Westboro Baptist Church is all about hatred. Their signs scream hate. Their voices scream hate. Even notorious hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) hate this hate group, as was demonstrated by a recent KKK counter-protest against them at the funeral of a soldier. (There have been no confirmed sightings of the KKK at the Sandy Hook counter-protests; they’re currently more concerned with Quentin Tarantino’s latest release, DJango).
But by far the largest movement against Westboro Baptist Church is the current protest by the Anonymous Internet movement – and it’s about to get a whole lot bigger.
Anonymous went on the attack against WBC once they announced their intent to protest funerals of the Sandy Hook shooting victims.
After first taking down the Twitter account of WBC spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper (@DearShirley, which was subsequently suspended), members of the movement took control of WBC Leader Fred Phelps’ Twitter account and turned it into a Sandy Hook tribute, which — at the time of this writing — is still active. (Visit @WBCFredJr)
The group also began a petition on the Whitehouse.Gov website to legally recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group, and it’s currently the most popular petition there, with over 220,000 signatures (alas, significantly more than the petition calling for gun control).
Anonymous posted the personal information of WBC members, including phone and social security numbers (for which the popular @YourAnonNews Twitter account was briefly suspended). The hacktivist were also able to gain entry to the personal e-mail accounts of members, and some of those e-mails have been shared online as well.
After countless DDoS (denial of service) attacks on the WBC’s offensively named Website, Anonymous, through their probes, learned that the site was subsequently strengthened by Black Lotus Communications, an Internet security service company that prevents malicious traffic from reaching sites. Anonymous effectively began a campaign against this company, along with any companies that host or assist in the hosting of WBC websites. Because of this, Black Lotus Communications told WikiNews that their company will be donating to groups opposed by WBC, and is considering such organizations as the Wounded Warrior Project and LGBT groups like The Trevor Project.
But according to Anonymous, the attack on WBC has so far been fun and games compared to what’s coming tomorrow, as an all-out electronic offensive has been scheduled. It’s unclear at the time of this writing what Anonymous’s plans entail, but judging from past actions, it can’t be good for the WBC.
Hundreds of counter-protesters, including many Anonymous representatives, bikers, firefighters, police, and members of the military, are in Sandy Hook to prevent WBC from adding to the misery of the grief-stricken residents. WBC posted their intentions to appear at yesterday’s funeral for Sandy Hook principal, Dawn Hochsprung, but never arrived to face the human wall that was ready for them. E-mails from the WBC’s personal hacked accounts revealed a new intent to infiltrate funerals on Friday (the same day as the Anonymous offensive is scheduled to escalate) but it’s doubtful now WBC will attempt it. Either way, decent people will be ready to thwart them again, as Anonymous just released another message to WBC via YouTube, that this time includes a tribute, listing the names of all the Sandy Hook victims.
How does Westboro Baptist Church feel about all the recent publicity? Being the media hounds they are, they claim to be loving all the attention and reveling in how many people are receiving their message of hatred, as they gleefully re-Tweet every media article. WBC spokesperson Margie Phelps tweeted yesterday, “118,000 Tweets and three Washington Post stories on Westboro message in two days. Woot!” (Note: Even Margie admits it’s Westboro’s message, not God’s message.)
Having cherry-picked the Bible verses they choose to live by, the Westboro Baptist church has obviously neglected Matthew 6:1 (among others): “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
You can see Anonymous’ YouTube video here:
For a further discussion and analysis of Anonymous’ plans, and an exclusive interview with a member of the hacktivist collective, see this week’s video from The David Pakman Show.