Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hacker Group Takes On Fed, IMF, "Global Banking Cartel"

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A group of decentralized hacker activists — or “hacktivists” — known as Anonymous announced a new plan on March 14 to take on the Federal Reserve System, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements, the World Bank, and the entire “global banking cartel.”

In a video posted on YouTube (watch below), the group said “Operation Empire State Rebellion,” as the effort is being called, would entail “a relentless campaign of nonviolent, peaceful civil disobedience” until the group’s demands are met and “a rule of law is restored.” And it has already announced several demands which U.S. and international authorities will almost certainly not comply with, even despite the group’s past successes in punishing and humiliating prominent institutions and powerful dictatorships.

To start with, as a “sign of good faith,” the group demanded that Federal Reserve boss Ben Bernanke step down from his position. After that, it wants all banking institutions and securities brokerages that trade U.S. government bonds with the central bank to be punished for manipulating the market and triggering the economic crisis.

“We demand that the primary dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the global economy, effective immediately,” the announcement said.

In the statement, Anonymous described itself as a decentralized “non-violent resistance movement” seeking to “restore the rule of law and fight back against the organized criminal class.” It stated that one-tenth of one percent of the population had consolidated wealth in an “unprecedented” manner while waging an “all-out economic war” against everyone else.

“We are not affiliated with either wing of the two-party oligarchy,” the hackers said in the video announcement. The group also noted that it wanted to end “the corrupted two-party system” by ending the campaign finance and lobbying “racket.”

“Above all,” however, “we aim to break up the global banking cartel centered at the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, Bank of International Settlements and World Bank,” the group declared in its video.

Analysts noted that the Fed was already under relentless attack and that the public was increasingly upset. “On one front after another, the Federal Reserve is coming under siege,” wrote Addison Wiggin for The Daily Reckoning, a finance and investment analysis outfit. “Anonymous is nothing if not ambitious. And they have a rising tide of public anger on their side.”

The “hacktivist” group, as various media outlets have called it, has become famous in recent months for attacking perceived enemies of the whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks. Those targets included Visa, PayPal, MasterCard, and other heavyweight institutions. The successes attracted significant media coverage and attention from law enforcement.

In early February, the hacker network was also successfully shutting down websites of dictatorships in the Middle East, including some belonging to the regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and others. It vowed to continue supporting protestors around the world — particularly against governments which try to shut down the Internet.

Even more recently, Anonymous made a mockery of “security” contractor HBGary after the company claimed publicly to have information about the group’s alleged leaders and structure. To retaliate, Anonymous hackers broke into the firm’s computer systems, defaced the company website with a letter explaining its motivations, stole and published tens of thousands of company e-mails detailing possibly illegal activity and collaboration with the U.S. government, and more.

Among the revelations in the e-mails was the fact that the U.S. Air Force was seeking a computer program that would allow operators to control multiple fake accounts on social-networking services. HBGary tried to land the contract by offering capabilities even more outrageous than what the government was originally asking for. The CEO of the company finally stepped down in disgrace.

Earlier this week, Anonymous released a series of e-mails allegedly showing that Bank of America was regularly engaging in fraud and criminal activity, news reports said. If it is confirmed that the e-mails were indeed from the bank, this story can only get bigger. WikiLeaks reportedly has even more documents related to the bank, though those have not yet been leaked to the public.  

Several alleged members of Anonymous have already been arrested in the U.S. and Europe. But for now, its operations have seemingly been unaffected.

The hacker group has become increasingly bold in recent months. And the anti-“global banking cartel” operation appears to be its most ambitious project yet. Another communication about “Operation Empire State Rebellion” is expected in the not-too-distant future.