The Anonymous hacktivist collective has declared the launch of a new operation against white supremacists and the alt-right right following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in a video.
In a six-minute video posted on YouTube Tuesday, a narrator speaks over footage of violence at the Charlottesville alt-right protest on Saturday, in which anti-racism activist Heather Heyer was killed.
“Citizens of the world, we are anonymous, and we are angry. Anonymous finds it a sad state of affairs that in 2017 we still have Nazi party flags flying high and terrorists killing for the Nazi cause,” the narrator says.
It goes on to attack President Donald Trump, who has been criticized for failing to single out white supremacists for blame in a statement following the violence.
“And we are angry, angry because there is an administration in the White House that has sold its moral or ethical obligation to represent the citizens of the United States in exchange for individuals who believe themselves to be superior to those who do not look like them or follow their sadistic ideologies.
“Anonymous has made it clear that it will not stand by as this bigotry continues to perpetuate. We are taking a stand against an intolerant evil that must be crushed.
"That is why we chose to engage Operation Domestic Terrorism, where we continue to take down domestic terrorism websites, and out those who share the ideology.”
The video comes after Twitter accounts associated with Anonymous claimed Monday to have taken down approximately a dozen white supremacist websites in DDOS attacks, tweeting their victories under the #OpDomesticTerrorism hashtag. Some sites were taken down for several hours, while others remain disabled.
A source associated with the group told Newsweek that "several teams" were engaged in the operation to "rid the internet of neo-Nazis."
Earlier, a notice appeared on neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, which had published an article viciously insulting Heyer after she was killed, claiming the site had been taken over by Anonymous hackers, However Anonymous members have claimed the posting was a hoax, and Anonymous singled out the website's founder with an apparent threat, pledging to track him down in Nigeria where he claims to reside.
“If you value your life, Mr Anglin, you will need to flee the country. We will find you, we promise.”
The Daily Stormer was booted from hosting company GoDaddy Monday, and barred from Google shortly afterward.
The video goes on to threaten other prominent white nationalists: “And to everyone else who shares the white supremacist ideology, and that includes the likes of Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler, and David Duke, you are not safe. The blood of Heather is on your hands. And you will pay for it in blood.”
Anonymous pledged in the video to publicly expose white supremacists in a bid to have them sacked by employers, and warned neo-Nazis on the Daily Stormer who have threatened to disrupt Heyer’s funeral to stay away.
“Our campaign will not stop until your ideology of hate is dead and buried forever. You have all incurred our wrath. Our justice will be swift and it will be righteous,” says a narrator.
Gabriella Coleman’s book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, charts the rise of the group through its high-profile hacking campaigns against government institutions, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and corporations between 2011 and 2014.
Coleman tells Newsweek the violence in Charlottesville appeared to have “galvanized” the group, which in recent years has splintered and whose operations have dissipated after a series of high-profile arrests.
“Prior to this operation in the English-speaking world I would say Anonymous—non-existent isn’t the right word but operations tended to be quite small—the hacking and doxing operations in the English-speaking world were kind of defunct, she says.
”This has been interesting as it's brought a lot of visibility and attraction and support, and a lot of people are saying it feels like a lot of these older school operations between 2011 and 2014,”
The group has targeted racist organizations before, declaring support for the Black Lives Matter group and exposing KKK members following the 2014 Ferguson protests, and Coleman said that several of the group's original members had taken part in anti-racist activism.
“Anon videos have rarely called for physical violence, but I know some of these people who are hackers who are in Antifa as well, and Antifa have no problem punching Nazis. So from that perspective, if that video came from that world, that could be the perspective they’re putting forward,” Coleman adds.