For the first time in its two-year history, The Gad About Town is presenting a guest post. I am profoundly happy about this, and I hope to present more in the future.
In recent weeks, I published four pieces about two different operations launched by the Anonymous movement (#OpParis, #OpParis, Day 2, and #OpKKK), and they are written from my perspective as an outsider looking in but with some trusted sources guiding me. I am an informed outsider.
Walter Yeates, also known as Smooth, is a reporter who has interviewed, on the record, leaders of and participants in the operations against Daesh under the banner of #OpParis.
Thank you, Smooth, for writing this and asking me to publish it. It’s an honor. What follows is his own account.—Mark Aldrich, The Gad About Town
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My name is Walter Yeates, I may be better known as Smooth for my coverage of Anonymous. Either name is fine, as I am quite fond of both. When Mark asked me to produce the first guest piece on his blog, I was more than happy to detail my work on Anonymous.
Two months ago I would have never guessed I would have been covering Anonymous, especially with as much access that I have been granted. While quite a bit of information various members of the collective have told me is off the record, there has been a lot of insight that will go into my future work.
While there are several mainstream and smaller outlets that will marginalize Anonymous, none of those reports should be taken seriously. Just from the information I’ve already reported on, the tactics used, and the strategy in place on various operations, there is no doubt that they are making a difference.
Especially in the fight against Daesh (ISIS).
That is the main reason why reporting on the collective is so important to me, as the truth needs to be spread. The collective is made up of human beings like you and me, they are far from monsters that hunt in the darkness.
Are all of their methods legal? Absolutely not.
Yet not all of their methods are against the law. Operation Paris began with an effort to move people to report various websites and social media accounts in effort to get them taken down.
Also, their activities have gone to directly help remove terrorist breeding grounds from the internet, such as the incident in the below graphic.
As far as I know, CloudFlare has still not changed its stance. This is one of many pieces of information I plan to look into regarding the collective and their activities.
Anonymous has also refused to engage in Islamophobia; as shown in this quote from an interview I conducted with X, Founder of Operation Paris:
“I do not attack Muslims—only the terrorists, they are the cancer, not Islam in general. All religions are united against terrorism.”
The one relentless critic that I have about this story stated to me that in my pointing out the collective’s stance against terrorism, I was being too partial. This argument came from someone who stated they used to work in mainstream journalism.
Which is against everything I stand against, I’m not here to hide the truth or to present false narratives. My goal is to prevent what they state and their actions without producing a negative slant against the collective.
Because that is sensationalism, not journalism. Proper ethics would not allow for me to take stories about personal reactions to terrorism and insert anti-hacktivism talking points. Such a display would be as disingenuous as outlets that hold anti-climate change advocates in the same light as scientists that study the issue.
Almost to a person, members of the collective have only asked for their words to not be construed in a negative light. To make sure that does not happen, I use their direct quotes to make sure nothing could be taken out of context.
As my social media presence continues to grow, I hope to point out incidents where outlets use the Anonymous name to garner attention to one of their articles while ignoring the truth. The truth is ultimately what I have found Anonymous members are after, no matter which operation they are working on.
This is what I look to represent: instead of posting articles based off of Twitter releases, I choose to investigate the collective and make sure I present actual information that keeps readers informed.
In the weeks and months to come there will be much more from me, and a lot more coverage of Anonymous, which will probably be the only real journalism on the collective in the US.
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