As promised, I’ve published a deep dive on #OpISIS, an operation led by Anonymous that was riddled with online trolls, feds, intelligence agencies, and private security companies. We’re going to discuss the operations that Anonymous declared against ISIS, at least one hacking group that was formed during this time period, and how the operation divided part of the Anonymous community.
We’ll also dive into two private security firms that were created during #OpISIS, at least one FBI agent’s involvement in #OpISIS, and how this pertains to the WikiLeaks support community. But first, a look at the events leading up to it, including Sabu’s betrayal and individuals who were around back then and have been disrupting activist groups for years.
In the spring of 2010, Chelsea Manning was arrested for leaking thousands of documents to WikiLeaks including Collateral Murder (video), the Afghan and Iraq War Logs, U.S. State Department cables, and the Guantanamo Bay files. That summer WikiLeaks began publishing the Afghan War Logs and after former WikiLeaks editor, Julian Assange, visited Sweden in August, an arrest warrant was issued for him on allegations of rape.
Despite this, WikiLeaks continued publishing Manning’s documents infuriating not only the U.S. government and military-industrial complex but also a hacker known as “The Jester,” who attacked their website in late November. He then boasted about it on Twitter using his signature “tango down,” a military term indicating that a target has been killed or successfully taken down.
Jester’s attack drew ire from the hacking collective, Anonymous, and the two would end up clashing for years to come. However, despite targeting WikiLeaks, Jester claimed to be more interested in stopping jihadists:
“PS for me personally WL is a sideshow target, I am more interested in the big jihad recruiting and training sites.”
The Jester’s identity is unknown although some claim that he was doxed (correctly) back in 2012. According to news sources, he’s a former “member of a [U.S.] special operations unit,” and Heavy wrote that “his list of targets line up nicely with those of the US such as jihadists and WikiLeaks in 2010 and most recently Russia.” He’s also been described as a patriot hacker, an “iconic figure in the world of cyber-spying,” and a “pro-Western hacktivist.”
In the month following Jester’s attack on WikiLeaks, Assange turned himself over to U.K. authorities after Sweden issued a European Arrest Warrant for him. He spent nine days in jail after which he was released under house arrest. During that time period, PayPal and other financial services companies like MasterCard and Visa cut off services to WikiLeaks making it impossible for supporters to donate to them.
PayPal 14, HBGary, and Palantir
In late 2010, Anonymous took matters into their own hands and lodged DDoS attacks against companies like PayPal and MasterCard in retaliation for them cutting off WikiLeaks. (See PayPal 14 and “Operation Payback“)
Approximately a month later, the FBI executed 40 search warrants related to the case and authorities detained five suspects in the U.K. Anonymous described the arrests as “a serious declaration of war from yourself, the UK government, to us, Anonymous, the people,” and published the following (partial):
“We have noted that similar attacks have also been carried out against WikiLeaks itself, yet so far, nobody has been arrested in connection with these attacks, nor are there even any signs of an investigation into this issue at all. Yet, we know exactly who was responsible for that attack [Jester]. Anonymous believes it is unfair and hypocritical to attempt to put these 5 arrested anons to trial without even attempting to find those who DD0S’ed a website which you oppose.”
Following the arrests, Aaron Barr, then head of security services firm, HBGary Federal, was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that “he had uncovered the identities of Anonymous’ leaders using social networking sites,” meaning that he basically announced he had infiltrated Anonymous. The collective responded by “hacking into HBGary’s networks and posting archives of company executive emails,” among a host of other lulzy things:
As The Colbert Report reported, within the leaked HBGary emails was a proposal for Bank of America on how “to sabotage WikiLeaks on multiple fronts.” According to Forbes:
“…hacked emails from HBGary revealed a PDF document outlining a proposal to Bank of America to sabotage WikiLeaks on multiple fronts, a response plan to what some believe may be a release of Bank of America’s internal documents by WikiLeaks’ in coming months.”
The logo for Peter Thiel’s Palantir was on every page of the PDF and suggestions ranged from attacking WikiLeaks’ servers to targeting journalists such as Glenn Greenwald.
