#OpTarheel Engaged: Anonymous Threatens the DNC, or Do They?
"#protip: You might not want to set up too close to a news truck. Anonymous haz a plan..."
That was part of an ominous warning that was contained in a message posted on the text-sharing website Pastebin on August 10th. It was preceded by instructions posted to “Anons, Occupiers, Activists, Friends, snoops and trolls” who may be attending the Democratic National Convention to be held September 4th to September 6th in Charlotte, North Carolina. Amongst those instructions were also the recommendations to bring along various restricted items to scheduled protests in an effort to “clog the security check-point lines,” as well to “bring marbles,” because “we have something special in store...”
“Educate yourself on the security rules and where certain zones are located before you get there. By knowing the rules, you will know better how to break them,” the posting concluded.
The message caught the attention of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police after a local news editor posted about it on her blog. The Charlotte Observer reported the other day:
CMPD warns TV stations of trouble
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police warned local TV stations this week to be on the lookout for trouble during the convention.
Ana McKenzie, news editor for Charlotte’s Creative Loafing, noticed a posting on the website for the “hactivist” group Anonymous. On a blog, McKenzie quoted part of the message:
“#protip: You might not want to set up too close to a news truck. Anonymous haz a plan.”
Rob Tufano, CMPD spokesman, shared McKenzie’s post with stations.
“Although cryptic in nature, we as an organization take these veiled threats seriously and ask that your respective news stations do the same.”
But another #OpTarheel posting on Pastebin dated August 20th points to an attempt at spreading targeted disinformation instead:
News Truck Rumor: lulzy lulzy Already underway. Disinformation to keep the popo guessing. Some help herr could be fun too. Trying to get Social media buzz about some outlandish things that Anons might do at the DNC. Remember #OpFacebook, that kept the FBI busy for a bit. lol
Disinformation is a common thread in the Anonymous movement. It is often difficult to gauge genuine threats, because disinformation is a prevalent tactic to distract and intentionally misdirect law enforcement and opposing activists alike. In the hacking and political activism arenas, many associated with the hacker community also use the same tactic of disinformation to create tension and cause infighting amongst movement factions; in the criminal world, it’s a tactic often used to deflect one’s own actions onto other individuals.
The challenge with this is that even disinformation itself can sometimes be a false flag. An organization might claim that a threat is merely disinformation in order to try and get their target(s) – in this case, law enforcement and media - to let down their guard. In the bigger scheme of things, it’s a dangerous cycle because the practice breeds an environment where legitimate threats in the future might be treated with less credibility.
Admittedly, the concept of disinformation is not entirely unlike what military and law enforcement agencies have practiced throughout the history of our country in counter-intelligence operations against threats from foreign governments, including during the Revolutionary War period.
An ever growing problem in today’s digital world is that the practice of spreading disinformation has become more prevalent outside of law enforcement and military settings, where the environment is not strictly controlled, just as we’re witnessing in the area of hacktivism.
The dissemination of disinformation and propaganda is also becoming a more common tactic that’s used against the media, in combination with spoofing and other hacker-related actions, a phenomenon we’ve witnessed in recent weeks with the attacks against the NY Times and Reuters News Service, among others. While these were examples of more forceful dissemination, the result remains the same – readers are tricked into believing something that is not the reality.
In the end, the threat being lodged can be just as much a danger either way, whether the threat is genuine or it’s disinformation. Both take vital resources and attention away from law enforcement, making those resources otherwise unavailable for other legitimate emergencies.
While some associated with Anonymous might be aiming in this instance to simply “punk” law enforcement and media personnel in advance of the DNC, it appears that law enforcement agencies in and around Charlotte intend to treat the threat seriously, regardless. I believe most would agree in this case, “better to be safe than sorry.” Safeguarding yourself in your own surroundings is sage advice from authorities who have experience in dealing with such matters.
The complete text of the August 10th message on Pastebin appears below (the August 20th message follows):
Greetings Anons, Occupiers, Activists, Friends, snoops and trolls:
The State of North Carolina has not been kind to protests over the last year. In Chapel Hill peaceful protesters were removed from an abandoned building with paramilitary force, In Asheville, Occupy protesters were arrested for cleaning windows. Raleigh police arrested walkupiers for walking, The Greensboro Police ran a campaign of intimidation to suppress the local Occupiers, and the list goes on...
In Charlotte, laws were changed to remove Occupy from 600 E. Trade St., disbanding the protest. These laws were put in place to bring a new brand of Fascism to the Democratic National Convention. The massive amount of funds being spent in Charlotte are to provide a police plan that will effectively kettle any protest in the streets of the Queen City. They believe by overwhelming force the protesters at the DNC will be contained.
Not only are these new rules designed to contain protests, but they are designed to prevent protesters from protecting themselves from the Police. No helmets, which if our Comrade Scott Olsen had been wearing his injuries would not have been as severe. No masks or bandanas, no water bottles, etc... Bring all of these things with you and try to clog the security check-point lines. Bring marbles! We have something special in store...
Educate yourself on the security rules and where certain zones are located before you get there. By knowing the rules, you will know better how to break them.
#protip: You might not want to set up too close to a news truck. Anonymous haz a plan...
WE ARE ANONYMOUS
WE ARE LEGION
WE DO NOT FORGIVE THE POLICE STATE
WE DO NOT FORGET CORRUPTION
The complete text of the August 20th message on Pastebin appears below:
What up dood!
1. Coordinated hacks and DDos attacks throughout the DNC: I don't have das skiilz for this. We have some haxors, but the big dogs should be around. This is where we will need mucho support.
2. News Truck Rumor: lulzy lulzy Already underway. Disinformation to keep the popo guessing. Some help herr could be fun too. Trying to get Social media buzz about some outlandish things that Anons might do at the DNC. Remember #OpFacebook, that kept the FBI busy for a bit. lol
3. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Bank-of-America-Headquarters-Charlotte Remember this site, think you created it... We should use BOA HQ in Trade St. during the convention to strategize and such. An easy place for those traveling to meet up and plan.
4. Livestream and Social Media Networking: We are gathering info on Livestreamers traveling to DNC. We will post them all over the place.
5. Positive Mainstream Campaign: This has been and will continue to be ongoing. Coming up with ways for mainstreamers to occupy or be Anon without even knowing ie: www.facebook.com/BikePowerWeekend
I should have a script for a vid soon, it's harder than I thought lol. Almost there.
Both Pastebin messages appear to have been posted anonymously.