Anonymous targets Iowa caucuses

Last modified: 11/8/2011 12:00:00 AM
It's not just Wall Street.

A video claiming to be from Anonymous, the affiliation of computer hackers, is calling for supporters to occupy -- and stop -- the Iowa caucuses. And authorities there are taking note.

In the video, a computerized voice excoriates the two major political parties for "desecrating the American democracy and committing crimes against humanity on behalf of the American people."

"The primaries and caucuses put on by these parties are part of an elaborate scam that deceives the public into voting for candidates that serve the private interests of the mega-corporations," it says, to ominously escalating music. "These parties have deliberately driven tens of millions of people into poverty."

The video instructs sympathizers to occupy the Des Moines offices of presidential campaigns on Dec. 27 and -- peacefully -- shut down the Iowa caucuses a week later. An Occupy Des Moines protester told the Des Moines Register yesterday that the video was delivered to him in his tent by several masked men.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad told reporters yesterday that state and federal officials are taking the threat seriously, according to the Register.

"I want to assure you that we take it very seriously and we will work with federal and state agencies and with local law enforcement," Branstad said. "I think everybody recognizes that we need to be vigilant in this and take it seriously."

Anonymous got its start as a community of online mischief-markers, but its members have taken to activism, though of the unnamed, online sort. After several major U.S. companies stopped processing donations last year for Wikileaks, the website that publishes secret documents, members of Anonymous coordinated attacks on the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal.

A website called Occupy Iowa Caucuses shows photos of demonstrators, one with a $20 bill taped over his mouth and another wearing the grinning mask of Guy Fawkes, the Englishmen who tried to blow up Parliament in the 17th century. Members of Anonymous have worn the masks when appearing in public. The sole post on the website dates to Saturday -- incidentally, Guy Fawkes Day in the United Kingdom.

"In solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, Des Moines issues a call to action to people around the planet," the post says. "We are excited to announce the First in the Nation Caucus Occupation."

No word yet on a primary occupation.

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