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Hosted by Jesse Brown

Thursdays at 11:30am (12:00 NT) and Tuesdays at 3:30 pm (4:00 NT, select markets) on CBC Radio One.

This Week's Show (Feb.7/08)

To subscribe to the podcast using Itunes click here.
To listen to the show as an mp3 click here.

The face of Anonymous
- To read more about Anonymous' "raid" against Scientology, you can check out their "Project Chanology" page.

Wise Bearded Man's Beardy Wisdom
- For more on Mark "Wise Beard Man" Bunker's quest check out
- Wise Beard Man responds to a blog posting on Search Engine's web site.
CORRECTION: Mark Bunker lives in California, not Florida, as was stated in our broadcast.

The death of a Chinese citizen journalist
- To read an English translation of Watson Meng's blog click here.


Hi, I think this Anonymous idea can be a great thing to help organize mass protests for global issues in cases where politicians and corporations are abusing their power and hurting the living planet. For example, the Oil Indusrty is a good target. Too many people fly in pollution causing airplanes, so airport protests could be organized to raise public awareness on pollution. We have so much power in the masses of people that needs to be tapped into to bring the planet out of the hands of the powers that be that are killing it and so is killing us. David Suzuki has a great message of positive change and yet action is too slow from Government to make changes. Young people know that the future is dead unless the planet is healthy. So this may be just the tool we need for change. As long as they act for Justice.

Hey Jesse,
The Show is posted as being from January 31, 2008, the week before its release date. Also, I had to download the episode as an MP3 from this site to be able to listen to it. The problem might be that it counted the edition as being the same due to this labeling.
I was wondering - was the show labeled as January 31 due to the fact that you posted that there would be a segment on Ron Paul's campaign on next week's show, yet the show was already too long to feature this?
I look forward to hearing about Super Tuesday in next weeks show.

Jesse -

I think you had it right in the previous episode... for the most part, Anonymous are a bunch of juvenile clowns. While I'm sympathetic to their stated disgust for Scientology, and admire their apparent ability to coordinate a multiple physical protests, I think for the most part this group is made up of sad adolescents who are looking for any thin justification that they could use to vandalize and attack someone else. Scientology, to these folks, just happens to be a convenient target.

After all, if there really was some globe-spanning all-powerful cyber organization working behind the scenes to take down something or someone, wouldn't they do it in such that only the effects (ie not the actors) were visible? They wouldn't need to desperately draw attention to themselves in the way that Anonymous appears to be doing. Anonymous' various 'statements' appear to me to be much less threatening than sad and insecure.

As a "member" of anonymous, and someone involved in the planning of the Toronto protests, I find it rather sad that the pair of people who showed up on the show provided the 'juvenile clowns' image. I suppose this was to be expected, since the majority of the local folks involved in planning of the protest had no interest in appearing on the show.

For the record, however, the average age I have seen in this group tends to be around 25-30. There are quite a few people younger, and a reasonable amount older as well. We are NOT juvenile clowns, and the majority of us were not involved in the Habbo raid that was mentioned on the program.

I wish this could be properly conveyed. Anonymous is whoever at all wants to be Anonymous. In the case of scientology protests, the number of people identifying itself as Anonymous has grown dramatically. There was an excellent quote posted in regards to this, which should clarify this a bit more:

"Suddenly, spontaneously, a movement has arisen. It has no leaders. It has no authorities. This movement is self directed by each member's own moral compass, and every individual walks in the same direction because that compass points to what is right."

Please, many Anonymous take this issue very seriously. I have personally been aware of Scientology for several years, and now we have, in this anonymous form, the ability to do something about it. Scientology targets its critics, and they can destroy their lives. I, for one, will call myself Anonymous, put on a mask, and stand out in the cold for eight hours on sunday to raise awareness of Scientology.

Well, I'm kind of tired of the subject of Anonymous. I thought that Mark Bunker was good, though. Any chance you might have him back for a longer segment??

I really do not understand the confusion here. A quick check of the history of Scientology reveals the ruthless, vicious smear campaigns released upon anyone who dares to challenge the cult in a public forum.

Jesse asked the two gentlemen on the show what they were afraid of. Their answer was less than eloquent, but I encourage everyone to search the internet about the Church of Scientology. Look for information about "fair game" and how an organization with millions of dollars actually keeps dissidents within their organization imprisoned against their will.

