Anonymous, a well-known hacktivist group, has vowed to attack Islamic terrorist websites and social media accounts in revenge for the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris. In a message posted in French to a file-sharing site called Pastebin, the group identified itself as the “francophone Op Charlie Hebdo.”
Citing the terrorist assault on the French weekly that killed 12 journalists, the group, which appears to be based in Belgium, wrote: “We can not fall to the ground. It is our duty to react.” The group vowed to fight for the “inviolate and sacred right to express opinions in any way” and said those who opposed freedom of expression can expect “a massive frontal assault from us, because the struggle for the defense of these freedoms is the foundation of our movement.”
The group released a video in French on YouTube. In a voice that has been digitally altered, the male reader says, “We are declaring war against you, the terrorists” and vowed to close accounts on social networks linked to terrorists. He wore a Guy Fawkes mask to disguise his identity.
Anonymous is an amorphous group of hacker activists that has inserted itself into several conflicts worldwide, including actions in Israel, the USA and, most recently, Paris. There is no single Anonymous group but rather several individuals and groups who make statements and take action under the broad umbrella of the name.
In public protests, those representing themselves as Anonymous often wear Guy Fawkes masks. Fawkes was an English Catholic who participated in a plot to overthrow King James I and put a Catholic back on the English throne in 1605. The plot failed, and Fawkes was condemned to death.
In recent years, Fawkes has been taken up as an icon by some anarchist groups, in part because of the use of a Fawkes mask by the central character in the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and the subsequent movie.
The group’s YouTube videos often include a stylised image of a black-and-white suit with a question mark where the head should be. The voice-overs are done using computer software, giving them an eerie tone Most messaging includes the tagline…”We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”
Anonymous Message to terrorists for attacks Charlie Hebdo