LulzSec, AntiSec, and Sabu
Approximately three months after Anonymous completely and utterly destroyed Aaron Barr, a new collective called “LulzSec” was formed by Hector Xavir Monsegur (“Sabu”). The group went on a 50-day hacking spree hitting Sony, Infragard, and everything in between, but Sabu’s luck ran out on June 7, 2011, when the feds paid him a visit.
After agreeing to become an informant the next day, the FBI set him loose online for the next 9 months obviously under the false pretense that everything was fine. LulzSec continued to target government websites, including the CIA, Arizona’s Department of Public Safety, and the U.K.’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, during which time The Jester vowed to take them down.
Approximately two weeks after Sabu became an informant, he formed a new group called AntiSec after which LulzSec promptly announced that it was disbanding after “50 days of Lulz.” They encouraged everyone to join AntiSec whose message to the hacking community included, “Steal and leak any classified government information…Prime targets are banks and other high-ranking establishments.”
Fast forward to the “LulzXmas festivities” of December 2011 when AntiSec hacked the private intelligence firm, Stratfor. This was the hack that was essentially carried out on behalf of the FBI that led to Jeremy Hammond’s conviction:
“Although the feds claimed that they didn’t learn about the breach until after hackers were ‘knee-deep’ in Stratfor’s files and there was little if anything they could do at that point (besides give the hackers free range to ravage the site), chat logs show that their wondersnitch, Sabu, had pretty much orchestrated the entire thing after Hyrriiya contacted him.
But in what appears to be a massive effort to whitewash the FBI’s involvement, the feds asserted that Hammond, not Sabu, was the ringleader behind the Stratfor hack and that it was Hammond who initially passed along Hyrriiya’s information to Sabu, not the other way around…
In his own defense, Hammond claimed that he had never even heard of Stratfor before Sabu told him about the company and Hyrriiya actually wrote a letter to Hammond’s attorneys stating as much.”
Three months later, on March 6, 2012, Sabu was identified in the media and the FBI made sweeping arrests in the LulzSec/AntiSec case. They also executed a search warrant at Barrett Brown’s home. A total of six Anonymous and LulzSec hackers, including Hammond, were arrested that day.
According to Mark A. Gregory, an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and a former Army officer who worked on defense projects, members of Anonymous were shocked over Sabu’s betrayal:
“It seems strange anyone would be surprised that Sabu’s first loyalty was to himself and his family. It speaks volumes about the unrealistic view that people have of online relationships…This means loyalty between members of a group who only associate with each other online is, by necessity, going to be fragile…The responses to Sabu’s ‘betrayal’ are even more curious given the turning of hackers into informants is actually quite common.”
Yup. Even Ray Johansen, an alleged long-time member of Anonymous who leaks like a sieve and has (terrifyingly) planted himself inside #OpNewBlood, an Anonymous operation meant to teach newbies how to remain safe, publicly announced that it was okay snitch to “lessen the blow to yourself.” He also supported Adrian Lamo, a now-deceased hacker that Johansen once told me was his friend, and his decision to snitch on Chelsea Manning calling it a “perfectly situated moral decision.”
In an article entitled, “Is Anonymous Dead, or Just Preparing to Rise Again?” journalist Kim Zetter reported on how quiet the collective became after Sabu was outed:
“The hacker collective was once as widely known as it was loved–or hated. But it has been largely quiet since it was taken down from within by an informant. But don’t count it out just yet.”
Indeed. Zetter’s article was published on June 9, 2014, a mere five days after the first #OpISIS hashtag tied to Anonymous showed up on Twitter.
Yes, This Is Going To Be About #OpISIS But..
Yes, the focus of this article is going to be Anonymous’ #OpISIS, but there’s also a common theme that runs through this story: Some of the same actors who were around when Sabu became an informant and/or took part in #OpISIS are still around today deliberately damaging activist communities and purposely endangering both activists and journalists.
Their tactics include running defamation campaigns, doxing, trying to frame activists and journalists for criminal activity, planting disinformation in the media, and/or employing tactics such as lawfare, perpetual victimhood and gaslighting, perjury, abuse, threats, intimidation, and outright lies to control (or create) the narrative.
