Anonymous and the Westboro Baptist Church

Well, I feel like I should be compelled at some point to write about this. I have as of late come to be the “Internet Expert” among my friends, and not discussing the events occurring between Anonymous and the WBC seems like a sort of disservice to someone [though I am not sure who]. The point of the matter being that the following is a quick summation of what in the world is happening with this little debacle. Also, to read this article, I strongly suggest listening to the following musical piece to enhance the experience. [Click Here]

Who is the Westboro Baptist Church?

If you haven’t lived in the United States, you may not be aware of a small Baptist church which hails from Topeka, Kansas. They are well known in the United States for the controversial choice to protest the funerals of fallen soldiers in the Iraq War and most recently the funeral of Christina Taylor Green, the 9 year old who was killed in the assassination attempt in Arizona [1]. They have been called the single most hated family in the United Sates and even had a documentary that attempted to explain the family as a whole

Their basic theme is to protest on the basis that America allows or condones homosexuality, and as such the nation deserves anything that happens to it [9/11, Catrina, etc]. It’s a classical fire and brimstone mentality that has managed to survive in a time when churches are having to step back the crazy in favor of more family friendly personages. The group has earned so much ire that the Ku Klux Klan, who has made it their mission statement to promote the ideas of White Christian Protestants has even gone on to say publicly that they can’t stand the Westboro Baptist Church [2]. I can only imagine the amount of crazy it takes to get the KKK to hate conservative white people.

That having been said, the WBC is essentially maintained by a family of Lawyers who have learned to make use of the fact that the funerals that they protest have a good chance to stir some emotions and press peoples buttons. The general result is people who will get physically violent with the Westboro Baptist Church and give them all they need. That’s apparently how the Church is able to fund itself, by getting people angry enough to throw a punch or do something that is technically illegal. The result of which gives them enough fuel to file a lawsuit and get some cash to continue their campaign.

Their Websites is located at: http://www.godhatesfags.com/ though it should be noted that the site is likely enduring a DDoS attack right now and probably won’t respond to any kind of request

Anonymous sent you a letter?

Ok, one of the things that annoys me about this story is that people assume that this is the firs time that Anonymous and the WBC have ever run into each other. I guess this ignores the fact that Anonymous even during the early Scientology raids was DDoS’ing the WBC website simply as a sort of daily activity. This most recent endeavor was apparently sparked by a letter that the WBC had received insisting that they cease and desist their activities or face the wrath of the internet based group. On February 16th this letter was given to the WBC: [here].

Now, as I’ve stated before, Anonymous at this point has separated itself from the *chan, SA, etc. groupings and done sort of it’s own thing. The key to all of this being that the group releasing this isn’t inherently tied to 4chan and in fact I hadn’t started seeing posting or IRC or 4chan until the WBC actually released it’s letter [or when the post made it’s way to the examiner and thus reddit].

The result of which is that because of the way in Which anonymous operates, there’s no real telling where the hell this letter came from. Looking at the letter, I will say with that whoever wrote it is incredibly unfamiliar with Anonymous or any of the internalized memes that have been established around it. The first bit of note is that they refer to Anonymous as a “collective super-consciousness” which to mean not only sounds off, it really just makes very little contextual sense. One  thing you learn over the years is not only how to draft those letters, but some of the ways in which they should be written.

Overall the letter comes off sounding like someone who is of High School age and simply wished to stir the pot. Most “Official” letters are drafted in IRC channels and go through some heavy review before they are ever released to the public, and I can tell you that letter would not have cleared the review process [or it shouldn’t have]. Anyway, I’m going off on a tangent, the point is that I have my doubts that the collective group of anonymous issued this letter, it was probably just some individual who was using anonymous name [much like I did in that Generation Y Video]. The real way to tell if something is official is if it’s made it to popularity on the net before it makes it to popularity on various news sources [that’s a very weak method, but it’s what I’ve come to trust].

WBC Fires Back

The WBC having noticed that their website was once again on the chopping block for what was likely the fourteenth time this month and decided they would make a press release [3]. The details of which were essentially calling Anonymous a group of cowardly hackers and could be best summarized as “Come at me bro”. Now if I were going to have to take a guess, I’m going to assume that someone in the WBC probably drafted the first letter too and just wanted to stir the pot so that they could get some attention.

The result of which was every major media outlet writing a small story about how the great internet vigilante was prepared to take on the WBC. Of course, there are two sides to every story, and I feel that this one needs to be told.

Several days after the release of the WBC press release, Anonymous gave another press release essentially stating that the initial letter was a Hoax and warning Anonymous that the WBC would be reviewing IP addresses visiting their sites like hawks [4]. The key here being that Anonymous wouldn’t attack the WBC on the grounds that they have done nothing wrong [which matches the Anonymous Modus Operandi].

You have to remember that the reason Anonymous attacked the Church of Scientology with such force was based off evidence that the church was causing harm to its members (physically). There are of course other incidents [Hal Turner, Tom Green] in which Anonymous did the trolling purely for laughs as opposed to anything of value. The issue here is that the WBC can’t really be trolled, in fact that’s what they are expecting.

The WBC operates on the principal that if they piss people off enough, they will get angry and try to do something about it. Of all the most obvious trolls in the room, they are perhaps the most obvious.

Conclusions

Anonymous is not at a head with the WBC, in fact, this has most likely all been pushed by the WBC as someway of gathering more attention to themselves and relying on Anonymous beehive like nature in order to give them a target to sue.

More importantly than that, as was pointed out in a reddit post, the standard operating procedure that Anonymous uses (Blackfaxes, Database Compromises, etc) would only be considered nuisances. It is unlikely that a Church like the WBS is using anything past maybe Lexus Nexus or some similar product in order to help them coordinate travel plans. There internal data and secrets would likely be held in a more traditional manner [orally, secretive, etc] as opposed to groups like the Church of Scientology which retained massive amounts of data digitally.

The WBS is not a threat, they are simply annoying and much like any troll one should just learn to ignore them. Counter protest, all of that? It simply fuels their stupidity, you’ve just got to learn to let that crap make it’s way to page 10, don’t even give it some sage.

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3 Responses to Anonymous and the Westboro Baptist Church

  1. tam says:

    I guess all you can do is pray for their souls as they are destined for hell.

  2. Deb says:

    Hey! Village Idiots picketing fallen Soldiers funerals……Yeah, I’m talking to you! Do you know WHY you are allowed to do that? BECAUSE THE DEAD SOLDIER YOU ARE TRASHING GAVE HIS LIFE SO YOU WOULD HAVE THE FREEDOM TO EXPRESS YOUR STUPIDITY !!!!!!! Feel free to copy and post, I did because I wasn’t afraid to.

  3. George Vreeland Hill says:

    The Westboro Baptist Church had it coming.
    If they can do what they want, then so can we.

    George Vreeland Hill
    (Not so Anonymous)

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