Sabu gave me this log of a private IRC not long after it occurred. It’s an “off the record” conversation between him and a correspondent from The Guardian. I don’t remember exactly what his reason was for giving it to me, other than that he said it was an example of “bad journalism” or some such thing (I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment). I’ve just recently found it again in my Google Docs, and since I no longer have any reason to keep it private, I’m putting it up for the benefit of those who are trying to get a better sense of what was going on with this guy during the time that he was secretly working as an FBI informant. At this point, he would have been under the quiet supervision of his handlers for nearly two months.
The context is that he’s being approached by this journalist who’s interested in doing a piece on the fact that he’d changed his Twitter logo to a representation of the Hamas flag. Apparently, this journalist had seen something written by th3j35t3r in which that particular genius figured out that Sabu’s Hamas flag logo was a logo of the Hamas flag. In the course of the discussion, several things come up that are especially interesting in hindsight.
Ever since March 6th, when Sabu’s status was made public, there have been questions about how much of a role the FBI played in a number of things that Sabu did, and how many of those things were done in pursuit of a larger strategy to weaken the movement.
The recent release of Parmy Olsen’s “We Are Anonymous,” which is derived from interviews with a number of major participants, is already bringing a renewed degree of attention to those questions.
One specific question that I still have is why Sabu began to regularly frequent my group’s IRC two months before the “Lulzsec indictments” and my own FBI raid occurred, and whether or not certain things he did there – including bullying a real activist and Project PM regular, Alexander Hanff, who worked for Privacy International, DDOSing Privacy International’s server, and then later denying he had done any such thing when called on it – were done in pursuit of a wider policy of disruption. We really could have done without having an FBI asset pull that kind of shit against one of our actual participants.
Anyway, here’s the convo between Sabu and the journalist:
— Log opened Fri Jul 29 13:24:07 2011
13:24 -!- Irssi: Starting query in anonops with jamesrbuk
13:24 <jamesrbuk> As requested ? hi
13:24 <SABU> hi
13:24 <SABU> I am confused by your Q/A regarding a trolls “research”
13:25 <SABU> there’s no other evidence or research to suggest I have any ties with hamas or any other terrorist group
13:25 <SABU> so are you really writing about a non-story? or was the Q/A just out of curiosity?
13:25 <jamesrbuk> Jester’s got a known agenda, and anything said is taken in that context
13:25 <jamesrbuk> But
13:26 <jamesrbuk> Given he has evidenced ? to an extent ? links from your twitter account to particular websites and individuals
13:26 <jamesrbuk> it’s worth setting out, with the context of who he is and your response
13:26 <jamesrbuk> alongside updates from the Shetlands arrest etc
13:27 <SABU> thats fine, but, the research he presents is
13:27 <SABU> google “hamas flag”
13:28 <SABU> and ties me to a PUBLIC FIGURE / RAPPER
13:28 <SABU> the rapper in question beast1333 is someone that believes in reverse symbolism etc. to say he has any ties to terrorism would be to say he has any ties to the freemason society
13:28 <SABU> and thats pure shit
13:28 <SABU> as for myself, I’ve repeately, dozens of times explained why I have used the flag as my avatar
13:29 <SABU> so take this opportunity to clear up any confusion or questions you may have. but rest assured I have no ties at all to terrorism
13:30 <jamesrbuk> Why not the Palestinian flag as opposed to Hamas?
13:30 <jamesrbuk> Hamas have some pretty extreme views
13:31 <SABU> because thats not the point I am making
13:31 <SABU> the united states and israel pushed the people of gaza to democratically choose a government
13:31 <SABU> they chose hamas
13:31 <SABU> then the united states and israely denies to accept the government of gaza as the true government of gaza
13:31 <SABU> is this not hypocratic of our democratic ideals?
13:31 <jamesrbuk> But at the West Bank they chose Fatah ? there’s an aspect of decision-making there, right?
13:31 <SABU> its only democracy unless we believe/say so
13:32 <SABU> and israel/us did not object to fatah
13:32 <SABU> so using fatah does not convey my point
13:32 <SABU> I know you’re a smart gent and you know the point I am making
13:33 <jamesrbuk> so it’s purely related to the fact Israel/US don’t recognise HGamas at democratically legitimate (but do recognise Fatah), rather than any supporting of their views?
13:35 <jamesrbuk> Because you can see why someone ? especially coming from the Jester’s POV ? would be concerned: Anon has moved from Goatse to attacks first on private security, then into systems like NATO. Escalation, plus a shift to security-related targets
13:36 <jamesrbuk> Where would a line be drawn? At what point *would* it start to benefit extremist/violent anti-Western groups/agendas?
13:36 <SABU> I’m sure/win 392
13:36 <SABU> one moment wrong window
13:37 <jamesrbuk> And even if people like the Jester totally wrong ? in your view ? surely you can see why the shift in targets over the last few months would paint a picture?