Sadly, most of this appears to be due to their own personal problems, an obsession with playing victim to garner constant attention, ties to U.S. and foreign authorities, and an affinity for the far-right.
Suzie Dawson, Sabu, and Aaron Kesel
For instance, did you know that while Suzie Dawson was hijacking the Occupy Auckland movement and making wild claims about the Five Eyes trying to murder her and her kids ten million times, she was in communication with both Sabu and another bad actor (a.k.a. Aaron Kesel @An0nAkn0wledge @An0nKn0wledge @Cens0red) who has been disseminating a wide range of disinformation within the activist community for years, especially after the 2016 election? He also took part in #OpISIS and bizarrely claimed that the CIA had given him “diplomatic immunity.”
Fast forward six years later when Kesel joined #Unity4J, an abusive, fashy campaign that Dawson started which was supported by the likes of Stella Moris and Courage Foundation. Dawson used it to promote her political party, jack the #FreeAssange movement, invite fascism into the campaign, and discredit other activists and journalists.
Greg Housh, Ray Johansen, and Child Porn Hacker, Aubrey Cottle
Greg Housh and Ray Johansen are two other examples of hacktivists/activists who have been around for a long time (Johansen was also knee deep in #OpISIS) only to recently help hacker Aubrey Cottle reinvent his image and rise to the top of the Anonymous scene under the guise of “Q slaying” in 2020. This, despite the fact that Cottle had previously hosted child porn on 420chan and openly admits that he works with multiple law enforcement agencies.
As I’ve been stating for well over a year now, the “Q slaying” movement that was initially started was nothing more than an artificial undertaking created by bad actors deeply tied to Beth Bogaerts and/or Jesselyn Radack i.e. Johansen and @ATafoyovsky a.k.a. Lestat in order to sway U.S. court cases that these two women were both embroiled in with “Thomas” and “Trevor,” as noted in Johansen’s messages above.
I tried to warn ya’ll but nobody listened. Instead, journalists and hacktivists alike christened Cottle as the founder of Anonymous and outlets like HBO and Vice produced less than stellar documentaries about Qanon using Lestat, a Mexican national, as one of their sources. Prior to these and other media outlets giving Lestat the time of day, he openly admitted that one of only two sources he used for his (dis)information was Bogaerts (a.k.a. Fox).
And it legit doesn’t get anymore fucked up than long time activists believing that “I hosted child porn” is an acceptable job description on a hacktivist’s resume. And yet Housh, Jesselyn Radack’s close associate, Ray Johansen, and even DDoSecrets openly embraced it. Sorry, him.
And no, leaks don’t trump a dirt bag that used his website to post videos and/or photos of children being sexually assaulted. Lemme put it this way to all the journalists who falsely promoted Cottle as the “founder” of Anonymous and the hacktivists that helped him make a new name for himself: If Cottle posted a video of your child being raped would you still support him because of some absurd “Q slaying” operation meant to help Radack and Bogaerts win some court cases, to infiltrate Barrett Brown’s activist groups, or to promote Cottle’s alleged hacks and leaks?
And then let’s ask Johansen, Radack and Bogaerts if they want their kids assaulted and have the pictures or video uploaded to a website like 420chan, shall we? Let’s ask them if it would be worth it if the guy who posted it and his associates could leak some good hacks or sway some U.S. lawsuits, one of which was about Radack repeatedly lying about being raped. I mean, you legit can’t make up this three-ring creature feature horror show.
If you think that’s harsh, welcome to the stark and horrific reality of child porn. And if you honestly don’t think this is a big deal like Greg Housh and Johansen clearly don’t then you’re probably such a piece of shite human being that every activist on the planet should stay a million miles away from you and your friends.
So despite being absent from the scene for years, Cottle reappeared with his girlfriend, Libby, in 2020 and carried out disinfo campaigns against Barrett Brown and others, employing the same tactics we’ve seen over the course of the last four years from the exact same group of associated people: Attack, manipulate the narrative to the extreme, and gaslight your audience into believing you’re the victim. I mean, Libby even lied about being subpoenaed by Biss because it seems that all these people do is lie.
