Yesterday, a group of Anonymous Seattle activists gathered in Westlake Park to show the true face of Anonymous and to bring attention to injustices faced by political dissidents in the Pacific Northwest and Anonymous "hacktivists" everywhere.
Anonymous handed out red roses to passersby along with flyers with information about the operation and how to join Anonymous.
According to attendee Haphazard, the roses symbolize beauty and love and were given out to show Seattle that Anonymous is their ally, not their foe.
"I personally see the rose as an offering of love and generosity towards my human brothers and sisters... and a promise that we (Anonymous) will fight for them until they wake up and join us."
Haphazard also draws connections between the red rose and its use in the film "V for Vendetta," the film Anonymous borrows its Guy Fawkes masks from.
"The character V gives roses to those he will claim as his victims, so in some ways, though we mean no harm towards the people, whom, by our actions we seek to protect, there is still an element of menace.
"We are coming after the big banks, the corporate moguls, and a system of government that increasingly demeans us and strips us of our rights under the guise of security."
Activists involved in Anonymous operations have been targeted frequently of late for collective actions to take down websites in protest.
Distributed Denial of Service is a popular tool used by Anonymous that involves a large group of participants visiting a website at the same time in order to overwhelm its servers and take it offline.
Likened to a cyber sit-in, DDoS is seen as a form of civil disobedience that is temporary and leaves no long-lasting damage to the website targeted. For that, Anonymous feels it is being unjustly punished and persecuted.
In addition to clearing its own name, yesterday's outreach sought to inform people about the Grand Jury Resistors, a group of four who refused to testify in front of a grand jury regarding violence that broke out during last year's Occupy Wall Street-related May Day protests.
Three of these resistors, Matt Duran, Maddy Pfeiffer and Katherine Olejnik are still being detained indefinitely without charge.
When asked about the ideal outcome for the Grand Jury Resistors, Anonymous activist Mustache said, "We want them to be completely released.
"I personally feel like this is all a big game the government is trying to play... We all have the right to not help in the persecution of our brothers and sisters, and we all have the right to protest.
"I don't agree with the vandalism [that took place on May Day], but I agree less with the way the Feds have been acting. Everyone should be free at this point."
Haphazard concurs: "Anonymous wants the same thing for the Grand Jury Resistors that it wants for all people: freedom... As long as they are detained, Anonymous will be there to stand beside them."
Many feel the Grand Jury Resistors, Anonymous participants and other activists across the globe are being targeted for their political beliefs and that it may be part of a larger agenda to squash dissent.
Haphazard opined, "I think that the government is absolutely trying to make a statement, the statement being that if you go against the programming of advertising, media and accepted social practices, that you will be singled out, spied on and essentially 'made an example of.'
"It is a gross misuse of power and a miscarriage of justice when anarchists and hackers are spending more time in jail than child molesters."
Dubbed #Op Rose Awareness, the operation started when Anonymous Netherlands released a video in October of last year. Rallies have been staged in the Netherlands, the U.K. and elsewhere in the U.S. to improve the public image of Anonymous and to speak out against the persecution of political activists around the world.
See this article for more backstory about the Grand Jury Resistors: http://www.examiner.com/article/anonymous-seattle-to-raise-awareness-abo...