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Monday, February 23, 2009

Westboro Baptist Church Squares Off With Anonymous Hackers; No One Wins

The havoc-causing internet collective known as Anonymous -- most notable for their attacks on Scientology and more recently, in support of WikiLeaks and rebellion in the Middle East -- briefly considered Westboro Baptist Church (of "God Hates Fags" fame) as their next target. But it barely lasted the weekend, with threats traded, bluffs called and ultimately, no one coming out on top except the passive observer.
The Church, not really a church at all, is known as the army of the intolerable Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, a man who leads his mindless minions to picket funerals across the country while holding bright, bigoted signs, thereby winning media attention.
Anonymous, then, messed up in the first place by giving Phelps and friends even more eyeballs thanks to an open letter announcing war, unless Westboro ceased its activities:

TO THE CONGREGANTS OF WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH: We, the collective super-consciousness known as ANONYMOUS - the Voice of Free Speech & the Advocate of the People - have long heard you issue your venomous statements of hatred, and we have witnessed your flagrant and absurd displays of inimitable bigotry and intolerant fanaticism. We have always regarded you and your ilk as an assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists & religious zealots, however benign, who act out for the sake of attention & in the name of religion.
ANONYMOUS cannot abide this behavior any longer. The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex, and we shall now be moved to action. Thus, we give you a warning: Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes in Kansas, & close your public Web sites.
The warning has been given. What happens from here shall be determined by you.
Westboro supposedly responded by daring Anonymous to do something. "BRING IT!" their response letter on Saturday read. Plus, via Gawker:

A puddle of pimple-faced nerds organized under the cowardly banner of "Anonymous" claim they plan to hack Westboro's Websites... Bad miscalculation, girls! Let us tell you how this will go: rebels will build a full head of steam based on false hope; the media will predictably do much breathless anticipating while giving another tsunami of coverage to Westboro's message; God will defeat your council; your efforts will fail.
The following day, a group of Anonymous members, who realized the futility of attacking Westboro, mostly considering the attention it would bring the hate group, wrote a letter going back on their promises to attack to the Church. The partly unintelligible response-to-the-response letter shows the fragmented nature of Anonymous, or just how sloppy the operation can be. The takeaway? Going after Westboro isn't worth it. Or in their words:

In closing, let us assure you: We are not BAWWWING sissies, nor are we afraid of your false god; we're just really busy. Stay tuned, and we'll come back to play another day. We promise. To the Media: Just because it was posted on AnonNews doesn't mean every single Anon is in agreement, in fact in this case it doesn't even mean a single Anon is in agreement. Next time, if you could give us a few minutes to put all our paperwork in order, we'll be sure to let you know what we're up to. (LOL)
To Anonymous: It's a trap. They've got their ports wide open to harvest IPs to sue. Don't DDoS, and boycott Operation Westboro. If you really want to continue messing with them, just send them a few male prostitutes and faxes of goatse. Nothing more.
In all, anti-climactic and masturbatory on both sides, and yet, totally amusing in its own right.
[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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