This organization is something to fear, and it is a master of media and litigation. It has incredible amounts of cash on hand, and will stop at nothing to smear, ridicule, and attack its critics.

Remaining anonymous is the only way to protect yourself from the organization. Those who attend the protests run a serious risk of being stalked and harassed for weeks after the event. That is the purpose of the masks, and that is why the media is trying so hard to make the masks seem like a bad idea. The masks protect the protesters' anonymity, which is their only defense against this ruthless cult.

"Remaining anonymous is the only way to protect yourself from the organization."

And the only way to prevent having to explain to your family, coworkers, and friends why you behave like an a**hole on the internet...

Anonymous is a whole group of people, from all walks of life, who are trying to fight a cult.

They are not a group of uninformed, silly young males. There are females, very well informed people and older members who are supporting this movement. If you research what this cult does you should be alarmed and thankful that there is a group of people willing to call attention to their abhorrent behaviour.

Rusi, I have to take a moment to redirect you to a quote made earlier by a fellow Anon.

"Suddenly, spontaneously, a movement has arisen. It has no leaders. It has no authorities. This movement is self directed by each member's own moral compass, and every individual walks in the same direction because that compass points to what is right."

The key part is that each individual Anon acts according to their own free will. Just because someone is Anonymous does not mean they take part in the bad things you see. Naturally, one shouldn't assume that they don't either. One should keep a neutral standpoint on things and remember that the majority of things Anonymous does that is generally viewed as unacceptable are carried out by teenagers who have been unable to read through the shock images and satire to realize that we don't honestly believe in or condone.

But, Anonymous is humanity at its core. Neither good nor evil, an entity best described as chaotic neutral. We each do as we see fit. Some things we do for the lulz, which all Anon are guilty of at one point or another. That could mean that we raid, or it could mean we simply make a post somewhere with a pic or macro we made ourselves. Likewise, it could mean that we troll our own kind, which again, all Anon are guilty of.

But, I seem to be rambling.

tl;dr - Never make assumptions, chances are you may be wrong.

Such a personal attack is exactly why we remain anonymous. Rusi, we all have figured out that you're affiliated with Scientology to some degree or are at least a troll.

There are only two things that have been done by Anonymous that are a**hole behavior. First, the DDOS attacks. Second, blackfaxing. These are no longer supported by the group, and the movement has matured to a point where it is education rather than childish pranks.

Global protests are not "a**hole" behavior. Education is not "a**hole" behavior.

I certainly do not hide this from my friends, family or co-workers. I encourage them to join us. Several of them will also be participating in protests this sunday.

I'm actually pretty impressed with Anonymous. It's clear that a lot of what they do (the matrix-y videos, the goofy nicknames, the in-jokes) is entirely for the laughs, but from your show and their site, they seem sincere about the whole Scientology thing.

To me, this looks like the most grassroots movement that has ever been. No leaders, no individuals taking credit for contributions, yet there's an active website and a worldwide protest coming up. This could be big.

I think it's a wonderful thing that a group of young people have found a cause that they feel motivated about. We all know that Scientology is more than a little creepy, and I will admit that hearing from these people has made me do some googling of my own about it. As long as these kids stay within the law as they are suggesting then I think it's just great.


I thought that your report was very fair, and presented facets of the real true side of anonymous. I have in the past visited the boards, but do not consider myself a member of Anonymous. Except that is the problem with everyone's insight into this group. There is no such thing as a member of Anonymous, by being a human being, you are already in some sense, a member. Yes, they attempt to cultivate an image of dangerous, scary, and subversive images, but even these images are selected with a message in mind. Guy Fawkes masks, Tyler Durden quotes, even the clouds behind the faceless voice are picked to show the reader or viewer that they are independent, that they have the right to what is allowed in their society, and that social protest is no longer about larger than life personalities leading a group of entranced people (sounds like something I've heard about before, huh?), but is about a group of well informed people, making their own decision about the level of involvement, and the ability to get the word out there.

