Anonymous network urges 'Day of Rage' [St. Joseph News-Press (MO)]
(St. Joseph News-Press (MO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The activist group Anonymous, known for elaborate Internet hacks, was using YouTube to call on people across the country to come together in protest of the shooting of Ferguson, Mo., teenager Michael Brown.
The movement called the "National Day of Rage" was slated to take place Thursday evening in 37 cities across the U.S.
The movement was supposed to involve peaceful protests, but law enforcement in all 50 states were warned to keep an eye out by the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management agencies. In the video, a masked person can be seen as a computerized voice describes the group's call to action.
"We witnessed as police threatened demonstrators to disperse and return to their homes, then subsequently firing tear gas in people's own yards. ..." the video message states. "Again, we call for the citizens of the United States to collectively gather for those who are suffering in Ferguson."
Dr. Steve Albrecht (bio), co-author of the book "Ticking Bombs: Defusing Violence in the Workplace," is trained in violence and threat assessment and has served 15 years in law enforcement. He said threats of violence or social movement are often just that, but threats by Anonymous should be taken seriously based on the group's track record of following through with its claims.
"I would take it more seriously than somebody who is a lone individual who just makes this type of comment for some kind of physical violent action because if you look at the Anonymous group, they have a history of being able to engage in these cyber attacks," Mr. Albrecht explained. "That suggests movement from ... ideas to actual action, and I'm always concerned when individuals or groups move from ideas to action."
Mr. Albrecht said the group's ability to mobilize virtual strangers into action makes threats by the group a more serious matter, and while Anonymous' threats are often cyber in nature, they are increasingly calling for action to be taken physically, as in the "National Day of Rage."
"Based on the fact that they do have a tendency to mobilize technology or to attack technology, I'd be more concerned about their calls to people because I also think there are folks that support their activities around the country," he said. "Not necessarily want to be violent but agree with their disruptive activities as part of the national dialogue."
The St. Joseph Police Department offered no comment on the "National Day of Rage," other than to say it was aware of it. The police were unaware of any local plans for protest but also were prepared for them.
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