William Welna and Sabu
And then there’s William Welna (a.k.a. Sang, @ExaltedData, Sanguinarios Rose). This guy was in communication with Sabu both before and after he was outed in the media. He’s also been getting off on trolling people since at least 2012.
Fast forward to Welna rearing his trolly head last year to help control the “Q slaying” narrative by assisting Michigan State professor, Laura Dilley, with a so-called academic paper she published about Qanon and the “weaponization of social media as a major threat to stability of democracies around the world.”
Although the paper hasn’t been released yet, Dilley has spoken about it publicly, teasers have been dropped, blatant defamation has occurred, and at least one academic department at Michigan State published an entire Twitter thread about it. According to what has been released so far i.e. data used for the study and named assistants on the project like Welna, the study appears to be deeply flawed and biased. However, anyone who respectively tries to point out the paper’s shortcomings are almost immediately painted as a troll and blocked on Twitter.
Welna has gone so far as to create “stalker lists” for anyone who disagrees with him (or the paper’s data and sourcing) and perhaps Michigan State isn’t fully aware of some of the things that Welna has done and said in the past, especially in terms of disinformation, doxing, trolling, and setting people up to get raided by the feds.
For example, in 2012 IRC chats between Sabu and Welna, Welna (using “m45t3rs4d0w8”) admitted that he planted false information online about Barrett Brown after he got raided. How serious was it? He planted stories that Barrett had turned informant, an incredibly serious accusation that can easily destroy someone’s reputation within the hacktivist/activist community:
“Barrett got raided…I tweeted a pic of him shooting up on tinychat with a needle, asked if they fund [sic] anything good…and I keep implying they found large stash of heroin and he turned.”
Then he took the side of the U.S. government and every private intelligence firm on the planet by claiming that Brown should go to prison for allegedly destroying evidence:
“[Barrett] said he got raided for records regarding all kinds of stuff…and the best part! is where he implies he destroyed evidence..he should be like in jail for this.”
This, after Welna himself admitted to Sabu that he had done some “illegal shit.”
Welna was also obsessed with unmasking Jester and after failing to do so, he decided he would terrorize an “old woman from Oregon” named “Mach,” instead because he suspected she was Jester’s associate. Sabu encouraged Welna to dox her and Welna replied, “Lol in time…no fun dropping cards at once, I like torture.”
Appalingly, Welna told Sabu that someone had sent this woman’s dox to a jihadist site adding, “Then I announced we should have a competition between me and him of who can submit machs dox to the most jihadist sites.” A few days later he said, “Trolling mach to hell is fun…shes getting all paranoid banning random people.”
To be clear, William Welna is a guy who gets off on sending the dox of a lady he himself calls an “old woman” to jihadists knowing full well that she was associated with Jester who has targeted god only knows how many ISIS accounts. Folks, if you’re taking online activities this personally that you’re willing to snitch to fucking ISIS, you’ve got some serious mental health problems.
And like other people within Professor Dilley’s and Welna’s circle, or their supporters like Jesselyn Radack, Welna spends an inordinate amount of time crying online about being a victim of targeted harassment when in reality he’s deflecting from his own behavior. Perhaps a better way of putting it these days is that he’s gasligting you because I have no doubt that what he does is intentional:
“But the whole intel and trolling stuff is a lot of fun, its addicting.”
Trolling is fun and addicting. Uh huh. Meet William Welna, ya’ll. Michigan State’s star researcher on trolling, harassment, and disinformation.
In other conversations that Welna had (using “SanguineRose”) with someone named “nachash,” he clearly expresses his enjoyment over snitching and planting information with informants and FBI handlers to get people raided by the feds for “fucking up” his trolling:
They also discussed publishing the social security numbers of “high profile snitches” because nothing says hypocritical like this “I’m a sad clown troll who secretly gets off on fed snitching while snitching about fed snitches” dark corner of the internet. Welna was down with the plan as long as the targets couldn’t be traced back to him:
And I guess the only guy allowed to disagree with Welna without being put on a stalker list is a fed snitch like Sabu. Welna to Sabu:
“Im the grand troll for it 😉 like we do have some ideological differences but it doesn’t mean I hate or despise you [Sabu] most people attack people because they simpley disagree with them and for no other real reason”
If you’re finally beginning to realize who exactly Professor Dilley has been working with, feel free to contact Michigan State and politely share your concerns.
