Suits and Spooks, Sexism and Sabu

In 2015, it is only a foolish man that organizes an all-male panel, rescinding a woman’s spot for fear of “drama.”

Yes, this is something akin to a call-out.

On Friday, it came to my attention hacker-troll-type Jaime “asshurtACKflags” Cochran had her speaking privileges at Suits and Spooks revoked. The organizer Jeffrey Carr changed his mind about her spot on the panel, now comprised entirely of males, because he feared potential “drama.” Carr then repeated this term in a comment on his own blog post, writing “I’m also not interested in gossip or drama around this panel.” The panel Cochran was to speak on included two other members of the same trolling crew she belonged to (Rustle League), along with the infamous FBI informant Sabu, now a pariah in the Anonymous community after radicalizing his teammates and then helping arrest them. Needless to say, gossip and drama has surrounded Sabu’s panel even before Cochran was to speak on it…in fact, the Anonymous community has been up in arms over the panel since it was announced last week. Members of the collective are harassing Sabu right now on Twitter as I type this.

Rescinding Cochran’s spot does nothing to alleviate the gossip and drama that surrounds the panel. Further, the choice of words he uses, “gossip and drama” are, no doubt about it, sexist. Gossip and drama are words commonly used to dismiss women, and are gendered words. Carr could have said “controversy” or “argument,” but he didn’t.

In an exchange of DMs between the two made public by Cochran, Carr appears to willfully misunderstand Cochran when she says her presence is the counterpoint to Sabu. You know, for the purpose of a balanced panel. He seems to take it as if Cochran would disrupt the panel and fight Sabu, which would cause …. oh no…..drama!!!!! Carr wants none of it, despite asking Sabu, the drama-llama on the panel, to speak.  Moreover, in the DM exchange Cochran implied no such thing. But but BUT even if she were to disrupt, this is a conference of hackers. Hackers disrupt. She is a troll. Good trolls troll. That’s what they do. Trolls and hackers belong together, they are of the same tree, the same family of internet trouble-makers.

one of the first image results when you google “drama”… notice how one is the opposite of the other?

We can’t give Carr the benefit of the doubt for rescinding Cochran because she was a “troll,” someone who by nature causes controversy… because the two other trolls on the panel, of the same trolling crew as Cochran who happen to be men, are allowed to speak. The only difference between Cochran and the other trolls is…. she is not a man.

The title of the panel in question, that Cochran was supposed to be a counterpoint of, is “Anonymous Operations and Techniques revealed by Former CabinCr3w and Anonymous Members.” When Anonymous affiliates are running operations, members need to watch out for Sabu-types. How can members of Anonymous protect themselves from being arrested, from being entrapped? From having their teammates turn on them? These questions, and thinking about them, are necessary if Anonymous wants to keep carrying out operations. Social engineering, and recognizing infiltrators, are just as important as technical skills. Cochran possesses both.

If her membership in the Anonymous community was any doubt — her being part of a trolling crew that was originally formed to make fun of Anonymous– the largest Anonymous Twitter account YourAnonNews proceeded to tweet support for Cochran. The account even called her the leader of Anonymous. This is, of course, a joke — there are no leaders, in the traditional sense, of Anonymous.

asshurt as leader

Carr did not respond to further questioning on Twitter, but he said in twitter conversation that Cochran was “lying” and “dishonest.” Cochran is trans, and perhaps this was unintentional and Carr didn’t realize how dismissing her by characterizing her as dishonest or deceptive comes across a tad transphobic.  Let’s stick with the “lying” and “dishonest” woman characterization for this post, which is already problematic. Or maybe he meant, because she is a troll, she is a liar and dishonest, but she’s never lied about being a troll … and then there’s the matter of the two other trolls on the panel…

There is something to be said for a troll playing a feminist, and using feminist language to get my attention (and if we were to doubt the outcry of “sexism” among the Anonymous community), but I’ve known Cochran for years now, and I’ve always thought of her as a feminist (in the most basic of ways, regarding equality). See, even in this blog post, I am trying to find ways to discredit Cochran in order to uphold Carr, a phenomenon feminists call internalized misogyny.

The infosec community has long been lambasted as a sexist industry unkind and unwelcoming to women, and Carr’s reasoning for revoking Cochran’s spot only reinforces that image. He can say it was because she was dishonest, and lying, and causing gossip and drama, but those words themselves reinforce said sexist image.

Carr doesn’t seem to be interested, or even care, about how sexist his language is, or about changing the industry to make it more inclusive. Near the end of his blog post, he wrote:

“The bottom line is that I have never and will never edit my choice of speakers for political correctness or to cater to my sponsors. I’ll shutter this event first.”

Women in the industry be damned.

Conversation with Gabriella Coleman about her latest book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous”

shelfie hibbard for twitter

Here is the unedited 30 minute conversation/interview with Coleman, three times the length as the one published on CSM’s Passcode

FE: I finally finished your book last night…. at 3 in the morning….  it’s a pretty long book… while I was reading it, it hit me that this book is really about everything that has to do with the modern Internet, so in that way it makes sense why it is so long… you have to provide context for all these different and new concepts that no one has really written about.

