It had to happen.
In what’s become a completely inevitable pattern, in response to the death of a young black man at the hands of the police, Anonymous has taken to YouTube, Twitter and Pastebin to announce their latest: #OpBaltimore.
The now-traditional YouTube video was uploaded a few hours ago, immediately going to viral status with the hit counter frozen at 301+. It now reads 1573 and is growing fast. The corresponding Pastebin transcript has 244 views, but it, too, is only hours old, and the night is young. Friday nights are always busy on the Anonymous channels.
Greetings to the citizens of Baltimore.
The global collective of Anonymous is outraged at the vicious murder of Freddie Gray. Not a week goes by that some young person, usually within a minority background, is slaughtered by police officers in charge of protecting the citizens of the United States.For this reason, Anonymous will not be satisfied this time as we have in the past, with simply obtaining justice for this young man and his family.
We applaud you, the citizens of Baltimore, for standing up and making yourselves heard when these atrocities occur. We encourage you to continue to make yourselves heard. We have taken notice to the violence committed by protesters during the demonstrations. We do not condone this behavior.Do not release your anger and frustration within your community.
There are others who should truly be held accountable. We are saddened to see the violence that is happening. The anger that was, and is being shown is directed towards the wrong source of the problem. There is no reason for violence.
We must peacefully rise together, against police brutality, police repression, and against state violence. This is no longer a protest. This is a revolution. The time has come for more than simple justice for these atrocities. The time has come to draw a line in the sand and say, no more police killings, no more beatings, and no more deaths. Anonymous stands with the people of Baltimore. We stand with the people united and together we say no more.
United as one, divided by zero.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Follow us on Twitter: @AnonOpBaltimore / Join us on AnonOps / Channel: #OpBaltimore
Yesterday saw a Tweetstorm, with two pastes listing tweets (here is the second) having gone up just a few hours ahead of time; they are far more effective with 5 days lead time. Nonetheless, the hashtag did garner some 2984 tweets since April 25, peaking on April 28, and the pastes have been viewed over 2000 times collectively.
Anonymous has also doxed the police commissioner, although all the information in the dox is either freely available on the police department’s website, or available to interested parties who look up things like IP addresses. The phone number listed is actually a California number, registered to a Laura A. Richardson in San Pedro, California, who is undoubtably fielding some strange calls today.
A different dox has been removed already: claimed by NathCr3w, it purported to be a dox of the governor and the mayor. Either it revealed information that was more on-target and legally protected (such as credit card numbers, etc) or NathCr3w took it down themselves.
There are two Twitter accounts, which do not seem to be coordinated.
The AnonOpBaltimore twitter account, currently seeking boots on the ground to provide humanitarian support for protesters and citizens, has 134 followers, and was registered April 28. It is associated with the AnonOps nextwork, at least insofar as using their IRC channel.
The OpBaltimore account, is more successful in terms of numbers, with 819 followers. It has a more aggressive tone, and promotes a video released by TheAnonMessage, the Twitter/YouTube account which is perhaps most famous for faildoxing the shooter of Michael Brown in Ferguson and declaring war on Iggy Azalea. While TAM has been highly successful at garnering media attention, the track record there is of fizzled operations such as OpIceISIS, faildoxes, and reportedly at least once apparently faking his own kidnapping. In the notes on the video is a message to follow “TheAnonMessages“, a Twitter account with 142,000 followers, 12% of whom are fake and 32% of whom are dormant according to Twitter analysis tool Status People. The video has had over 2000 views, but garnered a mere 44 upvotes in contrast to the competition’s 469 upvotes, a statistic which may indicate the view count is artificially inflated.
In social media as in life, be careful who you follow.
To keep the attention squarely on Baltimore, follow the hashtag #OpBaltimore, and as always use your critical intelligence. The truth is out there, but you have to get past a lot of garbage to find it.