Supporting anonymous is not required by any means. Their own stated purpose is to allow free speech to become the norm. They are not targeting members of the church, nor their families, friends or others. Their actions seem to be directed at the idea of a human life being valued only as a bank account seems wrong, and that people should be allowed to think for themselves. Any Anonymous member who believes that someone may have gotten something out of the religion is fairly delusional, but their videos show an incredible passion for making it known exactly who is their target. They are not fighting faith, they are fighting for the natural human right for free speech.

About the racism, the guy on the program had it right. Mostly, it's about being shocking, and about attempting to outdo each other in terms of the shocking content they can put into their posts, but these are just regular people. If you live in a place without a couple of racists, please, give me the address, but as one of the posters above said, this action indicates a moral compass that is incredibly large and self sustaining. The right to free speech is a doctrine proposed by Spinoza, and the reason to give people free speech is because they are going to think these things anyway, so why make them suppress it. If they are going to use anonymity to be racists, so be it, but the other side is that you get a movement, faceless and uncompromising, constantly adjusting and preparing, working together like a massive mind, and attempting to make the world a more free place. It's hard to make posturing weigh more than that.

Anyway, if you or your readers would like to email me,

Wise Beard Guy, Rock on.

And great show Jesse, you, your crew and producers deserve to be commended for taking a strange issue and running with it.


There has been a lot of negative press around Anonymous. No one will dispute that fact. Of course, we also know that "some" media outlets sometimes stretch the truth a little. I'm not saying this show has. Case in point, the exploding yellow van report. I've still yet to figure out the reasoning behind putting that video clip in the report, unless it was purely for shock value, but it was completely unrelated to Anon. I hope the general public realizes that.

I would like to address - just because a person has done something bad, doesn't mean you should ignore the good. I'm glad that Anonymous has found a positive common goal to unite it (as 1 - divided by 0). I don't think anyone other than Scientologists themselves can argue that the Scientology protests are a bad thing. Even lower level Scientologists may appreciate this after being exposed to higher level material that Anons around the world will supply to them (such as OTIII documents) so they have the opportunity to get out before they are in too deep, mentally and financial.

No one likes to be the idiot. A person who has invested time and money and emotion into something doesn't want to know it's a sham. That would make them an idiot. Hopeful future goals will include the education and then assistance and/or support to Scientologists brave enough to re-evaluate their positions.

Jesse (and everyone, for that matter), we welcome you to the Sunday protests. Even if you do not support the cause (although we hope you do), please stop by to view for yourselves that we are serious and dedicated to this cause. That we are just people like yourselves who are doing what we're doing simply because it's the right thing to do. That we are peaceful and not interested in *attacking* or *raiding* Scientologists, but that we only wish to educate the world about the dangers of Scientology.

Matt - He is no guy. He is a Man. His words are wise. His face is beard. WisebeardMan.

I find it particularly amusing that people think that Anonymous is an organization in the traditional sense. When we say, "We no one and everyone. We are Legion" We mean it. There is amusement and freedom in being anonymous. Anonymous is anonymous. We do as we wish under the guise of anonymity. Hive-mind-like ideas emerge from this collective and Anonymous acts. But there are no requirements to be Anonymous and no leaders, so it is unlike any organization this world is familiar with.

Expect us.

How do you expect to be taken seriously, when you claim your all anonymous? Thats like being at one of those meetings, and someone says something, but when the instructor requests who asks who said it, no one replies. Puh, your as pathetic as The People. I hope anonymous kills The People, but I also hope the Anonymous get slaughtered. CoS isn't what you claim it to be, and I plan on taking you down with it.

Since people like Jason seem to be having trouble with the concept of protection by anonymity, let me try explaining this another way.

You are a senior staff on the board of directors of a large company. You learn of illegal activity that is being planned by the board that will harm a large number of people and undermine democracy. It is your MORAL and LEGAL imperative to speak out.

However, the board of directors has lots of money, and could very easily crush you and your dreams through litigation and even thuggery if you were to expose their plans. Furthermore, the board has a long history of crushing numerous past members in just such a way.

This is the reason that whistle-blower laws exist; to protect informants by protecting their anonymity.

Since we cannot rely on such laws in a grassroots movement like this, we must protect our anonymity ourselves. That is why we are anonymous.

I don't approve of the DDOS attacks and pranks, but I do think Anon has helped gain press attention and raise awareness about the exploitative activities of the CoS.