GC: that’s something that’s been interesting to see the reviews, a lot of them have been repetitive. It is about Anonymous, but it is about so much more….

FE: Like modern activism…

GC: yeah, and what it means for hackers… they’ve really coalesced into a major political force just in the last five or six years.

FE: I’m glad you brought the political activism angle, do you think there will ever be an Anonymous political party?

GC: I don’t think so, they’re going to continue in their guerrilla war fashion, but we will see more hackers in government, for sure. Anonymous has to be independent… there’s no way that they can overtly work with government…

FE: So, onto prepared questions… what does the media still get wrong about Anonymous?

GC: I am currently writing this article for this anthropology book about relationships with journalists, and how I came to see journalism differently over time, just as the same way Anonymous is not unanimous, the same can be said for journalism. There are much more local journalists, and some are fucked up, there are structural constraints, and it is the same for Anonymous.

GC:  But basically, I do think a lot of journalists get it, and initially there was three things that were really difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

Barrett Brown and the US Government’s war against journalists, PR reps, and bad videos on YouTube

barrett brown impression

the author above, engaged in an “unofficial PR campaign” for Barrett Brown. This is my impression of him. Here is a fantastic video impression of him. Full disclosure: I’ve been making fun of Barrett Brown since 2011, before it was cool. 

Since Barrett Brown’s sentencing in January, some security journalists are scared, saying the ruling in many ways criminalizes security journalism. Former WIRED journalist Quinn Norton, for one, has quit covering the field because she doesn’t want to be sent to prison for copy-pasting a link or analyzing stolen data. She wrote in more detail about why last month here. If you haven’t already, I suggest you read it. Now, I am freaking out — ok, that is a bit strong– I am quite upset by the ruling for two other reasons, ones that have hardly been discussed. Going to jail for viewing, or passing along, stolen e-documents is an alarming thing (and Brown didn’t even open the link!) but this has been covered extensively already. Brown’s ruling is alarming to me, and to PR reps, because it criminalizes PR,  in this case for a hacktivist group. Another alarming thing? Being charged for a video you made while mentally incapacitated. I’ve literally done every single thing Brown has done (I made Chanology posters in 2008!). Am I next?  

Rapists get away with their crimes using the “drunk” excuse, serial killers can plead insanity, but here we have the government saying that Brown, who was off his meds, coming down from a drug addiction and in a manic state (this is known and fact), is somehow responsible for statements he made in a rambling YouTube video. Great.

This is a man who friends have called “slightly autistic.” This is a man who makes videos drinking wine in a bathtub and yet when he makes an angry video directed at a federal agent, he is taken seriously.  Please. Brown has always been more kooky bravado than realized action. The government making an example out of him, pretending like Brown’s insults hurt their feelings and made them scared for their lives, is a cruel and misguided farce.  (It also makes the agents look like complete pansies… if they heard the shit talk competitive gamers sling at each other, would they be in tears?)

Just as concerning, is how Brown has been denying he was ever a spokesperson, whether official or unofficial, for Anonymous, despite ample evidence otherwise. Brown can say he was never the spokesperson for Anonymous all he wants but that won’t erase the fact that he actually was one.

A spokesperson by its very definition is someone who speaks on behalf of an organization, or in this case a collective, to the press. Spokespeople field questions, shape narratives, repackage and disseminate information. This is exactly what Brown did for Anonymous. Not only did he answer questions from the media, he guided and gave advice on Anonymous’ public relations strategies, helped write releases, and other PR rep stuff. Spokespersons tend to be former journalists, or PR reps.

We all know Brown is not in prison for hacking, because that wasn’t the charge and besides, Brown can’t hack his way out of a cardboard box. We also know he didn’t actually get “too close to the hackers,” because they hated him, mocked him constantly, held him at bay and strung him along. (And even if he did get close, he was doing his job as both a journalist and a PR rep so how close is too close exactly???)

Before Brown was incarcerated, he was a journalist, a heavily disrespected PR rep, and a guy who liked to talk shit and party on webcam when he should have been in bed. Are all three of these crimes now?

It certainly appears that way.

Thomas Hodgkin’s thoughts on Hungarian history and Attila are invalid

…and need to be removed from pertinent Wikipedia pages ASAP. Why? Because he has a clear anti-Hungarian bias and agenda.

Let me explain.

Tonight, while I was lost in a Wikipedia hole about Hungarian history,  I came across some of Thomas Hodgkin’s thoughts on Hungarian language and anthropology from 1892, printed as gospel on the Wikipedia page. Not the famous British scientist mind you, but his nephew, who was a Quaker minister and banker. Just like his uncle, Hodgkin’s hobby was also that of an armchair historian. The writings of both Hodgkins were trusted, printed and widely circulated.

The thoughts of his that enraged me, in his book “Italy and her Invaders,” are as follows:

“The Hungarian traditions no more fully illustrate the history of Attila than the Book of Mormon illustrates the history of the Jews.”

