The hacker-activist group Anonymous says it hijacked the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to avenge the death of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who committed suicide.
The website of the commission, an independent agency of the judicial branch, was taken over early Saturday and replaced with a message warning that when Swartz killed himself two weeks ago "a line was crossed."
The hackers say they've infiltrated several government computer systems and copied secret information that they now threaten to make public.
Anonymous is not an admirable group, with attacks against Israeli information infrastructure, possibly obstructing justice in the Steubenville rape case, and deep involvement in the Occupy protests. But anything is preferable to sitting back and allowing our government to mutate into something akin to South American socialism. And yet I wonder - is this not the same mindset held at one point by the Egyptian people, who rode the Muslim Brotherhood's shoulders as they tossed out the cruel Hosni Mubarak, only to find that the new boss is the same (or worse) than the old boss?
The fact that I am pleased by the actions of mask-wearing vigilantes against our government is troubling to me. Does it say something about what I am turning into, or simply how badly the state of our nation has deteriorated?
On a slightly lighter but related note, there were less successful protests at the elitist circle-jerk known as the Davos Forum, where the world's rich and famous go to see and be seen crying crocodile tears over the world's problems, only to exacerbate it with private jets, huge mansions, and lavish booze-filled soirees.
They should be mocked mercilessly, but only three brave women showed up to protest this perversion:
Three women angry over sexism and male domination of the world economy ripped off their shirts and tried to force their way into a gathering of corporate elites in a Swiss resort.
The women, from Ukrainian feminist activist group Femen, scaled a fence and set off pink flares in the protest Saturday. Their chests were painted with "SOS Davos," as they sought to call attention to poverty of women around the world.
Critics of the Davos forum say the business and political leaders at the gathering spend too little time doing concrete things to solve the world's problems and help the needy.
The fact I support both of these protests sends a chill up my spine. Makes me feel a bit lost, to be honest. I am reminded of Hank Rearden's confusion when he meets Ragnar Danneskjöld for the first time - the ultimate re-possessor:
...Rearden drew back and, for a moment, kept his lips closed tight to utter no sound. When the moment was over, he said quietly, his voice firm and dead, "Take that gold of yours and get away from here. I won't accept the help of a criminal."
"I don't want your help and I don't intend to protect you....
"You wanted to help me in my most hopeless hour?" said Rearden. "If I am brought to where my only defender is a pirate, then I don't care to be defended any longer. You speak some remnant of a human language, so in the name of that, I'll tell you that I have no hope left, but I have the knowledge that when the end comes, I will have lived by my own standards, even while I was the only one to whom they remained valid. I will have lived in the world in which I started and J will go down with the last of it...
Rearden, of course, winds up protecting Danneskjöld. Will I do the same for our less-moral 21st centruy equivalents?