The foundations of the United States of America were built with unconventional tactics of a smaller force against a much larger armed force. Yet at the end of the day the United States fashioned a governmental body and attempted negotiation with a foreign power. Their settlement was then made utilizing military forces. So no, the United States was not founded by terrorists but by generals and political figures. Could some of the tactics be construed and interpreted as terrorism, certainly. Would their acts of terrorism be the foundations of a country, no. Making a personal shot at my country and its foundation does not remove the fact that Anonymous is attempting to exercise control over a country through intimidation.
Their grievance with the Justice Department is valid, but so are many other grievances that lead to the policies Anonymous wants to have taken down. A lot of the policies mentioned are controversial such as mandatory sentencing. Mandatory sentencing was put into place to prevent a corrupt judge from giving one person 1 year for a crime and someone else 50, which did happen. The act used to convict Aaron Swartz and threaten him with jail time was passed in 1984, so Anonymous is a little late to the party there. Were Anonymous so concerned with Aaron Swartz’s arrest and conviction their tactics might have been appreciated before his death, not after. More than likely they are using his high publicized death and status to push their own agenda forward. The man had thirteen counts filed against him, which are thirteen separate felony convictions pending. He was going to face a great deal of jail time. He made a choice and he made a stand, but he was going to suffer the penalty for doing so. The event was highly public; the Justice Department couldn’t just let a blatant show of violating the law slide.
As for whether this threat is real, I seriously doubt this. Any person with a basic understanding of social movement and the thought process of a government will recognize the United States cannot respond to their demands favorably. Doing so makes the United States appear weak and the Justice Department seem open to manipulation to any yahoo with a computer. Anonymous has essentially made themselves a reason for the government to increase prosecution against hackers, to toughen sentencing against those that disperse information and lock down the internet. Were I writing a conspiracy novel, this video would be a ploy by the government to create a strawman threat. The video has all the hallmarks of a fear mongering video, which incidentally is what Anonymous accused Fox of doing.
I do agree with Oniya that this is largely a farce. Anonymous threatened Fox not too long ago and nothing happened. Hacking the Justice Department would be a far greater feat and would carry quite a bit more consequences.
As for what should citizens do, they are doing it all over the world. Protests and forming activist groups have effected real change for people. Certainly things are not pretty and they are not quick, but no lasting change is ever going to come fast.