was an uber contributor to Reddit, RSS, NSFW/SFW information distribution software. Its up to the rest of us to strengthen our economic collaboration so that electronic information systems will serve humanity & not the Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Complex
+21 # Dirk 2013-01-27 16:41
The comments pertaining to historical change and defeat of/for tyrannical governments or their agents lends optimism to today's time of quiet thought.

To paraphrase what others have written; there has never been a government or agents of a government that/who abused the People they were responsible for serving who lasted long. Sometimes a year, sometimes two years, or ten, or twenty, but greed and over-confidence , coupled with an underestimation of the human spirit's quest for freedom and dignity, and the swinging of the cosmic karmic pendulum, have -always- led to the downfall of ALL who have traveled that path of zealotry and abuse of their fellow human beings.

Sometimes by force, sometimes by passive resistance, other times by assertive passivity, "The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all..."

Bless Anonymous, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, the Berrigans, Daniel Ellsburg, Chris Hedges, Col. L.C. Thompson, and so many more for doing -our- jobs for us.

And if the agents of neo-fascism see that as "support of terrorists," I couldn't care less; fear is the only tool the bastages have, and we should all refuse to give them that pass...refuse to fear them. Despise them? Yes. Fear them? No.
-1 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:38
Wonderful post. I'd add a few more factors to that karmic cosmic pendulum:

First, that there are very real cycles built into time.

Second, that the aggressive nature of those who wound others casually to get to the top of the heap also inclines these thugs to "take down" one another.

Third, the natural world has been stirred to the point of major forms of "Elemental blowback."

And lastly, as Martin Luther King understood, the Universe ITSELF arcs towards justice.

You are a man after my own heart...
+9 # Granddad87 2013-01-27 16:43
One of the key precepts in this discussion is the principle of "private property".
This is a primary plank in the concept of "individual liberty" as embodied in the Constitution. Until you get rid of this "right", the collective individuality so cherished by the demagogues spouting "liberty" will deny you a communal access to justice for the many.
With Best Wishes from Canada.
+25 # Anarchist 23 2013-01-27 18:04
Aaron Swartz created something all right;and our 'Justice' department hounded him to death. We should rename all these things-rectify the language said Confucious. So call it the Department of Injustice. Hey Hey HSBC; Launder drug money and get off free! "Defense ' Dept. is obviously War Department. Go on from there.
+11 # Majikman 2013-01-27 21:35
Environmental Protection Agency is now the
Environmental Pollution Advocates
0 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:41
The Unaffordable Care Act, leaving no Insurance Company behind.

And what's the program to privatize public schools through the flimsy witness cast by standardized tests called? That one surely deserves editorial revision.
+17 # hoodwinkednomore 2013-01-27 19:37
Hallelujah Anonymous!
-5 # Activista 2013-01-28 04:31
Can ANYONE here point me to some INFORMATION (not destruction) ANONYMOUS provided?
Any teenager playing X-Box can destroy the website/work.
+4 # 6thextinction 2013-01-28 09:21
ANONYMOUS demanded reform, and promised if their demands were not met they would release a trove of embarrassing internal Justice Department documents to media outlets.

This is hardly "destruction"; it is a challenge to the evils of our so-called Justice department.
+1 # Activista 2013-01-28 14:34
[quote name="6thextinc tion"]ANONYMOUS demanded reform, and promised if their demands were not met they would release a trove of embarrassing internal Justice Department documents to media outlets."

Waiting/asked for ONE of this document from Justice Department -- this is what Aaron was able to do - NOT a bunch of War Playing Games hackers ..
Can ANYONE here point me to some INFORMATION ANONYMOUS provided? Thanks.
+2 # Dirk 2013-01-28 17:19
Yes, again, (though in different words), the statement and methodology that Anonymous posted demonstrates that the Untouchables are, in fact, 'touchable.'

That, my friend, is valuable information and action when such Uber-Powers have taken a giant squat on the heads and lives of the People.. And it's made even more valuable by the fact that it was clearly -demonstrated-, rather than merely spoken.

I respect your point of view, as uch as I respect Ghandi's, but I also recognize the impact of actions such as the one Anonymous acted on in this case, and especially when it concerns what amounts to socio-political revolutions.

There are many paths to the same point.
+2 # Activista 2013-01-29 14:03
[quote name="Dirk"]Yes , again, (though in different words), the statement and methodology that Anonymous posted demonstrates that the Untouchables are, in fact, 'touchable.'

I worked with the Internet since Mosaic - likely most democratic information distribution system yet ...
It is complex distributed system - any totalitarian system tries to "control" it.
Again because it is relatively OPEN system, it is EASY to destroy - ANONYMOUS did not CREATE/provide any information - it defecated some government websites that are useless anyway. There is no courage or skill required - the same as government hacks ... the same pool of hackers - often changing jobs .. sick people.
+5 # intheEPZ 2013-01-28 11:05
When the Banksters see jailtime, when Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are freed and given the Nobel Prize for Peace, when the lies of 9-11-2001 and all those that sprang from it are finally revealed and the liars prosecuted, and the truth of what happened to our country on that day openly shared and taught in the schools, and when reparations to the victims of our illegal and immoral "war on terror" (i.e. War for Oil) have been paid, then we will no longer need Anonymous. Until then, they have my prayers and heartfelt thanks and admiration.
+1 # Celeste 2013-01-30 11:44
Thank you! You describe what genuine Justice would look like. The U.S. government in its marriage with the MIC, bankers, Big Pharma, Big Agri, Big Coal, Big Oil, Monsanto, Wallmart, and other Players is run like a South American Drug Cartel. Heck, they even have their own official kill list! Unbelievable...

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