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Anonymous Retaliates for Charlie Hebdo Attacks

Anonymous, a motley crew of online activists, tends to toe the line between good and evil (or, if you prefer, between well-intentioned and dumb), but never let it be said that the organization stays quiet about free speech. In wake of the terrorist attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Anonymous is striking back by taking down pro-jihadist social network accounts and websites.

The #francophone chapter of Anonymous posted information about its latest endeavor, christened #OpCharlieHebdo, on Pastebin. The message is entirely in French and is a call to arms about freedom of speech. #OpCharlieHebdo makes the cartoonists who perished out to be martyrs, and Anonymous is out to avenge them in its own inimitable fashion.

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"It is clear that certain people do not want, in a free world, the inviolable and sacred right to express their opinions in whatever manner they wish," the post says. "Freedom of expression is a non-negotiable thing; an attack on it is an attack on democracy. Get ready for a massive reaction and frontal assault, because defending liberty is at the heart of our movement."

Since then, #OpCharlieHebdo has started its own Twitter account, complete with almost 50,000 followers. So far, it's taken down Ansar-Alhaqq, a site where some French-speaking militant Islamists tend to congregate, and has asked its followers to find terrorist Twitter profiles and report them. Interestingly, the Twitter feed also makes it clear that #OpCharlieHebdo does not condone racism or the conflation of Islam and terrorism, and has no interest in taking down ordinary Muslim sites.

Since Anonymous is, by definition, a very loose collective, it's hard to say what the operation's end goal will be, or how Anonymous plans to achieve it. In the meantime, if you're an Islamic militant living in France, it's probably a bad time to be on Twitter.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.