In the wake of the brutal terrorist attack in Paris, the clandestine hacktivist group Anonymous has released a chilling video declaring war on the Islamic State and other radical groups, and according to reports, they’ve already claimed their first victim.
On Thursday, Anonymous posted a video to YouTube describing their latest campaign to avenge the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine, which they’re calling #OpCharlieHebdo, according to the Mirror. The chilling video features a man in a Guy Fawkes mask speaking in French with his voice digitally obscured, explaining that members of Anonymous have decided to “declare war on you, the terrorists,” specifically calling out the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
“We will track you down – every last one – and will kill you,” the spokesman says. “You allowed yourselves to kill innocent people, we will therefore avenge their deaths.”
The representative explains that members across the globe will work to track all activities of the jihadists online and close down their social media accounts on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
“You will not impose your sharia law in our democracies,” he continues. “We will not let your stupidity kill our liberties and our freedom of expression. We have warned you; expect your destruction.”
The roughly minute-long video closes in the usual fashion of Anonymous by reminding their targets of just how far the group’s reach is.
“We will track you everywhere on the planet, nowhere will you be safe. We are Anonymous,” the video says. “We are legion. We do not forget. We do not forgive. Be afraid of us, Islamic State and al-Qaeda – you will get our vengeance.”
A press release from Anonymous, explaining their campaign in more detail, said that “freedom of speech has suffered an inhuman assault,” referencing the Paris attack. “Disgusted and also shocked, we can not fall to our knees,” it continued. “It is our responsibility to react.”
The statement went on to express condolences to the families of those killed by the “cowardly and despicable act” and said they will always fight for the “inalienable” right of free speech.
“Freedom of speech and opinion is a non-negotiable thing, to tackle it is to attack democracy. Expect a massive frontal reaction from us because the struggle for the defense of those freedoms is the foundation of our movement.”
According to Mashable, Anonymous hasn’t wasted any time in enacting their vengeance. On Saturday, they had already claimed their first victim in #OpCharlieHebdo. A Twitter account bearing the same codename as their campaign tweeted an image of a website the group successfully shut down for a period of time.
The site ansar-alhaqq.net is described as a French jihadist website by French newspapers. On Saturday afternoon, Anonymous was able to get it offline for at least an hour after their announcement. It had gone back online later in the day, but the attack can be seen as a shot across the bow as the hacktivists ramp up their efforts against Islamic extremists.
It’s unclear how they were able to take the site down, but as Mashable reports, the weapon of choice for Anonymous is usually a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which bombards a site with traffic and overloads its servers. While the attack itself isn’t too sophisticated, it’s very effective at preventing a site from being viewed, and prolonged or repeated attacks can prove to be a major headache for the site’s administrators.
Hopefully, Anonymous’s campaign proves to be successful since radical Islamists rely heavily on social media in order to spread propaganda and recruit new members. After seeing the damage they’ve done to governments and other highly secured sites, there’s no reason to believe they won’t be able to inflict even worse damage on extremists across the globe as they ramp up their efforts.
Do you think that the Islamic State and al-Qaeda should be concerned over what Anonymous had to say? Let us know with a comment!