Keep in mind that just the other day someone revealed during a 7.4-hour Youtube super marathon (!) that he offered to give Professor Dilley access to his wife’s emails so she could research fully what his wife had allegedly been through at the hands of Thomas Schoenberger. Dilley told him that if he gave her access, she would send everything to Lestat. Um…
Not only is this bizarre and clearly shows who has Dilley on a leash, she has exactly zero respect for anyone’s privacy.
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
Office of the President
Michigan State University
426 Auditorium Road
Hannah Administration Building, Room 450
East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
Michigan State University
Board of Trustees
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Michigan State University
404 Wilson Road, Room 287
East Lansing, MI 48824
Perhaps none of this is terribly surprising due to the fact that Laura Dilley, a professor with lofty plans to drop a so-called academic paper assisted by the likes of someone like Welna and with the intent to railroad innocent people as “Q influencers,” requested and received partial funding from the CIA in the past.
And even if Dilley claims that she never received a dime from the intelligence agency, her own curriculum vitae shows that either she requested money from them or they requested research from her. The C I A doesn’t just mysteriously appear on someone’s CV. I mean, how dim of a bulb do you have to be on the Christmas tree? And her latest study isn’t listed so we don’t even know who funded it yet.
It’s also not surprising that supporters of Dilley and Sabu’s (former?) sidekick include Jesselyn Radack and Lestat, the propaganda mouthpiece living in Mexico who admitted that one of the sources he used to plant disinfo in U.S. media was Bogaerts. Again, it’s the same group of bad actors year after year, some of whom were deeply involved with #OpISIS like Ray Johansen, Aaron Kesel and Bogaerts’ bestie, “AnonScandinavia.”
Disclaimer: Ten thousand more pages of disclaimers to follow.
If you were mentioned in this article because your associate(s) did or said something stupid/dishonest, that’s not a suggestion that you did or said something stupid/dishonest or that you took part in it. Of course, some may conclude on their own that you associate with stupid/dishonest individuals but that’s called having the right to an opinion. If I’ve questioned something that doesn’t make sense to me, that’s not me spinning the confusing material you’ve put out. That’s me trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense. And if I’ve noted that you failed to back up your allegations that means I either missed where you posted it or you failed to back your shiz up.
If I haven’t specifically stated that I believe (my opinion) someone is associated with someone else or an event, then it means just that. I haven’t reported an association nor is there any inference of association on my part. For example, just because someone is mentioned in this article, it doesn’t mean that they’re involved or associated with everyone and everything else mentioned. If I believe that there’s an association between people and/or events, I’ll specifically report it.
If anyone mentioned in this article wants to claim that I have associated them with someone else or an event because I didn’t disclose every single person and event in the world that they are NOT associated with, that’s called gaslighting an audience and it’s absurd hogwash i.e. “They mentioned that I liked bananas but they didn’t disclose that I don’t like apples. Why are they trying to associate me with apples???” Or something similar to this lovely gem, “I did NOT give Trish the thumb drive!” in order to make their lazy audience believe that it was reported they gave Trish the thumb drive when, in fact, that was never reported, let alone inferred.
That’s some of the BS I’m talking about so try not to act like a psychiatric patient, intelligence agent, or paid cyber mercenary by doing these things. If you would like to share your story, viewpoint, or any evidence that pertains to this article, or feel strongly that something needs to be clarified or corrected (again, that actually pertains to the article), you can reach me at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
I cannot confirm and am not confirming the legitimacy of any messages or emails in this article. Please see a doctor if sensitivity continues. If anyone asks, feel free to tell them that I work for Schoenberger, Fitzgibbon, Steven Biss, the CIA, or really just about any intelligence agency because your idiocy, ongoing defamation, and failure as a human is truly a sight to behold for the rest of us.
If I described you as a fruit basket or even a mental patient it's because that is my opinion of you, it's not a diagnosis. I'm not a psychiatrist nor should anyone take my personal opinions as some sort of clinical assessment. Contact @BellaMagnani if you want a rundown on the psych profile she ran on you.
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