Besides being outright offensive, this is a false equivalence. The Hungarian traditions Hodgkin writes of were written by Hungarian scholars and writers living in Hungary, in the Carpathian Basin, where Atilla the Hun had a capital city. One of the texts in question, the medieval Gesta Hungarorum, was written in the 12th century, incorporated oral history motifs and made mention of minstrels rhymes and tales from peasants. The book of Mormon claiming ancestry with the Jews was written in the late 1800’s, in America, by a wealthy man who had visions in his backyard. They are not the same thing.

Hodgkin dismisses Hungarian traditions in his book because, he says, most were written 500+ years after Attila existed. His reasoning is people could have embellished stories, and this makes their tales problematic and unfit to be used. Fine. I understand this. The same argument can be used on Christianity too but whatever.

However, reading further, Hodgkin was more keen to entertain stories of Attila, also written 500 years later, if they came from countries that were not Hungary, but say France or Norway.

The Hungarian texts cannot be trusted though, he writes, because there is no evidence that these Hungarian scholars actually bothered to go outside, interview village-folk and write down tales of Attila and the Huns. Rather, Hodgkins argues, these Hungarian propagandists  were making it up because they wanted a “pedigree.”  To quote Hodgkin, “all this invented history should be sternly disregarded…”

Wait, so Hodgkin thinks texts written about a person by people living where said person lived are not to be trusted or considered, at all?

Attila the Hun’s empire, from Wikipedia

As if that wasn’t enough to convince you of Hodgkin’s anti-Hungarian bias, there are more blatant examples in the passages where he writes about Priscus, the Roman diplomat who actually met Attila. Hodgkin calls Priscus’ writings on the nomadic king the “true historic Attila.” (As well he should, because they are first hand accounts.)

He summarizes Priscus’ detailed account of ambassadors from Constantinople traveling to meet Attila. They have to go through what Hodgkin calls the “recesses of Hungary,” to “meeting in a dingy little village in Hungary” to get to Attila’s palace.

Hodgkin continues to display his seemingly random hatred of Hungary with this next line: “students have discussed whether this Hunnish capital is… the modern city of Pesth, by Tokay [Pesth is old spelling of Pest, as in Budapest the capital of Hungary] … but we may dismiss with absolute indifference the inquiry in what particular part of a dreary and treeless plain a barbarian reared his log-huts…”

Yes, according to Hodgkin, whatever city in Hungary was Attila the Hun’s capital is irrelevant, as is the writings of the people that lived there. The “dreary and treeless plain” Hodgkin describes is the Great Hungarian Plain, which has been the subject of numerous paintings depicting its size and beauty. Of the Great Hungarian Plain, the BBC calls it Europe’s “cowboy country” and writes in its first slideshow image caption:

For more than 2,000 years, the Great Hungarian Plain (known as the Alföld in Hungarian) has been home to a rich cultural tradition of pastoral living and animal husbandry techniques – from ancient nomadic tribes who left behind stone burial mounds known as kurgans, to the fierce Magyar warriors who arrived in the late 9th Century and founded a network of settlements along the Tisza River.

TL;DR: Historian Thomas Hodgkin clearly hates Hungary, as evident by how he describes the country, and dismisses all texts written by Hungarians. Maybe a Hungarian woman was mean to him once?

happy to see Tila Tequila, one of the first e-celebrities, is finally posting normal shit on her blog. I wrote this poem about her last week:

was tila tequila trolling us


see weird al javkovich today

with his orb, big metal spoon

her first attempt, Asian stereotype?

MySpace is your space big eyes blink

sex sidekick turned into

Juggalos throwing poop amid big boos

Then you had the hitlers

the conspiracy theories like alex jones and group stalking

videos peering in at her space except now it was exposed wrong

gnawing off the edge

she was eating the ether, empty vessel

light rushing straight into the brain, frozen

by the side of the road in a symbol

mimicking the Illuminati.

I see the New York Times hates 1 World Trade Center, recognizes how bad it is.  Good. It’s a piece of shit. I wrote a poem about it, how it broke my heart:

I’m angry at the 1

World Trade Center

it’s horrible

an original vision stray and lonely

reacting to fear

floors devoted to concrete, glass bent

of sturdy solitary

crude fortifications, a reminder for when

they were two, standing there

looking at the sunrise on the sea,

out to harbor saying hello duo

Liberty winking, a memory

now just one

child of greed and ambition, scrambled shape

to hide the wound, steeled in place

a lifeless echo, echo of everything and the void

wrapped around a towering rod

reaching for radio waves and emitting

to the lost

“come find me”


gamergate best thing for SJWs prop OH


fourth wave feminist, network net worth

infiltrate the media in acts

you will see, it is about ethics in video games


bullies in headlights, right-wing vultures punishing harlots, men

harassing from on high, opera tune twist the knife

SJWs in IRC chat rooms

who is spy and who is snitch,

who is Queen SJW riding in the night

on brooms of illusion, in flew ants and army

gamers defeated by women on TV, how pathetic

rings the inner sneer

consumer cultured in a petri dish, cap it all off

with a ban on matter and polarity tricks

grumble, shade and nod, in ether out of acorns and Briar Wood

a struggle to accept what they’ve been denying, lying

what balance is here

because EQUAL

and your tea

are the same thing


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