Although aware of Scientology's general beliefs, it's litigious reputation and the Lisa McPherson case, it wasn't until Anon received so much internet attention that I really became interested. I started reading up on the CoS and it's activities and I found much of the information and accounts to be pretty sobering.

So I think the group was a positive force in that respect and I do think many of their members are sincere in their activism and aren't just doing it for laughs.

As has been mentioned before, one of the drawbacks of a decentralized, anonymous, internet based group is that there is little to no accountability and pretty much anyone can claim to be affiliated with them (no offense intended to the two anon kids you interviewed, but they did come across as a bit on the juvenile side) and that can lead to the group being perceived poorly.

But it was good to see a member of Anonymous interviewed on Today Tonight (a sensationalist Australian a current affairs program) who answered the reporter's questions maturely and sounded relatively intelligent, even though the reporter was trying to bait her.

I also enjoyed Mark Bunker's interview and hope you can get him back on the program to talk further about Scientology in the future.

Anyway, wishing everyone the best for the Feb. 10th pickets and I hope you get a good turn out.

I'm a high school teacher and as such feel that I have some awareness of how the young people of Canadian society feel about the world they experience. Anonymous feels like, and sounds like, my students.

I'm pleased to no end that people are getting organized, that they're taking an interest in what's going on around them, that they have sufficient skill and motivation to organize themselves into a group sufficiently coherent to make an audible impact when it acts.

I would be happier if they always acted within the bounds of the law, but when was the last time that any kind of organized protest happened and nobody claimed that any laws were broken?

Anon says: "There are only two things that have been done by Anonymous that are a**hole behavior. First, the DDOS attacks. Second, blackfaxing."

I didn't just show up here by accident. "Anonymous" didn't start with the Co$ kerfuffle. Maybe you got involved then, but I was already well aware of what was going on.

7chan, 711chan, 420chan, ebaums, raids on Habbo Hotel, the Patriotic Nigras on Second Life, Hal Turner hijinks, etc etc - they all have a common thread - behaving like antisocial a**holes online and bullying someone who you identify as vulnerable.

Anonymous is just applying the same stalking and harassment to $cientologists. The general public tends to see Co$ as a bad thing, so they're missing the bigger picture.

You're drawing a lot of heat (and not from Co$, who know that this is good publicity for them as the victim). Go back to your loli pix and keep up the good work.

I've actually been been an observer of Anonymous for three years now. At first I was just there because the conversations were funny and the complex series of in-jokes were fun to piece through.

But now, looking at this developing social/political face of Anonymous, I'm beginning to wonder how much psychological or sociological or metaphysical weight it has. I think, or I'm beginning to suspect, that Anonymous is becoming something bigger than just the people operating under the name or the actions they do. He/It is becoming more like a virus or an archetype, something that anyone anywhere could wear the name of or become part of. Apparently the TV series that came from the movie Ghost in the Shell had a similar idea; an anonymous hacker called The Laughing Man forces a public confession from a CEO or something. Afterwards hundreds of crimes start getting committed under the same name. They weren't connected, it was just that information technology allowed the idea of The Laughing Man to spread so quickly and so extensively that it outgrew its source.

Weirdly, it syncs up with what I think could happen to Anonymous, where he/it becomes more than just an organization or collective but an idea, a digital entity all on its own. Maybe even the "face" of the internet.

It's doubtable. Very doubtable, actually. But technology and information exchange advancing as they are, moving so quickly that society is just now adapting to what was developed years ago, we're probably going to see all sorts of unprecedented things.

In any case, Anonymous is becoming more complex. Once mostly just a gang of pubescent pranksters, Anonymous is also becoming a genuine social and, possibly, political force. But it does so without losing any of its other roles. Anonymous is still narrow-minded, racist, perverse and politically apathetic, but it's also becoming civic-minded, progressive, idealistic. These things won't cancel each other out or make each other less true. It's becoming a force you can't really pin down.

On the other hand, this difficulty in defining Anonymous may inevitably split the idea up into smaller chunks, or just wear the idea out so that no one really thinks anything at all about it. It'll become something like irony, getting repeated so much that the novelty and humor in it just gets worn off and what we're left with is some omnipresent but ultimately boring and irrelevant fact that seems like it should be interesting but just... isn't.

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