13:38 <SABU> to your first question yes exactly. good to see you get the idea.
13:39 <SABU> everything else: this is a non-story, its not even news-worthy. I’ve seen your other work so I’m curious why all of a sudden you’re focusing on this topic. Truth is we’re not doing anything pro-religious, thus mitigating the idea that we are tied to any islamic groups.
13:40 <SABU> we’ve helped many countries and peoples with different operations and nothing has been tied to terrorist activities. as soon as Jester posts a screen shot of “hamas flag” and ties it to my avatar all of a sudden thoughts jump out the window
13:41 <jamesrbuk> You know I’m following it closely ? I’m trying to udnerstand the extent to which you think about how it looks to someone, say, in the US who’s a strong patriot and sees sites like the CIA or NATO hacked.
13:41 <SABU> and honestly who gives a fuck if jester thinks what? Is he the common people? is he some sort of authority on what we are think en masse ? as far as I know he’s some random guy who DoSes sites (including an American shared web host last week that took down a Church, which no one thought to write about oddly).
13:41 <jamesrbuk> To most people who read it, they don’t think it’s just a website or DDOS, they worry about state secrets
13:43 <SABU> in order for us to understand how a real patriot would behave and think we need to know what a true patriot is: the forefathers of the united states of america were revolutionaries and extremists who at all costs (boston tea party et al) did what they had to do to expose and eventually expunge the crown from control
13:44 <SABU> for examle^
13:44 <SABU> example rather
13:44 <SABU> so, you have to look at this several ways
13:44 <jamesrbuk> Okay, so what’s your limit? What’s too much/too far?
13:44 <jamesrbuk> What’s the goal?
13:45 <SABU> I’m not giving you an interview, or to be quoted by the way. we are talking like two gentlemen
13:45 <SABU> but the goals? are stated in our press releases
13:45 <SABU> every press release discusses exactly the point of each operation
13:45 <SABU> for example, in the case of #antisec we have clearly stated we are focusing on security companies and government affiliates with poor security standards
13:45 <SABU> in the process exposing corruption when found
13:46 <SABU> in less than one month of antisec’s existence it has exposed 3-4 major federal contractors for the u.s.
13:46 <jamesrbuk> But surely there’s a wider point? You refer to the US founding fathers ? their operations were part of a wider plan.
13:47 <jamesrbuk> Is there a tagrety you wouldn’t go for/info you wouldn’t release if found?
13:48 <SABU> I think all of that is somewhat obvious? #antisec is targeting government and security corruption
13:48 <SABU> anonymous is involved in a myriad of operations from oporlando where they fought against the cops arresting people feeding the homeless
13:49 <SABU> to massive operations liek operation freedom / payback
13:49 <SABU> lulzsec is dead and ceases to exist so answering questions about that is irrelevant
13:50 <jamesrbuk> What kind of op would be the limit for you, though, personally?
13:50 <SABU> also I’m unsure if you know this but we came out very very strong against the terrorist act in Oslo, getting thousands of retweets of our message of solidarity with norway and its victims
13:50 <jamesrbuk> You’re the lightning rod at the moment, especially with Topiary off the scene atm.
13:50 <SABU> so again I really don’t see the newsworthyness in this
13:50 <SABU> the problem with your question is this
13:51 <SABU> I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking I’m avoiding the question
13:51 <SABU> but the actual answer is
13:51 <SABU> anonymous is a collective. when its massive and full of irc users on this one network (we’re not even talking about other anonymous networks) there are a lot of different operations
13:52 <SABU> it is up to you as the individual to choose with operations you will partake in or not
13:52 <SABU> for example, there are operations here I won’t get involved in because it simply doesnt interest me
13:52 <SABU> you might have an operation that is about the “doxing” of people. I don’t go around doxing people so I woulnd’t join it
13:52 <SABU> unlike my foes who sit on google all day googling peoples names hoping to dox them
13:52 <SABU> so _that_ is my personal limit
13:53 <jamesrbuk> Is not doxing a matter of it not interesting you, or a problem with it on principle?
13:53 <SABU> and again no disrespect to you but this is not an interview nor do I want to be quoted. this is a conversation between men and I hope my answers help you
13:54 <SABU> yes I do not like doxing, I think it is vile and sick because at the end of the day you never know if the person you dox is innocent or your target
13:54 <SABU> and if you go off and get an innocent person raided or killed
13:54 <SABU> then you’re liable for those consequences
13:54 <jamesrbuk> If we do something I’m likely to use part of the twitter reply as a quote, may use some of what is said here to shape a story without quoting.
13:54 <SABU> plus you get innocent people harrassed for no reason.
13:54 <SABU> thanks.
