Thursday, November 7, 2013

Anonymous and its Ignominious Defeat

Anonymous threatened to attack Singapore Government websites on 5 November 2013 but the date came and went and nothing happened.  Since their days of notoriety when they first attacked the Church of Scientology that resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of some of their members, Anonymous have had other victories notably, their involvement in Tunisia and Egypt and one could say without exaggeration that they did play a part in the overthrow of the Egyptian government.

It became clear to me by the evening of 4 November that nothing would happen the next day.  Apart from a few government website failures in the days before 5 November which the government insisted were closed for extended maintenance, virtually nothing happened on the 5th which Anonymous promised would be cataclysmic.

What exactly is Anonymous?   They consist of a group of young people who have strong views about justice and fair play and who use their computer and hacking skills against institutions which have acted unconscionably or, as is usually the case, in a supercilious manner.  Yes, these young people are particularly allergic to arrogance and when Tom Cruise, a one-time advocate for the Church of Scientology declared with a smirk on his face that when he witnessed a road accident, he would have to do something because he knew he was the only one there who could do anything, that really riled up a lot of people in the internet community.  The Church of Scientology believes only they can cure and heal people by using what they call "Dianetics", a superstitious mumbo-jumbo which saner folks know is nothing more than a religious claptrap.

Anonymous is not an organised group.  Their members communicate online and they have been likened to a large flock of birds which has no leader but occasionally when one bird goes in a different direction, more will follow and eventually the whole flock switches its direction to follow that bird.

On 4 November, I looked up all of Anonymous' announcements and Singapore was not mentioned at all.  Philippines and Syria were featured a great deal but not a word about Singapore.  I had concerned friends who asked me if their kids should take the public transport because a computer failure might cause trains to crash, especially trains that are not operated by a human driver.  I told them nothing would happen and all this fear was unnecessary and silly and they would be laughing at themselves on 6 November.  It is fear that will bring a country down even if nothing is going to take place.  In any event, from what I know of the Anonymous, they are a responsible group that cares a lot about what is right and just and going round harming people is something they seek to prevent and not something they themselves do.

What actually happened behind the scenes?

This is my guess and I must stress it's pure speculation that comes about from my personal observation of what has taken place in Singapore.

There is a disgruntled resident in Singapore, most likely a Singaporean who goes by the moniker MESSIAH.  He probably has some personal grudge against Kong Hee, the self-appointed pastor who lives in the lap of luxury and whose wife was at one time a neighbour of the rich and famous in Hollywood and who is now himself charged with criminal breach of trust.

One of the first things MESSIAH did was to hack into the private website of Kong Hee's wife, Sun Ho.  Thereafter, the local newspaper website was attacked.  I don't know the details of that attack but it was likely a DDoS attack.  Then came a video purportedly from Anonymous warning the Singapore government of a plan to cripple the nation's internet system which put the government on full alert.

Singaporeans were urged by Anonymous to show solidarity by blacking out their Facebook profile and to wear red and black on 5 November.  Here is where the fault line in the hackers' plan can be seen.  They need cooperation from the people and they ain't getting any from Singaporeans.

In the months leading to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt was a very different place from Singapore.  If the standard of living or a nation and the contentment of its citizens can be placed on a scale, Egypt and Singapore would be occupying close to different ends of the spectrum.  Yes, Singaporeans love to complain and slam the government but I sense they sometimes do it in a rather affectionate way, a little like a wife scolding her beloved husband among friends.  I've seen that ever since my early childhood.

No Singaporean I know want to see a disruption in our internet services.  Everyone is proud of Singapore's legendary efficiency and nobody wants to throw a spanner in the works.  The fact that nothing happened on 5 November despite Anonymous' boastful claims is a triumph for the people of Singapore.  None of us wants to destroy our homes just because of one disgruntled Singaporean who is working in cahoots with a bunch of foreign youngsters.  We are all very happy here.  Anonymous can go to Sudan and Egypt where there is a lot of work to be done but there's nothing for them here.  MESSIAH was furious when the local papers reported that Anonymous wanted to attack Singapore.  He insisted that Anonymous was going after the Singapore government and not the people of Singapore.  No, Singapore is not Hosni Mubarak's Egypt where the government are different from the people.  If you attack Singapore or its government, you attack the people of Singapore and you must be out of your mind if you think any one of us will cooperate with you.

What we saw on 5 November when we looked up in the sky was this large flock of birds heading in one direction.  Suddenly, one tiny bird (that's the MESSIAH) changed its direction and strayed away from the flock in the hope that others would follow it.  The rest went on their merry way, ignoring the lone bird which quickly turned round to join the flock. The title of this article is misleading.  It's not Anonymous that was defeated but Messiah with his own little petty agenda, not shared by the rest who see more pressing needs in other countries.

The Government now has one job to do.  Find out who the MESSIAH is and deal with him severely as a traitor against the nation and people of Singapore because that's precisely what he is.

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