13:55 <jamesrbuk> Do you worry about the same when releasing email caches, though? WikiLeaks now takes names out of basically everything it puts out for that concern
13:57 <SABU> I can’t speak regarding lulzsec because it is now dead, and anything it did at this point is irrelevant. if you refer to us for example releasing 90k intelligence community logins for the military then I can discuss that
13:58 <SABU> in the case of the booz allan hamilton hack we as a collective expose a billion dollar company as a weak entry point into the united states military and intelligence community
13:58 <jamesrbuk> Was thinking largely of HBGary ? which clearly had stuff of public interest/import within it, but lots of irrelevent stuff ? and also NATO/The Sun, which I assume still have the potential to appear
13:59 <SABU> by posting the logins scoured through the initial attack we focus our point on the loss of confidentiality of our intelligence/military community as a result of BAHs lax security policy
14:01 <SABU> HBGary was a special case: 1) it was a company that had a focus of pushing this idea of social network doxing. in essence they were planning to sell the idea of mass doxing to the government/FBI/MET(eventually I’m sure). though, a few minutes ago you and I have just discussed our position regarding doxing. the fact that hbgary had produced any sort of research against anonymous using these invalid doxing techniques and were willing to go uut of their way to publicly discuss that case we had to make sure their technology was nothing more than incorrect assumption, FUD and bluff
14:01 <SABU> still writing patience …
14:02 <SABU> as for the release of their emails this was a decision that was made by a group of people, not myself specifically, so I can’t give you their perspective on the release of the emails but I can assure you the point of erleasing the emails was to expose hbgary as a whole
14:02 <SABU> because im sure you have read their emails
14:02 <SABU> and I’m sure you noticed a LOT OF CORRUPTION
14:02 <SABU> there was no way to expose that sort of corruption in one day where there were several gigabytes of emails
14:03 <jamesrbuk> Well, I was named (very peripherally) in the HBGary doc..
14:04 <SABU> nice
14:06 <SABU> now
14:06 <SABU> to continue with your question
14:06 <SABU> TheSun emails are safeguarded and won’t be released unless sifted through. AT the moment we are a bit too busy to focus on them so they’ll sit there until things can be handled correctly
14:06 <SABU> I’m sure you realize anonymous evolves
14:07 <SABU> otherwise we would have dropped the emails
14:07 <SABU> we realize there are potential sources that need protections in those archives
14:07 <jamesrbuk> Yes. Often strikes me as a similar evolution in some ways to WL
14:08 <SABU> now NATO
14:09 <SABU> if you google back a bit you’ll find a decleration of “war” by NATO to hackers world wide
14:09 <SABU> and because of that I’m sure we won’t be the last to own them
14:09 <SABU> until they take that ridiculous assertion down from their archives
14:11 <jamesrbuk> ah
14:12 <SABU> how are you feeling so far?
14:13 <SABU> am I sounding like an islamic extremist still?
14:14 <jamesrbuk> The charge is that it’s being used as a channel to move people/hackers towards extremism ? to that mode of thinking, your not sounding like an Islamic extremist could be taken as evidence. It’s the problem with the internet/conspiracies: they’re unflasifiable
14:14 <jamesrbuk> But I think it’s reasonably known I’m interested in anon/hacktivism/etc in a much wider sense than just that particular line
14:15 <jamesrbuk> Next thing I look at is likely to be the criminilization of dissent ? penalties towards protest/disruption online and how they compare (usually much more severe) to street protests etc
14:16 <SABU> yeah
14:16 <jamesrbuk> Anyway, I need to go and write some pieces. As a quick question ? is there any on-the-record comment you want to make re “Topiary”s arrest and continued detention?
14:17 <SABU> That it be recognized that if it in fact is Topiary, he is to be considered a political prisoner and his rights should be respected. The community stands behind all political prisoners across the world, and Topiary is one of them.
14:17 <SABU> thanks mate
14:17 <jamesrbuk> No worries if not
14:17 <SABU> recognizes*
14:17 <SABU> not recognized
14:18 <jamesrbuk> Cheers. Give me a shout on Twitter etc if you want to chat.
14:20 <SABU> I will. mention me when your story is up I’d like to read it. and I’ll RT it for people to see it
14:20 <SABU> direct traffic to it etc.
14:20 <SABU> wait
14:20 <SABU> you’re @ the guardian yes?
14:22 <jamesrbuk> There’s a chance the quote won’t appear as it might be taken as confirmation the guy arrested *is* Topiary, so would be contempt of court
14:22 <jamesrbuk> I am
14:22 <SABU> well
14:23 <SABU> so make it this then
14:23 <SABU> eh, it kills it
14:23 <SABU> pass a message to charles though: “you’re a twat”
14:23 <SABU> I would thoroughly appreciate it
14:24 <SABU> <3
— Log closed Fri Jul 29 14:29:16 2011
— Log opened Fri Jul 29 15:22:22 2011
15:22 -!- jamesrbuk [jamesrbuk@AN-8ap.uh9.r3rabr.IP] has quit [Connection closed]
— Log closed Fri Jul 29 15:28:16 2011